Battle of the Algae Planet
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|Battle of the Algae Planet|
|Conflict:||Second Cylon War|
|Date:||Fourteen days into algae harvesting|
|Result:|| Withdrawal of both sides|
Colonials gain Earth waypoint
Hera Agathon retrieved
Capture of Gaius Baltar and Caprica-Six
Boxing of all Number Three units
Shortly after the Temple of Five is discovered during day 14 of the Fleet's food-collection operations on the algae planet, four Cylon basestars jump into orbit. Admiral William Adama orders all civilian ships to escape to emergency jump coordinates (keeping Galactica behind to support the ground team) as the Cylons discreetly deploy one Heavy Raider to the planet's surface.
Uncharacteristically, the Cylons do not attack, but seek a parley with the Colonials. After a wireless transmission from the basestars to Galactica, Gaius Baltar, a Number Three, a Cavil, and Boomer of the basestars' command group come to Galactica in order to negotiate for control of the Eye of Jupiter, reported to be in the temple. The Cylons claim that if they gain possession, they will leave the Fleet alone and turn over Baltar. Admiral Adama delivers an ultimatum: attempt to land on the planet and Galactica will destroy the temple with a nuclear strike. The meeting ends in a stalemate. Also, Boomer informs Athena of Hera's survival which she doesn't believe, but learns its true after Adama confronts Roslin about it later.
The Cylons soon jam all Colonial wireless frequencies, but not before Colonial command manages to relay most of the situation. On the surface, Major Adama plans a defense for the temple, placing Samuel Anders in command of all civilians present, and using Captain Thrace's Raptor, the only one on the surface, for reconnaissance. Chief Galen Tyrol and his team place G-4 packs around the Temple's central spire to destroy the Temple in the event of its compromise.
Meanwhile, Cylon Centurions from the first Heavy Raider build a surface-to-air missile battery. As Starbuck conducts her reconnaissance, she encounters the battery. Evasive maneuvers by Starbuck avoid a direct hit, but her Raptor is disabled and crash-lands.
Six Heavy Raiders are deployed from the basestars toward the planet as part of the Cylons' plan to both defend Baltar and a Three, D'Anna Biers, who are heading to the temple and to call Admiral Adama's bluff.
The Cylons realize that Adama's threat must be taken seriously, and order recall all but one of the Heavy Raiders (an internal dispute with their Number Three units and the other Cylons prevent the last recall). Admiral Adama reconsiders the risk and rescinds the missile launch.
On the planet, both Starbuck and her Raptor are generally intact after the crash, but the Raptor's fly-by-wire system is damaged and the pilot has serious burns to her hands, making it impossible to fly.
Lieutenant Anastasia Dualla is assigned SAR detail with Sergeant Fischer, who is killed in a sniper attack. Dualla manages to reach the Raptor, and, after repairing the damaged avionics, return Starbuck to Galactica, despite her lack of flight training.
Sharon Agathon, having learned of her daughter's survival, decides to rescue her from the Cylons. In a desperate move, she has Helo shoot and kill her allowing her to download into a new body on the Cylon Resurrection Ship nearby. Sharon gets lucky and is greeted at her resurrection by Caprica-Six who is sympathetic enough to take her to her daughter who is being cared for by Boomer. Hera instantly recignizes her mother and calms down, and Sharon determines that Hera likely has a blocked intestine and her only chance is to go back to Galactica and have Doctor Cottle treat her. Boomer threatens to kill Hera, but Sharon convinces Caprica-Six to help and she kills Boomer and helps Sharon and Hera escape on a Raptor to Galactica where Caprica-Six is taken prisoner and Hera is taken to Doctor Cottle for treatment.
Major Adama's team place tylium bombs within a narrow trail where the terrain would require any enemy forces to walk through. Three Cylons enter the kill zone, but detect the bomb before all of them are inside the zone. The Colonial's detonation mostly disables one Centurion, and two retreat, but Hillard is killed. After a later offensive by the two remaining Cylons, Major Adama calls for a withdrawal of Colonial forces and the destruction of the Temple. Chief Tyrol refuses Major Adama's order and this delays the detonation.
When the Colonials activate the detonator, nothing happens. A small Cylon team, including deposed president Gaius Baltar, had entered the Temple moments before and removed the G-4's detonator caps.
The Cylons' official intention, to retrieve information on the whereabouts of Earth, are ignored by D'Anna Biers in the Temple. A Cavil model assigned with the group attempts to kill the Three, but Baltar kills the Cavil unit. The Three then uses the temple's vision mechanism to see the faces of the Final Five but it kills her afterwards before she can tell Baltar who any of the Five are.
The Colonials witness the star's nova event. Not wishing to be caught in the shockwave, all Cylon forces jump away. The star's appearance tells the Colonials that the star itself, not anything within, is the Eye of Jupiter marker. The Colonials quickly investigate the Temple to find Baltar, who is rendered unconscious and captured.
All Colonials are quickly retrieved by Raptor back to Galactica, which escapes as the nova shockwave tears through the star system and destroys the planet.
Lieutenant Gaeta is able to use the information about the nova to discern the next waypoint: the Ionian nebula.
The Cylons, failing to obtain information from the Temple due to the unauthorized actions of the Number Three models to seek the forbidden identities of the missing five humanoid Cylons, intentionally deactivate all Number Three models throughout the Cylon race (TRS: "Rapture").
Aftermath and Impact
This battle sets some of the seeds of the Cylon Civil War. D'Anna learns the identities of the Final Five and as such her entire line is boxed by Cavil to keep the secret safe. When the Sixs, Eights and Twos figure out that the Final Five are in the human fleet, their demad for D'Anna's unboxing is one of the things that leads to the Civil War. The need to unbox D'Anna leads to the alliance between human and rebel Cylon and the Battle of the Resurrection Hub which results in D'Anna's unboxing and the destruction of Cylon resurrection forever. Using the knowledge gained here, she exposes four of the Final Five but doesn't reveal the fifth as she belives that Cylon is dead (she was but she downloaded into a new body and became Cavil's prisoner). Also during the battle Gaius Baltar is captured and removed from Cylon hands, taking away their main source of knowledge about how to find Earth. Hera Agathon is resuced by her mother and Caprica-Six also giving the Colonials a valuable Cylon prisoner and taking away the hybrid child the Cylons so desperatly wanted.
- Galactica departs Ragnar Anchorage with five nuclear warheads. One warhead is cannibalized to create Gaius Baltar's Cylon detector (Bastille Day) and ultimately detonated by Gina Inviere on Cloud 9 (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II). A second warhead is used to destroy a Cylon basestar above Kobol in "Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II", leaving Galactica with three. Galactica probably obtained additional warheads from Pegasus at some point prior to her destruction in "Exodus, Part II".
- In "The Eye of Jupiter," it is said and shown that four basestars arrive for the battle, but in "Rapture" only three are shown in shots of the Cylon fleet and jumping away at the end. There's no explanation for the disappearence of the fourth basestar. Also, initaly there's no sign or mention of a Resurrection Ship, but one appears when Athena downloads.
- Ironically, while D'Anna Biers is searching for the identities of the Final Five, three and possibly four of them are in the vicinity of the algae planet when she sees their faces: Saul Tigh is aboard Galactica, and Samuel Anders and Galen Tyrol are on the planet itself. Ellen Tigh is Cavil's secret prisoner aboard a basestar, but it is unclear if that basestar is part of the Cylon task force at the planet. Tory Foster is with the rest of the fleet, having jumped away at the start of the battle.