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Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Cylon Conspiracy - It's Bigger Than You Think

On Battlestar Galactica during his time aboard a Cylon basestar, Gaius Baltar began to suspect that he is a Cylon. Last week's episode "Taking a Break from All Your Worries" ended those speculations; Baltar's subconscious visions verify that he is indeed human.

Or so we are lead to believe.

Twelve Cylon humanoid models exist. The original five (known hereafter as The Five) were the originals. Keeping their identities secret from their progeny, they developed the other models. As the Cylons we are familiar with plotted the destruction of the Twelve Colonies, The Five had other plans - to locate and to reach Earth. By means yet unknown they achieved this goal.

All except for Baltar, who was left behind to act as an unwitting spy. The Five use a communications device that reaches directly into Baltar's mind, creating a hallucination of a Number Six to cajole him into doing their bidding. (His series was designed with a weakness for blondes.) The mirage of Baltar that appears to Caprica Six is evidence that The Five are keeping tabs on other Cylons - or that a fifth column among the Five is afoot.

The Five have no wish to exterminate the human species. They know they need humans to perfect the humanoid Cylon models. They also understand human nature well enough to know what the Cylons in charge of New Caprica didn't: that humans are highly resistant to coercion. They concluded that the best way to deal with humans is through covert manipulation.

On Earth they set up a puppet organization, the Hanso Foundation, through which the Cylons would conduct various experiments in psychological manipulation. Most of their agents know nothing of the Cylons, although some speculate that Alvar Hanso himself is a Cylon.

A base was set up on a small Pacific island, chosen due to a natural electromagnetic anomaly useful for primary island defense. A base code-named The Swan was built; it collects the electromagnetic energy which must be dissipated every 108 minutes in order to prevent an overload. If dissipation is postoned a few seconds after the critical point, the collected energy will tear apart any metallic Earth craft. The Cylons arrange for the Swan operators to do just that (via the medium used to manipulate Baltar) if any boats or planes get too close.

The so-called smoke monster serves as a secondary line of defense.

The Cylons eventually arranged for a copy of the Baltar series, oblivious to his true nature just like Baltar, to find his way to the island. This copy is known to the Earthlings as Desmond Hume.

Yes, Desmond Hume from Lost.

Don't believe me? Look at the photographic evidence - Baltar on the left, Desmond on the right:

 photo BaltarDesmond.jpg

(Note that Desmond's old girlfriend Penelope Widmore and his current fixation Claire Littleton are both blondes - that design feature is still in place.)

So what's so special about Desmond? Why have a Cylon on the island if all those unwitting human lackeys are good enough to do the job?

The Cylons were alarmed when a scientist named Dr. Chandra Suresh (a character from the TV series Heroes) released a book titled Activating Evolution. It described human abilities that many would call "superpowers" - abilities that were evolving their way into the human genome, and that would make the Earthlings much more to deal with. The Five launched a plan to study and eventually synthesize the genetic code that produce the paranormal traits, with the ultimate goal of "upgrading" the humanoid Cylons.

They spied on Suresh's research and conducted their own studies, until they were ready for their first experiment at synthesis. Desmond was given precognition ability, which so far operates quite erratically. Keeping him in the general population turned out to be a bad idea, so he was manipulated into finding his way to the island base, where the Cylons could keep close watch. They were also glad to find a replacement for the annoyingly curious Kelvin. That should teach the Cylons the perils of hiring CIA operatives.

But problems arose. A French scientific team landed on the island at one time. The Cylons launched a bio attack that got all but one member, Danielle Rousseau, who managed to elude the DHARMA team all these years. Oceanic Flight 815 was successfully "zapped," but the crash left survivors who have remained a thorn in the side of the operation ever since. The destruction of the Swan station was a huge blow; the Cylons lost their best covert means of keeping the island secret. And Desmond is now in league with the castaways.

(You should be able to figure out how Des survived the Swan explosion - he really died, but resurrected on the Resurrection Ship. The Cylons suppressed his memory of the event and brought him back to the island.)

The Cylons did reap one stroke of luck on the island. A sensor station known only to The Five picked up the "Suresh Gene" in one of the survivors, a boy named Walt. DHARMA kidnapped Walt and studied him for a while. Walt and his father were placed on the boat and given a heading where a Cylon heavy raider would await.

Meanwhile in the outside world, a serial killer known as Sylar is stalking humans with the Suresh Gene. The Cylons know who and what he is, but aren't sure if he's an asset or a liability. He's reducing the "mutant" population, but absorbing their abilities and becoming more powerful in the process. The Cylons will have to deal with him some day...

We still don't know if Mr. Bennett or Mr. Linderman are part of the Cylon network, or if they are simply two more pesky complications.

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