In Season 1, Episode 9 "Tigh Me Up,Tigh Me Down" it is very clear that Cylon Raiders have FTL capabilities (since part of the main storyline is about that fact). Now one can wonder why that Raider did not use the FTL to jump "closer" to Galactica at the end of its feint in the attempt to be a suicide run, but my question here is in relation to the next episode (10: "The Hand of God") when Galactica stages the attack on the Cylon base upon the asteroid to gain the Tylium needed for their FTL fuel.

In that encounter, there are something like 150+ Raiders (50+ in the second wave to Galactica, approx. 90 took the bait on the original decoy), but of all those, why did not one of them use FTL to jump away and warn of contact with human military units (i.e. Vipers), especially after the base was destroyed (when the command is given to follow after them with Vipers to "pursue and destroy," it seems like all the Raiders might have FTL jumped out of there).

Were not all Raiders equipped with FTL? And even if not all, wouldn't there have been a few stationed on the asteroid that were?

I'm trying to figure out if there really is any feasible in-universe explanation for not sending at least one raider by FTL to inform the Cylon forces that such a contact is/has occurred and to send reinforcements.

  • We don't know exactly how far away reinforcements were. Maybe they did send one or two out for help, but it didn't arrive in time.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 19:36
  • There was a raider in the mini series (what could probably be though of as the pilot episodes) that used its FTL when it discovered the Colonial ships. All the FTL capable ships jumped leaving the non-capable FTL ships to be destroyed Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 7:28
  • @SpacePhoenix Is there any evidence that some Raiders have FTL and some do not?
    – ScottS
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 21:40
  • @Steve-O My problem with that is not the principle of it (as I can concede that), but the fact that once the mission was done and the other Raiders destroyed, it would have taken some time to actual extract and store the Tylium. I'm fairly sure, from what I have seen of the FTL technology (of which the Cylon's is supposedly better than Colonial), that if any had jumped, a number of base stars would have appeared in the area before the Tylium could have been harvested/stored. Galactica was always worried about their "position" becoming known by the Cylons, except in this case.
    – ScottS
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


In TRS Season 2 Episode 15 "Scar" of the 2004 series, we learn that Raiders are reborn through resurrection technology just like other cylons. This could mean that there's no need to jump out to get reinforcements, as the dead Raiders' consciousnesses would reach the resurrection ship as fast as they could be downloaded. This may or may not be faster than a FTL jump (we don't really have a good idea of how long it takes to download a Raider, or how far away the Resurrection ship is).

We know more about how Colonial FTL drives work than Cylon ones, but it is shown multiple times that Colonial FTL drives take time to "Spin Up." TRS Season 3 Episode 20 Crossroads Part 2 mentions that the Civilian FTLs will take 20m to spin up from a dead stop due to power outage, but that may not be a good benchmark for military grade FTLs. It can be assumed that keeping an FTL "spun up" costs energy or fuel (or has some other detriment), as otherwise they would always be spun up at all time (we hear many times when enemy contact is made or expected that the FTLs should be spun up).

It is very possible, then, that if the raiders have FTLs that they were not "spun up" during the conflict, and it was faster to close with the targets than jump to them. This would also preclude jumping away before they were able to be destroyed.

So there are two possible explanations I am able to find: Either they didn't need to jump out, because they would resurrect faster than they could go to get reinforcements, or they couldn't jump out because they didn't have their FTLs ready.

  • Thanks for attempting a coherent answer. I'm having trouble believing raiders would not call for reinforcements vs. if they die being resurrected (wherever the resurrection ship was at that time). I do grant that the time it takes to spin up could be in part a cause of delay (though there would have been plenty of time in the scheme of the whole time, especially after base destruction). We do know from Episode 1:9 that I cited that once a Cylon Raider's FTL is spun up, it can do multiple jumps in a short period of time (as the "feinting" raider does many in fairly rapid succession).
    – ScottS
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 21:39
  • @ScottS S2E8 Final Cut has the documentary footage being sent to the Cylons through a pair of raiders, both of which are destroyed before they can jump out. This would imply that either 1. They resurrected/sent the data as part of their consciousness stream or 2. Cylons have reliable FTL communication. Either one would prevent the need for a messenger raider to jump out. It's also possible that they believed they had sufficient forces, as the defenses of the mining facility almost wiped out all the attacking Vipers. Commented Apr 4, 2019 at 14:41
  • @MarshallTigerus They clearly have reliable FTL communication, because resurrection wouldn't work with out it. What I've always wondered is whether resurrection is the only viable form of FTL communication.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 12:19
  • @T.J.L. I guess the question then is how much Faster Than Light is their communication? Is it fast enough that they could actually get reinforcements? It could also be that their "downloading" functionality is lost technology and they can't replicate the downloading FTL as a FTL communication. Though if the best way to communicate back "home" was to kill one of your cylons, it gives a whole new meaning to "Shoot the Messenger" Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 13:46

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