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Is there a reason that the Cylons attacked the Colonies on the day of the Galactica's decommissioning, or was that only a coincidence written for narrative reasons?

  • 4
    Wasn't the decommissioning itself the anniversary of something, or was the day only (supposed to be) a big event because of the decommissioning? (If there was something, that could have been the "target"..?) – Izkata Sep 17 '12 at 4:11
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    I always thought it was coincidental, but only because it never occurred to me that it might not be. (Perhaps the Cylons said "haHA, now that you've decommissioned your last Cylon-proof ship, we're back!"?) – hairboat Sep 17 '12 at 4:32
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    The Cylons clearly did not expect the Galactica to be Cylon-proof: They tried the signal on it, and only attacked full force when it failed. They banked on the geekiness of the Fleet ("oh, shiny communicating networks with nice looking, plain esthetics !") – Eureka Sep 17 '12 at 6:36
  • Abby: Galactica isn't "Cylon proof". In one episode they network Galactica's system to do faster calculations, which makes them vulnerable again (and they are attacked; Cylons try once more). – Mario Sep 17 '12 at 17:16
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This post contains minor spoilers, I didn't bother using the tags to keep the layout simple and readable - plus they're really minor.

There are lots and lots of coincidences (or happenings guided by a higher being; however you'd like to call it) happening. Some of them are obviously linked to the anniversary, but not all of them:

  • There's the 40 year anniversary of the end of the first Cylon War.
  • The cylons specifically targeted the anniversary for their first strike, which is evident, considering there hasn't been any contact on neutral territory for those 40 years (as depicted in the opening of the pilot/miniseries). But this time there is a representant (a Six with at least two guards) and they blow up the "neutral" station with the diplomat. This probably wouldn't have happened if they'd started the war a week later or something like that. There haven't been any witnesses, but you don't have to risk it.
  • Galactica is (one of?) the oldest Battlestar(s) still in service, so it's selected to become a museum.
  • The Colonial Navy (or whatever it's called in the undubbed version) scheduled Galactica's official decomission/"last day in service" specifically to be on the day of the anniversary as well.
  • Galactica is not "Cylon proof" in any way - not at all. This is also one main plot point in a later episode. It just happens that it's very old and most networked systems aren't active anymore (or probably removed already). You don't need all that stuff on a ship that's made into a museum. More evidence for this: Galactica had at least one wing of up-to-date (or almost up-to-date) Vipers that got destroyed almost immediately after they were shut down by Cylon Raiders (the fight where Boomer got away). The other, immune Vipers are there because of the (to be opened) museum. It's also hinted at, that they move the ships from the "museum hangar" to the still working launch bays. Later on they get new Vipers from the Pegasus. They know about the virus/manipulation, so they're able to harden them in advance.
  • The Pegasus isn't immune either, however they happen to sit in the docks for network upgrades, so these are either offline and/or unusable and their Vipers are all docked up (so not lost in space). There are initial issues, but they finally manage to jump out just in time.
  • The Cylons didn't expect any military ship to be immune against their electronic warfare, as depicted in the mini series. They try and fail against the outdated fighters, but they try to do so once again in a later episode (both when they network Galactica after jumping to the wrong coordinates as well as when they become aware of at least some of the Final Fives being in the fleet), despite their previous experiences.
  • The Cylons never had any special plans regarding Pegasus and/or Galactica. Both ships and their crews were just really lucky they got away. They haven't been any specific part of the plan. Later on it's revealed that the Final Fives (or most of them) have been on the Galactica (or in its civil fleet) all the time. This, however, was another coincidence. Cavil didn't really care for them and the others didn't even know they could be there.
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    I understood the Galactica to have been made before the networked systems were integrated into the ships, and it was never upgraded; that was why, among other things, it had tethered phones throughout the ship. – Izkata Sep 17 '12 at 22:35
  • Yes, that's probably true, although they've had at least minimal networking capabilities (that weren't turned on or enabled). It's also possible the upgrades they talk about in Razor are those that made the ships vulnerable in the end. Although I'm not really sure about that point (after all Galactica had some minimal but inactive networking stuff). – Mario Sep 18 '12 at 10:47
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    In the mini-series there's a scene where a remark is passed that the Museum experience would be better if only they were allowed to network exhibits, Adama snarls "There will be no networked computers on this ship while I'm still in command" or words to that effect (the words "while this is an operational ship" keep coming to mind), this and other comments made later make it obvious that in the first Cylon war they had to disable / disallow networked computers, any computer that could network could be hacked by Cylons. Ergo, Adama will not allow any computer networks on the Galactica – Binary Worrier Sep 19 '12 at 12:20
  • You're right. So they knew they're vulnerable, but obviously thought they're save due to the Cylons not knowing their codes (or were these for planetary defenses only?). – Mario Sep 19 '12 at 16:55
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By this point, the Galactica had already been largely demilitarized. One of the hangars had been turned into a museum. Skeleton crew. Yadda yadda yadda. While one could argue that that the command staff were even more distracted on this particular day, the truth is that it had been just as vulnerable for weeks or even months.

So the day of decommissioning was not significantly more strategic than any prior. It seems very unlikely that this was more than a coincidence.

On the other hand, in Razor, we see a depiction of other battlestars in dock. It's plausible that the locations of those ships was taken into account in the Cylons' plans. But we have so few details in that regard that it can be nothing more than speculation.

  • Maybe the decommissioning was intentionally scheduled for the anniversary of the end of the Cylon war, and the Cylons coincidentally chose that date as a significant date to start the attack. – Ken Liu Sep 17 '12 at 14:23

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