In Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II, Gina Inviere takes the nuke Baltar had given her and sets it off, destroying Cloud Nine and several nearby ships. The radiation from this explosion ultimately draws the Cylons' attention, bringing them down in wrath upon the settlement on New Caprica.

Is there any indication as to Gina's primary motivation for setting off the nuke? I see several possibilities...

  1. She knew the Cylon fleet was close enough to detect it, and she set it off as a beacon
  2. She knew nothing of the Cylon fleet's location, and was simply acting out of bred-in racial hatred, as a Cylon, in a desire to kill a large number of humans
  3. She knew nothing of the fleet, was not acting as a Cylon, but was simply acting out as a victimized, emotional being with feelings, lashing out at the humans, who she saw as her attackers after her treatment at the hands of Admiral Cain's crew
  4. She was not acting out of planning, hatred or vengeance, but rather despair, again as the emotional, feeling being she was, feeling unable to continue to live with the scars of her attack, choosing instead to end her life in a dramatic fashion

Or perhaps there are other possible motivations that I missed?

Is there any canonical indication as to what her primary motivation may have been?


3 Answers 3


I am not a Cylon psychiatrist, but (human) people often do things without actual motivations and make up post hoc rationalizations for these actions (at least when they're still around to do so). The human mind isn't some computer or clockwork mechanism for which each decision made and each action taken was preceded by definite cause(s). We may wish that it were so because it is a more comfortable theory, but sometimes people just do things. When teenagers decide to microwave a cat and some authority figure asks them why the hell they'd do that, and they shrug and just say "I dunno", often enough they're being completely honest.

I consider the story of her detonating it to be realistic. It feels genuine (in a way so many other shows never do). But if I extrapolate it to reality, then I must say that she has no motivations at all that perfectly explain the event, either by themselves or in combination. If you must decide for yourself that she did have motivation, then I suggest that you consider the more human explanations rather than the evil Cylon ones. This feels like something a person would do.

  • 1
    Largely agree with your points. The rationale of her acting irrationally, out of feelings more than any plan was where I was kind of going with my points 3 and 4.
    – eidylon
    Oct 23, 2012 at 6:24
  • 1
    I agree with this answer and upvoted it. However, my own feelings when I watched this episode were that Gina acted both out of vengeance against mankind and also to create a beacon for the Cylon fleet.
    – Andres F.
    May 2, 2014 at 16:15

I thought it was to escape her life. She was used and left to be tortured by her lover, who either she willfully betrayed or, like Sharon 1, was a sleeper which could have messed her up something fierce, mentally.

Baltar wanted her because she looked like Caprica 6, and so either she, even as a lesbian, still wanting someone to love her let him have his way, or she just let him have his way because she didn't want to be alone and she started to see that he was going to use her, just like her own kind and Cain and the Cylon sympathizer group.......

She IMO wanted to escape it all and might have thought a nuke would keep her from transmitting to any near by ships, or her desire to die conflicted with her sleeper programing and this was the resolution of that conflict.

  • I definitely think she was a tortured soul, and wanting to just escape it all makes sense. But I feel like if that was all it was, she could've acquired a gun or some drugs, slit her wrists, or something. I feel like nuking an entire ship is a pretty dramatic way to go if that's all it was.
    – eidylon
    Feb 14, 2019 at 16:57

The reasons mentioned makes sense, mainly to Earthlings, but IMO a full answer should consider BSG universe logic, and include the reasoning behind imaginary Caprica telling Baltar to ask for a nuke; and for Balter giving it to Gina later on.

My thoughts goes to the Cylon God, which I believe is a hidden software that influence Cylons to do certain things as part of a large plan even if they don't understand it. This means that Baltar is a Cylon - but in s1e01 we see that Caprica Six has the orange glow of getting pregnant as they have sex, which mean that Baltar cannot be a Cylon!

Which lead me to believe that this Baltar was human, but the Baltar we see later on is a Cylon copy that somehow got all the memories of the human Baltar... similar to Starbuck.

And the big plan of Cylon God involves genocide of humanity but slowly enough so that "shape of things to come" can replace it while Cylons and humans fall in love and have babies.

  • Do you have any evidence to support your dupliBaltar theory?
    – T.J.L.
    May 21, 2020 at 12:32
  • not much - most evidence goes toward him being a Cylon angle, same as Caprica 6. the only evidence for him being human (at least, before the bombs) is that he could get Cylons pregnant. the evidence for him being Cylon is the imaginary friends he see; the capability to project imaginary scenes onto reality; and that he lived several thousand years.
    – oriadam
    May 26, 2020 at 6:06

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