At the end of season one, Galactica sends an attack against a Base Star at Kobol.

At the start of season two, a different Base Star appears at Galactica's location, someplace in (deep?) space I'll call X. (They conjecture that the Cylons had learned Galactica was at X from an attacking pilot.)

Galactica then jumps to a new waypoint, but the rest of the fleet doesn't show up there. They surmise (correctly, it turns out) that the rest of the fleet hadn't had time to calculate how to jump to where Galactica went, and so instead went to the previously-planned next waypoint.

Ok so far, but how does the next part make sense? They know where the rest of the fleet went, but in order to get there themselves, they reason that they need to warp back to point X where the Base Star is probably still sitting, and run calculations from there, before they can rejoin the fleet. Why the frak would they need to do that? Why can't they calculate how to jump there from where they are now?

  • Figure the Red line had something to do with it
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 4:52
  • @cde What Red line?
    – Dronz
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 5:43
  • 1
    en.battlestarwiki.org/wiki/Red_Line The Red Line is an imaginary sphere enclosing a vessel which denotes the maximum safe limit for an FTL jump.
    – user16696
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 5:53

3 Answers 3


Without knowing exactly how their FTL drives worked, maybe it is impossible for them to jump from point C (their present location) to point B (their desired destination) without going back to point A (original location).

Maybe there was a star or black hole in the way. Anyways there was obviously some limitation, because they did have to jump back to point A first.

  • 2
    it also makes sense to also check if the fleet stayed where it was.
    – Petersaber
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 6:02
  • @Petersaber a) I've missed the part that mentioned the Basestar was already there... my bad b) that's many ships. Someone might've survived
    – Petersaber
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 9:52
  • @Petersaber They also assumed, and were right, that the Basestar was still there, so going back was risking Galactica - in fact they nearly didn't survive.
    – Dronz
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 16:06
  • Yes, but then wouldn't they have said that there was something in the way, or "we can't get there from here due to the hyper-ether eddies"? Evidently there was something about going back to A (they needed to re-do the old calculations while at A) to get to B, but so far I've never seen any other time that they couldn't jump to wherever they wanted from anywhere. I'm curious if there's any reason or other occurrence or anything consistent which could explain why in this one case suddenly they needed to do this, because so far it seems to be inconsistent with how hyperjumps work in the show.
    – Dronz
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 16:15
  • @Dronz no point in arguing about ther decision, it was the correct one
    – Petersaber
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 5:55

They needed to go back to point A because you have to read the position of the stars to calculate the coordinates .

  • Didn't they already do that calculation before, when they were there with the fleet? Don't they also know the spatial location where the fleet went? So why couldn't they calculate how to warp from their new location, to the old destination?
    – Dronz
    Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 16:37

Not an answer but perhaps the writers are fans of Isaac Assimov Foundation Series. The excuse for FTL travel issues was that you had to charge your engine and then get momentum in real space before going into FTL. This open the possibility of having a sport where one ship was chased through space by other contestants where they had to guess the destination via watching their takeoff direction and speed. Some of the adventures were about people fleeing danger by doing FTL travel without calculations and popping up in random locations and being lost.
Additionally, part of the intense calculations involved the gravitational influence large bodies had on travel. This caused two issues: FTL was line of site so if there was a stellar body in the way or too close you could not go there (for example, for you to travel to the other side of your dinner table, you would have to make a left, go to the end of the table, turn right and then turn right again, so you would do 3 jumps); you could not travel too far because of chaos theory adding too much uncertainty such as the effect of felt on a cue ball in pool will cause it to end up in an unpredictable place if it travels long enough.

  • In BSG (at least as far as I've watched so far - to season 2, ep 3), there are hard calculations needed that involve "inertial drift" of something unspecified, but it's fairly established that there is no way to tell where someone goes unless you have some sort of spy aboard to tell you where they went, even when you're right next to them with weapons locked on when they jump away, so that seems to rule out the first part of your idea, though not the second (except they didn't say any such thing - the problem seemed to be about information rather than obstacles).
    – Dronz
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 19:19

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