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25 November 2008 @ 09:37 am
Galactica History and math  
Once upon a time, I had math in school. I also moonlighted as a graduate student in history.

I have brought both to bear on this. So BE AFRAID. :)

No spoilers I can think of. A whole lot of speculation, however.



This all started because I was working with the timeline for the exodus of the 13th tribe from Kobol. There are several canon dates given for this event. So, last night, I had an idea on how to make them work without having to write them off as error. The theory went that perhaps the 13 and the Colonials left more or less at the same time 4000 years ago (within a hundred years of each other or so - we know the 13th left first). And then, because they went sublight, it took the 12 2000 years to REACH the Colonies, and that's why Elosha tells us the Exodus of "all the tribes" was 2000 years ago, really meaning when the Twelve arrived in the Colonies. (NOTE: the Thirteenth had to use FTL to get the algae planet in time for that date to be true, however)

So I did math trying to figure out if that made any sense. Which mathematically, yes, I think so. In two thousand years they could get about 1300 light years going about 80% the speed of light (which I pulled for comparison sake). Which is not that far, galactic-scale wise, and therefore could make sense that the 12 tribes simply puttered on their way to the new Colonies.

Except, alas, it doesn't work.

There is a third date from AMoS, when the beacon is said to be from "from the time of the 13th Tribe's exodus from Kobol 3000 years ago". Ordinarily I would think the date has been superceded by the two dates given in EoJ/Rapture of 4000 years ago and write it off an as error, that it should've said 4000 years ago, to match with the Temple. However, we can also guess the 13th came BACK to Kobol - that's how Kobol got that nifty star map, plus (probably) how Pythia knew about funky things like the Lion's Head Nebula.

So here's a possible reconciliation of all the dates, which isn't much different from what I've seen elsewhere (and sadly requires no exponents) but puts them into a narrative:

Four thousand years ago, the 13th Tribe left Kobol, in FTL ships. Now the 13th Tribe may or may not have been some kind of Cylon yet, but they most certainly were religious 'heretics', and that, I'm guessing is why they left. This was around the same time as the Ionian Supernova was seen on Kobol. Along the way, they pass the Lion's Head nebula and go to the algae planet where they stay for a little while. Now they are smart cookies (they have FTL, after all), and they can tell the sun is going to go nova "soonish". Which to them is a frakking SIGN, especially if the Ionian Nebula was seen as some kind of portent or blessing for their journey. So they build a temple to help those who are going to follow them and point the right way. (cuz these 13 Tribe folk WANT the poor unenlightened masses of Kobol to follow THEM, after all.)

But the algae planet is just a rest-stop and they pack up again and head for the Ionian nebula. However, we know one thing - Earth, the nebula, and the Eye of Jupiter do NOT make up a straight line, because otherwise Roslin's course to Earth would have been correct. So the Thirteenth wanders around for a little while looking for Earth and when they find it, they set up another directional beacon, toward the nebula. And the 13th go to Earth and live happily. Then some of them decide to check up on their lost cousins and go back to Kobol.

This is about 3600 years ago, and one of these 13th Tribe members was Pythia (or Pythia knew one of them). But the 13th tribe is still full of their heresy, worshipping one god and stuff, and they start making converts (and I will guess right now that those converts include people who want HEAVEN when they die, and not to simply go around the circle again).

There is a great deal of unpleasantness. The 13th leaves - 3000 years ago - and says good riddance. On their way out, not far away, they leave another beacon near the Lion's Head Nebula to go with Pythia's writings, just in case anyone is going to follow them someday. They leave behind a few sects of pseudo-heretics, perhaps secret worshippers of "the One who must not be named".

And then, a thousand years pass on Kobol. That secret sect then maybe stops wanting to be secret - or maybe the ruling elite on Kobol decide the sect has a lot of money or too much influence or whatever, and starts persecuting them. Whatever. In the end, there is a war and Kobol is mostly uninhabitable. Athena is sad and throws herself off a cliff (let's just take moment to appreciate that we're now talking about at least 2000 years of history on Kobol - she may have been a person and that's how she can die, as Sharon tells us, but she was also distinctly immortal in some sense).

As the 12 tribes get ready to leave, someone builds her a tomb. And they make an elaborate hologram keyed to the Arrow of Apollo with the star map left behind by the 13th Tribe, pointing the way to Earth, and their cousins who left 1000 years ago, somewhere out there. Which, raises the interesting question on why two distinctly Kobolian religious artifacts (namely the Arrow and Athena's tomb) would point the way to their apostate cousins. Someone was planning ahead.






Note that this does NOT get into any of my Cylon/spiritual spec because that's a bit more spoilery.

But I do think that EoJ/Rapture should be taken as the canon point of departure for the 13th tribe. That's when RDM was setting up the Five, and is presumably the date which everything written afterward is going to use.
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Agent Fox Mulderi_want_2 on November 25th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
May I make one dissenting argument?

They retconned history for season 3. All timelines after that are different and not really compatible with already established canon. Thus, this is really an exercise in futility that merely points out the fact that they have no idea what they are saying and that we are just mindless voles who are stumbling around in the dark looking for the next big reveal to thrill us so we keep coming back and wondering why it makes our heads hurt to watch this show and never really learn from the mistakes of the past and keep going back, banging our heads against the wall that is the major ass frakking that is what they call canon and then there is the.....

*HEAD EXPLODES*
lizardbeth: Agathonslizardbeth_j on November 25th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
While all that may be true (it's certainly true the Final Five wasn't thought up until New Caprica pushed them into a corner), quite honestly I don't care. I am ALL ABOUT the fine art of the fannish fanwank.

You see, unlike people who get frustrated with retcons and refinements (and characters who LIE), I like the challenge of it. Because, quite often, fans just don't try hard enough to put it together and/or they get attached to their fanon and FORGET the real canon (e.g. all the fans who STILL believe Tigh and Adama met during the first cylon war). But canon's canon, and I find outliers become more interesting if I try to explain them, rather than write them off as mistakes.
Agent Fox Mulderi_want_2 on November 26th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
In other words, you like to stick your fingers in others ears and hum loudly?
(Deleted comment)
lizardbeth: Anders - cross outlizardbeth_j on November 25th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
that also makes sense. And I suppose in practice isn't really that much different, just whether they're identified by their religious practice or their um level of humanity. When really I bet both are true. I only put a bit of it above, but I think the 13th Tribe, whether one wave or three, are also "Cylons" (whatever that may mean in each cycle - AIs, cyborgs, ascended beings, etc)

And oh no, the Centurions did not make themselves into the skinjobs, I agree with that. I have wondered whether a ship carrying the Five was intercepted by the early toasters. This ship would have had the Five's consciousness patterns stored in a computer, and possibly cloned bodies, so they could contact the Colonies or Kobol. So the Centurions learned how to download into human(ish) bodies from that ship. They tried to make their own downloadable human infiltrator (piggy-backing on the experiments from the first war), resulting in Cavil, who is just enough of a douche that he promptly plotted creating more skinjobs to help him and turning against the Centurions.

I'd like to get a date for the war on Earth (assuming the Five are some last survivors sent away from there, and it wasn't Kara who precipitated the war), to give me some kind of guideline whether I'm even in the ballpark. yes. show bible. GIMME. *sigh*

(and also, your icon is hypnotic, and yet makes me want to play PONG...)
talkofcaketalkofcake on December 1st, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
I find this post very insightful! You do a lot of speculating though, and a lot of your speculating is very scientific.

There are a lot of alternative options though. A lot of people seem to think the show must work out scientifically and mathematically, which it will to some sense, but I highly doubt that, in the end, the reasoning behind the science will be at all scientific. The show seems to have been moving in a direction of spirituality, destiny, and fate since day one, and those metaphysical aspects propel the science. If that makes sense.

So while we're trying to calculate how Pythia could have known what she did, what if we take it as she DID foresee everything she wrote about? Just like Laura Roslin was given visions that came true.

Scientifically, it all works out - yes. But as to HOW? Well, "all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." There's no mathematical theory to logistically support that statement, and yet it's the basis of the show. So actually, the science almost because the unscientific fate.

Which I find really, really cool. :D
lizardbeth: Anders- Helolizardbeth_j on December 1st, 2008 06:57 am (UTC)
OH, I totally agree that the mystical is going to play a big part, but as I said at the bottom I didn't want to include any of my spec on how the spiritual fits into this, because it depends a lot on spoilers, and I wanted to make this readable to even the spoiler-phobes.

A quick glance through RDM's previous stuff shows a lot of the themes he's used to working with (destiny especially) so I have absolutely no doubt that those things are a part of the story. But one of the things I love about spec RIGHT NOW, before we know how it all ends up, is that there's such a wide range of possibility - everything from the hard-SF-nothing-unexplainable to supernatural beings and the force of Destiny, and it's hard to tell exactly where we'll fall on the spectrum.

And really, in the end, I am pretty sure we're not actually going to GET an explanation for some of it, and we'll still have theories to talk about afterward. which pleases me, meta 'ho that I am :)