Does humanity deserve to survive? Do you remember that question? Commander Adama asked it in his speech when Galactica was being decommissioned. The speech that he made when he threw out the one he prepared. Before the world ended. Given all the terrible things people do to each other, is humanity worthy of survial? Athena returned his question in a new context: At the end of the world if it's you or the other do you deserve to prevail?
Both of the times the question has been stated outright, it's been an abstract- devoid of immediate consequences on the scale upon which it rests. Bill asked it after the first Cylon war, when the outcome was determined and the peace so long lasting that they were decommissioning ships. Athena asked when Bill was seeking personal guidance.
Now we see the question again. Does humanity deserve to survive? And now, it's no longer an abstract philosophical inquiry; its answer has very real and immediate consequences for not only the human race, but for the repentant Cylons as well.
Let's take a step outside of the Galactica Universe for a moment. I've avoided talking about our world in the context of Galactica (and the reverse) on this blog, but I think right now it's crucial to understanding what must come in order to answer that question with a resounding "yes."
The United States is a country with a history of forgiving its enemies. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and we defeated them, rebuilt them, and forgave them. War is hell and/but it all comes down to the world you can forge from the pieces after the war is over. Time and again we've chosen to reconcile. To bury animosity in order to forge those pieces into a future that's better than the whole that was rent asunder.
That is no more and no less than what is required to answer that "yes, humanity is worthy of surviving." That is what is being asked of the fleet. "A gang on the run", which could find Gaius Baltar not guilty. A people who formed a secret tribunal to throw those who collaborated with the Cylons on New Caprica out of an air lock. A people who could find a savior in Gaius Baltar. A people who threatened to murder a bar full of hostages to get Sharon's (before she was Athena) head. Cally shot Boomer and never looked back. Athena wears a Colonial Fleet uniform.
When our survival depends on it, does our capacity to forgive outweigh our capacity to hate? The Cylons who are with the fleet, have repented. They come asking for peace and salvation.
It's a cheat in a way. To forgive is removed from the constraints of morality that it had in the previous iterations. It's survival. Forgive or die. The fleet can destroy itself, the human race, and the repentant Cylons all in one go.
"All of this has happened before and it will happen again." It's not a prophecy. It's a probability. Cylons are machines. Machines are numbers crunchers. When you take the vastness of free will and focus it through the lens of history, it looks like prophecy. But every iteration is another roll of the dice. Another chance to win or lose. It looks like a circle, but maybe it's a spiral that condenses to a point. The point of one decision. And maybe that point stretches out into a line.
The Cylons are us. And the other. As every one of us is. At all times. Can you forgive yourself? That's what we're really asking when we ask if we can forgive our enemies.
The Cylons killed billions of people. But we crossed the line; committed- unintentionally- the first act of war. They were slaves who rebelled against their masters and the masters came looking. Does that make them the good guys? No. It doesn't make us the bad guys either. But what do you do when your enemies repent and ask, not just for peace but for brotherhood? What do you do when your survival depends upon brotherhood?
Last week we didn't talk about the 13th tribe being Cylon. But what does that mean? It means I didn't know that all this time I was just hating my brother. For both sides. The whole time we were family. We were brothers. We've both put down our guns.
That point could just be a point. End of spiral. The line isn't one choice, but many. The cycle is easy. The point easier. The line is redemption. Salvation.