duckgirlie (duckgirlie) wrote in ship_manifesto,

I Built My Dreams Around You: A Gaius Baltar/Felix Gaeta manifesto [Battlestar Galactica 2003]

Title:I Built My Dreams Around You
Author: duckgirlie
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica 2003
Pairing: Gaius Baltar/Felix Gaeta
Spoliers: For the whole series.
Disclaimer: None of these characters or situations are mine.

Dr. Gaius Baltar and Lt. Felix Gaeta are characters on the 2003 Rebooted version of Battlestar Galactica.

Three things you need to know about Gaius Baltar.

Gaius Baltar is probably the smartest surviving member of the human race. Even before the attacks, he was one of the smartest people on the colonies, and across the series, we’re never introduced to anyone who’s more intelligent then him (humans, anyway) He is ridiculously intelligent, and he knows it. It’s what saved his life, because it Helo hadn’t recognised him he’d have been left behind on Caprica. He is also possibly insane, or possibly receiving visions from a divine power. Or both.

Gaius Baltar destroyed the world. Not directly, but he’s pretty guilty, and that kind of thing can weigh heavily on a conscience. But Baltar is nothing if not a master of self-delusion, and his relationship with that section of his past ebbs and flows during the series. Unfortunately, his primary method of dealing with this guilt is to ignore it, blame someone else, ignore it, and ignore it some more. He is, throughout the majority of the series, primarily concerned with Gaius Baltar. He does get better though, somewhat.

Gaius Baltar is a massive ho. He has, on screen, slept with at least three different six models, Starbuck, one reporter, Tory, and uncounted (but likely significant) numbers of acolytes and interns. Of all the characters in the show, he definitely has the most sex, with the most people. Though quite a lot of it seems empty, and some of them (Starbuck for one) don’t actually like him at all.

Three things you need to know about Felix Gaeta.

Felix Gaeta is probably up there as one of the smarter people left alive. Not that he’d tell anyone anything like that. Or even tell himself. It’s a very different kind of intelligence, more born of hard work and dedication then natural brilliance (though he’s obviously naturally intelligent) and he is extremely capable at pretty much anything he does across the series

Felix Gaeta is probably the definition of overlooked. As Officer of the Watch, his job is to plot all the FTL jumps the ship makes, every time they have to run from the Cylons. As far as I remember, only once has he done this less-then-perfectly (right after Adama is shot), and even then, he solved the problem pretty much immediately. However, none of the characters in the series pay particularly much attention to him until much later, when it all starts to go wrong. (Frankly, sometimes you can even assume that the writers have no idea how much work the character is doing.)

Felix Gaeta does not have much sex at all. I’m pretty sure he’s the only major character to never have any romantic or sexual activity in the primary canon (I’ll get to Face of the Enemy in a minute) This is probably a result of his extreme dedication to service, and his aversion to rule breaking. (And that he’s not a pilot. The pilots are all hos.) Regardless of this, he was widely considered, both in fannish circles and the wider media, to be gay or bisexual. In the FotE webisodes it was confirmed that he is at least bisexual, though you could make an argument he is primarily gay. He is then confirmed to have had two sexual partners over the course of the series (Well, only one is confirmed as sexual, but we can probably assume he sleeps with Hoshi at some point.)

Felix Gaeta is pretty much the definition of duty and idealism. (At the beginning, anyway)

Gaius Baltar is pretty much the definition of 'don't go there, he ain't worth your tears.'

The Couple.

Background canon support:

Whilst they never actually confirm romantic feelings on screen, Alessandro Juliani (who plays Gaeta) has stated that he consciously played the character as attracted to Baltar. In terms of the canon support for either character being open to a same sex relationship, we have firstly, on Felix’s side, canon homo/bisexuality. Baltar is slightly hard to read as attracted to men, seeing as the character is presented as having such an active heterosexual sex life, but it is not impossible to see the likelyhood that he might also sleep with men. He is portrayed as a libertine in his sexual activies, and the society of BSG is one that appears to have little homophobia, so it is not impossible to imagine he may have had male lovers in the past, and his activities on Galactica are more exemplars of availability then of mono-sexuality.

Key Moments/Episodes.
(These are key moments for the pairing, not either of the characters)


They meet for the first time in the CIC. Felix is hero-worshiping, but Baltar is trying to have sex with his hallucination. Awkward.

1x02 “Water”

They begin to work together.when Felix (who studied genetics in university) is assigned to assist him with his Cylon-detector. Felix is a complete fanboy, and it’s quite adorable.

1x07 “Six Degrees of Separation”

This is, for myself and probably many other fans, the episode that launched the ship. A woman (a 6 in disguise) accuses Baltar of the attacks, and provides photographic evidence for it. Baltar goes a bit crazy and tries to destroy the computer analyzing the image, and gets sent to the brig. BUT Gaeta double checks the image, because he trusts Baltar and can’t believe he did it, finds out that it’s fake, visits Baltar in the cell and tells him how great he is. Then there is hugging. It’s awesome.

2x20 “Lay Down Your Burdens II”

This is the episode where Baltar becomes president, because of Gaeta’s prevention of an attempt by Roslin’s staffers to steal the election. Gaeta becomes Baltar’s Chief of Staff, and basically runs New Caprica whilst Baltar appears to be shagging anything in a skirt. When the Cylons arrive, Gaeta is shocked when Baltar surrenders to them.

3x01-3x04 “Occupation/Precipice/Exodus” (Primarily Exodus, but the two preceding episodes lay groundwork.)

During the Cylon occupation, Baltar continues as puppet-president, and Gaeta continues doing all his work, even as others in the settlement accuse him of being a collaborator. He is secretly involved with the resistance, but refuses to leave Baltar’s administration, regardless of how everyone else perceives him.

When the fleet arrives back, Gaeta discovers that Baltar signed the execution orders for 200 people, and angrily attacks him, threatening him with a gun.

“I believed in you, I believed in the dream of New Caprica”

This moment marks a turning point in their relationship. It’s heartbreaking, as Gaeta is forced to confront not only his own feelings for Baltar, but all of Baltar’s actions, and the terrible results of those actions. He lets Baltar go only to try and save more lives, but from then on, their relationship is broken.

3x13 “Taking a Break from All Your Worries”

Gaeta attempts to visit Baltar in the brig, and Baltar attempts to kill himself. Later, Gaeta tries to convince Roslin and Adama to allow him to talk to Baltar, and they eventually relent, trying to get information out of Baltar. During the talk, Baltar claims to have assisted Gaeta in his work for the resistance, and tries to goad Gaeta by whispering something inaudible to his ear. (This was originally part of a dropped plotline, but was later retconned in FotE.) Gaeta, enraged by his comments, attempts to kill him

3x20 “Crossroads II”

At Baltar’s trial, Gaeta perjures himself by claiming to have seen Baltar sign the execution order on New Caprica. As he leaves the stand, Baltar yells at him, pleading with him to tell the truth, and that it’s obvious that Gaeta just wants him dead.

4x09 “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner”

As Gaeta lies in the infirmary, leg amputated, Baltar stops by and watches him through the curtains around his bed, but does not move any closer.

4x14-4x16 “A Disquiet Follows My Soul/The Oath/Blood on the Scales”

Lots of Gaeta in these three, but specifically, two Gaeta/Baltar moments. In ‘Oath’, Baltar attempts to talk Gaeta back from the mutiny, and forgives him for the attempt on his life. But most importantly, in ‘Blood’, Baltar is the last person Gaeta talks to before his execution. He tries to explain himself and his actions, and at the end, Baltar assures him “I know who you are”. And later, Baltar witnesses his execution.

So that’s it. 12 episodes out of about 75. But the relationship that emerges across those episodes is both wonderful and heartbreaking. Not only a recording of their relationship, but of it’s effects on both men. You could say that everything bad that happens to Gaeta across the entire series is because of Baltar. And you’d probably be right. If it weren’t for his relationship with Baltar, there may have been no New Caprica. There would have been no collaboration, no destruction of ideals. There would likely have been no trial, no perjury, and no further degradation of those ideals. There would have been no Crazy Eight in the raptor, and almost definitely, no mutiny. Not only does their relationship threaten to tear each other apart, but at times, it is what threatens to tear the fleet apart. These tragedies are not theirs alone, but affect everyone in the fleet.

Baltar is the constant counterpoint to Gaeta, but instead of being the ying to his yang, and
there being balance, theirs is a relationship that consumes both them and itself. It is, arguably, what causes Gaeta's death, and almost leads to Baltar's on numerous occaisions. (He's like teflon, that Baltar.)

The Fiction

The majority of Baltar/Gaeta fiction takes place before the exodus from New Caprica. Works that take place before Baltar assumes the president are more likely to be happy or postive, and the majority of stories set on New Caprica are pretty dark and negative (understandably enough). There is fic set after New Caprica, but usually post-relationship. The other popular Gaeta slash pairing, Gaeta/Hoshi (Gaeta’s canon boyfriend) quite often references a past relationship or unrequited interest in Baltar, as do fics in other pairings. Fic about Gaeta with absolutely no Baltar anywhere is pretty rare. Because of the rather tight timeline for their relationsship, lots of fic focuses on the same moments. Luckily, there are lots of excellent writers to prevent that from becoming to repetitive.

So, why do I ship Baltar/Gaeta?

I’m a sucker for tragedy. I don’t think any of my ships ever get a happy ending, and these two are no different. Half of their relationship takes place under the shadow of hatred, and even the positive times are affected by Baltar’s relationship with Head-6. Even on a ship where all romances are composed of stolen moments, theirs is never one that can let them be alone, because Baltar is never truly able to leave ‘the other woman’ behind. Baltar and Gaeta are intense, and broken, and fucked up. They don't get a happy ending, they barely get a happy middle, and even their beginning is shrouded in destruction. Whatever happens to Gaeta, he's stuck to Baltar, risking his own life and liberty to try and heal himself by destroying his tormentor.

I ship Baltar/Gaeta because my heart smiled when Shelly Godfrey was exposed.

I ship Baltar/Gaeta because my heart cracked a dozen times on New Caprica, and broke when they were rescued.

I ship Baltar/Gaeta because the first thing I thought when Gaeta was on the stand was not ‘how could you lie?’ but ‘maybe know he’ll understand how much he broke you’

I ship Baltar/Gaeta because, in a series about destiny, these two characters were bound together tighter then any other pair, and without them, the fleet would never have found the path.

I ship Baltar/Gaeta because the subtext is bleeding around the edges, infiltrating the text.


The official pairing community is baltar_gaeta, and gaeta_squee is also full of stuff.

Specific Stories I would recommend:

Secrets And Whispers. by falafel_musings(Multi-part fic that covers the entire span of their relationship)

I don’t have words to describe how good this fic is. Or I do, but they’ll become repetitive. It is awsome. In the proper definition, that of inspiring awe.

Youth’s Final Luxury by lls_mutant(Multi-part fic, quite a few other pairings)

This one is more specifically Gaeta-focused, particularly his relationship with Zarek, but I’m including it here because there’s Baltar in earlier chapters, and he has ramifications throughout. Also, because it’s pretty close to perfect.

In fact, I’d recommend anything either of them have written. I haven’t read it all, but based on what I have, it’s bound to be good.

There are lots of other fics for this pairing, most of which are very good (I always find the harder a canon is to understand, the better the fic for it)

Tags: #free month, battlestar galactica 2004

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