(The reimagined series; Caprica and Blood & Chrome)
- "You know, everyone I know is fighting to get back what they had. I'm fighting because I don't know how to do anything else."
- —Kara about her career.
Early years Edit
Thrace was born on Picon some years after the Cylon War's conclusion. Her father, Dreillide, was a piano composer who eventually left her and her mother, Socrata, behind to pursue his music career. Socrata, meanwhile, was a decorated Marine Corporal who had fought in the Cylon War. Obsessed with an Oracle's prophesy of her daughter holding a special purpose for mankind, the young Kara Thrace's childhood was a psychically abusive, with her breaking every finger on one hand.
As a young adult, Thrace enlisted in the Colonial military, though didn't expect to have a long career. Having played Pyramid with other children while her mother was transferred from base to base, she hoped to become a professional player, particularly when her grades precluded her from going to university. Joining the Colonial military's officer candidate school at her mother's expectation, Thrace was drawn not at the expectation of a career but because of its college-level Pyramid team. By playing professionally, then leaving the military as soon as possible, Thrace hoped she would be picked by a big team. While she was in fact scouted, an injury to her right knee ended her hopes as several months of physical therapy passed. Focusing back on her military career, she applied for the flight training entrance exam and was immediately accepted due to high results.
Early flight career Edit
Thrace's flight training career was a mixture of highs and lows. While she was an excellent pilot who flew based on instinct rather than instruction and able to think outside-the-box, she showed a resistance towards taking orders from instructors, and made further demerits due to her excessive drinking and gambling, leading to curfew breaking and finally starting barfights with civilians. Because of this string of offences, she would graduate 16th in her class of over 100 despite doing better than anyone else. This failed to impress Socrata, who had long hoped she would graduate, and their relationship finally collapsed that same day when she snapped at her daughter for reading a cancer diagnosis letter.
Lt. Thrace's first tour was onboard Triton, where she earned the callsign "Starbuck". Due to her bad reputation, however, Triton's CO wanted her reassigned, and she found herself becoming a flight instructor for trainee pilots instead. Sometime in the mid-1990s, Lt. Thrace developed a romantic relationship with one of her trainees, Zak Adama, who had made it into the academy due to influence from his father, Commander William Adama, who was then the Valkyrie CO. They quickly became engaged, and in 1998 she met his older brother, Cpt. Lee Adama, an Atlantia pilot being reassigned for flight testing. Though she was immediately drawn to the flight tester, she stuck with Zak and they remained friends. Soon after, Zak failed the final exam in his flight training, using a technique she would later describe as "sloppy". As his instructor and fiancée, Lt. Thrace altered his grade to give him a bare pass, something he could believe. Soon after beginning his tour, Zak died in a plane crash which an inquiry determined to be "pilot error". Not wanting to be in a similar situation again, she accepted Cmdr. Adama's offer of assigning her to his new battlestar, Galactica.
Galactica service Edit
As on Triton, Lt. Thrace demonstrated a natural talent for flying and became a Viper squadron leader under the CAG, Major Jackson Spencer. While respected by other pilots, drew the ire of her senior officers on Galactica. The ship itself was undergoing a two-year preparation for decommission and, already limited to interplanetary service, the chance for any kind of action was slim to none. Cmdr. Adama nonetheless accepted her on the ship for her skills against the advice of his own XO, Col. Saul Tigh. In the hours leading up to Galactica's decommissioning ceremony, the two became drunk and fought over a game of Triad. While assaulting the XO should have been grounds for a court martial, her sentence was reduced to being held in the brig and losing her spot on the ceremony's flight roster, as Col. Tigh was not only also drunk but threw the first punch.
The decommissioning ceremony took place on the same day as a massive Cylon attack on the Cyrannus star system, dubbed the "Fall of the Twelve Colonies". With Galactica's own weapons already destroyed and Major Spencer's squadron massacred, Lt. Thrace was made acting-CAG and taken out of the brig early. With the battlestar's standard compliment of Mark VII Vipers destroyed or undergoing repairs, the remaining pilots had to be sent-out on museum-grade Mark IIs which were capable of firing the same size ammunition. Galactica was detected by Cylon Raiders, and in the initial confrontation the ship was struck by a 50kt nuclear detonation but ultimately survived. After news came out that the remainder of the Colonial Fleet had been destroyed over Virgon, Cmdr. Adama took control over all remaining forces and ordered a rendezvous at the gas giant, Ragnar where it was to claim ammunition from the Ragnar Anchorage surplus depot. Over the next several hours, a refugee fleet and a handful of Mark VIIs and Raptors found their way to Ragnar, and Cpt. Leland Adama took over as CAG. Lt. Thrace was ordered onto a recon mission to assess the size of any Cylon forces that may have followed, and confirmed several Basestars to be waiting for them. Galactica launched its Vipers as it led the civilian fleet out of Ragnar's atmosphere, and all remaining pilots engaged with the Raiders. During the fighting, Cpt. Apollo's Viper was damaged, and she pinned it with her own to bring it back to the flight deck.
Several days after their escape from Ragnar, several pilots are killed in a freak accident. Given the duty of training new recruits, the quality of recruits she is sent is subpar but still she begins their training, ordering them to call her "God". Starbuck, blinded by guilt, washes all the pilots out for relatively minor flaws. She then admits her secret to Adama who is furious and heartbroken; he orders her to reinstate the trainees.
On the next training mission, Starbuck and the trainees are ambushed by a small group of Cylon Raiders. Starbuck engages the Raiders on her own to cover the trainees' escape. With her Viper heavily damaged, she plummets toward the surface of a nearby desert moon, and is forced to eject and take her chances on the surface.
Starbuck is declared "missing in action", and Adama orders a search and rescue operation which strains the Galactica's crew and combat resources. On the surface, Starbuck struggles with a broken knee and near asphyxiation as her oxygen runs out. Luckily, she discovers the Cylon Raider she downed. Using her exceptional skill in flying, she figures out the Cylon technology and is able to pilot it back to the fleet.
Depressed by her injuries, she initially needs incentive to work on rehabilitation and is soon rubbing people the wrong way again. Even after she is able to move around without a cane, the injury sidelines her from flight for many episodes; when given tactical charge of a mission in one episode, she cannot fly the critical role because her knee still can't handle the G-force.
During her recovery, a Number Two named Leoben is discovered aboard the Gemenon Traveller and is arrested. Adama assigns Starbuck to interrogate Leoben, believing she will be resistant to his mind games. Starbuck brutally interrogates Leoben, and he claims to have hidden a nuclear bomb on a timer somewhere in the fleet, threatening its detonation. Despite her often crude exterior, Starbuck is revealed to have a deep-seated faith in the gods, and engages in a debate about the existence of the Colonial gods vs. the Cylon god with Leoben, and whether the humanoid Cylons are actually "human". Leoben demonstrates that he is capable of breaking free and killing Starbuck at any time, but chooses not to, believing it is not God's will. During this period, Starbuck develops a respect for Leoben, and he falls in love with her. She is genuinely saddened when President Laura Roslin orders him executed by airlock, after he admits there is no bomb. She experiences a brief moment of emotional connection with Leoben when they touch palms through the glass of the airlock before he is executed. Afterwards, she privately prays to the Lords of Kobol, acknowledging that Leoben might not have had a soul, but if he did, asking that they take care of it.
Starbuck's religious beliefs later come into play when President Roslin asks her to carry out a dangerous mission: return to Caprica and retrieve the Arrow of Apollo, a religious artifact supposedly pointing the way to Earth. Starbuck is at first reluctant, believing that Adama already knows the way to Earth, and is leading them there. Roslin is forced to reveal that Adama lied about knowing Earth's whereabouts to give the fleet hope. This deeply shakes Starbuck's trust in Adama, and she eventually is convinced to help Roslin. She takes the Cylon Raider she had captured, leading Adama to declare Roslin had suborned mutiny; he sends a detachment of Marines to terminate her presidency.
During her time on Caprica, Starbuck encounters a Number Six (who beats her soundly), but manages to kill the Cylon out of sheer luck. She then meets up with Karl "Helo" Agathon (a close friend she believed dead after he stayed on Caprica) and the Sharon Valerii copy pregnant with his child. Immediately realizing that Sharon is a Cylon, she attempts to kill her, while Helo stops her. This causes Sharon to flee in the stolen Raider, abandoning Starbuck and Helo. While attempting to find an alternative route off Caprica, they meet a resistance group that had been waging guerrilla war against the Cylons, led by fellow pyramid player Samuel Anders. Kara and Anders develop a bond over their shared past as pyramid players, and develop a romantic relationship. At one point Starbuck is injured in battle, captured, and wakes up in a Cylon "farm" as part of their experiments to create human/Cylon hybrids, but is originally led to believe she is in a hospital run by the resistance. A Cylon named Simon, posing as a doctor, experiments on her, claiming to be treating her for internal injuries, and keeps her in a drugged state. Without her knowledge, apparently one of her ovaries is surgically removed before she escapes; a fact discovered only much later. Starbuck escapes with the help of the resistance, killing Simon. Sharon returns with a Cylon Heavy Raider, and Starbuck plans to return to the fleet with her and Helo. However, she personally promises Anders that she will return with reinforcements to rescue the Resistance, giving Anders her dog tags as part of her promise.
She, Helo, and Sharon arrive on the planet Kobol, joining Roslin in her search for the Tomb of Athena. Sharon is able to guide them to the tomb, and Adama joins them. They are able to place the Arrow of Apollo in the tomb, and gain a rudimentary map to Earth.
After the fleet leadership denies her request to return to rescue the Caprican resistance fighters, Starbuck is depressed and guilt-stricken: she has broken her word, failed her duty, and assumes the man she is "hung up on" is either dead, or will be soon. As Pegasus CAG, she also feels responsible for the pilots who have died on her watch, or died because she has not yet killed the Cylon's "top gun", "Scar". She recklessly maneuvers to take out Scar, but at the last moment pulls away, setting up the kill for Louanne "Kat" Katraine and giving up her own status as "Top Gun". Although this marks the beginning of a new resolve and the end of her self-destructive depressive behaviours, tensions between her and Apollo flare up again after she shoots him in a friendly fire incident during a hostage stand-off.
New Caprica Edit
The complication of Starbuck and Lee's relationship was furthered when a drunken night on the newly found planet, New Caprica, ended with Starbuck and Lee having a one-night stand where they both expressed their love for one another. When Lee woke up alone the next morning, he soon discovered Kara had proposed to and married Anders. Lee soon marries newly commissioned Lieutenant Anastasia Dualla while Starbuck moves planetside with Anders.
After an all-night celebration of the first founder's day for New Caprica, tired and hungover, Starbuck and Tigh put their differences behind them. They even greet each other fondly following Tigh's demobilization and arrival at the colony. Her relationship with Lee, however, worsened to the point that they were not on speaking terms and he had little interest in helping her, even when Anders contracted a serious bout of pneumonia.
After the Cylon invasion of New Caprica, she is imprisoned inside a mental facility, designed to look like her own former Caprican apartment. While there, a Leoben model tries to convince her they are destined to be lovers. For four months Starbuck denies his advances, killing him several times despite knowing he would be back. Then she is presented with a young girl named Kacey that Leoben claims is their daughter, created with the ovary removed when she was in the egg farm. Initially she refuses to believe it and wants nothing to do with the girl, but when Kacey is badly injured in a fall down a staircase, she calls on Leoben for help and seems to grow more attached to both of them. During the uprising on New Caprica, however, Starbuck once again kills Leoben and escapes with Kacey.
In the episode "Exodus" Part II, it is revealed Kacey is not Starbuck's child; the Cylons had abducted her. Kacey and her real mother are reunited on the Galactica's flight deck after the flight from New Caprica. Starbuck is left there alone on the flight deck, stunned and in disbelief.
Second tour on GalacticaEdit
After her situation on New Caprica and the truth about Kacey, she is left simmering with rage, which causes her to be reckless and destructive, almost killing herself in a Viper training exercise. After being removed from flight status by then-Major Lee Adama, she takes up residence in the pilot's mess along with Colonel Tigh, drinking and lowering the morale of Galactica's pilots by attempting to draw divisions between New Capricans and those who stayed with the fleet. Admiral Adama gives her an ultimatum; either straighten up and act like an officer, or 'get the hell off his ship' and find another ship to live on. Starbuck changes her attitude after Adama literally knocks her to the ground after she thumbs her nose at him.
Starbuck's relationship with Lee Adama takes another dramatic turn after she angrily challenges him to a brutal and emotional boxing match aboard Galactica. Their intense feelings for each other soon lead to an affair drawing resentment from their respective spouses. However, when Lee asks Starbuck to divorce Sam, she refuses due to her strong religious beliefs on the sacrament of marriage. Lee argues she is breaking her vows just by being with him, but Starbuck states she's merely bending the rules. Lee then decides he can no longer cheat while still married to Dualla. Later, Lee and Anders begin to voice their dislike for each other just as Starbuck's Raptor is shot down by the Cylons and she is reported missing. Anders vows to find her, but their position is outnumbered; Lee orders Anders at gunpoint to stay put and help defend their outnumbered position. Anders remains defiant.
Starbuck suffers severe hand burns in the crash and is rescued by Dualla. After they escape the doomed algae planet, Starbuck makes one final effort to have a relationship with Lee, this time offering to leave Anders if he will leave Dualla. Lee chooses to try to make his own marriage work instead.
Kara's experiences with Leoben, as well as her troubled childhood, eventually come back to haunt her. She has nightmares involving both Leoben and the mandala supposedly connected to her "destiny". She asks an oracle about her dreams and is told Leoben understands her better than she understands herself, and he will show her "destiny."
During a patrol over a gas giant where the fleet is refueling, she sees a Cylon Raider and pursues it into a storm system which resembles her mandala. She is forced to abandon pursuit when her Viper is at risk of implosion from the pressure. Although she felt several impacts during her pursuit, then-Chief Galen Tyrol finds no damage to her Viper and gun camera footage showed no evidence of any Raider, leading many to believe Kara had been hallucinating.
Adama is concerned Kara might have burned out, but he leaves the decision to ground her up to Apollo as CAG. Apollo decides to give her another chance, and offers to fly as her wingman on her next patrol. During the patrol, Starbuck sees another Raider and again pursues. Her Viper is hit by debris and she is knocked out. She experiences a conversation with Messenger with the appearance of Leoben set in her apartment on Caprica. The avatar forces Kara to confront her past, the abuse she received from her mother and the guilt she feels for leaving her mother to die alone. The avatar comments Kara has been running from her past just as she has been running away from death for her entire life, and implies eventually she will have to confront her fears and her "destiny". Moments before regaining consciousness in her Viper, Kara realizes the person she is speaking to is not the Cylon Leoben Conoy, and states, "You're not Leoben." The avatar grins and replies, "Never said I was." She awakens in her Viper cockpit as Apollo is calling for her to break off and ascend, or the atmospheric pressure will kill her. Starbuck keeps flying into the storm, and tells Lee to leave her. She is encompassed by a white light and certain calmness. Apollo witnesses her Viper imploding, with no sign that she survived.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Story Bible.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Battlestar Galactica, episode: "The Farm".
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Battlestar Galactica, episode: "Maelstrom".
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries, "Night 1".