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Lieutenant Felix Gaeta ([ˈgeɪ.ɾə] or "gay-tah") is a young, capable officer in the Colonial military. For the three years prior to the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies, he served as William Adama's Senior Officer of the Watch aboard Galactica.
Prior to the attack, he was studying genetics and planned to get a degree through the military extension program (Water).
He exhibits a strong attention to detail and is highly efficient. These traits and his overall abilities leads Adama to rely heavily on him as a member of Galactica's senior crew, despite his relative youth and junior rank.
As well as carrying out duties of Tactical Officer, Gaeta performs the navigational functions of calculating and initiating jumps, and manages the ship's FTL drive. Gaeta also manages the various primary computer systems used on the battlestar.
Following the fleet's discovery and abandoning of Earth and the controversial decision to install Cylon FTL technology on all ships in the fleet, Gaeta uses his central role in CIC to lead a bloody mutiny aboard Galactica, and in concert with Vice President Tom Zarek stages a coup d'etat against Laura Roslin's presidency. Zarek promotes Gaeta to Commander and commanding officer of Galactica, a position he holds briefly until Adama regains control of the ship.
Gaeta is executed by firing squad for his leading role in the coup.
As a result of his studies in biogenetics, Lt. Gaeta is selected by Adama to assist Dr. Gaius Baltar in the development of the much-needed Cylon detector following the Cylon attack (Water). During his time working with Baltar, Gaeta develops a certain respect and liking for the doctor - despite the latter's apparent eccentricities. When a woman called "Shelly Godfrey" arrives aboard Galactica, Gaeta works hard to prove Baltar's innocence of the charges leveled against him (Six Degrees of Separation). Although he is ultimately successful, Gaeta fails to follow-up on the fact that the photographic evidence supplied by Godfrey looked as if the evidence itself had been faked in a way that ensured it was exposed as a forgery.
Gaeta shows his remarkable brilliance after Galactica mistakenly jumps to a different set of coordinates than the rest of the Fleet to escape a Cylon attack (Scattered). The FTL computers compensate for spatial changes, but due to the chaos after Commander Adama is shot by Boomer, Gaeta forgets to synchronize the spatial positioning with the rest of the Fleet, whose FTL computers had collectively different information. Complicating the issue, if Galactica returns to their original position, the Cylons would destroy the ship before it could recalculate the correct Fleet coordinates using standard procedures.
Gaeta blames himself (although Saul Tigh does not), but later realizes that by networking four computers of the ship (something Commander Adama may never have approved), he could reduce the coordinate calculation time from hours to minutes. Knowing the Cylons would try to crack his ad hoc network, Gaeta sets up five firewalls in the network to slow their progress while the ship's guns and Vipers buy the time required for the calculations. Unfortunately for Gaeta, the firewalls are not completely effective. Without him realizing it, the Cylons break through the last firewall before he can disconnect the network. As a result, many vital systems are disabled throughout the ship while Centurions board the battlestar (Valley of Darkness). At the end, he manages to purge the systems of any remaining traces of the virus.
Gaeta's calm exterior shows signs of wear when his interview with D'Anna Biers shows him somewhat drunk, smoking, and brandishing a rather garish tattoo of a tiger. Viewers learn from the footage that Gaeta's first name is Felix (Final Cut).
The Cylon virus rears its ugly head once more a few weeks later when shipboard malfunctions increase to a point where consoles begin to sputter and short out. Gaeta confirms that the same virus they thought they had removed from the formerly-networked computers had metamorphized into a heuristic program--a logic bomb--that studied and probed flaws in the battlestar's computers and the hardware that each system manages. The logic bomb threatenes to disable the ship's human control on a Cylon fighter's command--and a Cylon attack is imminent.
After Colonel Tigh's command to perform the daunting task of inspecting many lines of computer code for a Cylon virus, the young lieutenant completely loses his cool:
Everyone on the bridge, especially Commander Adama, is shocked by Gaeta's highly uncharacteristic outburst, but Adama is not particularly surprised, knowing that everyone on Galactica has low morale after working for months with no relief or change to their routine.
Gaeta has a solution for the logic bomb: Wipe all computer hard drives and restore them from backups made before the Cylon attack. The problem in doing this is that Galactica will be completely vulnerable to attack, save for her Viper fighters, for several minutes as her computers are rebuilt.
Against his instincts and on Laura Roslin's advice, Adama opts to use the unique abilities of the cooperative Caprica copy of Sharon Valerii to aid them. Gaeta gives the humanoid Cylon a fiber-optic data link with access to the battlestar mainframe computer and the ship's communications. After a few tense moments, Valerii asks Gaeta to perform the computer hard drive wipe after taking into her computer/brain a copy of the Cylon virus. She manipulates it and transmits to the massive incoming Cylon fleet, disabling the entire Cylon fleet in the same way that the Colonials suffered in the Fall of the Twelve Colonies. The Colonial forces destroy the entire Cylon force without a single Colonial casualty (Flight of the Phoenix).
Gaeta is among the tense officers and crew in CIC that witness a standoff between their battlestar and the heavily-advanced battlestar Pegasus, whose commander, Admiral Helena Cain, has opted to execute two Galactica crew members after she tried them herself and against Adama's requests for the rights of his crew to have a fair, open trial (Pegasus).
The Presidential Election and New Caprica
During the presidential election, Gaeta is assigned to aid and oversee the ballot counting process on Galactica. He also aids in thwarting Roslin's plans to steal the election (though he apparently never knew - or indicates any knowledge of - who exactly is behind it, other than Colonel Saul Tigh) by discovering the illegitimate ballots from the Zephyr. The only reason he realizes that the Zephyr's ballots were tampered with is due to the fact that the Zephyr's original, valid ballots had misspelled Gaius Baltar's name - the fixed ballots did not share this error. (Gaeta had authorized the go-ahead to use the misspelled ballots due to the lack of time to print new ones prior to the opening of the polls.) Due to this happenstance discovery, Baltar, who had been rightfully elected President, was sworn in as president and ordered the Fleet to colonize New Caprica.
A year later on New Caprica, Gaeta seems to be an adviser to President Gaius Baltar. His previous post on Galactica is assumed by Karl Agathon. While Gaeta is pleased that there had been no Cylon attacks during Baltar's presidency, he disapproves of Baltar's womanizing and is secretly infuriated at Baltar's devil-may-care attitude towards the New Caprica City Worker's Union and the Quorum of Twelve. Gaeta later brings news of the Cylon invasion to the president and is present when Baltar surrenders New Caprica to Caprica-Six and Number Five (Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II).
Gaeta is also the New Caprica Resistance inside source into the inner workings of the Cylons. He seems to favor an assassination of President Baltar as he provides the group with information that he is going to attend the New Caprica Police force graduation, which is disrupted by Duck's suicide bombing. However, upon learning that Baltar would not attend, he rushes to contact the group to warn them Baltar that is not going to be there (Occupation).
Being the "inside man" allows him to help the New Caprica Resistance understand the inner Cylon related activities and security procedures on New Caprica. For him to contact the group, he flips Jake's yellow bowl upside down and leaves a note or information packet in a nearby tool bin for the resistance to find. Galen Tyrol does not know that he is the "inside man" and when they talk, Tyrol accuses him of being a collaborator (Precipice).
Around the same time, Gaeta is seduced by a Number Eight. Believing that he can trust her, he gives her lists with names of human prisoners. The Eight promises to do what she can to save them, but only has a few token humans freed and the rest executed for being valuable to the humans. Gaeta only learns of her betrayal much later (The Face of the Enemy).
End of the Baltar Administration
As the Cylons are preparing to evacuate during the Battle of New Caprica, Gaeta pulls a gun on a distraught President Baltar, clearly intending to kill him. Caprica-Six attempts to dissuade Gaeta from this course of action. In contrast to his companion's feelings, Baltar seems fully willing to die; but he tells Gaeta that he is the only one who could stop a Number Three-model Cylon from detonating a nuclear weapon hidden somewhere in the city of New Caprica. This convinces the reluctant Gaeta to let Baltar go, giving the disgraced leader a chance to redeem himself. Gaeta emerges from the same ship behind Colonel Tigh when Tigh asks Admiral Adama for permission to come aboard Galactica during the post-battle celebration (Exodus, Part II).
Return to Duty
Gaeta is initially isolated from Galactica's crew and those who were on New Caprica. Because of his high position in the collaborationist government, they believe he carried out the will of the Cylons. When he arrives in CIC to help with repairs on the communication systems damaged during the recent battle, former resistance leader Colonel Tigh is openly hostile towards him. Gaeta attempts to defend his actions in a tense conversation with Kara Thrace by revealing himself as Tyrol's mysterious informant. Starbuck doesn't know about the informant, since she was a captive of Leoben Conoy during the four-month Cylon occupation. She mocks her crewmate and dismisses his revelation as a poorly fabricated lie.
When Gaeta's name comes up for review in the the Circle, he is convicted of collaborating with the enemy and sentenced to death, despite the lack of evidence against him. The six-person tribunal takes him to a Viper launch tube to face his sentence. When asked to defend himself, Gaeta says that he already had and refuses to beg for his life. This infuriates Kara Thrace, who lashes out at him in a physical attack and resumes the mocking she started in the mess hall. Upon hearing Thrace repeat information about the dog bowl, Galen Tyrol realizes that Gaeta was indeed the informant from inside the Baltar administration. Gaeta is released and allowed to go. He resumes his duties as a lieutenant, still shunned by most of his crewmates except Tyrol (Collaborators).
After his recommissioning, he takes over Baltar's scientific duties, concentrating on deciphering his notes and determining the course to Earth. Gaeta appears to have a grudge against Tigh for his part in the Circle that nearly ended in Gaeta's death, as he wears a scowl while everyone else celebrates Tigh's return from his self-exile.
Animosity towards Baltar
Baltar is aware of Gaeta's relationship with the Eight on New Caprica. During an interrogation, he whispers to Gaeta, "I know what your Eight did". Baltar's knowledge leads Gaeta to try to kill him by stabbing him in the neck. However, he is stopped and knocked out by Admiral Adama ("Taking a Break from All Your Worries", The Face of the Enemy) .
During Baltar's trial for which he faces the death penalty, Gaeta commits perjury, claiming that he was there when Baltar signed the death lists and that Baltar offered no resistance in approving them (Crossroads, Part II).
Member of the Demetrius Crew
Later, Gaeta becomes part of the Demetrius's crew on its mission to find Earth (The Ties That Bind). After Kara Thrace orders Karl Agathon to jump to a Cylon baseship to retrieve information regarding Earth, Agathon refuses the order believing it to be too risky. When he is relieved by Thrace, she appoints Gaeta as her new XO and gives him the same order. Like Agathon, Gaeta refuses to comply with the order, creating a standoff between the ship's officers which leads Agathon to relieve Thrace of command (The Road Less Traveled). During this standoff Anders shoots Gaeta in the leg before he can initiate a jump back to Galactica. Having to wait 15 hours for a Raptor to return, Gaeta is worried that he will lose his leg because of the lack of proper medical treatement (Faith).
Returned to Galactica, Gaeta does lose his leg. In recovery, he deals with the stress and phantom pain by singing a mournful ballad over and over (Guess What's Coming to Dinner?). Shortly later, he returns to duty, still in pain from his ordeal, but refusing to be relieved (Revelations).
In the webisodes "The Face of the Enemy" it was revealed that Gaeta had been in a relationship with communications officer Lieutenant Louis Hoshi, though their relationship did not survive the webisode series.
After the formation of the Cylon-Human alliance, Gaeta entices Vice President Zarek to stage a coup d'état and leads a rebellion against Admiral Adama and President Roslin. Gaeta seizes control of the ship, and is appointed commander by Zarek, becoming the de facto commanding officer of Galactica though fighting continues throughout the ship.
Adama and Tigh are ultimately arrested after helping Roslin and Baltar escape the ship. Gaeta orders Tigh jailed, and attempts to force Adama to reason with President Roslin. Adama refuses and instead tells Gaeta contemptuously that he is now the 'admiral'.
Gaeta is horrified to see the bodies of the Quorum members after Zarek ordered their mass assassination, but continues his allegiance. Despite Zarek's preference for quick and brutal removal of opponents, Gaeta insisted that Admiral Adama be tried for treason, et al., with Zarek as the entire tribunal, and Romo Lampkin serving as Adama's lawyer. Zarek summarily finds Adama guilty, and Gaeta orders the creation of a firing squad.
Having previously ordered her Raptor to be shot down, Gaeta is forced into a defensive position when Roslin takes command of the rebel Cylon Basestar. Zarek attempts to break Roslin's resolve by lying to her that Tigh died in an escape attempt and erroneously reporting that Adama was executed. The plan backfires; it steels Roslin's resolve, and she swears to destroy them at all costs. Zarek urges Gaeta to fight. Gaeta, feeling that enough blood had been shed, instead attempts to escape by jumping away with those ships who have obeyed his order to spin up their FTL drives. Galen Tyrol manages to manually disable Galactica's FTL drive, preventing a jump.
As the rest of his crew prepares to fire, Gaeta remembers what he had said to Thrace about there being a reckoning and that people would have to answer for their actions. Realizing that he, too, would soon face his own reckoning, Gaeta orders weapons hold. Seconds later, CIC is stormed by Adama and a large contingent of loyal officers and marines.
Gaeta gives up without a fight, and he and Zarek are led away, their rebellion ended. Gaeta later discusses things with Baltar, admitting that he doesn't mind that he lost but making an unclear statement (one that Baltar claims to have understood) about hoping people would understand who he is.
Gaeta and Zarek are executed by firing squad for mutiny and treason. Just prior to his death, Gaeta realizes in shock that his amputated leg no longer itches. His last words are, "It stopped!" (Blood on the Scales)