In mathematical terms, 6 is the only one-digit perfect number in the base 10 number system1. This means its positive divisors (1, 2, and 3) added together equal it. Now that the math lesson is over, we can move onto science-fiction.
WARNING: Battlestar Galactica spoilers follow!
When I mention Battlestar Galactica or any character there from, I am referring to the reinterpretation by Ronald D. Moore and the Sci-Fi channel.
Before I discuss Six's significance, it is necessary to define her as a character. She is a human-form Cylon, model 6 of 12. There are many copies of each model of Cylon, but the Six I refer to is the Cylon that haunts Dr. Gaius Baltar. More importantly, the Cylons were originally created by the Colonials. They rebelled, went off to do their own thing, evolved, and developed emotions; and now that they're back they have only one goal: to destroy humanity.
Six plays an instrumental role in the Cylon attack on the 12 Colonies. She was involved romantically with Dr. Baltar, who granted her access to the Colonial defense mainframe. With the defense information gathered by Six, the Cylons are able to conquer each of the 12 Colonies with little resistance. After the Colonies fall, Dr. Baltar is rescued by Boomer and Helo of the Galactica. Boomer gives up her seat on the transport for Dr. Baltar, who brings a mental projection of Six along with him.
During his time with the Colonial fleet (which is comprised of all of the survivors from the Cylon attack), Dr. Baltar is almost constantly in communication with Six. She haunts him, teases him, bends him to her will, and tries to convince him to accept the love of her God. It is this role that is most interesting, and I think it is also her most important.
Cylons, if Six is representative of the whole, are monotheistic, whereas those members of the Colonial fleet who practice religion are polytheistic. Thus far, Six identifies her god only as God; the religious members of the Colonial fleet worship the Lords of Kobol. Previously, I said that the Cylons were created by the Colonials, and this is true; so where did Six get the idea of "one, true, God"2?
It is the questions raised by her existence and her actions that make Six significant. These are the questions I find myself asking:
- How did the Cylons evolve?
- How did the Cylons find religion?
- Having such a complete understanding of their own nature (they are robots3, after all), what made them embrace religion?
- Why is Six so insistent on 'saving' Gaius?
- How does Six justify to her god that she played an integral role in the nearly complete genocide of humanity?
This is why Six is significant. She makes us think while we're being entertained, that sneaky bitch. She also makes Battlestar Galactica some of the most refreshing science-fiction on television today4.
1- As pointed out by mblase, other bases would have other perfect numbers
2 - excerpt of a line spoken by Six, Battlestar Galactica, Season 1, Six Degrees of Separation
3 - CloudStrife points out that the human-form Cylons may actually be cyborgs. I had not considered the possibility, but it is very interesting. And in retrospect, most probably correct.
4 - For the purposes of this writeup, today shall be thought of as mid-February 2005.