Adama is narrating his journal about how he feels they’re drawing closer to earth. Meanwhile, Starbuck and Apollo are on a long-range patrol, asleep in their cockpits. They wake in time to find a sub-light spacecraft of some sort adrift with what appear to be human life signs aboard. They haul it back to the Galactica.
Before they even return, word has gotten out that it’s probably a ship from earth, despite no real evidence of that. Adama addresses the fleet to warn them about getting their hopes up. Meanwhile, doctors Salik and Wilker start poking around with the non-alien vessel, and eventually go on board with some of the others. They find an RV-sized cabin full of suspended animation tubes holding a man, a woman, two girls, and a boy. Unsure what to do next, the doctors begin tinkering with the equipment to revive them. This goes awry pretty quickly, and Wilker and Salik end up at odds, Wilker concerned seemingly only about the scientific value of the discovery.
In the officer’s club, Boomer, Jolly, Sheeba, Apollo, and Starbuck get into an intense discussion about the situation, what they should be doing, what they shouldn’t be doing. Starbuck takes a surprisingly Apollo-like view, and Apollo is unusually hotheaded. When a security goon named Reece butts into the conversation, it almost ends up in a fight. During all this, Boomer observes that all the humans they’ve met thus far in their exodus - the Equellans, the Proteus Prisoners, the Sectarans, the hot chicks on the medieval planet, and the Arctan clones - have all been descended from people who left the colonies, or descended from stragglers left behind by the original Diaspora from Kobol. This vehicle is the first human thing they’ve encountered that involves technology and terminology that’s completely unknown and new to them.
Salik complain to Adama about Wilker’s willing to play mumbly-peg with the lives of children, and Adama wants to do something about it, but is overruled by the council who want the passengers revived ASAP. This results in a weapons-drawn standoff in the hanger bay when Reese and his goons try to force out Boomer, Starbuck, and Jolly. There’s also scads of civilians coming by to gawk at the supposed earthlings, and all the kids are talking about it in school.
Meanwhile, Johnny Gage from Emergency wakes up in the spacecraft, and goes outside, bewildered by what he sees, and spouting nonsense. Apollo and Reese (Who’s actually pretty compassionate and good at this, unexpectedly) try to explain it to him, but Gage - calling himself “Michael” here - is obviously sick and given the differences in culture and terminology, both sides appear to be spouting gobldygook at each other. Michael gets jittery and shoots Reese, then collapses. The gawkers panic and trample each other trying to get out. Salik and Cassie haul Michael off to the medical center (“Life Station”) and quickly realize the atmospheric pressure on whatever world he came from is about 1/5th that of Caprican norm. Say about 3 PSI.
Apollo: “How can this be? They appear human.”
Salik: “We are adaptable. They could come from a world who’s atmosphere grew thinner over millennia.”
Cassie: “Or ours grew heavier.”
This last seems unlikely, since no one had any problems on Kobol or any of the other worlds they’ve visited, but just the same…
The whole situation is getting out of hand, the council is demanding action, so Starbuck decides they take a very deliberately tendentious interpretation of the situation: Michael shot Reese (Who’s fine, by the way, thanks for asking) which makes it a military situation, though clearly it isn’t. Starbuck, Apollo, Cassie, and Salik conspire to smuggle Michael *back* on to the ship, and cast it adrift. They spin a cock-and-bull story for Reese, saying it’s Council’s orders to prevent any further chance of infection. Reese buys it. Jolly and Boomer quickly join the conspiracy, and manage to frame Reese so that when the ship leaves, the security goon takes the fall for it. The Council is not amused.
END PART 1.
Or at least it would be if this was a two-part episode, but it isn’t. It was aired as a “Two-hour special.” So, moving on:
Adama comments in his journal that he’s facing an inquiry from the council.
Michael and the rest go back to slumberland, and the ship follows its preprogrammed course to planet Paradeen. En rout, they attract the attention of an Eastern Alliance destroyer commanded by Commandant Leiter. The destroyer is interested in the two vipers,