Greetings from Earth is an episode of the TV series, Battlestar Galactica. The episode was first aired 25 February 1979 as a TV movie, being twice the length of a normal episode. It also marked the first time humans from the Thirteenth Tribe were encountered, all other peoples encountered previously being from the Galactican civilisation of the Twelve Tribes.
- "By the good graces of the lords of Kobol, the Galactica continues to lead her flock of survivors towards the coordinates, given us by those great white lights that vanished as mysteriously as they first appeared. There are those who speculate that those lights, advanced ships really, might have come from Earth, giving us great hope that they have a highly developed technology. Even now, our long range scouts patrol the quadrants, watching for signs that indicate that we are drawing close."
The fleet continues on its journey to Earth, based on the directions given to them by the Seraphs. Cpt. Apollo and Lt. Starbuck are on a long-range patrol, long enough Starbuck has spent a period of it asleep. Waking up, he finds his Viper's sensors are detecting a vessel ahead, which scans reveal has sublight transport capabilities and is carrying six life-forms with low life-readings. Unable to communicate, with the crew who appear unwilling or unable to respond, the two Warriors tow the ship back to Galactica. Word quickly spreads across the ship about the recent discovery, forcing Cmdr. Adama to report to the entire fleet that they must cease speculating as to the origin of the vehicle, and announcing the ship will be quarantined to prevent the transfer of dangerous diseases between both parties.
In the hangar deck, Adama meets with Apollo and Starbuck and a scientific team consisting of Dr. Wilker, Dr. Salik and Cassiopeia. Wilker reports that a Defusing Team has already assessed the ship and verified there is no booby-trap, while Salik has discovered the ship has only trace gases in its atmosphere, which would make it impossible for humans to survive. Adama opens up the ship so its atmosphere matches the deck's, and the team enters. They soon find all six life-signs coming from a series of life-support tanks - "cocoons" - built for long-distance travel where resources were at a premium. Salik advises against activating the units, however, as they do not know the underlying technology and may accidentally kill the occupants, though Wilker insists he able to experiment on one cocoon to understand its functions.
Athena is teaching a group of children on Galactica, and raises the topic of the people on the ship. Athena explains to the children why the crew are not being let out immediately, teaching them that the human body needs time to adapt to a new environment, and anything from unfamiliar food to unfamiliar germs could cause harm. Through analogy, the children are asked if they or their parents got sick after the Cylon attack on the Colonies, which a child confirms, owing to being unaccustomed to what was in their ship's food supplies. Boxey interrupts by asking if it is true the people will wipe out the fleet with their germs, having overheard Apollo and Starbuck arguing. Athena holds the class and takes Boxey out of the room to confront Apollo, who's casual cynicism is a risk to the children's morale.
The delay in getting the six people out of their cocoons begins affecting the crew. Drs. Wilker and Salik themselves are at a loss and simply cannot work out how to operate the machinery, forcing them to consider pressing random buttons to get one of the children awake, a process that may be lethal. Athena finds Apollo in an agitated state as he sits in the Warriors' mess with Boomer. He suggests they simply let the ship go on its way to whether it was headed. Boomer disagrees, and points out that although they've encountered other humans since the attack, they've all been lost colonies descended from the Twelve Tribes made up of pioneers and stragglers, using antiquated technology that the Twelve Colonies developed. They have spent their time since the attack searching for Earth, and this technologically advanced civilisation with unfamiliar technology must therefore be them. Starbuck concurs. They have gone past many planets that could have supported human life, but the desire to find the other humans has kept them from settling. Apollo rejects this claim, and insists that mankind is on the run and the only reason they need Earth is the hope it can protect them from the Cylons. Other people bring themselves into the discussion and insist that if the doctors don't succeed soon, it is obvious the Council of Twelve will force radical solutions.
Soon, a delegation consisting of members of the Council of the Twelve arrive on Galactica to see the ship in person. They are forced away by Jolly as they have not received permission from Adama. He adds to a newly-arrived Apollo that representatives of ships across the fleet have also arrived. Wilker's experiment on a cocoon is going poorly, and has caused a power shortage. Based on his studies, Wilker confirms to Adama that the people are from a planet known as Terra, which has one fifth the atmosphere of Caprica. Adama, familiar with the Gemenese language, notices it means "earth" in that language. Sire Gellar enters Adama's office, and demands the six people be released from their slumber immediately, seeing Adama's inaction as one of apathy. Adama is unwilling to do so, but also unwilling to take Apollo's suggestion of leaving them be. Gellar leaves to call a council session to reach a verdict.
Boxey returns to class late from lunch, having spied on the on-going developments. He notes that there are children, but they don't move. Athena explains "suspension" to the children - that a limit on basic resources such as Oxygen would otherwise restrict the travel distance of vessels.
The hangar deck becomes filled with civilians demanding to see the six, forcing additional security personnel to guard the ship. Silker orders Starbuck, Jolly and Boomer to ban anyone from entering when he sees the mob has grown outside, and soon learns about the impending vote by the council. Security Office Reese disputes the validity of the Warriors' calls to get back, as this is a civilian matter being discussed by the civilian government and not a military matter. The three Warriors raise their weapons at the Security Officers to keep them back. Inside, one of the passengers, Michael, is released from his cocoon, having been set to awaken after a given time. He awakens the other five, starting with the other adult, Sarah. He is concerned, as their ship is off-course and their cocoons are faulty. He tells her to guard the children while he investigates the rest of the ship. On Galactica, the Council rules the six must be released, as they understand their systems are now failing anyway, starting with the adult male. Salik refuses to follow the order as it is against his medical ethics, and two med-techs from the Rising Star are ordered to do it anyway. News reaches the crew on the hangar bay as Michael exits the ship. Believing he is being held hostage, he demands they keep away, and shoots a man when he approaches. He refuses to believe Apollo's claim they are on a ship, as he knows no ship so large, demanding instead to know if it is a Lunar outpost. He soon passes out, the result of not being adapted to Caprican atmosphere levels. Starbuck and Apollo enter the ship, and find Sarah equally distressed and weak. Salik orders everyone be taken to the Life Station to be placed in ventilators, as it is the only way they can survive.
Another meeting is held at Adama's office. Apollo brings up how the cocoons were near depleted before Wilker toyed with them, which could mean that there is a planet nearby full of humans who could be contacted instead. Starbuck suggests Adama take charge of the ship and its crew as a military matter, by bringing up the man who was shot with a stunning device. Finally, the order is given to jettison the craft and its passengers to protect them from disease spread by the Colonials. Cassiopeia launches the ship earlier than expected, however, and Jolly and Boomer realise too late that only Michael's cocoon was returned to the ship. The Council, unaware of the "military" decision to jettison the ship, demand it be returned. Apollo and Starbuck are launched in their Vipers to retrieve it, the launch having been set to coincide with the two being prepared for a standard control.
While the stand-off carries out, inside the ship one of the cocoons is opened automatically, having been set to keep the occupant in suspension for a designated time. The occupant, a man named Michael, looks out of a window and spots the ruckus, and immediately releases the adult woman, Sarah. He warns her they are not where they are supposed to be, and has her remain to make sure the children's cocoons don't shut down spontaneously.
Elsewhere on Galactica, the Council continues to discuss the situation. The Council is now aware from Salik of the ship's power supply problems, and Geller insists that they may as well release the adult male and trust him to know what to do with the ship and its other occupants. Salik refuses to carry out the procedure and walks out of the meeting. The Council rules in favour of freeing the occupants, and these orders reach the hangar deck. Reese is now free to move by the Warriors and lead the visitors to the vessel. Before they can reach it, Michael leaves and warns them not to get any closer. Reese tries to de-escalate the situation, but is shot with an energy weapon, scaring the other visitors away while the crew attends to Reese. Apollo tries to de-escalate this time, calling the two "brothers", though Michael misunderstands this to mean they are fellow soldiers, which he does not believe due to the unrecognisable patches. Apollo tells him he is on a ship, but Michael does not believe he could be on a ship so big. He falls down with breathing difficulties due to the dense atmosphere, believing himself to be poisoned. Cassiopeia confirms it to be the atmosphere and not a bacterial infection as Salik considers. Salik orders Michael be placed in one of the Life Station's ventilators for recovery, while Adama checks on Sarah.
Adama discusses recent events in his office. Tigh insists the six Terrans remain in the fleet so they can give detailed information on Earth and, most importantly, its military capabilities against the Cylons. Apollo however wants the six to be left on their way; as Michael's cocoon opened automatically by a timer mechanism, they were likely close to their destination. He suggests he and Starbuck escort the ship to their planet and investigate it for themselves, as they have had experience in lower-Oxygen environments. Salik concurs with Apollo's suggestion via video call - the six cannot survive on Galactica and should be allowed to go on their way. Though the crew is now united under Apollo's proposal, it still goes against the Council's wishes. Starbuck however suggests they use legal loopholes to get their way out - by exaggerating the danger Michael represented in shooting Reese, it becomes a military matter and the ship's launch will be a defence matter. Gellar makes a video call to Adama, and reports that the Council seeks a military answer to the recent attack, which would make them more agreeable to the plan.
Apollo visits Salik and Cassiopeia as they oversee Michael's care and fills them in on the mission. They must smuggle the man back onto the ship, then depart Galactica and pilot it back. Salik insists on leaving in the ship to assess the cocoons, but due to his importance in the fleet Cassiopeia is recruited to take his place. The four head to the hangar deck with the man in an covered-up incubation tube, bluffing their way past Reese that they have orders to evacuate the four children. Michael wakes up when returned onto the ship, its atmosphere lowered to what his body can allow. He believes them to be Eastern Alliance soldiers who have captured them, but is slowly convinced that is not the case. Nonetheless he refuses to tell them where he is headed, as the voyage was automated, and only tells them he came from Lunar Seven, which was attacked by Eastern Alliance destroyers.
Leaving the ship with an empty incubation tank, Apollo and Starbuck persuade Boomer and Jolly to help them, and they begin transporting the tanks to and from the ship to look convincing. As the plan reaches its last stage, all Galacticans bar Cassiopeia leave the ship, and its engines are turned on under apparent orders to jettison it to prevent microbial contamination. Reese begins to suspect there is something amiss, and removes the fabric protection to reveal the three tanks are indeed empty. As the ship departs, Gellar and Adama arrive and grill Reese for allowing it to happen. Adama quickly moves on and has Apollo and Starbuck intercept the ship, coincidentally being scheduled for a routine patrol. Adama leaves as Gellar demands more answers from Reese about the incubation tanks. Apollo and Starbuck depart and begin tailing the ship, unaware as to how long they must wait to reach their destination.
Some centons later, Cassiopeia is woken up in the ship's cockpit by transmissions coming from a nearby planet, Paradeen. The ship, identified as Avion, responds with a pre-recorded message, and it is revealed they are 20 hours behind schedule. Michael is awoken by the computer once more. He explains to Apollo that there is no one but Sarah's father on the planet, as it was already abandoned some time ago. Per instructions, he is to then destroy the transmitter upon landing to prevent the base being detected by the Eastern Alliance, which would thereby make Lunar Seven undiscoverable to the Galacticans.
- "The ships have been gone for almost a secton now, and still no word. The Council has asked me to appear before them for an inquiry."
Elsewhere, an Eastern Alliance destroyer patrols near Paradeen. Kreebs reports in to the ship's CO, Commandant Leiter, that Avion - "the small craft which escaped from Lunar Seven a month ago" - is some 20,000km away from their position. Leiter is aware of Destroyer Two's assessment of the ship and its occupants, and wants Paradeen tagged for a follow-up mission after their patrol is completed. When Krebbs reports other ships flying with it, Leiter's attention is finally met. The craft are unidentifiable, and the destroyer's "Analyzer" cannot even identify their power source. Leiter orders "Lanceman" to change course towards Paradeen at "star speed" and to prepare for combat.
On Paradeen, the two Vipers and Michael's ship land at a dockyard for ships. Michael is greeted by his two android servants, Vector and his "son" Hector, who were assigned to complete the settlement. The two androids are initially confused by the two Warriors' presence, having expected children; Hector presumes Apollo to be Walker and Starbuck his older sister Charity, having both grown up. They soon realise the mistake and present arms, in case the two are Eastern Alliance soldiers. This brief show of force is de-escalated, and when asked why they are armed the two androids explain hostilities had previously broken out on the planet.
With the children awoken, the androids drive the full landing party to a ranch they built for the settlers. Sarah cannot find her father anywhere, and the androids show her to his grave, marked "John Russell Fowler". In the home the androids prepare their welcoming party, planned for some time. Vector presents John's collection of Terran art, such as concert performances, stored on a disc. Sarah rejects the gift, having decided to limit knowledge of Terra from the children. Apollo and Starbuck are soon told that Sarah and Michael are not a married couple, Michael having joined the group with his daughter, Melanie - the older girl. Sarah does not want Walker, Charity and Todd to know of Terra because the poorly planned colonisation projects have rendered Sarah, Michael and their children physiologically incapable of surviving on it as it has a denser atmosphere (equal to Caprica). Hector and Vector continue with their welcome gift and perform vaudeville entertainments for the children in the style of Royal Theatre performances. When they are done, Apollo takes the children to bed.
On the destroyer, Krebbs report that all three vessels have indeed landed on Paradeen. Another crewman, Donner, reports that transmissions from Paradeen have now ceased. At their distance, transmissions to Terra will take two months, and Lunar Seven's "lightwave" relay station was destroyed by saboteurs following Destroyer Two's attack. Unable to report the mystery ship quickly enough, Leiter presses on with an attack on the planet.
Back at the ranch, Michael congratulates the androids for helping build the house and for destroying the homing device. Hector and Vector reveal, however, they have not destroyed the homing device. Michael orders Hector to the Control Center and destroy the equipment. Apollo insists however he be given coordinates to Lunar Seven, but he is denied it. Michael explains the political history of Terra to Apollo. Terra began its colonisation of worlds prior to its political unity, and has since formed two massive power blocks: the Western Nationalists, and the Eastern Alliance, which vie for resources from the colonies. Rather than raid the West's worlds for resources, the East has changed tactics to razing them to starve the West into submission. While they continue talking, Sarah leaves the house via the childrens' bedroom window, and is followed out by Melanie and Charity. Meanwhile, the destroyer closes in on Paradeen, and is only six hours away.
In the morning, Apollo leaves the farmhouse to talk to Michael once more as he watches the children. Michael still refuses to show him where to find Terra as it is too dangerous to go to. Apollo asks him more questions, however, as he needs to know if Terra is even the planet they are looking for. Michael confirms that Earth is another name for Terra, but is a generic term applied to various planets similar to Terra due to a cultural belief that there is a bond between various people.
Sarah leads Apollo away to talk. She wants him and Starbuck to remain on Paradeen as part of their settlement, adding that she has feelings for him she does not share with Michael, who is only with them due to his technological skills. While Apollo admits he does like her, he cannot commit to such an offer. Starbuck returns with Hector and talks of a city located on Paradeen. Michael is unaware of the city, but chalks this down to the oppressive nature of their political system, that someone from Lunar Seven would simply not know of Paradeen. Hector explains that there is indeed no one else on the planet, as it was attacked by the Eastern Alliance already. Only the people were killed, leaving the city able to be repopulated. Apollo is relieved nonetheless, as if the city was untouched then logically its computers must be operational and they can get all necessary catographical data from them. Starbuck and Hector take off once more, while Apollo and Vector leave with the children. Cassiopeia and Michael walk over a barn to talk on Terra's medical insight, as part of a rouse by Apollo to make Sarah jealous.
Starbuck walks through the abandoned city on Paradeen, which Hector understands was comparable with the cities of Terra itself. While they talk, Starbuck offers Hector a place in the fleet, joking his logic would give him a useful place on the Council. Hector directs him underground where the archives would be, but warns him that with the dilapidation of the city the archives may be of no use.
Back at the spaceport, Apollo notices a group of humans examining the Vipers. He is confused by this, having believed everyone dead. Vector explains there were indeed a handful of survivors, the Moreland family included. They survived the Eastern Alliance attack because their weapons were concentrated on the city, leaving isolated farmland intact. In the spaceport, Doyle directs his employers, Josh and Aggie Moreland, to a Viper which he believes is proof of an Eastern Alliance presence. Vector drives up so Apollo can talk with the farmers. Though the farmers are quickly convinced Apollo is from Lunar Seven, they are now concerned an Eastern Alliance destroyer would be tracking him to Paradeen and want him to take off and leave. This becomes more problematic when Aggie sees the children hiding in the vehicle. Todd climbs the Viper and spots they have been destroyed, which means they are now stranded on the planet. Sarah admits she was the one who trashed the Vipers, hoping to make Apollo stay to join the community. Hector returns to the farm without Starbuck. He explains the archives are a maze-like environment with already low Oxygen levels for the planet. After having a row with Sarah, Michael joins with the Galacticans, Hector and Vector in bringing Oxygen tanks to Starbuck.
Late at night, Sarah and the children await the others' arrival. While she puts Walker to bed, the others go play with the horses, with the promise of watching the music hall footage when they get back, Sarah no longer as resistant. When the Eastern Alliance destroyer lands at the spaceport, they make a run for it. Leiter and his men enter the house and begin asking questions about the two ships that followed her shuttle. She denies knowledge of them, then tries to escape through a window.
The rescue team make their way further through the underground generators. Vector, tells Apollo that Doyle is the only man alive who would know anything about navigating the underground, but would not be helpful. Cassiopeia calls Apollo on her radio, reporting tapping noises in the distance. The sounds are coming from Starbuck, who is too tired by the low Oxygen to walk any further, and hopes to get Hector's attention.
The children reach the Morelands' house and warn them about the Eastern Alliance. Josh refuses to let them in, but Aggie believes they must save them, having lost their own some time ago.
Meanwhile, the rescue team finds Starbuck, having passed out recently. Cassiopeia begins resuscitating him with the oxygen tank. They are quickly met by Doyle and Josh, who learnt from the children where they were headed, and warn them of the Eastern Alliance presence. With Doyle's help they quickly leave the underground.
Sarah's interrogation continues, with Leiter remaining courteous. Sarah changes the conversation, and asks how many children were killed in the Eastern Alliance attack, having learnt the bombing took place during school hours. Leiter was not involved in the bombing and wants no association with it, simply saying "it is war". Outside, Michael knocks out an Eastern Alliance guard. When Leiter hears the noise, he sends a guard out, and he is attacked as the party break in. The soldiers are tied-up and escorted back to their destroyer, now under the command of the Galacticans. As the Galacticans depart, Michael and Sarah's relationship warms up, and they are welcomed to the community by the Morelands on behalf of their other neighbours, solidifying Paradeen as a society once more. In space, the destroyer makes its way to Galactica's port flight pod, and the Eastern Alliance crew look at Galactica in shock.
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- Lorne Greene as Commander Adama
- Richard Hatch as Captain Apollo
- Dirk Benedict as Lieutenant Starbuck
- Terry Carter as Colonel Tigh
- John Colicos as Count Baltar
- Herbert Jefferson, Jr. as Lieutenant Boomer
- Maren Jensen as Lieutenant Athena
- Noah Hathaway as Boxey
- Anne Lockhart as Lieutenant Sheba
- Laurette Spang as Cassiopeia
- Tony Swartz as Sergeant Jolly
- John Dullaghan as Dr. Wilker
- George Murdock as Dr. Salik
- Randolph Mantooth as Michael
- Kelly Harmon as Sarah
- Murray Matheson as Geller
- Bobby Van as Hector
- Ray Bolger as Vector
- Lester Fletcher as Donner
- Gillian Greene as Melanie
- David. G. Larson as Walker
- G. Eric Larson as Todd
- Michelle Carol Larson as Charity
- Alex Rodine as Lanceman
- Gary Vinson as Doyle
- Lesley Woods as Aggie Moreland
- Kimberly Woodward as Loma
- Lloyd Bochner as Commandant Leiter
- Transcript at ByYourCommand.net
- Greetings from Earth, Part I at NBC.com
- Greetings from Earth, Part II at NBC.com