- "My responsibility as President is, first and foremost, to protect and preserve this fleet and its future. In the end, that outweighs any other consideration. It has to."
- —President Laura Roslin
Laura Roslin was the President of the United Colonies of Kobol, having served as Secretary of Education under President Richard Adar, and sworn into office as the highest ranked government official who survived the Fall of the Twelve Colonies. Roslin subsequently became the political leader of the remnants of the Colonial fleet, along with Commander William Adama.
Despite never being elected to office, Roslin served two terms as President, and was believed by some in the Fleet to be a religious figure essential to the fulfillment of the Pythian prophecy, which told of a dying leader who would lead the people to a promised land, but would not live to see it. In spite of this prophecy, Roslin, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer on the day of the Cylon attack, ultimately survived to witness the Fleet's arrival on a planet they named Earth, though she passed away soon afterwards.
In the years leading up to the Fall of the Twelve Colonies, Roslin lost her immediate family. Her mother died from cancer while undergoing Doloxan treatment; the experience of watching her mother's deterioration kept Roslin from booking breast screenings. Roslin later lost her two sisters and father in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.
In terms of career, Roslin began as a school teacher, as her mother had been. She gained political experience while working with the Mayor, Richard Adar, who later successfully ran for President and whom she engaged in a sexual relationship with. As Secretary of Education Roslin saw a prolonged teachers' strikes over pay, which became progressively hostile, but avoided getting involved due to her relationship with Adar. Following a terminal breast cancer diagnosis, Roslin had a change of heart and met with representatives of the union, offering to hear out their demands on the condition they abandon their disruption tactics. Though this was a win for the Adar administration, he was dismayed by Roslin's acts, as it not only legitimised the strikes but risked convincing them they could do it again. He demanded her immediate resignation, but was willing to keep Roslin on until after her scheduled visit to the Battlestar Galactica for its decommissioning ceremony.
Fall of the ColoniesEdit
Roslin met with government aide Billy Keikeya on-board the government-chartered civilian transport, Colonial Heavy 798. Arriving at Galactica several hours later, Roslin asked the ship's CO, Commander William Adama, for permission to install an interactive computer system on-board the ship to offer educational information to visitors. The decision was turned down on Adama's belief it would insult the crew who had died on the ship to install networking. With the decommissioning ceremony concluded, Roslin departed Galactica on the transport, with a Viper Mark II piloted by Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama serving as an escort.
On route back to Caprica, patchy news broke out of the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies, but information on what colonies were attacked was at the time unknown, and all civilian ships were ordered to hold position on their designated routes to keep free from the combat areas. Fearing the destruction of the Cabinet, Roslin took control of the transport as a refugee aid ship to help stranded ships. Not long after established radio contract with an official on Caprica who established the Cylons had rejected Adar's unconditional surrender, the Case Orange beacon was transmitted, which confirmed Adar's death. With no one else responding to the alert, Roslin was declared the new President. Following this news, the priestess Elosha followed her through the oath-swearing ceremony to legally confirm her Presidency.
In her first act as President, Roslin ordered the nearby Galactica to assist in rescue operations. However, Commander Adama refused to reconise her authority and instead ordered the ship to jump to the Ragnar Anchorage for safety while it rearmed for the war effort. The appearance of two Cylon Raiders complicated the matter, and the ship was believed destroyed when Captain Adama sent out an electromagnetic pulse that appeared to indicate a nuclear explosion. Following this, the ship, now dubbed Colonial One, continued in Roslin's efforts to find stranded ships. Over several hours, a Raptor separated from Galactica helped located dozens of ships carrying over 50,000 people. When Cylon raiders discovered the fleet, Roslin reluctantly ordered the FTL-capable ships to immediately depart to Ragnar Anchorage, giving up thousands on non-FTL ships to the Cylons.
At Ragnar, Roslin gave news of the war situation to Commander Adama. The conflict was effectively over with no military left for Galactica to reinforce. She proposed the total abandonment of the Twelve Worlds, with the Fleet heading out in search of a new home with Galactica as its escort. During preparations to leave, it was discovered from both Commander Adama and Roslin's scientific adviser, Dr. Gaius Baltar, that Humanoid Cylon models had infiltrated Colonial society, and could be in the fleet itself plotting against it. To rally people behind Roslin's plan and keep hope, Commander Adama publicly lied about knowing the location of Earth, claiming it to be a secret known only to the Adar administration, the Admiralty and himself. Adama admitted the deception to Roslin, and in return for Roslin keeping his secret and allowing him to retain control of the military, he acknowledged Roslin's authority over the civilian fleet as President.
The First MonthEdit
Roslin began building the foundations of a civilian government by collecting a census on the remaining population while Cylon attacks forced the Fleet to jump every thirty-three minutes. Working tirelessly throughout these attacks without any sleep, Roslin was forced to make another tough call and authorised Galactica to destroy the Olympic Carrier, a ship suspected of being tracked by the Cylons. Ultimately, the destruction of the ship ended the attacks, yet Roslin continued to question whether she had made the right choice considering the 1300 lives lost on the ship.
Though Roslin and Adama continued to have a wary relationship, Adama integrated her into the decision process. Roslin and Adama agreed to keep the knowledge that Cylons now appeared human a secret. She later authorised the conditional pardoning of prisoners aboard the Astral Queen. However, Tom Zarek, a former terrorist with a political agenda, successfully freed the prisoners, took control of the ship and broadcasts calls for Roslin to step down from office and hold immediate elections. Roslin refuses to negotiate and presses Adama for an armed response, though she was less than pleased when Lee ended the situation by giving the prisoners control of their ship and promising that the scheduled presidential elections would take place in nine months.
Having appointed Lee as her military liaison, she admits the truth of her cancer to him. She later seeks treatment from Galactica's doctor, Sherman Cottle, though she opts to use an alternative, psychoactive drug, chamalla, rather than endure the same doloxan treatments that she had watched her mother suffer through.
Following a suicide bombing aboard Galactica by copy of Aaron Doral, Roslin holds a press conference revealing the truth about humanoid Cylons and releasing pictures of Aaron Doral and Leoben Conoy. The news was greeted with a stunned reaction throughout the Fleet. A resulting independent investigation aboard Galactica was launched by Adama, though Roslin cautions against this course of action.
As a result of her press conference regarding the Cylons, a copy of Leoben Conoy was captured aboard the Gemenon Traveler. Despite Adama's desire to kill him immediately, Roslin insists he be interrogated. When Conoy claims that he has planted a nuclear bomb within the Fleet, Roslin travels to the Gemenon Traveler and stops the torture being inflicted on him. Agreeing to release him if he tells her where the bomb is, Conoy informs her that there was no bomb and that Adama was a Cylon. She subsequently orders him to be thrown out of an airlock, a method of execution repeated multiple times over the course of Roslin's administration. While Roslin becomes suspicious of Adama as a result of Conoy's claim, her fears are allayed by Baltar's invention of a Cylon detector.
Soon after, Roslin reconstitutes the Quorum of Twelve aboard Cloud Nine. However, the election of Zarek as the Sagittaron delegate disrupts her agenda when Zarek insists on the election of a vice president. The delegate from Virgon nominates Zarek, while Roslin chooses Wallace Gray as her preferred candidate. However, Gray fails to win enough support in the Quorum to defeat Zarek and was replaced at the last minute by Baltar, the Caprican delegate. The resulting vote was a tie, which allows Roslin to cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of Baltar.
Shortly before the capture of Leoben Conoy, Roslin has a set of visions that are uncannily prescient to future events. During a press conference soon after, she hallucinates a dozen snakes crawling over her podium. Disturbed by these events, she consults Elosha and admits that she has been using chamalla. On hearing about the snakes, Elosha reveals that it matches a prophecy in an ancient text written by Pythia 3,600 years ago concerning the exodus of humankind, which foretells that a dying leader will guide the remnants of humanity to the promised land.
Cottle informs Roslin that her cancer has spread to her lymphatic system, giving her perhaps six months to live. Soon after, a recon mission from Galactica discovers a habitable world with ruins across the surface. Reviewing the photos of the ruins, Roslin has another vision that Elosha confirms to be the City of the Gods on Kobol. Roslin has two further visions of the Arrow of Apollo and the Tomb of Athena and accepts the scriptures as fact. Though Adama considers permanent settlement on the planet, Roslin tries to convince him they should use a captured Cylon Raider to return to Caprica and retrieve the Arrow of Apollo, which would open the Tomb of Athena and point the way to Earth. Uncomfortable with Roslin's newfound religiousness, Adama asserts his authority over the military to deny her the use of the Raider.
Resolved, Roslin convinces Kara Thrace to steal the Raider and return to Caprica by admitting that Adama does not know where Earth is. Upon learning of her deception, Adama asked Roslin for her resignation; her refusal results in him sending a Marine boarding party to Colonial One to arrest her. Though Lee Adama ultimately sides with the President during the armed standoff, Roslin agreed to surrender to prevent bloodshed. Adama was shot soon after by a Cylon agent, and Saul Tigh assumes command of Galactica and refuses Roslin's request to be released.
From her cell, Roslin rallies support from the Quorum of Twelve by convincing them of her role in the Sacred Scrolls in response, Tigh dissolves the Quorum and declares martial law. With the help of several sympathetic crew members of Galactica, Roslin escapes with Lee and hides within the Fleet with the help of Zarek. Declaring herself publicly to be the "dying leader" foretold by Pythia, Roslin asked the Fleet to follow her back to Kobol. Nearly a third of the Fleet heeds her request and jumps back to Kobol, where they rendezvous with Starbuck and the recovered Arrow. A search party led by Roslin heads to the surface and Elosha was soon killed by a landmine, which deeply shakes Roslin.
A recon team led by Adama intercepts Roslin's group, and Adama and Roslin resolve their differences, with Adama agreeing to help her find the Tomb. After locating it, the group places the Arrow in the bow of a statue of Sagittarius, which activates a projection showing the way to Earth. Upon returning to the Fleet, Adama reinstates Roslin as president.