"Night 1" is the first of the two-part Battlestar Galactica miniseries which served as a pilot for Season 1. Starring Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell, it was also written and produced by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Michael Rymer. The miniseries aired originally on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States on December 8, 2003. The two parts in all attracted 3.9 and 4.5 million viewers respectively.
- "The Cylons were created by man.
They were created to make life easier on the Twelve Colonies And then the day came when the Cylons decided to kill their masters. After a long bloody battle an armistice was declared. A remote space station was built... ...where Cylon and Human could meet and maintain diplomatic relations. Every year, the colonials send an officer. The Cylons send no one. No one has seen or heard from the Cylons in over forty years."
- —Intro Captions
It is forty years since the devastating war between mankind and their Cylon creations. An officer, Boxman, flies out to Armistice Station as the ambassador to the United Colonies of Kobol in his Shuttle. As is typical, the station is deserted, but he sits at his desk as has been procedure for decades. Unexpectedly, he is woken up by the door opening on the Cylon side. A tall blonde woman - a Number Six model Humanoid Cylon - walks into the room, escorted by two mechanical Centurion guards. She asks him, "are you alive?", kisses him, then warns "it has begun" as the station is destroyed by missiles fired from the Cylon delegates' Basestar.
Galactica is being prepared for its formal decommissioning and conversion into a war museum. Over fifty years old, Galactica is the oldest battlestar in service in the Colonial Fleet and served for most of the Cylon War. The crew go about their daily routines as a press tour is being held by civilian Aaron Doral. Lt. Kara "Starbuck" Thrace does her morning jog, Cmdr. William Adama practices a speech, Spcs. Callandra Henderson, Prosna and Socinus have finished repairs of the port flight pod's new glass window. Rather than their signature CQB, the marines are all unarmed and in their their fatigues. Adama enters CIC and is informed by Lt. Felix Gaeta about the overdue Armistice officer, but Adama thinks little of it. Col. Saul Tigh goes off-duty and immediately takes out a drink, his functional alcoholism being familiar enough to the crew it is not worth commenting on. Adama soon leaves CIC to inspect the museum itself on the port flight pod. The deck crew under Chief Galen Tyrol present to him their authentic Mark II Vipers, one of which being a Viper he once flew. Prosna also gifts him an archived photograph of Adama as a Major, standing with his two sons Leland and Zak.
Officers off-duty meet in the Recreation Room, where there is drinking and Triad playing. Among the players are Lt. Sharon "Boomer" Valerii and her ECO, Lt. Karl "Helo" Agathon, Starbuck, Tigh, and CAG Maj. Jackson Spencer. Tigh teases Starbuck about her callsign, and it likewise asked about his estranged wife. When Starbuck wins the game and celebrates, Tigh knocks the table over, and is instinctively punched by Starbuck who is placed under arrest and ordered to the Brig. Tigh meets with Adama in his quarters to discuss the issue, and the formal charges are dropped owing to Tigh starting the fight, though Adama decides to keep her in the brig until it is time to disembark.
In Caprica City, Secretary of Education Laura Roslin concludes a doctors' appointment where she is formally diagnosed with breast cancer and recommended an immediate course of drugs. She continues with her duties for the day, and departs for Galactica on board Colonial Heavy 798, set to arrive in five and a half hours. She meets with a civil servant, Billy Keikeya, who is to brief her on the event, but leaves for the restroom to be alone. Elsewhere in Caprica City, another Number Six walks along the city's Riverwalk Market. She observes a baby boy, and snaps his neck as his mother is distracted before walking off.
Dr. Gaius Baltar is being interviewed by Caprica 5 anchorwoman Kellan Brody over his recent work for the Ministry of Defense and his views on advanced computer technology, banned during the Cylon War due to hacking concerns. Following this interview, he has sex with the Number Six, who is revealed to be his lover.
Back on Galactica, Adama's son Leland, now Cpt. Leland "Apollo" Adama, arrives in a Mark VII Viper, having been arranged to take part in the ceremony. He is unfamiliar with his father's preference for outdated modes of operation, such as lack of auto-landing procedures, and makes a poor first impression with Tyrol. Nearby, Boomer's Raptor is brought into the hangar deck after a bumpy landing, which Boomer blames on a faulty primary gimbal. The two argue their way into a locker, and begin kissing, being in a secret relationship. Meanwhile, Apollo and many of Galactica's pilots meet at the ready room for briefing on their planned ceremonial fly-past.
Back in Caprica City, Baltar and the Number Six walk along the Riverwalk once more, where he gloats about the success of his new Command Navigation Program, which was rewritten by the Six to give an advantage to her employer's "contract", and insults her Monotheistic beliefs. The two go their separate ways as Six brings a briefcase to meet her unseen Cylon contact.
Colonial Heavy 798 arrives on Galactica for the ceremony. As Roslin is given directions by Doral, Keikeya becomes lost after being distracted by Petty Officer Anastasia Dualla. He follows her to the Head where he asks for her help. Roslin meanwhile meets Adama, and quickly begins arguing with him over having a networked computer system installed on Galactica to assist with giving directions. She mocks Adama for his perceived fear of computers, but he admonishes her for her need to install networked computers for such a trivial reason, reminding her the Cylon War only happened because of the massive reliance on networking and how he feels integrating within Galactica is an insult to the ship's crew that fought and died in the war. Elsewhere, Apollo visits the brig after hearing Starbuck is there. The two exchange pleasantries, having not met since Zak's funeral two years ago. She learns Apollo hasn't seen his father since then, and still blames him for his brother's death. Starbuck is offended by his comments, which she feels treats her engagement to him as insignificant in comparison, and he is forced to leave.
Back on Caprica, the Number Six wakes up Baltar as he lies in bed with a Defense employee. Though hurt by his casual cheating, she is instead there to reveal the truth to him.
On Galactica, Doral leads the press into a wardroom, where Adama and Apollo are to be photographed in their dress uniforms. After they leave, Adama keeps Apollo back, hoping to talk things over, but Apollo continues to address him as an officer and not a father, adding further insult by bringing up his mother Carolanne is to remarry. Adama is still hurt by the funeral, and insists he has no fault as accidents happen in the service. Apollo accuses him of pressuring Zak into the service and using his connections to pass him through flight school despite shortcomings, ending with "you killed him". The argument ends there, with Apollo walking away to prepare for the fly-past.
Back on Caprica, Baltar is having trouble accepting Six's claim to being a Cylon. She convinces him she is telling the truth after reminding him she wanted access to the defence mainframe. He rushes to call his lawyer to protect him from a potentially treasonable offence, but she finally reveals that "humanity's children are returning home day" as a nuclear explosion is seen from afar.
On Galactica, Doral leads the decommissioning ceremony, and after the fly-past gives the podium over to Adama. Having prepared and practices a speech on sacrifice, he is reminded again of Zak and begins a passionate ad-hoc speech instead, questioning mankind's deserving of survival in the war, and the refusal to accept responsibility for the Cylons' betrayal. Apollo himself hears this broadcast in the Mark II, knowing it is really about Zac. The speech is a success. With the ceremony over, Colonial Heavy 798 takes off back to Caprica, escorted by Apollo, while the rest of the Vipers on the fly-past head on out with Boomer's Raptor for re-assignment.
Baltar stands in his house nervously watching news coverage of multiple nuclear bombings on the planet until they too quickly cease. Out of options, he pleads for evacuation, but Six reveals she will simply download her consciousness into a new body, and that there are in all twelve models of Cylon. Another explosion occurs, close enough for the shockwave to spread out towards the house. She sacrifices her body protecting him from the explosion.
On Galactica, Adama is resting his quarters when he receives a phone call from Gaeta in CIC. A message has been broadcast unencrypted, reading "attention all colonial units: Cylon attack underway. This is no drill."
The ship is put on Condition 1, preparing it for combat. Adama informs the crew of the recent news of the attacks, and that Picon Fleet Headquarters has been destroyed, with the fleet now under the command of Admiral Nagala on Atlantia. Though the enlisted men and women ready for combat, Galactica is far from the rest of the fleet and without ammunition. Gaeta is ordered to keep track of any known contacts, friendly and enemy; Tigh is ordered to look up any munitions depots they can replenish from, and Dualla is to give orders to Spencer's squadron. Starbuck is given a reprieve and ordered out of the brig. These orders are quickly carried out: Gaeta reports that Nagala's fleet is engaging over Virgon, Helo identifies Raiders approaching the squadron but sensor jamming makes it hard to get a count, and Starbuck reports back for duty. Based on new information, 30 battlestars - a quarter of the fleet - have already been destroyed. While they have around twenty Viper pilots left on Galactica, they are short on Vipers and the deck crew is forced to quickly prepare the Mark II museum pieces for service by dragging them to the launch bay. Back at CIC, Dee and Gata look over new reports being faxed in, which show an unusual number of equipment failures, with even an entire battlestar losing power.
The Viper squadron, reinforced by the Raptor, meanwhile approach Cylon forces. The Raptor is unable to provide much help due to jamming, but ultimately concludes there are only two raiders in-range, with two more squadrons further away. As they approach the raiders use the CNP backdoor hack to disable the Mark VIIs, then fire missiles which destroy them all without suffering any damage. Boomer turns the Raptor around to evade the raiders.
On Colonial Heavy 798, Roslin returns from the restroom finding there is something happening, but the crew are not telling the passengers anything. The pilots in the cockpit are aware of the Cylon attack, however, and are being protected by Apollo, though he himself has his doubts in fending off the Cylons in a museum showpiece.
The Raptor is taking evasive action as the Raiders that destroyed the Viper squadron come after them next. Several missiles are fired at them, and they use the Raptor's electronic-countermeasure equipment to scramble them. One final missile is left, which cannot be shaken off. Boomer fires a comm drone, which it destroys instead. While the Raptor is spared destruction, it is damaged by the explosion nonetheless. It has a hull breach, there is a fuel leak and Helo is wounded debris. They cannot repair the Raptor from the inside, and Boomer steers the craft on a course for Caprica, turning off its engines so it appears to be debris on Cylon DRADIS.
Back on Galactica, Adama provides more information to the crew. Caprica City has been destroyed in a nuclear bombing, and there are reports of similar bombardments on Aerilon, Picon, Sagittaron and Gemenon. The attack on Caprica City alone raises the death toll to 7 million.
Roslin enters Colonial Heavy 798's cockpit. Having heard on a passenger's wireless that Caprica has been nuked, the crew's ploy has been foiled and she makes it her responsibility to give out the full details. The captain is ordered to contact the Ministry of Civil Defense to offer assistance. Based on current information available to her, Tauron has also been hit. Roslin orders the passengers to begin taking inventory checks and clearing room for taking on more civilians. Doral is distrusting of Roslin and sees her as an interference in the ship, but as Roslin is a member of the cabinet on a government ship she insists she has legitimate command. Back in the cockpit, Roslin gets in touch with "Jack", a government worker on Caprica. President Richard Adar is missing but believed to be alive, though the Colonial government is no longer capable of verifying this. Adar is revealed to have offered an unconditional surrender to the Cylons following the Picon Fleet HQ bombing, which was ignored. Apollo warns the ship's captain about an in-bound Cylon missile, and his Viper flies towards it to lure it away. Spinning the Viper 180 degrees, he is able to fire at it and destroy it harmlessly, but his Viper is disabled in the process.
On Caprica, Boomer performs maintenance on the Raptor's fuel line, relying on their on-board manual. Helo stands watch, counting six nuclear detonations. Soon he hears the sound of screaming from afar, and the two officers ready their sidearms, as a mob of refugees flee towards them carrying whatever possessions they could, amongst the crowd being Gaius Baltar.
On Colonial Heavy 798, Doral welcomes Apollo aboard, and warns Apollo about Roslin's take-over, encouraging him to replace her. The two arrive to find Roslin planning cargo transfer with the captain for making room. She explains to Apollo that the space-lanes were ordered closed after the attack, meaning a number of civilian ships are stranded in the middle of space and potentially suffering from power problems. Apollo accepts her authority, much to Doral's dismay, and is given orders to check out navigational charts for a good place for the civilian fleet to hide.
Helo fires a warning shot at the refugees. They ignore his protests they are not on a rescue mission and rejects offers of bribes. Ultimately, they agree to take on children and three more people. To determine the three, they cut a page of the manual to shreds to use as lottery tickets.
Galactica begins launching its Mark II Vipers as another two Raiders approach. Starbuck, the squadron leader, is unable to accompany them due to a fault in her Viper. After three aborts, Prozna is ordered to rip out the broken valve as there is no time. Galactica's engines fire up to take it out of range of the Raiders as Starbuck finally launches. The two Raiders are agile and evade the Vipers, but Starbuck destroys one as it futilely attempts to disable her with the virus. The second Raider destroys a Viper and fires nuclear missiles at Galactica. Starbuck takes out two, but misses the third. With no time to double-back, the Vipers break off to avoid the explosion.
Starbuck flies over Galactica's port flight-pod, and reports the forward section has sustained heavy damage, spotting decompression and fires. In CIC, medics treat injured crew while the others continue their duties. With information coming in from Gaeta, Damage Control (DC) units are sent out to the flight pod to put out the fires. Tigh plots on a map of the ship where the damage is, reporting in the violent decompressions are ripping open the hull further down. Adama orders Tigh take personal charge of the DC units while he deals with the further problem of the ship's rear engines unable to be turned off.
A yellow-clad DC unit moves on down a smoke-filled corridor, fighting the flames while evacuating injured enlisted men and women. Prozna, in his DC suit, calls in to CIC to report further decompressions to Tyrol, who is coordinating from there. They simply do not have adequate equipment to handle the fires. Cpt. Kelly orders that other DC teams converge on the port flight-pod to assist, but Tigh belays the order. There is no time to rely on crews to migrate, and instead orders the sealing off of the minimally-effected areas and vent their atmospheres to stop it spreading further. Tyrol reluctantly carries out this order, and over 100 people are left to fend for themselves, with some being visibly ejected into space.
On Caprica, the lottery is completed with an elderly woman winning the final ticket. Helo recognises Baltar in the crowd as he considers stealing it. Knowing his scientific brilliance, Helo stays behind on Caprica, giving his seat over for him. The decision infuriates the refugees, who feel both cheated and despaired by losing their chance. Baltar spots a Number Six in the crowds, but she vanishes when he looks back. The door closes and the Raptor takes off, with Helo forced to shoot a man who tries to force open the door.
Meanwhile, back aboard the Galactica, Its commander, William Adama (Edward James Olmos), assumes command of the few remaining assets of the Colonial Fleet; he decides to make an FTL (Faster-Than-Light) jump to the Ragnar Anchorage, a military armory station where the Galactica can resupply itself with weaponry and essential supplies to get it back into fighting shape.
On Colonial Heavy 798, the "Case Orange" broadcast is received, which Roslin explains is an emergency computer transmission sent out when the President, Vice President and most of the cabinet are confirmed dead. Roslin orders they transmit her ID code: D-456-345-A. After, Roslin rests in the empty passenger deck, where Apollo talks with her. She explains she knows most of the cabinet personally, many having come with her from when Adar was Mayor years earlier. The captain arrives and hands over a fax which determines Roslin as senior surviving cabinet member is the legal President. A priestess, Elosha, swears in Roslin in view of the press, making it legal.
On Galactica, Tyrol and another DC party enter the fire-burnt corridor to treat the wounded who survived with breathing apparatuses. At CIC, Adama talks over with Tigh, learning 26 survived while 85 did not. Tigh moves on to report he has finally completed his earlier order and has tagged Ragnar Anchorage, a military surplus yard in orbit over the gas giant, Ragnar, as the best spot to replenish their ammunition. Back at the port flight-pod, Tyrol finds Prozna's body on top of a weeping Cally. Despite the fire-retardant clothing, his face has been charred by burns. Tyrol reports the deaths in to Adama, and is ordered to set-up a morgue at the hanger-bay. Instead, Tyrol complains about Tigh, and how a 40 second delay could have saved them. Adama does not reprimand him for calling Tigh a "son of a bitch", but defends his XO as making the right decision. With Tyrol gone, Tigh reports in that Ragnar is three days away at best speed. Adama orders a Specialist to provide him a map for plotting an FTL jump to get there against his warnings - Galactica has not used its jump drives in 20 years. Dualla hands over a fax to Adama, visibly in tears. As the FTL drives are ordered to heat up, Adama announces the death of Admiral Nagala and destruction of Atlantia, along with Triton, Solaria, Columbia and many other ships. WIth the chain of command no longer functional, Adama takes command of the fleet.
Colonial Heavy 798 - now renamed Colonial One - forms a small fleet of civilian ships. They receive a fax message from Galactica ordering all Colonial units to rendezvous at Ragnar for the counter-attack. Roslin refuses to take part, however, and Adama makes a wireless call to directly order Apollo to jump the ship. Apollo refuses the order, citing Roslin's superior authority, which Adama does not recognise due to the combat situation. The call is stopped when two Raiders approach the ship. Too late to get to the Viper and with Roslin refusing to jump, Apollo races to the cargo deck and activates an EMP generator that was being shipped from Galactica. Adama is informed of the approaching Raiders, and pleas with his son to escape but receives no reply. The Galactica DRADIS reports a 50kt thermonuclear detonation at the ship's possession. The crew remains quiet in shock, and Tigh holds Adama's shoulders. Galactica resumes its preparations for an FTL jump.