“We have arrived…at Earth.”
The CIC erupted in cheers. Adama hugged Roslin for a long time, reveling in how nice, how right, everything felt, until he saw Lee jump up on the console and start stripping. That seemed like a rather inappropriate response to finding Earth. It was a testament to how happy he was that Lee’s behavior only made Adama embarrassed rather than angry, and he even forgot that embarrassment when Lee hopped down and embraced him.
After collecting himself and giving his crew a few more much-deserved moments of celebration, Adama boomed over the din, “We have work to do! Mr. Gaeta, send out the three Raptors for the recon mission we discussed.”
“Yes, sir,” Gaeta said, turning to his station as Lieutenant Hoshi jogged across the CIC back to communications.
Roslin smoothed her skirt, regained her professional demeanor, and asked, “Admiral, you’re sure they can’t see the Fleet’s current position from Earth?”
“I’m not sure, but jumping in behind the gas giant in this system was our best bet,” Adama responded, checking a print-out. “If they’re as advanced as the Colonies were before the fall, they’ll have covered a blind spot like this. But if not, it might work.”
“Sir,” said Lieutenant Hoshi, “the Raptors are picking up all sorts of wireless signals.”
“Can they tell what they’re saying?” asked Adama.
“What are likely the military frequencies are all scrambled, sir, but they say they’re picking up a lot of random chatter in Standard Colonial, and…did you say Old Sagittarian, Skulls? And Old Sagittarian, sir.”
“Have the Raptors patch it through to you and see if you can make any sense out of it, Lieutenant,” said Adama. Then he called out to a private, “Help Lieutenant Dualla set up a second wireless feed. Dee, see if you can translate any of the Old Sagittarian transmissions.”
Adama walked over to the communications station, Roslin and Lee following on his heels. “What have you got, Lieutenant?” asked Adama.
Hoshi shook his head and shrugged, defeated. “They’re speaking Colonial Standard all right, but I can’t make heads or tails of what they’re talking about on any of the frequencies.”
“Just tell us what you hear, Lieutenant,” said Roslin.
Hoshi looked at Adama for approval; the Old Man nodded. “Yes, ma’am.” He repeated what he heard over the wireless to Lee, Roslin, and Adama, clicking the dial to a new frequency each time they shrugged or shook their heads in incomprehension. “Sunny days, sweepin’ the clouds away; on my way to where the air is sweet! Can you tell me–Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do—Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ wit’ no—If you’re having problems with hard water build up, soap scum, ring around the toilet, then you need Kablam! Spray Kablam on a shower door—Science Friday, with your host Ira Flatow. Today, we’re talking with Mr. John Samson, a researcher at Princeton University, and Ambassador Gillian Muir, former head of the U.S. delegation to the latest round of nuclear testing talks with Russia, India, Pakistan, and several other nuclear powers. We’re discussing nuclear security, the Reliable Replacement Warhead program, and the development of the next generation of nuclear weapons.”
Four pairs of eyes widened, and Adama motioned for Hoshi to stay tuned to that station. Adama, Roslin, and Lee turned away to conference while Hoshi listened to the wireless and took notes.
“Thank you for not saying ‘I told you so’ for convincing me to send out a recon instead of jumping in right above Earth,” Adama said, mainly to keep from giving Lee any opportunity to say “I told you so.”
“We still don’t know much at all about Earth,” said Lee, “just that at least some people there speak Standard Colonial—thank the gods—and that they have nukes, which isn’t all that surprising.”
“Well, we’re going to have to make contact with them eventually, somehow,” said Roslin. “Funny how we never really planned for this part. I was supposed to be dead by this point, but I don’t know what you two have for an excuse.”
Adama sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
After much discussion and a conference call with the baseship, they decided the best course of action was to make limited face-to-face contact as soon as possible, since sending out a wireless signal might give away the Fleet’s position and give the people on Earth with nukes too much time to get nervous and trigger-happy. Starbuck recommended they jump one Raptor low into the planet’s atmosphere, the way they had during the rescue mission to Caprica, and from there on out hope for the best. Athena and Starbuck piloted the Raptor, and the Admiral, President, and Lee all felt it was their personal duty to make first contact, so they rode along. D’Anna accompanied them as the representative for the Cylons.
Starbuck’s plan was a good one. All went smoothly until they realized they’d jumped in over a metropolitan area rather than sparsely inhabited territory, which had been their goal, and a malfunctioning thruster forced them to land in a parking lot.
By the time Athena opened the hatch, a large and oddly attired crowd had gathered around the Raptor. Each person exited the Raptor with his or her hands up, expecting to be met with weapons, or at least with fear. Much to their surprise, though, they were mainly met with applause.
“Those are the most impressive CosPlayers I have ever seen,” one person at the front of the crowd commented.
“They can’t be amateurs—amateurs couldn’t have modified a helicopter like that,” said the man beside her. “I still can’t figure out how the hell that thing works.”
“Besides, why would anybody put that much work into a fandom nobody recognizes? Because at least I have no clue who they are,” said a third. “I bet they’re a special promotion for a new movie or something. Even so, it’s awesome.”
“Do any of you have any idea where we are?” asked Roslin, smiling at the crowd and waving, hoping they’d take the gesture as friendly and non-threatening.
“I see a banner on the building over there—it looks like it says ‘Welcome to VancouviCon,’ but—sorry, not a clue,” answered Lee, following suit and copying the President’s politician wave.
“Somehow I didn’t imagine Earthlings would dress so…foreign,” said D’Anna, scanning the group warily.
“At least they’re human,” said Athena.
“All of them?” said D’Anna, not taking her eyes off the strange assembly. “What about that thing with the bumpy forehead wearing the yellow-and-black onesie?”
The applause died down, and the crowd stood expectantly, even pressing forward a little bit.
“So…what should we say?” asked Lee.
“‘We come in peace?’” whispered Starbuck, shrugging.
“Isn’t that kind of cliché?”
“Cliché or not, it’s what I’d be worried about if I were them.”
Roslin cleared her throat and slowly announced, “Hello, people of Earth. We have traveled very far to find you. We come in peace.”
“See, it’s not cliché—it’s classic,” muttered Starbuck.
“Who are you supposed to be?” called someone in the crowd.
“I am Laura Roslin, President of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. This is Admiral William Adama, leader of the Colonial—”
“Adama? Like from Battlestar Galactica?” another person in the crowd yelled.
The party from the Raptor all started in surprise. “Yes. How did you know we—”
“So if you’re Adama, where the frak is your cape?”
Adama glared. “Excuse me?”
For decades to come, historians would note with no little amusement how Earth’s first inter-planetary crisis nearly started over a fashion faux pas.