The Long Patrol (Battlestar Galactica)

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"The Long Patrol"
Battlestar Galactica (1978) episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 7
Directed by Chris Nyby, Jr.
Written by Donald P. Bellisario
Original air date 15 October 1978
Guest actors

Ted Gehring as Croad
Sean McClory as Assault 9
Cathy Paine as the voice of CORA
James Whitmore, Jr. as Robber
Arlene Martel ("Tasha Martell") as Adultress

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Lost Warrior"
Next →
"Gun on Ice Planet Zero"
Episode chronology

"The Long Patrol" is an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica television series.


After losing an experimental Viper to a smuggler, Starbuck is imprisoned in a "unique" environment.[1]

Plot Synopsis[edit]

The Galactica leads the fleet through a void of asteroid dust into another galaxy, leaving the galaxy in which the Twelve Colonies once existed. Amid this Starbuck has volunteered to test a new prototype Viper fitted for extended-range reconnaissance, but before embarking on this mission, (and in keeping with his Don Juan-like persona), he finds himself in a predicament involving both Athena and Cassiopeia aboard the luxury ship Rising Star. He attempts to please both women on simultaneous dinner dates, each unbeknown to the other, and at the cost of constant payments to the ship maitre d'. Amid his dates, the Galactica detects human life on long-range scanners and the recon Viper is readied. Starbuck is thus called to duty and must bid Athena and Cassiopeia goodbye by leaving valuable trinkets to both. The two ladies later run into each other and seeing each other's trinkets realize they have been tricked.

Starbuck dons a generic black flight suit/uniform (so as not to be identified as a Colonial warrior by potential Cylon allies) and flies off in the new fighter – which has superior speed and maneuverability, but at the lack of weaponry. The ship is also equipped with a flirtatious computer called CORA.

Running recon ahead of the fleet, Starbuck encounters an old starfighter chasing a small cargo shuttle. Starbuck intervenes by distracting the fighter so that the shuttle can escape. The fighter breaks off and Starbuck follows the shuttle to a nearby world where he discovers the pilot is a smuggler hauling crates of ambrosia – a very expensive beverage and a favorite of Starbucks. While Starbuck admires the drink, the shuttle pilot strikes him from behind and knocks him out. The Smuggler then steals the Viper.

Aboard Galactica, Athena picks up a signal from the prototype Viper, but oddly, it is an unrecognizable code being aimed back at the Colonies. Fearing these signals will alert the Cylons to their position, Commander Adama orders Apollo and Boomer to intercept and destroy the Viper.

Starbuck regains consciousness, and seeing his Viper gone, takes off in the smuggler's shuttle. Upon reaching orbit, he is attacked by the same fighter he drove off earlier. The fighter pilot calls him "Robber", but Starbuck eventually convinces him that he is not the man he thinks he is. The fighter orders Starbuck to follow him to a nearby planet. Upon landing, guards inspect the shuttle and find the ambrosia. They arrest Starbuck for bootlegging despite his pleas of innocence.

On Galactica, Cassiopeia learns of Starbuck's situation. She also recognizes the unfamiliar signal as an old Arien merchant code. Adama has Apollo and Boomer spare the Viper and track it to the planet called Aries. Upon landing, they search for the pilot amongst some abandoned buildings. When Boomer finds the Smuggler's wife and child, the man surrenders.

Meanwhile, Starbuck is thrown in a cell and given the new name of "Bootlegger 137". After conversing with other prisoners – who are likewise named for their crime and a number (such as Embezzler 10, Murderer 7 etc.) – Starbuck learns they are actually the descendents of the original inmates and being held for the crimes committed by their ancestors. He then realizes he is on a long forgotten Colonial penal colony called Proteus. The prison uses penal labor to manufacture munitions and large amounts of ambrosia for the Colonial military, but Colonial government eventually lost contact with the colony and assumed it destroyed. Starbuck also learns that there is a sizable stockpile of ambrosia that has been sitting on the docks for over a century and he dreams of the money it could bring.

Back on Aries, Apollo and Boomer converse with the smuggler and learn of the inhuman conditions on Proteus and that Starbuck has been taken there. They convince the smuggler to help rescue Starbuck and fly the prototype Viper with them to Proteus.

Back on Proteus, Starbuck has an altercation with a guard and realizes the locks on the cell doors haven't worked in ages. The guard runs away and Starbuck convinces the inmates that they are being duped into making ambrosia and unjustly being held as slaves. This causes an uprising and the inmates quickly seize the control of the prison.

Soon, just as Adama had feared, a Cylon patrol has intercepted the old merchant signal and traced it back to the advanced Viper, which is now on its way to Proteus. As soon as Apollo and Boomer arrive, Starbuck is reunited with the Viper just as the Cylons begin attacking the colony. Starbuck, Apollo and Boomer manage to destroy the Cylons, but Starbuck's dreams of riches go up in flames when he sees the Cylons had destroyed all the ambrosia when they attacked the docks.

Once the fleet arrives at Proteus, Starbuck's safe return is celebrated with a dinner aboard the Rising Star. There Boxey presents his father, Apollo, with a drawing of Earth's solar system as described to him by his grandfather Adama. When Starbuck sees the "map" he notices it is similar to a drawing he saw in his cell at the prison. The smuggler friend, who also attends the dinner, says the drawing in the cell was made by "the silent one" – a mysterious prisoner that had long since died. Adama wonders if the man had found Earth.


  • Where the previous episode, "The Lost Warrior" was a story about Apollo being stranded far from the fleet, this episode was a story about Starbuck in the role of the lost warrior. It has been suggested that the two episodes were filmed at the same time, with one part of the production focusing on Richard Hatch's character, while the other crew was busy with Dirk Benedict.[1]
  • During the course of the series, Starbuck would go missing or end up stranded a number of times. In this instance, his Viper is preserved, so this is not an instance of Starbuck crashing his ship - rather this time it was stolen.
  • Baltar makes his first appearance after being left for dead in the Pyramids of the "Lost Planet of the Gods" Its been suggested that the cylons went looking for him and this is how he is alive and well.


  • Robert Hathaway, who portrayed the Enforcer, is father of Noah Hathaway, who plays Boxey.
  • Natives of Aries in this episode seem to speak in an Irish accent. This was picked up in the Re-imagined Series where natives of Aerilon speak with an accent that sounds somewhat Irish.


External links[edit]