Earth - Present Day
The little shuttle named Starbuck sat on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The countdown had begun to send the test shuttle into orbit. The mission was simple enough. To test a quantum string theory that could create a slipstream from one galaxy to another. The pilot was to test the theory and gather sensor information in orbit for the scientist at NASA. The shuttle pilot, Kara Thrace was chosen to fly the mission after an exhausted test process. She sat at the controls as the countdown commenced. She looked over the controls of the one man shuttle and readied herself for liftoff. The spacesuit was bulky and helmet made her feel like she was trapped in a bowl. The countdown came to zero and the rumble of the engines ignited beneath. The gravitational forces pushed her back into the seat as the shuttle rocketed up from the surface of the planet. She executed the maneuvers to orbit perfectly. Within fifteen minutes she was sitting on the top of the world and preparing for the test.
"Starbuck to command," she radioed upon reaching orbit.
"We read you loud and clear Starbuck," the voice crackled over the speaker.
"I am in position to start phase one of the test," she announced rather confident.
"Initiate phase one," the voice gave the command.
Kara flipped the switches and initiated the secondary engine. She reported, "Starbuck to command. Phase one initiated. Temperature is holding steady."
Within a few minutes she was given the next order, "Command to Starbuck. You are a go for phase two."
"Starbuck to command initiating phase two," she replied as she flipped another switch. She then hit a turbo button to gain speed. Much to her surprise the sensors went wild and she was thrown back against her seat with tremendous force. She looked ahead and saw nothing but lights. "Starbuck to command I'm disengaging phase two." She hit the switch but nothing happened. She started feeling nauseous and disoriented. "Command, come in command. I can't disengage." Still she got no reply. She executed another maneuver to disengage the engines of the shuttle completely. Finally she came to a rest and the nauseating lights subsided. She had trouble determining if she right side up or upside down. There was nothing around her. She could see stars but could not get any bearings. She hit the distress signal and hoped someone would find her before she ran out of air.
Two Vipers made their way across the space to ensure no Cylons were near. Captain Apollo and Lt. Starbuck were out on patrol. Starbuck made small talk with his friend and captain.
"You know what the first thing is I'm gonna do once we find Earth?" asked Starbuck.
Apollo wondered, "What's that?"
"Take a hot shower for as many centars as I want," he grinned thinking of how good that long, hot shower would feel.
"You'll wrinkle up like an old man if you are in there that long," he laughed. He then noticed, "I getting something on long range scanner."
Starbuck made adjustments, "I'm picking up something too, about a hectar ahead."
"I think I'm getting a transmission," Apollo added. They soon closed in on the source and spotted a small shuttle floating upside down and lifeless in the dead of space. Apollo read his scanners, "I'm not getting any match on any known vessel."
Starbuck looked closely at the white and black shuttle, "Doesn't look like Cylon. I'm going in for a closer look." He inched his Viper close to the windows of the cockpit. He could make out the outline of a human inside. "There's someone in here," he reported. "It looks like a man in a suit."
"It's some sort of distress call," Apollo had analyzed the signal.
"Think we should bring him back to the Galactica?" asked Starbuck.
Apollo agreed, "Suit up for walk. We need to bring the pilot and craft back."
Starbuck grudgingly agreed, "Right."
Short Time Later
Kara was removed from her damaged shuttle and placed inside Apollo's viper. Her shuttle was then attached to a cable designed for deep space recovery and towed back to the Galactica. Apollo wasn't sure if his passenger was alive or dead or what she truly looked like under the helmet and suit. He noticed the red, white and blue flag but had no idea what it meant.
Upon landing on the Galactica, Kara was rushed to the decontamination unit and then to the infirmary. The ship's doctor discovered she was still alive but barely. She was placed in a special chamber to help her heal form the hypoxia.
Colonel Tigh walked into the bay where Starbuck had landed with the shuttle. All fighters and technicians gathered around the strange shuttle and wondered what it was and where it was from.
The Colonel pushed his way through the brown uniformed fighter-pilots. He smoothed out his blue uniform upon seeing the craft, "What do we have?" he demanded.
Starbuck reported, "Apollo found it along with its pilot. The pilot was taken to the infirmary. I'm not sure on her condition yet."
"Her?" he gasped.
"The pilot's a woman," he informed.
The colonel read the writing on the shuttle, "It is in our language. 'The United States of America'. Hmm, 'Starbuck'?" he read off the shuttle's name.
"Yeah," Starbuck nodded. "It's the Starbuck." He then handed him the spacesuit the pilot wore, "She was in this. The patches say 'NASA'….Whatever that is."
"What else have you got?" he asked him.
"The ship is severely damaged," he told him. "I don't think it was made for going anyplace. The engines are far too small and there isn't enough fuel. There is a secondary engine but I don't have any idea how it works. It's not like anything I have seen. The controls seem basic but the internal displays seem a bit more advanced than what we have. Whatever the ship was made to do it wasn't designed to leave the orbit of a planet or moon."
"Move this little craft to a secured location," the colonel ordered. "And I want a full report as soon as possible."
"Yes sir," Starbuck agreed.
Apollo was still in the infirmary as the ships' doctor, a tall thin man with white hair sporting a white coat brought the mysterious pilot around. Kara woke up as she was being removed from the chamber that saved her life. She had been stripped naked and was under a blanket. She was groggy and confused.
"Where am I?" she asked assuming she was somehow on Earth.
"Easy miss," the doctor told her. "You had a close call."
She looked over at Apollo. She didn't recognize him or his uniform but he seemed to have friendly smile. "Hi."
"Hi," he replied. "Can you tell me your name?"
"Kara Thrace," she reported. "Who are you?"
"My name is Captain Apollo," he informed. "I found you and your little shuttle. Can you tell me where you are from?"
She assumed she was on Earth and instantly replied, "I'm an American."
"American?" he asked unsure.
"I'm from America," she clarified.
Apollo assumed America was the name of her planet for his people had not used countries in a millennium. It made perfect sense for 'America' was on her craft. He assured her, "You're on the Galactica now. You're safe."
"Is that Navy?" she wondered a bit confused.
He replied, "We're the last Battlestar."
She was too tired from her near death experience to really comprehend what he was speaking about and assumed she was on an allied ship in the ocean and she was going back home. She closed her eyes and muttered, "Let me know what you contact Washington."
"Excuse me," Apollo started when the ships' doctor stopped him.
"She's still very weak, Captain. She needs time to rest."
"I'll catch up with her later." he agreed and then he left the infirmary wondering just what do with his American.