Battlestar Galactica

Season 1 Episode 17

The Man with Nine Lives

Aired Sunday 7:00 PM Jan 28, 1979 on ABC

Episode Recap

Adama is reciting his latest log entry detailed that it has been 10 sectons since they encountered the angel-like beings that gave them quasi-directions to Earth. The chance meeting with them has given them hope and the pilots are taking some well deserved R&R. Starbuck, with Apollo, is taking a shuttle to the Rising Star to try out a new gambling system. On the Canaris shuttle to the Rising Star, an old con man, Chameleon is watching a vidcast where the featured guest is Starbuck who reveals that he is an orphan. His seatmate is Siress Blassie. He pretends to be affiliated with the IFB to avoid having to pay his fare on the shuttle. He listens intently to Starbuck's story. When the shuttle docks at the Rising Star, he tells the Siress that he's misplaced his wallet but she offers to pay his way. He initially refuses but eventually relents. It's obvious she is attracted to him but she's no fool. Boomer and Jolly are mesmerized by the floor show as Starbuck convinces Apollo to follow him to the gambling room. As Chameleon and the Siress join others on the dance floor, three Borellian Nomen appear at the entrance causing everyone to stare. Jolly notes that they usually don't mingle with humans unless they're on a blood trail. Chameleon tells the Siress that he has business to conduct and tries to sneak out of the room but one of the Noman, Taba, spots him and plucks a laser bole from his coat, activating it.

Boomer tells Jolly that once activated, the bole must be discharged or it will explode. The lead Noman, Maga, tries to say that their brother acted rashly. Boomer tells him to discharge the bole on one of the room's central supports. Boomer tells them that if they want to stay on the ship they must surrender their boles so they leave for the docking bay to await a shuttle back to their ship. At the docking port, a shuttle is called that would dock at their ship but they remain behind. Maga chides Bora and Taba for his brash behavior but Taba says he spotted Captain Demetri, the man they seek. In the gambling center, Starbuck is using his new system to beat the odds at pyramid. Chameleon sits at the table and amusely watches Starbuck as he consults his calculator. He tells Starbuck that the system he is playing has a flaw and Starbuck wisely decreases his bet just as he loses. Starbuck thanks Chameleon who offers to purchase a drink for them. In the docking lounge, the Borellians continue to wait for Demetri to appear. Chameleon tells Apollo that he is a genetic tracer who unites orphans with their blood relatives. Chameleon tells them that he lost his son in a Cylon raid on Caprica, the same raid that made Starbuck an orphan. Starbuck realizes the odds are against Chameleon being his father but Chameleon says that a test available on the Galactica could narrow the field.

As Apollo heads back to the lounge, Boomer fills him in on his run-in with Borellian Nomen but Jolly tells him that the Nomen didn't leave on the shuttle as they promised. Apollo and Boomer confront them in the lounge and Maga tries to defuse the situation but Taba tries to draw his bole. Boomer and Apollo arrest Taba. Maga denies that they are on a blood trail. Starbuck and Chameleon enter the lounge and exit as Chameleon looks at Maga who stares at him, too. Apollo and Boomer follow them to their shuttle. Jolly leaves Maga and Bora to wait for the next shuttle. Bora questions Maga on his motives and Maga reminds him that they are on a blood trail and they need to bide their time until they can get on the Galactica. Just then, the video ad looking for Galactica viper pilots airs. On the shuttle back, Boomer is convinced that the Nomen are after Chameleon and Apollo and Boomer realize that Chameleon may be pulling a con about being Starbuck's father just to get off the Rising Star and seek protection on the Galactica. Aboard the Galactica, the first genetic test is a match and Chameleon urges Cassiopeia to begin further genetic tests. In Adama's quarters, Apollo and Boomer are apprising Adama of their suspicions about Chameleon while Sheba defends him and his motives. Apollo asks Sheba to ask Tigh to run a security check on Chameleon.

In the Galactica's launch bay, Tigh welcomes the new viper pilot recruits. Among them are Maga and Bora and Tigh looks uneasy. Cassiopeia begins further gene testing with Starbuck and Chameleon. Boomer relays his and Apollo's concerns regarding Chameleon's possible con. Chameleon tells Starbuck that Cassiopeia reminds him of his wife (and possibly Starbuck's mother). Starbuck reveals that Cassiopeia is the only woman he's considered marrying. In the recruit quarters, the viper trainees are settled in. The Nomen approach Corporal Loomis to ask him where they might find Starbuck. His location is given but they refuse the man's offer to relay a message to him. Boomer and Apollo confront Chameleon about the Borellians and he gives them a story that seems to convince them of his motives. The Nomen approach Loomis to request a room where they can pray in private and when he shows them to the supply cabinet they knock him unconscious.

Starbuck asks Apollo and Boomer if they've seen Chameleon when Tigh tells them he has the results of the security check on Chameleon. Starbuck is angered at their meddling and tells them all that he'll be with his father. Tigh says the records indicate that Chameleon doesn't exist. They are surprised to find out that the Borellians are on board the Galactica posing a viper pilot trainees. The Nomen approach a couple of pilots to ask if they've seen Starbuck and are told that they saw him with a civilian in the launch bay. In the launch bay, Starbuck is showing Chameleon, sitting in the viper, how the viper's controls work. Starbuck tells him that he is resigning from the service to be with his father. Chameleon is about to tell Starbuck the truth when the Nomen, using the elevator, arrive in the launch bay. They confront Starbuck and ask him where is Captain Demetri. He doesn't know who they're talking about and they tell him they're on a blood hunt. They pull their laser boles. He runs down the launch tube as they throw their boles and follow him. Chameleon, still sitting in the viper yells to Starbuck to duck and then fires the viper's lasers down the launch tube at the Borellians.

The Nomen survive and Starbuck tells Apollo that they were looking for a Captain Demetri and Chameleon sheepishly admits that he is Demetri. Later, in Adama's quarters, Starbuck tells Adama, Sheba, Boomer and Apollo the story behind Chameleon aka Captain Demetri. They share apologies. Cassiopeia finds Chameleon to tell him that the genetic tests were positive--that he is Starbuck's father. He urges Cassiopeia to tell everyone that the tests are negative because Starbuck would give up everything he loves including her if he believes Chameleon to be his father. He promises to tell Starbuck the truth, some day. Later, Chameleon appears before Adama and he wonders what to do with him. He decides to surrender him to Siress Blassie who will see to his rehabilitation. Starbuck asks Chameleon is they can still be friends and offers to shuttle him back to the Senior ship. As they are leaving Starbuck plies him for any gambling secrets he might have.

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