Tigh stands outside the CIC door, nervous. A random nods in passing and calls him Colonel. Inside, Adama watches him through the door and grins tinily to himself. Tigh finally goes in; Gaeta watches impassively and Dualla openly stares. The applause starts, quiet as a whisper, and as the officers on deck applaud louder and louder, they welcome him back and call him "sir." "We're with you, sir!" Gaeta stares some more, and he's not clapping, and he's not cheering. Just looking. Finally Tigh gruffs out -- zipping up the Tigh, hiding the Saul -- "Enough! Don't you people have jobs to do?" There's our boy. Same as ever. Adama welcomes the Colonel back, and Tigh greets the Admiral. Bill hoshis to Apollo to begin the op and launch.
"Shepherds, find your sheep. Stay close, and never let them go. These crews are counting on us to guide them through." Starbuck checks in, Kat calls the Chiron, Hotdog's got the Adriatic in sight. "When you jump into the cluster, you will be disoriented. Take it one step at a time. Find your sheep, work the jump calculations, and get them out. Remember, we do not stay beyond our radiation dose limit." I like all this shipherd talk. That's straight-up Apollo for real, right there. ("Stay close and never let them go" is less "Apollo" talk and more "Lee.") Everybody jumps.
Out in the cluster, they are disoriented but they take it one step at a time. The first step is to freak the fuck out, following by steps two through six: screaming blindness and wigging, alternating four reps at a time. Kat finds her ship and sends the coordinates, and Apollo follows suit. Starbuck's having trouble, but she's got her sheep; Hotdog's flailing in the weeds, screaming. Apollo looks but can't find the Adriatic, and on Galactica Helo calls out, trying to calm him down: "Hotdog, just ease up on the control, man. Ease up on the stick. This is not a Viper." Ah, the velvet tones of Helo telling you you're okay. That's one of the five signs of a good episode. Hotdog just keeps screaming. Helo comforts him, reminds him to use visual -- the skin starts coming off Galactica, horribly -- and Adama calls the Squad directly. "Apollo, this is Galactica actual. You've reached your radiation dose limit. We've got to jump. Count us down!" Hotdog begs them to wait, begs Apollo and the Fleet to just wait one more second. And somewhere in the heat there's a ship called Adriatic, with a skeleton crew, making their way in the blindness and the light, desperately waiting to be saved, and they're holding the line against the fire and against starvation and against annihilation, and they are heroes. And Hotdog can't find them. "You will jump on my mark. Starbuck, jump on my mark with or without your ship." He begins the count, and Hotdog begs. "We can't leave without them!" And then they do, Hotdog screaming obscenities as they go.
"Jump complete," Gaeta says. "Dradis is back online. Ship reports moderate hull damage." It looked gross and ugly and biological, the way the skin stripped off. "Galactica, Apollo. First trip complete. Raptors, land your birds, debrief your pilots, and prepare to jump back for the second group of civilians." He's already getting sick. And on CIC deck, Gaeta says calmly and sadly, "We lost the Adriatic." Tigh's voice is hushed with horror. "It's only our first jump." And Bill nods. "Yes, it is."