Tigh comes running up about how Robert is a "brain-dead card cheat" who owes him a drink, and Robert intensely tells him to get the hell out of Epidemic Dogville; just as Tigh's wowing at the rudeness, Helo comes running up, and he and Robert confer on how all of the people are suddenly sick all of a sudden. Across the room, Willie King goes down, and Dualla shouts for the doctor; Mrs. King is still protesting all this, and Robert once again sends Tigh out of there. This time, he goes. Dualla and Robert rush Willie off to the makeshift med camp, and Helo stares around at all the people coughing and being sick and looking haggard. As a mayor of refugees, he is trained to notice these kinds of patterns.
"So? What have we got here, Mike?" I hope it has a shitty, stupid sci-fi name when a real disease that didn't sound like an Anne McCaffrey planet would work just as well.... Bingo! "Mellorak sickness. It originates in the kidneys and then rapidly attacks the respiratory and the immune system." Doc Cottle -- who, by the way, is phoning it in the entire time, as well as being saddled with some embarrassing and impossible dialogue, explains how if they don't get treated within 48 hours, they'll die. It's not airborne -- it spreads through human contact: "Saliva, sexual intercourse, through the skin." If you think any of those things matter, they don't. There's no big revelation or twist depending on that. It's just talking. Talking talking talking. "Right now it seems confined to the Sagittarons," the doctors say, and Tigh intrigues the Helo Suit by talking about how that's a good thing: "They're welcome to it." There's gotta be a better character than Tigh for this role in the story, considering how much he already gave for the Fleet. I mean, I get that there are other kinds of racism than Cylon hating -- that's the best thing this episode does, is make Robert act cool to Sharon and Hera -- but Tigh makes this a weird fit. Anyway, the disease is spreading, but it's curable with "a shot of bitamucin" and some sedatives for the vague "symptoms," which makes no sense but is a retrofit for later on in the episode when Dualla gets crammed into the Maiden In Distress role that so clearly doesn't fit her that you've gotta dope her up. There's not a huge amount of bitamucin in the Fleet, so Cottle suggests that they wait to inoculate until people start presenting symptoms. Adama reminds us all that Robert is the civilian doctor, and puts the whole thing in his hands -- requesting only that Chief and the crew get immunized. "I don't need any downtime," he says, and I can only refer him to this entire goddamned episode.