Col. Tigh, second in command of the Battlestar Galactica, took time of from his inerplanetar search for Earth yesterday to come to the D.C. Superior Court to testify about the night he chased a man accused of robbery through rush hour traffic in downtown Washington.

Actor Terry Carter, whose adventures are usually confined to the television screen for one hour on Sunday nights, held his audience - the jury - spellbound as he told his story that began, he said, when he saw a man run out the door of a Gino's at 1348 New York Ave. NW on May 22.

Carter, who was parked in his car waiting for a friend, testified a woman followed the many crying "Stop, thief," Carter who spent seven years on a television series as New York City Detective Sgt. Joe Broadhurst before his recent move to space, told the jury that he knew "something was going on that was not normal."

According to testimony, a 300-pound unidentified bystander unsuccessfully pusued the accused thief into an alley. Suddenly, Carter testified, the defendant Oscar Lee Johnson, 21, appeared in front of his car.

Carter began shouting, "It's an emergency! Move your car over!" he testified as he chased Johnson in his car down New York Avenue to 12th Street where he said he saw Johnson board a Metrobus.

"I realized if I didn't do something drastic the defendant would get away," Carter testified, so he pulled his car in front of the bus, got onto the bus himself, found Johnson and in "a kind of authoritative manner" said "All right let's go."

Carter told the jury during questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberta Eaton that he took the man back to his car and began to drive back to Gino's, when the man jumped out and fled. Carter, undaunted, testified that he pursued the man by car again and caught up with him - for good - at the nearby Greyhound bus station.

After a crisp, formal cross-examination by defense attorney Christopher Hoge, Carter, who said later that he has been mugged once and burglarized twice, left the witness stand and spent a moment outside the courtroom shaking hands and signing autographs.

"I just feel people have to be concerned about what's happening around them," he said.

The trial before Judge John Hess is expected to resume today.