Under The Night

Original Airdate: 2 Oct, 2000

If the Commonwealth's High Guard had a weakness, it was this:
Its officers were too competent, too caring, and too brave.

Yin Man-Wei
The Rise and Fall of the Systems Commonwealth
CY 11942

(In the depths of space, a massive curved spaceship with long appendages like arms reaching forward to hug you glides forward, accompanied by small vessels.)

[Corridor]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Battle stations. Battle stations. All crew, man your battle stations.
(The crew, mostly humans but not all, run along, some slide down ladders.)
RHADE: Three minutes five! Three minutes six! Three minutes seven! Move it, Thompson!
(Elsewhere, a very confident man lets himself fall by a ladder for a large number of decks before activating a device on his belt to slow and land gentle. Everyone say Hi! to Kevin Sorbo.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: I wish you wouldn't do that. What if your anti-grav harness failed and I couldn't catch you in time.
HUNT: Oh, Andromeda, you wouldn't let that happen, because then you'd have to break in a new captain.

[Defence station]

(Thompson dashes into his duty seat next to an alien with a pair of massive tusks across its mouth.)
THOMPSON: Starboard point Defence Station Five manned and ready.

[Corridor]

MAN [OC]: Point Defence Station Six manned and ready.
WOMAN [OC]: Point Defence Station Seven manned and ready.
MAN 2 [OC]: Station Eight manned and ready.
(Hunt come up behind Rhade.)
HUNT: Report.
RHADE: Captain, all stations manned and ready.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Elapsed time, three minutes twenty seven seconds.
RHADE: Too slow!
HUNT: Too loud.

[Defence station]

HUNT: Thompson, you forgot to activate the secondary battery. Andromeda had to do it for you.
THOMPSON: Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir. It won't happen again.
RHADE: It better not. All hands, stand down!
(Klaxon)
MAN [OC]: All crew, stand down from stations. All crew, stand down. End of drill.
HUNT: Ship-wide, Rommie. This is the Captain. Not bad, people, but I'm not doing any cartwheels. Team leaders, coordinate additional sessions. You know what to do. Let's get it under three minutes. Dismissed.

[Corridor]

RHADE: Thompson not arming that battery compromised his entire sector.
HUNT: He's a bright kid. He'll learn.
RHADE: If he lives long enough.
HUNT: Ever the cynic. You know, I can't wait to hear your toast at my wedding. To Dylan and Sarah. I'm sure you'll have a long and happy life together, unless you die.
RHADE: Nietzscheans don't believe in optimism. It inhibits survival.
HUNT: So does pessimism.
RHADE: I'm glad you're getting married. You may not be properly engineered, but your genes are sound. You should reproduce.
HUNT: Thanks. I hope Sarah agrees with you.
RHADE: I'm sure she does. As the great philosopher wrote, man is for woman a means. The end is always a child.
HUNT: I take it back. You're not a cynic, you're a romantic.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Captain Hunt, we're receiving a hail from a Systems Courier ship. It's indicating a stellar level emergency.
HUNT: On our way.

[Command]

(Hunt and Rhade walk up the curved deck and past the Gunnery Sergeant at Arms.)
SERGEANT: Captain on deck.
HUNT: As you were. Status.
(A Than answers - a large insect at the helm.)
DAWN: The courier just transited to normal space. We're moving to intercept.
HUNT: Are we close enough for real time?
(He is answered by a hologram of a young woman in a low cut uniform waistcoat. Everyone say Hi! to Lexa Doig.)
ROMMIE: Range is one light second.
HUNT: Establish communications.
(A woman appears on the viewscreen.)
COURIER: This is the Systems Courier ship Alacrative Missive. Do you copy?
RHADE: Go ahead, Missive.
COURIER: It's a rogue black hole, Hephaestus system. They're trying to evacuate, but there aren't enough ships.
(The ship's artificial intelligence appears on the other half of the viewscreen. This is also Lexa, but in full uniform.)
ANDROMEDA: Hephaestus has a population of nearly half a billion sentients.
COURIER: You're the first ship I've contacted.
HUNT: Plot a course to Hephaestus.
DAWN: Plotting course.
RHADE: Keep moving, notify everyone you can. (to crewwoman) Dispatch our own couriers. Tell them to spread the word.
HUNT: Ship-wide. This is the Captain. All hands, prepare to receive refugees. Rig the ship for maximum capacity.
ROMMIE: Ejecting cargo from bays one through five.
DAWN: Approaching transit point.
HUNT: Brace for slipstream. Dawn, transit to slipstream on my mark.
(Energy begins to crackle over the hull of the ship.)
HUNT: Three, two, one, mark.
(The ship rushes forward into a piece of white space. The interior shakes around, briefly producing multiple images of each person as it dives into a tunnel of energy threads. The pilot's chair moves on a gymble in three dimensions as she navigates the curving path.)
DAWN: Transiting back to normal space in three, two, and
(A brief moment of shaking then all is normal. A fleet of ships is silhouetted against a sun.)
DAWN: We're receiving over a thousand distress signals.
ROMMIE: Reading a powerful singularity in the outer solar system. Mass three times ten to the thirty first kilos. Range, one point two light minutes.
RHADE: Hephaestus's population is over seventy percent Nietzscheans. If my people are running, the situation must be desperate.
HUNT: We'll take on as many people as we can. Deploy outrunners. If there are any orbital habitats near the singularity, we've got to evacuate them immediately.
DAWN: A contingent of ships is closing on us, aft and port.
HUNT: Tell them we'll get to them as soon as we
(Boom!)
DAWN: They're firing on us!
ROMMIE: It's a trap.
HUNT: Battle stations!

[Corridor]

ANDROMEDA: Battle stations. Battle stations. All crew, man your battle stations.

[Defence station]

THOMPSON: Tell me this is another drill.
(Sparks fly from their consoles.)
ALIEN: It is no drill.
THOMPSON: I was afraid of that.

[Command]

(Guns pop up out of the hull and start firing at the attacking ships.)
DAWN: All battle stations manned and ready.
RHADE: Two minutes, forty one seconds.
HUNT: Deploy combat drones.
(Little ships whizz out of the spaceship.)
HUNT: How many ships are we up against?
ANDROMEDA: I'm detecting over ten thousand enemy vessels.
HUNT: What?
ANDROMEDA: Five hundred are already within combat radius. All of them appear to be of Nietzschean design.
(The tactical display on the viewscreen is full of green dots converging on the ship.)
DAWN: Ten thousand ships? It must have taken years to gather a force this big.
RHADE: Sir, I recommend we deploy Nova bombs.
HUNT: This system is inhabited. I will not use strategic weapons, no matter how many ships we're up against.
RHADE: As you wish.
(The attack starts to hit home. The ship shakes and sparks fly from consoles.)
DAWN: More ships are closing.
HUNT: We have to warn the rest of the High Guard.
RHADE: You think this is some kind of Nietzschean conspiracy against the Commonwealth?
HUNT: They're Nietzscheans. They're shooting at us.
RHADE: Given the circumstances, I should be confined to the brig, along with the other Nietzscheans in the crew.
HUNT: Are you telling me I can't trust you?
RHADE: I'm saying you can't afford to take any chances.
HUNT: Sergeant, take Commander Rhade to the brig. See to it that the other Nietzschean crewmembers are relieved of duty.
SERGEANT: Aye, Captain.
(The Gunnery Sergeant escorts Rhade away.)
DAWN: We can't manoeuvre. There are too many of them.
ROMMIE: We've lost over seventy percent of our drones.
HUNT: Can we transit to slipstream?
DAWN: Not here. The gravitational pull of the black hole is too strong. We're trapped.

[Corridor]

(An incoming weapon breaches the hull, blowing Thompson and his companion backwards into the corridor. A klaxon sounds.) 
ALIEN: Thompson! Thompson!
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Hull breach on level eight, section three. Evacuate immediately.
(Thompson is dead.)
ALIEN: Thompson.

[Command]

ROMMIE: I've lost connections with the lower decks.
DAWN: We've had multiple hull breaches. Life support is failing.
HUNT: How long to transit?
DAWN: We need ten more minutes to get past the gravitational distortions.
(The ship takes more hits.)
HUNT: We're not going to make it. How many of your androids are still functional?
ROMMIE: Twenty nine. Fifteen others are still online, but I can't
HUNT: It'll have to do. Man the critical systems. Give me ship-wide.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Ship-wide.
HUNT: This is the Captain. All hands abandon ship. Repeat. All hands abandon ship. Use every available escape pod and drone. Get away from the Andromeda as fast as possible, then scatter. Make your way to a Commonwealth starport and warn the High Guard what's happened here.
(Hunt and Dawn are left alone.)
DAWN: What about you?
HUNT: I have an idea.
DAWN: You always do. You're going to need a good pilot.
HUNT: I ordered you to abandon ship.
DAWN: Let the record show that First Lieutenant Refractions of Dawn respectfully refuses to comply. If we live through this, you can court martial me.
HUNT: You are one stubborn bug.
DAWN: What's the human expression? Guilty as charged.

[Corridor]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Abandon ship. All crew, abandon ship. Proceed to escape pods. Shuttles available on Hangar Deck Three. Abandon ship. Abandon ship. Abandon ship.
(A flurry of two person escape pods zoom away from the spaceship. Meanwhile, elsewhere -) 
SERGEANT: This way, sir.
(Three wicked spikes suddenly jut out from Rhade's outer forearms and he slams them into the stomachs of the Sergeant at Arms and his other escort. Once they are fully incapacitated he takes the Sergeant's weapon.)
RHADE: You should train them better.

[Command]

HUNT: Seal off Command and Control. Vent the rest of the atmosphere. We need to make the ship as light as possible.
(The main doors close.)
(An android at life support starts the vent so Rhade puts a small breather in his mouth.)
DAWN: The rest of the ship's been depressurised.
HUNT: Set a course. Heading zero nine zero by negative fifteen.
DAWN: But sir, that takes us right
HUNT: I know where it takes us. Straight into the black hole.
ROMMIE: Dylan, are you sure about this? My connections to the rest of the ship are shot. We're leaking anti-protons from the port reserve tanks. I can't guarantee I'll have enough power left to pull us away from the singularity.
HUNT: We're not strong enough to fight our way free. We've got to use the black hole's gravity to slingshot us away from the Nietzscheans. It's our only chance.
DAWN: Course laid in.
HUNT: All forward, Lieutenant.
DAWN: All forward, aye.
(Dawn chatters something as she makes a salute.)
HUNT: I didn't catch that last part.
ROMMIE: My life, my soul, for the hive, for the hive.
DAWN: Or as you apes would put it, banzai!
(The spaceship falls towards where the light is disappearing into the black hole.)
ROMMIE: Gravity fields are holding.
DAWN: We're heading straight at it. When should I vector away?
HUNT: Not just yet. Let's build up some speed first.
DAWN: We're at twenty five PSL. Twenty six. Twenty eight. Thirty!
(The androids collapse. The lights dim.)
ROMMIE: The main energy grid. I'm losing power.
(Rommie vanishes.)
DAWN: We've lost all power.
HUNT: Going to reserves.
DAWN: Andromeda! Ship! Are you there?
(A fuzzy hologram appears, mouth wide open.)
HUNT: The AI network's been disrupted.
DAWN: How could that happen?
HUNT: Stay focused, Lieutenant.
DAWN: Aye, aye.
HUNT: We can still make it. One thing's for sure, there's no turning back now.

[Corridor]

ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: Rhade?
(Rhade blasts the monitor with the Sergeant's forcelance.)

[Command]

DAWN: Ten light seconds away.
(Hunt is trying to repair a console.)
HUNT: Divert all power to starboard engine and plot a hyperbolic fly-by, but keep us at least a half light second away from the event horizon. Got it.
(Rommie appears, but speaking slightly slowly and therefore deeper than normal.)
ROMMIE: Dylan. Sabotage.
(Rommie vanishes.)
HUNT: Sabotage.
DAWN: Captain! The starboard engines are off-plane.
HUNT: Rotate ship to compens
(Rhade enters)
DAWN: Commander?
(Rhade shoots Dawn square in the thorax. Blue blood and guts splatter out. Hunt starts shooting at Rhade then dives behind a console.)
HUNT: Rhade!
RHADE: I tried to warn you.
HUNT: What are you doing?
RHADE: Ensuring the survival of my people. The Commonwealth is weak. It bargains with its enemies, it compromises. My people are engineered to be perfect, and the Commonwealth is no place for the strong.
HUNT: So the Nietzscheans decided to destroy it.
RHADE: We spent years preparing, waiting, arguing. For a long time, I opposed the destruction of the Systems Commonwealth. So did many others. The Treaty of Antares changed all that.
(They keep exchanging fire as Rhade tries to circle round C+C to get to Hunt.)
HUNT: The Magog.
RHADE: Yes! The Magog. Savages, predators. They eat sentient beings. They reproduce by rape. They killed over a billion people on Brandenburg Tor. They destroyed the Nietzschean colony on Hawking. And what did the Commonwealth do?
HUNT: We made peace with them.
RHADE: You compromised with monsters. The blood of over a billion people cried out for vengeance, and you made peace. You have sown the wind. You shall reap the whirlwind.
HUNT: You know what your problem is, Rhade? You talk too much.
(Dylan twists the controls on his forcelance and slides it across the deck to where Rhade is standing. The overload blast sends Rhade flying, but he lands on his feet. They go hand to hand, but Hercules is outmatched by the Superman. Then everything starts to slow down. Rhade stands still and lets Hunt kick him in the face. Time resumes.)
HUNT: What was that?
ROMMIE: A temporal distortion. Our artificial gravity must be amplifying the time dilation effects of the black hole.
(The fight continues. Hunt manages to break some of Rhade's arm blades.)
RHADE: Give up. You can't win.
(They both glance over at the two forcelances on opposite sides of C+C.)
HUNT: I told you before.
ROMMIE: Time dilation is increasing.
HUNT: Pessimism is not a survival trait.
(They go for each other's weapons in slow motion. Rhade fires first and Hunt dodges the blast. Then then both launch themselves sideways into the air, firing as they go. Hunt's shot hits its target. Time resumes and Hunt goes over to the fallen man.)
HUNT: Gaheris, what have you done?
RHADE: I'm proud of you. You should be
(Rhade dies, and time comes to an effective stop as the spaceship hangs just outside the event horizon of the black hole.)

[Eureka Maru bridge]

(A chunky utilitarian vessel, as sharp-edged and dirty as the Andromeda Ascendant was curved and shiny. A blonde woman taps at a console when a very hairy person in a lame suit enters. He is even wearing large medallions across his hairy chest. Very seventies.)
GERENTEX: Anything yet, or are you people still poking around like blind men?
(He is answered by a human male with a nasty red rash on his neck. Everyone say Hi! to Gordon Michael Woolvett.)
HARPER: You'll be the first to know.
GERENTEX: This is growing so tedious, Captain Valentine. I paid you for results.
(Everyone say Hi! to Lisa Ryder.)
BEKA: And you'll get them. But in case you haven't noticed, there's about ten trillion cubic metres of vortex out there, and only twenty million cm of ship.
HARPER: Which just goes to prove how amazing I am.
GERENTEX: You found it?
HARPER: For my next trick, a needle in a haystack.
BEKA: Patch the sensor scan through to the main viewer. Let's get some magnification.
(The tiny speck by the black hole resolves into the spaceship.)
BEKA: There.
GERENTEX: Finally, after all these years, the Andromeda Ascendant. Pride of the Systems Commonwealth. And she's all (pause) ours.

[Eureka Maru]

(A purple girl with a long prehensile tail walks into a compartment, followed by Harper.)
HARPER: You seeing what I'm seeing?
TRANCE: A really excited human with a rash?
(Everyone say Hi to Laura Bertram.)
HARPER: No, the ship. The Andromeda Ascendant. Right where that furry little twit said it would be.
(Another hairy alien with a squat nose and gravelly voice answers him.)
BEM: You're speaking of our respected employer.
(Suffering under all that makeup and prosthetics is Brent Stait as the Bug Eyed Monster.) 
HARPER: Whooo!
(Harper kisses a monitor.)
HARPER: You know, I may actually be starting to like that guy.
BEM: No prior claims.
HARPER: Open salvage, baby.
BEM: Then it appears we are in luck.

[Maru crew area]

HARPER: Luck? Luck? This is a High Guard ship of the line. The pride of the old Commonwealth perfectly preserved. When they made up the phrase they don't make them like they used to, this ship is what they were talking about. It is the big score, the Shangri-La. It's the Holy Grail of interstellar salvage.
(Harper takes a bottle from an overhead locker. Trance gets herself a mug of drink from a thermos.)
TRANCE: Yes. And it's pretty, too.
HARPER: And, according to Beka, Gerentex already has a buyer. I dunno, some tin-pot dictator with visions of empire. I don't know what the asking price is, but even at a measly five percent each, we are talking some serious lucre. Which means we are all rich, rich, rich, baby.
TRANCE: Hmmm. That is, if we can pull it away from the black hole.
HARPER: Trance, have you been in the engine room lately?
TRANCE: No, it's disgusting back there.
HARPER: Thank you. But take my word for it, getting that puppy loose will not be a problem. The only thing we do have to, you know, worry about is, how are we going to spend our money?
(Beka enters as Harper prises the top of his drink and tips the contents down his throat.)
BEKA: Let me guess. A little cottage by the lakeshore, a white picket fence, dog? All the traditional mudfoot accessories.
HARPER: Not even close. I have one word for you two. Seraglio.
(Harper mispronounces it, with a heavy G.)
TRANCE: Ser what?
(Beka says it properly, with a silent G.)
BEKA: Seraglio. Slave girls and grapes. Eunuch guards. Classy.
HARPER: Hey, don't forget the silk wall-hangings! I love silk wall-hangings. The only reason I go is for the silk wall-hangings.
BEKA: Harper, you are truly disgusting.
HARPER: I try. So, boss, what're you going to do with your share?
BEKA: I don't know. I figure by the time I settle my father's debts, fix up the Maru, pay back that loan I took out the fund this job, I should have just about enough for a nice dinner at Cavanaugh's, as long as I don't order any wine.
BEM: You're buying freedom, peace of mind. I'd say that's worth more than physical indulgence.
HARPER: Speak for yourself, Rev.
BEM: Hmmm. Be grateful I don't value such things.
HARPER: Boss, he's giving me that look again.
TRANCE: Rev, don't. Let me get you some steak sauce first.
HARPER: Ha, ha, ha, ha.
BEKA: So, Rev, what are your plans?
BEM: I'm going to build a hospital on Kingfisher.
HARPER: Kingfisher? Isn't that the world where you were, er
BEM: Born. Yes. My people did some terrible things on Kingfisher. If I can do anything to help to alleviate the suffering that they caused, that I caused, it will be well worth it. In a way, I'm trying to buy absolution, which makes me just as selfish as any of you.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

GERENTEX: You know, I, for one, hope you're as good at this as you say you are.
BEKA: Actually, I'm better. Rev Bem, Trance, Harper. sound off. Pilot ready.
BEM: Navigation and sensors - ready.
TRANCE: Environmental controls and AG systems ready. I hope.

[Maru engine room]

HARPER: Engine room ready, as always. Let's kick some ass!

[Eureka Maru bridge]

BEKA: What's the time dilation look like?
BEM: Hmm. The Andromeda is slowly moving away from the singularity. Time dilation levels on board are one million to one, and falling.
BEKA: Looks like in a few more years, it would've cleared the singularity by itself.
GERENTEX: Yes, yes, yes. Which means the longer you wait, the more likely someone else will be able to come along and take it away from us!
BEKA: The trick is to free the Andromeda without getting stuck in time ourselves, or being crushed inside the hole.
GERENTEX: If you're not up to the job.
BEKA: Look, you hired me because I was the only one desperate enough to take this job and slick enough to pull it off, but from here on in, it's my gig, so back off and let me do my job. Prepare to cut loose the cargo pod.
GERENTEX: The pod? But, I
BEKA: Okay. For this to work, we need to lose any unnecessary mass.
BEM: Don't worry. We'll retrieve your cargo when we get back.
GERENTEX: No! No, wait. I, er, I have to make some preparations in the pod before we detach it.
BEKA: By all means. Just remember, we're on a tight schedule.
GERENTEX: Yeah. Yes.
(Gerentex leaves the bridge.)

[Maru engineering]

BEKA [OC]: Hold up, everyone. Our employer needs to tuck his cargo to bed before we get started.
HARPER: Shush. It won't be long now, baby.

[Cargo pod]

(Gerentex climbs up into the pod. He goes to a series of large oblong boxes and uses a remote control. A green light starts blinking on the boxes.)
GERENTEX: There.

[Eureka Maru]

(Gerentex climbs down and goes to comm. panel.)
GERENTEX: Ready when you are, Captain.
(Up in the pod, there is a series of clicks, then the lid of a box is opened by someone with the same forearm blades as Rhade had. A Nietzchiean.)

[Eureka Maru bridge]

BEM: The pod's away.
BEKA: Okay, everybody, just like we practiced. Let's rock.

[Maru engine room]

(Harper runs around, powering up various consoles. The primary power unit comes online.)
HARPER: And away we go.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

(Now half it's original mass, the Maru heads for the black hole.)
TRANCE: Acceleration, sixty seven thousand G's. AG fields holding.
(Jolt!)
BEM: Twenty nine percent light speed. Thirty.
BEKA: Hang on. This is where it gets a little rough.
(A klaxon sounds.)
TRANCE: AG Fields at maximum.
BEKA: Almost there. Harper.
HARPER [OC]: I know, I know.

[Maru engine room]

HARPER: More power.
(The secondary power unit comes online.)

[Eureka Maru bridge]

TRANCE: We're exceeding safety thresholds.
BEKA: That's the general idea.
BEM: Target in range.
BEKA: Fire!
(Impossibly long flexible cables zoom out from the Eureka Maru.)
BEM: Harpoons away. If you pray to any kind of divinity, you might want to start right about
(The cables lasso various parts of the Andromeda Ascendant and tie themselves tight.)
BEM: Now!
(The Maru bucks and shakes as it takes the strain. Beka starts to move the Maru away from the black hole.)
BEKA: The bucky cables are holding.
TRANCE: We're doing it. We're actually doing it.
(Crack! Crack!)
BEKA: Okay.
BEM: We've, er, lost bucky cables five through seven.
TRANCE: Speed's dropping.
GERENTEX: Cut the cable. Let it go.
BEKA: No, we can do this. Harper?

[Maru engine room]

HARPER: There's nothing left. Unless

[Eureka Maru bridge]

(Crack!)
BEM: That was cable ten.
BEKA: Come on, Harper.

[Maru engine room]

HARPER: Okay, if this works, in about ten seconds you're gonna have one big burst of power.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

BEKA: And if it doesn't?
HARPER [OC]: Well, then I hope

[Maru engine room]

HARPER: Rev Bem has some major pull upstairs. Three

[Eureka Maru bridge]

HARPER [OC]: Seconds to the big one, ladies and gentlemen. Three. Two. One.
(Reverend Bem prays and the Maru lurches forward. The Andromeda Ascendant comes completely clear of the event horizon.)
BEKA: Yes!

[Maru engine room]

(As equipment explodes around him.)
HARPER: I am a god! Whooo!

[Eureka Maru bridge]

COMPUTER: Critical reaction in engine three.

[Maru engine room]

COMPUTER: Critical reaction in engine three.
HARPER: Oh, crap.
COMPUTER: Critical reaction in engine three.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

BEKA: Harper, you little psycho, did you

[Maru engine room]

BEKA [OC]: Do what I think you did?
HARPER: Hey, it worked, didn't it? I got it, I got it. It's cool.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

BEKA: He's a lunatic.
BEM: I'm afraid to ask.
BEKA: He injected protons straight into one of our reserve AP tanks. Instant roman candle.
GERENTEX: What about the Andromeda?
BEKA: I'm bringing us around.
(The shiny ship fills the bridge windows. Harper joins them to gaze at the sight.)
BEKA: Ladies and gentlemen, the Andromeda Ascendant.
HARPER: Okay, I would just like to say, for the record, we rule.

[Command]

(Time resumes its normal passage.)
ROMMIE: Captain Hunt! Captain Hunt, are you all right?
HUNT: I'll live.
ROMMIE: Captain Hunt, something's wrong. We're moving away from the singularity, but the Nietzschean fleet, our escape pods, they're all gone.
HUNT: That's impossible.
ROMMIE: We may have experienced more severe time dilations as we approached the event horizon of the black hole.
HUNT: How severe? Spit it out!
ROMMIE: According to my calculations, we have been frozen in time for over three hundred years.
HUNT: Three hundred years? Oh, my god. Sarah, my folks, the rest of the crew?
ROMMIE: I'm sorry, Dylan. Everyone we know, our entire world, is gone.

[Outside the Maru's airlock]

(The Eureka Maru lands in the Andromeda's hangar bay. The crew are putting on baggy spacesuits, except for Bem, who just has a pair of goggles on his head.)
BEKA: Okay, so according to the stories, the crew of the Andromeda abandoned ship. But they did so during the middle of a battle, so God only knows what we can expect when we get over there.
BEM: I wouldn't presume to speak for the Divine, but do watch out for unexploded munitions, anti-personnel nanobots, automated attack drones
BEKA: Not to mention radiation leaks, blown pressure seals, shrapnel
HARPER: Okau, okay, mom and dad, we get the picture.
TRANCE: We'll be careful. We promise.
BEKA: I don't want you to be careful. Trance, I want you to be paranoid.
HARPER: Oh! Oh! Miss Valentine?
BEKA: Yes, Harper.
HARPER: This isn't our first field trip. Purple company excluded, of course.
BEKA: That is my point. I want you to treat every boarding just like your first one. I want you to double-check everything. Hell, triple check it. I'd hate for any of you to end up like Vexpag.
TRANCE: Vexpag?
BEM: Your predecessor.
TRANCE: Oh, he's the guy who retired. Didn't you say he bought a farm?
HARPER: The farm. He bought the farm.
TRANCE: Well, what's the difference?
BEKA: Torn pressure suit and a bad emergency seal.
TRANCE: Oh, that is different.
BEM: You'll be fine. Keep your eyes open, use your head.
HARPER: Or whatever it is you think with.
(They step into the airlock.)
BEM: Trance, your helmet.
TRANCE: Oh, right.

[Hangar bay]

(Beka's helmet is a transparent globe, while Harper and Trance wear more conventional designs with just a clear face plate. Bem has an oxygen mask on along with the goggles.)
BEKA: Air's breathable, what there is of it.
TRANCE: We're at point six atmospheres in here, but a lot of the ship is still exposed to vacuum.
BEM: We'll have to repressurise it section by section.
(Harper removes his helmet.)
HARPER: I am in love.
TRANCE: With a machine. Why am I not surprised?
HARPER: Hey! It's not just a machine, it's a masterpiece. A work of art like, er, a Durer etching or the Parthenon, or a Harley-Davidson. A motorcycle. It's an Earth thing.
BEM: I hate to interrupt such passion, but I smell blood. Grr. And burnt carbon. This ship has been through a fight.
BEKA: Or, or everyone on board got pancaked by the singularity.
TRANCE: No life signs so far.
BEKA: Good. Harper, patch into the ship's computer. Let's see if we can get this thing to fly again.
(Beka takes off her helmet and hands it to Bem. Harper gives him his helmet, too.)
HARPER: Thanks.

[Command]

HUNT: Three hundred years. I wonder if anyone even remembers what we were fighting for.
ROMMIE: They died for what they believed in.
HUNT: That's the same speech I always give, except there's no one to give the speech to now, is there? Their children, Dawn's mating group, Rhade's wives? They've all been dead for at least two hundred years now.
ROMMIE: We'll find someone. Their descendants. The Commonwealth will know where to find them.
HUNT: The Commonwealth. We need to make contact, let them know we're still alive.
ROMMIE: I'm not picking up any local signals. We'll have to. Dylan? We have intruders on board! They're trying to rewire me!

[Hangar bay]

(Harper is next to a large section of bright orange computer stuff.)
HARPER: Come on, be nice. Oh! (spark) Got it.
BEKA: You have control of the ship?
HARPER: No. But I have control of the doors.
(Everyone has removed their spacesuite.)
HARPER: This IS net is insane. I've never seen so much interconnectivity in a single system. It's going to take weeks to figure it all out.
GERENTEX: Weeks? We have a delivery date to keep.
BEKA: And we will, even if we have to drag this thing in. But I'm betting your client will be a lot happier if we deliver a ship he can actually use.
GERENTEX: Captain, I will
HARPER: Look, this little, er, struggle for authority thing is all very cute, but, er, if you're not too busy, I could really use a ship's schematic.
TRANCE: A what?
HARPER: Something that'll explain what all this crap does.
TRANCE: Hmm. Do you want us to go poke our noses around?
BEKA: Yeah. See what you can find. Maybe we can get ourselves a little divine providence.
BEM: Hmm. Never hurts to ask.

[Corridor]

(Beka finds Thompson's body.)
BEKA: Trance, have you found anything yet?

[Hydroponics]

(Trance has found a large area with three floors of plants and a massive tree in the middle.)
BEKA [OC]: Trance?
TRANCE: Oh, pretty.

[Corridor]

BEKA: What?
TRANCE: Anestarian Tundra Flowers. The best oxygen producing plants ever discovered.

[Hydroponics]

TRANCE: I thought they were extinct.
HARPER [OC]: Er, you're supposed to be looking for a schematic.

[Corridor]

(Beka checks Thompson's body. The blood is still wet.)
TRANCE [OC]: I knew I was forgetting something.
HARPER [OC]: Erh, Beka, what about you? Any luck?
BEKA: No. No, nothing so far.
(Bem has found a pair of giant armoured robots in the weapons bay. As he leaves, one powers up its 'eyes'.)

[Command]

(The image of Bem is on the viewscreen. It is split into five, one of each person.)
ROMMIE: That makes five.
HUNT: Humans working with the Magog. Are they crazy?
ROMMIE: Apparently. Although their leader appears to be a Nightsider.
(That's Gerentex.)
ROMMIE: And I haven't a clue what she is. (Trance) Another thing I don't understand. I'm pretty sure that's Triangulum Measles.
(Harper is scratching.)
HUNT: So he's sick.
ROMMIE: With a disease that was nearly extinct three hundred years ago. Something any decent doctor could cure over night. I'm not sure I like the implications of this.
HUNT: Me either.
(Harper whistles a classic Trek comm. hail.)
HARPER [on screen]: Hey guys? I'm waiting.
HUNT: Maybe it's time I introduced myself to our guests.

[Section]

(Harper finds a load of flimsies, and lights one up.)
HARPER: You want something done right
HUNT: You have to do it yourself. You finding everything you need?
(Hunt extends his forcelance into a quarterstaff and trips Harper as he tries to run.)
HARPER: Whoa! Who the hell are you?
HUNT: No. It's who the hell are you, and what are you doing on my ship?
HARPER: Your ship? No, no, no. This baby's ours. We salvaged it fair and square. Finder's keepers.
HUNT: This is a Commonwealth starship. You can't just come aboard and lay claim to it.
HARPER: Commonwealth? Wait a minute. You got stuck in that time thing. Let me guess, you're one of the original crew, right?
HUNT: I'm Captain Dylan Hunt of the High Guard, Commander of this vessel.
HARPER: I got news for you, Captain Dylan Hunt. You're not the commander of anything. There is no High Guard. Not anymore. There was a war. A big one, against the Nietzscheans.
HUNT: I was there.
HARPER: Well, I guess you kinda just missed the end, then. I hate to break it to you, but you guys lost. The Commonwealth has been gone for over three hundred years.

[Command]

(Hunt looks down at the astrogation display, which is surrounded by a railing.)
HUNT: It's my fault. If I had made it to Slipstream, got a warning to the High Guard
ANDROMEDA: It still might not have made a difference. The Nietzscheans had a vast fleet. They'd been preparing for years and they had surprise on their side. By the time word had spread, it may have already been too late.
HUNT: How could the High Guard let it happen? We had ten times as many ships, a hundred times as many men.
ANDROMEDA: And we hadn't fought a war, a real war, in over a thousand years. Whereas for the Nietzscheans, every day is a battle.
HUNT: It can't be all gone. The Commonwealth spanned three galaxies! We had over a million member worlds, orbital habitats, asteroid colonies. Part of it must still exist somewhere.
ANDROMEDA: Then we have to find it.
HUNT: We will. But first things first.

[Corridor]

HARPER: I'm telling you, the guy is huge. He's like some kind of Greek god or something.
BEKA: Still, there's only one of him.
HARPER: Yeah, but nobody said anything about taking this ship away from anybody, especially somebody so big. It's supposed to be abandoned.
BEKA: Yeah, but if it wasn't for us, he'd still be stuck in that black hole. I think he owes us.
TRANCE: Well, maybe if we just asked him nicely, he would give it to us.
BEM: Hmm. Mercy is it's own reward.
BEKA: Yeah, says you.
HARPER: Look, I say screw this talking and we start walking. Get
HUNT [OC]: This is Captain Dylan Hunt, commander of the Systems Commonwealth Starship Andromeda Ascendant.

[Command]

HUNT: I've been told the Commonwealth has fallen. Maybe that's true. But there's still one place where the Commonwealth endures, and that's on this ship. My ship. I understand you intend to loot the Andromeda and sell what's left over. I promise you, that is not going to happen. You have fifteen minutes to restore the Andromeda's control capabilities and withdraw to your own vessel, or I will retake my ship by force. Hunt out.

[Outside the Hangar bay]

BEKA: I don't like threats.
GERENTEX: Neither do I. Which is why I brought him along.
(The hangar bay doors open, silhouetting a massive, muscular man with long dreadlocks and toting a big weapon. He has four more men behind him. Everyone say Hi to mega-hunk Keith Hamilton Cobb.)
TYR: I'll take it from here.
(The Maru crew do not look happy.)

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