An Affirming Flame

Original Airdate: 9 Oct, 2000

Some say the Commonwealth would have fallen even without Nietzschean treachery.
They underestimate both the Commonwealth and the Nietzscheans.

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

[Command]

(Tyr strides down the corridor from the hangar deck, blasting androids with his big gun as he goes. The Andromeda hologram reports his progress to Captain Hunt.)
ROMMIE: Bots down deck fifteen, deck twelve, deck eleven.
HUNT: Can it get any better?
(Tyr decapitates a passing android.)
TYR [on screen]: Team one, deck ten. Now.
HUNT: A Nietzschean.
ROMMIE: Just when things were starting to look up.

[Deck 10]

(Tyr meets up with a man and a woman.)
TYR: Secure this corridor.
LESTON: Right.
(The woman jumps straight up a ladder as if she were rocket propelled.)

[Cargo hold]

(Tyr enters and throws a net bag of android heads onto the deck.)
TYR: I've taken out every android and robot from here to deck nine.
GERENTEX: Good.
(Beka, Trance and Bem enter.)
BEKA: Sensors are down, just like you asked.
BEM: And we found a way to disrupt the signals of the nanobots. This Captain Hunt is completely blinded.
TRANCE: He's all alone here. Now that he knows what he's up against, maybe we can convince him to surrender.
GERENTEX: I'm not interested in his surrender. (To Tyr) Finish the job. Kill him.

[Command]

HUNT: Still nothing.
ROMMIE: They've cut off my internal sensors. If I have any androids left outside Command, I can't contact them.
HUNT: We've got to change tactics. Take the fight directly to them.
(An android is thrown through the door, then Tyr enters and shoots it. Then he starts shooting at Hunt, who runs for cover around the back of Command and leaps through a small opening into a conduit. Jefferies tube, anyone?)

[Conduit]

(Tyr shoots along the duct. His bullets can fly around corners.)
HUNT: Oh, great.
(Hunt gets to a ladder just before the incendiaries explode, then he drops under cover of the fireball.)

[Command]

TYR: Clear.
(Beka and Gerentex enter.)
BEKA: Nothing like a Nietzschean when you need to clean house.
TYR: He got away.
GERENTEX: How?
TYR: He's a survivor. He won't be easy to kill.
GERENTEX: I hired you creatures to do a job for me. I want complete control of this ship, and I want that High Guard fossil dead!
(Later, still orbiting the black hole, Harper is working underneath a console.)
TYR: You're working too slowly. The longer we stay in one place, the more likely we are to face a counter-attack.
HARPER: Look, I appreciate paranoia, but if I don't get this right, we lose the entire ship.
BEM: What my young friend is saying is give us some space.
TYR: Did I ask your opinion?
BEM: The universe does not always provide what you ask for. The universe provides what you need.
HARPER: Hey, if you guys are going to kill each other, go ahead and be my guest, but don't get any blood on my gear, okay?
TYR: Don't test me, Magog.
(Tyr walks away.)
HARPER: Who does he think he is?
BEM: I assume he thinks he's a Nietzschean.
HARPER: Very helpful. Thank you, Rev. Come on, spill. What have you dug up so far.
BEM: What makes you think I've been trying to dig things up?
HARPER: I know you, Rev. Where there's a will, there's a Wayist, and you can't convert the heathens without knowing their names.
BEM: Wayists don't try to convert people. We simply show them that they're already Wayists. However, there's nothing wrong with satisfying a little intellectual curiosity. He's Tyr Anasazi of Kodiak Pride. According to his companions, he's a high-priced mercenary. One of the best.
HARPER: But.
BEM: From what I gather, his Kodiak pride was destroyed in a clan war. My guess is he's trying to prove his genetic worth, so he can join a new family.
HARPER: Great. Not just a Nietzschean, but a Nietzschean with a chip on his shoulder.
BEM: Another of the universe's little jokes, at our expense.
(Meanwhile, Hunt has got to an armoury, and has acquired body armour and a forcelance.)

[Corridor]

(Trance has caught up with the woman, who is being very careful and looking for enemies.)
TRANCE: So what's it like being a mercenary? It sounds like it'd be a really tough job. I guess it'd allow you to travel a lot, which is kind of nice, but it's not as if the locals will be happy to see you when you arrive, and I suppose that killing people's a very stressful way to make a living.
WOMAN: Would you shut up?
TRANCE: I'm sorry, am I distracting you? I don't mean to. It's just sometimes I find that a little casual conversation loosens things up
WOMAN: Not another word.
(Trance walks ahead to an intersection.)
TRANCE: Miss Killer Lady? Ma'am?
WOMAN: That does it, you little
(And walks into the business end of a forcelance. She puts her hands up.)
HUNT: How you doing? Drop it.
(She drops her rifle then attacks Hunt. She runs up the walls and across the ceiling as Hunt fires at her.)
HUNT: Great. Cyborg.
(She kicks the forcelance out of his hand and attacks again. Just as he gets the better of her -)
WOMAN: Wait.
(Hunt hesitates, and gets kicked down the corridor for being nice. After taking a few punches and kicks, Hunt and the cyborg meet in mid air kick. She lands badly, hitting her head against a stanchion, and starts twitching on a programme loop.)
HUNT: I hate cyborgs.
(Trance runs, Hunt follows, picking up his forcelance on the way. Round the corner he sees Trance's head sticking out from a ladder. She waves and drops.)
HUNT: She's very quick.

[Medical]

(Hunt puts the cyborg woman into a cryochamber.)
HUNT: Sleep tight.

[Weapons locker]

(Beka uses a pad to try and break the lock encryption.)
BEKA: Come on! Fine, be tough.
LESTON: What are you doing?
BEKA: I need more ammo.
LESTON: Nobody goes in a weapons locker without Tyr's or Gerentex's permission.
BEKA: I'll ask for permission just as soon as I get my ammo.
(The locker door opens.)
HUNT: How you doing?
(Boxes of ammunition have red lights blinking on them.)
HUNT: I'd duck.
BEKA: Get down!
(Boom!)

[Command]

TRANCE: You are lucky to be alive.
BEKA: I don't think he wanted to hurt us. He went out of his way to control the explosion. He warned me that it was coming. If he wanted me dead, I don't think I'd be here right now.
BEM: Why do I get the feeling we're on the wrong side?
HARPER: Hey, we're not on a side, okay? We're working for Beka, same as always.
TRANCE: Fine. Then I say we quit. Get out of our contract and leave.
GERENTEX: Is that what you really want? Nightsider hearing. It makes up for the eyes. I asked you a question.
BEKA: Leave her alone.
TRANCE: No, that's okay. I meant what I said. We should not be here. This is his ship, and we should let him have it. Now, I'm not going to speak for anyone else here, but I'm done. I quit.
GERENTEX: Well, if that's how you feel.
TRANCE: You mean, I can just leave?
GERENTEX: Oh, I insist. In fact, I'll, er, give you a hand!
(Gerentex shoots Trance.)
BEM: No!
(Beka stops Harper from pulling his weapon.)
TYR: Leston, side arms.
LESTON: Don't move.
BEM: Eternal life grant unto her, and may perpetual light shine upon her.
GERENTEX: Any more burning issues that need to be discussed? Good. Mister Harper, unless I'm mistaken, your work here is done.
HARPER: Yeah. Yeah, I'm done.
GERENTEX: Then by all means, let's be going. I find the smell of death quite distasteful.
LESTON: Move it. Come on, let's go. Come on, hurry up.
(Leston marches Beka and Harper out. Bem is still with Trance.)
TYR: Magog. Go.

[Conduit]

(There is an image of the dead Trance on Hunt's wrist communicator.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: No respiration, no pulse, no brain activity. There's nothing I can do.
HUNT: So young.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: I'll bring the corpse to Medical, just to be sure.
HUNT: I didn't want it to come to this.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: You didn't kill her, Dylan. They did.
HUNT: Still one death too many. I'm ending this now.

[Cargo hold]

BEKA: Damn it. I never should've let her on this deathtrap. I should've left her on the Maru.
HARPER: She's the ES officer, Beka. We needed her here.
BEM: Don't blame yourself.
BEKA: Who am I supposed to blame? I hired her, I trained her. She trusted me, and now she's dead.
HARPER: She knew the risks, Boss. You explained them to her dozens of times.
BEKA: I don't even know who to talk to about this. Did she have family? Parents? Do you know?
BEM: She was a very private person.
HARPER: Private? She was positively clandestine. Yeah, whenever I'd ask her about her name, what it really was in her native language, she'd tell me I couldn't pronounce it, and when I'd try to pry any more, she'd cover it up.
BEM: In all my travels, I have never seen or heard of a species quite like hers. And now, I fear I never will again.
HARPER: Okay, I say we kill him.
BEM: Gerentex?
HARPER: Who do you think? I can rig up an explosive easy using your shock wand
BEM: Violence begets violence.
HARPER: Yeah, well, I say it's time we start begetting.
BEKA: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold it. Even if we could take out Gerentex, and I have my doubts about that, what do we do about his posse?
HARPER: Well, I was thinking a really big bomb.
BEM: Harper, I advise you, consider carefully this path that you would choose. The place to which it leads is very dark. If you murder Tyr and the other mercenaries, you'll be no better than Gerentex.
HARPER: Of course I will. He'll be dead.
BEKA: More likely, you'll be dead. No, if we're going to get back at Gerentex, we're going to do it smart.

[Hydroponics]

TYR: Place the shaped charges along that bulkhead. The ship's main computer core is located right on the other side.
LESTON: What's this? It's not on specs.
HUNT: It's a basketball hoop. If you ask nice, I'll show you how to play.
TYR: Kill him.
(They unload their energy weapons at Hunt. He flickers. He's a hologram.)
HUNT: I don't think so. This is my court.
(The hologram vanishes and Hunt enters behind them.)
HUNT: You play by my rules!
(Hunt disarms Leston. Tyr can't get a clear shot, but Hunt uses Leston's weapon while using him as a shield. Numchucks fly through the air, disarming Tyr. Hunt fights the other two Nietzscheans first, using his lance as a quarterstaff. He meets his match in Tyr, who pulls a knife from his boot. They struggle, and Tyr takes his lance and knocks him down.)
TYR: You can't beat me.
HUNT: I don't have to.
(Hunt picks up one of Tyr's explosive charges and arms it, then throws it. Tyr tries to run but it goes off, knocking him down. Hunt gets his damaged forcelance back.)
HUNT: Like I said. My court, my rules.
(Hunt shoots Tyr, then disappears. When Tyr gets over the blinding flash, he is alone.)
TYR: Brexos? Brexos!

[Medical]

(Another cryochamber has an occupant.)
HUNT: That's two down.
(Hunt walks past Trance, lying on a bed.)

[Eureka Maru]

TYR: I assume he's been taken prisoner. All Hunt wanted was to prevent us from setting those charges. Capturing Brexos was a bonus.
GERENTEX: This is getting so tedious. He is only one man.
TYR: He's one man fighting a guerilla war. He knows the terrain, he's got superior weapons, and excellent tactical ability.
GERENTEX: You sound like you admire him, Anasazi.
TYR: As I said, he's a survivor.
HARPER: Well then, I guess it's Harper to the rescue. Lucky for you I'm a freaking genius.
GERENTEX: Oh, your system is finally in place at last?
HARPER: In a couple of seconds, I'll have the Andromeda's central computer eating out of my hand.
(Harper takes a slim computer chip from the dataport in his neck.)
HARPER: Jane's Encyclopedia for Basic Armed Combat Manoeuvres. Anyone?
GERENTEX: Oh, shut up.
HARPER: Your loss, rat-face. Beka!

[Cargo]

HARPER [OC]: What's the good word, Boss?
BEKA: Channel's open.

[Eureka Maru]

HARPER: Now comes the fun part.
(Harper plugs himself into the Maru's computer system)

[Andromeda computer]

(It's like Tron, really.)
HARPER: I'm in.

[Cargo hold]

BEKA: Go, Harper, go.
BEM: Do you believe this is wise?
BEKA: Hey, Gerentex wanted Harper to take over the ship. The only difference is, who is he taking the ship over for? Now, I want you to get into the control array. Once Harper has this thing housebroken, I want to teach it a few new tricks.

[Andromeda computer]

HARPER: Man, this place is a lot bigger than I expected.

[Cargo hold]

(Tyr and Leston enter.)
TYR: All right, you stay alert. I'll keep an eye on things here.
LESTON: Think one of them'll try something?
TYR: You count on it.
(Leston leaves.)
BEKA: Can you rewrite the command nexus?

[Andromeda computer]

HARPER: Of course I can. If I can find it.
(A large image of Andromeda appears. She picks Harper up in the palm of her hand.)
ANDROMEDA: Maybe I can help.
HARPER: Oh, crap.
ANDROMEDA: Welcome to my mind. Now, go home.
(Andromeda blows Harper away.)

[Eureka Maru]

(Harper's connection shorts out. He pulls the plug from his port.)
GERENTEX: What happened?
HARPER: The ship, she's alive!
GERENTEX: What?
HARPER: And she is ticked off.

[Cargo hold]

TYR: I copy. Leston, it's Tyr.

[Corridor]

LESTON: Go ahead.
TYR [OC]: Meet me

[Cargo hold]

TYR: On deck twelve. We've got to blow the computer core.

[Corridor]

LESTON: We don't have any explosives.
TYR [OC]: Then we'll shoot our way through

[Corridor 2]

TYR: But either way, that computer is coming down.

[Corridor]

LESTON: You're the expert. I'll be there in augh!
(Leston gets Hunt's forcelance in his stomach.)

[Corridor 2]

TYR: Leston?

[Corridor]

HUNT: What's your hurry?
(Hunt knocks Leston out and drags him away.)

[Corridor 2]

TYR: Leston?

[Escape pod]

(Hunt pushes Leston into a pod.)
HUNT: Take the scenic route.
(He closes the door.)
LESTON [OC]: Hey! What are you doing?
(And launches it.)
HUNT: Adios.

[Eureka Maru]

GERENTEX: Anasazi! Valentine! What is going on over there?
HARPER: Gerentex, looks like you've got a little problem here.
GERENTEX: What?
HARPER: That AI, the Andromeda.
GERENTEX: What about her?
(Andromeda's face appears on a monitor.)
HARPER: I think she's trying to come in.
GERENTEX: Well, disconnect the system!
HARPER: Er, she's not just using the computer. She's also coming in through the comm. line, the airlock controls
GERENTEX: Prep for launch! Now!
HARPER: But Beka and Rev
GERENTEX: Will just have to take care of themselves, won't they? Unless you want to end up like your little purple friend.

[Cargo hold]

(The doors to the hangar bay close just as they get there.)
BEKA: The airlock! Damn it. Gerentex is abandoning us.

[Corridor]

(Hunt hears the bang of the Maru taking off.)
HUNT: Andromeda, what was that?
ROMMIE: They have left the hangar. I think we've won.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

HARPER: We're clear.
GERENTEX: What about the Andromeda?
HARPER: She's dead in the water.
GERENTEX: Good. Move.
HARPER: What, what, what are you? What's going on?
(Harper is dragged from the pilot's seat by a Nightsider, and Gerentex takes over.)
GERENTEX: Now, let's see. I believe this is the forward thruster, right?
HARPER: You're on a collision course!
GERENTEX: Yes. A gentle tap.

[Cargo hold]

(The Maru bumps into Andromeda's hull.)
BEM: What was that?
BEKA: I have a bad feeling about this.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

GERENTEX: And we'll let gravity do the rest.
HARPER: Gravity? The black hole.
(Harper tries to get to the controls, but the Nightsider bodyguard holds him back.)
GERENTEX: You know, this may sound petty to you, but if I can't have the Andromeda, no one can.
(The Eureka Maru flies away.)

[Cargo hold]

(Beka and Bem are monitoring the situation on a control panel.)
BEKA: This is not good.
BEM: The black hole.
BEKA: We're headed straight in.
(Tyr arrives.)
TYR: Do you know what's happening?
BEM: Behold the beast.
TYR: What do we do?
BEKA: You're the survival expert. Why don't you tell me?

[Command]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Engines are totally off-line. We're falling back into the singularity. I can't compensate.
HUNT: How long until we hit the event horizon?
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Less than an hour.
HUNT: It's just been one long day.

[Medical]

BEKA: So this is your brilliant idea. Put ourselves into cold storage?
TYR: If the stasis field protects us, we may survive long enough to be rescued. We may even emerge on the other side.
BEM: The idea that black holes have exits into other universes is completely unproven.
TYR: It's a chance.
BEKA: Look, even if your plan works and we don't get torn apart by the tides or fried by radiation, we could be frozen in time like Hunt was. By the time we get out, hundreds of years may have passed.
TYR: I don't care if we wake up when the suns have all burned out and the universe is winding down to die, so long as I'm there to watch.
BEM: On the bright side, looks like you'll have company.
(Bem has found the cyborg and Brexos. They revive them.)
BEKA: So, that's the situation. It's your choice. You can go back into stasis with Tyr, or you can help me save the ship.
BREXOS: I'll take none of the above.

[Command]

(Hunt is working to repair a console.)
HUNT: Anything?
ROMMIE: Some of my peripheral systems are back online, but still no power to the engines.
HUNT: Well, that's a start, anyway.

[Escape pod]

BREXOS: I'd wish you luck, but I doubt it will help.
CYBORG: Wait, I'm coming with you.
BEKA: Listen to me.
TYR: Let them go. Perhaps they'll make it.
CYBORG: We'll make it. Let's go. Let's go!
(The escape pod launches.)

[Command]

ROMMIE: Dylan, someone just launched an escape pod.
HUNT: Patch them through to me here.
ROMMIE: They're headed straight for the singularity.
(Screams come over the comm.) HUNT: They'll never make it. We've got to help them.
ROMMIE: Even if I were fully functional, it would already be too late.
(The screams stop.)
HUNT: They're gone.
ROMMIE: There was nothing you could have done.
HUNT: You keep saying that. You said it about the fall of the Commonwealth, you said it about that girl dying, and now this. But I don't buy it.
ROMMIE: Dylan.
HUNT: Scan the ship. Lock onto the intruders. I want to know how many of them are left.
ROMMIE: Only three, all in Medical. Do you want me to contact them?
HUNT: No, I'll do it myself.
ROMMIE: Understood. They're. Hold on.
HUNT: What is it?
ROMMIE: I have a surprise for you.

[Medical]

BEKA: All I'm asking is for fifteen minutes. Help us figure a way out of this. Look, if it doesn't work, you have plenty of time to get to stasis.
TYR: Every second I'm out here is an unnecessary risk.
(Dylan enters.)
HUNT: The stasis chambers won't help. We're headed straight into the singularity. The AG field won't last past a few thousand kilometres, and once it's gone, the stasis generators will be ripped to shreds and so will you. If you want to survive, you only have one option. You work with me. You do exactly what I say. And if we're very, very lucky, we might just get out of this in one piece.
(Trance enters.)
TRANCE: I'd listen to him if I were you.
BEKA: Trance!
BEM: You're alive. But how?
TRANCE: Thanks to Dylan and his ship. They saved me when everyone else had given me up for dead. Now, if you listen to them, maybe they can do the same for you.
BEKA: So, what's your plan?
(A little later.)
TYR: Nova bombs? You're carrying Nova bombs.
HUNT: The Andromeda's a High Guard Ship of the Line with a wide range of combat capabilities.
TRANCE: You'll have to excuse us. It's just the we've never met anyone who could blow up a sun before.
ROMMIE: The Systems Commonwealth never used Nova bombs in combat.
BEKA: As far as you know.
HUNT: You didn't know what you were salvaging?
BEKA: No. Although I'm beginning to suspect that Gerentex did.
BEM: Obviously, we underestimated him.
TYR: Forty Nova bombs! Have you any idea what could be achieved with that sort of fire power?
HUNT: Nothing but destruction. That's all Nova bombs are good for.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

(The Maru has picked up her cargo pod.)
GERENTEX: How much longer?
HARPER: Two minutes. Three at the most.

[Command]

BEKA: Done.
TRANCE: Armory ready.
HUNT: Wait for my mark.
ROMMIE: Three light seconds away.
TYR: Weapons station ready.
BEM: Ready.
(Hunt is in the pilot's seat. The Andromeda starts to shake.)
TRANCE: What is that?
BEKA: It's the tide. It's starting to pull the ship apart.
TYR: If you stare too long into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

GERENTEX: Any minute now.

[Command]

ROMMIE: It's now or never.
HUNT: Initiating Nova deployment sequence. Let's bring it.
BEKA: Acting First Officer Beka Valentine. Nova deployment authorised. Zero zero strike red zero.
TRANCE: Acting Armsmaster Trance Gemini. Nova deployment authorised. Er, retro nine blue strike five nine five.
TYR: Fire Control Officer Tyr Anasazi. Arming Nova weapons one through forty. Execution code nine five over seven blue five. Arm.
BEM: Ready for your final order.
HUNT: Captain Dylan Hunt, commanding officer. Nova deployment authorisation ten break alpha. Strike, strike, strike.
TYR: They're ready.
HUNT: Missile tubes one through ten, fire.
(Streaks of flame hurtle towards the black hole.)
HUNT: Second salvo, fire. Third salvo, fire. Fourth salvo, fire!
TYR: All missiles away.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

GERENTEX: What's that?
HARPER: They've launched some kind of missiles into the black hole.
GERENTEX: Nonsense. Nothing can affect a singularity. Almost nothing. How many? How many?
HARPER: I don't know. Looks like forty?
GERENTEX: Forty? God, their insane! Get us out of here!
(Gerentex pushes Harper back into the pilot's seat.)
HARPER: What's the big deal? What? What's the big deal?
GERENTEX: Just do it!

[Command]

BEM: Detonation in three, two, one. Detonation!
(Flash! Whumph! The black hole ignites, filling Command with the glare and pushing them away with the shock wave.)
BEM: Fiat lux.

[Eureka Maru bridge]

GERENTEX: A white hole. They've created a white hole!
HARPER: I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound good.
GERENTEX: It's the reverse of a black hole. It's a miniature Big Bang! Oh God, we've got to get to slipstream before it hits us!
HARPER: Thanks, that part I figured out all by myself, rat-brain.

[Command]

HUNT: It's destroying the AG Field. Hold on, everyone. This is going to hurt.
BEKA: Hunt! Power up the engines. We've got to get out of here before it collapses back in on itself.
HUNT: I know. I know.
ROMMIE: The force of the explosion is over ten million tera-tons. Radiation dampers are out. Radiation will reach lethal levels in less than three minutes.
(The Andromeda turns on a sixpence as the explosion rushes through space towards them like a tidal wave.)

[Eureka Maru bridge]

HARPER: I can't believe it. They're still in one piece.
GERENTEX: Forget them! Just get us out of here!
HARPER: Yes, sir, Mister Fearless Leader, sir.
(Harper pulls a lead out of a console.)
HARPER: Transiting to slipstream in three seconds. Three!

[Command]

ROMMIE: The white hole's becoming unstable. Normal gravitational fields are returning.
BEKA: Come on. Here comes the riptide.
HUNT: Just a few more seconds.
ROMMIE: My engines are at fifteen percent over maximum.
HUNT: We're almost far enough out to enter slipstream.
ROMMIE: They're going to overload.
HUNT: Slipstream now!
(They ride the energy lines.)
ROMMIE: Transiting to normal space.
TRANCE: We're clear. We made it.
BEKA: Well, I'll be damned.
HUNT: It's over.
BEM: (to God) I owe you one.
(Later, Hunt is carefully shaking Rev Bem's clawed hand.)
HUNT: Thanks. I couldn't have done it without you.
TYR: Careful. He might bite it off.
BEM: You're too kind.
TRANCE: I think you just made the menu.
(Beka enters.)
BEKA: Rat-faced weasel! He took my ship. We matched the Maru's course, but it isn't in the system, and look at this.
ROMMIE: Pion particles.
BEKA: A big spill right on the edge of the slipstream nexus.
BEM: Young Master Harper's work.
BEKA: A trail of breadcrumbs for us to follow, if you're willing.
HUNT: Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You forced your way onto my ship, then you tried to steal my ship, and now, after I saved all your lives, you want me to help you retrieve your ship.
TRANCE: She's like that. Don't take it personally.
BEKA: Believe me, you're the last person I want to ask for help. I have no choice.
HUNT: I'll do it. On one condition.
BEKA: Name it.
HUNT: Not now. When we're done.
BEKA: You want me to do something for you, but you won't tell me what it is.
HUNT: Do you want your ship back or not?
BEKA: I guess we have a deal.
HUNT: All right, then. Let's go hunting.

[Eureka Maru]

HARPER: Plus one thousand thrones for slipstream piloting time and twenty percent hazardous duty bonus, comes to a grand total of eighty four thousand thrones.
GERENTEX: Huh. Are you quite done?
HARPER: Well, yeah. Base pay times thirty days, plus expenses and overtime. That pretty much covers it.
GERENTEX: Then let me give you my totals. One million thrones for the location of the ship. Fifteen million thrones for the purchase of special salvage equipment. Five hundred thousand thrones for fuel. And, surprise, an additional million thrones for research, bribes, and gifts to find an appropriate buyer. Oh, yes. Seven hundred thousand thrones for Tyr and his oh so helpful assault team. What does that come to?
HARPER: Plus my eighty-four grand? A lot.
GERENTEX: Eighteen million, two hundred thousand thrones for nothing.
HARPER: Plus my eighty-four grand!
GERENTEX: If you show me that bill one more time, I will make you copy it onto these walls in your own mushy blood!
(The Maru shakes.)
GERENTEX: What is that?
HARPER: I don't know. Something's jamming our sensors.
GERENTEX: Guards!
(A Nightsider and a humanoid come running. The airlock opens and Dylan Hunt enters, followed by Beka, Bem and Tyr.)
HUNT: Mind if we come in?
BEKA: Gerentex, there you are. We brought you Captain Hunt, just like you asked. Sorry it took so long, but someone tried to feed us to a black hole.
GERENTEX: Whatever he's paying you, I'll double it.
TYR: And kill us before we can get to the bank? No, thank you.
BEM: It is written, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
GERENTEX: Don't just stand there! Get them!
HUNT: You don't have to do this, you know.
TYR: Oh, I think they do.
(Tyr grabs the guards. He throws the Nightsider to the others. Harper tries headbutting him. It hurts, but works. Tyr is dealing with his fellow Nietzschean and throws him to Bem, who sprays liquid into the man's face. He falls to the deck, writhing in agony.)
BEM: Barietic poison. He'll be all right in a couple of hours.
HUNT: It's, er, Gerentex, right? Well, frankly, Mister Gerentex, I don't have much of a problem with you. Revenge isn't my style. But I want you off this ship, and I never want to see you again, ever. Am I making myself clear?
GERENTEX: Perfectly. Thank you for your consideration.
(Gerentex gives a deep bow, then comes up with a gun. It won't fire.)
HARPER: Looking for this?
(The power pack.)
HUNT: Thanks.
(Hunt knocks Gerentex down with his forcelance.)
HUNT: What an unpleasant individual.
TYR: I can cure that.
HUNT: No. Leave him.
TYR: Are you insane? Why would you leave a live enemy behind?
HUNT: This is my operation. We do things my way. I don't suppose there's anyone we can turn him over to for prosecution?
BEKA: Not likely.
HUNT: Well then, we'll put him in a life pod and let him find his own way home. Cripple the engines so it'll take him a few months. That'll give him time to think about his mistakes.
HARPER: The only thing he's going to think about is how he'll screw the next people he works with.
HUNT: Maybe, but I won't kill a man in cold blood. Captain Valentine, your ship.
BEKA: Thank you. Trance, get your butt down here. We're leaving.
HARPER: Trance?
(Trance enters.)
TRANCE: I thought you might say that.
HARPER: Trance! You're alive! You're alive.
TRANCE: Yes, well, people keep telling me so.
HUNT: Before you leave, there's one last thing. My favour? All I want is ten minutes of your time. Of all your time. Meet me on the observation deck of the Andromeda in one hour. (to Harper) Oh, and you? Drop by the medical ward on the way.

[Medical]

(Harper is sitting in a glowing golden field.)
ROMMIE: There, that should sterilise the protozoa. Apply this three times a day for a week and you'll recover.
(A small pot of green goo.)
HARPER: Just out of curiosity, what would've happened if you hadn't treated this? Would it have, er, left a scar?
ROMMIE: No. It would've eaten every inch of your skin away until it was gone. And then it would have started on your muscles, organs, eyes and brain. You'd have lived about five more weeks, and then all that would've been left are bleached bones.
HARPER: Three times a day for a week.
ROMMIE: Don't miss any spots.
HARPER: Right. Mind if I ask you a question?
ROMMIE: No.
HARPER: When Trance got shot, how did you fix her?
ROMMIE: I don't know. She didn't show any vital signs, so I brought her down here and monitored her, and then she got better.
HARPER: That's our Trance.
ROMMIE: She's done this kind of thing before?
HARPER: The whole coming back from the dead thing? No, that's a new one. But let's just say it's not out of character.
ROMMIE: You should get up to the Obs Deck.
HARPER: I'll see you there.

[Observation deck]

(Like Hydroponics with the big window and plants, but smaller, no tree in the middle.)
BEKA: Ten minutes.
HUNT: I'll make this quick.
(Rommie the hologram appears.)
HUNT: This isn't my time anymore. I've checked your historical records, and since my time life has gotten a lot harder. Civilisation is in tatters, the strong prey on the weak, there is no justice, there's no unity, there's no law. I intend to change all that. The Commonwealth wasn't just an institution, it was a dream, but dreams don't die and as long as I'm alive and in command of the Andromeda, neither will the Commonwealth.
BEKA: You want to restore the Commonwealth?
HUNT: I think it's my duty to try. But I need help. I need a crew.
HARPER: Us?
HUNT: Why not? You're smart, you're capable, and you deserve better lives than what you've got.
BEKA: Now, what's wrong with our lives?
HUNT: Living from moment to moment with nothing to fight for but survival? Scrambling for the big score, the fast buck? You tell me.
TRANCE: If we agree to come along, how is that any better?
HUNT: It's a chance to do something important, something meaningful. And it's more than that. It's an adventure. Maybe the greatest adventure anyone has ever seen, and if we succeed, you'll go down in history. You'll be heroes.
BEKA: And if we fail, we'll be dead.
BEM: In the end, we all die when our time comes.
BEKA: Do you want to do this?
BEM: When the Divine opens a Way, who are we to question?
TRANCE: We're with you, Bek. Whatever you say goes, but, I think it might be kind of fun.
HARPER: No offence, Beka, but have you seen the crew quarters on this thing? Showers in every room and fresh coffee.
HUNT: What do you say? If worse comes to worst, you can always leave.
BEKA: You know, a lot of people will not be enchanted by this plan of yours.
HUNT: Nothing worth doing is easy.
BEKA: What the hell. It beats doing salvage runs. Looks like you got yourself a crew.
HUNT: What about you?
(Tyr is playing with his knife.)
TYR: What about me?
HUNT: If we are going to restore the Commonwealth, we have to restore it for everyone, including the Nietzscheans.
TYR: Well, that's a lovely sentiment, sir, but what's in it for me?
HUNT: Didn't Nietzsche once say, the secret of reaping the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.
TYR: You read the right books.
HUNT: I'm a man of many talents.
TYR: And high ideals. Which, frankly, is a problem. Still, I've worked for a great many fools in the past few years. Perhaps it's time for something new.
HUNT: In that case, welcome aboard. All of you.
BEKA: We're not saluting you, and we're not calling you Captain.
HUNT: Dylan. Dylan will be fine.

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