Democracy may be only a few
steps removed from anarchy,
but at least it's not as loud.
Crowned in Starlight
Than Hegemon CY 9843
best glassware and various snacks are lined up below the observation
window. A long dinner table has been laid, too.)
HARPER: I'll say this for the old Commonwealth. When it comes to formal
dinnerware, you guys rule.
ROMMIE: I do what I can.
BEKA: It's all a little bit much to me. I mean, place cards? Come on.
ROMMIE: Protocol is vital to the Castalians. President Lee and his
people forged a republic from a dozen habitats and cultures.
breathers, beings that have lived their entire lives in space.
HARPER: Which explains why the two fish-necks get to hang out with the
hot chick with the lungs. In fact, I think I will sit next to the lung
ROMMIE: And create a major diplomatic incident? I don't think so.
Your ship is a marvel, Captain Hunt. I must say, you have exceeded our
(A water breather, with blue-tinged skin and a tube from a tank on his
back going into his neck. His voice gurgles slightly.)
HUNT: Thank you, Mister President. That means a lot coming from you.
LEE: Please. If you keep that up, you'll swell my head. And then this
technological miracle won't fit anymore and I'll be forced to spend our
entire negotiation in a bathtub.
(A dark-haired air-breathing woman speaks.)
YAU: Mister President, before we proceed, I'd like to address some of
my security concerns.
HUNT: Oh, of course. And here's the information you requested.
(Hunt gives her a flexi.)
YAU: I'm very impressed. And a little intimidated.
HUNT: Don't worry. We're on the same side. Or, we will be, once the
charter has been signed.
LEE: Then by all means, let's get to it. I'd hate to stand between the
Colonel and her new toys.
Right then, how about this one.
(Rommie holds up an evening dress with a bow on the front.)
BEKA: It's pink.
ROMMIE: Beka, it's a state dinner. That means formal. Pick something.
BEKA: What if they start shooting? How am I supposed to run in a dress?
ROMMIE: Good heavens, what kind of dinner parties have you been to?
has gone for the classic slim-fit LBD. Harper is actually in a suit,
although his tie is not fastened. Very Frank Sinatra. Rommie is more
HARPER: You know? Up until now, life on the Andromeda's been like
living in a first-class hotel with thrill rides.
ROMMIE: You're supposed to tie that.
(Harper takes off the tie.)
HARPER: I'm telling you, if Dylan really gets fifty worlds to sign his
charter, you know what it's going to be like.
BEKA: Hmm. Goodbye room service, hello foreign service. She'll have us
dressing like mannequins every other Thursday.
ROMMIE: Stop fidgeting. Let's hear the ceremonial music.
(Gurgling underwater music with dolphin lyrics. It is shorter than the
Ugandan national anthem.)
HARPER: That's their Hail to the Chief? It's sounds more like a tuna
with a toothache.
ROMMIE: It works better underwater. Protocol. Remember, the Castalian
dignitaries have musical cues for everything. Music for entering a
room, for leaving a room, for proposing a toast. And while they're on
this ship, we have to respect their traditions. The Castalian Republic
is progressive, peaceful, and stable. If they sign the Commonwealth
Charter, they provide us with instant credibility.
BEKA: And we provide them with the services of the toughest warship in
the known universe.
ROMMIE: Flatter me all you want, you still have to wear the dress.
water-breather is shouting into a communicator.)
CHANDOS: I said tell them no! Tell them no as often as it takes, and
then just tell them no again.
LEE: You'll have to forgive Chancellor Chandos. He never bothered to
study decorum while he was a partisan.
HUNT: I understand him completely.
LEE: If all goes well this evening, and the Parliament approves, then I
see no obstacle to Castalia signing your charter. I'll make the
announcement tomorrow in a live broadcast to the entire Republic.
HUNT: President Lee, that's, that's wonderful news.
LEE: For both of us. There's been too much darkness since the Fall, on
Castalia and everywhere else, for that matter. It's time to turn the
lights back on.
(Tyr sits in hydroponics, reading a flexi.)
formal dinner is underway. Chandos stands to make a toast and music
CHANDOS: On behalf of the Republic of Castalia, I would like to thank
the Andromeda Ascendant for her gracious hospitality. And may this be
the start of a fruitful alliance.
ALL: Here, here.
(Everyone drinks and sits. Then Bem taps his glass and stands.)
BEM: I offer a toast to President Lee, who united his people by
appealing to their highest ideals. May he inspire a host of imitators.
(Everyone drinks and sits, then Lee stands. Music.)
LEE: Thank you, Reverend Bem. I salute you for your wisdom, your wit,
and your excellent judge of character.
BEKA: Oh, somebody shoot me.
HARPER: You think you've got problems. I'm never going to score with
Captain Terrific moving in on my turf.
HUNT: Your President Lee is quite the politician.
YAU: I'm lucky to work for him. He's a great man. He didn't have to
include the air-breathers in his republic, you know. We're a minority,
and it wasn't a popular move.
HUNT: Well, I hope I can live up to his example.
(Tyr enters. He takes a glass from a tray held by a robot by the door.)
TYR: I should also like to salute President Lee. A man possessed of
determination and vision. The vision to see that Volsung Pride could
never be a part of his republic, and the determination to see every
Nietzschean on Castalia slaughtered, man, woman, and child.
(He drinks, crushes the glass and leaves.)
Tyr! What the hell was that supposed to be?
TYR: I was complimenting our guest.
HUNT: Don't insult my intelligence!
TYR: I'm not the one playing you for a fool.
(Tyr hands Dylan the flexi.)
TYR: Sebastian Lee built his republic on the bones of my people. The
Volsung were a direct offshoot of Kodiak Pride. Their orbital habitat
was blown to pieces during Lee's War of Unification. Seventy five
thousand Nietzscheans. My blood!
HUNT: Like you said, it was a war.
TYR: A war the Volsung had already lost. They were attempting to
surrender when Lee decided to solve his Nietzschean problem once and
for all. So, be just a bit more careful who you're shaking hands with,
Captain Hunt. Your fingers might come away bloody.
dinner has been cleared away.)
CHANDOS: Captain, if you're curious, then why not check our public
records. But to confront the President in this fashion, well, it's
insulting, and I won't stand for it.
LEE: No, it's all right. We want Captain Hunt to be our partner. He
deserves an explanation if he wants one. Captain, please understand
that the Volsung were invaders in our system. They looted, they
captured slaves, they owned the sky. We were helpless against them.
Still, my people, the water-breathers, went relatively unscathed. We
had nothing they really wanted. We built our strength, waiting.
Eventually they grew complacent. We managed to destroy their fleet, but
before we could move on to their habitat, they blew it up themselves,
killing everyone aboard including ten thousand Castalian slaves.
(Yau covers a tattoo on her right hand.)
LEE: They're the murderers, not us.
HUNT: That's impossible. Nietzscheans don't commit suicide.
YAU: It may not have been deliberate. Their munitions may have
detonated accidentally. We'll never know for certain.
HUNT: Then you'll make your records available to my ship's database?
CHANDOS: Of course, Captain. Our database is at your disposal.
LEE: Those deaths were a tragedy, Captain Hunt. Exactly the kind of
loss your Commonwealth hopes to prevent. Please, review the material.
If it meets with your approval, I still want to sign the Charter, live
on camera in front of my people, just as we planned, if that's
acceptable to you.
HUNT: Yes, that's quite acceptable, thank you.
CHANDOS: Fine, then we can broadcast as soon as you have checked our
records and the apology is made.
LEE: I need a formal apology from Tyr Anasazi. Protocol, you know. So
takes his anger out on a punch bag.)
HUNT: I want you to apologise to President Lee.
TYR: The man committed genocide.
HUNT: Not according to Castalian public records, or the official
investigation into the explosion. They both say the Volsung habitat was
taken out by friendly fire.
TYR: And you believe them?
HUNT: Right now, you have one story and the Castalians have another.
One that is perfectly plausible. Think more than a few moves ahead,
Tyr, and remember the long game. Re-establish the Commonwealth, and we
re-establish open inquiry, accountability, and justice.
TYR: Justice. For Nietzscheans?
HUNT: For everyone, or there's no point.
is doing a piece to camera.)
HARPER: And a big hello to all my friends at the Calhoun's Corner
Saloon, where I can't wait to enjoy my two-for-one beers every evening
at sunset. If I ever get off this ship.
(The cameraman moves away.)
HARPER: Ker-ching. Interplanetary pitchman, Seamus Harper.
BEKA: Sorry, was that Seamus or Shameless Harper?
HARPER: Ha, ha.
BEKA: Ha, ha.
(Music. Dylan and the Castalians enter. Chandos is making a call
CHANDOS: Very well, that's a little more convincing. Tell him, tell him
maybe. Captain, the President's address is in ten minutes. Are you sure
your superman is going to show up?
BEKA: Pay up.
(Harper takes a coin from his boot.)
TYR: I'm told I owe you an apology.
LEE: Captain, could we have a moment alone, please.
HUNT: Andromeda, engage privacy mode.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Yes, sir.
CHANDOS: Mister President, the Parliament is convened, and your speech
begins in eight minutes and thirty two seconds.
LEE: Thank you. This won't take long.
(Lee and Tyr are left alone.)
apologise for my tardiness. I hope I'm not too late.
BEKA: You missed Tyr's act of contrition.
BEM: Did I?
HARPER: I know, I know. Pay up.
(Harper gives Bem a coin.)
BEM: Strictly for charity, of course.
YAU: The Presidential March.
CHANDOS: That can't be right.
(A force lance fires on the Observation deck.)
LEE [OC]: What are you doing? Argh!
Tyr are both lying on the ground. The cameraman records the scene.)
CHANDOS: He's been shot. The Nietzschean has shot President Lee.
HUNT: He's dead.
YAU: I've got him. I've got the killer.
BEKA: You put that away.
BEM: Eternal life grant unto him, and may perpetual light shine upon
BEKA: He's having convulsions. We've got to get Tyr to medical.
HUNT: Rommie! Get security in here, now. Would you close that stupid
(Transmission ends abruptly.)
Yau is sitting by the bloodstain on the floor.)
YAU: I loved him, you know. He was like a father to me, and I failed to
HUNT: We all failed to protect him.
YAU: It was my job. When my parents died, it was Sebastian Lee who gave
me a home. It was Sebastian Lee who made me believe that I was worth
something, even though I'm a breather.
HUNT: Rev Bem would say that only the smallest part of him is gone. His
spirit lives. His accomplishments survive him. Now it's your job to
carry on his work.
YAU: You're right. Thank you. I'll have a forensics team here by noon
and a security team to take the assassin into custody.
HUNT: I'm afraid I can't let you do that. This is my ship. I have
jurisdiction here, and I won't have a horde of outsiders trampling on a
YAU: So what do you propose to do, incarcerate the killer in your
HUNT: When we identify the killer, I'll turn him over to Castalia for
YAU: When we identify the killer? We saw it! We were there!
HUNT: We saw the aftermath, not the crime. I promise you, you'll be
involved in every step of the investigation. But this will be an
investigation, not a witch hunt.
should patch into our live feed at the Obs Deck. You'll probably want
to see this.
CHANDOS [on viewscreen]: Reverently do I don this armour, in the
knowledge that it represents my duties as Shield of the Republic.
Citizens of Castalia, I swear by the blood of President Lee, that his
murderer will suffer the ultimate justice for his crime.
HUNT: Ultimate justice?
YAU: Castalia has the death penalty for murder.
CHANDOS [on viewscreen]: When all is known, our action will be swift,
certain, and final.
HUNT: Well, that was inflammatory.
YAU: There are twenty billion very angry people in the Castalian
Republic. If Chandos hadn't assured them of his firm intentions, they'd
come up here and tear your ship apart with their bare hands.
HUNT: Good. Something else to look forward to.
stands guard with a forcelance.)
HUNT: Tyr. Tyr, it's Dylan.
TYR: So it is.
HUNT: Do you know where you are?
TYR: I'm in medical, and I'm under guard.
HUNT: What's the last thing you remember?
TYR: We were in hydroponics. You were talking about games.
HUNT: So you don't remember being on Obs deck with the president?
TYR: No. But I'm going to assume our meeting didn't go well.
HUNT: While you were alone with President Lee, he was killed with two
shots from your forcelance.
TYR: Have you worked out who did it?
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Captain, passive sensors are detecting movement on the
Castalian moon. I'm registering a massive launch from the surface.
HUNT: On my way. How many?
ANDROMEDA [OC]: More than three hundred ships, and they're heading
straight towards us.
Chancellor, what's. Mister President, what's going on? Andromeda says
you've launched an armada.
CHANDOS: Not me, Captain, my people. Billions of Castalians are howling
for blood. Our military High Command has decided that I am a hostage on
your ship, and we never bargain with hostage takers.
HUNT: So tell them you're safe, that you can leave any time you'd like.
CHANDOS: I have tried that. They believe that I am under duress.
HUNT: There must be someone willing to listen. You can't let things
escalate like this.
CHANDOS: I did not create this situation, Captain, your crewman did. If
you would like it to end, I would suggest that you deliver the killer
to our custody, and soon, otherwise I cannot be responsible for the
actions of my people.
Point defence lasers ready. Countermeasures on full alert.
BEM: We're being painted by targeting sensors.
HUNT: I wish they'd stop doing that. They think they're being dashing
and provocative. They don't realise they're one mistake away from
BEM: Can they hurt us?
HUNT: If they get lucky, certainly, but we could hurt them badly, and
what would that do to the alliance, to our reputation in this sector?
BEKA: How do we make them go away?
HUNT: Right now, there's only one thing that will satisfy them, and
that is Tyr.
BEKA: What is it you always say? Walk with me.
if you turn Tyr over to the Castalians, what will they do with him?
HUNT: Put him on trial, probably a big showy one.
BEKA: A fair trial?
HUNT: Chandos's personality is abrasive, but his reputation is
spotless. And Lee was, well, he was Sebastian Lee.
BEKA: Which is your long-winded way of saying you hope so.
HUNT: If you're asking me, would I betray an innocent man just to get
my Commonwealth, the answer is no. But there is one question none of us
wants to ask.
BEKA: Which is?
HUNT: What if Tyr isn't an innocent man?
monitor, Tyr draws his forcelance, shoots Lee then gets shocked by his
TYR: That's your reconstruction of the crime?
HUNT: As of now.
TYR: I think that's the most pathetic and ill-planned excuse for an
assassination I've ever seen. And I speak as one who has had some
slight experience in these matters.
HUNT: So you would have done things differently.
TYR: Method one, slow acting poison in his food. A bit obvious, but no
sure way to connect it to me. Method two, nanobots in his shuttle,
timed for reentry. The shuttle burns up and leaves no evidence. Method
three, a dart tipped with stonefish toxin. Primitive, but undetectable.
Mimics heart failure. Or I could have arranged for his breathing
apparatus to fail, or perhaps I might have laced his
HUNT: I get the picture, I get the picture.
TYR: Good. Then there can only be one conclusion. I'm innocent.
HUNT: Because you never would have gotten caught.
TYR: Precisely. Well then, now that that's out of the way, would you
like to suggest that the greater good requires my surrender?
HUNT: Your surrender?
TYR: For a man determined to cook history's greatest omelette, you're
awfully squeamish about cracking your eggs.
is testing Tyr's forcelance.)
HARPER: It's not like he doesn't kill people. I mean, hell, it used to
be his day job.
BEKA: Yeah, but nobody hired Tyr to kill Lee. Did they?
HARPER: All I'm saying is, and it may sound a little selfish, sometimes
you got to throw a wolf to the wolves to keep the rest of us from
BEKA: Please. I could swat that fishing fleet of theirs in the Maru.
HARPER: Yeah, and you'd eat them for lunch. Now there's a thought. Do
fish people eat fish? Or is it like humans eating monkeys or apes?
(Dylan and Yau enter.)
HUNT: The Castalians are humans. Genetically engineered to breathe
water, but still human. Besides, humans do eat monkeys. Humans eat
other humans. As a species, we are really quite unpleasant. So, Mister
Harper, you care to update us on the investigation?
HARPER: Gladly. I'm completely at the Colonel's disposal. And I mean
YAU: I'm sure you do.
HARPER: Okay. Weaponry 101. The force lance is the High Guard's
favourite toy. Retracted, it can be used as a light source or a scanner
or whatever else comes to mind, and deployed, it makes a nifty
quarterstaff or a limbo bar. Now, in either configuration, it can fire
tiny attack drones. Effectors. Basically, smart bullets from a smart
gun. This force lance has recently fired two such effectors. Timestamp
matches President Lee's death. However, according to the internal
sensors, the effectors were fired at a low velocity straight down
toward the deck. As they slowed to zero, they each acquired the target
and then attacked on their own power, like a couple of bats out of H E
double hockey sticks.
BEKA: Kind of an indirect way to shoot someone.
HARPER: You're telling me. And that's not the weird part. There was a
full capacitor discharge that matches Tyr's electric shock.
HUNT: Force lances are keyed to the owner's DNA. If it shocked him, it
wasn't his forcelance.
YAU: Oh, it definitely was his.
(Yau hands Dylan a flexi. Beka notices the tattoo on her hand.)
YAU: These are the weapon id's that Andromeda downloaded. The serial
numbers match. The murder was committed with the Nietzschean's force
lance. The murder was committed by the Nietzschean.
BEKA: Why would he shock himself?
YAU: Maybe he wanted it to look like he'd been attacked.
HUNT: Nietzscheans don't deliberately injure themselves. It's
anti-survival. You know, none of this makes any sense.
YAU: Assassinating Sebastian Lee doesn't make sense. So what if the
Nietzschean chose an eccentric way to shoot the President. Assassins
have been known to be eccentric.
HARPER: Not Tyr. Overbearing, self-righteous, vain, vicious, brutal,
way too serious, and a little big, yeah. But eccentric? No.
HUNT: Are you sure this isn't less about justice than it is about
pinning the murder on Tyr?
YAU: Pinning? Pinning? Your crewman was alone in a room with someone
that he had every reason in three galaxies to want dead. That person is
now dead. And with all your hemming and hawing, all you've succeeded in
doing is to prove that he was shot with your man's gun. Thank you for
the information. I'll make sure it's conveyed to the proper
BEKA: Well, score another point for informed cooperation.
HUNT: Beka, in the old days, did you ever do any background checks on
the people who were hiring you?
BEKA: Yeah, all the time. Better safe than sorry.
HUNT: Exactly what I was thinking.
Okay, here's what we've got on Colonel Ironpants. It was her job to
protect the President. Well done. She also had the specs on Tyr's
weapon by her own request, and she's awfully eager to hang Tyr.
HUNT: So we've got method and opportunity, but not motive. She adored
Lee. He freed her people.
BEKA: Not in time to save her family. They were Nietzschean slaves.
ROMMIE: The labourers who died on the habitat.
BEKA: You don't brand your employees, you brand your slaves. If Tyr's
right about the Volsung Pride, if Lee deliberately ordered its
destruction, then he also ordered the deaths of the forced labourers,
and Yau's family.
BEKA: Always a popular dish.
HUNT: Add another name to the list. Which makes three.
BEKA: Tyr, Yau, and who else?
HUNT: Revenge is always a solid motive for murder, but there's another
old standard we've been overlooking. Power.
Impossible. You're grasping at straws.
HUNT: Am I? Yesterday Chandos was Chancellor. Today he is President.
That's quite a promotion.
YAU: One which he would have gotten even if Lee were still alive.
HUNT: Maybe he got impatient. How long would he have had to wait? Ten
YAU: Three days, Captain. Sebastian Lee was planning to resign as soon
as the Charter was ratified. It was to be his last great act as
President. Chandos would've been President by the end of the week, and
he knew it. Now, if you're through insulting our elected officials, I
have a report to make.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Captain, a Castalian ship is attempting forced entry into
HUNT: Given the circumstances, I'm going to have to ask you to wait
the cargo hold]
Castilians make their way from the hangar into the adjoining cargo
hold. They are armed to the teeth.)
ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: They're trying to override the door controls.
Should I just let them in?
HUNT: Let them feel like they're accomplishing something.
(Two Castalians crank the door open and get into the corridor. Dylan
knocks one out.)
HUNT: Welcome aboard.
(He and the second Castalian fight. Hunt wins and two more
water-breather come running. He
rigs his forcelance.)
(Hunt drops his forcelance and jumps onto a ladder. The electric shock
takes out the remaining Castilians.)
recovered Castilians make their way back to their ship, watched on the
YAU: The Castalian government would like to make it clear that this
attack was an unauthorised action by civilian militia.
HUNT: I'm sure they would.
YAU: Thank you for avoiding any bloodshed. I'm not sure we would have
done the same in your place.
HUNT: I want you to look at something.
(A schematic of a force lance comes up on a monitor.)
YAU: More schematics.
HUNT: Bear with me. Each forcelance is keyed to its owner. Andromeda,
what happens if someone tries to use a force lance that doesn't belong
HOLO-ROMMIE: The capacitor is discharged, and the unauthorised user is
YAU: But this is Tyr's force lance. The serial numbers confirm it. It
wouldn't have shocked him.
HUNT: Normally, you'd be right. Normally. But today I took out your
concerned citizens with a forcelance operating by remote control.
YAU: Remote control?
HOLO-ROMMIE: Someone with the right codes can control a force lance,
either by voice, pulsed laser, or microwave transmission.
HUNT: So, what I'm suggesting is this. Tyr was in the room with
President Lee, making his apologies. Suddenly, his force lance
discharged two effectors. Now, Lee saw the effectors leave Tyr's
sidearm, and he shouted. But he was too late. Lee was killed. Tyr
grabbed his weapon and tried to control it, but it shocked him.
HUNT: Because Tyr's command of his sidearm had been taken from him.
Control was somehow assigned to someone else. Andromeda, do you have
any record of intercepted transmissions at the time of President Lee's
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: There was a low-frequency microwave
transmission detectable outside Obs deck.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: The transmission originated from a
communications port in the Observation deck itself.
ROMMIE: I control that port. Captain, the evidence is clear. I killed
My records clearly indicate that I gave the order to kill President
HARPER: But do you remember doing it?
ROMMIE: Memory is just a function of information retrieval. The
information is there. I did it.
HARPER: But you don't remember intending to do it, or planning to do
ROMMIE: No. No, I don't.
HARPER: Okay, here's my plan. We download your personality into my
neural net until we get this sorted out.
ROMMIE: We what?
HARPER: Have you read the Castalian legal code? Do you know what they
do to an AI who commits murder? They disassemble it!
ROMMIE: In the Commonwealth, we did the same thing. Complete
HARPER: Yeah, but they can't erase you if they can't find you. Come on,
Rommie, interface with me. It's the closest I'm ever going to get. I'll
just store your data in my cranium until we can solve this stupid
ROMMIE: Harper, that would work for about a millisecond, then your
brain would fry like an egg on a plasma relay.
HARPER: You saying you're too smart for me?
ROMMIE: I'm saying it's very sweet of you to offer, but I'm not going
to hide from the Castalians.
pulls her gun on a figure lounging in the corner.)
YAU: What are you doing loose?
TYR: General consensus is that I am innocent.
YAU: You're many things, but innocent is not one of them.
TYR: I imagine that makes two of us.
YAU: What's that supposed to mean?
TYR: It means congratulations on committing the perfect crime.
YAU: I won't even dignify that with a reply.
TYR: You killed Lee, and then you arranged for me to take the blame,
knowing full well that no Castalian would ever believe an innocent
YAU: That's insane. Why would I do that?
TYR: Because Lee ordered the death of your family.
YAU: Sebastian Lee never made that order. And if I believed for one
minute that he did, I would have killed him.
TYR: May we have that in writing?
Pesky little critters.
HUNT: What's up, Harper?
HARPER: Dylan, I have a confession to make. It was me. Lee. The murder.
I did it. I programmed Rommie to kill Lee.
HUNT: Not now, Harper. I don't have the time for this.
HARPER: Well fine. I'll confess to the Castalians. They'll believe me.
HUNT: Okay, why did you do it?
HARPER: Why? Why? Because. Because I didn't like their stupid fish
music, that's why.
HUNT: Harper, I appreciate your loyalty, but what I really need you to
do is solve this crime. Andromeda's checked every program in her
inventory and she can't find a trace of the hacker, so if you could
just move the confessional back to the machine shop, that would be
HARPER: Fine. But I reserve the right to confess later.
looks at the blood-splattered Charter. Elsewhere -)
BEKA: Hey! Harper confessed to the murder, huh?
HUNT: He tried.
BEKA: Yeah, well, his heart's in the right place. Dylan, maybe we
should cut our losses. There are a million other worlds out there.
HUNT: Plenty of fish in the sea?
BEKA: You said it, not me.
HUNT: My problem isn't leaving. My problem is the statement we'd be
making that this ship and her crew are somehow above the law, that
we're better than the people we're trying to help.
BEKA: Aren't we? Hey! I read the first officer's job description. Play
devil's advocate's on page three.
HUNT: Get thee behind me, Satan.
Andromeda, I was just
HOLO-ROMMIE: Looking for me. I know.
ROMMIE: Captain, I'm ready to surrender myself to the Castalian
HUNT: I won't let you sacrifice yourself.
ROMMIE: Dylan, I'm a warship. I was created with the knowledge that I
might be sacrificed for the good of the Commonwealth. I've always been
prepared for that. Haven't you?
HUNT: It was always a possibility. But in battle, going down fighting
together. Not like this.
ROMMIE: What is it Rev Bem always says? The universe doesn't always
give you what you want. It gives you what you need.
(Later, Beka is with Hunt when Harper runs in.)
HARPER: Er, Dylan, you're not going to believe this.
BEKA: Oh, no. You're not going to confess again, are you?
HARPER: I'll resent that tomorrow, but for now, excuse me, check this
out. This is President Lee when he first entered Command.
(Music as he enters.)
HARPER: Now, here's Chandos taking the oath.
HARPER: Now, Lee at the supper party.
HARPER: Now, observe.
(Chandos, Yau and escort enter without fanfare.)
CHANDOS: Captain, you wanted to speak to me?
HARPER: You see?
HUNT: Not exactly see, but my hearing is just fine.
cameraman is filming Hunt at the podium. Beka and Harper enter,
followed by Yau.)
HUNT: This is Captain Dylan Hunt of the High Guard. Investigation has
shown that an Artificial Intelligence was involved in the tragic death
of your President. In such a case, Commonwealth law demands that the
AI's personality be completely erased. I invite you, the people of the
Castalian Republic, to observe the law in action. Bring in the
(Rommie enters, with by Tyr and Chandos.)
HUNT: President Chandos will bear witness as I give the codes which
will destroy the Andromeda intelligence. Andromeda Ascendant, are you
ROMMIE: Yes, Captain, I am ready.
BEKA: Oh, we almost forgot. Mister President, your entrance music.
CHANDOS: What? No, I
(The music starts up.)
BEKA: We want to observe proper protocol.
(Tyr's forcelance fires at the floor on its own)
CHANDOS: No, no, please, no, stop the music, stop the music.
(Chandos struggles to remove his ceremonial armour while trying to
hide. Tyr gets a shock from his forcelance.)
HUNT: Is there a problem?
CHANDOS: This is a mistake. I don't understand.
HUNT: Of course you do. You're the one that loaded the computer virus
into the Presidential music.
BEKA: Which is why you never played any for yourself.
HUNT: After Tyr's behaviour provided you with the perfect cover, you
directed Andromeda to kill President Lee.
ROMMIE: At least, kill the man in the Presidential breastplate.
HARPER: Recognition software is dicey, and you Castalians, you all look
so much alike. Excluding, of course, Colonel Yau. Much safer to tell
Rommie to target the guy with the dish on his chest than to tell her to
shoot at a guy with tubes sticking out of his fishneck.
CHANDOS: It was a good plan, you must admit.
HARPER: You needed better music.
YAU: Ulysses Chandos, I'm placing you under arrest for the murder of
President Lee. I don't understand. You were already going to succeed
him. You just had to wait a few more days.
CHANDOS: For his resignation. That was the problem. Please, please,
stop the camera. I want to talk to Colonel Yao and Captain Hunt in
HUNT: Clear the deck.
(The others leave.)
CHANDOS: You have to understand. What I did, I did for Castalia.
YAU: You're lying.
CHANDOS: You both know that Lee was going to resign after the Charter
ratification, but have you seen his resignation speech? Well, I have.
He couldn't leave well enough alone. His damn ego. He didn't want to
just be a hero, he wanted to be a saint. But we both know there are no
saints on the battlements, are there, Captain?
HUNT: No, not really.
CHANDOS: The Volsung orbital did not explode by accident. Lee ordered
its destruction. I know, I was there. We both agreed. You let the
supermen go, and they'll come back stronger than before. There are no
non-combatant Nietzscheans. A three year old will disembowel a man.
YAU: What about the labourers? The slaves?
CHANDOS: Collateral damage. A small price to pay for freedom. Or so we
YAU: I don't believe you.
CHANDOS: Oh, the record's clear, Colonel. Your hero, he had feet of
clay. Bloody clay, at that. But even worse, he had a conscience. If he
had confessed, the air-breathers would have demanded blood vengeance.
The water-breathers, they would have resisted, and we would've been
faced with a civil war. I tried to talk him out of it. I told him he
was putting too much trust in his people, but he, of course, he would
not listen. He left me no choice. I had to save the Republic.
HUNT: By killing the man who created it.
CHANDOS: You must let me go. We can find someone else to blame for
Lee's murder, or leave it unsolved. But we can't let the truth come
out. It will destroy us all, Castalia and your Commonwealth.
HUNT: If you think I'll cooperate in a cover-up, you're mistaken.
Colonel, your prisoner.
That's a life pod to your right.
CHANDOS: You're letting me go.
(Yau draws her weapon.)
YAU: No, you're trying to escape.
CHANDOS: What? What are you doing?
(Dylan climbs up a ladder.)
HUNT: I wish you wouldn't. It'll only make things worse.
YAU: It will make everything right. I'll kill him, then confess to
being guilty to killing them both. They'll believe me. They never turn
down a confession, especially from a breather.
HUNT: They'll execute you.
YAU: It's the only way to preserve the Republic.
HUNT: I'm not going to let either of you cover up a genocide. If the
Commonwealth stands for anything, it stands for open process of the
law. And if the institutions of Sebastian Lee can survive his death,
they certainly can survive the truth about his life. And you, you've
been fighting me all along, demanding justice. Well, now you can have
it. But only if you let the truth come out.
YAU: The truth? The truth is that the man that I loved like a father
betrayed my people. I would have died for him. He was a great man.
HUNT: A great man who made a terrible mistake, and the people of
Castalia should know that. Nothing is more important than the truth.
Parliament ratified the charter with three votes to spare.
HUNT: Another step toward a new Commonwealth.
BEM: A rather large one. I should think you would be pleased.
HUNT: I've been following the news reports. Riots on some of the
islands, counter-demonstrations. It'll probably blow over soon.
BEM: Are you familiar with Aeschylus?
HUNT: Ancient Earth, right? Greek tragedy?
BEM: Very good. I was thinking specifically of the Orestean Trilogy.
The house of Atreus was cursed by the gods, condemned to murder one
another throughout history.
HUNT: Orestes' mother killed his father. He was forced to kill her in
BEM: Forced to kill, much as Andromeda was forced to kill. Do you
remember how the curse was finally ended?
HUNT: Apollo invented the jury trial. The jury found Orestes innocent.
BEM: Indeed. The cycle was broken when public justice replaced private
vengeance, just as you are trying to do.
HUNT: There's only one problem with your analogy, Rev. Apollo was a
god. I'm just a man.
(Bem places the Charter on its stand, complete with Lee's blood
splatter still on it.)