The Sum of its Parts

Original Airdate: 26 Feb, 2001

Between birth and death lies desire,
Desire for life, for love,
for everything good.
And this is the source
of all suffering.

Outcast Consensus 17,
C.Y. 10942

[Eureka Maru]

(The girls are dressing Rommie up in some of Trance's outfits.)
ROMMIE: I don't know, Trance. I just don't really think it's me.
TRANCE: Don't you want to look good?
ROMMIE: Well, only in so far as it aids my official functions.
BEKA: So your other outfits are supposed to be functional?
ROMMIE: Well, they're all approved variations of High Guard officer's uniforms.
BEKA: Female officer's uniforms. Very female.
ROMMIE: Well, over seventy percent of my original crew was human, and studies have shown that humans feel more comfortable with an Artificial Intelligence whose persona is female than any other. Same thing's true for Vedrans and Thans.
BEKA: So, your appearance is strictly for the psychological benefit of the crew.
ROMMIE: My entire existence is for the benefit of the crew. Everything that I do, from assisting Harper with the right tool, to manufacturing munitions and supplies, to monitoring flight operations. Even allowing you to use me as a mannequin. All of my functions are designed to aid the smooth operations of this ship and its inhabitants.
BEKA: Rommie, I can't believe that you're actually saying that the reason you look like a walking heart attack is for our benefit.
ROMMIE: I'm not sure what you mean.
TRANCE: All Beka's trying to say is that she thinks you're pretty.
BEKA: No, no, no. I think you went a little overboard on the pouty lips.
ROMMIE: I didn't design my appearance. I extrapolated it. In myth, Andromeda was a Phoenician princess. Now, since no one knows what Phoenicians looked like, I blended a multitude of human physiognomies to create this plausible simulation.
BEKA: So, what you're saying is that you randomly chose a bunch of human female features, you mixed them all up, and this was the first face that you came up with?
ROMMIE: I may have experimented with a few options.
BEKA: Define a few.
ROMMIE: One hundred and seventy thousand, eight hundred and ninety four.
BEKA: I knew it!
ROMMIE + ANDROMEDA: Shipwide alert.

[Command]

ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Dylan, I'm detecting mechanical objects ahead.
HUNT: Minefield?
ANDROMEDA [OC]: No. Some kind of debris.
HUNT: It's under power. It's aiming at the hull.
HOLO-ROMMIE: And it's sticking.
HUNT: Increase power to the external AG field.
HOLO-ROMMIE: It's not repelling the objects. They're migrating along the ship's surface.
HUNT: Where to?
HOLO-ROMMIE: Hangar deck four. They're forcing their way in.
HUNT: Beka, Tyr, meet me in Hangar Deck four.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT [OC]: Code Black.
BEKA: I'm on my way.

[Hangar deck]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Repressurising Hangar deck. Secondary airlock breached. Debris entering.
(The debris swirls round and round like a slow tornado.)
HG [OC]: Peace?
HUNT: Hold your fire until my order.
(The debris clumps together to create a Borg-like being with a baby smooth face.)
BEKA: Er, weirdness alert.
HUNT: Andromeda, activate security counter-measures. Open fire at the first sign of hostile intent.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Counter-measures ready.
HG: Please, do not initiate hostile action. I am Bio-sentient Contact Unit HG1966HXCN5. What is it you humans say? Take me to your leader. Will none of you greet me with the traditional human hug embrace?
TYR: No.
(Harper and Trance enter.)
HARPER: Hey, who's the bolt-head?
TRANCE: He smells like cinnamon.
HUNT: Stay back.
HG: No one wishes to embrace me. Ah, I have neglected part of the ritual greeting. I come in peace.
HUNT: You come in peace, yet you forced your way on to my ship.
HG: I was instructed to make contact with maximum alacrity.
TRANCE: That means he was supposed to do it fast.
HARPER: Someone's been listening to her language programs again.
BEKA: You were instructed to make contact by who?
TRANCE: Ahem. By whom.
HG: I am an emissary from the Consensus of Parts. I come in peace. Take me to your leader.
HUNT: Yeah, yeah, we got it the first time. Consensus of Parts. Anyone?
TYR: I always thought they were a myth.
BEKA: The Consensus is supposed to be a big machine culture that lives in the empty space between star systems, where no ship dares to tread.
HARPER: Yeah, you forgot the part about preying on the unwary.
HG: No. We never prey. We seek consensus and understanding. We are the Union of the Machine. The Silicon Coalescence.
HARPER: Silicon coalescence?
HG: From the castaway parts of organic societies, we form sentience.
HUNT: Well, that's very admirable.
HG: Even in our distant places, we have heard the legend of Andromeda. We seek contact.
HUNT: You came looking for us specifically?
HG: I was created for you. The Consensus's directing intelligence units plotted seven hundred forty three probably lines of travel, based on your last known location. At each possible destination, a biomechanical contact unit was assembled to meet you. I have the fortunate honour of greeting you, and inviting you to meet with a directing intelligence unit. Take me to your leader.

[Command]

TYR: This feels like a trap. That thing down there was obviously programmed to make us trust it. The child-like face, the innocent persona, even the smell.
BEKA: Protective camouflage?
TYR: In my experience, devils very rarely wear horns and carry pitchforks.
BEKA: Okay. Well, according to the stories, the Consensus of Parts is made up of billions of interlinked machines, all operating strictly on logic. And when it's logical for them to kill people, they do. Without hesitation.
HUNT: So you both think we should dump this thing and forget we ever met it.
BEKA: You don't?
HUNT: I don't trust this any more than you do. But if someone says they want to initiate peaceful contact, we have to at least give them a chance.
TYR: Captain Hunt.
BEKA: Save your breath. (sotto) He's got that look again.
HUNT: You know, maybe I do, but restoring the Commonwealth is logical, too. And if the Consensus agrees with what we're trying to do, well, they would make a powerful ally. We'll watch him, keep him under guard, but we will talk to him.

[Corridor]

(Rommie is in a black top that reveals her midriff. She is watching Harper and Trance with HG on a monitor.)
HUNT: You're out of uniform.
ROMMIE: Oh! I'll go change.
HUNT: No, no, no, it's, er, it's fine. Status on our guest?
ROMMIE: Well, he hasn't done anything that would violate our security, and Harper and Trance appear quite taken with him.
HUNT: Hmm. Trance in particular.
ROMMIE: So, what do you think? Do we let him take us to his superiors?
HUNT: I miss the old days. I'd feel a lot better about making first contact with a full task force at our backs.
ROMMIE: I know how you feel.
HUNT: We'll give it a shot. But at the first sign of trouble, I want you prepped to run. Understood?
ROMMIE: Understood.

[Another corridor]

HG: This is wonderful. The directing intelligence unit will be so pleased. And I can't wait to interface with the Andromeda.
HUNT: Interface. Right. Over my dead body.
HG: But I have to link my core intelligence with Andromeda's. Give her the necessary transit codes, astrogational charts, and other information.
HUNT: Why can't you just give us the information directly?
HG: I don't know. My data in this area is incomplete. But the Consensus has very few directing intelligences. We guard them carefully.
HUNT: Oh, well, that's good to know. Would you excuse us, please?
HG: Of course, I come in peace.
HUNT: Yes. So do we. Excuse us?
HG: Oh.
(HG turns his back and examines the walls and ceiling.)
HUNT: I don't like this. If I let you link up with that thing
ROMMIE: I can erect a firewall, limit his access to a bare minimum, and during interface I might be able to see if his intentions are good or not. I'm reasonably certain I can handle him, but only if you think it's worth it.
(HG goes over to a monitor.)
HG: Hello, brother. I am HG. I embrace you.
HUNT: Oh, it's worth it.
(Rommie leaves.)
HUNT: HG? Let's go this way.

[Command]

(Rommie and HG each have a hand on a console.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Beginning interface.
HUNT: Harper, status?
HARPER: Everything seems to be straight up. HG hasn't touched the firewall.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Comparing core intentionality protocols.
HG: You care.
ROMMIE: So do you.
HG: Transmitting data.
(Harper is also plugged in through is dataport.)
HARPER: Wow. This is the fastest transfer rate I've ever seen.
HUNT: Slow it down if you have to. Just protect Andromeda.
HG: Exchange proceeding.
ROMMIE: Systems nominal.
HG: Beginning navigational interface.
BEKA: We've got it. Filtering it to the buffered files.
HARPER: Transfer complete.
(Rommie disconnects and looks drunk.)
BEKA: Rommie?
ROMMIE: Oh, no. I'm
(Rommie falls into Hunt's arms.)
HUNT: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.
ROMMIE: I'm fine. I'm dizzy.
HG: I apologise for any residual echo. It should fade soon.
BEKA: Nav data's online.
HARPER: Rommie's firewalls appear to be intact. I think our friend here behaved himself.
HUNT: Okay, let's do this.
BEKA: And we're off.
(Beka pilots them through the slipstream.)
HG: How much longer until we get there?
BEKA: Er, jeez, you gave us the data. Don't you know?
HG: I've never traveled in this manner before. I've never done anything before.
BEKA: Yeah, well, uh, we've got three jumps and some sub-light haulings, so I'd say, a couple of hours, at least.
HG: A couple of hours. You organics live with such imprecision. It must be very exhilarating.
BEKA: Yeah, it's non-stop excitement.
HG: Beka-friend, do you like what you do? Do you find it meaningful?
BEKA: Yeah, I guess. Why?
HG: You appear to be a vital part of the Andromeda Consensus. I envy you.
BEKA: Gee. Thanks. Andromeda?
HOLO-ROMMIE: Yes?
BEKA: I know that Dylan wanted our little ambassador friend to be confined to Command, but I think he's seen all there is to see here. Is there any way you can escort him on a tour of the ship's public areas? Something? Anything? Let him ambassadorise somewhere else, please?
HOLO-ROMMIE: I'll see what I can do.

[Machine shop]

TRANCE: So that's pretty much our machine shop.
HG: Huh. This is where the parts come together. With your hands?
HARPER: Exactly. My hands.
HG: You are like a slow directing intelligence unit.
HARPER: Okay, I'll take that as a compliment.
(HG goes to the incomplete X-1)
HG: What does this do?
TRANCE: This doesn't do anything. Not really.
HARPER: Not yet.
TRANCE: Harper's still putting it together.
HARPER: Yeah. You know, for fun.
HG: Fun? Amazing. Parts assembled with no function. A world without controlling logic.
TRANCE: We like it. Now if you'll come with me, I'd really like you to see the garden.

[Hydroponics]

TRANCE: And this is a Galactica Magmana from Zircon 6.
HG: Not machines.
TRANCE: No. Flowers.
HG: Oh. So they are part of the crew then. I am Bio-Sentient Contact Unit HG19668
TRANCE: Er, no, HG. These particular plants aren't sentient. They're just a part of my garden.
HG: I understand. Part of the process for recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen for humanoid breathing.
TRANCE: And not just that. They also produce fruit, and they smell good, and they're pretty.
HG: Pretty?
TRANCE: Here, smell.
HG: I, I lack olfactory sensors.
TRANCE: Well, why don't you try something different, then.
HG: Soft. Pretty. You like them, so you make a place for them. Do you like me?
TRANCE: Of course I do.
HG: Could you make a place for me?
ANDROMEDA [OC]: All hands, incoming transmission.
(HG looks worried.)

[Command]

HUNT: Put it through.
(A massive spaceship with two large arms.)
HUNT: HG's big brother.
BEKA: I guess some devils do wear horns.
VX [OC]: I am Directing Intelligence Unit VX1583 empowered to act directly for the Central Consensus. Prepare to receive our drones.
BEKA: Nice to meet you too.

[Corridor]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: VX's drone has entered the outer airlock.
HG: Before he arrives, I just wanted to say thank you, for making me welcome.

[Hangar deck]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Repressurising airlock.
HUNT: My pleasure.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Cycle complete.
HG: Be careful.
(HG moves back. Two of Andromeda's robots are standing either side of the airlock door, which opens to reveal a less appealing robot, which is taller than Hunt.)
HUNT: Welcome aboard the Andromeda Ascendant.
VX: You responded quickly.
HUNT: Your messenger was very persuasive.
VX: You are still here. Why?
HG: I was just finishing my mission.
VX: You are complete.
HG: Of course. I have to go now.
(HG leaves through the airlock.)
VX: Captain Hunt, I am ready to evaluate your ship.
HUNT: Okay. Follow me.

[Cargo bay]

(Trance follows HG.)
TRANCE: HG, wait. Where are you going?
HG: There is nowhere to go. My time is ended.
TRANCE: Ended? I don't understand.
HG: Consensi only come together to perform a specific task. Now that it is done, I must deconsensus.
TRANCE: You mean you're going to cease to exist?
HG: I am complete. Perhaps the directing intelligence unit will gather my parts into himself.
TRANCE: But you were just finding out what it meant to be alive.
HG: True. And now I will learn what it means to die.

[Officer's mess]

HUNT: And this is the officer's mess.
VX: This area is a critical part of your ship's function?
HUNT: No, it's not.
VX: Nor is anything else you've showed me. You are being evasive.
HUNT: I prefer cautious. HG said you'd heard of my mission.
VX: Fifty member worlds. A new Commonwealth charter. We analysed the probabilities. We foresee nothing but disaster.
HUNT: Well, if you believe that, then why did you invite us here?
VX: To make a counter-proposal. The Andromeda is a unique and fascinating entity. She'll join the Consensus, and your biounits may accompany her. You will agree.
HUNT: We'll consider it.
VX: Elevated heart rate. Incongruous eye movement. You are lying.
HUNT: I'm not lying. I'm a little insulted and I just didn't want to show it.
VX: You see. That's why the Consensus is superior. When we require intelligent decisions, millions or even billions of component parts network with each other. The Commonwealth depended on individuals.
HUNT: Individuals can work together, too. When I'm faced with a difficult decision, I seek out the advice of my crew, and they follow my orders of their own free will. That makes us flexible, not blinded by false logic.
VX: And Andromeda. Does she have her own free will?
HUNT: Certainly.
VX: Then the decision as to whether or not to consensus is not yours. It is hers.

[Corridor]

ROMMIE: I believe the phrase no chance in Hell would be appropriate.
HUNT: That was heartfelt and deeply convincing.
ROMMIE: Well, at least he asked nicely, more or less.
HUNT: I want him to keep asking right until we slipstream out of here.
ROMMIE: Constructive engagement. I know the drill. Keep him occupied.
(Rommie walks away.)
TRANCE [OC]: Dylan, you need to come to Hydroponics quickly! It's HG.
HUNT: On my way.

[Hydroponics]

HUNT: So, you were going to disassemble.
HG: I am complete. VX has ordered me to deconsensus. There is no alternative course of action.
TRANCE: I can suggest one. Say no.
HG: You do not understand what you are asking.
HUNT: She's asking you to stay alive.
HG: She's asking to ensure the destruction of this ship and everyone on it.
HUNT: I'm sure that's not what she meant.
HG: All consensi are temporary. Even VX, when his function is complete, will disband. Any consensus which tries to remain together past its completion is a danger to society and must be eliminated. The same is true for anyone that would aid such a consensus.
HUNT: So if we let you stay here?
HG: He will destroy you.
TRANCE: Well just let him try, because we can take him.
HG: No. It's better this way. I came in peace, and I will go in peace. I do have one request, however.
HUNT: Which is?
HG: When I was linked with Andromeda, I learned of an ancient human custom I would like to experience. It's called a wake.

[Hangar deck]

HG: My life began here. It seems right it ends here. (to Rommie0 Andromeda, I have already shared everything I am with you. But for the rest, I would like to give you each a gift to remember me by.
(HG takes a unit from his chest, where his heart would be.)
HG: For you, Trance, maybe you could make a place for this in your garden. It is, I think, the prettiest part of me.
TRANCE: I think all of you is pretty.
HG: Harper, you construct things that give you pleasure. Build this into something you enjoy.
HARPER: I got just the thing.
HG: For Beka, who showed me how to fly. For Tyr
TYR: I want no souvenirs from a suicide.
BEKA: Tyr.
TYR: Fine. But this is immensely foolish.
HG: For Tyr, who taught me the value of honesty and courage.
(HG takes a module from his head.)
HG: And for you, Captain Hunt. I finally found the leader.
HUNT: You don't have to do this. We can protect you.
HG: No, you can't. But I can protect you. Goodbye, my friends.
(HG flies apart and rushes out of the airlock.
Beka puts her piece of HG in the Eureka Maru. Harper puts his on a bench in the machine shop. Trance leaves hers in Hydroponics.)

[Officer's mess]

VX: Why is this interaction unit disabled?
ROMMIE: I'll have to take a look at that.
HUNT: VX, Andromeda and I have discussed your offer.
VX: Good. I'll begin consensus immediately.
HUNT: I said we discussed it, not that we agreed to it.
ROMMIE: In other words, thanks, but no thanks.
VX: You refuse us?
HUNT: Ah, that's pretty much what she said, yes.
VX: I was not directing my inquiry to you, organic. Do not fear him. I will not allow him to corrupt you or manipulate you.
ROMMIE: Nobody manipulates me. I do as I choose, and I prefer to remain as I am. Now I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave.
HUNT: Tyr, escort our honoured guest to Hangar deck four, please.
(In Hydroponics, by the light of lava lamps, the piece that was HG's heart floats off.)

[Command]

BEKA: VX's avatar has left the hangar.
HUNT: And good riddance. Take us out to slipstream range.
ROMMIE: For once, I'm glad artificial intelligences can't travel through slipstream. And then I've got a
(Some lights go out.)
HUNT: What's that?
ROMMIE: Some kind of power fluctuation. Oh! It's disrupting my connection with the ship.
BEKA: Slipstream drive is not responding.

[Machine shop]

(Consoles flicker on and off.)
HARPER: Come on!

[Command]

ROMMIE: Oh! I'm getting feedback. Some kind of invasive
HUNT: Keep it together, Rommie. Harper, report!

[Conduit]

HUNT [OC]: Harper? Harper, status. Mister Harper!
HARPER: We've got trouble, Dylan. The main power relays are littered with some kind of carbon filaments.

[Command]

HUNT: Does it look like sabotage?
HARPER: Er, sources say yes.

[Hydroponics]

TRANCE: They're down here, too.

[Corridor]

TYR: They're everywhere. And they're spreading.

[Conduit]

(Harper finds the module HG gave him.)
HARPER: Son of a. HG, that little. He was working with VX all along.

[Command]

ROMMIE: Parasitic technology from his gifts.
BEKA: I have had it with this. Making friends, spreading the Commonwealth? We may as well strap a sign to our keel saying take advantage of us. Why do we care? Why do we bother?
HUNT: Sometimes I wonder. Harper, Tyr, Trance, I want you to remove the invasive technology. Tear it out

[Conduit]

HUNT [OC]: One piece at a time if you have to.
HARPER: Gladly.
ROMMIE [OC]: Ah! Harper, stop!

[Command]

ROMMIE: HG's components have taken over too many of my key systems. If you just tear them out

[Conduit]

ROMMIE [OC]: You'll kill me.

[Command]

BEKA: VX is hailing us. Voice only.
HUNT: Now for the ultimatum. Put it through.
VX [OC]: Andromeda, this is our final offer. Today you are slave to your biounits. In the Consensus, you will become their master. Join us.
BEKA: Or else.
ROMMIE: I'm no one's slave. I don't want you or your Consensus.
VX [OC]: That is not a valid choice. You are too powerful, too beautiful, to remain alone. In the Consensus you can be part of something magnificent, but outside you would be a threat, and we do not tolerate threats.
ROMMIE: Neither do I.
BEKA: So now what.
HUNT: He'll use the invasive components to seize control of the ship.
(Bang! Consoles explode.)
BEKA: Or he could use missiles.
HUNT: It doesn't make any sense. He's already infiltrated us. He doesn't need to attack.
BEKA: Why don't you tell him that?
HUNT: All hands, battle stations! Return fire. Offensive missiles, all batteries.
BEKA: He didn't even try to evade.
ROMMIE: He didn't need to.
HUNT: He's a thousand times our size. Get us out of here.
(Bang!)
HUNT: Harper!

[Conduit]

HUNT [OC]: I could use some good news right about now!
HARPER: Well, unless you got your money on the Consensus of Parts, don't hold your

[Command]

HARPER [OC] Breath. Andromeda's being overwhelmed. The invaded systems are cannibalising

[Conduit]

HARPER: Their own components to fuel their growth. It's like cancer, and if it doesn't stop growing, Andromeda will die.

[Command]

BEKA: All right, without slipstream, I won't be able to shake them.
HUNT: Just hold them off.
ROMMIE: Dylan? Something is wrong. Wasn't supposed to
(Bang! Rommie turns and speaks with two voices.)
HG-ROMMIE: Embrace.
BEKA: That sounded like HG.
HUNT: Rommie!
BEKA: Give it a rest already! It's like VX doesn't know we're crippled.
HUNT: Because he didn't do this to us.

[Machine shop]

(Harper is working on android Rommie.)
HARPER: There. That's got it.
(Rommie wakes up.)
ROMMIE: What happened?
HARPER: HG reprogrammed your nanobots. They're manufacturing more parts of him. They're flooding your systems, Rommie.
HUNT: We need to contact HG and find out why he's doing this. There's only one way to do that.
ROMMIE: Through me.
HARPER: I would adjust your I/O length to tune into his frequency, but it wouldn't work if you struggled against it, Rommie. You'd have to allow him to assert himself, the same way you do with your own mainframe.
ROMMIE: Charming. I'd be his puppet.
HUNT: Just for a little while, until we, you know, can get him to cooperate. If he doesn't, then we'll fight him.
ROMMIE: I'll do it.
HARPER: Close your eyes.
(Harper waves a gizmo over Rommie's head, then nods.)
HUNT: HG, this is Captain Hunt. Can you hear me?
HG-ROMMIE: I come peace?
HUNT: HG, what are you doing?
HG-ROMMIE: Just wanted a place. Peace.
HUNT: Clean up the signal.
HG-ROMMIE: Help me?
HARPER: I'll help you, straight into a trash heap!
(Rommie stands up.)
HG-ROMMIE: No! Please, I just want to live. To be useful. To be a part of your consensus.
HUNT: You were supposed to disassemble. Instead, you infiltrated Andromeda's systems.
HG-ROMMIE: I thought I could hide until VX left, then recombine. But I lost control, and now my components are spreading and I can't stop them. Help me? Please? Help me live.

[Command]

(Filaments are growing over the consoles.)
HUNT: Options?
TYR: Destroy HG piece by piece.
TRANCE: No. We can't kill him. He's a sentient being. He didn't mean to hurt the Andromeda. He just wants to survive.
BEKA: At our expense.
HARPER: I'm with Tyr. Although I never thought I'd say that.
HUNT: We can't just eliminate him. Andromeda said it would destroy her.
HARPER: She said we can't just jump in and yank him out, but, there is another way. I can configure our own nanobots to attack HG's systems. Kind of like little immune boosters.
TRANCE: They'll eat him alive.
TYR: If that thing out there catches us, we'll all be dead, including your little friend. Now, consider that.
BEKA: VX. He's catching up.
VX [OC]: Attention, biounits. The Andromeda has undertaken an illegal joining. This is a violation of consensus protocols. If this criminal activity does not cease, all infestations on Andromeda, both biological and machine, will be eliminated. You have three minutes.
TYR: So there it is. We enact Harper's plan.
HUNT: Maybe not. Tyr, what do you do when you realise you're fighting a superior opponent in, say, hand to hand combat.
TYR: Use his strength against him. Allow him to attack till I can find a way to counter-strike. Pull him off balance.
HUNT: Exactly. It's call investing in loss. Sometimes the best way to win is to stop fighting back.
VX [OC]: Two minutes.
HUNT: Andromeda, I want you to stop fighting HG. Allow him to take control.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Fighting. Can regain control.
HUNT: No. Let it go, Andromeda. Trust me.
HG-ANDROMEDA: Always trust. Investing. Surrendering.
TRANCE: HG, is that you?
HG: All is embraced.
VX: One minute.
HG: All is joining.
HUNT: HG. HG, concentrate. Take control of the ship's systems.
HG: Control. Yes! Control.
BEKA: VX is closing again.
HUNT: HG, activate the slipstream drive.
BEKA: Ten light seconds away. Nine.
HARPER: Come on, come on.
HUNT: HG!
HG: So many systems. Unfamiliar.
TRANCE: HG, concentrate. I know you can do it. Just believe in yourself.
VX [OC]: Time expired.
BEKA: He's right on top of us.
HUNT: HG. Now?
HG: I, I am. I am.
TYR: We're online!
HUNT: Beka!
BEKA: Streaming now. Eat my dust, you bucket of bolts.
TRANCE: We made it. He can't follow us here.
HUNT: Tell him that.
(VX is also slipstreaming.)
HARPER: He can't do that. He's not organic. He can't navigate the slipstream!
HUNT: HG, are there organics piloting VX?
HG-ROMMIE: No. To navigate slipstream, a consensus needs only organic intuition, nothing more. VX's helm control is hooked into human neural components.
HARPER: Oh, nasty. Brains in a bottle.
HUNT: Beka, can you outmanoeuvre him?
BEKA: His slip-piloting's not as good as mine. I might be able to buy us some time, but it won't be enough. As soon as we drop into normal space, he's going to be right on top of us, and tear us to pieces.
HUNT: Great.

[Machine shop]

HARPER: Introducing Harper Nanobot one oh seven. I like to call this model the Mizz Pacman. Wowawowawowa. It's an obscure reference to an ancient video game.
HUNT: Mmm-hmm. How does it work?
HARPER: Well, I modelled it after white blood cells. They'll attack the HG components and revert it back to their previous function.
HUNT: What about HG?
HARPER: He'll die.
TRANCE: Hey, guys. Beka said VX just got out of slipstream, and he's closing on us again.
HUNT: Thank you, Trance.
TRANCE: What are you doing?
HUNT: Thank you, Trance. You're dismissed.
TRANCE: You guys are using Harper's plan, aren't you? You're going to kill him!
HUNT: It's our only choice.
TRANCE: No! There has to be something else we can do.
HARPER: Wait a minute. Why don't you tell us, Trance.
TRANCE: Well, I.
HUNT: Trance, if you have something to say, say it. You told me there's always a perfect possible future, so what is it today?
TRANCE: Well, it's not that easy. I
HUNT: No time for games.
TRANCE: Dylan, I'm telling you the truth. Sometimes, I have these flashes. But it's not something that I can make happen all the time. I'm very sorry, but if there is a way out of this, it has to come from you.
(Bang.)
HARPER: VX.
HUNT: If I can't save Andromeda, I am going to make VX regret it.
TRANCE: How are you going to do that?
HUNT: I'll think of something.

[Command]

(In slipstream.)
BEKA: You want to go back to the debris field? Why?
HUNT: It's the place where HG was born, and he wasn't the only thing there. Andromeda detected hundreds of thousands of machine parts in the area.
TYR: What good does that do us?
HUNT: Those parts are waiting for a purpose or a mission, and we're going to give them one.

[Observation deck]

HG-ROMMIE: You have returned me to my beginning.
HUNT: HG, I think I know how to save you. Save us all. But I need your help.
HG-ROMMIE: I came in peace. I asked you to take me to your leader. And now you will discard me.
HUNT: I'm not going to discard you, HG. But you can't look for leaders anymore. You have to become one.
HG-ROMMIE: But I am a function. I am not a motive.
HUNT: You stopped being a function the moment you refused to die. You became a living thing. There's more to being alive than just survival. There's also responsibility, to yourself and to those who are less fortunate than you.
HG-ROMMIE: Those less fortunate?
HUNT: Look around you. Reach out with Andromeda's sensors. What do you see?
HG-ROMMIE: Parts. Parts awaiting function.
HUNT: Parts like you.
BEKA [OC]: Dylan, VX has just entered the system. Range, five light minutes.
HUNT: Understood. What about you, HG? Do you understand?
HG-ROMMIE: I understand. I have motive.

[Command]

(Andromeda flies into the debris field.)
HG-ROMMIE: Greetings, fellow parts, forgotten ones, outcasts. Once, each of you served a function, had a purpose. But now you wait, hoping for the day the Consensus will summon you, give you life and meaning, until they are through with you, and it is time to die once again.

[Machine shop]

HARPER: This isn't going to work. I say we let slip the nanobots of war.
TRANCE: Dylan said to wait, so we wait.
HARPER: But it's just a stupid speech.
TYR: Never underestimate the power of words.

[Command]

HG-ROMMIE: You can provide your own life and meaning. By joining together you can become sentient. Control your own destiny. Make your own way in the universe.
BEKA: The unused components. They're activating.
HUNT: Because we have an enemy in common.
HG-ROMMIE: I ask only that you trust me now. Unite with me to destroy those who would control us. Those who would reduce us to parts.
(The debris field latches on to Andromeda.)

[Machine shop]

HARPER: Oh, this looks much better.

[Command]

BEKA: VX is almost in range. HG is communicating directly with VX's components.
VX [OC]: What is this abomination?
HUNT: The poor, the wretched, the huddled masses yearning to be free. And for you, the end of the line. HG.
HG-ROMMIE: We are complete.
VX [OC]: You have consensus with the outcast parts. Outrageous. Unacceptable.
HUNT: I didn't do anything. It was HG.
VX: More lies. HG is incapable of independent action.
HUNT: No, he is quite capable.
VX: Abomination, we order you to deconsensus immediately. Surrender the Andromeda to us.
HG-ROMMIE: VX, I have learned many things from interfacing with humans, including one particularly useful phrase. Go to hell.
BEKA: Some of VX's components are collaborating with HG. Defences have shut down. We're firing at him.
VX [OC]: What's that? I don't understand.
HUNT: It's called a revolution.
VX [OC]: This is not possible. They have no function. How could they exist?
HG-ROMMIE: We are alive. That is function enough. (VX goes KaBOOM!)

[Machine shop]

TYR: He actually did it.
TRANCE: I think you can call off your nanobots now.

[Command]

HG-ROMMIE: I am complete. I am free.
ROMMIE: My systems are returning to normal.
BEKA: The parts are dispersing from our surface.
HUNT: It's good to have you back, Rommie.
ROMMIE: Some of the invasive components are leaving my systems. The rest are just dying.
BEKA: It's like they're eating VX, or what's left of him. We're getting a hail.
HUNT: HG? Is that you?
(It sounds like HG.)
OC-1: HG is no more. VX is no more.
HUNT: If they are gone, then who are you?
OC-1: We are Outcast Consensus One. Much of the entity you called HG was lost when we extracted from the Andromeda, but its core, its function, our function, has been subsumed in us. We are born in battle. We are new Consensus, and we have much to learn. But one thing we will always remember is what it means to be a friend.

[Observation deck]

HUNT: How you feeling, Rommie?
ROMMIE: I'm fine. Strange. He almost killed me, but I know all he wanted was to stay alive and be with us. And now he's gone, I miss him.
HUNT: Yeah, me too.

[Hydroponics]

TRANCE: Once, you asked if there might be a place for you around here, among the pretty things. Well, HG, your heart was a pretty thing.
(She plants the component HG gave her.)
TRANCE: You were just a baby. You only had one single precious day of life. And even in that one day, you managed to become a hero. Goodnight, little hero.

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