The Honey Offering

Original Airdate: 23 Apr, 2001

The enemy of my enemy
is still my enemy.

Drago Museveni
CY8427

[Corridor]

(Somewhere, a metal dart is tipped in curare, and a Nietzschean woman secrets a small gun, a sharp throwing implement and a whip-like device that emits a thin beam of energy about her person.
Hunt comes jogging around the corner to meet Tyr, and they go running together.)
HUNT: You're late. I've already lapped decks three through eight without you.
TYR: You'll be pleased with my excuse. I believe I've found a way to increase the peace.
HUNT: No offence, but you make an unlikely dove.
TYR: Be that as it may, there are two large Nietzschean prides in this sector. The Sabra and the Jaguar, sworn enemies.
HUNT: You want to set it up so that they'll annihilate each other.
TYR: The thought had occurred to me, but no. Actually, they're trying to forge a treaty. One which hinges on an arranged marriage between the Sabran First Daughter and the son of the Jaguar Archduke.
HUNT: Maybe we should send flowers.
TYR: They want someone to transport the bride from Sabra territory to the Jaguar homeworld.
HUNT: Preferably someone neutral. Someone with a big, powerful starship.
TYR: Precisely.
HUNT: Just one thing. What's in it for Tyr?
TYR: The resulting Sabra Jaguar alliance would be large enough to check the power of the Drago-Kasov pride.
HUNT: The Drago-Kasov. Your sworn enemy.
TYR: The largest obstacle to your renewed Commonwealth. Whatever weakens them, strengthens you.
(Tyr runs off as Hunt thinks, then has to chase.)
HUNT: Hey!

[Hunt's quarters]

(Hunt is towelling down.)
HUNT: Hey, what is it Rev?
BEM: Sorry to interrupt. I just wanted to say
HUNT: Yeah, yeah, I know. Set aside whatever prejudices I may have and embrace everyone, even the Nietzscheans, right?
BEM: I was going to recommend that you avoid any interactions with the larger Nietzschean prides.
HUNT: You think I'm out of my league?
BEM: We nearly met our destruction at the hands of the last Nietzschean pride we encountered. The Orca, a few thousand strong. The Sabra and the Jaguar each number in the millions.
HUNT: Which makes them important players in this area of the known worlds. Players we may have to deal with sooner or later.
BEM: May I caution you? Watch your back amongst these Nietzschean serpents.

[Command]

HUNT: Let the prides know I'll agree to transport the Sabra's First Daughter to her wedding, but at a price.
TYR: And what would that be?
HUNT: Tyr, I am under no illusion that an alliance as powerful as Sabra Jaguar would be interested in signing my Commonwealth Charter. However, there are two systems that would be. The Enkindu and Schopenhauer systems. The Jaguar and Sabras have been fighting over them for over two hundred years. I want those systems granted independence and the opportunity to sign the Commonwealth Charter.
TYR: A pair of solar systems for a one way transport?
HUNT: That's my price. Take it or leave it.

[Hangar deck]

HUNT: You're surprised the Sabras accepted my offer.
TYR: I try not to be surprised by anything.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Surface shuttle craft is docking.
HUNT: All right everyone, best behaviour. You're all ambassadors for the Commonwealth.
(The hangar bay doors open and Elssbett enters.)
TYR: I'm surprised.
HUNT: Why?
TYR: I thought all Sabrans were ugly.
BEKA: Yeah, I'm already getting a vibe. This chick's bad news.
HARPER: I'm getting a vibe, too. Actually, it's more like a tingle.
ELSSBETT: I'm Elssbett Mossadim, out of Lucrezia by Tamerlane. Have your human slaves carry my luggage. His arms look scrawny. Make sure he doesn't drop anything. And him. Why is he alive? I shoot Magog for sport.
(Trance steps forward with a bouquet.)
TRANCE: Hello, Miss Alpha Nietzschean Lady. I picked these for you.
ELSSBETT: Thank you, cute purple monkey. Is your pet housetrained?
TYR: Shall I show you to your quarters?
ELSSBETT: Don't bother. I'll choose whatever's best.
(Elssbett hands off the bouquet to Tyr and leaves.)
HUNT: At what point do you tell her that I run the ship?

[Hangar deck]

(Harper supervises robots carrying Elssbett's luggage.)
HARPER: These bags must weight a metric ton. I'm getting exhausted just watching you guys carry them.
HUNT: Mister Harper, it's good to see that you're not straining yourself. You built new robots.
HARPER: Yeah. Well, in layman's terms, I retrofitted Andromeda's original bots. I was getting sick and tired of patching and repatching the old ones. So, er, what do you think?
HUNT: More importantly, what does Rommie think?
(A new robot answers him with Andromeda's voice.)
ROBOT: They have more power, and the thighs don't chafe when they run.
HUNT: Ah, well, that's important.
HARPER: You know it.
(Elssbett enters.)
ELSSBETT: What's going on here? Why are you people standing around engaging in idle chatter when my luggage is still not in my quarters?
HARPER: I am personally overseeing the transfer, your gorgeousness. Robots, move it!
ROBOT: Don't push it, gorgeousness.
HARPER: Rommie, you know I only have eyes for you.
(Harper and the robots leave.)
ELSSBETT: And you.
HUNT: Huh?
ELSSBETT: The guest quarters on this vessel are pathetic. I'll need something more suitable.
HUNT: I've already given you the best
ELSSBETT: I've located a room of sufficient size on Deck five. I believe your computer identified that as the Observation Deck.
HUNT: Er, that's public space for use of the entire crew.
ELSSBETT: For the duration of this trip, it shall be private. Arrange it.

[Hunt's quarters]

TYR: You really can't expect Elssbett to change her attitude. She's lived her entire life among Nietzscheans, and she's only known non Nietzscheans as slaves.
HUNT: Well, you've had the benefit of a more diverse exposure. Maybe you could share your experiences with her that non Nietzscheans aren't inferior.
TYR: You'd like me to lie to her?
HUNT: Just ask her to tone it down a little. We inferiors are very sensitive.
TYR: I'll speak to her.
HUNT: Thank you.

[Observation deck]

TYR: All Nietzscheans know that amongst the tribes, the Sabra stand alone as the most fierce and ruthless.
ELSSBETT: I take that as a compliment.
TYR: I would prefer you heed it as a caution. For that being as it is, I believe you'll be most disappointed with your union to Charlemagne Bolivar. He's a fop, a do nothing. He inherited his title. Whereas you, on the other hand. Well, you are quite obviously every inch a Sabran First Daughter.
ELSSBETT: I'm marrying into pride Jaguar because they're clever. Notoriously treacherous.
TYR: Still, they've been declining for three hundred years. They haven't done a thing of note since they betrayed the Drago-Kasov at the Battle of Witchhead.
ELSSBETT: Are you suggesting I shouldn't marry Charlemagne Bolivar?
TYR: I believe you should. When you do, you will be the power behind the new Sabra Jaguar alliance, and I will have been the instrument to create that alliance. A fact I hope you'll continue to appreciate well into your married years.
ELSSBETT: And who are you?
TYR: I am Tyr Anasazi, out of Victoria by Barbarossa. Enquire after me in the future, and be assured you'll find me of better service than that milksop Charlemagne.
ELSSBETT: And you are of which pride?
TYR: I am Kodiak.
ELSSBETT: An extinct pride, because they weren't strong enough to hold onto Drago's bones.
TYR: The Kodiak were betrayed.
ELSSBETT: Allowing yourself to be betrayed proves your inferiority.
TYR: Lady mine, if you'll allow yourself to know me a bit more intimately, you'll quickly realise I am no one's inferior.
ELSSBETT: Really? Then why do you work for a human?

[Command]

TRANCE: She doesn't like flowers. Who doesn't like flowers?
BEKA: She called me kludge.
TRANCE: Well, at least she didn't call you monkey.
BEM: Even as Nietzscheans goes, this Elssbett, well, she tries my Wayist patience.
BEKA: There's only one person on this ship pathetic enough to like her.
HARPER: Hey, she's hot!
BEKA: Really. I find that her attitude somewhat ruins her looks.
(Harper makes cat fight noises.)
TYR: Believe me, boy. Elssbett holds you in utter contempt.
HARPER: I know. She's hot and she's a good judge of character. So what if she holds me in utter contempt. At least she's thinking of me.
TRANCE: What kind of a person doesn't like flowers?

[Observation deck]

(Trance is investigating Elssbett's large pile of monogrammed luggage when her tail gets stepped on.)
TRANCE: Ow! Ow! Ow! My tail!
ELSSBETT: That's for putting it where it doesn't belong.

[Corridor]

(Trance runs out into Hunt.)
TRANCE: Help!
HUNT: Whoa, whoa, whoa.
TRANCE: She's trying to kill me.
HUNT: What's going on here?
ELSSBETT: Your monkey was in my bags.
TRANCE: Well, you didn't have to hurt my tail!
HUNT: Trance, is this true?
TRANCE: Yes.
HUNT: I apologise for Trance's behaviour. I'll make sure
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Captain Hunt, report to the bridge. Code Black. Multiple hostiles exiting slipstream. Nietzschean fighters. They're right on top of us.
HUNT: Rommie, secure Elssbett's quarters.
(The doors close.)
ELSSBETT [OC]: Captain Hunt, how dare you lock me in here!
HUNT: And make sure our guest is secure in them.

[Command]

BEM: So much for avoiding entanglements with the larger Nietzschean prides.
HUNT: Like I said, Rev, sooner or later. And it looks like it's sooner.
BEKA: It's the Drago-Kasov.
TYR: And we're surrounded.
ROMMIE: They're hailing.
TYR: Who's sending the message?
ROMMIE: Someone calling himself Fleet Marshal Cuchulain Nez Pierce.
HUNT: Put it through.
TYR: Belay that!
HUNT: You know him.
TYR: By reputation. He masterminded the Dragans campaign against the Than colonies in the Orion arm.
BEKA: This guy is brilliant. He's nearly doubled the size of the Drago-Kasov fleet in less than two years. Dylan, he's dangerous.
TYR: And after my little excursion to Enga's Redoubt, it's best if Cuchulain never learns of my presence here. I advise extreme caution.
(Tyr leaves.)
HUNT: On screen.
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: Captain Hunt, thank you for accepting my hail.
HUNT: Why have you surrounded my ship?

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: Believe me, Captain, I'm not happy about it either. I'm missing out on my eldest son's birthday.

[Command]

HUNT: Don't let me stop you.

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: I wish I could take you up on that. You know how demanding

[Command]

CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: Children can be.
HUNT: No. I don't.
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: That's a shame.

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: You really should try it some time. I highly recommend it.
HUNT [OC]: I'll keep that in mind.

[Command]

HUNT: Somehow I get the impression you're not here to talk about the joys of fatherhood.

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: Sadly, no.

[Command]

CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: Turn over Elssbett Mossadim.

[Command]

HUNT: Who?
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: I know you mean well, Captain

[Cuchulain's ship] but this is a very dangerous game you're playing here.

[Command]

CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: And I suggest you concede. I'll give you some time to think about that.

[Corridor]

BEKA: Clearly, you didn't realize what you were promising.
TYR: Perhaps Elssbett is more trouble than she's worth.
HUNT: If we turn her over, they'll kill her. We all know that. Don't surrender anything while I'm gone, okay?
BEKA: If you say so.

[Observation deck]

(The doors are wide open.)
HUNT: I should have asked for six solar systems.

[Corridor]

(Hunt jumps down a ladder in front of Elssbett.)
HUNT: I'm going to have to do something about that lock.
ELSSBETT: I'm not going to let you give me to them.
HUNT: What makes you think that I would do that?
ELSSBETT: It's what I would do in your situation.
HUNT: I gave my word to your Pride. My word is the foundation of the Commonwealth.
ELSSBETT: I have never met anyone who thought like that. Probably because the universe kills them before they can reproduce.
HUNT: Well, that's the curse of being inferior.
ELSSBETT: It's not your fault. You're only human.
HUNT: Look, if you don't have faith in this human's abilities, you're more than welcome to jump into a slip fighter and try your luck. You won't make it, but I'm sure your family has a few daughters to spare, so I'll just go back and pick up another one.
ELSSBETT: And what's your alternative? You and your crew die trying to protect me, and then I die anyway?
HUNT: You are such a pessimist. But you know, it's not your fault. You're only Nietzschean.

[Eureka Maru]

(Hunt carries in Elssbett's luggage.)
BEKA: So why is it that whenever anyone goes on a suicide mission, they take my ship?
HUNT: Because it has seatbelts. Not to mention it's small, it's manoeuvrable, and Harper just installed High Guard ECM generators.
BEKA: Really?
HUNT: Yeah.
ELSSBETT: If you've finished saying goodbye to your lover, I'm ready to leave.
HUNT: She is not my
BEKA: Oh, why hide it?
(Beka kisses Hunt.)
BEKA: Just remember. He's pretty to look at, lovely to hold, but if you break him, we consider him sold. Take care, sweetie.

[Command]

(Klaxons are wailing and things are going bang. Cuchulain is on the viewscreen.)
BEKA: Cuchulain, we need your help! Elssbett's taken hostages on the hangar deck!
TRANCE: She's taking over the entire ship!
HARPER: She just broke into Command!

[Command]

TYR: They're following us.
HARPER: Yeah, sucker.
BEKA: Nice work, guys.
HARPER: Shooting that gun into the camera really sold it, don't you think?
TRANCE: Convinced me.
TYR: And it would appear that Dylan has shaken the Drago-Kasov.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: Well, we should be safe all the way to the Jaguar homeworld.
ELSSBETT: I underestimated you, Captain.
HUNT: Enough to change your opinion about humans?
ELSSBETT: No. Enough to change my opinion about you. Your little manoeuvre back there was worthy of a Nietzschean.
HUNT: Thank you. So, Elssbett, Nietzschean to Nietzschean, you want to tell me what you're carrying in all these bags?
ELSSBETT: My bags?
HUNT: Like this one, for example. If I were to reach in here, what do you think I'd find? A makeup kit, maybe, or your lipstick? I mean, after all, it is a wedding.
(He opens one of the bags.)
HUNT: Huh. Poisons. Shurikans. Gauss derringers. Whatever happened to something borrowed and something blue?
ELSSBETT: It's not nice to go through a woman's purse.
HUNT: I almost forgot the highlight. A pocket nuke.
ELSSBETT: Actually, a neutron bomb.
HUNT: Oh. Just big enough to kill everyone in Pride Jaguar's capital city.
ELSSBETT: But leave the buildings intact.
HUNT: How thoughtful. Were you ever going to tell me you're an assassin, or was I supposed to guess that by the trail of dead bodies at your wedding?
(He points a charged forcelance at her. Shortly after, all her weapons are securely locked away.)
HUNT: I'm taking you back to the Sabra homeworld.
ELSSBETT: If you do, they'll kill me.
HUNT: I hardly think
ELSSBETT: You don't understand. I've trained for this mission since I was three. If I return without even starting, outsmarted by a kludge.
HUNT: A kludge?
ELSSBETT: I've never heard humans referred to any other way. I'm sorry. But on your ship, I saw something different. I saw a Nietzschean and humans living together. Even a Magog. It made me question what I'm doing. It made me wonder if there wasn't somewhere else I could go. Unfortunately
(Hunt starts to lower his guard, so she attacks him.)
ELSSBETT: There isn't!
(Elssbett holds Hunt up by his throat against a bulkhead. He wards off her armblades and they fight briefly through the ship, before she pulls a gauss derringer.)
HUNT: I don't think you'll shoot me.
ELSSBETT: Why not?
HUNT: I'm the pilot.
ELSSBETT: I'll take my chances.
(She fires. The charges don't hit Hunt, and he shoots them down with his forcelance.)
HUNT: Effectors. Have you seen my forcelance?
(Elssbett kicks Hunt and runs.)
HUNT: She's very quick.
(A shurikan slices into a pipe. They meet up again by the boxes and bags.)
HUNT: Don't forget your luggage.
ELSSBETT: You don't fight like a human.
HUNT: You don't fight like a girl.
ELSSBETT: You certain you're not even one fraction Nietzschean?
HUNT: My forearms are very smooth.
ELSSBETT: Not genetically engineered.
HUNT: Half. My mother was a heavy gravity worlder.
ELSSBETT: Well, that's something. Just not enough.
(She hits him, runs and grabs her whip from the locker.)
HUNT: Elssbett, this has to stop. I can't let you go and kill all those people.
(She jumps down behind him.)
ELSSBETT: You don't have any choice. And neither do I.
(She activates the whip.)
HUNT: I hope that isn't what it looks like.
ELSSBETT: Monomolecular lash.
HUNT: That's insane. There's no way to control one of those.
ELSSBETT: Watch me.
(And cuts Hunt's forcelance in half.)
HUNT: If you drop that, it'll cut a hole right through the ship.
ELSSBETT: If you're so worried, stop dodging.
(Hunt evades, Elssbett cracks the whip and yes, makes a hole in the hull. They both hang on to the railing as the air is sucked out.)
ELSSBETT: The bulkhead!
(Hunt manages to land on the piece of hull next to the hole.)
HUNT: Help me! Help me or we die!
ELSSBETT: Where's the patch kit?
HUNT: Soldering wand in front of you!
(She throws it to him and he seals the breach.)

[Command]

BEKA: We can't get to slipstream. He's cornered us. We're too deep inside the Koba stellar nursery.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Cuchulain is sending us a message. The timecode shows he's only eight minutes behind us.
BEKA: Put it through. One way only. No return data until we're ready.
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: Elssbett. You tricked some kludges. Congratulations.
BEM: He still thinks she's piloting.
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: In case you hadn't noticed

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: We're herding you.

[Command]

CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: In about three hours, you'll run up against the orbital defence

[Cuchulain's ship]

CUCHULAIN: Stations around Strimberg's World.

[Command]

HARPER: Orbital stations?
ROMMIE: Not good. I'm no match for a planetary defence system.
BEKA: Great.
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: Elssbett

[Cuchulain's ship]

MEN [in background]: Density of particles one four five. Set yar at one four. Setting one four, aye.
CUCHULAIN: You can obviously pilot their starship quite well. I suggest you use the retro thrusters. Save yourself. Cuchulain out.

[Command]

TRANCE: What do we do?
BEKA: He's given us three hours to surrender. That's three more hours to lead him away from Dylan.
ROMMIE: At least he's safe.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: We stayed the breach. We'll have to put in at the next port before repairs.
(Elssbett puts cuffs on Hunt.)
HUNT: What the hell? What is this?
ELSSBETT: Inertial restraints.
HUNT: I figured that out, because I can't move.
ELSSBETT: Oh, you'll move just as much as I want you to. Oh, one more thing. The inflictor.
(She presses a button and makes Hunt hurt.)
ELSSBETT: Don't make me use it again.
HUNT: I didn't make you use it the first time.
ELSSBETT: Now take us to port. But if you try and fly us to the Dragons or back to Sabra.
(More pain.)
ELSSBETT: I'll take my chances on my own.

[Drift Customs]

PERSEID: Skivar Ten customs inspection. Identifications?
ELSSBETT: My name is Norda Threska.
PERSEID: And him?
ELSSBETT: He's a slave. He doesn't need a name. If anyone should ask about my ship while it's in repair, tell them it's a Than grub transport.
PERSEID: Well, it's ugly enough. But that is not a true fact.
(Elssbett puts a pile of coins on the desk.)
ELSSBETT: Now it's a true fact.
(The Perseid takes them.)
PERSEID: Yes. Now it's a true fact.
ELSSBETT: Come.
(Hunt follows Elssbett with four pieces of luggage. They are watched by a Nietzschean.)

[Suite]

HUNT: You know, I don't know what they taught you in Assassin school, but we're being hunted by the Drago-Kasov and you pick the most expensive, the most ostentatious, and the least defensible room on this entire asteroid.
ELSSBETT: I just wanted to be someplace nice.
HUNT: Why are you doing this? You can still go through with the treaty. Just marry
ELSSBETT: Charlemagne Bolivar. You think the Jaguar arranged this marriage because they believe love conquers all? They know we're stronger. They know we're ready to strike. They arranged this to buy time to prepare themselves for the decisive battle.
HUNT: So, instead of a few years of peace, you want to start the war now by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
ELSSBETT: Innocent people? This is a blood feud. A two hundred year old blood feud. There isn't a single Sabra who hasn't had a relative killed by a Jaguar. Millions of people have died in this stupid war, and I'm going to end it in one day. By eliminating the ruling Jaguar families, I will destroy their will to fight forever. In the end, I'll be saving lives. The lives of all the future generations who won't have to fight anymore. So you see, it is the perfect solution.
HUNT: Except for one thing. You'll be dead.
ELSSBETT: That's why I wanted the good room.

[Command]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Some Drago-Kasov fighters are peeling away.
BEM: They're going in for refueling.
TRANCE: Yes! We won!
TYR: Hardly.
HARPER: Oh, great. Reinforcements.
CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: Fresh horses, Elssbett. Getting tired yet?
BEKA: How long until we reach the line of defence stations?
BEM: Fourteen minutes, thirty seven seconds.
TYR: If this which he avouches does appear, there is no flying hence nor tarrying here.
(Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5, as Birnam Wood apparently comes to Dunsinane.)
HARPER: Nice. You make that up yourself?

[Suite]

(Elssbett is fingering her monomolecular lash.)
HUNT: How many of those things do you have?
ELSSBETT: My father gave this to me for my tenth birthday. He even had it inscribed. Be more than you seem.
HUNT: How thoughtful. A reminder to be treacherous.
ELSSBETT: You hate me, don't you?
HUNT: Does it matter?
ELSSBETT: It shouldn't, but somehow. As soon as the ship is repaired, we'll be leaving here, and I will go to my wedding and all that follows. So in all likelihood, you are the last person I'm going to spend any amount of time with.
HUNT: Elssbett, I don't hate you. I just don't understand you. We may be offshoots of the same species, but our cultures are just too different. I was taught to try to do good, even when there's evil all around me, but you were taught to look innocent, even while you're planning the deaths of everyone around you. I know there's a better way to live than that, but no matter how I try, I can't seem to convince you.
ELSSBETT: Don't pity me. When I complete my mission, I will have done what seven generations of Sabra have failed to do. Bring Pride Jaguar to their knees. I'll be remembered forever, like Isis Khmer or Drago Museveni.
HUNT: No. Not like Drago Museveni. Drago survived to father nations, but when you die tomorrow, your DNA dies with you.
ELSSBETT: No, it doesn't. My ova were removed.
HUNT: Why?
ELSSBETT: I am so highly regarded as a fighter, my eggs can't be wasted. They'll be fertilised and implanted into lower ranking Sabra women, for the improvement of the Pride.
HUNT: My god, what they've done to you, Elssbett. And what they're making you do.
ELSSBETT: After the way I've treated you, how can you care what happens to me?
HUNT: I care because I'm human. And despite all the genetic engineering, somewhere deep down inside, so are you. You just don't remember it.
ELSSBETT: I remember.
(She removes the restraints.)
HUNT: What are you doing?
ELSSBETT: I'm releasing you. You can return to your ship. Tell the Andromeda to forget about the Drago-Kasov. This isn't your war.
HUNT: And you'll just continue with your mission.
ELSSBETT: On the Maru. Or maybe I'll bribe the Perseid for another ship. It doesn't matter. Please, just go.
HUNT: Is that what you want?
ELSSBETT: No, that is the last thing I want right now.
HUNT: Then don't go through with it.
ELSSBETT: I have to do what I have to do. You may not believe this, but the past few days have been fun. I've spent my whole life training, practicing, perfecting my skills. I was too valuable to be allowed much freedom, so I've never gone anywhere before. I've never done anything, I have never spent time with someone I would consider a friend.
HUNT: I'm sorry. I never imagined.
ELSSBETT: You don't have to save me, Captain. You don't even have to like me. But please, stay with me, even if it is just for a little while.
(Elssbett kisses Hunt.)
HUNT: Elssbett.
ELSSBETT: Please. For just one night, I'd like to pretend I was only human.
(Hunt obliges her.)

[Command]

CUCHULAIN [on viewscreen]: What's it going to be, Elssbett? My fighters or the plasma cannons? Your choice, unless you surrender.
TRANCE: Surrender. Surrender. All his messages are the same. He sounds like an evil parrot.
HARPER: I can't believe I'm going to die at the hands of converging red blips.
BEKA: Wait a second. I think you two might be on to something. Rommie, scan all of Cuchulain's messages for the background noise.
BEM: You don't think he
ROMMIE: I've lined up all the messages chronologically.
BEKA: Look. The oscillating variables between those too constant. It's almost continuous.
HARPER: Like they were recorded within minutes of each other, not hours.
TYR: And broadcast separately to make it look like Cuchulain was still chasing us.
HARPER: You mean we've been running from drones carrying, I don't know, Footprint Magnification Systems?
BEKA: Decoys. Andromeda, bring us about. Hard one eighty. I'm going to fly right back through them.
TRANCE: What if they're not decoys?
BEKA: Then when we get to the pearly gates, make sure everyone lines up behind Rev. You've got spin control.
BEM: I'll see what I can do.
ROMMIE: Two seconds until visual contact.
TRANCE: There!
HARPER: Oh, man, they suckered us. They totally suckered us!
BEKA: At least we're through.
ROMMIE: Which leaves one question. Where's Cuchulain?

[Drift]

CUCHULAIN: You must be joking. The honeymoon suite. Come.

[Suite]

(Hunt enters, presumably from the bathroom, and Elssbett points a gun at his head.)
HUNT: So we're back to guns again.
ELSSBETT: I have to leave, and I can't let you stop me.
HUNT: You don't have to leave. Of all people, you don't have to do anything that you don't want to do.
(The doors open. Elssbett opens fire on the intruders. She throws a gauss derringer to Hunt.)
ELSSBETT: Here!
(They shoot from behind columns, then Elssbett grabs one of the men to use as a Nietzschean shield. Once he's dead, she cuts another in half with her lash. Cuchulain pauses now his men are dead, then the shooting starts again.)
ELSSBETT: Let's go!
HUNT: You're very good.
(Elssbett cuts a hole in the wall, and she and Hunt escape.)
CUCHULAIN: An M-lash.

[Eureka Maru]

(The Maru leaves the Drift, followed by Cuchulain's fleet.)
HUNT: Now what?
ELSSBETT: Now, we head for the Jaguar homeworld. I'm late for my wedding.
HUNT: They're a half light second behind and gaining. Maybe we should work out a compromise.
ELSSBETT: Like hell we should! Twenty five years I've trained for this. No one's going to stop me.
HUNT: Yeah, not even me.
(Bang!)
ELSSBETT: Cuchulain. He's caught up.
HUNT: What is it that Nietzsche said? God is dead.
ELSSBETT: Sometimes even atheists get their prayers answered.
(A big silver ship comes towards them.)
HUNT: The Andromeda.
ELSSBETT: Your crew's brave. Foolishly so.
HUNT: I couldn't agree with you more. Andromeda, get out of here.
ELSSBETT: What?
BEKA [on screen]: What?
HUNT: It's too hot. Now, veer off.

[Command]

ROMMIE: Dylan!

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: That's an order, Beka.
BEKA [on screen]: Dylan, they'll kill you.
HUNT: I said, that's an order!
BEKA [on screen]: All right, compromise.

[Command]

BEKA: You keep doing whatever you're doing, but we'll stay here and draw off as many Dragons as we can.
HUNT [OC]: Fine.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: Just do it. Dylan out.
ELSSBETT: Your ship was our only hope.
HUNT: I won't sacrifice them. We're entering the Pride Jaguar's home system. Maru, open up a comm. line to broadcast on all frequencies.
COMPUTER: Comm. line open.
HUNT: Jaguar home fleet, this is Captain Dylan Hunt. I have your future Grand Duchess, Elssbett Mossadim, First Daughter of the Sabra Pride. We are under heavy attack from the Drago-Kasov. I repeat
CUCHULAIN [on screen]: Nice try, Captain Hunt.
HUNT: Cuchulain.
CUCHULAIN [on screen]: We have more than enough ships to deal with the Jaguar, and we can intercept you long before you reach their homeworld.
HUNT: Assuming that's where I'm going. Hunt out.
ELSSBETT: You're vectoring away.
HUNT: That is the general idea.
ELSSBETT: But Cuchulain is still chasing us.
HUNT: Yeah, but look who's chasing Cuchulain.
(Lots and lots of red blips on the tactical display.)
ELSSBETT: Where are you going?
HUNT: I have an idea. Why don't we throw our own little wedding party? We've already invited the Jaguars and Dragons. Let's see who else wants to come.
(They head towards a hot burning mass of gas. Looks like a star to be, but...)
ELSSBETT: What are you talking about? There's no one else out there.
HUNT: Oh, isn't there? You know, if I were planning to blitzkrieg the Jaguars, I'd already have my fleet in position, you know? Somewhere safe but, you know, inside the system. Somewhere like, oh, I don't know, near a gas giant?
ELSSBETT: You're starting a war.
HUNT: No, you are starting a war. I'm just rearranging the sides. Now, tell your Pride you're going to die, and tell them that their entire fleet will be destroyed if they don't help.
ELSSBETT: You're sure you're not part Nietzschean?
HUNT: Huh. I'm starting to wonder.
ELSSBETT: Sabra soldiers of the Golden Light Battalion, this is First Daughter Elssbett Mossadim. I am under attack from Drago-Kasov. Move to intercept. I repeat. Move to intercept. I hope they listen.
HUNT: Of course they will. Everyone likes a good party. Look at that. Bride's family on the left.
(Lots more red blips on tactical, passing the Maru's position. The space battle begins. Various ships go KaBOOM.)
COMPUTER: Incoming transmission.
HUNT: Transmit.
CUCHULAIN [on screen]: You're clever, Captain, but you haven't really won anything. We were going to have to fight this war eventually, anyway.
HUNT: Yeah, but you weren't planning on fighting it today, now were you? Have fun. Hunt out. There. If you want to follow through with your original plan, then be my guest. Of course, you'll be killing off the only people who can help your pride survive the war, and not to mention you'd be spoiling a perfectly good alliance. Or you could, you know, marry Charlemagne Bolivar. You know, join forces together and give the Drago-Kasov a run for their money. It's up to you.
ELSSBETT: It's too bad you're a human.
HUNT: Hmmm. Well, I kind of like who I am.
ELSSBETT: So do I. Very well, then, kludge. Set a course for the Jaguar homeworld. My new husband awaits.
HUNT: Aye, aye, Captain.

[Hunt's quarters]

ROMMIE: Well, it's good to have you back.
HUNT: It's good to be back. Beka treat you well?
ROMMIE: Fine. It's just, she's not my captain.
HUNT: Don't worry, I won't be trading ships with her any time soon.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Dylan, you have a message from Elssbett, just beamed from a courier ship. It's about five days old.
HUNT: Put it through.
HOLO-ROMMIE: It's marked private.
HUNT: Ah. Rommie?
ROMMIE: Leaving.
(Rommie leaves. Holo-Rommie disappears.)
ELSSBETT [on screen]: Captain Hunt, I must congratulate you. You started a war, you've ruined the plans of the Sabra. You're greatly hated, and also respected as someone we can do business with. Enkindu and Schopenhauer systems have been granted their independence.
(Elssbett is wearing the double helix armband.)
HUNT: Very good.
ELSSBETT [on screen]: The wedding was much nicer than I anticipated, and much quieter. To be honest, Charlemagne pleases me. His decadence suits me. I guess I won't kill him today. Or even tomorrow. Or the next day. We'll see how it goes. I just wanted to let you know that so far, your solution seems to be the better one.
HUNT: You're welcome.

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