It Makes A Lovely Light

Original Airdate: 7 May, 2001

Come bitter Rain,
And wash from my Heart
That saddest of all Words:
Home.

Ulatempa Poetess, "Song of My Exile"
C.Y. 9825

[Corridor]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Warning. AP valve malfunction in the Reactor Chamber. Repeat. AP valve malfunction in the Reactor Chamber.
(Hunt is racing along.)
HUNT: Bleed off excess anti-protons! Initiate emergency venting!
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Initiating.
(Hunt jumps down a ladder to the next corridor. Emergency bulkheads start to close.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Fifteen seconds to overload. Twelve seconds. Ten, nine, eight

[Slipstream core]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: seven, six.
(Hunt rushes in and skids to a halt on the catwalk in the Slipstream core.)
HUNT: Whoa!
(On the adjoining platform is all the crew, minus Tyr, and a cake blazing with a plenitude of candles.)
ALL: Surprise! Happy birthday, Dylan!
(Hunt nearly has a heart attack.)
HARPER: We got you! Oh, did we get him. Look at his face. Okay, you see that? That is why you don't tell him a week ahead of time.
HUNT: Who put you up to this?
ROMMIE: Harper overrode my emergency protocols. He said it was necessary for the gag.
BEKA: What's the matter? Didn't they have surprise parties in the High Guard?
HUNT: Somehow they found a less stressful setup than reactor meltdown.
TRANCE: Blow out the candles now.
HUNT: There's so many of them.
BEM: We've included the three hundred and three years you spent frozen in time.
HARPER: But don't worry. You don't look a day over two hundred.
HUNT: Thank you. Sometimes I feel like it. I think I'm going to need some help here.
TRANCE: Ready? One, two, three!
(They help blow out the candles.)
BEM: May your next year bring you wisdom and kindness.
BEKA: Good job we deactivated the smoke detectors, eh, Dylan?

[Observation Deck]

BEKA: I hate them, too.
HUNT: What's that?
BEKA: Birthdays. Every year there's more of them behind and fewer ahead. Andromeda says you spent your last birthday on Tarn-Vedra.
HUNT: It was at a ski resort in the Avarix Mountains with Sarah. Dinner cost a Nightsider's ransom.
BEKA: I still can't believe I know someone who's been to the Homeworld. It's like having seen Atlantis.
HUNT: Tarn-Vedra's no myth. I was born there. My mother was a high-G shuttle pilot, my father worked at the Imperial Gardens. And I, I grew up in the a human quarter of Vishana Tarn. The architecture, the museums. Every day it was like walking through ten thousand years of history. And now, well now it's. Now there's not a single slipstream route left connecting Tarn-Vedra to the rest of the universe. It might as well be locked up in a steel box.
BEKA: Yeah. A steel box. A steel box with no key.
HUNT: What's going on?
BEKA: Happy birthday.
(Beka gives Hunt a slim box, then takes it back to open it.)
BEKA: I'll just show you how to do it. It's a little sticky. There you go.
(Hunt activates the flexi.)
HUNT: Slipstream routes.
BEKA: A key. The map to Tarn-Vedra. Happy birthday, Dylan. You're going home.

[Command]

HUNT: It's a lovely gesture, Beka. But you can't get to Tarn-Vedra from here. From anywhere. No one's found a viable slip-route to the Vedran homeworld since the Commonwealth fell.
BEKA: Oh ye of little faith. Do you remember when Harper and Trance stole the, er
HARPER: Acquired.
BEKA: Acquired the diary of Hasturi, the mad Perseid?
HUNT: Ah, yes. The only sentient to reach Tarn-Vedra since the fall. Or so he claimed.
HARPER: Hey, believe it or not, I actually read that thing. The crap I went through to get that, and it's total gibberish. Steer by the glow of the Cyclops eye? It's half mystical mumbo-jumbo, half putrid poetry, and half bad math.
ROMMIE: That's three halves.
HARPER: Like I said, bad math.
BEKA: To you, maybe. But you're not a pilot. Prune away all this bad poetry, and you get this. The road to Tarn-Vedra. Chapter one, verse one. I set a course for the Swan palace of lapis and gold.
ROMMIE: The Capella system.
HUNT: A binary star. One blue, one yellow.
BEKA: Lapis and gold. It's all here. From Capella to Algareb to Seginus. All the way to Tarn-Vedra in forty six easy steps.
HUNT: Slow down, Moses. Hardly easy. This trail bisects a stellar nursery, and it passes within twenty AU of a collapsing quasar.
ROMMIE: Not to mention negotiating around the twin cores of the Andromeda galaxy.
BEKA: Hasturi knew that all the normal routes had been destroyed, so he explored all the abnormal ones.
HUNT: Well, he certainly picked some beauties.
BEKA: Think of the shipyards. Imagine all the new parts just waiting for Andromeda. And what would contacting the Vedran homeworld do for a reunited Commonwealth? This could light a fire under our whole crusade.
HUNT: It's dangerous, Beka.
BEKA: Yeah. Maybe it is dangerous, but someone once told me that nothing worth doing is easy.

[Eureka Maru]

BEKA: Hello, Tyr. What do you want?
TYR: Command codes for the Eureka Maru.
BEKA: As in my ship? Oh, did you wake up insane, or was it a slow onset?
TYR: I've given it some considerable thought, and I've decided that this quest of yours is wrong-headed and most likely to prove fatal. So if it's all the same to you, I'd prefer to wait it out on this vessel and, if you survive, you can pick me up and tell me all about Tarn-Vedra.
BEKA: And here I thought you cared.
TYR: I care enough not to want to watch you and Dylan and the rest kill yourselves on some fools crusade.
BEKA: Tyr, do I strike you as some sort of starry-eyed dreamer?
TYR: No. In fact, most of the time, you're admirably self-interested.
BEKA: Well. This is most of the time. Wake up, Tyr. You think I'm going to Tarn-Vedra for the art galleries? That planet was not only the seat of government, it was also the home base for the Commonwealth's military, including its arms depots.
TYR: Lovely. So, this situation presents some interesting possibilities. Now, you wake up. No one's reached Tarn-Vedra in three hundred years, and better pilots than you have died trying.
BEKA: There are no better pilots than me.
TYR: Arms depots, eh?
BEKA: I knew that'd get your attention.

[Machine shop]

HARPER: Andromeda, do we have any nanobots that can eat metal? Really big chunks of metal. Like, er, I don't know, say, underground vaults, maybe?
BEM: Have you considered the possibility that the Vedrans might not want you to loot their home?
HARPER: And have you considered the possibility that they may not even be there anymore? For all we know, the place could be abandoned, ripe for the picking's. And besides, it's not looting, it's, er, gleaning.
BEM: There's a very fine line between gleaning and pillaging. I believe one draws that line with a laser saw. I fear there is one possibility everyone is overlooking in this mad dash for wealth and glory. The Vedrans are a very powerful and ancient race. They conquered known space, and they tamed it. What if Tarn-Vedra was not cut off from the slipstream at all? What if they cut themselves off? And what if they don't want to be found?
(Harper shudders.)

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: Beka. Beka, are you in here?
(Beka enters with wet hair and wearing a towel.)
HUNT: Whoa! Oh, sorry, I didn't realise you were er
BEKA: No. No, it's fine. I was done. Have you made a decision, Dylan?
HUNT: Er, oh yes. Right. Right. Look, look, er, do you really think that you can do this?
BEKA: I wouldn't have volunteered if I didn't think I could pull it off.
HUNT: Yeah, well, see you know, I was, er, I was checking your figure. I mean the, your figures, and er, seventy percent of our transit time would be in the slipstream itself, and that's psychologically exhausting under ideal conditions. And these routes that you're talking about? It's going to be hard on the pilot. I mean, on any pilot. I mean, look what it did to Hasturi.
BEKA: Yeah, but Hasturi was a Perseid. They're all twitchy obsessive compulsives to begin with. He was probably crazy before he started. Look, Dylan, I can do this. I know I can.
HUNT: Nothing worth doing. Okay. Let's give it a shot. Report to Command.
BEKA: Okay.
HUNT: Oh, er, take your time. I mean, as you were. No. No problem.

[Corridor]

(Harper meets Beka coming the other way.)
HARPER: Hey, you think it's on Tarn-Vedra, don't you? The Engine of
BEKA: Seamus, ix-nay.
(They walk past each other.)
HARPER: Right. Right. But it's there, isn't it?
BEKA: Maybe. We'll see.

[Command]

BEM: The Face of the Divine.
HUNT: Come again?
BEM: The Andromeda Galaxy. If the universe is a manifestation of the Divine, could not the slipstream be the very mind of God?
HUNT: Well, if that's the case, I'm afraid God had a seizure and forgot all about Tarn-Vedra.
(Beka enters.)
BEKA: And here comes God's little brain surgeon.
BEM: Beka! Some humility, please.
BEKA: Yeah, I tried that once. I didn't like it.
HUNT: Like they say. In the slipstream, confidence is everything.
BEM: Apparently.
HUNT: All right, Beka, let's do this.
ROMMIE: Transiting to slipstream in three, two, one.
(Beka pilots them through to the blue and yellow binary system.)
BEKA: Welcome to Capella. Hello, Capella. Goodbye, Capella.
(And into slipstream again.)
BEKA: Hello and goodbye, Algareb.
(And the third jump leads straight into the fourth, and so on.)
HUNT: On screen. Full magnification.
ROMMIE: That's the Seginus System.
BEKA: Or as Hasturi put it, the Sockets of Twelve Axe Handles. Ten down, thirty six to go.
HUNT: Hmm.

[Corridor]

TYR: She is a remarkable pilot.
HARPER: And you're surprised? Hey, I'm choosy about who I work for, you know.
TYR: So am I.

[Command]

HUNT: Ten jumps, no waiting. Good work, Beka.
BEKA: It was a snap.
HUNT: Well, for you, maybe, but Rev looks like hell. Well, worse than he normally does, and even I'm feeling the strain. I think we'll just rest here in normal space for a while.
BEKA: What? And break our momentum? No, I'm fine.
HUNT: Beka.
BEKA: Look, I. Look.
HUNT: Beka, Tarn-Vedra's been lost for three hundred years. We do not have to find it this morning. Go.
BEKA: Going.
(Once finally out of sight in the corridor, Beka leans against a ladder to catch her breath.)

[Command]

(Andromeda comes out of slipstream.)
BEM: So, where are we now?
ROMMIE: That's Epsilon Bel. It's an X ray pulsar.
BEKA: See how she blinks on and off? Hasturi called that the Eye of the Blinded Cyclops.
ROMMIE: Hasturi makes a lot of references to the ancient Earth epic, the Odyssey.
BEKA: Except when he confuses his Vedrans with his centaurs, then he just veers right off of Homer and starts quoting Einstrom Becksman.
BEM: The Hawks of Scaroth. Majestic.
ROMMIE: If you like beheadings.
BEM: I'm beginning to think this may actually work.
BEKA: Oh, I see. So you doubted me up till now?
BEM: Beka, you wound me. I? Doubt you? Never.
BEKA: Wise guy.
(Beka takes them into slipstream again. This time the ship starts bouncing off the energy lines.)
BEKA: Yes! Whoo!
(Trance is hanging on for dear life. They come out of slipstream with alarms blaring.)
HUNT: Okay, whatever that was, I know it wasn't good. Beka?
BEKA: It's okay. It's all under control.
(Beka turns the ship and consoles go bang.)
BEM: Polymer web.
HUNT: We certainly are. Andromeda, determine our exact location.
BEKA: I know our location. We're in between Scylla and Charybdis.
ROMMIE: Halfway between Andromeda galaxy's two cores.
BEM: And the twin black holes at their centres.
HUNT: Tell you what. Let's skip the formalities and move on to our next destination, okay?
BEKA: Aye, aye.
(Jolt.)
BEKA: Sorry.
(And another.)
BEKA: Damn it.
HUNT: And that would mean there's a problem.
BEKA: I can't find the way into slipstream. It's like the entire area is a gravitational riptide. I think we're stuck.
(Later, with the black holes on the viewscreen.)
HUNT: Okay, Harper, dazzle me.
HARPER: We are here. On your left will be a black hole we'll call, say, er, rock. And on your right, one we'll call hard place. Now, for those of you who are feeling a little torn, the mass of your average galactic core super-black hole is equal to about a hundred million suns. And we are trapped jam smack dab right between two of 'em. So, you can forget about finding a slipstream portal. One wrong move, and we are talking entire planets being ripped to molecular shreds.
BEKA: I can get us out. If I can just find the sweet spot between the two gravitational cores, they'll neutralise each other.
HUNT: If being the operative word.
ROMMIE: Theoretically, Dylan, she is correct.
HUNT: And if we're off course by even a few kilometres, we're history.
BEKA: We both knew the risks when we started out. I can do this.
(Rumble, creak.)
HUNT: I'm not doubting you, Beka. I'm just looking to maximise the odds. Harper, I want you to optimise the control interface and see if you can eke a better performance out of the slipstream drive. Rommie, work out worse case scenarios. And you? Take a break. You're exhausted and I need you sharp.
BEKA: I'm fine.
HUNT: It's not a debate.

[Slipstream core]

HARPER: Harper, we're only about an hour away from destruction. Why don't you take this paperclip and go an upgrade the engines. No pressure. No pressure? Oh, good, because I don't need pressure. I need power.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Harper? How am I coming along?
HARPER: Rommie, if I had a hundred tech-heads, a fully operational drydock and six months, I could maybe goose you five percent efficiency at best. As it is
HOLO-ROMMIE: I'm helpless.
HARPER: No, you are the holographic light of my life. Me versus the slipstream drive, that's hopeless.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Harper, I don't wish to offend, but
HARPER: You're a warship, and you know how I feel about social graces, so go ahead, spit it out.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Is it time to consider another pilot? Beka is good, but no one can spend that long riding the stream. The sheer exertion of willpower, the life and death choices, it takes a toll.
HARPER: Rommie, I know how you feel. Believe me, I know. But let me give you a little historical perspective on this, okay? Two ninety nine AFC, Takeloff Drift. Vertically challenged yet irresistible engineer Seamus Zelazny Harper is running an oh so clever con when he somehow runs afoul of the law. His partner, Captain Beka Valentine, not only puts her ship up for his bail, but steals it back and lifts off with five Banshees screaming up the Maru's backside. 301AFC, Nuev Odessa. Lovable scamp Seamus Harper is filching military surplus when he somehow runs afoul of the law. Beka manages to pilot us to safety. Oh, later that same year, Bleak Horizon
HOLO-ROMMIE: I see the pattern.
HARPER: The point is, Beka slip-pilots like other people breath. If you want to switch drivers and slipstream us right into a flaming cloud of hydrogen gas, fine.
(Beka overhears this.)
HARPER: But, even when the party's gotten a little hot, I'd still rather dance with the one that brung me. 

[Eureka Maru]

(Beka is taking a mug of hot water from the microwave when she hears a plaintive little voice.)
TRANCE [OC]: Beka?
BEKA: Trance? Trance, I didn't know you were in here.
(Trance sits up.)
TRANCE: Yeah. Yeah. It's just all that time in slipstream really gives me a headache.
BEKA: Wouldn't you be more comfortable in Andromeda's crew quarters?
TRANCE: I guess so. It's just, you know, my favourite plants are here, and it kind of feels like my bed. Is that silly?
BEKA: Nope. I know exactly what you mean.
TRANCE: You know, you look kind of tired. Maybe you should take a nap, too.
(Beka puts a teabag into her hot water.)
BEKA: Instant nap. Just add water.
TRANCE: Oh. Are you sure? Because
BEKA: Trance, stop. I know what I'm doing. Everything's going to be fine. Okay?
TRANCE: I don't. I don't. I'm not feeling
(Trance collapses.)
BEKA: Trance?

[Medical]

BEM: I can't explain it. Perhaps it's our proximity to the galactic core. Radiation, gravitational flux, the tidal forces of those twin singularities.
BEKA: Rev, spill it.
BEM: Trance's physiology is as alien as anything I have ever seen. Whatever energy flow she has is fading, rapidly. Beka, I'm afraid we're losing her.
BEKA: Let me sit with her for a minute. You go pray for a speedy recovery or whatever it is you do.
BEM: Divine compassion is stronger medicine than you know. I will go pray for her.
(Bem leaves as the ship creaks and monitors flash on and off.)
BEKA: Andromeda, give us a minute, please.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Privacy mode engaged.
(Beka starts hunting through drawers of bottles.)
TRANCE: What are you doing?
BEKA: Trance, you're up.
TRANCE: What are you doing with the medicine? Acetylcholine. Neurostimulant. You're making Flash?
BEKA: I know what I'm doing. Trance, I have to get us out of here.
TRANCE: But Flash
BEKA: Will boost my reaction time and help me anticipate changes in the stream. It's what it was made for.
TRANCE: But you can't do that. It's so bad for you.
BEKA: No. No, I'll be fine. Everything's going to be okay. I'll take care of everything, Trance. I promise. Let's get you back to bed.
(On the Maru, Beka looks at a photograph of her as a child with her father and brother, then puts a drop of the milky liquid into each eye. Her irises turn white and her pupils are pinpoint.)

[Command]

HUNT: Status?
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: The tidal forces of the galactic core are still too strong. We need to go a little further before we can enter slipstream.
HUNT: Steady as she goes. Maximum PSL.
(Beka enters.)
BEKA: Hey, Dylan.
HUNT: Hi, Beka. How's Trance?
BEKA: Not great. But I'm better. All I needed was a catnap.
(She gets into the slipstream chair.)
HUNT: I'm impressed.
BEKA: Well, don't be. I'm the one that got us in this predicament in the first place. The least I can do is get us out.
HUNT: Just make sure that we're clear of the core before you stream.
BEKA: You're telling me to tiptoe back out of here. I can do that. I will do that.
HUNT: Don't break my ship.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: We're clear.
BEKA: We're clear.
HUNT: Stream away.
BEKA: Stream away.

[Medical]

(Trance arches her back and cries out.)
BEM: Trance! Trance!
(They come out of slipstream. Trance is shaking.)
BEM: Trance! Oh, you're awake. Thank the Divine.

[Command]

HUNT: Good work, Beka. You have my thanks. That was very impressive.
BEKA: It was nothing.
HUNT: No, I mean it. Suddenly you could do no wrong. We didn't even upgrade the equipment or recalibrate the controls.
BEKA: Oh, I see. So you get pilot error, but you have no room for pilot excellence. Can't you just accept the fact that I'm good? Maybe just as good as Captain Terrific himself?
HUNT: Excuse me?
BEKA: Sorry. Sorry. I'm stressed.
HUNT: Tell you what. Why don't we just stay here in normal space for a while and let Andromeda give you a spell. Okay?
BEKA: Yeah. Yeah.
(Beka gets out of the chair. Hunt picks up Hasturi's diary.)
HUNT: A break would do me good. Gives me a chance to maybe read the little mystery
(Beka snatches the diary back.)
BEKA: Hey! My guys bled for that. My score.

[Corridor]

HUNT: Hey, Beka. Mind telling me what that was all about?
BEKA: Sorry. I am sorry. I, er, you're right. I, I, I've been pushing myself too hard. I really need a break.
HUNT: Damn right you do. You've been slip-piloting for sixteen hours nonstop. No one can keep up that pace.
BEKA: Yeah. I can. I can do it. Dylan, I, I was born in the slipstream. I can do this. It's just, er, it's exactly what you said. I, er, I need a break. I need a break and it'll be, it'll be fine. You'll see. You'll see.
(Beka walks away, twitching and hyper. Around the corner, she puts more Flash in her eyes.)

[Eureka Maru]

HARPER: Boss? I just wanted to come by and tell you I have the utmost confidence in your ability to smoke.
(He sees Beka's eyes.)
HARPER: What in the name of the Vedran Empress?
BEKA: Walk away. You were never here.
HARPER: You're doing Flash. I don't believe it. Flash? Beka, come on. You know what that stuff does to people. People kill over that stuff, their family and friends. Did you know that eighty two percent of people on prison planets are Flash addicts?
BEKA: Do you know what? They tell you that kind of stuff just to scare you.
HARPER: Sure. To scare you out of killing your neighbours.
BEKA: Look, I'm not going to pretend this crap is good for me. I know first hand what Flash can. I'm using miniscule doses for a limited time. It's medicine, and it's working. You saw. You heard what Dylan said.
HARPER: If it's such good medicine, why don't you tell Dylan?
BEKA: Because Dylan is Dylan. Dylan wouldn't cheat on his FTA dues. Besides, it's none of his business what I put in my bloodstream.
HARPER: Fine. It's your brain, but I don't like to see you like this, Rebecca. I'm just trying to help.
BEKA: Then leave. Then just leave. Leave! And let me do my job. You know, Harper, I've saved your skin before, and I'll save it again. But you have got to get off my back or so help me, I will drop you back on the trash heap where I found you!
HARPER: Okay.

[Command]

HUNT: Beka. Did you have a good rest.
BEKA: I've had an epiphany. Rommie, diagram our last nine transits.
ROMMIE: Processing.
(The nine circles make a 7, or an arrow head.)
BEKA: Hasturi called that the Belt of Orion.
HARPER: Er, Orion is in the Milky Way.
TYR: We're two million light years from there.
BEKA: Yes, but Hasturi was a lunatic. The point. The point is, we're back on track. I can still get us to Tarn-Vedra.
(She adds five more circles.)
ROMMIE: Beka, that route takes us within five light minutes of a charged plasma nebula.
BEKA: The Black Goat with a Thousand Young. Yeah, yeah. And I'll have us out of there in one hot second.
HUNT: Not good enough. Rommie, plot a course back to the galactic fringe.
BEKA: Huh? Um, did you hear me? I just finished saying we don't have to turn around. I can do it. I can get us there in twelve transits. Ten!
HARPER: Er, boss? I, er, I.
(Beka gives him Look.)
HARPER: I abstain.
HUNT: Beka, I appreciate your dedication, and I have confidence in your abilities, but I don't buy your math. You can't finesse a risk benefit ratio.
TYR: I agree. The dangers significantly outweigh the potential rewards.
BEKA: Okay, I expect this kind of thing from Mister Self Preservation here. But you? Dylan, I thought you had guts.
HUNT: You're under a lot of strain, which is why I've cut you a lot of slack, but I think it's time you left the bridge and went back to your quarters, now.
BEKA: Is that an order, Captain, My Captain? Oh, I forgot. Actually, you're not a real Captain, are you? There's no High Guard! There's no commissioned officers. Who around here is an actual captain? Don't tell me, let me guess. Just, er, it's coming to me, it's coming to me. Let's see. Hmm, that would be, er, me!
HUNT: That's enough! This is my ship, and when you're on my ship, you will comport yourself like the captain you claim to be.
TYR: Reasoning with her will do little good. She's under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
HUNT: What?
BEKA: What? Says who, Über?
TYR: Captain Valentine, I can hear your heartbeat racing. I can see the sheen of perspiration and smell the adrenaline fueling it. Tell me, did you think that Nietzschean vision would be unable to distinguish between a human cornea and a contact lens?
HUNT: Beka, Flash? What are you? Are you insane?
BEKA: What? It's not what you. Everybody needs it. Besides, I thought you made your own rules, Mister Beyond Good and Evil.
TYR: This hasn't a thing to do with good or evil. Drugs create dependency. Dependency is weakness, and weakness is death.
HUNT: Tyr, you could've told me earlier.
TYR: It was working.
HUNT: Mister Harper, I'm sure you were well aware.
HARPER: She's Flash fried and freeze dried.
BEKA: You're going to pay for this, Harper.
HUNT: Beka, you are relieved of duty.
BEKA: What?
HUNT: Now, give it to me.
BEKA: Who's going to fly you out of this mess if not me? I'm your best pilot.
HUNT: You should be thankful that I can't court-martial you. Now, give me the bottle.
BEKA: Fine. Catch.
(She throws a bottle past Hunt.)
BEKA: Sorry.
(Hunt goes to get it and Beka leaps into the slipstream chair.)
BEKA: Brace for slipstream!
(They go into slipstream.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Medical alert. Patient condition critical.
(They come out of slipstream. Tyr and Hunt drag Beka out of the chair. She punches Tyr.)
HUNT: Tyr, escort Captain Valentine to V deck.
BEKA: Let go.

[V deck]

(Pacing her cell, very hyper.)
BEKA: That's the last time I go to the mat for you guys. Dependency is weakness, weakness is death. You know what, Tyr? You know what? I got two words for you. Er, anabolic. Er, steroids! Oh, yeah, I forgot. You're Mister Pure and Natural, aren't you? Yeah. You're too good for human women, that's for sure.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Beka, is there anything you need?
BEKA: Yeah. A door key.
HOLO-ROMMIE: I was thinking more along the lines of a light supper.
BEKA: Food? No. No. Maybe water? Or maybe a lemonade? Yeah. Yeah, yeah. A lemonade'd be great.
HOLO-ROMMIE: I'll see what I can do.
BEKA: Okay. I'll be right here.
(Beka doubles over, in withdrawal)

[Command]

HUNT: Okay, Andromeda. Give me what you can.
(The ship judders and shakes as Hunt tries to fly her.)
HUNT: Come on.
(He gives up.)
HUNT: Yeah, I know.

[Medical]

BEM: Trance? Welcome back. At least one of my patients is improving.
TRANCE: Who else is sick?
BEM: Beka. She
TRANCE: Took Flash. I saw her stealing the ingredients. I tried to stop her.
BEM: You must not blame yourself for Beka's actions.
TRANCE: Then neither can you.
BEM: Well, I, I never said I was.
TRANCE: No, you didn't. But you thought it. I know you, Rev. You always try to say the right thing so people will see things the right way, and then they'll always end up making the right choices.
BEM: Yes, I suppose I do.
TRANCE: Sometimes, you just have to allow people to make the mistakes they need to make.
BEM: Thank you.

[V deck]

BEKA: My hair hurts.
BEM: You are withdrawing from a very powerful drug. It's bound to be uncomfortable.
BEKA: Uncomfortable? Rev, every nerve ending is on fire. My skull is two sizes too small. I want to rip my skin off with my fingernails. I was thinking. Maybe it would be better to taper off slowly, you know? Safer. I just need you to get me a couple of drops. I promise. I promise, just a taste.
BEM: Beka, this will not end your pain. It will merely postpone it.
BEKA: It's funny. I'm always the one that has it all together, but right now, I just, I just feel shattered into a million pieces.
BEM: I have always believed the Divine loves us best at the broken times.
BEKA: Well, I'm a pilot, and no one ever loved me best for screwing up.

[Command]

HARPER: Everything's redlining, boss. If I give the engines any more power, they'll explode.
HUNT: Okay, let's bring it. Brace for slipstream, everyone. This isn't going to be fun.
(Hunt takes them into slipstream, and through and out again.)
TYR: Nicely done.
HARPER: Whew! That unfamiliar sound you hear is me exhaling with relief.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: You took us fifteen light years from the gravity well. We've almost cleared the core.
TYR: Why are we headed toward Tarn-Vedra? I thought you wanted to turn back.
HUNT: I do. I was heading in the opposite direction. That wasn't me. The ship transited all by itself.

[Slipstream core]

(Bem is lying twitching on V deck. Beka is high.)
BEKA: The joke's on you, Sparky. Five more jumps. Five more jumps, Sparky, and we're home free.
(She puts more Flash drops in her eyes.)

[Command]

(Hunt watches on the viewscreen.)
HUNT: Tyr, report.
TYR [OC]: Give me a plasma cannon and some shake-charges. I'll have her out of there in five minutes.
HUNT: And if you spook her, she could drop us right into a supernova. We have to find another way.
ROMMIE: What I want to know is how my security system was fooled into thinking Command had been destroyed in battle. It's the only way she could control me from the slipstream core.
HARPER: Er, well. Rommie, you remember when we first met you?
ROMMIE: When you tried to highjack me? Yes, Harper, I remember it well.
HARPER: You were open salvage. Besides, we didn't know there'd be any High Guard leftovers on board. No offence, Dylan.
HUNT: You installed overrides to bypass Andromeda's security system.
ROMMIE: Overrides which you said you disconnected! Overrides which, if memory serves, and it always does, you disconnected under my personal supervision.
HARPER: Okay, so maybe I didn't disconnect every single little override. I mean, we had only met you. Dylan was all very impressive, and for the most part we were buying this restore the Commonwealth game, but for all we knew, he could have been some whacko trying to take us on some insane quest.
HUNT: Yeah, yeah, like finding Tarn-Vedra.
HARPER: Okay, so we're paranoid. So sue us. We needed a Plan B. You always have a Plan B.
HUNT: Yes, but my Plan B's work.

[Outside Slipstream core]

HUNT: Hey, Beka, it's Dylan.

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: If you're trying to bypass security, forget it.

[Outside Slipstream core]

HUNT: No, no, I just, I just want to talk.

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: Sorry, I'm just a little busy right now. I have to smooth out this

[Outside Slipstream core]

BEKA [OC]: Interface a titch.
HUNT: You want some help?

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: Yeah! Yeah, that's a great idea. Why don't you just come on in

[Outside Slipstream core]

BEKA [OC]: And you can take over. You can turn us around and scamper on home.
HUNT: Oh, so you're still trying to get to Tarn-Vedra.

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: What do you think, Dylan? I er, that I'd get you a birthday present and then just take it back? I'm sorry, Rocket. I needed it. But I'll get you another one, I promise.

[Outside Slipstream core]

HUNT: Who called you Rocket?

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: Like you don't know.
HUNT [OC]: Pretend

[Outside Slipstream core]

HUNT: I don't.
BEKA [OC]: Look, I'm not my father, okay?

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: I'm not an addict. I can stop any time I want.
(She uses more Flash.)

[Outside Slipstream core]

HUNT: Then why don't you?

[Slipstream core]

BEKA: Because I made a promise. And this Valentine keeps her promises. Now, excuse me, I've got work to do.

[Outside Slipstream core]

HUNT: Damn it!
HARPER [OC]: Boss, she cut the comm. link.
HUNT: Then find a way around it. Andromeda, status.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Beka's last heading is taking us too close to the quasar. I can't even activate the neutrino dampers with her re-routing the helm. You have to get her out of there.

[Slipstream core]

HOLO-HUNT: Beka.
BEKA: Hey, Dylan. Fancy meeting you here.
HOLO-HUNT: You have to turn around. Getting to Tarn-Vedra is not worth sacrificing my ship.
BEKA: Give up? Ah, ah. No, not me. I don't give up. I may not be good for much, but you can always count on me to keep my word.
HOLO-HUNT: You've got nothing to prove. You're one of the best starship pilots
BEKA: What? You call that slagheap a starship?
HOLO-HUNT: Frankly, I think it's a miracle you keep it flying at all.
BEKA: I know. And if I can get that bucket of bolts to fly, just imagine what I can do with the Andromeda. I can get you all the way home.
HOLO-HUNT: Beka, my home died a long time ago.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Radiation level exceeding safety limits.
(Harper bursts in from a conduit.)
HARPER: Access code Zelazny seven four niner.
(Beka starts to strangle Harper. The main door opens and Hunt enters. His hologram disappears.)
HUNT: Beka, let him go!
(Hunt pulls her off Harper.)
BEKA: Ah, you bastard! You're just like the rest of them. You'll say anything to get what you want.
HUNT: You know me better than that. I want to help you.
BEKA: Oh, crap! You want to ditch me. You want to leave me.
HUNT: Beka, look at yourself. Look! Look what you've become. Beka, I'm trying to stop you from killing yourself. I've lost four thousand people from my original crew. Four thousand! And I will be damned if I'm going to lose one more. Not like this, Beka. Not like this.
BEKA: Just let me try one more time. One more dose, and I can jump us all the way
HUNT: Into a sun or a black hole. Beka. Beka! The Flash is affecting your judgment. If you listen to it, it will kill you.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Radiation level approaching critical.
BEKA: I won't. I won't. I won't die.
HUNT: Are you sure?
BEKA: No. No. Take it.
HARPER: Oh, man, she's overdosing.
BEKA: Take it.
HUNT: Harper.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Dylan, radiation levels are critical. We have to get out of here now.
(Hunt takes them to slipstream using the joysticks Beka had fitted to the catwalk console.)

[Command]

TYR: What has she done?
ROMMIE: Radiation levels are normal.

[Slipstream core]

ANDROMEDA [OC]: Dylan, we've transited back to the galactic fringe. We made it.
HUNT: Good.

[Medical]

HUNT: Captain Valentine. It's good to have you back.
BEKA: I guess I didn't get us to Tarn-Vedra.
HUNT: No.
BEKA: Did I wreck the ship?
HUNT: You came damn close.
BEKA: Trance. Is she?
HUNT: She's fine. So's Rev.
BEKA: Oh, my god. I shot Rev.
HUNT: I think the betrayal hurt him more than the actual injury itself.
BEKA: Flash might be good for your reflexes, but it's murder on your disposition.
HUNT: Flash isn't good for anything, Beka. You almost killed yourself. If you had been in the Maru, you would have died. Andromeda barely pulled you through. I saw you, Beka. You liked being on Flash. I mean, it filled some kind of need in you. And even when it was killing you, you wanted more. Rommie may have been able to clean the chemicals out of your blood, but she can't fix that want or that need.
BEKA: So from now on, every morning I'll wake up thinking about Flash, and every night I'll go to bed thinking about Flash. Is that it? What do you know, I'm my father after all.
HUNT: In the High Guard, we pledged to hold the line against the night. That's what the Commonwealth meant. And on this ship, the Commonwealth still exists. On this ship, we hold the line against the darkness in all of us.
BEKA: I know. Dylan, I know. I'm going to have to fight it every day for the rest of my life.
HUNT: And I'll be with you every step of the way.

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