Belly of the Beast

Original Airdate: 22 Apr, 2002

Beneath knowing, understanding
Beneath understanding, seeing
Beneath seeing, recognizing
Beneath recognizing, knowing

Keeper of the Way, Vision of Faith
CY 10003

[Eureka Maru]

(Hunt is piloting.)
HUNT: Well, I agree, Trance, but this much I know. First contact missions are tricky, but they can be a lot of fun.
TRANCE: Until they freak out when they see us.
HUNT: Nobody's freaking out. We'll do it by the book. Besides, based on their mayday that we intercepted they've got bigger fears then seeing us.
TRANCE: Have you decided what you're going to say to calm them down?
HUNT: Well, you know me with my speeches. But I was thinking, ladies and gentlemen of the planet Savion, I know that you're all terribly worried that a giant space creature
TRANCE: The Cetus.
HUNT: The Cetus will arrive and eat part of your planet. But hey, don't sweat it. You're all worked up over an age old superstition.
TRANCE: Not bad.
HUNT: I know. I'm not good at giving speeches. You know, their tech must be fairly young. Their mayday was sent by radio signal.
TRANCE: Well then, they may not even have space travel yet.
HUNT: That's a good point. Scan the planet for a detailed survey of its geophysical properties. Also collect and analyse all radio transmissions they've sent over the last fifty years. How do we get people to stop believing in a myth they've believed in for centuries?
TRANCE: By getting them to believe in that other myth.
HUNT: What's that?
TRANCE: The one about the High Guard Captain flying around the universe, making allies, restoring the Commonwealth.
HUNT: I don't think they'll ever believe in that one.

[Command]

(Harper plays forties swing music over the speakers.)
HARPER: Oompah! Come on, Beka. Dance with me.
BEKA: Friends don't let friends drive and polka.
HARPER: Polka? Polka? Watch it or I'll polka you. It's called swing, baby. Oh yeah, all the old hep cats on Earth were doing it. And you know what? It's a lot like love. It's much better with a partner.
BEKA: Great. You know what? Go over there.
HARPER: How about you, Rommie? Care to live a little? How about giving me the honour of this do-si-do?
ROMMIE: Thank you, Harper, but my attentions are currently focused on carrying out Dylan's order. Search this system's outer rim for the Cetus.
BEKA: And if we have to, kill it.
HARPER: Oh, sure. A fairy tale space beast takes precedence over my invitation.
ROMMIE: As a warship I'm not optimally programmed for aesthetic distinctions. However, I'd have to say this music is not my taste.
(Tyr enters,)
TYR: All right, why is this music on?
HARPER: My fault. Because I can't play it when Dylan's here, which is always. He hates it.
TYR: Then I'm torn between clapping my hands to applaud Dylan's good taste, and clapping my hands over both your ears to simulate the pain you cause me.
BEKA: Hey, kids! It's just three days until Dylan gets back.
TYR: And why is our hero out responding to some minor planet's irrational panic over some mythical creature when there are far more real threats in known space?
HARPER: I know, we may as well be hunting for Bighand.
ROMMIE: Bigfoot.
HARPER: Whatever.
Try: Or the dreaded Snarkasaurus of Qualles Four.
BEKA: Come on, guys. After two years you should know that this is what Dylan does. He helps worlds that can't necessarily return the favour.
TYR: Very well. Let them pursue their myths. I'll consider this a much needed respite from the real threat, like your music.
(Rommie turns off the music.)
HARPER: Hey! What are you doing? I was listening to that.
ROMMIE: And I'm listening to this. It's from an unidentified object approximately four light minutes out.
BEKA: Then identify it. Launch sensor drones for active contact.
ROMMIE: Aye.

[Eureka Maru]

TRANCE: According to this data, their society still uses digital clocks and combustion engines.
HUNT: Their technology's archaic. Savion's a clean slate.
TRANCE: With a lot of potential. They might even become an important part of the universe.
HUNT: You say that like you know.
TRANCE: I know when some things are worth saving. Dylan. The planet.
(Savion has several long, deep, gouges in it, shaped like a left hand.)
HUNT: What the hell did that?

[Command]

ROMMIE: I don't recognise the rad signatures.
HARPER: Yeah, that's because the radiations off the freakin charts. It's lit up like a casino Drift on New Years Eve.
ROMMIE: I'm getting a composite image from my sensor returns.
BEKA: Visuals. Let's meet our stranger.
(A bright, near translucent thing with five arms or pseudopods.)
ROMMIE: The Cetus.
HARPER: It's supposed to be a myth.
BEKA: I think it just came true.
(The giant space-whale that looks more like a squid dwarfs the Andromeda.) 
BEKA: Is it the Cetus?
ROMMIE: My databank contains ten thousand years of Commonwealth history and no one's ever seen anything like this.
TYR: Or lived to tell about it.
BEKA: What do the sensors say?
ROMMIE: Well, I can't tell you it's mass nor can I tell you what powers it but
TYR: Do your sensors tell you whether it's the planet eater?
ROMMIE: No, but that would be my guess.
BEKA: Mine too. Rommie, contact Dylan. Transmit our data.
ROMMIE: Transmitting. But Dylan is forty four light minutes out.
BEKA: We won't get a response for ninety minutes. I can imagine what he'd say in the mean time.
HARPER: Yeah. Don't let the Cetus eat us.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: There's got to be a good explanation for those scars.
TRANCE: How about the myth? The Cetus return every six thousand two hundred and seventy years to take a bite, and it looks to me as if the next one will eat the planet whole.
HUNT: I'm not ready to give up on science. I want to analyse the geologic history of that planet. We'll find the answer.

[Command]

ROMMIE: It didn't answer our hail.
BEKA: Then it's not a ship, or it doesn't speak our language.
TYR: Well, let's stay out of its way, or attack it, but let's not sit here making idle chit-chat.
BEKA: Tyr you know Dylan's protocol. We talk first, kill later.
HARPER: Yeah, well, Dylan's not here. I say we skip step one and proceed directly to step save our freakin butts.
TYR: I agree. We don't even know if it's sentient.
ROMMIE: We do know it's on a trajectory for the planet.
BEKA: Plot an intercept.
ROMMIE: Aye.
HARPER: What?
BEKA: Get in front of it.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: The planet's scars don't correspond to the tectonic plate boundaries. This wasn't caused by earthquakes or volcanic activity.
TRANCE: Or meteors. At least, not any meteors that I've seen. Guess we didn't find your answer.
HUNT: We found our answer. None of the above. What's the radiometric dating of those scars?
TRANCE: They're about six thousand two hundred and seventy years apart.
HUNT: Just like the myth. How along ago was the most recent one?
TRANCE: Six thousand two hundred and seventy years ago, give or take.
HUNT: Then whatever it is, we're due for another visit.

[Command]

TYR: So, are we finished playing what would Dylan do?
BEKA: Fire a warning shot.
(The warning shot veers off at the last moment.)
ROMMIE: No reaction. It's still heading directly toward us.
HARPER: I guess Mister Cetus doesn't speak warning shot.
TYR: Perhaps he parlays full missile barrage.
BEKA: Parlays away, Tyr. This bogey is hostile. Target it's vulnerable spots. It does have vulnerable spots, right?
ROMMIE: Beats me.
HARPER: Beats me? Two words I never expected to hear from a warship with a brain your size.
BEKA: All right, then. Let's just throw what we've got and see where it sticks.
TYR: It consumed our missiles.
HARPER: At least we know what it eats for breakfast.
BEKA: Rommie, did we damage it at all?
ROMMIE: I'm still too far away to tell. I can't even tell you if it's sentient.
BEKA: All right, go in closer. Hit it with an AP burst and a laser barrage.

[Eureka Maru]

TRANCE: What are you thinking?
HUNT: It looks like I'll need a new speech.
TRANCE: Like what?
HUNT: Well, how about this. Ladies and gentlemen of the planet Savion, there might be something to your myth but don't worry, the most powerful starship in the universe it out there somewhere, protecting you.
TRANCE: Oh, that's great. Now all you have to do is convince yourself.
HUNT: Andromeda is strong, Trance, but if the Cetus can do that to a planet, I
TRANCE: Incoming message from the Andromeda. The lag time is forty four minutes.
HUNT: Put it through.
BEKA [on monitor]: Dylan, we've made active contact with the Cetus. The thing is no myth. It's real and it's headed toward the planet. We'll try to hail it and then see what happens.
HUNT: Andromeda, this is Dylan. Code black. Exercise extreme caution. Repeat, extreme caution. Stay outside combat radius. Dylan out.
TRANCE: Because of the signal lag, they won't get that message for
HUNT: I know, I know, signal lag. I hate physics. You know what? We're going back. I just hope forty four minutes isn't too late.

[Command]

BEKA: Did the sensor drones detect any reaction to our missiles?
ROMMIE: Not yet.
BEKA: All right. Tell me when they're inside two light seconds. We'll stay put at four light seconds.
TYR: When will your drones tell us whether it's alive?
HARPER: Hey, if we had a really, really, really long stick, we could try poking it in the eye. If it blinks, it's alive.
TYR: It has no eye. Nor, so far as we can tell, any vulnerable areas.
BEKA: Its got to have something. Did the drones see anything yet?
ROMMIE: They're within two light. It ate my drones!
HARPER: Radiation's way up.
BEKA: Battle stations. Andromeda, get us the hell out of here. Hard one eighty.
(Andromeda does her backflip. The Cetus brings its five arms forward and closes them around her. Alarms and things going bang. Everyone gets thrown to the floor.)
BEKA: Auxiliary power. Rommie, status. Rommie?
ROMMIE: I don't know. I don't know.
TYR: You don't know?
HARPER: What? Give her a break, would you, Tyr?
ROMMIE: Functions overloading.
HARPER: All her applications are under simultaneous assault.
BEKA: Can you at least contact Dylan?
ROMMIE: Maru, Mayday. Mayday.

[Eureka Maru]

BEKA [on monitor]: We engaged the bogie with twenty gigatons of warheads. No reaction. We're going to go in closer and hit it with energy weapons. Andromeda out.
TRANCE: That was thirty eight minutes ago. Do you think they went in too far?
HUNT: No. Until the sensor drones identified target areas they stayed outside the combat radius. Probably four light seconds.
TRANCE: How do you know that?
HUNT: Because that's what I would do.

[Command]

HARPER: One more second. Got it!
ROMMIE: My power is back on line.
BEKA: Great. All ahead full, maximum force.
ROMMIE: Oh, it's not working. External pressure is increasing.
BEKA: Power down.
HARPER: The harder we push, the tighter it seems to clamp down. like inertia or strength or something.
TYR: I suggest we try copious explosives.
BEKA: Go for it.
TYR: Full offensive salvo, firing.
(Consoles explode. Everyone gets thrown to the deck again.)

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: We haven't picked up any more transmissions from Andromeda.
TRANCE: Dylan, if we're supposed to be saving the planet, why did we turn around to save the Andromeda instead?
HUNT: Because Andromeda is that planet's first and last line of defence. If it falls, so will Savion.
TRANCE: But the Cetus eats the Andromeda and gets filled, wouldn't that save the planet?
HUNT: That might save the planet, but we would lose the universe.

[Command]

(It is a mess. Andromeda is incoherent in the background.)
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Sequence motivating wave retro information bots. Environmental systems failure. Initiating auto shunt.
TYR: Harper, what's her problem?
ROMMIE: Simulation. Mind scramble. Outer hull rupture.
HARPER: She can't disconnect from the core AI. It's dumping trillions of information bits into her by the millisecond.
BEKA: Are we online?
TYR: Look at her. What do you think?
HARPER: Hey, she wasn't built to be eaten by a giant space creature.
TYR: Neither was I.
HARPER: Look, she's got god knows what poison eating away at her AI and burning through her entire outer body, all because you dumped a full payload of missiles on top of her skin.
BEKA: Yes, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
TYR: I think it's safe to say that unless we get power back online, we stand no chance of survival. Go get us manual control.
BEKA: Harper, you have to go to the slipstream core to get
HARPER: She needs me.
BEKA: Tyr! Harper, look. The only way you're going to help her is to get manual control. Go to the slipstream core. Go.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Cruiser at one point point point point. The nearest ships are eight light minutes out.

[Corridor]

(Stuff is dribbling from the ceiling and eating through the deck plates.)
HARPER: Digestive fluids.
(A drop lands on his jacket sleeve and it starts smoking.)
HARPER: Urgh!
(He removes the jacket quickly.)
HARPER: I'm nobody's lunch.

[Command]

ROMMIE: Plasma fires. Critical levels. Fire control failure.
BEKA: Did you hear that?
TYR: She's a mess.
BEKA: She's saying that the outer decks are on fire and she can't put it out.
TYR: Then we'll do it.
BEKA: Vent everything except deck twelve. That's Harper's route to slipstream core.

[Corridor]

(Harper opens a door and is sucked off the deck by escaping air.)
HARPER: Holy hull breach!
(He closes door and returns to the deck.)
HARPER: Goodbye slipstream core, hello plan B. They're venting the atmosphere? People need to be told these things!

[Eureka Maru]

TRANCE: We've closed to real time communications range.
HUNT: Andromeda, come in. Andromeda.
TRANCE: We're getting a message.
HUNT: Put it through.
HUNT [on monitor]: Andromeda, this is Dylan. Code Black. Exercise extreme caution. I repeat, extreme caution. Stay outside combat radius. Dylan out.
HUNT: Remind me to stop sending messages to myself.
TRANCE: It must have reflected off of something.
HUNT: Yeah but what? Something nearby. What is that? Trance, enhance visual.
(The Cetus, glowing brightly, and the Andromeda just visible outside its central mass.)
TRANCE: Can we contact them?
HUNT: I'm using a laser with sonic vibrations. Maybe they'll hear it. Andromeda, do you read me? Andromeda, come in.

[Space]

HUNT [OC]: Andromeda, do you read me?
(Silence in Command, where Rommie is twitching on the deck.)

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: They can't get out.
TRANCE: So what do we do?
HUNT: We'll go in.
TRANCE: We have point defence lasers, and a few missiles, and proximity mines. And that's all we have.
HUNT: Beka already hit that thing with twenty gigatons of missiles. We don't have payload like that even with the combat pod. Okay, it's time to think outside the box.
TRANCE: Think? Outside what box?
HUNT: When you've run out of conventional options you go to the unconventional.
TRANCE: Like weapons.
HUNT: Exactly like weapons, specifically AP fuel tanks.
TRANCE: Outside the box. I like it.

[Command]

ROMMIE: Decks three to eleven one hundred percent vented. Plasma fires suppressed.
BEKA: Manually venting decks twenty four to forty three.
TYR: Manually venting decks forty four through sixty three.
BEKA: Seven decks aren't responding. Respond, damn it.
TYR: That's almost the entire ship, except for command and slipstream core.
BEKA: We don't even know if Harper made it to slipstream core.
TYR: And until we get comm or manual control we won't know.
ROMMIE: Venting eighty five percent completed. Existing life support, rerouting to Command, adjacent conduits and slipstream.
BEKA: Rommie? Are you okay?
ROMMIE: The ship has almost shut down, so my AI isn't scrambled across the decks.
BEKA: Can you contact slipstream core? We have to find Harper.
ROMMIE: Harper.
BEKA: You know, short, fast talker, too smart for his own good? Hopelessly in love with you?
ROMMIE: I know Harper. Harper's not in slipstream core.

[Corridor]

HARPER: A conduit, a conduit, my kingdom for a conduit.
(Harper manually pumps a bulkhead door partially open and climbs through.)

[Room]

(There are fires here. The soles of his boots start to melt.)
HARPER: Oh crap!
(He crosses to a maintenance conduit entrance.)

[Maru engine room]

(Hunt is using a welding torch.)
TRANCE: Do you think they're still alive?
HUNT: You should know, Trance. After two years and everything the universe has thrown at them, they've always found a way to survive.
Harper falls backwards into a conduit.)

[Command]

ROMMIE: He's in conduit one four seven trying to get manual control.

[Conduit]

HOLO-ROMMIE: Harper?
HARPER: Andromeda?
HOLO-ROMMIE: Better, it's Rommie. I'm borrowing a hologram.
HARPER: And you wear it so well, sweetheart.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Oxygen deprived and still full of attitude.
HARPER: Hey, I'm not deprived, I'm depraved. And back at you, baby.
HOLO-ROMMIE: So, have you found a way to fix me?
HARPER: No. But on the bright side, we aren't Cetus crap yet. Judging from the friendly stomach acid that's only because it's still trying to eat it's way through your fullerene mesh exterior.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Well, you always said I have thick skin.
HARPER: Yeah, well, it's only a matter of time before it cracks your crunchy shell and works its way in to the centre of your chewy goodness.
HOLO-ROMMIE: How much time, Harper?
HARPER: My guess? About an hour, tops.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Find a way to kill the Cetus.
HARPER: Don't worry, Rommie, I won't let it hurt you.

[Command]

BEKA: She's an impressive ship.
TYR: She's a survivor.
BEKA: Just like Dylan. I just know he's out there trying to save us. Or maybe not. The stellar position monitor just stopped, which means the Cetus just stopped. Oh my god, it's trying to digest us.
TYR: It's trying to digest us?
BEKA: Dylan wanted to save Savion, right? I mean, it's the only reason we're in this armpit corner of the universe? If the Cetus ate Andromeda, I mean, even though we're tiny compared to a planet, we'd have more then enough rich matter to satisfy its appetite. Which means that Dylan could save Savion by doing absolutely nothing.
TYR: Dylan will make best efforts to save the planet and the Andromeda.
BEKA: Really? And you're so sure because?
TYR: I trust Dylan to be Dylan.

[Maru engine room]

TRANCE: So, the bomb kills the Cetus and lets the Andromeda go free, and we save the planet and the Andromeda.
HUNT: That's right. I call it my eat your cake and have it too plan.
TRANCE: Er, isn't it have your cake and eat it too?
HUNT: Trance, we're working on a bomb that could destroy a small planet, and you're quibbling over semantics? Anyone can have their cake and then eat it. The real trick it eating your cake and still having it.
TRANCE: I see.
HUNT: It's a common mistake.
TRANCE: You're going to have to fly pretty close to the Cetus if you're going to launch those bombs into it. What if we end up killing ourselves?
HUNT: Well, then we'll be going out with a bang.

[Eureka Maru]

(Hunt pilots the Maru on a strafing run over the Cetus' flank.)
HUNT: On my mark, drop the bombs. Ready? Mark!
TRANCE: Dropping.
(The explosions knock Harper down.)

[Command]

(Explosions, fires. Harper just escapes being cremated. Tyr gets a fire extinguisher and goes to work.)
TYR: Are you all right?
BEKA: We have got to install seatbelts. How much you want to bet that was Dylan?
TYR: His rendition of a valiant cavalry charge with the Maru's AP fuel tanks, and we're still trapped.
BEKA: And that's the best case scenario.
TYR: There's a worse case scenario?
BEKA: Dylan, Trance, they're dead.
(Later - )
TYR: In so much as in the next little while I imagine this creature will convert us all to energy, I would expect you to take a greater interest in restoring the ships power.
BEKA: I just never thought he could die.
TYR: I don't think he's dead.
BEKA: Really? Well, because that's interesting, because the ship's sensors, or at least what's left of them, say he is dead. That explosion equaled the size of the Maru's fuel capacity.
TYR: Machine logic. I don't believe he's dead.
BEKA: When did you find the faith?
TYR: I have faith in nothing but this. When the universe collapses and dies, there will be three survivors. Tyr Anasazi, the cockroaches, and Dylan Hunt trying to save the cockroaches. Please, make yourself useful.

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: That was close, Trance. That was way too close. Status on the Andromeda.
TRANCE: They're still trapped.
HUNT: What! We have faced the Magog, Kalderans, Pirians. I will be damned if I lose my crew inside that thing.
TRANCE: We're getting a visual on the Cetus.
HUNT: At least our AP bombs did some damage. Give me a closer look. Right there. You see how all these roads lead to that one knot?
TRANCE: You think that's Cetus' brain?
HUNT: Whatever it is, it's our next target. Now Harper and I just

[Conduit]

HARPER: Have to find a way to kill it. Call me Ishmael, but the rad patterns from Dylan's bomb created a juicy target and. He didn't die, Rommie.
HOLO-ROMMIE: My sensors say
HARPER: Right now your sensors say a lot of things, but they're blinded and confused, like a lot of my dates. It's a perfect example of why a powerful ship like you still needs a human engineer, Rommie. He's okay. The Maru is out there, even if it is just a shell with a

[Eureka Maru]

HUNT: Slipstream drive. There's got to be something on board we can use to hit the target.
TRANCE: Are we still thinking outside of the box?
HUNT: Trance, right now we're so far outside the box we can't even see the box.
TRANCE: Well then, let's consider that the Cetus is kind of like us, in the sense that it eats to grow bigger. The only difference is that we don't consume matter, we consume food. But if somebody wanted to kill us
HUNT: They'd give us poison. That's how we'll kill the Cetus, we'll give it exactly the opposite of what it eats, which is

[Conduit]

HARPER: Antimatter, Hello? Once I get manual control, I can reroute the antimatter from the slipstream generators to the main thrusters. Then, on three, two, one, Oompah! Voila, the Cetus gets one hell of a Heimlich and spews us out like your autochef's three day old chopped liver faster then you can say uncle. Or in this case, anti.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Will it kill the Cetus?
HARPER: Who cares? We'll survive. You will survive.
HOLO-ROMMIE: I'll fail. Dylan ordered me to kill the Cetus and save that planet, so I need to know, how can I kill the Cetus guaranteed?
HARPER: Nothing is guaranteed. Best chance? If we manually eject the slipstream drive into its belly, then maybe we can ride the explosion out, but the hell I'm doing that.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Our orders are to save that planet.
HARPER: Yeah, well, my job is to save you.
HOLO-ROMMIE: I have to carry out Dylan's orders, even if it puts us at risk.
HARPER: Sorry, you're going to live, honey. Those are my orders.

[Maru engine room]

HUNT: There, that should do the trick. I've set the Maru's slipstream core to overload. Once it hits the target, it'll rip the Cetus into a thousand pieces.
TRANCE: And let the Andromeda escape.
HUNT: That's the plan.
TRANCE: What if the plan doesn't work. Will they be ripped apart too?
HUNT: That happens if we don't do anything. All we can do is try.
TRANCE: So how are we going to get our slipstream drive into the Cetus?
HUNT: Strap it to a bullet.
TRANCE: What kind of a bullet?
HUNT: You're riding in it.

[Command]

BEKA: If Dylan still is alive, you just know he's out there doing everything he can to save us and that planet.
TYR: Your point?
BEKA: My point is we should be doing everything we can to kill the Cetus, not just save our butts.
TYR: Dylan expects us to save our butts.
BEKA: And sacrifice Savion?
TYR: If it means surviving to one day save many Savions, yes. We're no good to the universe dead.
BEKA: And we're no good to the universe if we're too afraid to risk our lives to do the right thing. To help worlds that need help. When the Magog attacked this ship, I promised Dylan that even if he died, I would continue his mission.
TYR: Then by all means continue it. But I will not die because of your misguided sentiment to memorialise a man who is not dead.

[Maru engine room]

HUNT: At the ship's maximum speed I can penetrate it's skin and eject the slipstream drive right on top of the target.
TRANCE: But the Cetus' shape is constantly changing. How can we be sure that we're going to hit its brain?
HUNT: We can't be sure, but I know I can give it one hell of a headache.
TRANCE: It sounds dangerous.
HUNT: It is dangerous. That's why you're going to wear this.
(He gives her an EVA suit.)
TRANCE: This is not going to protect me in the event of an explosion.
HUNT: Trance, you are not coming with me.
TRANCE: Yes, I am.
HUNT: No, you're not. Now put it on. That's on order.
TRANCE: When Andromeda's free use the comm mike to hail her.
(Trance tears the suit.)
TRANCE: Dylan.
HUNT: Trance, you're not coming with me.
TRANCE: Respectively requesting to come with you sir. Please. Besides, this won't help me anyway.
HUNT: Trance Gemini, welcome aboard.

[Conduit]

HOLO-ROMMIE: I'm asking you not to do this.
HARPER: And I'm answering you. No. You can thank me later.
HOLO-ROMMIE: For what? If I don't follow Dylan's orders to kill the Cetus and save the planet, I might as well be dead. Because I failed in my mission.
HARPER: All right, you're under the influence of stomach acid. You're not thinking straight. This isn't about following orders or completing the mission, is it. It's about Dylan. Because you think he's dead and you don't think you can live without him, right?
HOLO-ROMMIE: I'm programmed to carry out orders.
HARPER: Yeah, well, that's where we're different. You see, I have a choice, and I choose not to allow some stupid broken-hearted suicide, especially when you're taking me with you.
HOLO-ROMMIE: You're wrong, Harper. I do have a choice.
HARPER: And that is where you're wrong, because I just got manual control.

[Command]

(The lights come on.)
HARPER [OC]: Ladies and gentleman, er, Nietzschean. Thank you for flying Andromeda. The sound of flowing air you now hear and crackling conservation

[Conduit]

HARPER: Is my genius and your survival once again.

[Command]

HARPER [OC]: Now, for those of you haven't heard Harper's plan, here's the nutshell. Rerouting antimatter

[Conduit]

HARPER: To the main thrusters which will, when we power them up, send Cetus to heartburn hell and us in to chunky hurl heaven. It might get a little messy, but at least we'll all live.

[Command]

BEKA: I'll save us and raise you one. If we eject the slipstream drive, we'll kill the Cetus

[Conduit]

BEKA [OC]: Right?
HARPER: What is with the death wish? Yeah, sure, if you want to die surfing an exploding vomit wave.

[Command]

BEKA: Hey, I've surfed the reaction of an exploding star before. I think I can ride out a little Cetus vomit.
(Tyr stops Beka by grabbing her in his arms.)
TYR: I will not allow you to risk our lives by ejecting that slipstream drive.
BEKA: So instead you'll just take over the ship after we've saved our asses. You don't really believe that Dylan's still alive do you? You just said that so I'd think we'd still be safe after we got free.
TYR: Beka. I once told Dylan that this mission was nothing but an excuse to reshape the universe according to his will. It is! In these two years, and for reasons I'm not even sure I understand, some significant part of me has grown to prefer that shape. I do believe Dylan's alive.
BEKA: Convince me. If you really think that Dylan is still out there trying to save us, eject the slipstream drive. Kill that thing, before Dylan dies trying to kill it for us. Want to reshape the universe or not?

[Eureka Maru]

TRANCE: You're awfully calm considering we're about to die.
HUNT: That's not necessarily true now, is it?
TRANCE: Not necessarily.
HUNT: That's right. Because once we get Andromeda free, they'll continue my mission. And that is my life. All ahead full. You said you came from a bad future. What exactly went bad?
TRANCE: In that future, I made some mistakes and only Beka and I survived.
HUNT: That does sound bad. Looks like I've put you in a different kind of future, one you won't survive. On the other hand, it'll make a better one for everyone else, I hope.

[Command]

HARPER [OC]: Er, guys? Maybe it's me, maybe I didn't explain the rules of the game very well

[Conduit]

HARPER: But if you don't get out of here in less then two minutes, we're going to be turned into tasty chewy people bits.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Harper, please.
HARPER: Is this really what you want?
HOLO-ROMMIE: No. But it's what we have to do.
HARPER: All right, for you. Let's see if I can't eject this damn slipstream drive.
(Harper jacks himself into the ships systems. Tyr presses the drive eject button and sends Harper crashing into the conduit wall. Lots of shaking and exploding.)

[Eureka Maru]

TRANCE: Dylan! The Andromeda is launching from the Cetus!
HUNT: They made it?
(Andromeda zooms through the side of the creature.)
TRANCE: They've made it.
HUNT: Reverse thrusters.
(The Cetus goes bright white.)

[Conduit]

HARPER: Ha, we did it!
ROMMIE [OC]: You're right, Harper.

[Command]

ROMMIE: We killed the Cetus.
BEKA: And saved the planet.
TYR: Dylan.

[Eureka Maru]

TRANCE: They must have ejected their slipstream drive. The Cetus is dying.
HUNT: If we don't clear this area it won't be the only thing dying.
(The Cetus goes KaBOOM, or KaSPLAT, if you prefer.)
HUNT: (laughs) Yes! We did it!
TRANCE: We did. You could even say that we had our cake outside of the box and ate it too.
HUNT: You could say that, yes.
TRANCE: Incoming message. It's from the Andromeda, and it's in real time.
HUNT: I love real time.

[Command]

(Eureka Maru returns to her hangar bay.)
TYR: What, Beka?
BEKA: I'm just glad we're on the same team, that's all.
(Hunt and Trance run through the corridors to see the devastation first hand.)
HUNT: Somebody say something. I just want to hear your voices.
ROMMIE: Welcome back, Captain.
BEKA: Dylan, Trance, welcome back.
TYR: Hello.
HUNT: You know, for something that's supposed to be a myth, the Cetus did a hell of a lot of damage.
BEKA: Yeah, well, you should see the other guy.
HUNT: Yeah, well, you know, about that. Ejecting the slipstream drive? It was risky. And it's exactly what I would have done.
TYR: We know. Your willingness to defy the universal odds is a disease that apparently we have all contracted.
HUNT: Well, I have to think that's a good thing, because somehow we keep winning. Where's Harper?

[Conduit]

HARPER: Almost there, Rommie.

[Command]

ROMMIE: He's almost here.
HUNT: Ah. Well, I'll just say this and get it out of the way. I'm proud of you. Two years ago, you'd be thinking of your own survival, and not that planet's. I know you had another way out, but you did the right thing. Now I know I can count on you to continue my mission even if I'm not here. And one day the universe will count on it too. Believe me, that day will come.
TRANCE: (sotto) Sooner then you think.
(Harper runs in without his boots.)
HARPER: A freaking sock foot kilometre in one minute, and I still missed the inspiring speech.
(Harper turns on his swing music.)
HARPER: Hey! But I didn't miss the dancing.
HUNT: Shall we?
TRANCE: We shall.
(Dylan and Trance dance. Harper bumps two androids at his side, and they return the gesture, hurting him.)
BEKA: Hey, stoic one. We're alive, dance with me.
(Harper and the androids hand-jive, Beka and Tyr do a slow close shuffle, and Rommie nods to the beat.)

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