Any fool can be honest,
for it is only what he knows.
A wise man is aware of
when to share the truth.
Vedran Empress Yoweri XXIII
Total honesty. As in no one on all the planet Veras tells a white lie?
TRANCE: No, not even a beige one.
ROMMIE: With virtually foolproof lie-detection capabilities and
penalties for deceptive behaviour ranging from inflicted vegetative
stasis to decapitation, they've created a world of absolute
HARPER: Sheesh. What is that? Like, the second circle of hell? That
would be right below absolute celibacy.
TRANCE: Harper, you might find this surprising, but some people find
the truth liberating.
HARPER: Are we talking about the same Beka?
ROMMIE: I would have liked to have gone with her to study the
HARPER: Huh. not me. A world of polygraphs? I get paranoid just
thinking about it. Man, talk about a buzz kill. How do they mate? How
do they date? I mean, come on. Love is just a bunch of exaggerations
and lies all dolled up in pseudo-poetic language uttered preferably
while intoxicated, and all for the singular universal purpose of er,
TRANCE: Harper, you're a born romantic.
HARPER: Sometimes, there are flowers?
ROMMIE: Actually, Harper does have a point. After the Verasites
developed their highly coveted truth technology nearly five centuries
ago, their culture subsequently endured radical shifts in social
behaviours and philosophies. It's a particularly logical and
HARPER: And our particularly passionate and illogical Beka Valentine is
testifying on behalf of some guy who stole DNA from them? Sounds like
he'd be better off just giving it back.
seated and flanked by guards, whilst two Verasites stand by slim
columns - the
BEKA: So, as I understand it, I am to be a character witness for Able
Ladrone. Well, first off, let me start by saying that Able Ladrone
never stole anything from anyone.
(E-urgh, goes the lie detector.)
BEKA: Maybe there was one or two instances.
BEKA: All right, Able Ladrone was an all-out criminal, but that was a
long time ago.
BEKA: Able Ladrone is my friend? (silence) Okay.
How goes the vacation, boss? I mean, how goes the Sinti strategic
defence summit, boss?
HUNT [on viewscreen]: Well, actually, Mister Harper, it's very
interesting. It is running a bit long, though.
HARPER: Yeah, yeah. Grueling, I'm sure. Two hour lecture, lunch, go to
the beach, take a nap, then maybe another lecture, maybe fight off
and then dinner, and then? Well, I won't go into that. I'll just get
HUNT [on viewscreen]: Yes, it's tough duty, but someone has to do it.
HARPER: Don't rub it in.
most certainly was an orphan.
BEKA: Look, that's starting to annoy me. Okay, thank you. For heaven's
sake, I am perfectly
capable of telling the truth without constantly being monitored.
(E-urgh. E-urgh. E-urgh. E-urgh.)
viewscreen]: Report on Beka.
ROMMIE: Our last communication indicated that she was about to testify
and everything was going smoothly.
TRANCE: Just goes to show you that in a world dominated by reason,
character can still count for something.
HUNT [on viewscreen]: Excellent. keep me posted. But don't call too
early, because these lectures tend to run very, very late.
TRANCE: I'm sure there's nothing to worry about.
Beka attacks the guards.)
BEKA: Fairness? You want fairness?
(She produces two guns.)
BEKA: Get me Able Ladrone.
go off, rousing Tyr.)
TANNOY: Security, seal Omega core. Apprehend Beka Valentine.
(Tyr takes out the two guards there as Beka runs towards him with one
man in pursuit.)
LADRONE: Wait! Come back!
BEKA: Andromeda, come in!
(She runs past Tyr, who starts shooting as Beka and Ladrone hide behind
the guard's desk. Then he joins them.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Beka, what's wrong?
BEKA: You could say my testimony's had an unexpected impact. Now some
lunatic is attempting a prison break.
TYR: Well, despite the absence of shackles and a cell, one can only
presume this is Able Ladrone.
BEKA: He's going to be the dead Able Ladrone if we don't get back to
the Maru right now.
[on viewscreen]: The Maru has just docked, and there is an urgent hail
from the planet Veras.
ORAC [on viewscreen]: This is Marshall Orac of Fugitive Retrieval.
Where is Captain Hunt?
TYR: What can we do for you, Marshall?
ORAC [on viewscreen]: Do you or do you not admit to harbouring the
fugitive known as Able Ladrone?
TYR: Able Ladrone is onboard the Andromeda, yes.
ORAC [on viewscreen]: Able Ladrone is wanted for crimes committed
throughout the new Commonwealth and beyond, not the least of which is
the theft and smuggling of extremely sensitive technology from
Technocore. Return him immediately, or we will unleash the entire
arsenal of the Veras Fugitive Retrieval Squad.
ROMMIE: You can do little to harm me.
ORAC [on viewscreen]: Ladrone has stolen technology that can change the
face of the universe for better or worse. He was on trial through the
auspices of Technocore, who are our protectors.
HARPER: Oh, brother. Technocore.
ORAC [on viewscreen]: We shall not mask our intent. Either give us
Ladrone or we will attack. We await your response.
HARPER: He's lying. Look, the Verasites may be truth harpies, but if
they're in Technocore's how high club, it is bad news.
HARPER: How high club. Technocore says jump and they say, how high?
TRANCE: What is Technocore?
ROMMIE: It's a giant consortium of companies, planets, and even some
small systems, all of whom manufacture weapons and defence materials.
HARPER: Yep. Bad boys with big guns. They've got their own military,
and rumour has it they've even got armament that can take out the
TRANCE: So what do we do now?
ROMMIE: If Veras fires on us and we return fire destroying their ships,
we are criminals in the Commonwealth.
HARPER: And Dylan is with the Commonwealth right now.
TRANCE: And if we hand over Ladrone and he's innocent?
TYR: Have the Verasites launched vessels?
TYR: Then we're on the clock.
(Beka tries to sneak in.)
HARPER: Boss! Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, boss, boss, Jeez, Valentine, did
you have to break the guy out of the pokey?
BEKA: Look, I didn't have a choice.
HARPER: Well, you might have had one or two other choices.
LADRONE: Before you indict Beka, I should tell you that although I've
made a career out of remodeling the truth into convenient shapes while
taking possession of commodities legally belonging to others
TYR: Nietzscheans call those liars and thieves.
LADRONE: I would dispute the fact that what I've done has been wrong.
Illegal, yes, but you should know that the universe is not by nature an
equitable distributor of good health and good fortune.
HARPER: And I suppose it's your duty to give the gift of
BEKA: Look, Harper, there are those for whom personal gain is of
HARPER: And there are those for whom the Robin Hood defence is not
necessarily the greatest way to go. But, oh, what the hell. In an odd
sort of way, I guess I can get behind it.
LADRONE: You must be the engineer.
HARPER: Why? Because I'm the short guy with the sense of humour? The
wry wit, huh? Because I'm so freaking amiable with the careless
demeanour? Is that it?
LADRONE: Well, er, that and the tools.
LADRONE: What is that?
HARPER: This? Oh, it's nothing special. It's just the Harper handy
ultra multi. It's ultra-configurable, multi-purpose, and it's Harper
It's a pocket utility. It's not quite finished yet. I've got a few
personal modifications I have to finish, but this puppy has got eight
inside it that can sew together anything. Metal, glass, carbon fibres,
even organic sludge. You name it. And it's got user-programmable
Here, check it out.
(Ladrone takes the gizmo and touches the pointy bit at the end. It
HARPER: Oop. Must have left the charge on. Sorry.
Bek, we need to talk.
BEKA: Oh, let me guess. Before he left, Dylan nominated you substitute
TRANCE: So does that mean that you deny that what you did was totally
irresponsible and selfish?
BEKA: Trance, do you know the consequences of a guilty verdict on
Veras? What they call rehabilitation, the rest of the galaxy calls
mutilation. Technocore will see to that.
TRANCE: What about the consequences for the rest of us? Come on, Beka.
Look me in the eye and tell me you considered that even for a
BEKA: How about looking into eyes I haven't seen since I was barely
more than a punk kid running simple scams? I didn't plan this.
TRANCE: Nostalgia is not an excuse, no matter how you romanticise it.
BEKA: Isn't it? Able's an old friend. He may be all I have left of the
good old days.
TRANCE: Let's talk about what happened last time we encountered someone
from the good old days.
BEKA: Oh, let's not. Let's just say how about being my friend and
showing a little faith in my judgment?
TRANCE: Even if I think you're making a big mistake and we're going to
have to pay that price right along with you?
BEKA: Maybe that's what loyalty is.
unfastening Ladrone's prison restraints.)
LADRONE: You know, Beka, it's important that you know that this
experimental genetic material that I stole. Neck. Thank you. Has been
successful in curing everything from post-traumatic dementia to
bio-viruses. It's miracle stuff.
BEKA: I believe you, and I'm sure Andromeda is verifying your account
even as we speak. You look better than I remember.
LADRONE: I've been watching my diet.
I can't see anything. Nothing on sensors. This is too creepy. Wait a
minute. What if the Verasites have already contacted Technocore?
TYR: I'm sure they have. What genetic technology is Ladrone accused of
HARPER: It always boils down to genetics for you, huh, Anasazi?
TYR: My silly child, that's what we all boil down to.
ROMMIE: Well, so far, I've been shut out by wall after wall of highly
advanced encryptions. Those on the cutting edge of Technocore's
research and development aren't ready for anyone to know its technology
exists, much less discover that it's fallen into the hands of someone
like Able Ladrone.
HARPER: That's not the only thing that's fallen into his hands.
ROMMIE: Beka's a big girl.
TYR: Age is irrelevant.
HARPER: Yeah, and besides, even the most experienced pilots are
vulnerable to blind spots. And trust me, Beka's had more than her fair
share of fender benders.
ROMMIE: At least she's gotten behind the wheel.
HARPER: All right, look, if you're going to slam my love life in which
you refuse to take part, don't hide behind some cheesy metaphor, okay?
ROMMIE: I'm receiving a transmission from the Verasites.
Do you remember the first time you went on a grift with me?
BEKA: Lonestar Euphrates. Beautiful place. I think I was supposed to be
helping my dad offload some hot terra gems on some black market on
LADRONE: And I was in the middle of my pitch to the mark, this big fat
rich guy with a very memorable proboscis, when he turns and says
BOTH: Who's the gangly redhead?
BEKA: Very funny.
LADRONE: And there was that beautiful Beka Valentine smile. You know, I
just wanted to spank you and throw you on the next shuttle, but you
were too damn cute.
BEKA: Spanking, huh? That might have gone over when I was fourteen and
you were twenty four. Actually, come to think of it.
LADRONE: Come to think of it, you were never all that gangly. You just
hadn't grown into your beauty yet.
BEKA: Able, promise me this isn't a con.
LADRONE: Rule number one, never play a player.
BEKA: I'm not that kind of player anymore.
LADRONE: Well, it doesn't matter. You never forget how to play the
BEKA: This isn't a game, Able, not to me. And if I think for one minute
you are playing me
LADRONE: You have my permission. No, I implore you, to shoot me for
being the dumbest man in the universe.
(And just as he is about to kiss her.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Beka, report to Command.
The Verasites are coming here? As in here? As in he escapee's here
along with who sprung him. Are you out of your minds?
TYR: we've got no other choice. Now, they're willing to hear Ladrone's
case. For now, I would like to avoid bloodshed.
BEKA: I can't believe you guys would do this to me.
HARPER: What would you rather do? Start blasting away at the Verasites?
Come on, boss. They're sitting ducks. We'd be the scourge of the
ROMMIE: They'll be under constant surveillance, Beka. They won't do
anything we don't know about.
BEKA: They'll bring Technocore right to us.
ROMMIE: You've already done that. I've partially solved their
encryptions. I'm detecting mass communications and staging on the
planet holding Technocore's military headquarters.
HARPER: Yeah, we're in big trouble, boss, with a capital We're Screwed.
LADRONE: When does the trial start?
TYR: Just as soon as you're locked in our brig under maximum security.
BEKA: No. Hold on. Before anyone makes a move, how about we hear my
thoughts on this subject?
(Beka draws a gun.)
BEKA: You want to lock him up, you'll have to knock me down first.
Don't worry. I won't bring bloodshed on you. If we leave, you're safe.
HARPER: With their capabilities, Technocore will find the Maru in about
two seconds flat.
BEKA: Look, I made a promise to keep him safe. That promise is as good
as if I made it to any one of you. I thought you'd understand that.
(Beka and Ladrone leave.)
HARPER: Well, that sucked. I guess that's why they say space is a
ROMMIE: No, they say space is a vacuum
ROMMIE + TYR: Because space is a vacuum.
(The Maru launches.)
It's nice to see you made good on your promise to become the best pilot
in the universe.
COMPUTER: Orbit is locked.
BEKA: Recognise it?
LADRONE: Hmm. No.
BEKA: You're kidding.
LADRONE: Yeah, I'm kidding. Lonestar Euphrates. Oh, that was a long
time ago, Beka. You know, if I could go back and just change one thing.
BEKA: Look, if anyone was following us, I'm sure I lost them. In fact,
I've probably bought us enough time for you to explain exactly what
you've gotten yourself mixed up in, and why I had to look at my best
friends down the barrel of my gun.
LADRONE: Well, it's simple, really. The DNA-based compounds that can do
so much good are the same building blocks that can be developed into
weapons of doom, with the power to transform all lifeforms as we know
them, including the planets themselves.
BEKA: Well, you always did have a flair for the dramatic.
LADRONE: And I wish I was employing it now, but death and destruction
are always far friendlier toward the bottom line.
BEKA: I don't suppose you could just give it back?
LADRONE: Oh, they'd like nothing more, believe me, because accessing it
would almost certainly mean my death.
BEKA: Why? Where did you put it exactly?
LADRONE: Some of it in here, memorised. The rest, nearly undetectable
molecules, smaller than a nanogram.
BEKA: You hid it in your body?
LADRONE: In pouches of nanobots camouflaged to behave like the organs
that they're attached to.
There are only a couple of biotechs in the galaxy capable of removing
them without killing me. I'll understand if you don't want to go on
this ride with me, but I can't let them catch me. Too many lives are
depending on it.
BEKA: You know what this feels like.
BEKA: No. It feels like home.
(And finally they get to kiss.)
shuttle docks with the Andromeda.)
ORAC: This is Lieutenant Lyra, my next in command.
HARPER: Lyra? Wow, what a beautiful name. Did you know that in Greek,
Lyra means harp? And nobody plays the harp better than the Harper.
I have never seen anyone so
(Rommie pulls him back.)
HARPER: Er, so, so named. So named Lyra. Ha. And that's the truth. Ha.
ORAC: We agreed to discuss Ladrone's case, but it is highly unlikely
that any new information you provide will significantly change his
ROMMIE: Do you have any evidence that Ladrone has actually hurt anyone?
LYRA: As of today, no. But maybe tomorrow or the next, and then it
could be hundreds of thousands within hours, millions within days. He's
already begun selling secrets to volatile militant groups.
HARPER: Ladrone claims this technology can save lives.
LYRA: Technocore, the manufacturer, disputes those claims.
HARPER: Oh, yeah? And are they telling the truth?
ORAC: Technocore is not on trial here. Able Ladrone is. I'd like to see
ROMMIE: Well, I'm afraid that's not possible. He left shortly before
you arrived. Events took an unforeseen turn.
ORAC: Technocore won't see it that way. This is suicide.
downloads data from his multi-tool. A DNA helix displays on the wall
HARPER: Wait a minute. That can't be right. Then again, that would mean
I, boy genius, am wrong.
LYRA: Sorry for interrupting. Are you really a genius?
HARPER: Yes. Are you really as good at detecting lies as you are at
simply being you?
LYRA: What if I said I wanted to hear whatever it is you wanted to tell
HARPER: Then I would tell you anything you wanted to hear.
LYRA: Hmm. And if you believe in body language, I think you just made
the opening move.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Harper?
HARPER: Yes, O glorious creation of mine with the world's crappiest
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Please report on the progress of your analysis.
HARPER: Yeah, yeah.
(He walks away from Lyra.)
HARPER: I managed to obtain a viable sample of DNA, if that's what you
can call the freakish chemistry experiment going on in the old nuclei.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Thank you, Harper.
We need to get to the Maru before Technocore does.
TYR: Are we going to be encountering more than usual security force?
TYR: Initiating launch.
ROMMIE: Technocore arms themselves with weapons designed to defeat the
weapons they manufacture for the rest of the Commonwealth.
TYR: You've got to admire that.
and Beka get up close and personal whilst half naked.)
LADRONE: Please tell me that you always looked at me as a friend and
not as a father figure, because that would make this wrong on so many
BEKA: A father figure? No, more like a sexy older brother. The sexy,
older brother of a friend, which makes this not wrong at all.
COMPUTER: Warning, warning. Heavily armed vessel with active ECM
BEKA: No, no!
COMPUTER: Closing fast in a hostile pattern.
BEKA: Clothes, clothes!
(A slipfighter lands on the hull as Beka opens up the armoury)
BEKA: Ready, dad?
LADRONE: That's not funny.
(Something starts to cut through the hull.)
BEKA: Neither was that.
COMPUTER: We are being boarded.
BEKA: Come on. this way.
(Four Technocore operatives drop into the ship and split up to go
calls up 4 surveillance cameras.)
BEKA: Look. Is this who I think it is?
LADRONE: Technocore Preemptive Ops, aka
BEKA: Death squad.
LADRONE: Death squad.
COMPUTER: Depressurising airlock.
BEKA: Ah. Took care of that guy.
LADRONE: That's good.
(Another starts shooting at the bulkhead door.)
LADRONE: We've got company.
BEKA: Okay, split up. Through the cargo bay.
LADRONE: Okay. Be careful.
(Beka climbs a ladder. The TPO man breaks through the door. Ladrone
(Beka drops down on their attacker and ends up shooting him in the
(Another assassin starts shooting at them.)
LADRONE: Come on. Come on!
climb up and around to the cockpit, where another assassin is waiting.)
BEKA: Get the door, get the door.
(They trap him inside and start shooting at the one walking towards
them. Then Tyr takes him out with his honking big gun. The assassin in
the cockpit gets the door open and starts shooting. Tyr uses the body
of his comrade as a shield so he can rush forward then shoot him point
blank. Rommie gets the dead man's gun and joins in.)
BEKA: Good to see you.
All right, let's make sure these babies are ship-shape. If we come
under attack, these puppies have got to hold. Hope you don't mind the
LYRA: I appreciate you allowing me the distraction from our present
HARPER: Trust me, the distraction is all mine. Can I ask you a
LYRA: Of course.
HARPER: Rumours say that this whole lie detection thing, it's a freak
evolutionary reaction to the plague that almost wiped out your whole
population five hundred years ago.
LYRA: Hmm. interesting theory.
HARPER: Other rumours say you have biomechanical implants that
interface with external sensors.
LYRA: And you want to know if I have any implants?
HARPER: Yeah, that, and I'd like to know how you can tell when people
(The Maru returns to the Andromeda.)
thanks for your help in there, that if I had it to do all over again
ROMMIE: You would.
BEKA: I would. Whoever said it's tough charting a course for your
future when your past and present keep colliding sure knew what they
were talking about.
ROMMIE: Perhaps there's a lesson here.
BEKA: Rommie, I know I have a lousy history with this kind of stuff,
but this time I feel it in my gut. I'm sure of it. I finally bet on the
ROMMIE: According to Harper's research, he may not be a horse at all.
The man you just risked your life for, his DNA does not match that of
It's just not natural to tell the truth all the time, let alone hear
LYRA: So you enjoy lying?
HARPER: Let's just say I enjoy having the option. And about certain
things, I prefer having people lie to me. You may not be able to
understand this, but lies can be the spice of intercourse. Discourse.
If you ever get the chance to try it sometime, I highly recommend it.
LYRA: Lying or discourse?
HARPER: You know, for someone who tells the truth, you sure do a lot of
dancing. You're not going to tell me the secret to this truth mojo, are
LYRA: The security of our system depends on secrecy, but I will tell
you this. Anybody who ever said honesty is good for the soul never
spent any time on Veras.
HARPER: That's what I've been trying to tell you.
LYRA: So, do you wield all of your tools with such confidence?
(Lyra leans in for a kiss and someone drags Harper away.)
You stole a sample of his DNA?
HARPER: The guy got caught with his fingers in Technocore's cookie jar.
We wanted to see if he'd tampered with his own dough. What the hell are
you doing back here anyway?
BEKA: I needed to find out what was going on, and why a friend would do
something so intrusive to someone I care about!
HARPER: How could I? How could I? All right, all right, allow me to
quote here. If you want to lock him up, you've got to knock me down
first. Okay, so the parallel isn't exact. The point is, you would
obviously do anything to protect a friend. So would I, even if it's
BEKA: He knows things about me that only Able Ladrone could know. He
acts just like him. He smells just like him.
HARPER: Oh yeah? What else does he do just like him?
BEKA: No one appreciates your level of genius more than I do, Harper,
but this time you made a mistake.
HARPER: All right, listen. If he really isn't Able Ladrone, what else
HARPER: If he lies about who he is, he could be lying about something
else. We could be in ten times the trouble we think we're in. We don't
really know what he's up to, do we?
ROMMIE: It's starting to look that way.
HARPER: Rom-doll to the rescue.
ROMMIE: The early experimental data I've hacked into suggests that if
someone could get their hands on the real Ladrone's DNA, theoretically,
they could access his genetic memory.
HARPER: See, Valentine? That's how he could know all about you. It's a
I'm sorry, Beka, but the other explanations for the cellular anomalies
Harper found aren't any more comforting. They're like nothing seen
before in a human being, or any other lifeform in my databanks.
BEKA: What are you saying? He might be some kind of new species?
ROMMIE: For all we know, he's a walking bio-weapon.
[on viewscreen]: Four dozen Technocore ships have exited slipstream and
are heading toward us in battle formation, and the Eureka Maru is
leaving the Andromeda.
HARPER: Beka, no!
BEKA [OC]: Don't worry, Harper. I have a plan.
Harper, are you seeing what I'm seeing?
Yeah, I'm seeing it. Looks like it's the old shoot first and don't ask
questions later because you'll all be dead formation.
BEKA [OC]: Yeah.
Get the plasma cannons charged and ready. I'll get back to you in a
Sure, take your time. It's not like we're facing utter annihilation or
ORAC: What's going to happen to my planet? We are not on their side.
They know that, you know that.
HARPER: Ah ha.
ORAC: I tried to reach Technocore. They won't talk to us. They're going
to kill us all.
TYR: Let that boy do his job.
LYRA: You have your friend Beka to blame for this.
HARPER: I know. Fortunately, loyalty is her fatal flaw. That, and she's
a sucker for a dude in distress.
LYRA: Is she in love with Ladrone?
HARPER: I guess, if you believe in that sort of thing.
LYRA: Do you believe in love?
HARPER: I'm starting to.
BEKA [on viewscreen]: Harper, I need us in tight formation and those
dischargers ready to rock
HARPER: If your plan resembles anything like run like hell, I can name
that tune in three notes or less.
BEKA [on viewscreen]: We're not running anywhere. Ever heard of plasma
HARPER: Indie-alt speedmetal folk band from the pre-Commonwealth era?
BEKA [on viewscreen]: No, Dylan told us about one of his final exams on
the simulators at the Argosy Academy, remember?
HARPER: You mean the one where the plasma bursts are ricocheted off a
nearby ship creating energy signature echoes that fake out the enemy
into thinking there are a bunch of cloaked ships?
That would be the one.
HARPER [on monitor]: No, and even if I did, Valentine, it's strictly
theoretical. That was an exercise.
(Weapons fire hits the Maru.)
BEKA: And that was very real. Are you with me or not?
Well, I'm trying to be, but my mind is fading fast.
BEKA [on viewscreen]: Just get the plasma cannons charged and ready.
(Andromeda is attacked. Lyra falls against Harper.)
HARPER: Trust me, the cannon's charged and ready.
LYRA: Don't you think it's a bad idea for us to keep taking hits and
not firing back?
BEKA [on viewscreen]: In order for this to work, we have to let them
get a little closer.
ORAC: They're still coming. Fast.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: I'm detecting pre-launch activity in the
weapons bays of several of the ships.
They're still closing in, Beka. Hail Technocore. Tell them you're
willing to make a deal.
BEKA: Not now.
LADRONE: I admire your courage, but if we all die here, nothing I have
done will have mattered. And I can't have your death on my conscience.
BEKA: Don't worry, neither can I. Harper
viewscreen]: Time for the phantoms.
HARPER: Letting slip the plasma hounds.
(Lots of extra blips appear on the tactical display behind the
attacking Technocore ships.)
BEKA [on viewscreen]: It's working. Harper, are you seeing this?
HARPER: Seeing it? I made it. Right now, they should be assuming there
are anywhere from ten to a hundred cloaked ships moving in on them.
ORAC: We don't approve of your
HARPER: What? Perpetrating a lie? Whoo. A lie that saved our butts,
including yours, and especially hers.
ROMMIE: Rest easy, Marshall. We're just implementing a tried and true
military strategy known as bluffing. An entirely different thing.
LYRA: They're still firing missiles.
HARPER: That is not a missile. That is a slipfighter.
[OC]: Captain, you are cleared for landing.
[OC]: The Technocore ships are holding position, but not firing.
LADRONE: I can see you learned a lot from Captain Hunt.
BEKA: Unfortunately, he can't seem to teach me anything in the area I'm
(She points her gun at Ladrone.)
BEKA: What the hell are you?
LADRONE: Somebody sampled my DNA. Harper and his gizmo he shocked me
BEKA: Is there a sign on my forehead, or is it written on every wall of
every bathroom from here to Tarn Vedra about what an easy dupe Beka
LADRONE: Beka, trust me. I am who you think I am. My DNA is
unrecognisable because it's been altered by an experimental compound.
When I was in prison for a petty scam a few years back, it turns out
they were using the prison population as guinea pigs for a new
generation of radical bio-viruses. I hooked up with a disgruntled
Technocore researcher who showed me how to keep myself alive using
injections of a substance derived from my own DNA.
BEKA: How long can that last?
LADRONE: As long as I keep injecting myself, but the technology is
imperfect. The reconstituted genes have a short life, and mine would be
shorter without them. I told you I was watching my diet.
BEKA: The real Able Ladrone would have told me this from the beginning.
LADRONE: And risk your pity? Beka, it's how a man behaves when he's in
HARPER [on monitor]: Beka, get back here ASAP. Technocore has accepted
BEKA: Dylan's proposition?
Ah, home, sweet home.
HARPER: Good to have you back, boss.
HUNT: It's good to be back. Rommie, the emissaries will arrive just
after the Maru.
ROMMIE: Prepping hangar fourteen.
HUNT: Mister Harper? As we discussed.
HARPER: Right. I'm already on it, boss. Er, you have Command.
HUNT: Thank you. Trance?
TRANCE: Right. Med deck.
ORAC: Captain Hunt. I'm Marshall Orac of Fugitive Retrieval.
HUNT: I know who you are. It's a pleasure. I hope my crew has taken
care of you in my absence?
ORAC: It appears everyone has a function here, except us.
ROMMIE: But you do have a function. You will be our character
LYRA: Character witnesses?
HUNT: Yea. On your word, the emissaries will know that we aren't part
of Ladrone's smuggling operation.
ORAC: And what about Able? I assume you'll remand him to our custody.
HUNT: Well, I'm afraid that won't satisfy the emissaries' demands. As
far as they're concerned, Ladrone's a walking secret they don't want
LYRA: Then what do they want?
HUNT: They want him dead, of course.
What does Dylan want with Able?
TYR: I might ask you what you want with Able.
BEKA: Okay. All right. I don't know why I'm telling you this, but I
think I'm in love with Able. I probably always have been. I just never
imagined that he'd feel the same way about me.
TYR: Then your imagination hasn't done you justice.
(Tyr walks on.)
BEKA: How much do you know?
HUNT: Well, I know that you think Ladrone's a good man. Sometimes
intentions are besides the point, especially when the potential for
disaster is on a scale of this magnitude.
BEKA: Are we talking about the Commonwealth or my personal life?
HUNT: I'm sorry, Beka, but there isn't any alternative. He has to go
back to Veras.
LADRONE: Oh, there's always an alternative, captain. It just, it just
depends on your priorities.
(Ladrone pulls a gun on Hunt.)
BEKA: Able, what are you doing?
(Hunt powers up his forcelance. Harper, Orac and Lyra approach.)
HUNT: Beka can vouch for me. I'm very good with a forcelance.
BEKA: Well, isn't this awkward?
HUNT: This is not a smart play, Ladrone.
LADRONE: But it's the only play I've got, Captain. You know as well as
I do that if you send me back to Veras, you're signing my death
HUNT: Not true. The Verasites gave me their word that you won't be
LADRONE: Honesty and truth are not always the same things, Captain.
Beka Valentine. I love you.
(Ladrone starts to walk away then turns and shoots. Hunt shoots back.
Beka runs to Ladrone's body.)
HARPER: You had no choice, boss.
viewscreen, Trance scans Ladrone's body and the two Technocore
ROMMIE [on viewscreen]: Identity confirmed.
HUNT: There you go.
ORAC: You saved our lives, Captain Hunt. More importantly, the secrets
Ladrone stole died with him.
HUNT: Let me walk you back to your ship.
ORAC: By the way, we interviewed Miss Valentine. We're sure she knew
very little of Ladrone's work. Rumours were circulating the
Commonwealth, and we were looking at the possibility of widespread
chaos and panic. Thank you.
HUNT: Well, I can't say I feel very good about what happened.
HARPER: I mean, if you really have to go, I might be getting some time
off coming up for bad behaviour. Maybe we could.
LYRA: Maybe. Call me.
HUNT: I'll send a team of slipfighters to escort you back to your
Able! I saw you die.
LADRONE: Well, what you thought you saw was me die. What you really saw
was a golem, genetically altered to match my genes.
HARPER: Yep, probably seems like a miracle. Because it is! the miracle
that is the Seamus Harper. With, of course, some Able assistance. Your
buddy here showed me some Technocore manoeuvres that go way over my
LADRONE: well, we couldn't have done it without Dylan. It was his idea.
HUNT: Look, we couldn't have done it without his DNA, right?
BEKA: Great, so you created a golem that the truth telling Verasites
could watch die and then testify to in front of the Technocore
emissaries. Very clever. Do you mind telling me why you guys would put
me through this hell?
LADRONE: Well, Beka, it was important that you believed that it was
HARPER: Yeah, almost as real as my carbon copy. Get it? Because all
lifeforms are carbon based?
LADRONE: It was a good idea, right?
HUNT: Look, the data Ladrone's given us should be more than enough to
launch a formal investigation into Technocore's activities, and, er,
Beka was right about you. I disagree with your methods, but I don't
disagree with the importance of your work. And now you're free to
LADRONE: More importantly, I'm free to love Beka Valentine.
(Beka punches Ladrone, knocking him down.)
HARPER: Don't take it personally, pal. That's how she loves everybody.
Now, usually at this point, I beg for mercy, but if I were you, I'd run
HUNT: Mister Harper, I think maybe you and I should run like hell.
(Hunt and Harper leave.)
LADRONE: Beka, kill me if you must, but I'll die a happy man. Honestly.
BEKA: Honestly? You are such a liar.
(They make up with a kiss.)
[OC]: Veras Terminus.
HARPER: Yeah, I'm trying to reach Lieutenant Lyra.
WOMAN [OC]: Sorry, you have the wrong number.
MAN [OC]: Who was that?
WOMAN [OC]: Another loser calling for that Lieutenant Lyra.
(Hunt and Trance try to be quiet.)
HARPER: I got the wrong number again.
HUNT: Harper, you know, maybe they only have to tell the truth on their
TRANCE: When they were onboard, it was probably a little R and R from
the rigours of unmitigated honesty.
HARPER: You mean I told all that truth for nothing?
HUNT: Well, think of it as a learning experience. The truth has set you
HARPER: Free. Sheesh. I'd rather be her prisoner of love.