Double or Nothingness

Original Airdate: 20 Oct, 2003

When they are dying tell them a riddle.
And when they laugh,
Let the Gods of Nature
finish what we have started.

Segma Te: Director, Cultural Archives;
University Library -
CY 760

[Command]

(Watching a battle on the viewscreen. A courier in obligatory flying ace leather jacket is with Hunt.)
WOMAN [OC]: All systems failing! Mayday, mayday! Life support critical! Firing tubes seven through nine.
SABO: These are the last images I could transport, just before I went to stream.
MAN [OC]: Hull breach in SCC! Core temp is critical! We're losing power!
ANDROMEDA [OC]: The ship under attack is Commonwealth, the Lancer's Hope. The attacking Nietzschean fleet is from the planet Almagest.
BEKA: They died quickly.
HUNT: They shouldn't have died at all.
SABO: There's been Nietzschean activity in half a dozen systems. This was a standard distress call. I was sent to answer. Next thing, there was a flotilla of battle cruisers.
HUNT: Your duty was to get to the closest Commonwealth ship, and you did that.
SABO: Thank you, sir.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: We are five slipstream jumps from Almagest. The Lancer's Hope was closer.
HUNT: Almagest.
ROMMIE: Nietzscheans built the Almagest shipyards into the best in the three galaxies.
HUNT: Yes, by conquering the planet and using slave labour.
ROMMIE: Well, they have a powerful fleet. Plus an unequalled ability and ingenuity in the construction of weapons and defence systems.
BEKA: No wonder everyone sucks up to them, including the Commonwealth.
HUNT: Not today. Not us.
ROMMIE: Dylan. the Cistaro system has five planets, three solid, two gas giants. Planet Almagest, closest to the sun, orbits at the edge of habitable radiation parameters.
HARPER: Any closer, and it'd be Alma toast.
ROMMIE: The planet's strong magnetic field shunts aside the worst of the solar radiation, dense atmosphere blocks the remaining solar wind.
HARPER: It's beautiful, in a highly radioactive, genetic sunburn kind of way.
TRANCE: It's always been that way. Suns nourish life, which thrives in safety.
ROMMIE: Much of the living and working on Almagest is done below the planet surface.
BEKA: If they're so good at business, why would the Nietzscheans attack? That's not good slave management.
HUNT: Rommie, time to Terazed?
ROMMIE: A courier would take approximately forty five hours to reach Terazed and return with orders from the Commonwealth.
SABO: I can do it, sir.
HUNT: No, we can't wait. Lay in a course for Almagest.
BEKA: Er, Dylan, let's think about this. Nobody knows a thing about this place. The Nietzscheans have sealed it off for years.
HUNT: Harper, see what you can dig up.
HARPER: I'll be in the core, where I always am.
HUNT: Beka, take us to slipstream, please.
(Whoosh through slipstream.)
ANDROMEDA [OC]: We are now approaching Almagest.
ROMMIE: There's a great deal of solar activity. My sensors are down to thirty seven percent efficiency.
TRANCE: Standard orbit.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Dylan, I'm detecting no debris. No residual slip-core plasma, no evidence at all of a battle.
HUNT: Lieutenant Sabo? 
SABO: Sir, I escaped a full-pitched fight. Perhaps the other side of the planet?
ROMMIE: These are the coordinates you gave us. There's no sign of the Lancer's Hope, either debris or intact.
HUNT: All right. There's an explanation. Let's find it.
ROMMIE: Dylan, we're being hailed from the surface. The Office of Visitors and Tourism.
HUNT: Visitors and Tourism? On screen.
(A dark haired man in a Time Lord high collar and single large earring.)
SHIG [on viewscreen]: Welcome to our system, Commonwealth visitor. I am Shig, and
(A tall, blond, bearded man with a heavy gold chain.)
LIPP-SETT [on viewscreen]: Lipp-Sett is my name. Think of our planet as your own.
BEKA: Hard to believe they dressed themselves.
HUNT: Dylan Hunt, Captain of the Andromeda Ascendant. We have reports of a battle involving your ships and a Commonwealth cruiser.
SHIG [on viewscreen]: Battle? Not here. We haven't had a Commonwealth ship in this system since
(The image disintegrates.)
HUNT: Rommie?
ROMMIE: The ionising radiation makes it difficult to maintain communication.
HUNT: Feed their coordinates into my slipfighter. I'll take a squad down.
SABO: Permission to accompany, sir.
HUNT: I wouldn't have it any other way.

[Slipfighter]

PILOT 1 [OC]: Orbit approach vector alpha niner juliet.
PILOT 2 [OC]: Alpha, copy. Vectoring approach formation seven, out.
PILOT 1 [OC]: Launch formation sequence.
PILOT 2 [OC]: Standing by. Atmosphere, dense cloud.
ROMMIE [OC]: Dylan, I've locked on to the coordinates of the entrance to their underground system.
HUNT: Copy that.

[Command]

HUNT [on viewscreen]: I'll locate these two clowns and get some answers.
ROMMIE: Understood.
TRANCE: There's a solar flare building fast.
ROMMIE: I'm getting a rapid increase in solar wind pressure. Dylan, you have to penetrate the atmosphere quickly. A very large solar flare is approaching release.
HUNT [on viewscreen]: Er, that's not a solar wind. It's a solar hurricane. Protect yourself, Rommie.
TRANCE: It's going to be a close one.

[Slipfighters]

HUNT: Switching to manual override. Red, blue teams, on me.
SABO: Copy that. Manual. Bracing for impact.

[Command]

BEKA: We're locking down for radiation safety. Rommie, give me shipwide.
ROMMIE: Shipwide.
BEKA: This is acting Captain Beka Valentine. We are locking down for toxic rad levels. All crew are confined to shielded areas, on the double. I repeat, emergency shielded areas.
(Lots of frantic running of crew.)
ROMMIE: All crew are in shielded areas.
HARPER [on viewscreen]: Rommie, here comes one enormous electric eraser.
ROMMIE: I know, Harper, I'm strong, but Mother Nature, as you call her, is much stronger.
HARPER [on viewscreen]: Catch you on the flip side, guys.
ROMMIE: Bracing for EMP burst. This'll take up a few minutes of my time.
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Systems temporarily shutting down.
(The flare reaches the Andromeda Ascendant and moves on.)
ROMMIE: Re-booting. Op sys enabled.
TRANCE: Dylan.

[Slipfighters]

(The engines won't restart. Panicked shouting on the comms.)
HUNT: Damn! Red team, blue team, come in! Blue team, come in! Okay, boys, good luck to us all.
(His slipfighter plunges through the clouds.)
HUNT: Control system, engage! What I wouldn't give for a kick-starter. Come on, catch!
(It does, just before he is due to hit a very jagged mountain range.)
SABO: Bad news all around. It's been a good life!
(Sabo's slipfighter explodes.)
COMPUTER: Control systems engaged.

[Command]

ROMMIE: We are confined here until the radiation drops to safe levels.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: I have detected that Dylan has made a successful landing at the entrance to the underground system.
TRANCE: That's a relief. And the others?
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Of the eight, four have landed safely, but the ships are incapacitated.
TRANCE: More death.
ROMMIE: There's something else.
BEKA: Something else?
ROMMIE: Various psychotropic agents were retrofitted into my auto-defence system. It's far more effective than my previous system.
TRANCE: Gas. Odourless, colourless, designed to disorient intruders.
BEKA: You didn't.
ROMMIE: I did.
BEKA: And I breathed it.
ROMMIE: I'm moving us over to the lee side of the planet. We may find some protection from the solar hurricanes there, but I may still have some problems.
TRANCE: At least Dylan is safe. I think.

[Underground]

HUNT: Rommie! Damn technology.
(Armed guards surround him.)
HUNT: I'm Captain Dylan Hunt, and you must be the welcoming committee.
SHIG: We are the welcoming committee, Captain. They are the security detail. Again.
LIPP-SETT: Lipp-Sett.
SHIG: And again, Shig.
HUNT: Of course, Visitors and Tourism.
SHIG: Your reputation precedes you, Captain. We were surprised to learn that the Andromeda survived the recent Nietzschean conflict relatively unscathed.
HUNT: We were lucky.
LIPP-SETT: I'd wager luck had nothing to do with it. Am I right?

[Control room]

HUNT: Well, I'm investigating a more recent Nietzschean conflict.
SHIG: We haven't had a hostility in this system for the last nineteen months.
HUNT: Ha. I have a Commonwealth courier who says differently. In my experience, they don't lie.
SHIG: I'm sure he believes what he saw.
LIPP-SETT: Well, High Guard my heart. What a magnificent physical specimen you are, Captain, for a human. Am I right? All these extraordinary tales of your physical prowess. I'm sure many will find your presence here inspiring.
HUNT: Thank you, but right now, I only want to talk to your security chief.
SHIG: And why should we let you? Because you represent the Commonwealth? Or perhaps because you command a High Guard battleship.
HUNT: No, because I'm a tourist. Look, you won't ally with us, that's fine. But, you don't want to be an enemy.
SHIG: History has shown, Captain, that alliance with your Commonwealth leads to ruin.
LIPP-SETT: We don't cultivate enemies, Captain Hunt.
HUNT: Well, there's no percentage in that, is there.

[Command]

TRANCE: We are in stationary orbit.
ROMMIE: We're safer in this sheltered area, but I'm still vulnerable to shut-downs.
HARPER [on viewscreen]: Rommie, when did you change the colour of the walls down here?
ROMMIE: Harper. Oh. Harper, use a respirator. I've had a gas leak. Hallucinogens.
HARPER [on viewscreen]: Ah ha, I knew it, because I've got seven fingers on my left hand.
(Alarms.)
ROMMIE: We're bracing for another EMP. Harper, no one is to leave shielded areas.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Multi-spectrum sensors detect tracking lasers off the starboard beam.
BEKA: They're targeting us. Us? They're targeting me.
TRANCE: Another solar flare is building.
BEKA: I am surrounded by enemies.
TRANCE: Beka.
BEKA: Rommie, defensive missiles, tubes one through forty. I would also like gluon-plasma missiles in aft tubes forty eight through sixty.
ROMMIE: GP missiles are overkill at this point.
BEKA: That's exactly what I'm going for.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Solar flare has lifted from the sun. Impact in five seconds.
ROMMIE: Trance, could you keep an eye
ANDROMEDA [OC]: Systems temporarily shutting down.

[Underground]

(Lots of shaking and a few rock falls.)
SHIG: We're under attack! It's your ship, Captain.
HUNT: That's not possible. Beka, anything going on up there I should be aware of? Tell me you are not firing on this planet.
(Just a static ridden image on his bracer.)
HUNT: Beka. Beka! Damn it. I know my crew, and they are not firing on your people.
SHIG: I'm getting reports of hundreds of hits all over our planet. Your ship is
HUNT: I don't believe that!
LIPP-SETT: You don't believe your own eyes?
HUNT: Get me to my slipfighter. I'm returning to my ship.
SHIG: I can't allow you to do that.
HUNT: What, you'd prefer Andromeda to destroy your whole planet?
SHIG: Take my ship, then. It's faster, I guarantee.
HUNT: I'll take my own ship.
SHIG: You'll never make it to your ship!
LIPP-SETT: We have no time! Our fighters can be launched from underground.
SHIG: We are master shipbuilders, Captain. Our slipfighters can make the Ida Prime to Milpas un in less than 17 hours.
HUNT: Right. Lead the way.

[Fighter]

HUNT: All right, let's see what you've got.
(It looks exactly like a slipfighter as it clears the clouds.)
HUNT: Andromeda, I'm on my way.
ROMMIE [on monitor]: Copy that, Dylan. Communications still suffering interference.
HUNT: Oh, great. I've got company. Four Nietzschean fighters, heading one seven one.
ROMMIE [on monitor]: That is an intercept vector. Dylan, my systems aren't functioning in this EMP environment.
HUNT: Well, why should I be surprised? Okay, great, I'm on my own. Let's hope there's not another solar flare while I'm stuck out here. They're following me. Check that. They're Mardupian, and they're firing on me. Okay, you want to play? Let's play. All right, there's one more down, and three more to go. Rommie, do you read any debris from those explosions?
ROMMIE [on monitor]: Debris is scattered throughout the combat area.
HUNT: That's strange. I circled back, and I don't see anything.

[Control room]

(Lots of alien faces are moving around a very big screen. One from Antares IV who is ranked 34th and whose current stake is 12.5 units - quatloos? - is shouting.)
BETTOR 1 [on screen]: Play the game!
LIPP-SETT: Who would've bet the human could beat four to one odds?
HUNT [on screen]: Rommie, I took some hits in the fuel lines. I'm losing power.
SHIG: Sounds like we have a crash landing situation.
LIPP-SETT: He survived the first. Can he again?
BETTOR 2 [OC]: I bet on that.
LIPP-SETT: Yes?
(It is another man on the screen with exactly the same stats the previous alien.)
BETTOR 2[on screen]: I raise with my own asteroid, rich in titanium, already in tow, smelting facilities available, fungible value of three point six units.
LIPP-SETT: Decisions? Bets? Wagers? Before he enters the atmosphere, please.
MORAN [on screen]: Get on with the game!
HUNT [on screen]: I don't know if you copy, Rommie

[Fighter]

HUNT: But I've got nothing on control surfaces. There's no place to land. I'm ejecting. Track my beacon.
(He does, and the fighter explodes.)

[Underground]

HUNT: I hate when that happens.
(He tries to get his bearings.)
HUNT: No.
(The Andromeda weathers another solar storm.)
LIPP-SETT: You're under arrest, Captain Hunt. Many died. Others were hurt in your attack.
HUNT: Yeah, well, I'd like to see all these dead and wounded before I take responsibility.
SHIG: Do you think we're making this up?
HUNT: Well, I think you might be, yes.
SHIG: Then what do you think of this?
(A guard uses a taser on Hunt.)

[Control room]

(Lipp-Sett shows Hunt a video on a hand computer. He is on his knees with his hands fastened behind his back.)
LIPP-SETT: Take a good look, Captain.
SHIG: Your crew, your ship, your missiles. A completely unwarranted genocidal attack on our Assembly. Your arrogant Commonwealth intruding into our world.
HUNT: We were investigating the loss of one of our ships to your forces. Now, let me to speak with my crew.
LIPP-SETT: Too late. Your crew and the Andromeda are already bidding us farewell. Apparently the ion storm shut down your AI long enough for us to get some good clear shots.
HUNT: You're making this up.
SHIG: Captain Dylan Hunt, you are found guilty of provoking hostilities in our system. You are accused and convicted of mass murder, and shall be executed forthwith. Take him away.
(Hunt is pulled to his feet by a large pit of seething yellow yuck.)
SHIG: Digestive enzymes, heated and enriched. We like to keep them lean and hungry.
LIPP-SETT: They don't actually feel hunger, but they love to eat.
HUNT: This is just a head game.
LIPP-SETT: You are the game.
HUNT: None of this is real.
SHIG: What is real, what is not? Who can tell?
HUNT: You're not even giving me a fighting chance.
SHIG: Exactly.
(The gambling screen comes back to life as a partly digested corpse is raised from the pit.)
LIPP-SETT: As you can see, Captain, death takes its own sweet time here.
SHIG: Let the new phase of the games begin!
HAROLD [on screen]: What's the game?
COMPUTER: Gentlemen, place your bets.
SHIG: As you're aware, Captain, sometimes one eats, sometimes one is eaten.
HUNT: I'll give you the fact that this all seems real.
SHIG: Perhaps you can persuade us into letting you go, or maybe he could make a run for it.
LIPP-SETT: But maybe then, where you run to will be your death. Who can tell?
HUNT: Please listen. Just just give me a moment. I'd like to be able to collect my thoughts, please.
SHIG: You see? He is breaking, my friends! About to make his fatal mistake! What do you wager? Next will be prayer.
LIPP-SETT: Who bets he starts praying? To a god! One of his own imagination, no doubt.
(Lipp-Sett steps up right behind Hunt and pushes his head.)
LIPP-SETT: Go ahead, Captain. Pray.
HUNT: Well, here I am, approaching my inevitable end as confused and vulnerable as when I came into this universe. And now, as I'm about to leave this beautiful, wonderful, and happy life.
(A drop of digestive enzyme from the corpse falls onto his leather bonds and eats them.)
HUNT: A life I've been most blessed in, I'm afraid. I am so, so afraid that I'm going to have to do this!
(Hunt breaks his bonds, leaps up and pushes the guard away. He grabs Lipp-Sett and uses him as a shield to shoot other guards and wound Shig. Then he looses his balance, and he and Lipp-Sett fall into the vat, which vanishes. They land on flat ground. Hunt pulls Lipp-Sett back up in front of him as Shig raises his weapon.)
HUNT: Come here. Stand back or I'll have his head!
SHIG: You'll never make it back to your ship.
HUNT: That's a tell, pal. You just told me my ship still exists. Come on.
SHIG: Activate.

[Oriental Restaurant]

(Hunt and Lipp-Sett burst in.)
HUNT: All right, Lipp-Sett, you're going to take me to my ship.
(The door has vanished. People stand up.)
HUNT: Er, hi there. You know, I'm guessing this forcelance isn't going to work here, so I'm unarmed and he's er, he's an idiot, so we can do you absolutely no harm.
(The people in the room point guns at him.)
HUNT: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait. See, your weapons will work. Don't, don't shoot.
(Hunt punches Lipp-Sett on the jaw and he falls sideways.)
HUNT: Him, though. Him I really don't care that much about.
(Two oriental types lead Hunt forward.)
HUNT: All right. How you guys doing? This place looks looks familiar.
CHEN: Are you okay? Are you awake?
HUNT: Well, I, I certainly hope so, or this would be one sucky dream.
(They make him sit down.)
HUNT: Thank you.
CHEN: Who are you?
HUNT: I think that question's a little too complicated for this particular situation. Hey, how are you doing?
(A minion punches Hunt several times.)
CHEN: Enough.
HUNT: Look, what you, what you want to know, I can't tell you. And even if I could tell you, you wouldn't believe me anyway.
(An old man in the shadows speaks, and Chen translates.)
CHEN: Who sent you? Where are you from?
HUNT: Oh, come on, like that makes a difference.
CHEN: Are you from the planet Mezzomanna?
HUNT: Yes. Oh, man, do I look like I'm from the planet Mezzomanna, huh? Hey, I got you on that one, didn't I? Oh, no.
(Another punch in the face.)
HUNT: Okay. Look, I'm trying to think of the best way to put this. I am from that door back right over there. But then again, it doesn't matter because you're not real. See, you're just programmed to believe that you're real. I'm tired of this.
(He uses his chair then a pair of guns to take out the thugs.)
HUNT: Put the weapon down, old man. It's a game. It's only a game.
(Hunt shoots the old man.)
HUNT: Shig, Lipp-Sett, I've got to tell you, the attempt to confuse is really well done.
MOTHER [OC]: Dylan?
(An older woman steps into view.)
HUNT: Mom.
(He looks behind them, and when he turns back she has vanished.)
HUNT: How lame is that? How lame is that? You think you know me so well? Well, how about the guys in black who appear out of nowhere, they steal anything you got, they knock you flat, and then they disappear again? Now that, that would be a challenge. You want to impress me? Well then, impress me!
(Hunt is facing a woman using a monomolecular lash.)
HUNT: Oh, hell.
(And shoots her with his forcelance. She vanishes.)
HUNT: I liked you better as a woman.

[Med deck]

TRANCE: Neuropeptides are normal, but you are still feeling the effects of the hallucinogen.
BEKA: Oh, ridiculous. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
ROMMIE: Beka, how many med techs do you see?
BEKA: Two. Next question.
ROMMIE: How many med techs do you see?
BEKA: Two. Four. Six. Six med techs. What?
ROMMIE: Beka, I'm relieving you of command. I'm sorry.
BEKA: You can't do that.
ROMMIE: Yes, I can. I'm programmed to protect myself. It's nothing personal.
TRANCE: I'll permit it. The effects should wear off in the next few hours.
BEKA: What are you saying, I can't tell what's real and what's not?
ROMMIE: Pretty much, yes.
BEKA: Five. Five med techs. That's my final answer.
TRANCE: Rommie, another EMP burst.
ROMMIE: Bracing.
(Rommie falls onto the biobed Beka has just vacated.)

[Control room]

LIPP-SETT: You've cost us a fortune. Don't think I don't know that you secretly bet against the house.
SHIG: You shouldn't have said that the house would double the odds if he shot the old man.
LIPP-SETT: Enough! We have to recoup our losses. He can't escape indefinitely. He will die.

[Oriental restaurant]

HUNT: It's a pretty good recreation, with the sort of obvious mistakes I've come to expect from Nietzscheans.
(A doorway opens.)
HUNT: You want me to step outside, otherwise something would have stopped me by now. You know, there are, there are others who are extremely interested in preserving things from the past. The Collectors. The Collectors and Nietzscheans. Ha! Can you imagine? No, I'm not going to go that way. Maybe you are working together on developing some kind of new weapon. Well, maybe then the only way out of this situation is to disarm the weapon. Yeah. Game over.
(Hunt shoots himself.)

[Med deck]

TRANCE: Can you hear me? Do you know your name?
HUNT: Peaches. I'm Dylan Hunt. This is the Andromeda Ascendant. Rommie, Trance, it's good to see you.
TRANCE: Can you tell us what happened?
HUNT: Well, the solar flare went off, and er, I was battling to control my fighter. This whole thing. This whole thing is Nietzscheans and Collectors. They're running a weapons test, most likely, using us.
ROMMIE: They caused the solar storm.
HUNT: Directed bombardment of the sun, perhaps with highly charged protons.
ROMMIE: I detected no such event.
HUNT: The solar storm would have prevented that. You were shutting down to protect yourself, and they, they, they knew. They knew that that would happen.
TRANCE: You think that they're after you?
HUNT: They're they're after all of us.
ROMMIE: Dylan, I believe you have been on Andromeda this entire time. You never left. My assessment is you were exposed to the psychotropic, got into your slipfighter to protect yourself from the radiation, and experienced all of this in your mind.
HUNT: I, I see.
TRANCE: The aft hangar deck never opened in time for you to leave.
ROMMIE: I'm very sorry, Dylan, but I'm compelled to isolate you in quarters until I can determine your ability to command.
HUNT: Come on, Rommie
(Alarms.)
HOLO-ROMMIE: Intruders detected shipwide.
HUNT: Rommie, is that my forcelance?
ROMMIE: Yes.
HUNT: May I have it, please?
ROMMIE: No.
HUNT: Rommie, give me my forcelance, and that is an order. Thank you. Andromeda, intruder location.
HOLO-ROMMIE: Decks nine, forty one and fifty nine.
HUNT: All right, let's bring it.
TRANCE: Good to have you back, Captain.
ROMMIE: Agreed.
HUNT: According to you, I never left.

[Corridor]

(Harper, in a red shirt, is backing away from something off screen.)
HUNT: Harper, what have you got?
HARPER: Hey, boss, nice timing. I was just getting reacquainted with a charming blast from our Magog past. You remember my worst nightmare!
HUNT: Bloodmist.
(Bloodmist drags Harper away.)
HARPER: Dylan?
(Hunt follows carefully.)
HUNT: Harper?
HARPER: He didn't bite me. At least I don't have to worry about any larvae.
(Harper collapses. Hunt kills Bloodmist.)
HUNT: Hold on, Harper. Hold on.
HARPER: I don't know. Forecast ain't looking too good, boss. I've got to tell you something. In, in my quarters.
(Harper dies.)

[Med deck]

(Hunt covers Harper with a sheet.)
BEKA: It's my fault. This is all, beginning to end, my doing. Getting Harper in. Keeping him in.
ROMMIE: Beka, are you all right?
BEKA: Are you all right? I don't think so. Take a look around you. Things don't look so good. You're spewing steam in every corridor. Your systems are haywire.
HUNT: Okay, Beka, point made.
ROMMIE: I think Beka may still be suffering the effects of the er (mouths) hallucinogen.
BEKA: You're not taking Harper away from me!
TRANCE: Beka, I think you need to calm down.
BEKA: No. You need to calm down. I need Harper.
HUNT: Beka, come on. You
(Beka pulls her gauss gun on Hunt.)
BEKA: Harper and I stay together.
LIPP-SETT [memory]: We're under attack!
SHIG [memory]: Take my ship. It's faster, I guarantee.
HUNT [memory]: All right, let's see what you've got. Do you read any debris from those explosions?
SHIG [memory]: Do you think we're making this up?
HUNT [memory]: It doesn't matter, because you're not real.
HUNT: Rommie, are you still operating under emergency protocols?
ROMMIE: Correct.
HUNT: Well, I think this situation proves that things are out of control. You need to reestablish it under the protocol.
ROMMIE: Correct.
HUNT: Beka, I'm taking my forcelance out, and I'm setting it down here on the table. Rommie will confine me to my quarters. Rommie, I have no objection to Beka staying here with Harper, just as long as she surrenders her weapon.
BEKA: Hey!
(Rommie takes Beka's gun, and Hunt throws Beka through a holographic wall.)

[Control room]

(Hunt is in a Virtual Reality chair.)
SHIG: Very good, Captain. You made it back.
(The gamblers are not pleased.)
SHIG: Hunt, the board has set odds based your skill three hundred to one you'll lose this final round.
HUNT: Shows what respect gets you these days. You two. You're so smart. Got the universe on a string. Really though, everything that you've risked so far has amounted to nothing more than a sucker's bet.
LIPP-SETT: I disagree. This is what we do, and we are the best.
SHIG: We have created the greatest weapons and defences that this universe has ever seen. What else is there to do?
LIPP-SETT: You recreate. Enjoy yourself.
HUNT: Prima donnas.
SHIG: What did you say?
HUNT: I said, prima donnas. You're betting on what you can afford to lose, nothing on what you're afraid to lose. Make a real bet. Put your livelihood on the table. I've put my life on the line each time, so why don't we raise the stakes? Your weapons inventory and the freedom of your slaves against my life. If you are as great as you claim, you'd be willing to risk everything to prove it, wouldn't you? Well, wouldn't you? Come on. Me against you.
SHIG: Very well, Captain. We'll take your bet. You're free to go. Your slipfighter is right outside the door.
LIPP-SETT: Andromeda awaits.
SHIG: Understand this, Captain. It's not us against you anymore. It's you against you.
(Hunt is released from the chair.)

[Hunt's quarters]

HUNT: And then what happened is that I, I threw Beka through the wall, which, you know, really wasn't a wall, of course. And then I was in the betting area with the Nietzscheans again. And after that, well, I was here with you.
ROMMIE: I think I understand.
HUNT: I'm glad to hear that. Rommie, I missed you.
ROMMIE: You did?
HUNT: Yeah. Really, really missed you.
(He leans in for a kiss.)
ROMMIE: Dylan?
HUNT: Shush, shush, shush, shush, shush. Captain's orders.
HUNT 2: Let her go. She is way out of your league, pal.
HUNT: He's right on time.

[Corridor]

(The two Hunts fight outside in the corridor. Rommie tries to get a clear shot and fails.)
HUNT: Well, we always were too hard on ourselves.
HUNT 2: Yeah, that's what Mom always said.
(Rommie steps between them with a powered forcelance.)
HUNT: Rommie.
HUNT 2: Rommie, come on.
(She shoots the one I designated 2.)
HUNT 2: Rommie, what have you done?
(And keeps shooting him until he vanishes.)
HUNT: Thanks, Rommie.
ROMMIE: You're welcome.
HUNT: Yeah. Er, you know, er when we were in my quarters, I, er, I did what I did because, well, I wanted you to know that it was me.
ROMMIE: Of course. I recognised your biorhythms and your increased heart rate.

[Command]

BEKA: Ten seconds to all systems full.
ROMMIE: AP systems are ready. Harper?
HARPER [on viewscreen]: Well, I can't wait till you get back online so you can open the damn doors to this room.
ROMMIE: Oh, I'm sorry, Harper, but that system is still offline.
HARPER [on viewscreen]: Well, at least the missiles are up. Boss, fire a big one at the Nietzscheans, a parting gift, one for the road, something for me to enjoy down here, huh?
HUNT: That's a negative, Mister Harper. They still owe the Commonwealth six hundred more slipfighters than we've already got in tow.
ROMMIE: Full systems engaging in two and counting, and mark.
TRANCE: Winning so many slipfighters for the cause of good, that's another mark for you in Commonwealth history.
HUNT: Trance, I'm just trying to do what's right.
TRANCE: Like winning freedom for the workers of Almagest? That's better than the slipfighters. You've just spread a Commonwealth value, and on a bet.
HUNT: Well, it just goes to show anything is possible when you keep it real.

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