Soon The Nearing Vortex

Original Airdate: 3 Nov, 2003

"Once you give in to the void,
space itself becomes time.

Once you give in to the void,
many are the mouths of reality."

New Century Manifesto,
CY 4001


(A small ship is under attack.)
ROMMIE: The prison transport has no markings, but their transponder is Commonwealth. Readings indicate two life forms.
TRANCE: One pilot, one prisoner.
HUNT: Hail the Nietzscheans.
TRANCE: They're responding.
HUNT: Cease fire immediately. I can and will destroy you and your remaining ships.
ZAYNICK [on viewscreen]: I'm going to make you regret those words, Captain.
BEKA: You and what army, pal?
HUNT: Well, you can't say I didn't warn them. Rommie?
ROMMIE:- Firing.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: The remaining Nietzschean vessels are retreating into slipstream.
HUNT: I want to talk to that transport pilot.
TRANCE: On screen.
HUNT: Well, they say it is a small universe. Admiral Telemachus Rhade.
RHADE [on viewscreen]: Admiral on the old Terazed, Captain Hunt. In the new Commonwealth, I'm Lieutenant Commander.
HUNT: It's good to see you, whatever the rank.
RHADE [on viewscreen]: Warm greetings to you as well, sir. You and Andromeda are a welcome surprise.
BEKA: Yeah, speaking of surprises, what is a Commonwealth prison transport doing out here with zero tac support?
RHADE [on viewscreen]: Priority nine mission. Need to know only. I can say my destination is Terazed.
BEKA: All the more reason for support.
HUNT: We will accompany you to Terazed.
RHADE [on viewscreen]: Thank you, no.
RHADE [on viewscreen]: I'm under strict orders. No Commonwealth ships are to be involved.
HUNT: Tell me about your prisoner.
RHADE [on viewscreen]: My prisoner's identity is confidential, and must remain so.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Detecting multiple slipstream events. The Nietzscheans have returned with a battle fleet.
BEKA: Oh. That army.
HUNT: Okay, big welcome.
ROMMIE: They're only targeting the transport's GFG lens and weapons pod.
HUNT: Well, whoever the prisoner is, the Nietzscheans want him alive.
(The prisoner is a hunky brown guy, now minus dreadlocks. He cuts his forearm open with a fingernail and removes a computer chip which he uses to deactivate his prison forcefield.)
TRANCE: Escape pod from the prison ship.
ROMMIE: Nietzscheans intercepting.
HUNT: They're going in for the kill. Get us closer.

[Prison transport]

COMPUTER: Emergency alert. Prisoner escaping.


ROMMIE: It appears the Nietzscheans split in thirteen directions after they entered slipstream.
BEKA: Whoever Rhade's prisoner was, he's in another galaxy by now.
TRANCE: Another escape pod from the transport.
HUNT: That's Rhade.
BEKA: He won't clear the explosion.
HUNT: Get us in there fast. Let's scoop him up.
BEKA: Compensating for acceleration.
ROMMIE: Rhade is unharmed and in hangar seventeen echo.
BEKA: Can't be a good day when you lose your ship.
HUNT: Worse, when you lose your ship and your prisoner.

[Hunt's quarters]

RHADE: Captain, I don't want to seem ungrateful, but recovering the prisoner was more important than rescuing me.
HUNT: I don't believe in sacrificing a Commonwealth member to chase down a prisoner that I don't give a damn about. However, if you want to tell me about him, I might be able to, you know, help you find him.
RHADE: You only need to know it was my duty to bring him in, and it was my failure.
HUNT: Your prisoner was Tyr Anasazi.
RHADE: I am under orders.
HUNT: Come on. A small surprise attack followed by an entire fleet? The Nietzscheans want their leader back.
RHADE: Not all Nietzscheans believe that Tyr Anasazi is the legitimate heir.
HUNT: Not all humans either. He served under me for three years, Rhade. I know him pretty well, and this whole thing smells like Tyr to me.


TYR: I've studied him for three years. I know what Dylan Hunt will do, how each member of his crew will respond.
PISH: You're the perfect choice, agreed. Once the Magog Worldship arrives, we're going to live, you and I, with power.
TYR: Once the Abyss controls this universe, our only power will be what it gives us.
PISH: We have two choices. Make a deal and survive the cataclysm, or stop it altogether.
TYR: Destroy the Abyss. A worthy challenge for the heir of Drago Museveni. I've united Prides from three galaxies. I have an army even the Abyss should fear.
PISH: Well, we can only hope you live up to your idea of yourself. I learned long ago, get out of the office. The servants pack different things. Everything within these walls survived the fall. This was what was left. Our library was here, hidden caves underneath all these flowers. The Collectors survived, Tyr, because they controlled information, the most secret of secrets.
TYR: Yes, that and murder, blackmail, extortion.
(Pish samples some of the picnic dishes his servants have prepared.)
PISH: And so much more. The other day I ate a Than. Delicious. Did you ever do that? No, I didn't think so. You see, Tyr, Collectors are respected, should be, but some are more realistic than others. So, then, yes. Two choices. To live or live well. Either case, we'll have to deal with the Abyss, and to do that, I need certain information.
TYR: I will deliver you the Route of Ages, as agreed.
PISH: It is key to finding a weakness in the Abyss. Tantalizing. This is absolutely. The record of wars with the Abyss. Cycles of attack, cycles of repulsion, over millennia. Two elements. The dark and the light. The Route of Ages, Tyr. Get it.
TYR: You're nothing without me, and I demand respect. How's your food now?

[Conference room]

HUNT: We are under orders to return Rhade to Terazed, but sometimes you have to disobey orders.
ROMMIE: Hobie River protocol, article seven seven. No soldier is forced to follow an order that's illegal.
HUNT: No trial, no defence, no evidence? That's illegal.
TRANCE: Do the Collectors really have that much power? Could they start a secret war inside the Commonwealth?
BEKA: And Tri-Lorn. What's the bug up his nose?
HARPER: If Tyr's involved, the worst is possible, probable, make that certain, in the make no mistakes sort of certain sort of way.
BEKA: You know, you all condemn Tyr, but you don't know. What about Rhade? What do we know about him? Really nothing. Tyr risked his life for us, lots of times.
ROMMIE: Technically, Beka, you are correct. However, Tyr has also been devious an equal number of times.
HARPER: And probably more, if you count the times he could have been so devious we never even found out about it.
TRANCE: Dylan? You haven't said what it is you think. It's no coincidence that we ran into Rhade. It's no coincidence that Tyr was his prisoner, or that he escaped.
HUNT: More importantly, Tyr knows that we're here discussing this. He's using us for his purposes. Our job is to play along until his intentions are clear.
HARPER: We're going to do exactly what he wants us to do?
HUNT: Tyr needs to think that he's smarter than we are. That's a lie I can live with.

[Machine shop]

HARPER: Okay. Let me get this straight. A Commonwealth Nietzschean arrests The Nietzschean of all Nietzscheans, who escapes. The Commonwealth tells us not to go after The Nietzschean but to arrest the Commonwealth Nietzschean who arrested The Nietzschean in the first place. Makes a lot of sense.
ROMMIE: No, it doesn't.
HARPER: Exactly.
ROMMIE: Well, Tri-Lorn's message to Dylan did say the Collectors have a specific interest in the arrest of Lieutenant Commander Rhade.
HARPER: Some Triumvirate. One of them's obviously thrown in with the Collectors. Those guys may be smart, but let me you, they're all nut jobs. They collect things because they don't get out much.
ROMMIE: Regardless, we have orders to return to Terazed immediately and deliver Rhade.
HARPER: But Rhade's Commonwealth to the boneblades. Why would he go to all the trouble of arresting Tyr just to help him get away?
ROMMIE: The charges do defy basic logic. However, if Tyr's involved, something's got to stink.
HARPER: One of my quotes, huh?
HARPER: You forgot the second part. It means it's gonna stink bad. 


(Rhade shows a film of a fight with Tyr and his guards.)
RHADE: We tracked him to this spot, but I'm not sure what he was after.
BEKA: You were following Commonwealth orders?
RHADE: Of course, but I have made it my personal objective as well. I hold him responsible for the destruction of the new Commonwealth.
HUNT: It isn't destroyed. Weakened, yes, but believe me, there are much larger forces than Tyr Anasazi trying to shake the Commonwealth to pieces.
RHADE: I think all Nietzscheans should take his treachery as a personal insult.
TRANCE: Tyr was looking for something.
HUNT: And now so are we.

[Conference room]

(Hunt is using the new sphere gizmo to record a message to the Triumvirs.)
HUNT: And as soon as the gravity field generator is repaired, we will be on our way to Terazed with Rhade. Hunt out. Verify.
(The holo-message replays fast forward.)
ROMMIE: I'll dispatch a courier to Tri-Lorn immediately, but you are aware, we suffered no damage to our GFG.
HUNT: We did if I say we did. Strategic truth.
ROMMIE: Right. And the strategy is?
HUNT: I need time to find Tyr and understand his scheme. Rhade is the key to that.
ROMMIE: Right. And the truth is?
HUNT: I am beginning not to trust certain aspects of the Commonwealth, and I don't like that one bit.

[Planet surface]

(A desert world.)
ROMMIE: Gendler system. One inhabited planet, Rose Five, sparsely populated.
HUNT: Well?
RHADE: It was here that we captured him.
HARPER: Wait a minute. Was that there a second ago? How the hell could Tyr overlook that? Those bones must be going to his head.
(A small wooden structure, but not blue with a light on top. Instead, it has a sun emblem like Trance's tattoo.)
HUNT: Well, let's see if anybody's home.
(Hunt opens the door. It creaks.)

[Map room]

BEKA: Is it just me, or did it seem a lot smaller from the outside?
HUNT: Rhade, watch our back.
(A woman approaches them. She has very pale eyes with pinpoint pupils, and appears to be looking beyond them at all times.)
AURELIA: Are you lost?
HUNT: Aren't we all?
AURELIA: You are Dylan Hunt, and through me you are found.
(She presses a button on her PADD and the huge space fills with a 3D starmap.)
HARPER: Wow. Except for waking up next to certain satisfied android, now I've seen everything.
BEKA: This is an accurate representation of our position in the galaxy.
HUNT: Universe, even. I've never seen anything like this.
AURELIA: The map of everywhere.
TRANCE: I know why I'm here.
HUNT: It's Tarn Vedra. Is it still there?
AURELIA: The map knows only truth.
HARPER: Boss. Earth. See? One moon.
AURELIA: Life is wherever you look. Older than you can imagine. The universe is alive with life.
HUNT: With death as well. We were hoping to find some answers.
AURELIA: Yes, I know. I am Aurelia. And this, then, Trance Gemini?
TRANCE: We do know each other.
AURELIA: Sister, welcome.
TRANCE: I feel like I haven't been here in so long, have I?
AURELIA: Time is useless. You're here now.
TRANCE: I feel like I'm at home.
HARPER: Were you expecting her?
AURELIA: What would you like to see?
TRANCE: I would like to see that which I fear the most.
AURELIA: As you wish.
TRANCE: There. Over there.
AURELIA: Unmapped. Unwelcome. It is good to fear it.
TRANCE: That is where we have to go.
HARPER: Aw, geez, not again.
HUNT: Trance, tell me what you see.
TRANCE: I see the doorway to the Abyss.
BEKA: Creepy.
TRANCE: I'm ready.
(Aurelia conjures up a long box in mid air.)
HARPER: A hologram.
(Trance approaches the box and it opens to allow her to remove its contents, seven long cylinders fastened together and each containing a different coloured liquid.)
HARPER: Whoa, a tangible hologram.
AURELIA: Like the universe, it is alive.
TRANCE: And like life, it will flourish in sunlight.
RHADE: Captain! It's time to move! Quickly.
BEKA: Sharp Nietzschean observation.
(They run. Aurelia drops her PADD and Hunt stops to pick it up as the Nietzscheans enter.)
HUNT: Harper!
(Harper provides covering fire.)
HUNT; Time for a supernova.
(The 'supernova' fills the room and the Nietzscheans flee.)
HUNT: Let's go!
(They open a massive pair of double doors to -)


HUNT: Hello, Tyr.
TYR: When we parted, you asked if we would be friends or enemies when next we met.
HUNT: Well, I think I've got my answer.
TYR: You have what I need. Give it to me.
HUNT: Here you go.
(And tosses the PADD to him.)
TYR: I think you know what I want.
(Tyr shoots and Aurelia moves in front of Hunt to take the shot.)
TRANCE: Aurelia, no!
(Tyr and his men retreat with Beka, Rhade and Harper in pursuit.)
HUNT: Tyr, you coward!
TRANCE: Please don't die.
AURELIA: I am in no pain. Death is not an end. It is a beginning. It was my time, not yours. Your life is more precious now.
TRANCE: No. All lives are the same.
AURELIA: Do you know what the map holds?
HUNT: The Route of Ages, but I don't know how to use it.
AURELIA: Trance knows. She knows. To prosper, they must understand one another. Trance is your only guide.
(Aurelia passes on to the next plane.)

[Industrial unit]

(Rhade confronts Tyr.)
TYR: I have no time for you. I have used you. Now I am done with you.
RHADE: Tyr Anasazi, I call upon you to meet me on the plains of Sabatini.
(They power down their weapons and fight hand to hand. Remember, Tyr has no boneblades, unlike Rhade.)
RHADE: You're an embarrassment to all Nietzschean Prides.
TYR: I am the reincarnation of Drago Museveni.
RHADE: The Progenitor would not shoot a blind prophet. You are what's wrong with the Nietzschean race. Selfish, self-absorbed, unaware of your own limitations. Your career will end here. I will end it.
(They fight, then Tyr draws his gun again.)
RHADE: Go ahead. Make Drago proud.
(Tyr leaves.)


(Trance lays Aurelia out on the Observation deck. Later -)
HUNT: Andromeda.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Launching.
(Aurelia is fired into a nearby star.)
TRANCE: That's where she belongs.
HUNT: It's up to us to make her death mean something.


(A sultry dancer entertains whilst Collect Pish plays a large flute.)
PISH: Psycho-hypnotic induction. Wonderful thing. I warned you about Dylan Hunt, and now he has my map. He has the Route of Ages.
TYR: That works to our advantage, Pish. Tell me, if you had your map, could you read it? Dylan and his crew, in their limited way, are good at what they do. I have confidence they will solve the puzzle for us.
PISH: And you'll be there when he does.
TYR: I know how he thinks. That is my advantage. Rhade served the purpose of hooking Dylan into our scheme. Soon Dylan will serve his purpose, then I'll dispose of them both.
PISH: If they don't kill you first. Have you seen this?
(Pish opens a book to an illustration of what looks like Trance, under a sun, with seven races worshipping her.)
TYR: Every time you have forced me to, yes.
PISH: But you don't retain it. What good is information if it's not held on to? The Route of Ages. Where in space is it and what is at its end? One piece eluded me, one component to balance the coming darkness, until I found her. The counter-balance. The weight of light. The Abyss was defeated once before. We can hope to do the same, but we are out of time. Darkness spreads. The Magog approach.
TYR: The map is on the Andromeda. They will decipher it. I will follow them. That is the plan.

[Observation deck]

TRANCE: Whatever's inside is alive, and there are seven different species in all.
ROMMIE: Non-invasive scanning confirms that, although without a DNA sample, I can't be more specific. And they all seem to be photo-reactive.
HUNT: Aurelia said life forms need to understand each other. That's why we're going to let them interact.
(Trance pours out the contents of the seven tubes. The liquids become mini-stars streams which intertwine then form a pattern of circles within circles.)
BEKA: What's it doing?
TRANCE: It's becoming itself.
BEKA: Okay, here's a question. How do we know that when it becomes itself, itself is going to like us?
HUNT: It's called having trust.
BEKA: What is it?
(The circles continue to change, and have symbols on them.)
HUNT: It's a way in.
RHADE: Into where?
HUNT: It feels to me like this is your territory.
TRANCE: It holds promise as a way into the Abyss. A way to defeat the darkness.
RHADE: It's hypnotising.
HUNT: Rommie, sunlight. Give me an AG field. Tilt it one eighty.
(It is now a disc of rotating rings.)
BEKA: It's beautiful.
TRANCE: It's gestating, growing. There, right at the interface? There's so much going on in between. It's like a sea coast. It has similar features from whichever point you're observing it, whether you're from orbit, from a flyer, from the beach, or under a magnifying glass.
RHADE: All things change, but at base are the same.
ROMMIE; Well, we all are cosmic dust, electromagnetic forces with varying densities of matter and energy.
TRANCE: When it's ready, it will show us the way we have to go.
HUNT: I don't think we're going to have to wait very long.

[Maru engine room]

(Beka has received an interactive message module.)
BEKA: Transferred from a passing freighter, huh?
ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: I hope it's not another traffic violation.
BEKA: Hey, I've been flying straight and narrow since those last tickets. Give me some privacy, will you?
ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: Of course.
(Beka activates the message.)
HOLO-TYR: Greetings, powerful woman.
BEKA: What do you want, Tyr?
HOLO-TYR: I have information, Beka. You'll end up on a slave ship, or Magog food, if you stay on board the Andromeda. My coordinates, where I am waiting for you. I'll tell you my story, and I'll hold nothing from you. Nothing at all, Beka. On the bones of Drago Museveni, I give you my word.
(Message ends.)
BEKA: This should be interesting.

[Hunt's quarters]

(The evolving circles are on the wall screen.)
HUNT: Hi, Beka.
BEKA: Still nothing?
HUNT: Sunlight and time. That's what Trance says, anyway.
BEKA: Listen, Dylan, I thought you'd want to see this. It's from Tyr.
HUNT: Tell me what I should know.
BEKA: Not much. He says, trust me.
HUNT: You still care for him.
BEKA: As much as you can care for a self-centred, self-important Nietzschean.
HUNT: Beka, thanks for being up-front.
BEKA: Hey, it was going to take you ten seconds after I left to look at it anyway, right?
HUNT: Oh, less than that.
(Beka leaves the module with Hunt.)
HUNT: Andromeda, play back message.
ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: Accessing. Much of the contents have self-destructed.
HUNT: Oh, that's a shocker. Tyr, nice haircut.
HOLO-TYR: I am at your service, Captain.
HUNT: Let's cut the crap. I know you want to follow us, and you want the Route of Ages, so why don't you just tell me what you know first?
HOLO-TYR: Only that you will fail. That I will prosper.
HUNT: Obviously, this was pre-recorded.
HOLO-TYR: There's a first time for everything, Dylan.
(Message ends.)
HUNT: And there's always a last time, too, Tyr.

[Eureka Maru]

BEKA: Andromeda, hangar doors, please.
ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: Of course. When can we expect you back?
BEKA: Oh, you know bill collectors. Two, three days, max.
ANDROMEDA [on monitor]: I was under the impression you had cleared all your debts.
BEKA: There's one more. Just the one.


HARPER: We're right on their tail, boss.
ROMMIE: This was Beka's last jump. The Arun Roy system.
HARPER: The mysterious rock Tyr crawled back under. Not so mysterious anymore.
HUNT: Rommie, keep us away from his long range sensors. I don't want him to know we're here. Or Beka.
HARPER: Don't worry, boss. She'll be back sooner or later. I'm sure of it. I think.
RHADE: Insubordination. It can't be tolerated.
HUNT: We do things a little bit differently here.
RHADE: I understand. Or at least, I'd like to understand. It's what fascinates me about humans.
HUNT: You'll get the hang of it. We are predictably unpredictable.

[Tyr's compound]

(A nice wooden bridge with a geodesic dome in the background.)
TYR: I'm glad I left Andromeda. My life is fulfilled now. Better in every way.
BEKA: Dylan knows I'm here with you.
TYR: It's all part of the plan.
BEKA: Yeah, are you going to tell me about that?
TYR: We're unifying the Nietzschean Prides.
BEKA: Well, I'm sure you're the only one who could do it.
TYR: And still it's not enough.
BEKA: King of the Nietzscheans, and you still want more?
TYR: Not more, Beka. Everything. You want to be a part of that, don't you?
BEKA: I don't know. Do I?
TYR: Does it bother you that Dylan knows you're here?
BEKA: Dylan trusts me, Tyr. Go figure. It's a quality you and I haven't quite figured out yet, have we?


TRANCE: Look at what's happening on the Obs deck. We're close.
(The circles dissolve into -)
HARPER: A star map.
TRANCE: The Route of Ages.
RHADE: The sector you were interested in. Unmapped space, mapped.
TRANCE: Now is the time to be bold. Look there, in the centre? Darkness.
HUNT: Andromeda, magnify. Will you look at that?
HARPER: That is kind of creepy.
(An angular shape is rotating, half seen.)
RHADE: I don't like the look of it.
HUNT: Trance.
TRANCE: It's a way to save everything that we hold dear, so that life can continue to unfold and evolve and reincarnate. That is where we have to go.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: Dylan, several Commonwealth ships have exited slipstream. Their signatures are High Guard, and one is carrying a Triumvir.
HUNT: Rhade.
(Rhade leaves.)
HUNT: Open channel. Tri-Lorn, welcome to our little corner of the galaxy.
TRI-LORN [on viewscreen]: Captain Hunt. How are your repairs progressing?
HUNT: Done, mostly. We were just about to get underway.
TRI-LORN [on viewscreen]: So it seems. However, I've decided to save you the trip. I'm here to collect Telemachus Rhade.
HUNT: To collect him. That's an interesting choice of words.
TRI-LORN [on viewscreen]: No, not at all. We have a warrant for his arrest. I'm here to enforce it.

[Anonymous room]

RHADE: Tri-Lorn gave his word?
HUNT: What we discovered will clear your name and reinstate you. Your command is secure.
RHADE: Good. It's strange. I don't want to leave.
HUNT: Oh. Well, I wouldn't want to leave either. Andromeda's auto-chef does make the best coffee in three galaxies.
RHADE: That's not what I meant. I know what my ancestor, Gaheris Rhade, did to you. You tried to shield me from that truth, but it is my greatest regret that his actions have drawn suspicion on my own.
HUNT: What's past is past. You are your own man, Telemachus.
RHADE: Yes, I am. I am the new Nietzschean. Telemachus Rhade, out of Majorum by Rhade. It is my hope to earn your trust.
HUNT: Our last Nietzschean never quite cut it.
RHADE: Your last Nietzschean was a fool.
HUNT: He did have a habit of leaning on his laurels.
RHADE: A true Nietzschean evolves. Tyr Anasazi is static. A legend in his own mind. He had the opportunity of a lifetime, and he squandered it.
HUNT: Opportunity of a lifetime?
RHADE: Serving with Captain Dylan Hunt.
HUNT: Nobody likes a suck-up, Rhade.
RHADE: I am a Nietzschean and a realist. Only one man has defeated our supposedly superior race. Only one can teach me to be a better Nietzschean. That is you, Captain Hunt. You simply happen to be human.
HUNT: I'll take that as a compliment, and a major league suck-up. Either way, I look forward to our next encounter.


ROMMIE: Dylan, the courier sent to track Rhade's transport just exited slipstream.
HUNT: Screen.
PILOT [on viewscreen]: Captain, Rhade was transferred to another ship. A real beauty, no markings.
HUNT: Ha. Collectors are allowed to travel with no markings.
PILOT [on viewscreen]: Well, I had to evade their attempts to shoot me down. I'm sending details.
ROMMIE: The ship was heading for the Laguna Proxima system. Second planet appears to be its destination.
ANDROMEDA [on viewscreen]: We are five jumps and sixteen hours away.
HUNT: That's too long. I wonder if our new star map has a shortcut we could use.
ROMMIE: It does. There are several slipstream routes not in standard charts, all of which are faster.
HUNT: Good. Show me the shortest.
(He takes the slipstream controls and sighs.)
HUNT: I am running out of pilots.
(Later, they come out of slipstream at their destination.)
ROMMIE: Battle blades extending.
TRANCE: Laguna Proxima system. We are about forty klicks out from the second planet.
HARPER: (whistles) Forty klicks, huh? Good job, boss.
HUNT: Oh, thanks, but Beka would've dropped us in closer.
HARPER: Oh, way closer. Beka would've had us at least within ten. (gets a Look) Er, like I said, good job, boss.
HUNT: Thank you.
ROMMIE: We're being hailed. The signal shows Collector, thirty second degree.
HUNT: Thirty second degree. On screen.
PISH [on viewscreen]: Captain Hunt, you do not have clearance for this orbital path. And with battle blades extended? I must ask you to leave.
HUNT: You've got one of my crew members, and I want him back.
PISH [on viewscreen]: Do you think you can order me about? Do you know who I am?
HUNT: Yeah, you're one of those, er, Collector guys. I understand it's a really great job.
PISH [on viewscreen]: Not just any Collector. I am Pish Tryan. My knowledge spans civilisations. My power stretches across three galaxies and beyond. Only I can make that claim.
HUNT: Well, making a claim and backing it up are two different things. Look, Collector Tryan, I will leave, but I'm taking Telemachus Rhade with me.
PISH [on viewscreen]: Who is that?
HUNT: Your prisoner, which I find unacceptable.
PISH [on viewscreen]: If I knew who that was, and if I had him, I'd be willing to make an exchange.
HUNT: Yeah, I'm sure. Gee, don't tell me, let me guess. You're a collector of ancient maps.
PISH [on viewscreen]: Yes, Captain. The Route of Ages. That is an exchange I would make.
HUNT: Yeah, I wouldn't, so this is what's going to happen. You will surrender Rhade to me, or I'll come get him.
PISH [on viewscreen]: This is a Commonwealth vessel. You are treading dangerous ground.
HUNT: That's how I get my exercise. I'm going to count to ten, and I want your answer by seven. Hunt out. Rommie, please tell me you had the time to get a schematic of his ship.
ROMMIE: I did. I have the codes to his air locks and the location of Rhade's cell, which means we can drop in on him any time, unannounced.
HUNT: Excellent, Rommie. Let's bring it.

[Pish's spaceship]

(They fly over there in a slipfighter. Hunt punches out a guard.)
ROMMIE: You are having entirely too much fun, Captain.
HUNT: Breaking onto a Commonwealth ship without detection? Disabling without killing? I feel like I'm back at the Academy.
ROMMIE: Well, you're not.
HUNT: We have to get out more.
ROMMIE: There could be repercussions to this.
HUNT: I don't care about that.
ROMMIE: Rhade's cell.
HUNT: Right.
(They hide from a patrol of two guards, who are suspicious and power up their forcelances. Rommie and Hunt take them out before they can fire.)
HUNT: Hey!
ROMMIE: What took you so long?
HUNT: Hey, hey.
(Rommie opens Rhade's cell door. Rhade is prepared to attack.)
HUNT: How're you doing?
RHADE: Captain Hunt. Another welcome surprise.
HUNT: I don't leave my crew behind.
RHADE: I'm honoured, sir.
HUNT: Let's get out of here.
PISH: Hold it. You're all under arrest.
HUNT: I could say the same thing, but we'll just leave and call it even.
PISH: You have something, Captain Hunt, far too valuable for a mere starship captain.
HUNT: Well, I'm more than just a mere starship captain, Collector Tryan. I'm the man who's going to use that map.
PISH: You'll die, and lose the map in the process. I cannot allow that.
HUNT: It's very thoughtful that you care. We'll just show ourselves out.
PISH; I don't think so.
HUNT: Five, six, seven!
(Hunt shoots Pish in the shoulder.)
HUNT: Ah, ah, ah, ah. Don't be stupid, soldiers. We're all Commonwealth here. He is not.
(Pish's escort power down their forcelances.)
HUNT: Wise move. Oh, and Collector Tryan? Next time, you'll be collecting dust.

[Tyr's compound]

BEKA: All right, I'm going to tell you something. What Dylan got from that woman you shot? It's a message. They think this message is going to help them, save them. So now I have to choose, because there's no other choice. Tyr, I want to be part of what you have. I'm through with the everyday struggle. I mean, look at the army you have. If there's going to be a war, the one to end everything, I'd rather be here than there. It's easier to leave now than later.
TYR: Minding the main chance?
BEKA: I'm minding my only chance.


ROMMIE: Our courier has returned with Tyr's coordinates, after following the Maru's pion trail jump for jump.
HUNT: All right, let's set the course and get out of here.
TRANCE: I can't wait for Beka to be back on board.
HARPER: I'll bet she can't wait, either. Just five minutes with Anasazi can be a yawn fest. She's probably been bored to Tyrs. Tears, Tyr? Anyone?
RHADE: I get it. It's funny.
HARPER: See? Nice to have you on board.
HUNT: Let's find Beka, then we'll follow the Route of Ages to wherever it takes us.

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