|204||Pitiless as the Sun|
|TV Listings Teaser||Trance is held captive, while Dylan and the rest of the crew try to uncover the source behind mysterious attacks on cargo ships. Guest starring William B. Davis.|
Anne Marie Loder (Major Whendar)
Antonio Cupo (Lieutenant Gadell)
William B. Davis (Professor Logich)
We are not the masks we wear. But if we don them, do we not become them?
Keops Tsumai, "Fortunes", CY 9683
|Trivia||The original script for this episode had Rev Bem, not Trance, being "interviewed". However, Brent Stait has been having serious allergy problems with the Rev Bem prosthetics, and several episodes were re-written to minimize his role.|
Dylan is examining records of attacks on Inari freighters by unknown assailants. The Inari claim to have no enemies, and the freighters are carrying only ammonium phosphate – fertilizer – so they do not know who is attacking them, or why. Dylan wonders whether it is a good use of their time to investigate, since the Inari do not have much to offer in the fight against the Magog Worldship, but Beka sympathizes with the freighter pilots, so he agrees to go.
Major Whendar, the Inari representative sent to the Andromeda, approaches Trance in hydroponics. Whendar says that the Inari have become increasingly xenophobic, and perhaps Trance could help to change that by visiting Inaris. Trance wants to do this, and convinces Dylan to agree to it.
On Inaris, Trance is put in the care of Professor Logich. He provides her with a room, then unexpectedly locks her in.
Dylan leads Whendar and her assistant, Lieutenant Gadell to the Command Deck. He says that Harper and Rommie are still working on repairing it, but when he gets there, he discovers that they have completed their work, including implementing some design changes. Dylan is impressed, and asks Harper to give Whendar and Gadell a tour of Command. Tyr is not impressed by what he perceives as lax security, but Dylan points out that by observing what the Inari take interest in, they can better learn what their real motives are.
Logich returns to Trance's room, and finds her lying on the bed. He says that he wants to ask her some questions, but Trance wonders how she can help them get used to strangers if she is locked up. Logich claims the security precautions are for her protection, because the Inari do not like outsiders.
While Dylan is giving Whendar a tour of the rest of the ship, they pass a machine shop that has been sealed off. Dylan tells Whendar that it is damaged, including radiation leaks, and has not been repaired yet – but Harper is inside building something.
Logich asks Trance about her childhood. The claims that her parents were not nice – the people on her world used violence as a punishment. Before Logich can delve too deeply into this, Trance asks for food, saying that she feels weak.
Andromeda has arranged to meet some Inari frigates in order to search for the enemies, but at the rendezvous point, she only finds debris – the frigates have already been destroyed. The weapons used to attack them were very powerful, and damaged the structural integrity of the ships – Harper is able to break what was once 3-inch-thick armour plating with his bare hands. Dylan and Tyr theorize that this could be done with a large plasma cannon, but it would have a short range. They, and the Inari, do not know of anyone with the technology to do this.
To Logich's surprise, Trance eats a great deal of food. She offers some to Logich, but he declines. He continues with his questioning. He asks her what world she was born on, but she says that she was born in space. He asks her about the world she was raised on, but she says there were many such worlds. Logich is confused, as this seems somewhat inconsistent with her earlier answers. Suddenly, Trance declares that she "feels funny", and passes out. Logich has drugged the food.
Beka has loaded the Maru cargo bay with ammonium phosphate, and is heading out on one of the Inari trade routes as "bait".
When Trance revives, she finds that Logich has strapped her into some sort of device – a chair with wires, tubes, etc. attached. Logich has tried scanning her, but he has not detected any life signs. Trance claims that this is because his machine is broken. Logich begins to ask her about her origins and plans, becoming more serious and intense. Trance's expression changes from playful to serious.
Beka calls to the Andromeda, saying that a large ship is approaching her, with no attempt at stealth. Dylan orders them move in to identify the ship. Whendar feels that they should go in shooting, but Dylan insists that information is the first objective.
Meanwhile, Gadell sneaks into the sealed machine shop.
Logich grows more aggressive, even threatening in his questioning. Trance tells him that she and her race are "fake people" – an advanced, "designed" life form. She says that the crew of the Andromeda thinks that her secrets are important or dangerous, but they are really a source of shame – her people were designed as sex slaves. Logich is fascinated by this, but Trance laughs derisively – she was clearly lying to him.
Beka has returned safely to the Andromeda, but now the Andromeda is under attack. They are having a hard time getting a targetting lock on the enemy ship, so they switch to active sensors, which will also give away their position. As soon as she does so, Andromeda recognizes the ship as a Pyrian torch ship. Dylan orders her to break off combat, and initiate a "contact protocol". The Pyrians open communications, declaring that the contact protocol is no longer valid, since the Commonwealth has fallen, and that if Dylan insists on protecting the Inari, they will kill him. Dylan wonders how the Inari managed to get on the wrong side of the Pyrians.
Dylan explains the Pyrians to his crew and the Inari: The Pyrians live on Venus-like worlds, and had little contact with the Commonwealth, except for occasional disputes over territory. The Pyrians "pyroform" worlds like the Commonwealth would terraform them.
Whendar speculates that Inaris' volcanic nature might have attracted the Pyrians attention, but Dylan insists that she must be hiding something from him. Gadell counters by mentioning the machine shop. At this, Dylan asks Beka and Tyr to leave the room, and they comply.
Gadell tells Dylan that he has discovered that Dylan is having nova bombs built in the machine shop – and is shocked to find that he has not even told his own crew. Dylan says that they are for use against the Magog Worldship.
Harper calls to Dylan, telling him that the Pyrians have just come out of slipstream. Dylan suggests that they all work together for now, to ensure their mutual survival.
From what he has heard, Tyr has deduced what is happening in the machine shop.
Dylan informs the crew that, at her best, in the time of the Commonwealth, Andromeda was barely an even match for a Pyrian torch ship. This is going to be a tough fight.
After a break, Logich returns to the room where Trance is held. As he enters, Trance breaks her bonds with ease. Logich asks Trance about her "predecessor". Trance is surprised by this, but Logich believes the surprise is not genuine. She persists in asking for an explanation, so he gives one: Fifteen years ago, a childlike purple being with a tail, much like her, but male, came to the planet. However, his destructive nature came through, and he caused a civil war that killed half the population of the planet and destroyed their economy. He assumes that Trance has similar intentions.
Rommie takes Gadell aside. She tells him she detects signs of guilt from him, and insists that he tell Dylan the truth, because maybe it will allow Dylan to help.
Trance, back sitting in the chair, agrees to cooperate with Logich. He subjects her to a large electric shock, and is surprised to find it has no discernable effect on her. Trance guesses that he is trying to kill her, and Logich claims that it is just for the defense of their world. Trance tells him it will not do them any good – her people are too powerful for them to fight. She thinks that the purple boy was probably just bored, and started the war for his own entertainment. Logich is appalled by this, and begins to inject her with some sort of chemical.
The Pyrians hit Andromeda with several AG mass packets, hampering her maneuverability. Finally, Gadell offers Dylan the truth: The "fertilizer", ammonium phosphate, is a powerful, addictive, and fatal drug to the Pyrians. The Inari knew who was attacking their freighters, but did not think that Dylan would recognize them.
While waiting, Logich relates his story to Trance. Logich was a doctor, and his son was killed in the war. This personal loss motivated him to ensure that his world never suffers like this again. Trance appears to be weakening, and asks Logich how he will explain her death to Dylan. Logich says he will say that she got loose, and was killed by a mob. Trance concedes that this is a good plan. Eventually, Logich loosens the straps binding her wrists, to provide her with some small comfort. Trance, no longer appearing weak, grabs his wrist, and says that she will teach him about her people. She forces him to look into her eyes, where he sees stars and galaxies.
Dylan, Beka, Whendar, and Gadell leave the Andromeda on the Maru. Beka dumps the ammonium phosphate into space, and destroys it with the point-defense lasers. The Pyrians say that that is not good enough. Dylan reassures them that he did not know what they were party to, and now that he does, he is going to do the right thing. He arrests Whendar, and offers to turn her over to the Pyrians. They agree. Dylan does not arrest Gadell, because has deduced that Gadell is a Pyrian informant. Whendar mentions the purple boy, and blames this all on him, as the civil war left them with nothing to drive their economy except the ammonium phosphate. Hearing this, Beka realizes that Trance is in danger on Inaris, and they hurry back.
Trance tells Logich that she is not responsible for the troubles on Inaris. Logich asks her if her shipmates know what she really is. She says they know what they need to know: That she is their friend. She declares that the universe is a mess, and the chaos keeps life interesting, so she does not need the same entertainment that the purple boy was looking for. Logich indicates that their folklore says that chaos is evil, and asks if Trance is some kind of devil. Trance's response is, "You'd better hope not."
Dylan meets with Trance in hydroponics, but she does not tell him very much about what happened on Inaris. Dylan acknowledges that, even though he does not really know who or what Trance is, he knows that he can trust her, and, for now, that is enough.
Tyr: Am I mistaken, sir, or did you just grant complete strangers unlimited access to this ship?
Dylan: Why, yes, I did. That way, we can monitor them closely and see what they do with it. There's something not quite trustworthy about them, don't you think?
Tyr: Your occasional bouts of deviousness never fail to surprise me, Captain.
Harper: Oh, great! So now we can invite some new scary super villains to the "people who suck" party!
Andromeda: Funny, Tyr, I didn't know this was your battle station.
Tyr: Whoever told you sarcasm was a desirable feature in a ship was sadly misinformed.