|219||Belly of the Beast|
Matt Kiene & Joe Reinkemeyer
J. Miles Dale
|TV Listings Teaser||The crew of Andromeda encounters a creature once thought to be mythological.|
Beneath knowing, understanding
Beneath understanding, seeing
Beneath seeing, recognizing
Beneath recognizing, knowing
-- Keeper of the Way, Vision of Faith, CY 10003
Andromeda is answering a mayday message from a low-tech planet that believes that a giant space creature, the Cetus, is going to attack their planet. Dylan and Trance are in the Maru approaching the planet, while the rest of the crew is in the Andromeda, patrolling the outer system.
On the Andromeda, Harper puts some swing music on the speakers. This meets with protests from Beka, Rommie and Tyr. Harper claims that Dylan never lets him play it while he is on the ship. The crew is wondering why Dylan is wasting his time with a mythical beast when Andromeda detects a large unidentified object.
Trance finds damage on the surface of the planet – scars, which could possibly have been caused by the Cetus. She analyzes them, and determines they are not the result of tectonic action, and they appear to have been created 6,270 years apart. The last one was approximately 6,270 years ago.
Andromeda encounters the Cetus, which is huge – several times the size of the ship. Beka sends a message to Dylan, but he is 44 light minutes away. She attempts to contact the creature, but it does not respond, and heads towards the planet. She fires a warning shot, but the Cetus still does not react. Tyr suggests a full missile barrage, but it just "eats" the missiles. Andromeda says that she cannot detect any obvious weak points on the creature.
Dylan accepts that the Cetus is real, and tries to make himself believe that the Andromeda will be able to handle the situation. He receives the message that Beka sent, and sends a reply, advising her to exercise extreme caution. After sending the message, and realizing it will take 44 minutes to reach Beka, he decides to turn the Maru around and head back to the Andromeda.
Andromeda is trying to analyze the Cetus, when it eats her drones. Realizing their danger, they try to move away, but the Cetus traps them. Andromeda, and Rommie, are quickly affected by this, as the Cetus is disrupting Andromeda's systems. Rommie falls to the ground, disabled.
Dylan receives the message from Beka, but it is already 38 minutes old. He tells Trance what he expects Beka will do, based on what he would do – and he is correct in his assumptions. Not yet knowing the results, he hopes it worked.
Harper gets Rommie back online. They try to force their way out of the Cetus by accelerating, but it just makes the creature hold on tighter. Tyr fires more missiles, but they have no effect other than to damage the Andromeda further.
Trance asks Dylan why, if his goal is to save the planet, he is returning to the Andromeda. Dylan says that the Andromeda is the planet's best hope. Trance speculates that if the Cetus eats the Andromeda, it might be satisfied, and not attack the planet. Dylan says that that may save the planet, but it would cost them the universe.
Andromeda's core AI has been damaged, and is dumping data to Rommie, so she cannot disconnect, but is helpless on the floor of the Command Deck. Although Harper is reluctant to leave her like this, Beka sends him to the slipstream core to get manual control of the ship. On the way, he finds evidence of the Cetus' digestive fluids damaging the ship.
Beka and Tyr discover that the outer decks are on fire, and Andromeda is unable to extinguish it in her current state. To fight this, they vent the atmosphere, except on Harper's expected route to the slipstream core.
Harper finds a hull breach on his route to the core, and tries to take an alternate route, but finds the atmosphere vented.
The Maru comes within real-time communications range of the Andromeda's position, and receives a message – but it is the message Dylan sent to the Andromeda, which has reflected off of the Cetus. They detect the Andromeda, trapped inside the Cetus, but cannot contact them. Dylan resolves to rescue them. Although the Maru has limited armament, they do have AP fuel tanks.
Venting the Andromeda's atmosphere has put out the fire, but Beka and Tyr have no way of knowing where Harper is. They determine he is not in the slipstream core, and worry. Harper finds his way into one of the conduits, and Rommie detects him, to Beka and Tyr's relief.
Dylan is confident that the crew will find a way to survive.
Harper estimates that they have about an hour until the Andromeda is digested by the Cetus. Beka says that she trusts Dylan to find a way to save them, but then the Cetus stops – it is concentrating on digesting them. Beka, considering the possibilities, realizes that if the Cetus eats the Andromeda, it may ignore the planet. She realizes that Dylan can save the planet by not saving Andromeda. Tyr says that he trusts Dylan to try to do both.
In order to drop the AP fuel tanks on the Cetus, Dylan has to fly very close to it. He recognizes that it is a big risk, but he is willing to take it. He does so, and there is a huge explosion, which is felt on the Andromeda.
Beka, noting that the explosion was powerful enough to be the entire fuel capacity of the Maru, fears that Dylan and Trance are dead. Tyr insists that he believes that Dylan will find a way to survive, and they should concentrate on fixing the ship.
Dylan and Trance are, in fact, still alive, although it was a close call, and the Andromeda is still trapped. The AP bombs did do some damage to the Cetus, however, and scans are now revealing what seems to be a weak spot on the creature.
Rommie believes that Dylan is dead, but Harper reassures her that he is sure that he is OK.
Trance and Dylan theorize that anti-matter from the slipstream drive might be used to kill the Cetus. Harper reaches the same conclusion at the same time, and considers how he might put the theory into practice, but he is not sure if it will be enough to kill the Cetus. He thinks that the best way to be sure to kill it is to eject the slipstream core, but that is a dangerous maneuver. Dylan, however, plans to fly the Maru straight into the Cetus and eject its slipstream core on impact.
Tyr is primarily concerned with the survival of himself and the crew, while Beka is concerned with the mission, even more so than her personal safety. She says that she promised Dylan that she would continue his mission. Tyr reminds her that she cannot do so if she is dead.
Dylan orders Trance to put on an EVA suit and get off the Maru before he rams the Cetus, so that she has a chance of being saved by the Andromeda. Trance deliberately damages the suit, to force Dylan to allow her to stay, and Dylan concedes.
Rommie insists that the most important thing for them to do is concentrate on killing the Cetus, as Dylan ordered, even at the risk of their own safety. Harper insists that she is upset about Dylan, and not thinking straight. He gets manual control of the ship, and works on re-routing the anti-matter through the thrusters. Beka wants to eject the slipstream core, and ensure the mission is completed, but Tyr will not let her, placing more value on their survival. Beka insists that if Tyr believes that Dylan is still alive, he should trust that he will be there to save them when they eject the slipstream core.
Dylan is preparing for his suicide run on the Cetus. He is sure that, if he dies, the others will continue his mission, and that is what is most important to him. Trance tells him that, in her future, because of various bad things that happened, only she and Beka survived. Dylan concludes that this means that they are making a new future, because Trance is not going to survive, but hopefully the new future will be better for the others.
Rommie convinces Harper to eject the slipstream core, killing the Cetus and allowing the Andromeda to break free just in time for Dylan to abort his suicide run.
Dylan and Trance return to the ship to find the Command Deck in rough shape. Dylan acknowledges that, in his absence, the crew did exactly what he would have done. Although it was risky, they do keep winning, so it must be a good thing. He also now knows he can count on them to continue his mission without him, if necessary.
Harper's swing music starts up on the speakers again. Relieved to be alive, Dylan and Trance start to dance, as do Beka and Tyr.
Dylan: How do we get people to stop believing in a myth they've believed in for centuries?
Trance: By getting them to believe in that other myth.
Dylan: What's that?
Trance: The one about the High Guard captain flying around the universe, making allies, restoring the Commonwealth.
Dylan: Oh, I don't think they'll ever believe in that one.
Tyr: So, are we finished playing "What Would Dylan Do"?
Dylan: It's my eat your cake and have it, too plan … anyone can have their cake and then eat it. The real trick is eating your cake and still having it.
Tyr: I have faith in nothing but this: When the universe collapses and dies, there will be three survivors: Tyr Anasazi, the cockroaches, and Dylan Hunt, trying to save the cockroaches.
Harper: Right now, your sensors say a lot of things, but they're blinded and confused – like a lot of my dates.
Tyr: We know – Your willingness to defy the universal odds is a disease that, apparently, we have all contracted.