|413||The Warmth of an Invisible Light|
|TV Listings Teaser||Dylan is transported to an alternate reality, where Harper's evil counterpart is in charge of the Commonwealth forces; Dylan and Rommie encounter a deactivated Guide Droid.|
Michelle Harrison (Tour Guide)
Michael Anthony Rawlings (Zebra)
"The brightest light is invisible.
It shines through your deeds,
And warms the universe."
- Chronicles of Courage and Conviction, by Captain Dylan Hunt Ret., CY 9817
Andromeda is being pursued by bounty hunters, due to their actions against the Commonwealth. They are running low on fuel, and running out of tricks to shake off their pursuers. Harper is working on something, which he says will allow them to "disappear", but it is not ready yet. Trance quietly suggests to Dylan that she could sacrifice herself to allow the rest of them to escape, by going supernova, but Dylan declines. He orders Beka to take them out of slipstream, allowing the bounty hunters to pass them, and buying them some time. They arrive in a dead area of space with no fuel. Dylan heads for Harper's machine shop, to see what he can do.
Harper tells Dylan he is working on a device called an "M-Bender", which will, in theory, make Andromeda invisible, but it is not ready yet. He does not have the appropriate safety measures built in, and he is worried about it ripping a hole in the fabric of space-time. Dylan insists that they are out of options, and activates the device.
Suddenly, the room goes dark, and Dylan finds himself alone in the room. Andromeda fails to respond to his queries, and the corridors of the ship are filled with cobwebs. He makes his way to the Obs Deck, where the view that greets him is a forested planetscape, and a mountain with his own face carved into it.
Dylan finds an access panel, and jacks into the ship's VR matrix, where he finds Andromeda. She demands identification from him, not believing he is really Dylan Hunt. She claims that the "real" Dylan died a war hero, after defeating the Nietzschean uprising and ushering in an age of peace. Dylan finally convinces her of his identity by relating how he linked her AI with that of her sister ship, the Pax Magellanic, to allow her to have someone to spend off-duty time with.
Andromeda tells Dylan that the year is CY 10091, and Dylan realizes that he must be in some sort of alternate reality.
After leaving the VR matrix, Dylan finds and activates Andromeda's avatar, and takes her to explore the area. Amidst the ruins, he finds many monuments dedicated to himself, and Rommie explains that the planet is memorial to him. After they are attacked by a squad in High Guard uniforms, she allows that she was deactivated over 100 years ago, and is not sure what has happened to the planet in the meantime.
Rommie and Dylan locate a tour guide android, and activate her. She seems concerned about dealing with Dylan, referring to him as "contraband". When they ask her about this, she explains that civilization has declined, the High Guard assassinated the triumvirs, and the system has fallen into civil war. The rebels have commonly used a tactic whereby they would build androids crafted to look like Dylan, and send them into key targets, where they would explode, and she believes that Dylan is one of these androids.
Dylan assumes that the Abyss is behind the fall of the Commonwealth, but Rommie and the Tour Guide have no knowledge of the Abyss.
The Tour Guide tells Dylan that the Commonwealth forces on the planet are lead by a Commander Zelazny Harper, and the rebels are lead by General Rebecca Valentine. Commander Harper's troops have been trained by his Chief of Police, Telemachus Rhade.
Fleeing from another attack, Dylan resolves to find General Valentine, since he feels that she believes in the same Commonwealth that he does.
Rhade reports back to Commander Harper (who has a number of cybernetic enhancements) about Dylan and Rommie, and the fact that they are going to General Valentine. Harper orders him to capture them. He has found the M-Bender, and wonders where it came from.
Dylan meets with General Valentine (a redhead), who still believes he is an android. Dylan explains that he is from an alternate reality, but she is not convinced, thinking he is some sort of Commonwealth ploy.
Commander Harper contacts General Valentine, and demands that she turn Dylan and Rommie over to him, and threatens to test his "new toy" (the M-Bender) on her. Marshal Zebra (Valentine's second-in-command) thinks Harper is bluffing, noting that when they were together at the Academy, he was good at that. While they are discussing this, the rebel base is attacked.
Dylan tells Valentine that if she helps him, he will give her the Andromeda to use in her fight. Beka indicates that she is even more interested in Harper's prize ship, the Eureka Maru.
The group is cornered by Rhade and Harper. Harper shoots Zebra with the M-Bender, and he disappears. Dylan sends Rommie and Valentine to the ship, while he threatens to blow himself up. Rhade and Harper dive for cover, and Dylan escapes.
While avoiding the patrols, Dylan meets Trance, who says she has been looking for him. She tells him that she has divided herself across all of the possible realities where Dylan might be in order to locate him. She tells Dylan that, in this reality, the Abyss has secretly corrupted the Commonwealth, including Harper. She says that Dylan has the ability to fight and defeat the Abyss across all realities.
Harper begins to believe that Dylan is not an android, and resolves to kill him.
Rommie takes Valentine to Andromeda's Command Deck. Valentine asks her if she really believes Dylan is the real Dylan Hunt, and Rommie assures her that he is. Dylan and Trance arrive, and Rommie brings the ship online, preparing for launch. General Valentine finally realizes the power the ship represents, and that she could use it to win her fight, and restore the Commonwealth.
Andromeda detects Harper and Rhade on board, and is concerned that she did not detect them earlier, but Beka observes that they have high-grade stealth suits on. Harper has the M-Bender, and demands that Dylan and Rommie be turned over to him, alive.
Dylan confronts Rhade in the corridor, and they fight. When Dylan begins to bleed from a scratch, Rhade finally realizes that he is human, not an android. Dylan tells Rhade that he is on the wrong side, and leaves.
Dylan talks to Commander Harper via the ship's communications and hologram. Harper asks Dylan how to control the M-Bender. Dylan appeals to Harper's better nature, based on things he learned from Zebra. He reminds Harper of Dylan's writings that he studied in the Academy. He seems to be getting through to him.
Rhade finds Dylan's office, and sits in his chair. Andromeda appears on the screen, and asks him for his orders.
General Valentine and Rommie have captured Commander Harper's troops, and have them in custody. Rommie notes that the two of them make a good team. Dylan says that he feels he has done what he can with Harper and Rhade, and the rest is up to General Valentine and Rommie. Trance agrees.
Harper orders Rhade to evacuate the ship, indicating that his conversation with Dylan is giving him second thoughts. Rhade says that he thinks the whole thing is some sort of deception, and tells Harper that he has engaged the ship's self-destruct sequence. They move to leave the ship, but find their exit blocked. The countdown winds to zero, then Andromeda announces "simulation complete", and Rhade realizes that he was tricked.
Harper observes that "there are worse things to lose than your life", and admits that he is starting to sympathize with the rebels. Rhade calls him a coward, and shoots him dead.
Andromeda informs Rhade that there has been a change of command on the planet, and he is under arrest.
Dylan asks Trance to use the M-Bender to send him back to his own reality. While he is not sure how to control the device, he trusts her luck. As Dylan counts down to activation, Trance finishes the countdown by saying "Almathea", telling Dylan (to his confusion) that it is a "going-away present". She activates the device, and Dylan arrives back in Harper's machine shop, 30 seconds after he left. Harper is relieved to see him back, but the M-bender is gone.
Beka has rigged the Maru's AP generator to give them enough power to get to a nearby star, but all of the local stars are too cold to give them suitable fuel, unless, by some chance, one should happen to go supernova. Rhade lists the options, and one is called "Almathea". Dylan understands Trance's "gift", and suggests that they head for Almathea. To everyone's surprise, it goes nova as they approach.
After catching sight of Zebra in the Andromeda's corridor, Dylan finds Trance. She seems shaken, but notes that a sacrifice for the greater good is worthwhile. Dylan comforts her.
Dylan: Tell Harper the time he's got is the time it takes for me to get from here to his machine shop.
Beka: Good thing it's a big ship.
Rommie: When Captain Hunt commanded me, I was the premier battleship in the High Guard fleet. (proudly) People called me a masterpiece of design and engineering!
General Valentine: The only Dylans I've known, I've detonated.
Dylan: I'm not going to BLOW UP! That's reserved for those idiots who think they'll be made into martyrs.