Starhunter 2300–Biocrime (2003)   4 comments

Percy Montana

EPISODE #3

The solar system is a dark and gritty place filled with amoral and dangerous people in 2300.  Biocrime makes this point clear while revealing aspects of the characters of Marcus and Callie (mostly Marcus).  The early episodes of Starhunter 2300 establish who the new bounty hunters aboard the Tulip are with information that becomes important in subsequent episodes.  Thus, although Starhunter 2300, without the season-wide Divinity Cluster arc that ties Starhunter together, lacks the creepy conspiracy element of its predecessor, its stories do possess a continuity.

Biocrime opens with Marcus and Callie waiting for Travis at Syn City, Io, Jupiter Federation.  He is late.  They are convinced that this a purposeful personnel management technique, that he wants them to bond and tell each other that they are not so bad after all.  The two agree that they will not do this.

Taryn Orford and Marcus Fagen

Then Marcus and Callie rescue a young woman, Taryn Orford, an old friend Marcus knows from his days on the streets of Syn City.  Taryn, wrapped in a sheet, has been screaming for help and claiming that Father wants her and that Father is coming.  Callie, using her martial arts skills from Mars Special Forces, fends off the two men pursuing Taryn, who is terrified to a hospital, where, she says, Father will find her.

Taryn Raises an Arm to Travis Montana

Aboard the Tulip, Callie explains the situation to Travis.  Caravaggio says that Taryn is the victim of genetic modification.  About half of the unfortunate young woman’s body is turning into “something not human.”  There is also evidence that Taryn is a drug addict, and that she is the daughter of the influential Senator Orford, of the Mars Federation.

Taryn does not want anyone to notify her father, who disowned her years ago.  But Travis sees no alternative.

We learn from Callie that she also has a troubled relationship with her father.  She says that, if she were in Taryn’s place, her (Callie’s) father would lock her up in an asylum to prevent the embarrassment.

And Marcus is not eager to cross paths with Senator Orford again.  Marcus was able to escape the streets of Syn City with the help of Travis.  But Marcus, afraid of falling back into old ways, never returned to take his friend Taryn away.  While they were on the streets they looked after each other and abused drugs together.

So Senator Orford blames Marcus for much, including hooking Taryn on drugs–not that the Senator has done much prior to this episode to help his daughter.

Anyhow, the intrepid crew of the Tulip, with the help of Caravaggio the A.I., uncovers the sketchy information that is available on Father Abode, of whom Taryn is terrified.  Abode, of whom no image is on file, was an acolyte of Dr. Novak during the civil war on Callisto.  For more on Dr. Novak, follow this link:  https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/starhunter-the-man-who-sold-the-world-2000/.  Father Abode specializes in modifying people genetically for “sex and degradation.”  Abode’s victims are unwanted people, such as homeless drug addicts.

I said that the solar system in 2300 is full of amoral and dangerous people.

Senator Orford’s Transmission

Senator Orford contacts Travis and hires the crew to bring Father Abode in.  He also asks them to do what they can to help Taryn.  The Senator’s daughter, as it turns out, has maybe two days left unless someone can reverse the genetic modifications.  But Father Abode has the records of the genetic modifications.

Marcus blames himself for Taryn’s plight and spends much of the episode confessing and apologizing for his sins.  This emotional self-flagellation reaches new heights after Taryn slips into a coma.

Detectives Gus and Arnot

Senator Orford, recently arrived in the Jupiter system, meets with Travis and Callie at Syn City.  He thanks them for what they have done so far.  But he is not pleased to see Marcus again.  Travis stands up for Marcus, but Orford insists that Marcus not be involved in this case.  Then Orford introduces the bounty hunters to Detectives Gus and Arnot, whom he criticizes for not having found Taryn for the last two years.  The policemen deny incompetence or lack on industry on their part, but the Travis, Callie, and the Senator remain unconvinced.

Lumpy Goodwin

Marcus, although not on the case, as far as Senator Orford is concerned, decides to follow his own lead.  He contacts Lumpy Goodwin, the man from whom he and Taryn bought drugs, and goes undercover.  Marcus suspects that Lumpy sold Taryn to Father Abode, so he might be able to get to Father Abode via Lumpy.

Meanwhile, on the Tulip, Percy has the unenviable task of draining blood from parts of Taryn’s rapidly changing body.  Fortunately, camera angles and a sheet obscure this job.  During this process Percy asks Taryn where Marcus went.  (He did tell Taryn that he was going to find Lumpy.)  Somehow Taryn is able to blurt out “Lumpy,” just in time for Percy to inform Travis and Callie.  Travis recognizes that name and sets out to find Marcus.

Their timing is excellent, for one of the detectives informs Lumpy that a bounty hunter is on the way.  So Lumpy and his men imperil Marcus just as Travis and Callie burst into the room.  Travis points a gun at Lumpy and demands to know where Father Abode.  Lumpy denies knowing Father Abode, claiming, “I’m not a religious man.”  Travis answers, “Now would be a good time to start.”  And Callie, with her usual Mars Special Forces techniques, convinces Lumpy to contact Abode.

Travis, Callie, and Marcus take Lumpy to the brig aboard the Tulip.  Meanwhile, Taryn is dying.  And Detectives Gus and Arnot become nervous when they learn of Lumpy’s arrest.  They fear Father Abode’s wrath, so they plot to capture Travis and Callie, and to exchange them for Lumpy–then to kill the bounty hunters.

So time is running out.  Fortunately, before Callie had to leave Mars Federation Special Forces she “borrowed” some high-tech devices, including a tracking device the scanner for which Father Abode’s people do not possess.  She implants one into Travis, who tells them to follow him “with guns blazing” in one hour.

Travis, posing as Mr. Farrell, an associate of Lumpy, goes to meet Father Abode.  Abode’s men scan Travis and do not find the tracking device.  Then they render him unconscious.

“What’s in a name?”

Travis awakens to see a woman standing over him.  She identifies herself as Father Abode.  Enthusiastically she explains that she and her people can clone a person and even modify some genetically to be transgender and/or transspecies.  But “Mr. Farrell” says that all he wants is a clone–in this case of Callie.

Rudolpho and Callie leave to follow Travis, right on schedule.  But Detectives Gus and Arnot detain them.  They claim eventually that Rudolpho and Callie are interfering with a police investigation, at which point Rudolpho observes that finally they came up with a charge.  Gus and Arnot, dirty cops that they are, force Rudolpho and Callie to reveal where Travis is.  So now Travis is in danger.

Abode, aware of who “Mr. Farrell” really is, renders Travis unconscious and begins to modify him genetically.  Travis is horrified to learn of this when he wakes up.

Meanwhile, Rudolpho offers the promise of a bribe to Gus and Arnot, who let the bounty hunters go.  So the cavalry is off to the rescue.  The cavalry finds Father Abode, Travis, and the Callie clone, who is more solicitous than the actual Callie.  But the Callie clone does attack Abode, who threatens to harm Travis further.

The Callie Clone, Dead

The Callie clone dies, for she is a quickie clone incapable of surviving even the slightest injury.

The bounty hunters take Abode and the records of genetic modifications back to the Tulip.  There they are able to reverse the work done on Taryn and Travis.  Senator Orford seeks to reunite with his daughter, and Travis encourages her to give her father a second chance.  She agrees.

But, in the brig, Travis makes an unfortunate discovery.  He arrested a Father Abode clone, which dies in his custody.  The real Father Abode is still free and far away from Io.

So the ending is not entirely happy.

One of the reasons I like the Starhunter and Starhunter 2300 series is that they avoid artificial happy endings.  Despite their science fiction trappings, which may or may not foreshadow future reality, the series reflect an understanding of the darkness at the core of many people and the staying power of many problems.

At least Lumpy Goodwin will face justice.  Yet Detectives Gus and Arnot are still on the job.  And Father Abode is on the loose.  It is an imperfect society.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 23, 2011 COMMON ERA

All images are screen captures I took using the Power DVD program.  If this post has caused you to want to view this or any episode, I encourage you to do so via method consistent with United States copyright laws.

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