Starhunter 2300–Skin Deep (2003)   3 comments

Tanya Allen as an Irritated Percy Montana


Skin Deep contains two related stories.  While Percy and Marcus are arguing and bonding at Syn City, Io, Travis, Callie, and Rudolpho must deal with a belligerent bounty hunter pursuing a friend of Callie from university days.  Tanya Allen has more screen time in this episode than in some of the preceding ones.  More screen time for Ms. Allen is a good thing, n’est-ce pas?  Oui, c’est vrai!  

So I show another picture of Tanya Allen, in character as Percy Montana, from the episode.

Another Facial Expression for Percy Montana

It is generally a bad idea to read comments on computer bulletin boards and below videos on video websites.  People tend to curse (in the vulgar, not the Biblical, sense) and insult each other, get off track, and display the worst sides of their nature–all while being safely anonymous.  Much of the time they are poorly informed at best.  Thus I note that, before I decided to stop reading such comments, I noticed nasty comments about Tanya Allen’s acting in the Starhunter series in particular and her skills as a thespian in general.  An informed person must consider, however, that Percy Montana is a withdrawn character, so Ms. Allen’s performance as Percy is appropriate in this context.  Indeed, to have played Percy Montana as the life of the party would have been a bad idea.

Anyhow, Skin Deep contains many wonderful Percy Montana scenes, making it one of the better episodes of Starhunter 2300.

But, you might ask, why is it called Skin Deep?  Body image is a frequently troublesome issue for many people.  I perceive that, in my North American culture, it is more of a problem for women than for men, given the relatively high rates of eating disorders for girls and young women.  Quite frankly, though, I do not think a woman sexy when I look at a picture of her and can count her ribs.  Thinness is healthy and obesity is not, but most women do not–and will not–and should not–seek to emulate the figure of Kate Moss.

We learn during the episode that, among the elites of Mars in 2300, there are strong pressures on women to live up to certain standards of beauty, but to do so naturally, that is, without resorting to plastic surgery.  “Natural” women are especially esteemed because there are so few of them.  Yet some women, feeling the pressure, undergo plastic surgery and try to keep their secret.  How far, however, will some people go to prevent publicity?

Let us begin the episode recap.

Lena Bannen and Callista Larkadia

The Tulip is docked at Clarke Station, in the Jupiter Federation.  Travis and Rudolpho are on board, arguing about the need to earn more money.  (Rudolpho does have more expenses than the other bounty hunters.)  Meanwhile, at Clarke Station, Callie is catching up with Lena Bannen, a friend from university days.  They have not seen each other in ten years.

Lena, as we learn in several scenes, is the Chief Financial Officer of Inner Beauty Publishing, of which her mother is Chief Executive Officer.  Lena publishes lifestyle holozines, which run the gamut from suggesting options for interior decorating to outing “plastics,” or women who have undergone plastic surgery.

The two women banter about how much they used to dislike each other, how glad they are to meet again, and how good the other looks.  Lena, it turns out, looks the same in 2300 as she did in 2290.  File that fact away.

Two men try to arrest Lena but…


…Callie prevents them from doing so.  She and Lena flee to the Tulip, which departs abruptly.  They have not evaded these men, however.

Travis, Lena, and Callie

On board the Tulip, Lena tells Travis and Callie that she does not who is pursuing her, or why.

This departure does mean that Percy and Marcus will have to stay longer at Syn City than they had expected.

Percy and Marcus at Syn City, Io

Percy and Marcus are at Syn City, Io, to purchase antimatter stabilizer coils for the thus-far non-functional antimatter drive on the ship.

Torment ( had established the existence of this piece of hardware, although that was not the main point of the episode.  The antimatter drive will prove pivotal in subsequent episodes, so remember that it exists.

Back to our recap now…


Marcus knows Syn City well, but this is Percy’s first visit.  She does not find the place exciting.  In fact, she there just for business, to engage in a business transaction that Rudolpho has arranged.  One “Mr. Pllob,” whom Percy thinks is a “black-market creep,” has what they need.

She and Marcus argue.  He says that Percy has no fun, but she replies that she does–whenever he is not around.  Then Marcus wants to sit outside, but she wants to sit inside, while they wait for Mr. Pllob to arrive.

Percy and Pllob

They meet Pllob, who shouts to the air and claims that “they” (whoever “they” are) are watching him.  The attempt to purchase the coils from Pllob does not go well, for he accuses Percy and Marcus of being police officers and Percy freaks out.

The man does shout to the air and claim that “they” are watching him.  He is not the portrait of stability, is he?


Meanwhile, back on the good ship Transutopian

Rudolpho complains to Travis about the current mission and how lucrative it is not.  Lena is Callie’s friend, Travis says; we help friends.  This strikes Rudolpho as an odd idea.  The former owner of the Tulip says that Travis is a “sucker for a pretty face,” to which Travis replies sarcasticaly, “That’s the only reason I work with you.”

The men at Clarke Station were bounty hunters under contract with the Mars Federation government.  Quinn, one of those men, has pursued the Transutopian and begun to fire upon it.  The Tulip, however, carries weapons, too, so Travis and Callie defend their vessel and themselves.  Mars Federation has ordered Lena’s arrest for the murder of Dr. Frederick Nolman, whose widow suspects that her husband was conducting an affair with a woman, whose name she does not know.


Lena denies knowing Dr. Nolman, and Travis refuses to turn her over to Quinn.  Yet Travis does set course for Mars, with Quinn close behind.  Consequently, Marcus and Percy will have to spend even more time at Syn City.

Percy and Marcus

Marcus wants to see some shows and visit various places, but Percy just wants to get a room.  When they get to the room, she comments that it comes with pornos and booze.  Isn’t that what people do in their rooms, she asks?  They never watch any pornos, but they do drink spinach beer–both bottles of it.  The refrigerator in the room is what Percy calls a “Noah’s ark of booze”–two of everything.

Do you want some spinach beer?

They do talk, however.


Percy reveals that she is in no hurry to return to the ship.  Neither does she want to see the sites of Syn City.  She just wants to be in a room.

Marcus says that he likes to watch ballroom dancing and that he dreamed of monkey wrenches last night.

There not being much to do in the room, Percy picks up a robe and heads for the shower.


Marcus interprets Percy’s recent actions as romantic overtures.


Percy, however, reveals that they were not, much to his disappointment.


Meanwhile, back on the Transutopian, which is approaching Mars…

Callie doubts Lena’s story before Travis does.  In fact, Lena and Travis are attracted to each other, although they do nothing more than kiss.  Yet Callie, via Caravaggio, locates and reads three holozine articles that Lena published that mention the late Dr. Nolman, a plastic surgeon, in a negative way.

The Incriminating Video Footage

Then the Mars Federation government sends video footage of Lena sitting at a restaurant table with Dr. Nolman and speaking with him.  Caravaggio reconstructs something Lena says in it:  “You aren’t going to tell anyone you did the work, are you, Frederick, because we’d be finished?”


Lena admits the truth.  She, the publisher of a holozine that outs “plastics,” is herself a “plastic.”  Her mother was having an affair with Dr. Nolman, but the mother wanted to end said liaisons.  Dr. Nolman, however, threatened to out Lena if the mother left.  So the mother shot Dr. Nolman to protect Lena, who placed her DNA, in the form of skin and hair, on Nolman’s corpse to protect her mother.

Quinn attacks the Tulip again, but Travis inflicts severe damage on the other bounty hunter’s ship.  Quinn leaves, Lena goes to Mars, where a lawyer awaits her, Quinn collects the bounty, and Rudolpho is unhappy.

Meanwhile, at Syn City…

Marcus, newly showered and wearing a bathrobe, tries to share the bed with Percy, who pushes him to the floor.  They compromise, however:

Marcus and Percy

And they talk, taking turns moving a pillow between their faces.  Percy reveals that she, for the first time in a while, has not thought much about the Tulip, which is almost a part of her.  Also, she is not afraid of open spaces, just the “psychos and idiots” in them.  This is why she likes enclosed spaces.

Marcus and Percy

Marcus tells Percy that this is odd, that that she “will never be normal.”  This does not bother her, although his comment that she is a bounty hunter who is afraid to go outside does.  She offers Marcus the opportunity to retract that statement, but he does not.  So a pillow fight ensues.

Marcus and Percy

In time, Percy falls asleep, while Marcus sits on the edge of the bed.

Then the end credits roll.

Next:  Supermax Redux, which features the return of Max from Super Max (  Max was older and bald in Super Max, but these facts support my parallel universe hypothesis regarding Starhunter and Starhunter 2300.

Then, in episode #12, Pandora’s Box, we encounter the Orchard again.

As always, I encourage the viewing of these episodes, but only in ways consistent with United States copyright laws.



All images are screen captures I took via the Power DVD program.

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