Starhunter 2300–Just Politics (2004)   4 comments

Travis Montana and Andras Kolzig

EPISODE #18

Just Politics is the first of the two Percy-less episodes.  There is, however, a strong continuity from The Heir and the Spare (#17) to this episode to Negative Energy (#19), so at least the writers show evidence of marching toward a goal from this point to the end (#22).  Therefore one episode builds on those preceding it.  Furthermore, Percy’s absence is a vital part of Just Politics.  Marcus misses her greatly, and a guest character uses Percy’s absence to her advantage.

Shall we begin?  Mais oui!  Bien sur!  Certaimment!

Trade Minister Kolzig and His Party Arrive

The Transutopian is at Mars on a mission approved by Mars Federation Morland himself.  The government offers the crew its largest pay day yet:  300,000 credits payable at the end of the mission.  Travis, though, feels uneasy.  Something does not feel quite right.  He is correct.

The mission is to transport Trade Minister Andras Kolzig and his party to the Mannheim Asteroid Belt, near Neptune, for a hush-hush trade negotiation.  That much is true, but so is far more, as we learn during the episode.

Kolzig arrives with his party, which consists of Jophe Henrik, his personal assistant, and Hakin Dircott and Gaynor Schon, his security team.

Rudolpho

Rudolpho, once enthusiastic about the mission (and its pay day), becomes suspicious when he meets Kolzig.  He knows Kolzig from somewhere, but where?

Kolzig, it seems, keeps a low profile.  This is important information.

Gaynor Schon

Gaynor Schon overrides parts of Caravaggio’s programming so that the A.I. will take orders from her and recognize her as Percy Montana.  This is suspicious and foreboding, to say the least.

Marcus Fagen and Jophe Henrik

Jophe Henrik, however, is exactly what she appears to be:  a pure soul and sweet young woman.  The daughter of a ship’s engineer, she is also a technology geek.  She and Marcus get along well during a tour of the Tulip.  During such a walk-through Marcus becomes the first person to notice the effects of Schon’s rewriting of part of Caravaggio’s programming.  Other characters also notice it during the episode and become suspicious.

Mars Federation Trade Minister Andras Kolzig

Kolzig tells the crew that neither they nor the ship are in danger during this “sensitive” trade mission.  The bounty hunters harbor doubts, however.

Mars Federation President Morland

With the Tulip near Neptune, President Morland calls.  He thanks the crew for their “discretion in this matter.”

Hakin Dircott

Hakin Dircott becomes Schon’s first victim.  She uses Caravaggio to murder Dircott then diagnose the cause of death as a heart attack.  Travis and Callie, suspicious, investigate then conclude that it was a murder.

Jophe Henrik

Jophe helps Marcus explore the computer system in an attempt to explain what is going wrong.  She becomes suspicious of the A.I., too.

The Matrix Chamber

So they go to the A.I.’s matrix chamber, where Marcus finds the problem.  Then Caravaggio’s self-defense program attacks Marcus and Jophe, killing her.

The Transutopian arrives at a large mining asteroid.  One Mr. Reasoner hails the Tulip from the asteroid and arranges a meeting with Kolzig aboard the ship.

Reasoner and Kolzig

Kolzig transfers 20 million credits into Reasoner’s account as a bribe for Reasoner to to delay the delivery of duranium to Mars and President Morland.  All of this is part of a plot by Kolzig, who “made” Morland, to sabotage and replace his leader.  But Kolzig does not know that Caravaggio is spying on him and reporting to Schon.

Kolzig and Reasoner tell the bounty hunters that trade negotiations have failed.

Andras Kolzig = Carter Berkhan

Meanwhile, Rudolpho has identified Kolzig as Carter Berkhan, a murderer of 57 people (including some of Rudolpho’s relatives) and a wanted man.  A hair cut and a change of facial hair makes a great difference, does it not?

Rudolpho does not know, however, that the A.I. is spying on him and reporting to Schon.

The Mining Asteroid

We also learn that the mining asteroid is a hellstone, an asteroid that has entered our universe through a black hole.  In the process of its transition it becomes a rich source of Duranium 237, which one can use to produce negative energy, which allows one to enter hyperspace.

This development raises the question as to whether the Orchard is moving in the background of this episode.  That organization does seek to control access to hyperspace.  Follow this link:  https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/starhunter-2300-pandoras-box-2003/ and this one:  https://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/starhunter-2300-the-prisoner-2003/.

A Communication with President Morland

Schon reports to President Morland.  He tells him that Kolzig is a traitor and hints at a darker secret with the potential to destroy Morland.  The President authorizes Schon to do “whatever it takes” to keep the secret.

One Less Asteroid

Schon uses Caravaggio to destroy the hellstone and kill Reasoner.  That makes three dead people–two innocents and a corrupt miner.

Rudolpho and Kolzig/Berkhan

Rudolpho, Travis, and Callie confront and surround Kolzig/Berkhan in a corridor.  Then Schon reveals the truth to everybody.  The mission was really one to prove whether or not Kolzig was a traitor.  But now that she has this damaging secret, the security officer must protect President Morland by setting the Tulip to self-destruct, killing everyone except Schon, who plans to escape via shuttle.

Callie prevents Schon’s departure while other crew members struggle to save their lives and the ship.  If the crew of the Tulip dies, so does Schon.   Travis is left to reason with Caravaggio, who, at the last second, aborts the self-destruct sequence.

One may assume that the bounty hunters place Schon and Kolzig/Berkhan in the brig.

Our Heroes

Our heroes discuss the situation.  They could bring down Morland or they could blackmail him into paying them the promised 300,000 credits.  They opt for the latter choice, which is “just politics.”  I wonder why extort the bad man for only 300,000 credits, though.

The odd fact about President Morland is that, by Mars Federation standards, he has a reputation as a softy.  If he is a softy, I do not want to meet a hardliner.

Until I write again….

I have to go away now and monitor Canadian federal election results.  We all have our obsessions; Canadian politics is one of mine.  I have found myself watching coverage of provincial elections–and I am a born citizen of the United States of America and the State of Georgia!  Thank goodness for a good DSL connection and access to the CBC website.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 2, 2011 COMMON ERA

All images are screen captures I took via the PowerDVD program.  As always, I encourage viewing of Starhunter 2300 episodes only via methods consistent with United States copyright laws.

And, Percy Montana, wherever you are during this episode, I hope you are having a good and relaxing time.

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