Starhunter 2300–Negative Energy (2004)   3 comments

Dawn Stern as Callista (“Callie”) Larkadia


The characters aboard the good ship Transutopian began their Starhunter 2300 journey as mostly strangers to each other.  Percy and Rudolpho had a common history, and Travis and Marcus had worked together for years.  But Travis was keeping parts of his past secret from even Marcus, and the others did not know much about him.  Marcus did not know his family background, and his fellow crew mates still do not know the full story.  From time to time Rudolpho encounters a former wife or lover, but he prefers that not everybody know certain aspects of his past.  (There is nothing wrong with this, for it is good to keep some secrets.  We all accumulate them, and many of them are nobody’s business anyway.)

Of the five main human characters (Caravaggio the A.I. counting as a character), Callie is the most open about her past.  And she wants to know more about Travis in particular.  This point comes up in episode after episode.  The fact that Travis is generally unwilling to divulge certain secrets bothers Callie and makes her angry sometimes.  This carries increasingly romantic overtones as the series approaches its finale, in Hyperspace II, the twenty-second episode.  Travis is all man, down to the strong and sometimes uncomfortable silence, and Callie, despite her tomboyish ways, is all woman.  And she seeks emotional intimacy with Travis Montana, who, as of yet, refuses to let anybody in.

The episode recap begins now.

The crew of the Tulip has a serious need for speed.  They are pursing shipjackers (hijackers in outer space) yet have to let them go because the other vessel is too fast for them, especially given its active antimatter drive.  This means not receiving a large and needed bounty from the Jupiter Federation.  Maybe they could have caught the ship if Percy had been around, but Marcus, who did his best, could not understand Percy’s unique ways of customizing the engines.

Callie, Rudolpho, and Travis Listening to Marcus

The Tulip is one of the few ships in the solar system equipped with an antimatter drive.  Yet the main problem is how to use it, and to do safely.  Marcus has an idea:  Duranium 237.  The hellstone from Just Politics (, contained it.  Yet, for technical reasons, that Duranium 237 is no longer suitable for this purpose.

Travis pulls up a list of scientists who used to work with the Keres Group.  (See for more about the Keres Group.)  Rudolpho recognizes a name, that of Jay Beckers, whom, he says, deals in legal and illegal energy sources.  Mr. Beckers will certainly have some Duranium 237, and Rudolpho knows somebody who can help him make contact.  Travis approves, and Rudolpho and Marcus leave for Syn City to make the arrangements.

There is one catch in the Marcus plan, however.  Transfederation laws (enforced ones at that) require a change of energy source permit, which costs 20,000 credits.  Travis authorizes Caravaggio to apply for the permit.  But the A.I. does not reveal the mandatory inspection which will follow.  Some A.I.s assume too much about humans’ knowledge.


The Tulip is docked at Io Orbital.  With Percy wherever she is and Rudolpho and Marcus away on a Duranium 237 hunt, Travis and Callie are alone on the ship.  She wants to talk.  More specifically, she wants Travis to talk.  Callie is enjoying the quiet time and engaging in a favorite activity, picking a distant planet off the galactic map and imagining what it is like.  She has done this since she was a girl.  Moreover, she tells Travis, it would be good for him to get to know her better and for her to get to know him better.  She goes first, saying that, despite difficult patches in her life, she does not regret her journey so far, and she refuses to begin having regrets now.

Travis and Callie

Travis is less forthcoming, revealing only what Callie knows already.  She finds this upsetting, and he is about to say something when Caravaggio interrupts him to announce that Executive Chief Inspector Tibbitt from the Jupiter Federation is hailing.  All that Travis tells Callie is that she ought not to press too hard for his secrets, because she might find what she seeks.

Executive Chief Inspector Tibbitt

Executive Chief Inspector Tibbitt arrives to conduct a safety inspection.  Antimatter drives can be unstable, after all.  He is the ultimate unpleasant, officious, bean-counting bureaucrat from Hell and many nightmares.  He quotes minute details of regulations, lacks any sense of humor, and insists that people use his full title when addressing him.

Travis and Callie

Tibbitt discovers Percy’s engine work and declares it unsatisfactory.  Travis finds the Executive Chief Inspector especially impossible to tolerate, so Callie decides to accompany Tibbitt alone to the antimatter drive room before Travis says something truly unfortunate in the man’s presence.  Besides, Callie says, she has feminine charms, which work on most men.  Ouch!

Her feminine charms do not work on Tibbitt, either.

Tibbitt’s Orchard Buyer

Tibbitt opens a channel to his Orchard buyer and receives a promise of a rather large pay off for himself.  The Tulip has an excellent antimatter drive, the Executive Chief Inspector says.


Tibbitt, who has summoned Jupiter Federation troopers to the Tulip, tells Travis and Callie that the ship is unsafe, that the government will therefore destroy it, and that the crew must leave immediately.  Travis, however, has learned that the Jupiter Federation did not authorize Tibbitt’s inspection.  The captain reveals this knowledge to the Executive Chief Inspector, who does not flinch.  The matter is academic, he says; what is done is done.  A firefight ensues.

So Tibbitt is both officious and corrupt–truly the worst kind of bureaucrat.

Now I turn to the adventures of Rudolpho and Marcus in Syn City.

Karina (“Goldilocks”) and Rudolpho (“Papa Bear”)

Rudolpho’s lead to the whereabouts of Jay Beckers is Karina, who calls herself “Goldilocks” and who refers to Rudolpho as “Papa Bear.”  They are former lovers.  This is obvious in (A) their kiss and (B) her question, “Who’s been sleeping in my bed?”  They met in jail and went on to have many good and bad times.  As Rudolpho tells Marcus, “She lied, cheated, and stole from me.  It was the best relationship I ever had.”

Rudolpho and Marcus

Karina is still lying, for she tips off Beckers, who arranges an ambush for Marcus and Rudolpho.

Jay Beckers

Beckers, who, as it turns out is a woman, suspects Rudolpho and Marcus of being federal marshals.

Transgender aliases occur more than once in Starhunter 2300.  Do you remember Father Abode from Biocrime (  And the gender of Bliss from Painless ( was ambiguous early in the episode.  If one thinks that one might need to look for a man, how likely is one to locate the culprit, who is really female?

Beckers does have the Duranium 237, which will not cost less than 2 million credits or a stake in a partnership with Rudolpho.  Her terms are 40% and Marcus, whom she plans to “modify” for her pleasure.  Rudolpho agrees, collects the Duranium 237, leaves, picks up a weapon, returns, shoots Beckers, and rescues Marcus.

The two of them return to the Tulip during the firefight I mentioned earlier.  Our heroes fight off everyone except Tibbitt successfully.

The Transutopian (Tulip) Leaving Io Orbital

Travis takes the Tulip away from Io Orbital.

The Orchard Vessel

An Orchard vessel pursues and fires on the Tulip.  The commander of that vessel thinks that the Tulip is Orchard property.  Travis disagrees, so he returns fire.  Now there is a running firefight in outer space.

Marcus uses the Duranium 237 to activate the antimatter drive.  Tibbitt tries to interfere, but the other bounty hunters subdue him and let him “inspect the inside of the brig.”

The Tulip, About to Engage the Antimatter Drive

The Tulip travels to safety, from near Jupiter to near beyond Neptune almost instantaneously.  Marcus notes, however, that, according to theory, the ship should have reached light speed.  Yet it did not.  He concludes that “there must be a piece missing from the puzzle.”

Anyhow, the crew will still get a nice pay day, for the Jupiter Federation wants Tibbitt back and is willing to pay 100,000 credits for his return.

Callie and Travis

Callie still wants Travis to “say anything” substantial about himself, but he continues to refuse.  This upsets her.  His problem, she says, it that he won’t really say anything.  Yet Callie notices Travis staring at an image of a distant planet and imagining what that world is like.

So ends the episode.

There are three episodes left.  Immediately we have the revenge of a petty bureaucrat on Mars.  Oh, and Percy returns!



I took the screen captures via the PowerDVD program.

Watch episodes of Starhunter 2300 via legal methods (those consistent with U.S. copyright laws), please.

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

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