BPP Crusade 113 – Each Night I Dream of Home

We’ve reached the end of Crusade. When we began the series, we felt even though this was JMS and a deliberate follow-up to Babylon 5, the writing seemed off and the characters seemed awkward.  For our friends who listened along, we all learned (or were reminded) that what JMS wrote was not presented by TNT in the order he originally intended.

This episode kicks off with the Gideon and crew waiting at a rendezvous point for a mysterious meeting with an unknown person. When a Warlock class destroyer appears, they quickly learn the meeting is with Senator Jacob Redway (and apparently his personal assistant, named David)—one of very few Senators who was away from Earth when the Drakh virus was unleashed. The crew is given a set of orders from the Joint Chiefs and sworn to secrecy as they embark on a secret mission to Earth. Why recall the only research vessel that’s deliberately staffed with people free of the plague and searching for a cure? 

Almost as soon as they’re underway, Excalibur picks up a distress signal. Redway “orders” them not to stop, Gideon sternly but respectfully tells him he’s not in his chain of command, and they divert to assist. They quickly learn the distress beacon originates from a Star Fury piloted by Captain Lochley! Gideon explains to Redway he’ll obey the orders and not stop but he won’t ever dismiss a distress signal. The solution: slow down and catch the Star Fury, then continue to toward Earth. Lochley explains she was jumped by raiders and learns they can’t just take her back to B5 because of the mission they’re on.  Remember the Senator’s assistant? We see him make a discrete (and unauthorized) call to Earth to his fiancé, and tells her he’s coming home to marry her. She doesn’t know why, other than although he’s free of the virus, he’ll accept exposure and a possible death sentence to spend the rest of her life with her.

The Excalibur arrives at Earth and prepares to receive a shuttle from the surface. Gideon questions this, given that any ship attempting to leave Earth will be destroyed. Nonetheless, the shuttle pushes out of the atmosphere and just before it’s destroyed, jettisons a single life pod. It is brought onboard, quarantined, and an old friend emerges: Dr. Stephen Franklin! We’re reminded he leads Earths planetary effort to find a cure. We get the rest of the story about David—he’s a volunteer to be exposed and Dr. Franklin is going to track the virus through his body in real time. That info might give them some very key data critical to the development of a vaccine.

The Drakh intercepted David’s call and now the Excalibur’s mission to Earth is compromised. An element of the Drakh fleet is on the move to eliminate this potential lead toward the cure.

David’s infected and the virus is tracked, but then things begin to go wrong. There are several failures, buttons don’t work, the Drakh ships arrive and attack (BOOM!), David is knocked unconscious, the containment system appears to be at risk of malfunctioning, and before anything can happen, an automatic sterilization protocol is activated and we’re minutes away from the incineration of David. Dr. Franklin ends up quickly using a manual procedure to pull David into another containment room, saving the day, and the hope this might lead to a vaccine. As the battle continues, Gideon creatively decides if he rushes the Drakh mother ship, it will force them to jump, allowing Excalibur to follow and destroy them. The plan works, and the enemy ships are destroyed in Hyperspace. (More BOOM!)

With the immediate crisis resolved, David and Dr. Franklin are successfully returned to Earth, and Excalibur can take Captain Lochley home to Babylon 5. Doctors Franklin and Chambers confer over a video phone to compare notes about what they learned from David’s infection (shows real promise!). Back at B5, as Lochley prepares to disembark, she and Gideon exchange some flirtatious pleasantries. She tells Gideon he should stop by the next time the Excalibur is in the neighborhood. As Excalibur pulls away, Matheson points out the smile on Gideon’s face…he know’s what going on between the two. Gideon denies it’s a smile and claims “it’s gas.” Riiiiight. As the episode closes, Gideon suggests they should come back sometime soon to give the crew some crew rest on Babylon 5. *wink*

That wraps up Crusade, but not the podcast. Stay with us as we watch the final movie in the series, Lost Tales. Then, our plan is to continue with the Babylon 5 novels.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

 

BPP Crusade 112 – Visitors from Down The Street

This was a playful Crusade-based version of the popular show X-Files. A little campy (on purpose), it was a fun episode to watch, even though it wasn’t totally a filler or throw-away episode. There was perhaps, at least one very traditional use of the Sci Fi genre to make a strong social statement.

The episode opens up with the crew noticing something smells, but can’t figure out what it is or where it’s coming from. With that stage set, their attention turns quickly to a distress signal and a small, very classic contact with aliens, saucer-shaped life pod. Once recovered, two aliens emerge…wearing suits, and speaking with British accents. One is clearly a male, and the other a female. His name is Durkani (a play on David Dukovney’s last name) and hers is Lyssa. We quickly see that these two are homages or parodies of Agents Mulder and Scully. He believes and she doubts. They attempt to take a hostage with intent to return to their planet with proof that we (their aliens, and the truth) are in fact out there. Their plan fails and they find themselves in the brig. Questioning, and the storyline unfolds from there.

Durkani and Lyssa’s story is that we (Earthlings) have been visiting their planet for centuries, quietly conspiring with their government to pacify the people. When things go wrong, when “necessary” budget cuts are made, when anything that could cause the government to be perceived as wrong, or if anything happens to make them unpopular, the blame is placed on the government’s need to protect the people from the powerful and negative influence of the Visitors. It sounds far-fetched and Gideon isn’t really buying it. There’s no record of Earth ever having contact with this race. In a quick couple of flashback scenes, supplementing Durkani’s story, clearly establishing them as Mulder and Scully, and in the second flashback, we’re also introduced to a mysterious man who appears to be their opponent in the search for the truth. Who could he be? The set up suggests he’s a tip of the hat to the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man or Cancer Man from the X-Files. Durkani even shows proof of prior contact, to include contentious and secret photos of things from Earth like blimps, a golf club, a photo of Mount Rushmore, and on their own planet, a humorous version of a crop circle in the shape of the American Flag.

Durkani’s amazing claims are further reinforced when a government official named Kendarr, also from this planet, approaches the Excalibur and is allowed to board. He’s the same fellow we saw earlier in the second flashback—his identity as the Cigarette Smoking Man is confirmed. He claims he is a law enforcement official there to take custody of Durkani and Lyssa, return them to the planet, and execute them for stealing a space ship with the ability to travel beyond their solar system. We’re treated to a brief and interesting discussion between Gideon and Kendarr about capital crimes. The story moves on quickly, leaving us to ponder the magnitude of that problem on our own, with Kendarr providing some additional information, leading the viewer to think the intended capital sentence isn’t really about the theft of a ship as much as it is about leaking the proof of their contact with an alien race. Kendarr is well-informed, explains his government has been aware of several other races for centuries (a confirmation of Durkani’s story), and is even conversant about hyperspace and Jump Gate technology. His government took power by blaming the outsiders for their problems, then pacified the people by tightly controlling this narrative, and excusing anything they did by claiming they’re doing so to protect the population from the evil aliens. They also reinforced the pacification by providing the people “addictive” things like pizza and ice cream to keep them content. He’s actually aware Earthlings aren’t the evil monsters they’ve been set us up to be, making this “first contact” a problem. The proof Durkani and Lyssa could bring back would quite possibly ruin the power the government currently holds. In explaining himself as a government official, Kendarr even nonchalantly makes the statement that the truth has never been in anyone’s best interest. Yikes! This is perhaps the larger and frankly very sinister message we’re left to ponder from this otherwise light-hearted episode. Oh, and Kendarr is distracted by…a smell?

A tussle ensues, prisoners run, and the source of the smell is discovered: a leaky sewage pipe. In the end, everyone is detained, and ultimately the visitors to the Excalibur are returned to their planet. As they depart, Kendarr’s final words are enhanced by—a cigarette. Yes indeed, he was the Cigarette Smoking Man! But our crew isn’t done just yet. In this slightly off-kilter world, Gideon decides he can’t leave things as they are. In a violation of the rules, he drops a number of probes on the planet, with information confirming who the Earthlings actually are, and that they’re not the evil Visitors the government had told the people they were.

Was it a filler episode? Seems so, overall. Was it fun? Absolutely. But it also had a few significant messages for us along the way. If the series had continued past the first 13 episodes, it would have been interesting to see if the heavier issues would have come back again as a part of the main storyline.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 111 – The Needs of Earth

This would have been the third episode to air if JMS had his way., but we’re seeing it as the eleventh episode. Once again, we talk about things seem disconnected here (such as the relationship between Max and Dureena) based on “earlier” episodes, – but they really aren’t. One thing all three of us intend to do at some point is go back and rewatch the series in the order originally intended.

Consistent with Babylon 5, this story deals with a fairly common theme involving the use of moral authority, stated in this case by Captain Gideon as the friction between what is right (legal) and what is moral. As we’re “early” in the Crusade storyline, we see a Ranger come to Gideon and present him with a possible lead toward a cure. An individual from a planet called Praxis 9 has copied thousands of years of his (somewhat closed, or relatively unknown) culture’s information, apparently everything that’s important, and has fled in order to sell it to the right buyer for the right price. The fugitive was subsequently captured and his people have sent a ship to recover him. The Excalibur is closer, and if the determination is made that there might be scientific/medical value useful for curing the virus on Earth, the Excalibur could attempt to get there before the Praxis vessel, directly interfering with another race by taking custody of the fugitive then hopefully convincing him to release the information to Earth. The Ranger points out to Gideon that Praxis 9 is technically outside the jurisdiction of the Alliance, so in addition to violating the Alliance directive not to interfere with other races, risk exists in that if the mission is discovered and is attributable to an Alliance ship, the Alliance will disavow any knowledge. This would leave the crew of Excalibur at the mercy of the legal system of the Moradi race. Gideon has to make a decision whether or not he and the crew should do something illegal for the greater good (or needs of) Earth. He decides to accept the risk and the mission is on. To limit risk, Gideon and Dureena are the designated crew to contact and extract the fugitive (named Natchok Var).

The Moradi are understandably protective of the details of their culture, and Praxis 9 has a very hostile atmosphere, resulting in their cities being under several domes. We learn that Dureena has been here before, and she uses her past experience to open an exterior door to enter the dome where Natchok Var is held. As we’re introduced to the city, it appears to be a city-sized version of “Down Below” on B5, but with additional unsavory businesses, including an active slave market. It’s at this point we start to get an indication of Dureena’s past, as she shows a moment of hesitation when seeing the slave market. It’s easy to conclude she was once held as a slave here.

After a few distractions created to give the opportunity to grab Natchok Var, he’s quickly liberated and the team heads back to Excalibur…but not before the Moradi arrive. During the confrontation/exchange, the Moradi state they want to end the situation peacefully, and the time taken to work out the deal, two important things happen. First, we learn that Natchok Var’s actual intent is to preserve cultural information that his government is destroying in the name of removing things that aren’t “beneficial to the state”. (We referred to this as an example of “cancel culture”.) He tells the crew he’s willing to give the information away to the right people—it wasn’t stolen to sell. Second, he is moved by hearing Mozart, decides the crew of Excalibur are the right people, and gives them the data crystals to copy. In return he’ll give himself up, allowing the situation to end peacefully, and ensuring the data will survive. There’s a smaller moral issue that plays out during this as well, in that Gideon and crew wrestle with the concern that turning Natchok Var over to his government could result in an unfair trial or even his death. In the end, it’s his decision though and they see him depart. Their greatest fears are realized when they witness the Moradi warship destroy Natchok Var’s shuttle once it’s clear of Excalibur. Perhaps this encourages them though that gaining a copy of the information on the data crystals made Natchok Var’s sacrifice worthwhile.

What was remarkable in the end, after Dr. Chambers did an initial review of the data, she realized there was “nothing scientifically useful” on the crystals. Instead the data all captured the Moradi arts. Your hosts agreed that this is a tragic view of the value of the arts expressed through the fictional Moradi government, and seen at times through our own (real world) human history, where the arts have been downplayed and even destroyed in various places and at various times.

Finally, the episode ends with what still would have been significant, initial character development for Dureena. In an exchange between her and Gideon, we learn that Dureena wasn’t just held as a slave on Praxis 9. Tragically, her own family sold her into slavery to pay off debts. Wow!

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 110 – The Memory of War

As mentioned previously, the previous episode was intended to be the premiere for the series, and this episode was intended to air third. 

This episode kicks off with Jane (our favorite actress Maggie Egan!) talking about how the Rangers are scouting for leads on potential cures, with the military research vessel Excalibur following up on specific leads. This explains why in earlier episodes (as aired) it seemed the Excalibur was sort of wondering around, almost purposelessly or without any real focus or urgency. Here, the Excalibur arrives at a planet, sends probes into the atmosphere, and begins plans to send crew members to the surface. However, Galen appears and warns them not to go: those who go will die. As this storyline unfolds, we learn that many have gone to this planet before, including Technomages, and all have died.  In a tender moment, Galen explains he’s being as pushy as he is because he views Gideon and the crew of Excalibur as his family.

Warnings considered, Gideon and crew head to the surface, risking death for information that might prove useful toward finding a cure for the Drakh virus on Earth. As camp is set up, we’re shown a sort of graffiti on some walls, and Dureena immediately does what she does: explore and seek information that wouldn’t be easily obtained by others. She finds an interesting data crystal and brings it back to the others, and shortly thereafter, an IPX employee working for Max dies. Someone or something has slashed her throat. Then several others die.

Max takes the data crystal and begins working to decipher what’s on it, and translates the written planetary language. We learn the graffiti means “behold and die”. Galen links himself to some of the remaining probes dropped by Excalibur and also makes an important discovery: there is an artificial virus at work. On that virus: a symbol, sigil, a signature of sorts, that Galen immediately recognizes and causes him to become furious. The virus was created using Technomage technology, and becomes active at night, reprogramming itself to adjust to the beings infected, causing them to kill themselves. With only a few hours left before dark, he grabs a very cool tool of his trade, a unique staff, and heads below the surface to find what drives the virus.

Back on the Excalibur, the team returned with samples (actually “buckets” of the nano virus, and Doc Chambers found a way to incorporate it into a compound that could be used as a temporary vaccine. A promising discovery! Excalibur is ready to depart, but Gideon is told there’s one shuttle remaining away, but imminently returning to return to the ship. With all shuttles previously accounted for, he questions why one left and went back to the surface. That’s when Dureena walks back in and we see why she made the quick trip back to the planet. Remember, she’s a thief, and has even been called a “tunnel rat”. Well, our favorite tunnel rat found her way back down to the control chamber Galen had destroyed, recovered his staff, and brought it back to him.

The show ends with Gideon consulting the Apocalypse Box again. In a troubling moment, we see the box caution him, “Do not trust.” When asked, the Box elaborates: Galen…

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 109 – Racing The Night

racing-the-nightWe liked this episode for a number of reasons. Understanding that JMS originally intended this episode to be the premiere helped. With that in mind, it becomes clear why we’re seeing an assortment of character introductions that don’t seem to belong in the nine episode (as aired). It also explains why Max seems to be back to his fully-abrasive personality after we’ve seen several episodes he may have a heart and a moral compass that isn’t fully driven by corporate profit and politics as a company man.

The Excalibur’s crew is on a planet seeking the cure to the plague on Earth, Max is making a number of discoveries, but with little medical advancement, and Dr. Chambers has discovered there are at least 30 kinds of DNA present.

Galen is missing (for the moment), with his absence attributed to being a Technomage, and Dureena is climbing through tunnels where she discovers what appears to be a giant machine. She’s called back to the surface without the immediate chance to tell the others what she’s looking at. Time passes, and it eventually surfaces that the people of the planet are cryogenically dormant—sleeping—with a single being awake and taking care of the machine. The storyline takes a sinister turn when the caretaker tells Gideon and crew why the population is asleep: they were also infected with the plague that now haunts the Earth. They had been trying for four years to lure others to the planet, then experimenting on them even to the point of death, in hopes that they’d find a cure. The episode places ethics of science and experimentation in front of us to ponder: is it okay to kill some in order to save many more?

When Excalibur tries to depart, the ship is grabbed by a tractor beam and starts being pulled to the surface. In order to escape, Gideon rotates the front of the ship toward the surface where the beam originates, and fires the main gun. The tractor beam fails and the ship recovers control in time to prevent its destruction in the planet’s atmosphere.

As the ship and crew depart, Galen asks Gideon how he picked this particular planet to search. Gideon’s response: “I have my sources.” As the show ends, we’re shown his source…a mysterious, glowing box that we already know is the Apocalypse Box, previously won in a game of cards. We’re left wondering what this box really is, how it works, and why Captain Gideon trusts it.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 108 – Appearances and Other Deceits

appearancesThe last episode of the series filmed finds its way at this point in the season, with a B plot of the crew being fitted with “new” uniforms, which were actually the “old” uniforms to match the first episodes filmed. Your hosts talk about “what’s old is new again” as well as as follow the main storyline which has our crew discovering a ghost ship adrift. Bringing a survivor onto the ship, a medical technician touches the patient who dies after “infecting” her with something he was carrying.

Max works on deciphering symbols assumed to be the written language of the race onboard the ghost ship. When he he realizes what he might be looking at, infected crew members nearby hear him and they’re not happy with his discovery.  Max tells Gideon an alien presence gained access to the other ship and the alien crew vented their atmosphere trying to kill the invasive species. However they moved into a single host  to survive. Now they are infecting Gideon’s crew one by one.

In an interesting turn of events, the hostile alien presence again attempts to consolidate into a single host thanks to a plan by the crew, and during the moments of desperation, it comes across an unconscious human crew member who is also in a space suit. It quickly removes his glove, touches him, and transfers into his unconscious body.  Now trapped, internally it tries to tell Gideon it knows what he is looking for (the cure) but is unable to speak.

Our crew starts to get back to normal life—but with the addition of new uniforms, courtesy of the flamboyant designer.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 107 – The Rules of the Game

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The Excalibur is on a voyage that has a deliberate connection to finding a cure for the plague and our crew finds themselves on Babylon 5 to work gaining access to a planet called Lorka 7. Max quickly runs into someone he probably didn’t want to see: his ex-wife. Gideon quickly finds himself arguing with the Brakiri for access to a planet they are the guardians for.  The reason given why he can’t the visit the planet: rules regarding a religious order and the risk of their purity being compromised by corrupt visitors. Even so, we learn that it’s okay for the Lorkans to be on Babylon 5 because they’re “incorruptible.”

Max’s ex-wife (Cynthia) asks him to bail her out of an outrageous debt she got herself into. Max decides to help her out and pays off the original loan amount, calling the interest on the loan “extortion”, apparently feeling his ex should get an exception to the terms of the loan. Mueller turns his attention to Max, kidnapping his cat Mr. Kitty.

The Lorkan plan to kill Gideon (and apparently also Lochley since she’s with him on a sort of date) also fails. Max ends up confronting Mueller and puts an explosive collar on him: one that will explode if he gets too close to Max or his ex. Max tells Mueller he’ll return the cat, bathed.

As the show wraps up, the Lorkans reveal that our two corrupt emissaries were actually running some sort of criminal scheme on Lorka 7, and feared that a visit from Gideon and crew would have revealed it. Now caught, the planetary leadership allows them to visit, knowing they’re “corrupt” but acknowledging that purity without temptation is meaningless. The visit will allow both sides to gain something valuable. As things wrap up, Max and his ex part in peace, and his cat is returned safely.

Kind of a wild and frivolous episode. It had it’s odd issues, but overall it was kind of fun.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 106 – Ruling From The Tomb

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The episode opens on Mars, where we find Captain Lochley and Gideon together in advance of a conference convened to discuss the Drakh plague. Gideon is there since he’s the captain of the Excalibur; Lochley has been called away from Babylon 5 to head up the event security.  She confidently declares the event “perfectly safe.” — Oh boy! Early in the episode we also see several tips of the hat to Ray Bradbury, starting with a visible street sign for Bradbury Street.

Lochley and Gideon seem slightly flirtatious, Max and our old friend Trace seem to be squabbling over a chance to gain Dureena’s affection, and Dr. Chambers isn’t immune to what may be advances from others either. It’s not clear why everyone seems so interested in the affection of others, but outside of the seriousness of the conference, things are somewhat lighthearted…until violence strikes. A brutally murdered victim seems to have something to do with a shady Foundationst priest named Dr. Lebecque and a sketchy religious order called Sacred Omega. The decision is made to transport the body to Excalibur to attempt to reduce visibility and gossip about what could be perceived as a threat to the conference. As with having Lochley head the security effort, the reasoning for moving the autopsy off-world seems a bit weak, but it’s used to set up time to hear about Trace’s past. He was going to be a priest at one point and has a connection with Lebceque. As for Lebecque, he seems unstable as he’s hearing and responding to a voice in his head that seems to be encouraging him to consider the Drakh plague a result of the will of God, driving him to consider ending the anti-plague event by killing everyone present, preventing them from thwarting God’s will. He’s listening.

There’s more social interaction between Lochley and Gideon, and what appears to be a romantic interest forming. In a comical moment, Gideon divulges to Lochley that his hero is John Sheridan; Lochley divulges to him that she used to be married to Sheridan. (Awkward!) Trace and Max are still squabbling over Dureena (she’s not interested), Trace has had too much to drink and isn’t holding up well, and eventually stumbles outside.

Based on the prompting of the voice, Lebecque has a bomb rigged and ready to detonate to kill all those who can contribute to curing the plague who are in attendance, and as things come to a head, Trace’s prior knowledge of Lebecque from his days entering the priesthood pay dividends. They run a pretty cheesy but successful bluff to convince Lebecque to back off his plan, everyone is saved, and we learn the voice in his head is Joan of Arc. The episode ends with Lochley inviting Gideon to swing by Babylon 5 if he’s ever in the area, and as the credits roll we hear…dogs and cats?

In the end, this was a fairly obscure episode, in that the title refers to a play written by T.S. Eliot. A line from that play is also quoted toward the end of the episode. At least one of your hosts couldn’t cleanly connect the episode to the point of the play (the temptation and death of Archbishop Becket of Canterbury, in 1170). We tried to piece the connections between the episode and the play together, but probably not with much success. Overall, it wasn’t very clear what the episode added, but it definitely provided a little humor and some additional character development for several of our main characters. It definitely established the beginning of what could be an interesting personal relationship between Lochley and Gideon.

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 105 – Patterns of the Soul

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Once again the crew is taken off the path to find a cure for the Drakh plague. The Excalibur is sent to Theta 49 where there is concern a small group of colonists might be contaminated with the plague. Gideon receive orders to find the colonists and bring them back to Earth—an unusual request. If they’re actually contaminated, it would be relatively simple to quarantine this secluded planet.

As Excalibur arrives, we get a glimpse of one of the colonists interacting with a representative of what appears to be an indigenous population. This elder tells the colonist that he should take his people away so that his own people can live, suggesting the local population already knows the colonists are infected.

After a quick dowsing in a protective mist to protect them from the virus, members of the crew go to the surface to make contact with the colonists. They’re informed that the colonists left Earth before the Drakh plague was dispensed, but the settlers agree to be tested for confirmation.

As the drama unfolds, we learn there are dissenting views among the colonists, with Mr. Black offering to his people they might want to go back. We also hear the dissenting view that going back might mean they’d be locked up again after the discovery of “who and what we are.” We don’t yet know what this means, but it gives us a little more insight into why the Excalibur is ordered to bring them back.

Meanwhile, Dureena finds another camp—not Earthlings—and quickly discovers she’s found a surviving remnant of her own people, previously unknown to be on Theta 49. Quickly we learn that the colonists are infected even though there’s confirmation they did leave Earth before the release of the Drakh virus. With a new problem to be solved, Dr. Chambers suits up and goes in to examine the waste disposal system for clues about how the colonists ended up infected. Gideon uses special access to gain information and learns that the colonists have cybernetic enhancements courtesy of an activity called the Bioweapons Division. This makes them dangerous, especially since they’re living weapons. This further complicates the plot in that it seems Earth’s military leadership would be happy they’ve isolated themselves. The mystery is solved when Dr. Chambers discovers that the solders were deliberately infected through their food. If this were ever discovered and made public, it would be a significant blemish on Earth’s military leadership.

Armed with this information, Gideon comes up with a plan and stages the destruction of the colonists (BOOM!) to provide cover for them to remain outside of Earth’s control. We also learn that the survivors from Dureena’s world are also infected. Unfortunately the virus works much more quickly on them than on a human. Dureena pleads to leave them alone. In the end, Gideon reports back to Earth that the planet will be quarantined to protect the previously unknown indigenous population, allowing the now “dead” Earth colonists to live out the remainder of their lives in peace as well. After all, Gideon’s public orders were to prevent the spread of the virus.

A quick note about the B-Story here. Our friend Max from IPX has been under some pressure to report back what the Excalibur has been finding. We’ve watched him fail at this so far, but now he has the chance to give them something interesting about Theta 49. He queues up a report divulging the info he has on the planet, including about the people there, and in a moment of strength of conscience, he deletes it rather than sending it, protecting Dureena’s people and the colonists. Are we seeing some depth developing in Max’s character?

You can find us at http://www.BabylonProjectPodcast.wordpress.com, on Facebook at The Babylon Project Podcast or on iTunes.  You can email us at TheBabylonProjectPodcast@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Just remember… No boom today.  Boom tomorrow.  There’s always a boom tomorrow!

BPP Crusade 104 – The Path of Sorrows

104-path-of-sorrows

In this episode, your hosts agree this felt like the usual B5 episode we’ve come to love.  We also find the crew of the Excalibur on what appears to be a legitimate mission focused on finding a cure for the Drakh plague:  a relatively unknown world that also happens to be a place of healing.

Upon arrival, the team finds a strange alien apparently entombed in a vessel, that has the ability to grant forgiveness and therefore a release from the emotional burden carried by others.  We then see this creature begin to heal members of the crew by interacting with them one at a time.  First Captain Gideon wrestles with the loss of his entire ship and crew when he was a new officer.  He survived because he was outside the ship when it was lost and was picked up by a Technomage ship—Galen’s ship.  Here we also get the backstory of when Galen and Gideon first met.  We see some subsequent trauma (and drama), but ultimately the issue Gideon needs to be forgiven for comes to the surface—at a minimum he seems to be suffering from survivor’s guilt.  Through the mental link he has with the creature, he is told he’s forgiven.

Next, Matheson has his encounter with the creature.  In his past, and during the rise of the Resistance in the Babylon 5 series, he was a young Psi Corps employee (but not a Psi Cop) and the custodian for a Psi Corps prisoner being held for interrogation.  The prisoner (a leader in the Resistance) convinces him that she’s being held unjustly, and that once the Psi Corps gets what they want from her, she’ll be killed.  The Resistance was gaining traction and the Corps was desperate to find a way to curtail their progress.  In the end, he helps the prisoner and we learn Matheson was a wild card in the Resistance’s ultimate ability to beat the Psi Corps.  We also learn she’s carrying a beacon, allowing the Resistance to successfully find and attack the Psi Corps base.  Matheson had never told anyone about this betrayal; the mysterious creature frees him and tells him he’s forgiven.

Galen is next to face the creature.  Galen’s pain was a bit different.  The love of his life is wounded and ultimately dies, leaving Galen alone.  As she departs, she tells him that the universe has a purpose and that one day he will need to learn to forgive God for his decisions.  She also promises him that if there is a way after she’s gone, she’ll call to Galen, say his name and send him a message.  Rather than embracing the encouragement of his dying friend, the loss drove Galen to a deep anger toward God and a denial that there is any real, meaningful purpose  in the universe.  Unlike with Gideon and Matheson, Gideon isn’t in need of forgiveness; he needs to forgive.

As the episode wraps up, a message arrives for Galen.  This is particularly interesting since no one other than the crew of Excalibur knows Galen is onboard the ship.  The computer says it didn’t come from any specific location: just “out there.”  The message was simple.  It contained his name and the word LOVE.  Galen denies this is possible as we’re reminded of the words Isabelle spoke to him, “If there is a purpose, if there is a design, if there is a way after I’m gone, I will call to you and say your name, and send you a message.  And you will know I was right.”

The planet provided healing, but not the kind Earth needs to cure the plague.  Even so, Gideon and Matheson received the healing they needed.  Sadly, it remains to be seen if Galen will ever be healed.

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