|D Minus Zero|
|Original air date||
October 23, 2000
about war: Somebody wins,
somebody loses, and
nothing is ever the same again."
Admiral Constanza Stark,
"D Minus Zero" is episode 4 of Season 1.
In the Andromeda Ascendant Hydroponic Garden, Dylan is teaching Tyr the game of basketball. Tyr questions the need for rules, but Dylan explains that it forces the player to out-think their opponent, rather than simply resorting to force. Given the ball, Tyr strikes Dylan with it and goes to the basket. Dylan suggests that the "personal foul" will be the next lesson.
Rev Bem calls Dylan to command: Andromeda has located the mission recorder from a High Guard ship. Investigating this, they find the debris from a destroyed ship. Another ship moves into the system, and the trap is sprung: missiles were hidden in the debris field. Andromeda is hit, but suffers minimal damage.
Dylan attempts to hail the other ship, but the attack continues and the hail goes unanswered. It turns out that the first missiles were "paintballs", covering Andromeda's hull with radioactive residue, allowing the other ship to fight without active sensors. Dylan orders Harper, at the helm, to take evasive action. Beka attempts to overrule him, telling Harper to get them out of the fight, but Dylan reinforces his order. The enemy's missiles are intercepted by Andromeda's point defenses, and Dylan tells Harper to take them to cover near a gas giant.
Dylan has a private conversation with Beka. He chastises her for contradicting his orders in the middle of combat – that's how people get killed. He promises that if she talks to him in private, he will give her a fair hearing, but in combat, she is going to have to trust him.
Dylan discusses his concerns with Andromeda Ascendant Artificial Intelligence (who at first seems to have problems listening because she is caressing a picture of him. And when he speaks with her after coming out of the shower, she seems to have problems keeping her eyes on his face) – he doubts himself, feeling "out of his element." Rommie re-assures him.
Beka discusses her concerns with Harper, who is working on repairs to the slipstream drive and making Nanobots to clean the residue off the hull. Beka is upset with Dylan assuming he can just take command, but Harper thinks he might have what it takes.
Re-engaging the enemy, Dylan teaches Beka the "Crazy Ivan" maneuver – random speed and heading changes to throw the enemy off. Dylan puts the crew on fighter support, assigning each one a "zone" to cover. Rev refuses to fire a weapon, so Dylan puts him on sensors.
In the midst of a large missile barrage, Harper misses one in his zone. Tyr moves out of his own zone to cover, but this allows more missiles through, and the ship takes a beating. Dylan calls for a retreat, and tells Beka to head for the sun, to blind their opponent's sensors.
Dylan has a private conversation with Tyr, about following instructions and counting on the team. Tyr doesn't trust the others, considering them "amateurs".
Beka finds Tyr in the Maru, and they discuss the command structure aboard the Andromeda. Tyr suggests that Beka should be the captain, and he should be her first officer. Beka says that she is not prepared to make that move yet, but she will talk to Dylan.
Rev talks to Dylan about Dylan's expectations of the crew. He says that while Dylan may understand the crew's limitations, the crew themselves do not realize this. Specifically, Harper blames himself for letting the missiles through.
Dylan finds Harper in a conduit, making repairs. Harper starts to apologize for his mistakes, but Dylan acknowledges that he did his best. Dylan gives Harper the blueprints for a Footprint Magnification System, which makes a small ship look like a larger ship on the sensors, and asks him to build it, though Harper may have to custom-make a few parts, he agrees to the project.
As the Andromeda gets close to the sun, they are re-engaged by the enemy, taking significant damage. Dylan takes the ship into the corona of the sun to lose the missiles in the flares, and hide from the enemy's sensors. He orders all the bucky cables deployed to bleed off the heat.
Rommie tells Dylan (privately) that they can stay in the sun for about 48 hours before the heat and radiation will kill them. Dylan decides not to tell the rest of the crew. Beka, however has noticed, and likes her chances better facing the enemy ship than the radiation. Dylan says that they need some more repairs before heading out. Tyr has also taken note of the radiation levels, and tells Beka that he doesn't trust Dylan's plan.
Harper is feeling the heat – in fact, he is coughing up blood. He does, however, complete the Footprint Magnification System and brings it to Dylan before collapsing. His system is weaker than average, he grew up in a refugee camp on Earth, and Trance estimates that he cannot survive longer than 3 or 4 hours.
Beka orders Rev and Trance to take Harper to the Maru and prepare to leave. Tyr also wants to leave. Trance and Rev, however, voice their support for Dylan and choose to stay with him. Dylan invites Beka to go ahead and leave, because he is going to make the enemy think the Maru is the Andromeda, hoping to get them before they destroy the Maru.
Beka calls Dylan to the Maru, she has located and removed the Footprint Magnification System. Dylan responds by saying that he is going to pilot the Maru, but Beka claims that she's the better pilot, and knows the ship better, she just needs him to promise that he will get the enemy before they get her.
With the crew manning their battle stations, Beka activates the Footprint Magnification System, and the Maru shows on the sensors as the Andromeda. Rommie is surprised at Harpers work on the device, saying that if she didn't know better she herself would mistaken the sensor readings as her. The enemy engages it, and fires missiles, but Tyr (controlling a fighter on remote), intercepts them. The Maru takes some damage before the Andromeda enters the fight, but escapes to Slipstream, and the enemy is quickly crippled. Dylan attempts to hail them, but the enemy ship self-destructs.
Back on the basketball court in the Andromeda Ascendant Hydroponic Garden, Dylan and Tyr have a re-match. This time, Dylan hits Tyr with the ball. Tyr asks him "what happened to the rules". Dylan says "I owed you one", and tells him to take his free throws.
- D Minus Zero is a military phrase that refers to the beginning of an operation.
- The decision to self-destruct the ship is similiar to the Orions in "Star Trek". When an Orion government mission went wrong, the crew would commit suicide so the government could deny involvement.
- In the "Wing Commander Academy" episode "Invisible Enemy", the Kilrathi pilot destroys the Stealth Fighter to prevent its capture by the Terran Confederation.
Tyr: And when the Magog unleash their dreaded bouncing ball attack, we'll make them rue the day.
Dylan: I want Andromeda bucking like a drunken Vedran with a Nightsider on its back.
Beka: Sounds like my last date.
Tyr: You haven't the first idea how unforgiving this universe has become, and I will not let you find out at my expense!
Tyr: Blind and crippled... if Andromeda was my child, I'd drown it.
Beka: (to Tyr) Look on the bright side – maybe some stray cosmic ray will zap just the right gene and give your children some killer mutation that will make the other Nietzscheans weep with envy.
D Minus Zero was released on DVD in a variety of formats. For more information see:
|Andromeda: Season 1 Volume Releases|
|Andromeda: Complete Season 1|
|Andromeda: Series 1 Volume Releases|
|Andromeda: Complete Series 1|
|Andromeda: The Slipstream Collection|
|Andromeda: The Complete Boxset|