But don't predict where your foot will fall
The first and the last steps are the same."
"Phear Phactor Phenom" is episode 3 of Season 5.
Telemachus Rhade is drinking at the Oasis Bar while Beka Valentine gambles with some locals. Suddenly, a commotion erupts at the front door. Rhade sees no cause for alarm but watches as people scramble to escape; even Beka pulls her weapon and fires at the empty doorway. The ripples of panic suddenly reach Rhade who draws his Force lance and dives into the cellar for safety. Beka remains and sees patrons drop dead before she loses consciousness.
Dylan Hunt witnesses the mayhem from down the street and watches as a strange, hulking being named Gogol leads a group of thieves away from the scene. The Oasis is in shambles as the crew surveys the scattered bodies. Beka and Rhade try to explain the fear that came over them while Ocham Sembler, the bartender, gripes about a stolen painting. He offers Dylan and Rhade a reward for its return and they retire to Dylan’s quarters to study the surveillance tapes and one of the dead.
The tapes show that everyone who panicked inhaled a purple mist that traveled through the Oasis. They inspect the corpse and find a nano-bot with a peculiar symbol on it. It acted as the carrier for some sort of fear agent that ultimately killed the victim. They return to ask Sembler about the symbol, who tells them of a forbidding place on Seefra-7, whispered to be the home of a sinister woman named Marika.
Beka pilots the Eureka Maru to Seefra-7, making a rough landing a safe distance from Marika’s compound and further damaging the battered ship. At the same time, Trance Gemini is aboard the Andromeda Ascendant, speaking with Virgil Vox. She tells her that her role and Dylan's are reversed now, that Trance must take care of him. Trance receives a small sun from the other being, one that looks much like Trance herself in sun-state.
We then see Dylan and Rhade attempting to get past guards in Marika's compound, and find that they are only able to do so with help from Trance, who has teleported to their location, though they do not know it. Trance teleports back to the Andromeda, happy with her work.
Dylan and Rhade come across a grotto, where a woman is rummaging through an assortment of treasure, including Semblar’s painting. She turns and opens fire, and as Dylan and Rhade take cover, they are astonished to hear Seamus Harper's voice. They cautiously come out of hiding and are surprised by Harper’s nonchalant greeting. Instead of being happy to see them, he is more nervous and dismisses the woman. He tells them the woman’s name is Doyle and she has been assigned to protect him. Before he can explain more, the sound of approaching guards cues them to grab the painting and duck down a tunnel.
On the way, Harper tells them about Marika. She is a geneticist attempting to build a new Vedran Age from the genetic material she uncovered. Before Harper came along, her process was sub-standard and the results are her malformed guards. He helped develop the fear pheromone, which some workers stole so they can commit crimes. He shows them a secret way out of the compound and then disappears down the tunnel. Dylan and Rhade regroup on the Maru and bring Beka up to speed on Harper, then the 3 of them sneak back into the compound to find out what he’s up to.
Harper is in his lab talking to Gogol, who turns out to be one of his faithful creations. Harper had him stealing to fund his projects but is reprimanding him for going too far with the fear agent, knowing Marika will make the connection. Doyle enters, reporting that Harper’s friends are back and they leave together.
Dylan, Rhade, and Beka arrive to find the lab deserted and begin snooping around. Rhade examines creepy, half-finished creations in vats as Dylan checks out a large cabinet. What he finds makes him take a step back. Rhade and Beka come over to see and discover that it is Rommie’s head atop her metal backbone. From behind them they hear Harper’s voice. They all think he’s crazy, he explains. He hasn’t been able to fix her since the Magog destroyed her. He had her vitals stored safely but can’t recover any of the emotions she developed. She isn’t the Rommie they knew so he keeps her powered down until he can figure out how to repair the damage. Doyle enters, whispering to him, and he excuses himself in a hurry. He finds Marika preparing to operate on Gogol sans anesthetic so as not to taint the cells she requires. Harper flees, unable to stop her and unable to watch.
Meanwhile, Dylan prepares to enter Virtual Reality matrix and confront Rommie. He finds a hologram of her with some memory intact but she isn’t sure who she is. She turns on him, believing him to be her captor and betrayer, but he quickly exits VR before she can do any harm. He finds Harper in the tunnels and learns of Marika’s new strategy: to use the fear pheromone on Seefra’s people, eliminating any resistance to her plan for a master Vedran race. Dylan sees right through him and knows that Harper put her up to it, to save his creations but also to get Dylan involved, freeing Harper from his servitude.
Marika arrives outside the Oasis on Seefra-1 with her warriors and briefly addresses the now condemned citizens before releasing the pheromone. Those closest scatter in terror immediately and the mist begins creeping through town. Marika spots Dylan strolling down the middle of the street. Beka, Rhade, and Doyle step out from buildings and join Dylan. They all don gas masks as Marika’s thugs open fire. During the huge firefight, Dylan tangles with one of the guards but is saved by Semblar at the last moment. Dylan then sneaks up behind Marika and tosses a canister at her. She catches it reflexively as it opens, enveloping her in a swirling red mist; a new concoction compliments of Harper. The red mist knocks her unconscious and neutralizes the fear agent she released in town.
After returning the painting to Ocham Sembler, Dylan is pulled aside by Doyle and convinces him to try to trust Harper again. They all return to Marika’s compound so Dylan may again confront Rommie. She is calmer now, wishing to behave more in accordance with her former programming and he persuades her to let him help. He must shut her down temporarily but she understands this as she has now accepted him as a friend.
- The title is a play on words of "fear factor" pheromone.
- Prieus says "Old Greyban Ranbamagen's ghost, that's who done it. His ghost!" It is not explained who is Greyban Ranbamagen?
Dylan: Maybe you should kill him. (Rhade raises his gun and Dylan stops him) I was kidding.
Rhade: I know.
Dylan: Is Rommie here?
Harper: More or less.
Rhade: He's up to something.
Dylan: More or less, yeah.
Dylan: In good company, Harper.
Harper: Very. She is Doyle. She protects me. She makes sure I don't end up on some hellhole of a rock.
Rhade: We're not leaving without the painting.
(Harper goes looking)
Harper: Hottie with horns and a tail, kinda freaky?
Dylan: He's dodging what happened to Rommie.
Rhade: He didn't insult me, not once. That's not right.
|Aired:||October 8, 2004|
|Writer By:||Paul Barber and Larry Barber|
|Directed By:||Richard Flower|
|Created By:||Gene Roddenberry|
|Developed By:||Robert Hewitt Wolfe|
|Executive Producers:||Majel Roddenberry|
Josanne B. Lovick
|Production Designer||Brian Kane|
|Intro||The Universe is a dangerous place. But in our future my crew and I fight to make it safe. I am Dylan Hunt, Captain of the Andromeda Ascendant, and these are our adventures.|
- Kevin Sorbo as Dylan Hunt
- Lisa Ryder as Beka Valentine
- Steve Bacic as Telemachus Rhade
- Gordon Michael Woolvett as Seamus Harper
- Laura Bertram as Trance Gemini
- Lexa Doig as Rommie
- Brandy Ledford as Doyle