|Pieces of Eight|
|Original air date||
October 6, 2003
Carmen Moore as Tri-Jema
to act is to live."
War Heretics of Auden, CY 9015
"Pieces of Eight" is episode 2 of Season 4.
Dylan Hunt is talking with a hologram of Tri-Jema. She is warning him of a power play against her by a man named Citizen Eight, a man who claims to be a friend of the Commonwealth. He resides on Ganglia Drift and is responsible for rebuilding and updating all Commonwealth ships. His family's relations with the Systems Commonwealth were established before the First Systems Commonwealth Civil War. Eight also has the Prescient under his control, a being that can see the future and is never wrong. He is using this creature’s influence to sway the people’s vote and has turned them against Tri-Jema. If Dylan fails to stop Eight, then Tri-Jema will be voted out and Eight will seize control of the Triumvirate.
Alarms are sounding aboard the Andromeda. Worker droids that arrived on a transport ship bearing an 8 starred logo have gone berserk in one of the hangars. Seamus Harper and Beka Valentine rush to the scene. After a brief fight, Harper tosses a magno-electric resonator that destroys the circuits by using resonant frequencies. The droids are disabled.
Andromeda docks with the gigantic drift. As the crew is leaving the ship, they pass scores of workers on their way in to retrofit Andromeda. The inside of the drift resembles an enormous, crowded bazaar. All manner of life-forms meander around the array of different attractions. Dylan leaves Harper and Beka outside while he goes to find Citizen Eight. He passes through Eight’s office door, emblazoned with the same 8-starred logo as the maniac droids that were on the ship. Dylan is straight to the point; he accuses Eight of threatening Tri-Jema, sending the droids to destroy his ship, and taking advantage of people’s fears with the Prescient. Eight feigns total innocence and leads Dylan, along with Beka and Harper, to the Prescient’s temple in hopes to convince them. They arrive at a large glass and iron tank filled with gas and Eight introduces them to Misabo Ahm, the High Priestess who translates for the Prescient. Each of the three have their turn, with Misabo offering a plate of protein balls to them before each reading. The balls are the Prescient’s food, which it accepts in return for a “reading.” All is fine until Dylan’s reading, which says he is destined to betray the Commonwealth. Nervous onlookers become suspicious and angry and close in on them. The three barely escape.
Back on Andromeda, Dylan confers with Trance Gemini, both of them hinting that Eight, and the Prescient, are under the control of the Spirit of the Abyss. Later, Dylan and Rommie investigate the matter of the Prescient’s protein balls. It is the only common link between all who seek its predictions, and they are closely guarded in one of Eight’s warehouses. The two of them leave the ship to find Beka on the drift. They find her gambling and Dylan tells her he needs a distraction. She begins an exciting game near the warehouse guards, creating such a scene that the guards are lured away by the commotion. Rommie breaks into the warehouse and Dylan steals a protein ball. After a quick fight with a couple of guards, the two make their getaway.
Upon analysis, the ball turns out to be a tiny brain that picks up personal neural information from the person that feeds the Prescient. In effect, it learns their secrets and forms an educated prediction. Dylan heads back to the temple to see what he can find where Misabo Ahm catches him. She means him no harm though, instead offering information about herself and the Prescient. They are a bonded pair whose home world was destroyed by the Magog and the Abyss, and have been captives ever since. With Misabo’s help, Dylan and Rommie sneak into Eight’s office and find out which planet the Prescient’s food comes from, hoping the food source can be destroyed and there will be no more false predictions to sway the citizens. Eight catches them and tries unsuccessfully bring Dylan over to his side.
Rommie wakes Harper after discovering a computer program called a Slavedriver in her inner workings. It was obviously planted secretly by the retrofit team to steal control of the ship out from under her. They are beginning to see the trap being formed for them, but Dylan has a plan and tells them to leave the trap in place. He stops all retrofitting and has the workers thrown in the brig. The Andromeda casts off from the drift setting a course for the planet holding the Prescient’s food source. As they approach slipstream, several of Eight’s warships attack them and the crew cannot respond because of the installed Slavedriver. Eight hails them, flush with expected victory, when Dylan springs his trap. He looks directly into the hidden camera Eight had installed on the bridge and informs him they’ve been broadcasting the whole affair. All of the Commonwealth now knows Eight’s treachery.
Retaking control of the Andromeda, Dylan orders all the enemy warships destroyed. They track Eight to the temple and Dylan takes a Slipfighter down to confront him. He arrives to find Eight torturing the Prescient. Dylan attempts to arrest him but is drawn into a firefight. The Prescient distracts Eight long enough for Dylan to score a direct hit. Eight goes down and his body dissolves into the telltale black goo associated with the Spirit of the Abyss. Misabo Ahm and the Prescient are at last free and Dylan agrees to take them to the food source world where they can remain unmolested.
Dyan meets with Trance on Eureka Maru and they comment on how Eight misunderstood the balance of power, and that it must be shared for a civilization succeed. Trance proclaims that the future is uncertain, but she knows some things are certain, that he is the one. Dylan doesn't understand, but Trance tells him to think about it. She also tells him that he will betray the Systems Commonwealth, she doesn't know how or when, but he will. He answers that if it happens, he better have a good reason.
- The title references the original gold dollars, which were minted so as to be easily clipped into eight smaller pieces. The modern term "two-bit", speaking of two of these eight and thus a quarter of a dollar, derives likewise.
Rommie: Harper, when are you going to realize that your "luck", as you call it, will never change? Although, you're becoming quite a connoisseur of women walkin' away from ya…
Rommie: Dylan, you're not a very popular person down here.
Dylan: Yeah, I know. I feel like a politician.
Rommie: Harper, why don't you find yourself a nice girlfriend?
Harper: I tried building one, but she doesn't want me!
Eight: You are only as good as the universe allows you to be.
Dylan: I only have to be better than you.