|The Illusion of Majesty|
|Original air date||
April 21, 2003
Krista Allen as Loreena Blodget
Happy or sad, haunted or hunted,
You choose the mask, you choose the risk.
You choose your own poison."
Last words of Plethe the Pirate,
"The Illusion of Majesty" is episode 19 of Season 3.
After a rough slipstream transit, the Andromeda is forced to emerge in the Prolon System. Prolon is a dumping ground for hazardous waste, which makes it very difficult to navigate, as this interferes with sensors. In fact, Beka Valentine is unable to find her way back out. She does, however, detect an escape pod floating nearby, containing a human female.
As they move to retrieve this escape pod, they are attacked by three ships, firing missiles made of the waste in the system. Dylan is worried that firing back may ignite a chain reaction in the debris, so he does not return fire. After they have retrieved the pod, the ships hail them, demanding that it be turned over to them. They claim that it contains the Princess of Prolon. Rommie checks the Prolon records and discovers that this princess is very popular. She also, apparently, disappeared as a child, and was thought dead, but re-appeared approximately a year ago.
Tyr Anasazi does not want to deal with Prolon, because of the factionalism and in-fighting in the system, but Dylan points out that they need a local guide to get out of the system. He allows the Prolon delegation to board the ship, but takes security precautions.
Loreena Blodget revives, but avoids answering any questions. Dylan explains to her that the Andromeda is trying to find its way out of the system. She says that they navigate by sight in the Prolon system, but she will be happy to guide them out.
As Dylan is guiding the Princess and her entourage through the corridors, Trance hands him a Flexi.
The Princess indicates to Dylan that she wants some time away from her entourage, so Dylan takes her on tour of the ship. She tries to seduce him, but Dylan deflects her advances. He reveals the information on the flexi, it demonstrates that she is not the real Princess, but an imposter. The Princess is worried that she will be killed if her fraud is revealed, so she tries to strike a deal with Dylan, where she will guide them out of the system, and he will let her go. He avoids making any definite commitment.
Another very large hostile ship approaches the Andromeda. It contains members of the Prolon Order of Monks, who claim that their goddess is on the Andromeda, and demand that she be released to them. They show a picture of this goddess, and it is the Princess.
Thinking fast, Dylan says that the goddess has a plan, and wants the monks to come on board the Andromeda. They agree. Beka wonders aloud how many scams she has going.
Dylan tells the Princess that the monks are coming on board, but does not admit that he knows that she is the "goddess". She wants to leave the ship, but returns to her quarters to hide from the monks.
The monks come on board, and are concerned about the presence of the Prolon royals, as their goddess told them to avoid all contact with them. They also mention that the goddess told them to give all of their money to the church.
The Prolon Ministry of Justice, an organization run by an Artificial Intelligence, contacts the Andromeda, saying that the Princess/goddess is really a woman named "Loreena Blodget", and is one of their most wanted criminals. They are sending one of their top judges to the Andromeda to deal with her.
When Dylan confronts her, Loreena tells him that the Royal Family has stolen from the people, and she has taken most of their ill gotten gains. She offers to split it with Dylan if he will help her get away. He does not agree to this.
The Ministry of Justice ship arrives at the Andromeda, and Dylan forces Loreena to face them. The Artificial Intelligence judge quickly and unceremoniously identifies Loreena, pronounces her guilty, and calls in a firing squad to execute her on the spot. Dylan protests the execution, and ends up agreeing to represent her in a trial.
Dylan tries to get Loreena to tell him where the money is. She agrees to do so, if she is found innocent.
The monks are trying to see their goddess. Beka and Dylan try to keep them away, but the monks call fire on the Andromeda from their ship. Dylan then explains to the monks that their goddess is an imposter. The monks start to yell and attack Dylan and Beka with their staves. Dylan chases two of them off, and Beka fights off the other one. After fleeing, the monks accost Harper, demanding to know where their goddess is, but Tyr intercedes, and engages the monks in philosophical discussion.
Dylan talks to the King of Prolon, and tries to bargain for Loreena's life. The King tells Dylan that he is willing to let her be a martyr, in order to undermine the Ministry of Justice. The King states that the "The Illusion of Majesty" must be maintained. If the illusion is shattered, then a government will be destroyed by revolution.
Loreena's trial is held. The judge states that the accused, Loreena, will enter into arguments with the "Ministry of Justice Prosecutor", a muscular, tattooed man. It is clear that this is not going to be an intellectual debate. Dylan objects, and the judge tells him that he will be permitted to substitute for Loreena. When he agrees, a cage closes around him and the Prosecutor, and swords are provided to them.
Meanwhile, Harper and Tyr find their way into the memory core of the Ministry of Justice ship. Harper is surprised to find how old their equipment is.
Dylan manages to knock out the Prosecutor by using the cage, but the judge declares this an illegal maneuver, and summons the firing squad, preparing to pronounce sentence on Loreena. Before she can do so, Harper manages to hack into the system, and override the judge, forcing her to clear Loreena of all charges.
Back in Loreena's quarters, Dylan tells her to lead them to the money, so that she can confess and give the money back. She sends everyone away except for a handmaid, whom she tells to get the "veil of repentance".
As Dylan is explaining the truth of Loreena's actions to the Royals, a veiled figure enters, but it is not Loreena, it is the handmaid. Andromeda announces that the Eureka Maru has launched, with Loreena on board. The Royals, and the monks, are angry with Dylan.
While they are leaving the ship, the monks confront Tyr. He systematically shoots the ends off their staves, and the monks flee.
Both the Royals and the monks start to fire on the Andromeda. Dylan refuses to return fire, for fear of starting a chain reaction, but the damage causes one of Andromeda's missile tubes to short out, and a missile is fired anyway. This does cause a massive explosion, leading to a quickly expanding fireball. Tyr suggests that they get out of the system as quickly as possible, but Dylan sends Harper to retrieve the detonator from a nova bomb (not a complete bomb), which they use to starve the fire and put it out.
Loreena retrieves the money she stole and puts it on the Maru, at which point Beka, who had been hiding on board, reveals herself. Beka forces her to return to the Andromeda.
Back on the Andromeda, Dylan forces Loreena to broadcast a message to the entire system, admitting that she stole the money from the Royals and monks, but saying that she did so in order to re-distribute the money to the impoverished people, and rejuvenate the system. Dylan "offers" to help with this re-distribution on his way out of the system. The King is shocked as his bank accounts are depleted.
Loreena is clearly not pleased with this arrangement. She threatens to get revenge on Dylan if she is ever given the opportunity.
Tyr: If you'll remember, I suggested leaving the moment we arrived.
Dylan: But, if you remember, I actually agreed with you - for the first time - and we couldn't leave. Don't you appreciate the tragic irony in that, Tyr?
Tyr: (laughs) Thank you so much for stopping by.
Monk: The Prolon Order of Monks are willing to die in their quest!
Dylan: That's very... suicidal of you
Harper: (to Dylan) The problem is, this stuff is so old, it pre-dates you!
Harper: This isn't hacking, it's archaeology!
Dylan: (dodging Monk's staff) Oh again with the sticks!