|The Knight, Death, and the Devil|
|Original air date||
April 29, 2002
is always his own mind."
Admiral Constanza Stark,
The Knight, Death, and the Devil is the twentieth episode of the second season of Andromeda.
Beka and Harper are preparing to sign the 50th world to the Commonwealth Charter, Kasimir, but Dylan, Rommie, and Tyr are not on the Andromeda. Beka reminds Harper not to let anyone known that Dylan is away.
Dylan, Rommie, and Tyr are on the Eureka Maru, approaching the Clarion's Call, a former High Guard troop transport that has been converted into a casino. They have heard that there is a Nietzschean "prison camp" full of old High Guard ships, and believe that the Clarion's Call's avatar, Ryan, might have information about it.
Dylan finds Ryan working as a doorman in the casino, and identifies himself as a High Guard officer. Ryan protests that he does not want to get involved, so Dylan shocks him unconscious with his Force lance, and carries him out. Rommie is upset and disappointed with the fact that they had to kidnap Ryan, instead of him volunteering to help.
Ryan tells them that he managed to escape from the Drago-Kazov Pride prison camp, the Tartarus system. He says that there are approximately 50 ships remaining there. Dylan tells him that the Dragans have figured out how to erase a ship's AI, and they have only a few days to rescue those ships, or the Dragans will have an extremely powerful fleet at their disposal. Ryan is reluctant to return to Tartarus, but Dylan reminds him of his duties as a High Guard officer.
Beka is speaking with the leader of Kasimir. He asks to talk to Dylan, and Beka tells him that Dylan is not available, but talking to her is just as good. He implies that if he does not get to talk to Dylan, the planet will not sign.
Ryan explains that the AIs fought back against the Nietzschean captains who rebelled, so the Nietzscheans removed their slipstream drives and dumped them in Tartarus. The star in the system is a brown dwarf supernova remnant. There are no raw materials in the system to use to build new parts, and it is difficult to slipstream into and out of the system. Ryan explains that he followed a Nietzschean patrol ship into slipstream, and wandered for 100 years until he got out again. He looked for someone that he could bring to rescue the other ships, but there was no one he could call on. Dylan quietly sympathizes with Ryan's displacement.
The Maru arrives in the Tartarus system, and finds a number of High Guard ships of various types: cruisers, frigates, and a Siege Perilous Class Deep Stand-off Attack Ship, the Wrath of Achilles. Rommie is especially pleased at the sight of so many of her own kind, and even spots one of her lost sister ships the Million Voices. Ryan explain to Dylan that Achilles is the commander of the P.O.W.'s.
They land on the Achilles, and find battle damage, Ryan explains that Achilles fought against the Nietzscheans. The Achilles (Avatar) appears in hologram form and accuses Ryan of being a traitor. He demands that Dylan identify himself, and while Dylan's command codes are valid, Achilles insists that they are out of date. Rommie goes into Achilles Virtual Reality matrix, where Achilles quickly verifies that she is the Andromeda Ascendant's avatar. Rommie says she can sympathise with the ships imprisonment despite Achilles venemously asking her "Did you feel all 300 year pass you by or was it just a tick of the clock?". She asks him to join them and become the core of the new High Guard, but Achilles says that Dylan is assuming too much.
Dylan asks Ryan about Achilles' accusation, and Ryan confesses that his is both a traitor and a coward. He says that the ships managed to piece together a single slipstream drive, and he was sent out to make contact with the "moderate" Nietzschean prides. Their goal was to help the Nietzscheans destroy each other, but Ryan was unable to complete his mission.
Harper programs a real time representation of Dylan that will allow Beka to communicate with the planet and make it seem as if it is Dylan talking.
Achilles tells Dylan that the ships might not be interested in a new Commonwealth. When they were captured by the Nietzscheans, they had to decide whether to be soldiers, and fight, or be slaves, and just give in. They chose to be soldiers, and have since come to wonder if they were really soldiers when they were in the Commonwealth.
Dylan speaks to Milla, the AI of the "Million Voices". She says that she is not going to "just fall into line" after 300 years. Dylan appeals to her sense of duty, reminding her that she was built to serve the Commonwealth. Milla reminds him that the Commonwealth fell, and wonders if it may have been partially because the AIs were not treated as equals. She insists that she is not asking for the AIs to be put in control, but they will not agree to be slaves again.
Dylan speaks to Rommie, emphasizing the importance of the mission, and referring to the ships as "strategic assets". He plans to have the other ships link their controls to the Maru, and fly them all out. Rommie insists that they need to address the AIs' concerns first.
A Nietzschean patrol ship passes through the system on schedule. Tyr is sure that they will be out of the system long before the next one is expected. The ships prepare to move out.
Tyr and Rommie discuss the status of the AIs. Tyr says that if the AIs are to be regarded as people and not machines, then perhaps the Commonwealth did treat them as slaves.
Achilles demands a court martial for Ryan, and says that the decision was unanimous by all of the ships, he must be erased. Dylan insists that Ryan's mission was unreasonable, as there were no "moderate Nietzscheans" for him to find, and unilaterally overrides the decision. He does, however, remind Ryan that he did make a mistake, and he has to earn the other ships' trust back.
A Nietzschean fighter and transport arrive in the system, well ahead of schedule. Dylan concludes that this means they are bringing the Artificial Intelligence eraser. They have, at most, three hours to get the fleet moving out before the Nietzscheans board Achilles. Dylan does not feel that this is enough time to move the fleet out, but he is prepared to fight. Ryan is worried about combat, since his avatar was poorly built by the Nightsiders. He is not worried about his own safety as much as about his ability to protect Dylan.
Beka addresses the government of Kasimir, using Harper's program to appear to be Dylan. After her speech, she and Harper are celebrating, pleased with the result, but Harper accidentally leaves the comms channel open, and the leader overhears them, and realizes that he has been tricked. He demands to talk to the real Dylan.
The Nietzscheans board the Achilles, and Dylan and Ryan ambush them, while the Maru attacks the Nietzschean ships. The Achilles' avatar also attacks and is shot, but manages to buy time for Dylan and Ryan. The Achilles' AI insists that it was just an avatar, and they can always build another. Ryan runs for the Command Deck, while Dylan fights the last of the Nietzschean troops. One Nietzschean manages to get to Command and activates the eraser. Ryan shoots him and deactivates it, but it is too late, Achilles is dying. The Maru destroys the Nietzschean fighter and the transport leaves, but the Maru is out of ammunition.
Beka is upset about the fact that she might lose Kasimir as a signatory, but Trance re-assures her. Trance encourages her not to try to be Dylan, but to just be herself.
Tyr says that they should leave, but they cannot leave the Achilles behind for the Nietzscheans. Dylan resolves that he will destroy the ship before leaving. Ryan feels that he, personally, failed to save Achilles, but Dylan reminds him that he did help to get rid of the Nietzscheans.
Beka meets with the Kasimir leader on the Andromeda. She apologizes for deceiving him, but insists that she had to try. She tells him about how she came to believe in the Commonwealth despite her initial skepticism, and that she believes it is worth fighting for. She insists that if that is not reason enough for him, then even Dylan will not be able to convince him.
The fleet is ready to attack the Achilles, by ramming it if necessary. They blame Ryan for losing Achilles. Dying, Achilles addresses the fleet. He tells them that Ryan risked his life trying to save him. Dylan tells them he wants to save the fleet, and once again appeals to their sense of duty, but says that the final choice is up to them. They agree to consider it.
While Tyr and Rommie are preparing the Maru for departure, Dylan tells Achilles that he is needed to convince the fleet to come with them. Achilles tells Dylan to simply give them the choice, and to let them know that they will have the right to make choices for themselves in the new Commonwealth. With that, Achilles dies.
Since the Achilles is unable to operate without an AI, Rommie agrees to assume the AI functions of the ship. She recognizes that there is a chance that the AI eraser is still active, but decides that it is worth the risk. When she enters the VR matrix, she finds Ryan is already there, and has already taken control of the ship. He says that he has resolved to be the soldier he has to be, and in doing so, he can protect Rommie from the danger of the AI eraser. He has made his choice.
With Tyr's encouragement, Dylan agrees to give Ryan a chance, but Milla is angry, she insists that any of the others would have been willing to take control of the Achilles.
Dylan tells Milla that he agrees to the AIs' request, once they are free of the system, they will be free to go, but he hopes they will consider joining the new Commonwealth, as soldiers.
Milla points out that Dylan has the Dragans' AI eraser, and he could use it on them and replace them with more willing AIs. Dylan counters that, if he was going to do that, he already would have.
The ships all agree to join the Commonwealth.
As they are preparing to leave, a full Nietzschean task force arrives, preventing the fleet from leaving, especially as Dylan is unwilling to leave the slower ships behind. The Achilles takes heavy damage, and Ryan does not believe he will be able to make it to slipstream. He begs Dylan to leave, even threatening to knock him out and drag him off the ship, but Dylan refuses.
A group of ships, led by Milla, break off from the fleet and interpose themselves between the Nietzscheans and the rest of the fleet. Milla tells Dylan that she only wanted the right to choose, and then rams the Nietzschean fleet, giving the rest of the ships enough time to escape.
Kasimir signs the Charter. As Beka is saying how she thinks Dylan should be there to celebrate, he arrives, leading the new fleet.
Ryan tells Dylan that the Achilles needs a Captain. Dylan says that he thinks that Ryan should be that captain. He says that the AIs have clearly outgrown their original function. He also tells Ryan that he intends to re-name the Achilles the "Clarion's Call", in his honor. Ryan declines, insisting that the name be left the same, in honor of Achilles, who was a true hero.
- "Knight, Death and the Devil" is a engraving masterpiece of german artist Albrecht Dürer, first printed in 1513 AD.
- Rommie: Well, Tyr, if I ate food, you'd be wearing it right now.
- Tyr: Lovely imagery – and they say AIs have no poetry in their souls.
- Rommie: No, no poetry, but we're hell on wheels with a dirty limerick. Wanna hear one? "There once was a man from Nan…".
- Harper: Like father, like simulacrum. And it's so easy, even a child could do it – a child with an IQ of 187, but a child nonetheless.