|The Lone And Level Sands|
|Original air date||
October 28, 2002
the Bellerophon embodied humanity's last,
great effort to tame the universe
through our own will alone."
Dr. Paul Museveni, father of
Drago Museveni, A Farther Shore
"The Lone And Level Sands" is episode 5 of Season 3.
Dylan Hunt, Rommie, Tyr Anasazi, and Seamus Harper are returning in the Eureka Maru from signing a non-aggression pact with the Kalderans when they are attacked by Ogami pirates, and the slipstream drive is damaged. They receive a message from a woman that is a distress call, but the exact meaning of the message is unclear. Suddenly, a massive ship arrives. The ship destroys several Ogami ships by using the exhaust from its engines as a weapon, and takes the Maru into its hangar.
Tyr, Rommie, and Harper are arming themselves from the Maru's weapons locker, but Dylan objects, on the basis that they were saved by the crew of this ship. He asks Rommie what she can tell them about the ship, and she speculates that it may be a human design, perhaps even from Earth.
The ship contacts the Maru on the comms system, saying that they do not want trouble. Dylan agrees to let the contact team board. It consists of humans in uniform, identifying them as the Bellerophon Deep Space Expedition, and is led by a woman named Nadia, who was the woman in the message. Harper is amazed at the mention of the Bellerophon, saying that no one has heard of that ship in centuries.
Dylan and the others follow Nadia onto the ship. He says that they received their distress signal, but Nadia denies sending any signals. Dylan asks to see the ship's captain. Nadia says that this is not possible, but is interrupted by the captain on the ship's PA system, ordering her to bring Dylan to the bridge, and she complies. The Ogami are still attacking.
The Ogami board the ship, and Dylan offers to help fight them. Captain Fehdman Metis, declines, saying that Dylan is a guest on his ship, so he should stay out of the way while the crew fights. The Bellerophon's crew, armed with conventional slug-throwing firearms, fight the Ogami boarders, some of which are armed with more "modern" weapons, and some of which carry hand-to-hand weapons. Despite what Metis said, Dylan joins the fight, saving Metis from an Ogami. Metis is grateful.
Rommie and Tyr are also fighting the Ogami, and Metis is impressed by Rommie's combat capabilities.
Harper hacks into the Ogami ships' controls, and causes them to be destroyed.
Dylan, Metis, and the others kill the rest of the Ogami on the Bellerophon.
The Bellerophon is low on fuel, so Metis orders the crew to take them to the corona of a nearby sun to re-fuel. He is grateful for Dylan's help, and offers him anything he can do to help him. Dylan asks for help repairing the Maru, and Metis agrees.
As Nadia is helping clean up after the battle, she mutters about their losses, and wonders how much more they can take.
Beka and Trance continue to look for the Maru. Andromeda detects an ion trail leaving the system, which she says may have been left by the Maru. Beka notes that there is a danger that if they leave the system, they might not be able to find a slip point between systems, but she follows the trail anyway.
Kemp, a member of the Bellerophon's crew, is helping Harper on the Maru, but he does not even know what a slipstream drive is. Harper explains slipstream travel to him, and compares it to the Bellerophon's method of travel, which involves time dilation from traveling close to the speed of light. The two of them reminisce about Earth, but Harper avoids talking about what has happened to Earth recently.
Dylan tells Metis about being trapped in the black hole, and the state of civilization. Metis is impressed by Dylan's efforts to restore the Commonwealth. Metis tells Dylan about his journey, and the wonders he has seen, but also the strain of not seeing anyone but his own crew for long periods of time. Metis compares the two of them, and how they are both driven by their missions. Dylan agrees, noting that he has to get back to the Andromeda to continue his mission.
Harper determines that the slipstream drive is beyond repair, but they are too far out from civilization to get a message to anyone in a reasonable amount of time. Metis offers to take them to the nearest civilized planet, but while that would only take three months of subjective time, it would be 57 years of real time, which Dylan deems unacceptable.
Metis is explaining the operation of the Bellerophon to Rommie. He is impressed, and a little taken with her, and she with him. Rommie tells him that she is not unique, there are other Androids and avatars. Metis insists that the others are not like her, she is a unique individual. Rommie is pleased by this, but warns Metis that Dylan will not accept being taken away from his mission, so Metis would be well advised to not get in his way. Metis says that he wants to help, but his crew, ship, and mission must come first.
Andromeda is searching for the Maru in interstellar space. Andromeda warns Beka that it is harder to find a slip portal, but by fine tuning the systems, they might be able to force one open. Beka and Trance resolve to try this, although they acknowledge that it would be easier if Harper were on board.
Harper and Kemp are still working on the Maru. Kemp, noting that Harper was from Boston, tells how he spent his last night on Earth in Boston. Harper finally tells him what has happened on Earth since then, the wars, the Magog invasions, and finally the rule of the Drago-Kazov Pride. Kemp is shocked, and insists that they have to go and save Earth.
Metis and Nadia are arguing. Nadia insists that the mission is over, because there is no home to go back to. Metis will not listen, and insists that she chose to follow him.
Metis offers to drop Dylan on a planet in the system that is habitable, but inhospitable, in the hopes that someone will pick him up before the 57 years pass. He says that he actually wants Dylan to stay with him on the ship.
Dylan and his crew discuss their options. Dylan is inclined to take the offer to stay on the planet. Harper feels that the ship is safer and more comfortable. Rommie is interested in seeing the kinds of things that Metis has described, and enjoys the fact that, on this ship, she is unique. Tyr insists that Dylan only has one choice – staying on the ship means abandoning his mission, and Dylan has not shied away from risk and danger before, so the planet is his only option.
Nadia interrupts the discussion. She tells Dylan that she think that they do have the means to fix the Maru on the Bellerophon, but Metis is keeping it from Dylan. She intends to mutiny against Metis, and, if Dylan will help her, she will give him what he needs.
Nadia explains to Dylan that the initial message he received, that he took for a distress call, was a message she sent to Kemp on internal communications. She claims that Metis is obsessed with his mission, and the crew are effectively his prisoners. Dylan says that he could take information about the mutiny to Metis, but Nadia reminds him that they can give him the technology to fix his ship, while Metis will not.
Rommie goes to Metis' quarters, and distracts him with a kiss while she steals an identification card from him.
Tyr disables the motion detection system while Rommie uses the ID card and mimics Metis' voice to open a secure door. She finds a damaged, but intact, Slipfighter. Dylan is upset about being lied to, and realizes that Metis was making every effort to prevent his crew from considering leaving.
Harper says that he would be able to fix the Maru using the slipfighter's drive, but this would require assisting the mutiny. Dylan goes to talk to Metis, and tells him that the mutiny is already underway. Metis asks him if he is a part of the mutiny, but Dylan counters by asking him why he did not tell them about the slipfighter. Metis offers to give him the slipfighter if he will help put down the mutiny.
Kemp, with the assistance of other mutineers, takes Harper hostage on the Maru.
Nadia enters the bridge, with armed troops. Metis uses the ship's acceleration to knock them down. Dylan helps Metis disarm them, but prevents him from killing them outright. He convinces Metis to let her and the other mutineers leave the ship with him, saying that Metis can continue his mission with a smaller crew.
Metis and Rommie say their farewells. Metis invites Rommie to stay. She says that while she does feel unique on the Bellerophon, she must stay with Dylan. Rommie says that android bodies do, however, last a long time, and she may still be around when Metis completes his mission. They kiss goodbye.
When the Maru leaves the Bellerophon, Nadia and Kemp are on board. Dylan says that he will take them wherever they want to go, but they are welcome to stay. The Andromeda arrives, and picks up the Maru.
Dylan and Rommie meet on the Obs Deck. Dylan says that he is a little jealous of Metis, for the things he has seen, and he has gained a new respect for the explorers. His naval career led to the opinion that the survey exploration missions were "frivolous". Dylan and Rommie promise each other that when their current mission, to restore civilization, is complete, they will do some exploring of their own.
- The song the Metis sings is "The Coast of High Barbaree". There are several variations of the lyrics.
- The title refers to P.B. Shelley's famous poem "Ozymandias". "The lone and level sands stretch far away", is the poem's final line. It highlights the impermanence of all human endeavor, no matter how spectacular in the moment.
- In the "Outer Limits" episode "Tourist Attraction" the end narration resembles the reason for the Bellerophon's creation and failure.
- "The forces of nature will not submit to injustice. No man has the right, nor will the checks and balances of the universe permit him, to place his fellows under the harsh yoke of repression. Nor may he, again, place the forces of nature under the triple-yoke of vanity, greed, and ambition. In the words of Shelley, "Here lies your tyrant who would rule the world, immortal.""
- Metis references Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy".
- Dylan's comments about his opinions on exploration are similiar to the Star Trek episodes "The Best of Both Worlds" and "The Chase". The characters are asked why they no longer have the motivation that inspired their decision to enlist in Starfleet.
- Bellerophon was a Greek hero who was crippled by Zeus for his arrogance (hubris). He tamed the Pegasus and slew the Chimaera, but believed that these deeds elevated him to godhood. When he flew Pegasus up to Mount Olympus to claim his place, he was struck down by Zeus.
- Dylan's speech to Metis about letting the mutineers leave is similiar to other mutinies.
- In "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" admiral Harriman Nelson allows the suspected mutineers to leave the USOS Seaview. He states he would rather have a crew of definite loyalty.
- In "Severed Dreams" of "Babylon 5", Sheridan allows the military crew and civilians to leave the space station to avoid the risk of sabotage.
- Metis's reason for wanting to execute the mutineers is similiar to the "Babylon 5" episode "Rising Star". Sheridan is threatened with a show trial court martial to maintain discipline in the military.
- The episode contains several references to Star Trek.
- The United Earth Joint Service is a reference to the UESPA Headquarters and the United Earth Space Probe Agency.
- The uniforms of the Bellerophon crew resemble newer Star Trek uniforms from the Voyager and the early DS9 series down to the color scheme: red for command, blue for science & medical, and yellow for security.
- Harper says about the Bellerophon that "Her mission was to gather knowledge of life and civilization to go farther and deeper into space than anyone had ever gone before", which mirrors Gene Roddenberry's famous "To seek out new life and new civilization, to boldly go where no man has gone before." opening from his other series "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
- Tony Todd, who played Captain Metis, also played several guest characters on various Star Trek shows, namely an Alpha Hirogen on Voyager, an adult Jake Sisko (captain Sisko's son) in an alternate future of Deep Space Nine, and Kurn, Worf's younger brother, on TNG and DS9.
Harper: The Bellerophon, huh? Very nice! Her mission was to gather knowledge of life and civilization to go farther and deeper into space than anyone had ever gone before, and bring that cargo back home to Earth, baby!
Metis: Captain Hunt, the next time I order you to stay behind, you tell me to go to hell.
Metis: My God. What is she? (referring to Rommie)
Dylan: She's a warship. She gets a little cranky sometimes.
Metis: Three hundred years trapped near the event horizon of a black hole… That's astounding – like something out of a science fiction novel.
Metis: It's amazing that you're still sane.
Dylan: Well, that's what the voices inside my head keep telling me.
Metis: If you ask me, I think sanity is overrated.
Kemp: Yeah, I was in Boston the night before we set off on this mission – a baseball game at Fenway Park.
Harper: A baseball game, huh? Fenway Park… The last time I was at Fenway Park, I watched the Drago-Kazov crucify a guy in the cheap seats.
Harper: It's not as if we can install the slip drive in the Bellerophon – that'd be like strapping a solid-fuel rocket to a donkey. Pffft! (laughs)