|The Spider's Stratagem|
|Original air date||
February 2, 2004
Nia Peeples as Rox Nava
Be careful no to perish
A question as your guide.
What becomes the face of truth."
Enigma 03 of the Murti
The Spider's Stratagem is episode 12 of Andromeda: Season Four.
An emissary of Viceroy Moldar from Phrynia (a reputed weapons smuggler) is on board the Andromeda, arranging a meeting between Moldar and Dylan, and insisting that the Phrynians are a peace loving people. During this discussion, a ship is detected leaving the Phrynian system. Dylan orders Rommie to apprehend the ship, and scan its cargo.
Andromeda hails the ship, which is captained by Rox Nava, a known smuggler. Moldar's emissary immediately claims that the ship has no connection to Moldar. Nava (flirting with Dylan) insists that she is not subject to Systems Commonwealth jurisdiction, and that the smuggling charges against her have never been proven. Andromeda allows that her preliminary scans have revealed no contraband, and Nava invites Dylan to search her ship. Andromeda completes deeper scans, which reveal 100 life-forms in a shielded hull. This brings her to the conclusion that Nava is not smuggling weapons, but people.
Dylan orders Nava to come aboard the Andromeda, but she arms her weapons, preparing for a fight. When Dylan demonstrates his own readiness to fight back, she backs down and surrenders. The emissary asks Dylan to turn Nava over to Moldar, but Dylan refuses, and states that her cargo will be held on the Andromeda, subject to his discretion.
The cargo turns out to be body armor with biological components. Nava demands an apology, but declines to reveal the source of the Biological Armor. Dylan offers to release her, but he will keep the armor, and she can explain things to Moldar. She insists that she does not actually know the source of the armor, but she was to deliver it to the Atol Pi Drift. Dylan keeps her in custody.
In the cargo hold, the armor seems to be moving under its own power.
Moldar arrives on the Andromeda, and proves to be an impatient, ill-tempered man. Dylan is not intimidated by his threats, however, and makes as if to walk out on their talks. Moldar insists that he is "all powerful" in the Phrynia system, but Andromeda reminds him of her own military power recognized in the three galaxies and her abilities (notably blowing up a planet in few seconds). Dylan tells Moldar that, since the armor is clearly defensive; he plans to have it delivered, and implies that he will offer Moldar Andromeda's protection, for a price.
Rommie informs Dylan that the armor in the cargo hold seems to have moved itself. The cargo supervisor claims no knowledge, but has "accidentally" deleted some data. Dylan is suspicious.
Dylan tells Nava that he will work with her, but she has to lie to Moldar.
Rhade shares some stories of his past with Beka, including his stage fright when giving the valedictory address at the academy. Beka asks him what his real objective is, but Rhade accuses her of judging all Nietzscheans by Tyr Anasazi's actions.
Moldar is angry that Dylan has kept him waiting, and makes more threats. Dylan brushes him off and moves to leave, but the emissary attempts to smooth things over. Moldar accuses Rox Nava of causing problems, but eventually agrees to talk. Dylan and Nava inform Moldar that Dylan has agreed to become a partner in their enterprise. Moldar accuses him of trying to take over his business, but Dylan counters that, with Andromeda's firepower backing him up, he already has control. He insists that Moldar tell him where the armor comes from, and Moldar reveals the planet of its origin.
On the Eureka Maru, Beka inspects one of the suits of armor. Of its own accord, it goes onto Beka, concealing itself underneath her clothing, and seemingly takes control of her.
The Andromeda arrives at the coordinates given by Moldar, and Rommie finds that one area seems to have higher gravity than the rest of the planet. And because Dylan and Rox are both Heavy Worlders, they would be able to move around in the higher gravity. Dylan and Nava go to investigate this phenomenon. Once they have left, Moldar orders a squad of soldiers to ensure that they do not come back.
Beka and Rhade make their delivery.
Dylan and Nava arrive on the planet, and find a tower, with no obvious way up. Dylan comments that it reminds him of a Vedran fairy tale. He uses the grappling hook on his Force lance to climb the tower, and leaves Nava to keep watch.
A courier meets the Maru, with a message from Dylan warning them about the armor, but Beka cuts it off, saying that it is no longer relevant, since the armor has been delivered. Rhade says that one suit is missing, but Beka insists that it must be a miscount.
At the top of the tower, Dylan finds a room, containing a young woman, Cavava, with a spinning wheel, spinning cords which are coming from her fingers. Dylan tells her that he is here to help her, and she is surprised that he does not want the armor, and the power it gives. She is worried about an "old woman" who controls things, and Dylan observes that this continues to resemble the Vedran myth. He takes Cavava out of the tower, but as they are descending, Nava is attacked by Moldar's troops, wearing the armour.
Nava fights back, and is holding her own until Dylan arrives, but the armor seems to make the soldiers impervious to injury, even from Dylan's forcelance. A lucky shot reveals that their eyes are vulnerable, however. They overcome the attackers, and return to the ship with Cavava.
Dylan takes Cavava to where he has the armor kept in cold storage, to slow its metabolism. Cavava protests, calling the armor her "children". When Dylan tells her that he intends to keep her in the cold storage room as well, her appearance changes to an alien form and attacks Dylan.
On the Maru, Beka, controlled by the armor, attacks Rhade and overpowers him.
Dylan tells Andromeda to freeze the cargo hold, and ducks into a Lancer Drop Pod. Cavava is frozen. On the Maru, the armor instantly loses its hold on Beka.
After the Maru returns to the Andromeda, Rommie explains how the bio-web material made such an effective armor, but she is still somewhat mystified how Beka's armor instantly stopped affecting her when its creator was frozen.
Beka tells Dylan that she is not sure what made her put on the Biological Armor. Dylan asks her if she has unresolved issues, perhaps with one of the crew. Beka is upset that Dylan will not trust her, after all they have been through.
Nava thanks Dylan for what he has done for her, and kisses him.
Rhade: I admire your instinctive insight into smuggling, Beka.
Beka: That'd be experience, Rhade, Not all of us are goody-goody academy pinheads.
Beka: Well, all cliches of human females aside, I've never been late for a date - even a bad one... Which, come to think of it, is practically all of them.
Rhade: I've heard...