|Twilight of the Idols|
|Original air date||
April 28, 2003
Welcome to the blood, to the sweat,
to the tears.
Welcome to your places on the wall."
Admiral Constanza Stark,
"Address to War College Graduates,"
"Twilight of the Idols" is episode 20 of Season 3.
Dylan Hunt and Tyr Anasazi are investigating a missing Nietzschean colony, which was attacked by the Knights of Genetic Purity. They find nothing, and are attacked by the Knights of Genetic Purity. The fight is not going well for them, but a new group joins the fight, attacking the Knights of Genetic Purity and driving them back. The leader of this group, who identifies himself as "The Patriarch", and his troops as the Templars, tells Dylan that he received the same information as Dylan did, and moved against the Knights of Genetic Purity.
As Dylan arranges for the wounded Templars to be cared for on the med deck, Constantine Stark explains that the Templars were founded after the fall, by Admiral Constanza Stark, Dylan's old commander, and he is Constantine Stark, her descendant. Dylan asks him where the Templars have been for the last three years, and Stark tells him that they have been working "behind the scenes".
Dylan receives a message from Minister of War Jane Rollins, telling him that they cannot officially acknowledge Constantine Stark and the Templars, but, off the record, they approve of his working with them. This approval un-nerves Dylan since his previous encounters with Systems Commonwealth officials have centered on their reluctance to undertake high-risk actions.
Constantine Stark explains to Dylan that the Knights of Genetic Purity are familiar with the Templars' troops and tactics, and Dylan represents an "edge" for him in the fight.
Privately, Dylan notes, to Rommie, that Constantine Stark uses a lot of the phrases that Dylan learned from Admiral Stark. While Constantine Stark has given Dylan a lot of information on the Knights of Genetic Purity, Dylan is not completely sure that he can trust him or his information, since it seems too easy. Stark always told him not to trust too easily, and to verify his sources.
Dylan plans a covert reconnaissance mission to a Knights of Genetic Purity base in the Federrah System to verify Constantine Stark's information, with the Templars providing a diversion. He assigns Beka Valentine as pilot for the mission, she agrees, but wants to know what their target is. Constantine Stark explains that the Knights of Genetic Purity have designed a devastating viral biological weapon to target genetically engineered humans, which, at this point, is 92% of the human race.
Tyr is unsure of the wisdom of the mission, as he does not trust the Templars. He suggests targeting a larger Knights of Genetic Purity base in the Heimdahl System. In the course of the discussion, Constantine Stark reveals that he knows a lot about Tyr, including the existence (although not the location) of Tyr's son, Tamerlane Anasazi. When Dylan tells Constantine Stark that he does not intend to take Tyr along on the mission, Constantine Stark is disappointed. Constantine Stark also warns Dylan that he does not think that Dylan can trust Tyr, because Tyr is a Nietzschean.
Beka successfully evades detection and pilots the Eureka Maru into the Knights of Genetic Purity installation. During the flight, Constantine Stark reveals that he also knows a fair bit about Dylan. On the Knights of Genetic Purity Research Asteroid, Dylan and Rommie successfully hack into the Knights of Genetic Purity computer system, and locate the bio-weapon research, while the Templars engage the Knights of Genetic Purity in an extended firefight elsewhere in the complex. However, a smaller group of the Knights of Genetic Purity guards corner Dylan and Rommie, who call to the Templars for support. The Templars rescue them, but one of the last Knights of Genetic Purity standing shoots and injures Constantine Stark, seriously enough that Dylan feels that they cannot move him safely.
Constantine Stark tells Dylan that he lost a leg in combat in AFC 263, 42 years ago, but it was re-grown by nanobots. Dylan is surprised to hear that he has been in action that long.
Tyr is left in command of the Andromeda, and takes the ship to Heimdahl. Harper protests, but Andromeda acknowledges Tyr's authority. They locate the Knights of Genetic Purity base, guarded by Seraphim carriers, and initiate an attack. The Knights of Genetic Purity, outmatching the Andromeda, return fire. Alexandros demands that the Andromeda surrender, but Tyr keeps fighting, until Andromeda tells him that they have what they came for, and they retreat.
Rommie has analyzed the data that they have taken from the Knights of Genetic Purity computer. She says that it is not exactly what the Templars said it was, and she thinks the Templars had tampered with the original data they gave.
Beka contacts Dylan and tells him that the Knights of Genetic Purity are preventing her from landing, but she will try again when things settle down. Constantine Stark tells Dylan that he has a drop-ship on the far side of the asteroid. Dylan and Rommie accuse Constantine Stark of taking the data from the Knights of Genetic Purity computers. Constantine Stark admits that the virus does not target all genetically modified humans, only Nietzscheans. He intends to use it as a "deterrent", but Dylan points out that if he wants it to be effective, he has to be willing to use it. Dylan says that Admiral Stark would never have committed or even condoned genocide. Constantine Stark responds that 300 years of watching the Nietzscheans in action changed Stark's mind, he is not a descendant of Constanza Stark, he is Stark. Dylan is, naturally, skeptical, but Rommie verifies that he is not lying. Constantine Stark is either telling the truth or he is a sociopath. Constantine Stark elaborates, Stark's memories and consciousness have been transferred to new volunteer host bodies four times in the past 300 years.
Dylan insists that he is going to make sure that Constantine Stark leaves the Knights of Genetic Purity base, without the bio-weapon. Constantine Stark says that Dylan has no choice, he knows that the Maru never left the asteroid, because he has a tracking device planted on it, and there are explosives in the device. He also knows Dylan is reluctant to make sacrifices. Dylan allows him to leave.
A Templar lieutenant questions Constantine Stark's wisdom in leaving Dylan alive. Constantine Stark backhands the lieutenant, knocking him down. He insists that Dylan is an asset, and he is too valuable to destroy.
Dylan and Rommie return the Maru and leave the asteroid. Rommie locates Constantine Stark's device, and determines that she cannot remove it easily, but will be able to back on the Andromeda. She believes, however, that Constantine Stark does not want to kill them. Dylan insists that Stark was a good person, and Constantine Stark's actions are inconsistent with his claim to be Stark. Rommie observes that 300 years, watching civilization fall, and blaming yourself, could inspire a deep hatred of Nietzscheans. Dylan concludes that even if Constantine Stark does have Stark's memories, he is not Stark.
A message arrives from Dylan's Commonwealth contact. She says that she is unsure what advice to give to Dylan, but he should do what he has to do, and she will back him.
Seamus Harper expresses his faith in Dylan to find some way to defeat Constantine Stark, but Dylan says that he is going to give up, calling it a "strategic withdrawal". He says he will be ready for the next time. Beka is astounded, she says that she cannot believe it is really Dylan saying those things. She expects Dylan, who was willing to call down fire on his own position (Argosy Code 145), to be more tenacious. Dylan counters that the Knights of Genetic Purity and Templars have left, and he cannot fight those he cannot find. Beka wonders if Dylan thinks he cannot beat Constantine Stark, because if he is really Stark, he knows Dylan too well, but she is sure that he can.
Suddenly, Dylan has a change of heart, he thinks he knows where to look. First, he sends the Andromeda (with Beka in command) back to Heimdahl, where he engages some Knights of Genetic Purity ships in combat, then retreats to Slipstream. Meanwhile, he and Rommie return to the Knights of Genetic Purity asteroid installation, where they find the Templars doubling back. The Andromeda arrives, and starts firing on the Templars.
Dylan finds Constantine Stark back on the asteroid. Constantine Stark observes that the Andromeda is outnumbered, but Dylan informs him that the Knights of Genetic Purity are on the way, and will kill whoever is left. He says that he will destroy the asteroid base rather than let it fall into Templar hands. He admits to being reluctant to make sacrifices, but says that Constantine Stark was underestimating him in thinking he would never make them. He suggests to Constantine Stark that they cooperate against the Knights of Genetic Purity, but destroy the base (and the information about the bio-weapon).
Constantine Stark gives in, and orders the Templars to engage the Knights of Genetic Purity instead of the Andromeda. He also sets the self-destruct sequence for the base, but he warns Dylan that the Nietzscheans are a real threat, and must be dealt with.
Dylan is not going to let Constantine Stark leave, but Constantine Stark insists that he is well connected, and if he is arrested, he will be set free. If Dylan kills him and plays "Judge, Jury, Executioner", he compromises his ideals, and "loses his soul".
Dylan realizes that this is what happened to Stark, she made too many compromises. He lets Constantine Stark escape.
Afterwards, Dylan and Beka talk. Beka believes that Constantine Stark is an wraith, an echo of Constanza Stark's anger. Dylan wonders if he was right to let Constantine Stark go, and wonders why Constantine Stark let him go. He observes that this encounter ended in a draw/stalemate, but vows to find a way to win the next time they meet.
- "Twilight of the Idols" comes from an 1888 book by Friedrich Nietzsche "Götzen-Dämmerung" with the sub-title "How to philosophise with a Hammer". It further ties into "Götterdämmerung", the conclusion of Wagner's Ring cycle, and the Teutonic equivalent of the Norse "Ragnarok", the apocalyptic battle in which almost all the gods perish.
- The phrase was used in "The Battle of the River Plate" / "Pursuit of the Graf Spee" when the Graf Spee is scuttled at the end of the Battle of the River Plate.
- The title refers to the fact that Dylan's mentor had finished her twilight "sunset" as a hero and had begun her "sunrise" as an extremist who violates the ideals of the Systems Commonwealth.
- The motto of the High Guard Argosy Special Operations is una salus victis (nullam sperare salutem) (The only safety for the conquered is to hope for no safety.).
- The "places on the wall" reference from Admiral Stark may indicate some commemorative "wall of the fallen" in the manner of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Alternatively, it may reference ancient fighting techniques, such as the shield wall of the Saxons or the Phalanxes of the Romans, where soldiers formed "a wall", each having their place, in the defense of the unit.
- "Croatoan", uttered by Dylan in his conversation with Bella towards the end when he decides to go after Stark, is a reference to the Roanoke Colony of 1587. Dylan references the theory that "the colonists never left." In this theory, the colonists dismantled the settlement and moved to be closer to Native American allies on the island known as Croatoan, eventually integrating into the local populus, thus having "never left." This appears to have been the belief of Governor White when he returned to the colony in 1590, after having left in 1587 in order to seek supplies for the starving colony, and found the word carved into a post at the settlement.