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Choice or Chance
Space: Above and Beyond, episode 9 (1.9)
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2006 13:30:03
Taken prisoner by AI mercenaries working for the Aliens, the 58th struggles against all odds to escape from an organic 'living prison.'
After crash landing on Kazbek, a hostile planet in Alien territory, the 58th are taken captive by Silicates. Cooper and McQueen manage to escape after the crash. They vow to return for their comrades. Inside the Kazbek mining facility, the 58th are paraded by a group of prisoners presumably taken from the Vesta and Tellus colonies - one of whom reaches for Nathan! Screams his name! Nathan turns to see: Kylen, his long lost love.
On board the Saratoga, Commodore Ross and his crew are able to piece together a cyberspace model of the 58th's destroyed Alien bomber and learn the 58th used the escape pod. But where are they? They have been unable to locate them on the LIDAR. Back on Kazbek, Cooper and McQueen struggle to find where the AIs took the rest of the 58th. McQueen falls down! He orders Cooper to go on without him... Cooper hesitates, then leaves. Inside the prison, Wang, strapped to a "barber chair," is introduced to Elroy El 1327, a Silicate originally designed as a humor model. Elroy menaces Wang asking him for his name, rank, and serial number, then finally twists off the end of his finger, revealing an electric shock needle... In another part of the prison, Feliciti OH 924, the menacing AI (last seen in "Eyes" and "The Dark Side of the Sun"), enters the cell holding Damphousse and Vansen. She gives them a choice: one shall live, the other shall die - they must decide who it will be... Nathan is visited by Kylen, and she tells him to wait for her because she knows a way out - she loves him. She replaces the stone and leaves. Nathan is confused, troubled by something.
McQueen makes his way through the brush, searching for signs of the 58th. Hearing a noise behind him, he waits... then attacks a lone figure. They roll through the thickets, fighting. McQueen puts the weapon to the figure's head, ready to pull the trigger... it's Cooper! He couldn't find out where the Silicates had taken the WildCards so he came back for McQueen. "Time's runnin' out, Colonel," Cooper says, "We gotta find 'em." Nathan paces his cell and hears a sound outside. A MAN enters fromm the corridor and turns off the force field. Nathan is free, but he doesn't leave his cell. He doesn't know who to trust. Kylen appears! She beckons Nathan and he follows... After an encounter with an AI, Nathan and Kylen escape to freedom! Cooper and McQueen surprise an AI and kill it! To Cooper's amazement, McQueen begins to pull the dead creature apart. Inside a cold cell, Wang clamors to maintain his sanity by reciting his favorite Chicago Cubs. Elroy El eavesdrops; then mentions Louis de Jesus, a player who left for the Mets for the money. "But he left for the money," says Wang, "He was a traitor." Elroy concedes the point and ushers Wang out of the cell. Time for more torture. In the Outback, Nathan and Kylen walk together. Kylen wants to get as far away from the prison as possible, but Nathan tells Kylen that he won't leave his friends. Meanwhile, not too far away, Cooper and McQueen have completely dissected the AI; they use its parts to send an SOS call into deep space - hoping to reach the Saratoga. On board the Saratoga, a technician has received the signal... but the transmission has come over a Silicate radio channel, leading Commodore Ross to believe that it might be an AI trap. Not until the technician reads the actual message of the code - "Sailor's grog, Sailor's grog, Sailor's grog..." - Ross recognizes this phrase from a conversation he and McQueen had earlier ("Hostile Visit"), he is now committed to rescuing McQueen. Nathan and Kylen continue their trek away from the prison. Nathan says he's going back to rescue his friends and Kylen says he'll never make it. "There are chig patrols all around the prison," she says. Nathan looks at her again - something's wrong. Still working, fiddling with the AI, Cooper and McQueen discuss what it means to be a hostage... to be tortured. McQueen reveals to Cooper that he was tortured by Silicates during the AI rebellion. Cooper asks McQueen why he sacrifices himself for humans. McQueen answers that he does it so people can't ever say all In Vitros are cowards or lazy. McQueen reinitializes the AI's computer unit, which divulges the AI's "home location" - the prison! Back in the prison, Wang finally breaks under the torture from Elroy El. He tells Elroy he'll do anything he wants...
Shane and Damphousse sit next to one another in the cell and discuss who should live and who should die. As they talk, Damphousse notices a chig soldier in the shadows. The Aliens must be studying them, they postulate... examining human loyalties. A plan is in order... In the Outback, Kylen is keenly interested in the comings and goings of the Saratoga. Nathan, suspicious, gives her the information she needs. Once again she tells Nathan that he need not return for his friends. Nathan is furious! He leaves her and heads back to the prison. On the Saratoga, the Bridge has picked up Alien ships on the LIDAR. As the Saratoga prepares for battle, we learn that the fleet is heading away from the Butterfly Nebula - the same place where Nathan had told Kylen the Saratoga would be. Kylen is a traitor! With what is now a clear opportunity, the Saratoga sets a course for Kazbek to rescue the 58th. Back in his cell, Wang is cleaned up and set in front of a video camera. As Elroy El asks him questions, Wang confesses to war crimes. McQueen and Cooper find the entrance to the prison and gain access inside... Wang is now back in his cell and tries to remember his favorite Chicago Cubs but is too racked with shame. While Shane sleeps, Damphousse whispers to Brandon IM that she wants to be the one who lives. "When we return," Brandon says, "You must kill her."
Feliciti OH and her AI cohorts arrive at Damphousse and Shane's cell. They tell Shane that while she was sleeping, Damphousse chose to be the one who would live. Shane can't believe that Damphousse would betray her but Brandon IM plays back a recording of Damphousse saying she wanted to be the one who lives. Shane is beside herself in anger! She and Damphousse fight! Feliciti moves to stop it, but not before the Alien waves her off. The chig wants to watch them fight... Suddenly, the women attack the AIs! They overpower them and shoot the Alien. Elroy enters Wang's cell and prepares to kill him. Cooper saves the day, but Wang demands that he be the one who shoots Elroy El. Ross sends in a recon team to save the 58th. The rescue is on! Just outside the prison, the 58th find themselves in a firefight, when Kylen appears out of nowhere, calls to Shane and Damphousse to follow her. Nathan draws his weapon and kills her! It was a trap. The dead Kylen morphs into something hideously Alien. Damphousse asks Nathan how he knew. "I never told her your names," answers Nathan. An ISSCV lands and a recon team heads into the prison, one of these men, Sgt. Crossland, clearly has an ulterior motive as he exits the ISSCV. On the way home, the 58th prepare to be seen as a disappointment to the rest of the fleet for failing in their bombing mission ("Hostile Visit"). Back on board the Saratoga, the 58th receive a standing ovation! Commodore Ross tells them that they believed in an act which couldn't be done. With pride, he salutes them. Sgt. Crossland brings a mysterious package to Sewell. Sewell dismisses him, then opens the package so only he can see what's inside. He's scared.
By Sarah Stegall on 08 Jul 2003 08:11:04
See review under Hostile Visit.
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