|Original air date||
October 27, 2003
Powerful in the light
And supreme among beings."
The Nietzschean Prophecy
"Harper/Delete" is episode 5 of Season 4.
Trance Gemini, Beka Valentine, and Dylan Hunt are on the burned-out hulk of the Magellan Melrow, a High Guard Glorious Heritage Class. On the Command Center, they find a number of bodies, although Trance says that they are not physically dead, just mentally "gone". Beka reviews the security files, revealing that Nietzscheans boarded the ship, but only after the crew were already dead. The leader of the Nietzscheans is identified as Calleb Voth, of the Rakshasha Pride.
A Magog scout ship is detected in the system.
Further review of the security file shows that the entire crew fell at the same time. Dylan says that this was likely caused by a weapon that was accidentally activated during the battle, a weapon that they were sent to recover.
More Magog ships are detected in the system, and Dylan orders them to get the bodies of the crew members to the Maru. Beka then takes them to cover behind a nearby moon as Andromeda destroys the first wave Magog ships. Dylan expresses the opinion that the Magog are also after the same weapon.
Dylan reports back to Tri-Jema, telling her that the weapon was stolen by the Nietzscheans. They compare intelligence on the Rakshasha Pride and the weapon: While Calleb is the "legitimate" Alpha of the Pride, his sister, Melea, has seized power and banished him and his followers to the primitive part of their homeworld. The weapon, which was taken from the Magog, is called "File-D". It "deletes" the mental functions from sentient beings. The weapon has been activated twice since its discovery. It can be activated by a sudden sharp movement, such as the missile impact on the Magellan. There also appears to be a second method of activation, but they are unable to determine what it is. Andromeda begins to attempt to break the encryption to discover this.
Andromeda intercepts a communication from Carva-Rakhshasa, in which Melea informs Calleb that she has kidnapped his son, Prince Kallan, and demands the weapon as ransom.
Dylan, Rommie, Beka, Trance, and Seamus Harper land on the planet in the Maru, under cover of a cargo convoy. Dylan, Harper, and Beka sneak into Calleb's compound, where they are confronted by one of the guards. However, when surrendering his Force lance, Dylan leaves the DNA recognition security system active, which disables the guard. They find that File-D is being stored in a transport drone, with its internal gravity zeroed out to prevent any sudden movements that may activate the device. Harper volunteers to sneak into the drone, study File-D, and try to disarm it.
Dylan and Beka initiate a firefight to draw attention to themselves as a distraction for Harper. They flee to the Maru and take off, pursued by two slipfighters, which Beka shoots down.
Harper fast talks his way past a guard, and gets into the transport, where he finds a device which appears to be a Flexi with some extra attachments.
Dylan is hailed by Melea. After he reminds her that she has strong trade relations with Commonwealth worlds, she agrees to a meeting.
Rommie obtains a floor plan of Melea's stronghold, and locates the cell where Calleb's son is being held. Beka, Trance, and Rommie prepare to extricate him while Dylan is meeting with Melea.
When Dylan enters Melea's meeting room, she is playing a holographic combat game, in which she is beating a holographic Dylan with a hologram of herself. Dylan challenges her to a game against him. They play, and, to Melea's surprise, Dylan wins.
When the ladies arrive at Calleb's son's cell, Rommie locates a body heat monitor, which is used to track the inmates. Trance mentions that she can regulate her own body heat, so she can act as a decoy after he is removed. Rommie says that, since she has minimal body heat, she can stay as well, invisible to the sensors. After opening the cell, Beka knocks Calleb's son out, and carries him back to the Maru.
Back on the Maru, Beka sedates the boy and Dylan asks Harper (via radio) for an update. Harper reports that he is still working, but he is impressed with the technology. Andromeda tells Dylan that she has intercepted another communication from the planet, in which Melea gives Calleb a sunset deadline to exchange the weapon for his son. Dylan decides to go meet with Calleb.
Guards arrive at the cell with food for the boy, but Rommie imitates his voice and sends them away.
Harper contacts Beka with another update. He has used a neutron scan on the device, and discovered that it gives off a homing signal when activated. They are both nervous about the weapon being activated.
Dylan meets with Calleb, and insists that Melea cannot be trusted to hold up her end of the bargain if Calleb agrees to the exchange. Calleb insists that she would not harm her own family, but Dylan suggests that she may work to turn Calleb's son against him. Dylan offers Calleb a significant payoff for the weapon, suggesting he can use it to offer a reward for the safe return of his son, and count on their experience. Calleb sees through Dylan's ruse, and realizes that his son is in Dylan's hands. He is upset with Dylan's deception, and sends him away.
A guard enters the cell. Rommie overpowers her, and Trance and Rommie fight their way out of the complex.
Dylan goes to retrieve Harper, and tells Beka to meet him there with the Maru. However, when he arrives at the complex, the drone is not there. It has launched, with Harper aboard, but since the internal gravity fields are countering the effects of the motion, Harper did not feel it. They decide not to tell Harper, because they do not want him to panic and accidentally set off the weapon.
Andromeda has determined what the second activation method for the device is: Neutron radiation will cause it to link itself to a nearby being, and detonate after a certain number of heartbeats. Since Harper used a neutron ray to analyze the device, it has now been activated, and if Harper's heart rate increases, the weapon will trigger sooner.
As Beka moves to intercept the drone, Harper informs them that he is going to open the hatch, to allow some warmer air in. Dylan orders him not to, but does not explain why, since he does not want Harper to panic.
Calleb contacts Dylan. He says that he wants his son back, and threatens to send the drone containing File-D to Tarazed and activate it, killing everyone. He says that he will then occupy the Commonwealth capital.
Magog ships are spotted in the system, homing in on File-D's beacon.
Dylan tells Calleb that the Magog are coming, and that they are planning to activate File-D. When Calleb realizes that Dylan is not running a bluff, he agrees to a deal, giving File-D to Dylan.
Harper discovers that the device has been activated, and works frantically to disarm it.
The drone is going too fast for Beka to pick it up safely, but she shoots out the Gravity Field Generators. This increases its effective mass, slowing it down, and allowing her to capture the drone in the Maru's cargo pod. When Harper exits the drone, he is surprised to find himself on the Maru.
Andromeda destroys the Magog ships.
Dylan contacts both Calleb and Melea. He warns them that they need to learn to get along, in order to fight the greater threat that is coming, the Spirit of the Abyss.
Trance reports that the crew members from the Magellan have been taken to a research facility, in the hopes that a method of reversing the effects of the weapon can be found. Tri-Jema contacts Andromeda, asking Dylan to deliver File-D to the Commonwealth, but he does not, feeling it is safer on the Andromeda.
Rommie reveals that Dylan ordered her not to fire on the Magog in the Rakshasha system when they first appeared. He took a gamble and used them to bluff Calleb into agreeing to his demands. Seamus Harper comments that Dylan has changed from poker tactics to Russian roulette.
- Titles that refer to computer systems.
- "Harper 2.0": The title is a reference to the naming of technology upgrades. Such as Software 2.0 or Warhead Mark 2.
- "Harper/Delete": the delete command that removes information.
- Dylan uses or calls a bluff.
- Calleb Voth's name and Melea Voth's first names represent the power dynamic inversion in Nietzschean society. Calleb ends up being "called" the "b" leader. Melea uses "melee" combat to become the "Alpha" "male".
Harper: Another brilliant Commonwealth plan in action: Sticking it somewhere.
Harper: You're going to kidnap the kidnapped kid?
Harper: Let's just say, for my twilight years, I saw myself living out my years on a pleasure drift in a hammock built for three, not winding up as a Magog nursery with a head full of liquid brain-o!
Dylan: Explain to me how Nietzschean loyalty lets you treat your brother this way.
Melea: We're a complex race. We have complex relationships. Besides, he and his followers have come in useful for target practice.
Dylan: Well, if your guys shoot as well as you play, Calleb has nothing to worry about.