Under The Night
We begin our tale with an introductory view of the Andromeda Ascendant. From the outside, all looks calm and peaceful, but inside it’s a bustle of near-chaotic activity. Alarms are blaring, people and aliens are running to get to their seats and play what appear to be futuristic slot machine simulations, but are actually weapons status displays.

We’re next introduced to Captain Dylan Hunt, who, during all of this running around wants to play fireman, and jumps down a ladder-shaft, thinking it’s a fireman’s pole. And he’s goin’ down, way down, way way down, and just as we’re thinking the backdrop is stuck in a loop like an old skipping record, he jiggles something on his belt which slows him down and he lands safely on the last deck. At which time a disembodied voice starts nagging at him that he shouldn’t be doing that sort of thing, lest he forget his little belt-thingie, and he’d splat himself flatter than a pancake sat on by an elephant. The voice belongs to the ship’s computer, Andromeda.

Dylan meets up with his second in command, Rhade, and nearly gets his eardrums blown out. Rhade is screaming down the corridors that he’s disappointed with the battle-drill results. It’s only a starship large enough to accommodate well over 4,000 crew and complement, why can’t everyone get where they need to be in 3 minutes?!?!?!?

Dylan and Rhade make their way to the bridge, talking about the captain’s upcoming wedding. During this conversation it’s revealed that Rhade is a neetcha... a Neeetzie... a Nietzschean (gesundheit!), which is kinda a quick way to explain the three chicken tenders that he’s got sticking out of each forearm.

On to the story: The Andromeda receives a distress call, and it’s time to swing into action! A 5 foot tall bug is sitting in the only chair that exists on the bridge. It pilots Andromeda into Slipstream, a faster than light means of scooting through the galaxies which resembles a rollercoaster designed by someone high on crack. They pop back to normal space ready to fight, only to discover that there’s a BIG honkin’ battle fleet ready and waiting for their arrival. Rhade asks the captain to place him under house arrest because this is a Nietzschean (gesundheit) battle fleet, and it might not be a good idea to have one of his kind on the bridge in a firefight.

So, the distress call was a trap, and now the ship is on the receiving end of a flurry of missles, at least they managed to make it to their stations in 3 minutes, AND were able to score Lemon-Lemon-Lemon Jackpot! Weapons Ready! on the readout displays....

And to think, all that was before the show’s introductory theme music, and the first commercial break!!! Well! The ship’s getting shot up, and Dylan decides that he’s gonna have to pull a dangerous maneuver, and slingshot off the outer rim of a local black hole. He orders an abandon ship, and gets into an argument with his Lietenant bug, Refractions of Dawn, who has decided that Hunt will need the best pilot he can get for such a dangerous ploy. Meanwhile the first officer takes advantage of the confusion, and escapes custody, then he proceeds to sabotage Andromeda’s key systems.

As the escape pods clear the ship, and Andromeda sinks closer and closer to the Black hole, someone enters on the near-empty bridge. ‘Is it a can of black flag’ thinks the Bug? Why no, but it kills bugs dead just as effectively: RHADE!!! Boom! Rhade does in the ship’s pilot with his trusty golden baton-flashlight. Dylan has one of these nifty devices as well, and the two of them start shooting at each other. Some best man for Dylan’s wedding, huh?

It turns out, Rhade is siding with the rebellious Nietzscheans (gesun.. ahh, the heck with it! Get a box of kleenex and have done with it! It’s a word that’s gonna be used a lot in these writeups) because he doesn’t believe the Systems Commonwealth should have made peace with a nasty race called the Magog, who apparently wiped out quite a few Niets in a savage attack.

Throughout the firefight, Dylan and Rhade are dancing around the bridge, Andromeda’s key systems are damaged, and she’s sinking into the black hole. They start to experience time-distortions, a side-effect of being this close to a singularity. Dylan finally flattens Rhade with a well-aimed shot, and as he laments his dying best friend, Dylan and his ship are frozen in time. I guess someone’s not going to be at the wedding....

Okay, so we’ve got us a war, a big spaceship stuck in an even bigger galactic drain, a captain betrayed by the best man for his wedding… what else can happen?

EUREKA!!! Eureka as in 'wow! I just discovered the peanut butter in Reeces Peanut Butter cups are neither peanuts nor butter'? Why no! In this case, it’s the Eureka Maru!!! The Maru is a Beat-up looking ship with a huge cargo payload module sitting on top of it. Aboard the Maru are a band of scavengers who’re out to find and salvage derelict High Guard spaceships, like the Andromeda Ascendant.

Here we’re introduced to an interesting assortment of creatures and characters. First, we’ve got Gerentex, His race is called ‘Nightsider’, but he looks for all intents like a rat-faced wookie, who’s dressed like Liberace on those particularly 'special' days. Gerentex has apparently hired the Maru and her crew for this salvage mission. Next we have Beka Valentine, a human, and the captain of the Eureka Maru. A bit of a rogue-ish attitude, you might think of her as Han Solo in his early days, except ol’ Han could never do a bright green figure-hugging jumpsuit the same justice Beka does. Seamus Harper is the other human on this mixed bag-o-nuts crew. He’s the resident engineer and technological genius aboard. (and he wastes no time in reminding himself of his genius) Rev Bem is next on the roster. He is a Magog. Magog are alleged to be amongst the most feral and fierce creatures in the known worlds. They kill indiscriminately, and lay their eggs inside live hosts in order to breed... not exactly something you’d want following you home as a pet. Rev’s overall appearance is furry, very furry, what side of a Magog has the most fur? The outside! On the whole, their facial features remind humans of a fruit bat, although these 'bats' are much much bigger. Rev’s not the same as many of his race, however. He has found religion in the form of 'The Way', an inspirational religious group that promote non-violence, self-confidence, and smiley faces on 'Hi, My Name Is'... nametags. Last but not least, we’ve got Trance Gemini. Trance is.....purple. (and she has a tail!) Not much more can be said of Trance at the moment, except that she does seem to exhibit a bit of common sense naivete. Every last one of them has dreams and plans of how they’re going to share their part of the proceeds from salvaging this ship, now that they’ve found it, all they have to do is get it out of that black hole. Huh! Is THAT all?

The Eureka Maru dumps its payload module and goes fishing for warships! They use futuristic grappling lines to hook themselves a big one, and almost don’t succeed in plucking the ship from it’s near-eternal tomb. Harper has to coax a bit more energy out of the Maru’s engines by causing an explosive reaction that would either destroy both ships, or light up the engines like bottle-rockets, and fortunately, the latter was true. (But of course it was! Harper’s a genius, of course! no wait, my mistake a FREAKING genius)

Time to explore the riches they’ve come to claim! A ghost ship that still is showing signs of battle, and smells like an open buffet to Rev. Harper has fallen in lust with the ship just from seeing one hanger deck, and an adjoining hallway. Can he get the systems up and running? Of course he can! He’s the Genius after all! So they all start looking around. Trance finds the Hydroponics bay, an area where huge plants are being grown for oxygen supply aboard ship. The salvagers meander throughout the ship finding those of Captain Hunt’s crew who didn’t survive long enough to make it to an escape pod.

Oh yeah, Captain Hunt! What happened to him? Well, the time-distortion finally let go of him once the ship was free of the Black Hole, and it took Rommie quite a while to calculate (ooh, Dylan’s not gonna like this) they’ve been stuck in time more than 300 years. Great! Just Great! His ship gets shot up, he crew is gone, his best friend betrays him, he has to kill his best friend, he’s lost 300years, and missed his wedding! Rommie decided now’s not a good time to tell Dylan the Mr. Coffee was damaged in the firefight as well.

As Rommie’s systems slowly are coming back online, she realizes the ship’s been boarded, and they start taking note of who came to visit. Dylan puts on some nifty futuristic Football-gear, grabs his trusty Flashlight baton, and goes to introduce himself. It just so happens Harper is the first person Dylan meets. And WHOA! That little baton-o-Dylan’s must have overdosed on some serious steroids, because it just went from a foot-long, to a five-foot pole, but apparently it can still carry a charge in the end. Harper and Dylan have a quaint little chat about how the Andromeda is High Guard property, and visitors aren’t welcome. (And no, it’s not for sale, either) Dylan learns that the war he saw the beginning of wound up destroying all he knew of the civilized Commonwealth he strove to protect. Sending Harper to deliver the message that he wants the salvagers to vacate, Dylan retreats back to command to see how well this news is received.

Gerentex, being the big rat with his cheese, has no intention of giving up his prize, and is prepared to take it by force as needed. He has a little surprise in store for the old captain, okay well it’s not so small a surprise, in fact, it’s a big one! A Big honkin’ Nietzschean (gesundheit!) with a Big Honkin’ gun, and a group of other gun toting lackeys which Gerentex thought to stick in stasis tupperwares until needed. What’s gonna happen now?!? How’s Dylan going to keep his ship? Where do we go from here? Tune in next week! wink!!

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