The crew of the Andromeda Ascendant mans their battle stations as first officer Gaheris Rhade reads off the elapsed time. Captain Dylan Hunt meets with Rhade on the status of the drill and is told that all stations are manned and ready in three minutes twenty seven seconds. Dylan then reprimands one of the crew for not activating his point defense laser in time.
Dylan and Rhade proceed to command and discuss Dylan's pending marriage when Andromeda informs them that a Courier ship is indicting a stellar level emergency. On command the captain of the Courier reports that the Hephaestus system is being swallowed by a rouge black hole and it's half a billion inhabitants need assistant in the evacuation. Rhade orders the Courier to spread the word and launches the Andromeda's Courier as well. Dylan orders the crew to rig the ship for maximum capacity and jettison all cargo. Andromeda then enters slipstream on course for Hephaestus.
Once at Hephaestus Andromeda receives the distress calls of over a thousand ships. Dylan orders the inhabitants closest to the singularity to be evacuated first when the pilot, Refractions of Dawn, reports incoming ships. The ships begin to fire on Andromeda and Dylan orders Battle Stations. Andromeda reports that they are facing ten thousand Nietzshean ships. Rhade advises using Nova bombs but Dylan refuses to use strategic weapons in an inhabited system. With an apparent Nietzshean uprising Rhade advises that he and the other Nietzcheans in the crew be relieved of duty and taken to the brig and Dylan agrees.
As the battle wages on Andromeda reports that they have lost over 70 percent of their combat drones and that the gravity of the black hole has them trapped in the system. With the ship taking serious damage and over ten minutes away from a slipstream portal Dylan orders the crew to abandon ship. Dawn asks Dylan if he is leaving as well but is told he has an idea and she is to abandon ship but she refuses to leave her post.
In the corridor Rhade takes out his guards and proceeds back to command. On command Dylan orders the Dawn to take the ship straight into the black hole. As they get closer to the black hole main power goes out and Andromeda reports sabotage. Rhade enters command and kills Dawn then fires on Dylan. Dylan asks why and Rhade says that the treaty with the Magog was the last straw. As they proceed to fight the time dilation effects of the black hole begin to take effect. They both fire on each other again and Dylan hits Rhade in the chest. He goes over to check on him and Rhade says he is proud of him and then time stands still.
Three hundred years later the crew of the Eureka Maru is at the black hole searching for Andromeda. Gerentex, a Nightsider, has hired the crew lead by Captain Beka Valentine to salvage the Andromeda. When Engineer Shamus Harper locates the ship they prepare to pull it free with their bucky cables. The Maru begins to pull the Andromeda free and Dylan awakes from his slumber. Andromeda reports that the Nietzshean fleet is gone and that three hundred years have pasted.
The crew of the Maru prepares to board the Andromeda. The Environmental control officer Trance Gemini reports the air is breathable. Andromeda reports to Dylan that they have intruders on board and that they are trying to rewire her. The crew splits up to find a schematic and Dylan confronts Harper who tells him that the Commonwealth has fallen and he is all that remains. Harper reports to Beka that a member of the crew is still alive when Dylan makes an announcement that they will not get his ship without a fight but Gerentex has brought an insurance policy in the form of Nietzshean Tyr Anasazi.
To Be Continued...