Earth 2

Season 1 Episode 2

First Contact (2)

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Nov 06, 1994 on NBC

Episode Recap

[Editor's note: Since I don't know the correct dividing point between episode 1 and 2, I'm using this submitted recap for part 1 and part 2.]

Narration by Devon Adair opens over a scene of the planet Earth as seen from space. She's a 30-ish woman; confident, headstrong and infinitely devoted to her only child, Ulysses Adair. "My earliest memories of it were the stories, how it was once thought so vast - infinite skies, deep seas, boundless mountain ranges. But they were only stories. "I was born on the stations, just like my parents and their parents before them. It's the only life I've ever known, but I still think about those stories of Earth. And I tell them to my son as we prepare to flee this life of ours on the stations; a life that is ordered, efficient, sterile...and for a small group of children, deadly.

"My son is one of the unlucky ones. He was born with the Syndrome."

A glowing, holographic representation of a planet spins on the palm of Yale (a nickname), a cyborg-tutor in the service of Devon Adair to educate her ill son, Ulysses 'Uly' Adair. Uly doesn't seem to be paying much attention to Yale's geography lesson this evening, and his eyes have an unhealthy, sickly shine. His skin is a pale, grayish parlour. He's dressed up in some sort of bio-suit with arm and leg braces, and equipped with a breathing tube, which would suggest weak or under-developed lungs and a weakened immune system.

The child asks Yale about the possibility of him being able to run freely right off the ship once they have landed on the planet - the planet Yale has been showing him. Yale is amused by this enthusiasm, and gently tempers his eagerness by saying Uly probably will run, but in time.

Devon's narration continues:

"Six years ago, Uly was diagnosed with a disease our medical community hesitates to even recognize; a disease not caused by the presence of a virus, but, rather, an absence - an absence of what nature can provide; an absence of fresh air, of fresh water, an absence of Earth."

Devon approaches tutor and son, and listens briefly as Yale tells Uly they'll be landing at New Pacifica, on the shore bordered by the Sea of Antaeus.

Uly spots his mother, and excitedly asks if there will be beasts and monsters on this new planet, and goes on to explain exactly what sorts of beasts he'd like to see there, full of colourful, imaginative attributes like tentacles and odd numbers of digits.

Devon and Yale smile indulgently at him, and Devon scoops up Uly into her arms and declares it's time for him to get some rest, since the next day is a very, very big day - launch day, when all of Devon's plans for her private expedition hopefully come to fruition.

They're interrupted just then by a message that comes over Devon's Gear device - a portable communications link that provides sound and visuals worn like a headset with an eyepiece attachment.

It's mission Commander Broderick O'Neill calling, and he's ordering Devon to the cockpit on an urgent matter. Devon's narration continues as she walks the passageways of the ship to meet with the Commander:

"This quest to save my son has grown larger than even I could imagine. Tonight, 250 Syndrome families wait with us, docked beside our small advance ship. In eight hours, our lives will change forever, as we light out in search of a place like Earth once was, a place where children can thrive, a planet we might call home."

In the cockpit, Cmdr. O'Neill has extremely disturbing news: They've picked up a news feed from a pre-recorded press release. And the news is not good. The news anchor somberly reports that the Eden Project, after years of opposition from both the scientific and medical communities, and bound to set up the first colony in the G8 system, "met with disaster this morning, exploding upon departure. There were no survivors."

A stunned Devon shakily asks if it's some kind of joke. But O'Neill negates this by saying the release is government-sanctioned, pre-approved by three panels, nine hours before the broadcast is supposed to air. Crewmember Baines confirms it is scheduled to be broadcast at 0900 hours the next morning - which is an hour after their planned launch time. Devon is shocked that the government would now try to kill her after failing to stall her mission, but O'Neill counters this by saying: "(if) We find a better world out there than these sanitized cans, they lose control." He starts running a scan right away to see if any explosives might be picked up on board. Devon makes the decision to launch NOW. With the launch portal on the space station open, O'Neill commands pilot Alonzo Solace to make a break for it, even though level six clearance has not yet been granted.

Eden Advance crewmember John Danziger, blue-collar type, independent, gruff in everything except when it comes to his young daughter, True Danziger, is called upon to help out with the search for the explosives device. He's not thrilled with this, since it's not part of his job assignment.

Government liaison to Eden Advance, Morgan Martin, a spineless, glad-handing yes-man, is on his way to find out what's going on with this unauthorized departure attempt of the Eden Advance ship. He rehearses an indignant "What the hell is going on" speech in the elevator ride up to confront Devon, but loses his nerve as soon as he sees a stern-looking Cmdr O'Neill, demanding answers from him, instead.

Morgan, however, was not made aware of the government's plan to sabotage the Eden Advance mission to what is known as planet G889. Devon acknowledges this by saying since he's still on board, he obviously has no idea what his "level six" friends in the government are up to.

A government stiff from the space station, Dison Blalock, awakened from sleep with news of Devon's pre-emptive and unauthorized departure, tries to smooth things over. He has the personality of a snake, and Devon sees clearly through his deceit. She knows full well he's in on the conspiracy to destroy the ship and terminate the mission by any means necessary, so his pleas for them to halt their escape fall on deaf ears.

Ignoring all warnings that they are in violation of port ordinance, they decide to make a run for it. Port Authority starts closing the docking bay doors, and shut down the computer guidance system, forcing Alonzo to attempt it manually.

John Danziger has finds the explosive device right inside a TV monitor in the cockpit (with Blalock's image and voice still transmitting his empty, verbal threats), and they hurriedly shunt it off the ship where it explodes without doing the intended damage. A distressed Morgan reaches the realization that the government will not be coming after them and that Eden Advance is now on their own. He says it more for himself, since he is now without any life-lines to his employers.

Devon leaves the cockpit and rendezvous with Yale to ask if he's seen mission doctor, Dr. Vasquez, since she can't raise him on Gear. Since Dr. Vasquez should be prepping Uly for cold sleep, she's concerned that she cannot reach him. Yale informs her that Dr. Vasquez is NOT on board the ship; that he disembarked to make a final check on the other Syndrome children in the colony that is to follow the Advance ship. Devon is heartsick to realize this means they have no doctor on board. Yale reminds her, though, that Dr. Julia Heller is indeed on the ship. Devon scoffs that Dr. Heller is the most junior of Dr. Vasquez' team, and barely qualified to be his intern. She blurts this out as Dr. Heller, dressed in a white lab coat, approaches behind her and Yale uncomfortably says that she's here to prep Uly for the long cold-sleep journey.

Julia, looking slightly overwhelmed now that she is totally responsible for Uly's care, still asserts herself and declares she will monitor Uly for 24 hours before the rest of the crewmembers go down. Devon concurs, but Julia expresses reservations about the risks of hibernation for a Syndrome child. Devon knows the risks, but says brusquely: "We don't have a choice now, do we?" and stalks off. "No, we don't," Julia says under her breath, somewhat stunned by Devon's manner, and heads off to attend to her duties.

On another part of the ship, John Danziger confronts Cmdr. O'Neill about the recent turn of events. He's upset about it all, and O'Neill tells him that the original contract for him and the rest of the crew stands: transport to and deposit (the colonists) on the planet. John says he's not keen on what else has happened, like the bomb scare and leaving under a no-go order. When he returns from this job, he says he still has to do business with that port they've just blatantly defied. O'Neill reminds John that it's 22 light years each way, and by the time he gets back, no one will even remember the incident, or him. Devon enters at that time and informs them that the hazard pay clause has been invoked. Placated, John leaves the cockpit.

The Eden Advance disengages from the colony ship, which will spend 24 light years following the trail blazed by Devon's crew. When they reach New Pacifica on planet G889, Eden Advance will hopefully have set up their new home.

In the cold-sleep bay, Devon is tucking Uly in for the 22-light-year journey. She promises him he will wake up, and that it will seem like waking from any other normal night's sleep. Julia enters and gives him a sedative shot; Yale bids him goodnight, and Devon kisses him. Uly drifts off, and Julia closes his sleep chamber as Devon and Yale look on protectively.

Devon's narration picks up:

"We bring so many questions with us. Will this new planet hold the key to healing humanity? Will the frontier hold the same promise it did for our ancestors? And, most of all, will Uly ever get to slay his monsters?"


A female computer voice announces the ship's systems: Eden Advance ship's Automatic Navigational Guidance engages and starts up artificial gravity, atmospheric pressure and thermal control systems. Space propulsion mechanisms engage. Lights turn on and monitors start scrolling command prompts in the cockpit. In Cryo-sleep chamber four, the computer announces the occupant being awakened: Heller, Julia. Physician. Neurological activity: High. Core temperature: Normal. Alpha rising: .8. Julia stirs wearily, and stumbles unsteadily up to the comm deck donned in socks, a robe and her dia-glove, a device worn on the left hand extending up the forearm, used for diagnostic and surgical purposes. She approaches Alonzo in the cockpit to check his vitals. He makes a crack about what they could be doing in the event that they're a million miles off-course. Of course, they're right on target for planet G889, but he says: "I could postpone everyone's defrost and celebrate life a little bit. What do you say?"

Julia regards him warily and responds: "Is that the only come-on you sleep jumpers can come up with these days?"

A sleep jumper, Alonzo has worked a very long time making cold sleep runs as a pilot. Whatever home he returns to has long since changed after every jump. John stumbles in at that moment, and he confesses that he's only ever done a 19-month cold-sleep run, and doesn't think he'll get used to them between the post-sleep disorientation and the weird dreams during stasis. Alonzo, however, says he doesn't dream any longer: "I've been under so many times, I lost my dream button." He also wistfully states that he never gets used to how the world changes. He holds up a picture of what might be a former girlfriend and says: "Probably a grandmother by now. So that's why we get the heavy pay, huh?"

John asks how old Alonzo is, and he replies: "A lot older than you, pal."

In the Cryo-chamber bay, the attempt to bring Uly out is taking longer than Devon expected, and she's becoming worried. She suggests to Julia that perhaps a stimulant be used. Julia tries to allay the other woman's fears to no avail. The tension between them increases to where Julia feels she needs to defend herself. "Devon, I do know what I'm doing," she says, as calmly as possible, and tries to prove she's qualified for her duties. Devon impatiently finishes Julia's sentence for her by saying she knows Julia graduated cum laude in diagnostic analysis; that she checked her credentials.

Julia also reveals that her parents had her chromosomes skewed towards the medical arts - in essence, Julia has been genetically engineered to be a doctor. Devon says that Julia's background cannot compensate for lack of experience in this situation, but Uly picks that moment to wake, and Devon is all smiles. Julia stands by and allows herself a small sigh of relief.

On another part of the ship, John reunites with True, and she re-asserts what seems to be a long-standing demand for a real pet cat. She figures with the kind of pay he's getting for this mission, they'll be able to afford it once they return to the station. In the Morgan/Bess Martin quarters, the government liaison complains about his present circumstances. He mouths off about how he detests Devon and her foolhardy mission to save her sick son. His pretty wife, Bess, peers at herself in the mirror and frets about how she feels older after the 22-year sleep. Morgan lashes out at her with a verbal tirade about how ridiculous it is to think she's gotten older in suspended animation. This upsets her further, and he realizes he's been insensitive to her feelings. They kiss and make up.

In one of the deck halls, True is running some small diagnostic check on her own to assist her father, and Uly comes ambling slowly around the corner all trussed up in his bio-suit. True regards him curiously and Uly asks her not to stare at him. She indignantly says she's not, and Yale shows up with a wheelchair to pick up Uly and remind him not to wear himself out. True recognizes the tutor as being from the Yale series of cyborgs. "My dad said they stopped the Yale program," she says accusingly, "that you all went crazy."

Momentarily taken aback, Yale recovers his composure and replies sweetly: "A few of the Yales did have faint recall of their criminal past."

Uly further defends him: "He doesn't have a memory glitch. He's a great tutor." Yale expresses his regret that True won't be staying on with the Eden project on planet G889, and he wheels Uly away. True's expression as they leave shows no matching feeling of regret.

Back on the comm deck, O'Neill is pleased to grant Devon her first look at the planet she's been so desperately bound for: G889 looms before them from their place in orbit, a big, beautiful globe with identifiable continents and oceans, not unlike Earth. The Advance communication dish launches, and Alonzo prepares to drop the rest of the cargo down, planetside. But the cargo pod release malfunctions, and the weight of the pods begin to drag down the ship. Manual release jams up due to a heavy magnetic charge picked up in orbit. Explosive charges to blow the pods off are dead. The ship is going to either crash or burn up in the atmosphere. The Martins scramble to get out of their quarters amid the chaos and violent tossing of the crashing ship, but they're still the first to make it to the evacuation pods. "We're not going down in this thing, Bess!" Morgan says.

With evacuation warnings in effect, everyone is trying to make their way off madly, in spite of Yale's pleas for calm and order. In the medical bay, Julia valiantly struggles to salvage as many medical supplies as she can before making her escape, but is hindered by the erratic motions of the out-of-control ship. John frantically tries to locate True, and sees Morgan and Bess taking one of the escape pod for themselves. "Don't leave! There's people here!" he shouts to them through the air lock doors. A panicked Morgan ignores him and manually releases the pod. John turns away in disgust and resumes his search for his daughter.

Back in the cockpit, O'Neill orders Alonzo to forget about trying to save the ship. John locates True huddled inside a crate, and he scoops her into his arms in relief. Alonzo sees Julia struggling with her equipment, and grabs what he can and grabs her - forcefully urging her onward to the evacuation pods. They make it onto the last pod with Devon, Uly, Yale, O'Neill, John, and True. Also seen inside (briefly) are Baines, Magus, Walman, Mazatl, Eben, Denner, and Cameron (most of these are background characters and part of the Ops crew with John).

Yale verbally prays as they tumble into a freefall inexorably toward the planet surface: "Our Father who art in heaven, protect us with your strength as we are guided on this journey. Protect us, Lord. We need You."

True lets out an ear-splitting shriek as they prepare to hit the surface. After the crash-landing, O'Neill tells everyone to check for injuries, and asks Baines for an atmospheric reading. Sensors are down, however, and he cannot get anything. Devon commands O'Neill to open the hatch. Without knowing what the conditions are outside, this might be considered foolish. But Devon insists that there's nowhere else to go. O'Neill concurs. He pops it open, and sunlight streams in. A gentle breeze carries in particles of white fluff akin to the fluff of the poplar tree found on Earth.

They help each other off the pod, and step out into the wonders of the new planet. All around them is wild nature, fresh and green. They've landed in a grassy area surrounded by a mountainous region with rocky ledges and trees that resemble the conifers of Earth. The blue sky is bright and with puffy, white clouds, and dominated by two waning moons. After the initial euphoria has passed, Devon and Julia turn their attention to Uly. Yale advises Devon that there is no signal from the other colonists who were on board the Advance ship. Julia finds that Uly shows no signs of trauma. "Thank God!" Devon says fervently, and embraces her son tenderly.

O'Neill approaches Yale with a weapon, and tells him to keep an eye out for anything that moves. With a shudder, Yale says that he can't accept the gun. O'Neill comes to a quick realization and asks contemptuously: "Weapons aversion in the Yale program?" He re-holsters the weapon and stalks off disgustedly without waiting for an answer.

Julia runs a diagnostic on Alonzo, who was injured in the landing. He's fretting over his inability to hold the ship. He thinks he's only wrenched his leg, but Julia tells him he's got multiple fractures and that he needs to hold still and rest.

John wraps his jacket around True to ward off the approaching evening chill. She's squatting and playing in the soil, which she's never seen before. "Is - is this dirt, Dad?" she asks. "Yeah, I guess so," he responds. True digs up a rock, holds it up, and marvels at it.

At the Martin camp':

Under the light of the two quarter-full moons, Morgan and Bess have a fire going, and Bess talks about how burning wood had been illegal on Earth since she was a kid. Morgan is worried that they may be the only ones who made it. He's told Bess a fallacy: he claims it was wind shear that ripped their evacuation pod from the ship - not a deliberate act on his part. She soothes him by saying she doesn't blame him and that they're lucky they got out alive.

Back at the other escape pod, a thermal map of the area shows O'Neill a spot where at least one of their cargo pod sectionals has landed. The other 15, though, could be scattered all over the rest of the planet. Yale says the pod they've spotted is pod 12, which inventory indicates has vehicles, V.T.O. aircraft, and probably some clothing. O'Neill says they'll move out at first light. Yale sits by Devon, and she remarks how it's so hard to believe they're on the planet. Yale concurs that the odds are unbelievable.

In their camp area, John advises True to go easy on her food rations and that she should save some for later. O'Neill gathers True and Uly around, and he shows them an old coin. They've never seen money before, since it wasn't used on the stations. O'Neill offers it to Uly, and asks him to hold it for him, as it will bring him good luck on the planet. He walks off, and True, feeling somewhat put out as she didn't get anything from the Commander, makes a crack about Uly's distaste for the semolina bars they have as food rations. He's not enjoying the one he's picking at, and True says that's a good thing, since she heard a kid once choked to death eating one. So if he doesn't want his...But Uly isn't taken in by True's wiles. "I get it," he says. "You want something, so you decide to be nice to the freak."

True protests her innocence in the scheme, but Uly still isn't convinced. He tosses the food bar angrily away and tells her to get it if she wants it. True does go after it into the bushes. She retrieves it and sits to eat. Unbeknownst to her, some local wildlife creeps up behind her. The tiny creature is a dark, reddish-brown colour with a scaly skin. Its hands have four digits that appear to be long claws, and True decides to make a pet of it, feeding it pieces from the semolina bar.

Next morning, the Eden Advance crew sets off to find cargo pod 12. Over the rough terrain, Uly's chair is a hindrance to their progress. True's jealousy increases further when John lifts Uly from his chair to carry him over a felled tree trunk. Her consolation is the tiny creature she's adopted and kept hidden in a sack. By late afternoon, the pioneers have reached the site of the crashed pod 12. In shock and disbelief, they find that the pod has been looted. Almost everything has been picked clean. O'Neill is particularly upset, because of the intel about the G889 showed there was no intelligent life on the planet. Who, then, is responsible for the theft?

Still searching through the mangled remains of the pod, John uncovers a Zero unit', a robot droid they assemble. Also salvageable is a Hummer land vehicle (they have Hummers in 2192!). Another small land unit is also among the salvaged equipment, and John shows Uly how to operate it. Again, True quietly watches on with envy. O'Neill wants to track down those responsible for the thefts, and seeks to follow some tracks leading away from the downed pod. He and John ride out in search, and unbeknownst to them, True's "kitty" has stowed away with them.

Meanwhile, in a makeshift hospital tent, Alonzo is resting on a cot. His rest, however, is fitful. He is dreaming he's back on the Eden Advance ship, amidst the chaos of the evacuation. He runs out of the cockpit doors to find they lead to a cave bathed in a strange, reddish light. He halts in surprise, and he hears the cockpit doors shut behind him. When he looks back, there is nothing but another cave passageway. A sudden flicker of a shadow on the wall from an unknown source causes him to turn and scamper in the other direction to hide. Then he comes face-to-face with a tall, slender creature with a gaping mouth, rough-looking skin, and gripping some sort of staff. Alonzo wakes with a start. Julia attends to Uly, testing his lung capacity. Julia says he's had a good peak, and confides in Devon that he's no worse, considering all he's been through. Devon says that all she wants is to give him a chance. John and O'Neill have come to a stop at a ridge, and John scopes out the area, looking for signs of their unknown quarry. But he's spotted nothing for miles. Meanwhile, the creature that's stowed away on the land vehicle gets moving about, and catches one of its claws on the trigger of an upturned rifle. The sound of the discharge surprises the men, and O'Neill sends a retaliatory shot in the direction it came from. They cautiously approach the vehicle and the rifle. John says they ought to hold off since they don't know what they're dealing with, but O'Neill begs to differ. The creature knocks the rifle over, and it discharges again. O'Neill fires off another shot at the unknown life form, grazing it. In self-preservation mode, it shoots off one of its claws at O'Neill. The claw strikes the Commander in his neck just behind his jaw. The venom is fast-acting, and within seconds, he's down, the skin on the side of his face bloody and mottled. John places his head to the older man's chest, and is at a loss as to how to offer any assistance, since he's so isolated from the base camp...

Yale offers up prayers for the Commander at a hastily-erected gravesite, as the other crewmembers gather around in silence. "Forgive us, Lord, if this ceremony lacks grace. Burial is a long tradition lost to us over generations in space. Bless our brother, Broderick O'Neill. Be gracious to him. Lift up countenance upon him and grant him peace. Universe to universe, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And remember to your heart our lost brethren, with whom we set forth on this mission. Protect them from evil. Amen."

The adults move out quietly and solemnly, but True and Uly remain behind at the make-shift wooden cross that marks the site. Yale notices, and approaches. He asks if they want to talk about what happened to the Commander, and True matter-of-factly says he's dead. But she wants to know why he was put into the dirt. Yale explains as best he can: "Sometimes we need to return to the place we think we have come from. Earth, even this new Earth, can be a place where- where life begins. And when life ends, it can be a place to rest."

Uly asks if they're all going to go in the dirt, and Yale answers with a comforting No - at least not for a very long time. He gently reminds them though, that they need to be careful. They're in a new place, and Cmdr. O'Neill died because he forgot that. "Even that little animal, as cute as can be, can be deadly here." He makes the children promise that if they encounter anything like the little creature again, they'll stay away. Back at base camp, Yale's projecting the hologram of G889 over his palm once again (as a cyborg, he has a cybernetic arm/glove device that allows his to do this). He points out to Devon the spot they dropped their communications dish prior to the crash-landing. He touches a point on the spinning image of where the cargo was due to land, but says the other 15 pods could be anywhere. John's been observing them from his position as he does maintenance on the land vehicles with True lending him assistance. He hears Devon tell Yale that they'll move out once the vehicles are fully operational. True intuits from the present mood that she and John will never be leaving the planet, and shares this fear with him. He has no answer for her. Instead, he confronts Devon about her plans. He gives her a piece of his mind, telling her she cannot drag everyone across the planet just to fulfil some impossible objective; that half of them weren't even supposed to step foot on the planet.

Devon is sorry for what has happened, but says that there are other colonists on their way, and they were promised a fully-operational outpost for when they arrive. John seethes that this is Devon's mission, and that half of them are only hired hands. Devon counters that they were all paid handsomely for their services, and that they knew the risks when they signed on for the tour of duty. John says that they've lost most of their cargo. In such a dire situation, the priority needs to change. "It's not about contracts or friendship." John declares. "It's about survival." He believes if they're going to move on, then Devon should be diplomatic about it, and put it to a vote. She thanks him for his input in a somewhat dismissive manner, and tells him what she really needs is a Trans Rover that's operational, and with a condescending air asks him if can handle that. John walks off with a scowl.

Moments later, Julia shouts out, drawing everyone's attention. She's spotted something on the ridge, and Devon's immediate thought is for Uly's safety. John grabs True and secures her in the Trans Rover. From his cot, Alonzo grabs a scope and peers up at the ridge, where two creatures, clutching staffs, quietly stand.

Inside the Rover, True uses its view screen to zero in on the unidentified life forms. As they come into focus, she's horrified by their appearance and screams in fright.

The Zero unit is dispatched to get closer readings on them, and Devon, Uly and Yale watch video transmission of its approach. Yale describes them as some kind of biped creature. The aliens raise their staffs and join them, creating a blinding flash of light, and everyone averts their gaze. The Zero is also disoriented. When everyone looks up to the ridge again, the two creatures are gone, which Zero confirms: "No indication of alien bipeds."

They're all puzzled by the sudden disappearance, and Zero continues to sweep the area, but no further indication is found of the creatures. However, the robot does begin to pick up movement over the ridge. It turns out the movement is Morgan and Bess, heading in their direction, struggling with all their worldly goods.

That night, gathered all around a campfire, Morgan relates their harrowing escape. He feeds them the wind shear story, which John chooses not to contradict, even though Morgan sees he knows the truth. Julia, still clearly uncomfortable with the earlier close encounter, asks why nobody's willing to discuss what happened. John says that he thought they all agreed what they saw were animals. Crew member Walman scoffs that animals don't carry staffs. "None that we know of," John replies. Magus surmises that perhaps it was an illusion. But Julia is unconvinced. "What about the light? Sun flares is just not a good enough explanation." Devon says that they shouldn't make any assumptions, and there's a lot they don't know about the new planet. "Fine time to realize that," John mutters under his breath, just loud enough for everyone to hear.

The tiny creature with the venomous claws creeps its way to where True has gone to sleep for the night. Its purring wakes her, and she tells it she's not supposed to be playing with it; that it's too dangerous. However, she makes no move to keep away from it.

On his cot, Alonzo once again is having a fitful sleep. He's dreaming that he's walking aimlessly in a desert environment when from the ground, one of the biped aliens rises, staff in hand. He turns away, and another is behind him. Three more emerge from the sandy ground, and stand at attention. "What the hell?" he asks. "What are you? What do you want?" The creatures give no discernable reply, but are possibly communicating with Alonzo in some non-verbal fashion. "What was that? Who said that?" Alonzo asks, confused. "What is this place? Please, stop. What are you?" He puts his hands to his head and doubles over as if in pain. "Leave me!" he demands, and falls to his knees. A stunned Alonzo awakes to find himself on the ground, cradled by Julia. "I don't have dreams," he murmurs dazedly. Julia tries to comfort him and tells him he's alright, but Alonzo is still in spaced-out mode and doesn't seem to hear her.

Meanwhile, True is sneaking off from camp with the tiny, poisonous animal in her sack, presumably to let it go. She doesn't know that Uly has seen her departure, and that he's been following her in the small land vehicle. When she believes she's a good enough distance away, True takes the tiny creature from the sack and sets it down, saying: "You can't stay with us anymore." She gives it one last good-bye hug just as Uly pulls up. Caught by surprise, True asks: "What are you doing here?" Uly ignores her question and asks: "Is that one of those things that killed the Commander?"

True tells him to buzz off and go back to camp since he's not supposed to be here, to which he responds in kind - she's not supposed to be out here, either. They argue over the creature, with True defending it amidst Uly's protests that Yale made them promise to stay away from them. Uly says they're evil, and True says he's the evil one, and that it's his fault he got sick and that they all had to come to planet G889. Uly maintains his side of the argument, and says True's attachment to the creature will get them all killed. Uly turns the vehicle around and threatens to tell everyone. "No, you're not!" True cries, and runs after him. She catches up to him, and they struggle in the moving vehicle. Uly falls out, and a contrite True comes to a stop in order to go back for him. In the dark, misty light of the night, she's lost sight of him. She backtracks, and arrives at Uly's location just in time to see the ground beneath him shake, and long, sinewy arms reach from the loose soil and grab him. In horror, she watches helplessly as Uly is pulled under the ground, leaving no trace behind.

The Eden crew launches a search party, and a desperate Devon attempts to raise Uly on Gear, but there is no response. John uses a shovel to dig in the spot True saw the boy go under, and with the guidance of Zero, wants to know how much deeper he should be digging. "I have a Gear reading at approximately one-half meter." Zero drones in its typically mechanical voice.

John starts gently pulling away at the soil with his hands now, abandoning the tool so as not to strike Uly with the shovel blade in case he is actually somewhere in the ground. John believes he's found the child, and digs excitedly exclaiming: "Yeah, I got him! I got him!" Devon, her face tearstained, tentatively approaches John. But he stops suddenly short, and pulls away from the dig site, a morose expression on his face. Wordlessly, he backs off while Devon gets down on her knees at the hole, expecting the worst. She reaches into the depression, and pulls out Uly's headpiece with his Gear attachment. Devon starts her own frenzied digging, and Yale gently tries to pull her back. She allows herself to be comforted by the tutor, and John declares that they're going about the search the wrong way. He believes there must be another way in'. He takes over the search, asking that everyone return to camp, and that he and Zero will stay back. Devon declares she's not going anywhere, and John, in an uncommonly gentle manner, assures her he'll find Uly. Devon again asserts she will not leave until he's found, and after a pause, John relents. He instructs the other members of the search party to stay in contact over Gear, and that if anything happens, they are to clear out from the area immediately. (We might assume from this instruction that they suspect Uly has been swallowed by a sinkhole, and not wanting to get trapped in one themselves, they are being cautious.)

As they expand their search into the night, Yale pokes around an area, and hears clumps of dirt crumbling and a faint echo. It's a cobweb-covered hole, and he announces his finding over Gear, and soon Zero is getting readings of a large "labyrinth-like system" sixty-three meters below the surface.

John rigs himself up in a harness and lowers himself into the hole. Luma-light in hand, John reaches the bottom, and ensures Zero can still track him at that depth.

Back at camp, Bess makes friendly overtures to True, who's trying to keep busy by working on one of the Trans Rovers. True isn't in the mood for companionship, and Bess smilingly assures her it wasn't her fault, and that they'll find Uly, then leaves her be.

Glancing up, True spots two figures holding staffs standing again on the ridge as they were earlier in the day. Other Eden crew spot the alien bipeds too, and all move to get a better vantage point, murmuring quietly at the spectacle. Morgan grabs a scope and focuses on them. In a panic, Morgan says to the crew members who aren't taking any immediate action: "Well, what are you waiting for? Them to kill us, too?" He searches around, and hefts a Mag-pro, a large weapon. The others follow close behind him, but do not stop him as he makes his way towards the aliens.

Julia is the only one who tries to dissuade him, but cannot convince him to put down the weapon. He takes aim and fires off a shot, creating a blast of energy that explodes the rock at the feet of the biped creatures. When the smoke and dust clears, the two creatures are nowhere to be seen.

Stupefied, no one is able to avert their gaze. Morgan realizes what he's just done, and for a split second looks like he's having an attack of his conscience. But it passes just as quickly as it comes, and he proudly shoulders the Mag-pro and says: "Well, there ya go! Show these things who's boss on this planet."

"You idiot!" Julia hisses at Morgan under her breath in an admonishing tone, and she hurries up to the site the alien bipeds were last seen. Up on the ridge, she crouches down and discovers a small crater in the loose soil under the glow of her luma-light. She fingers some of the dirt, but can find no trace of the aliens. Back in the labyrinthine cavern, John is making his way along the passageways, calling out for Uly. Transmitting back on Gear, he says:

"This is amazing. It's an old underground river, or an abandoned mine." On the surface Devon asks if he sees any sign of Uly, like footprints, or signs of struggle. John says not, and that it looks like the place has been abandoned for a very long time. At base camp, True urgently runs to Julia, telling her that Alonzo is calling out for her. In the med-tent, she sees he's awake, but has a distant expression on his face. She asks if he's alright.

He says: "They're Terrians."

"What?" Julia replies. "They're Terrians'? What did you say?"

"The creatures -" Alonzo continues almost as if he doesn't hear Julia, "the ones who swim up from the earth..."

Julia asks if he's with her, and waves a hand in front of his face. Without looking at her, he takes her hand in his. "How do you know what they're called?" she asks. The human contact finally seems to get to the pilot. He looks directly at her and states: "Because I talked to them. I talked to them."

Julia looks like she's not entirely sure she believes him, and that perhaps he's suffering from hallucinations.

At the excavation site, Yale sits beside Devon and tries to convince her to go back to camp to rest; that he will stay and wait. "Twenty-two light-years for this," Devon says dejectedly, and for the first time, she begins to express doubts about her personal, galaxy-traversing quest to save her son. "What was I thinking, Yale? Why did I bring all these people here?"

"You did not bring them, Devon," Yale reminds her, "they followed you." Still unsure, Devon says, "Maybe we had no right, Yale. Maybe we're not supposed to go to the end of the universe to save ourselves."

"Maybe...we just haven't gotten there yet." Yale says.

Right then, Julia tries to raise Devon on Gear. She announces that she thinks she knows who (or what) has taken Uly, and that they may be able to reach him. Julia makes her way to Devon's location, and explains what she saw on the ridge, how the soil was disrupted there, just like it is at the search site. "I think they're trying to approach us through Alonzo's dreams."

Julia theorizes that they can try to put Alonzo to sleep to see if he can make contact with the Terrians in his dreams, but Yale protests that Uly was not taken in a dream.

John comes through on Gear asking if they're still up there, and says he believes he's found something. He's found some sort of stalagmite-like formation, only it's smooth, and almost looks like a large tusk protruding from the ground. "Whoever lives down here, I don't think it's animals," he states. Above-ground, Julia takes out a sedative hypo, and asks what their course of action will be. Devon, in her typical impulsive way, takes the sedative from Julia without asking permission and declares she is going after Uly and will be administering the sedative to herself. "I'm not just sitting and waiting." She injects herself, and promptly succumbs to the drug. As she falls to the ground, she also falls into a dreamscape, and floats down to a ground in what appears to be the same caverns John has been exploring in his search for Uly.

"No REM," Julia says disappointedly as she checks Devon's sleep state. (While Rapid Eye Movement phase of sleep is most often theorized to be the dream cycle in human sleep, this does not appear to be necessary for dreaming on planet G889.) "Alonzo, this isn't right. They approached you. You have to go with her," Julia implores the reluctant pilot.

In her dream, Devon rises and looks at her surroundings. She's in a cave bathed in a reddish light. She immediately calls out for Uly. John, exploring the real cave, seems to hear a faint echo - could he be hearing Devon?

"I'm here, Devon. I'm here," Alonzo says, appearing beside her in the cave. A rumbling sound draws their attention, and from the ground, a Terrian emerges and stands at attention. Speechless, Devon watches as another, and still another springs up. Alonzo regards them calmly. In an attempt to be brave (but shows she's still terrified as she backs up towards Alonzo), Devon demands to know where Uly is and what they've done to him. One Terrian raises a hand over the ground, and something is there, squirming and disturbing the loose soil. A small arm sticks out, then a shoulder and head. It turns around, and it's Uly. "Mom?" he says. But then he starts sinking back into the ground. Devon rushes to him to grab him, but the dirt suddenly becomes the grating of the Eden Advance ship's floor. She picks herself up, and realizes she's in the Cryo-chamber bay. She looks up one level, and witnesses the moment in time when Julia warns her about the risks of putting Uly into cold sleep. She sees herself giving Uly a kiss goodnight on his bed. The dream-version of Devon looks up and seems to see the real Devon. Then the dream-Devon and Uly vanish. Uly's empty wheelchair comes into Devon's view, and it's slowly moving down a corridor and out of sight. Devon chases it down around a corner, calling out for Uly again. As she rounds the corner, she sees Uly silhouetted against a bright background at an open cargo bay door. His arms are outstretched, and he's no longer constricted by his bio-suit.

"Mom?" he calls, reaching out for her. Devon runs towards him, but he seems to be retreating into the distance the more she tries to approach him. When she arrives at the open cargo bay doors, Uly has vanished, and Devon is outside in a harshly-lit desert wasteland. She runs aimlessly, but Alonzo is still with her, and he says: "They fear us. They're confused by us."

Devon asks why the Terrians are doing this, and Alonzo replies: "They're aware Uly is special; different." He points towards two Terrians standing in the distance. These two are holding staffs that look different from any yet seen before. These staffs are tipped with a small circle, with four tear-drop shaped pieces radiating from the outer rim of the circle.

Alonzo explains further: "The abduction is an attempt to understand us through him. This dream plane is real. It is the only way they can reach us."

Devon boldly approaches the Terrians, and once again she sees Uly's arm coming up from the sandy soil. She grabs his hand, but he sinks down beneath the surface. She scrabbles at the dirt, desperately calling his name. She looks up, and the Terrians are gone and she's alone. Devon comes up with nothing but the dirt in her hands as she rises, she lets some of the grains fall uselessly through her fingers. Circling around, she continues to call for her son, and unable to find consolation, throws the rest of the sand up in frustration. She sinks to her knees and buries her face in her hands. In utter misery, she turns onto her side to lie in the sand.

Suddenly, Devon is back in the cave, on her knees, holding a handful of sand that's slipping through her fingers. She's facing four Terrians, and the sound of low murmuring can be heard. She stands to approach them.

"They claim we've been here before; this planet," Alonzo says. Shocked and confused by Alonzo's words, Devon turns to the Terrians to refute this. "We've never been here before. Never!"

One Terrian speaks a reply in a sound akin to the lowing of a calf. Alonzo interprets: "They fear we're evil. We've left our mark on the planet already."

Devon tries to plead her case to the lead Terrian: "No, we came here for life, for a chance to live."

In the darkness of the caverns, John again seems to hear Devon's words, echoing through the passageways. He spots something in the distance and runs towards it.

The Terrian trills a reply to Devon's assertion, and Alonzo says: "Uly's return is not a gift. It would have a price."

"Wh-What is it?" Devon stammers out. "Tell us what it is. Anything!"

Alonzo interrupts her in a warning voice, saying: "Devon, it's not our fight."

Devon declares she doesn't care. She tells the lead Terrian: "I will do anything. I will give you my life for my son's. Please."

It murmurs a response, and Alonzo tries to explain: "Devon, it is different for them."

The Terrians start to slowly retreat, backing up away from them. Devon begs Alonzo to tell them to stop. "My son!" she cries out as they disappear. But one lone Terrian remains, and beckons Devon to follow. She trails cautiously after it, and it backs up against a wall, extending its arm and holding out its hand. It seems to want Devon to take it, and she gingerly stretches hers out to touch the Terrian. They make contact, and the Terrian pulls Devon with it through the wall. Meanwhile, John is still making his way through the cave, and he finally spots Uly, lying on his side on the ground. The boy's bio suit is gone. He's still wearing his boots and pants, but his back is bare. John rushes to the child's side and lifts him gently into his arms after quickly listening for a heartbeat. As he stands, he sees through a small opening up into another part of the cavern. Within the chamber, John spots a Terrian silently standing watch. It backs away and slowly turns around, leaving John and Uly alone. Curious, John climbs up in pursuit of the interloper. Above ground, Devon's eyes flutter open. It is daybreak, and she sits up. A tired-looking Julia asks her how she's feeling. She asks Devon what happened, and Devon replies that she doesn't know, but she gets up and walks away with Julia and Yale following after her. Alonzo is still sleeping soundly. Devon moves purposefully through some trees and overgrowth to an open field. In the distance, she sees Uly running in her direction. John is close behind.

"Mom?" Uly calls out. Devon breaks into a run to meet him.

"Uly!" Devon cries, almost unable to believe her eyes. "I'm right here, Mom! I'm okay."

Hardly able to contain her emotion, Devon sweeps her child into her arms, joyously sobbing his name, and she twirls him around happily. She hugs him to her and kisses him. She asks again if he's okay, and he nods that he is. His lack of need for a bio-suit to even walk, and the fact that he's breathing perfectly well confirms this.

Julia sees this seemingly impossible feat, and stares in wonder. She and John watch the emotional reunion from a distance, and John is suspiciously misty-eyed at the sight.

Later at base camp, Devon announces to the entire group her plans to move on.

"If we can average 20 kilometers a day, we can make it to New Pacifica in nine months - or at least what we used to think of as months - and we will still have 17 months to prepare for our colonists." She admits to them it won't be easy and that she doesn't understand their new world any better than they do. But she states she knows New Pacifica is there, and that somehow, they'll be alright there. She runs a loving hand over Uly's head and says: "I think we've all seen something here that can help us believe that."

Morgan sourly says: "So that's it. You think we should just take off. Just like that." He puts his hands on his hips in a challenging gesture.

"No," Devon says calmly, and steals a glance at John, "I think we should take a vote."

John allows himself a small smile as he hugs True on his lap, and there's grudging respect in his eyes for Devon's decision.

Morgan looks around at the group, past Bess and Walman to see if anyone will agree with Devon. Julia is the first to raise her hand in assent. Alonzo next, then True and John, followed by Ops members Eben, Magus, Baines, Cameron, Denner, and the rest of the Ops crew. Majority vote wins out, and they start packing for the long, difficulty journey ahead of them.

Devon's narration concludes:

"We came to this planet, a group of strangers, and now we head out, still strangers, but united toward a single purpose - braving this new land. Four days ago, aliens landed on a distant planet, and we are them. Now, we struggle across an unknown planet, an uncharted world, looking all the while for that moment when we must fulfill our promise...and wondering...what will stand in our way."

The Edenites start out on foot, while others ride on the land vehicles and the Trans Rover. Yale stops momentarily and looks over to Devon, who strolls over where Alonzo is seated in a land vehicle. "I don't know, Devon," he says dubiously, "I don't know what kind of promise we made; what kind of price we're gonna have to pay." But Devon is smiling confidently as she replies: "I don't either, but I know I'd make it again." And the two start off after the rest of the group.

Unbeknownst to them, however, they have someone watching them and trailing them. Standing on a mound, watching the steady procession towards New Pacifica, is a solitary human with the appearance of a wild man with long, unkempt hair and ill-fitting clothes. A small, wry grin pulls at the corners of his mouth as he contemplates these new arrivals on planet G889, and he stretches out his arm towards the pioneers in a gesture of longing.
No results found.
No results found.
No results found.