What’s the one thing space opera Dark Matter was missing?
But Episode 5 fixes that oversight when the Raza crew agrees to salvage a freighter that suffered an explosion that killed its crew. The zombies are hard to kill, don’t stay dead and eat human flesh.
How did they wind up on a wrecked freighter with zombies? Two gets a space call from a sleazy fixer who’s not happy that the Raza crew didn’t complete its original mission. And he wants them to make it up to him by salvaging the ship at half their normal rate.
The crew, which has just been bemoaning their lack of cash, and can’t get into the vault that Pixie leads them to, takes the job. They don’t trust the fixer arranging the job, but Four points out that they need him, as he’s a connection to their pasts.
(This vault lies behind the huge doors that have fascinated Three since Episode 1. And he showed it to Four hoping he could help open it; he couldn’t.) Secrets and factions continue to propagate: Three and Four lie when Two asks if any of them have been to the vault before, and Three is still blackmailing One to follow his lead, threatening to reveal to the crew that he’s not the original Jace Corso.
Android pages them to the bridge for the call from the sketchy fixer; after they agree to the job, the team speculates on why he would hire them rather than a team that specializes in salvage: probably because there’s something illegal on the ship that the fixer’s customer wants to retrieve.
They’re nine hours out from the freighter’s last known location, so Two tells everyone to sleep. One pays a booty call to Two’s quarters, only to find a shirtless Three there before him. Two saves face by asking if she wants to go over the plans for the salvage operation; she says yes, let’s do that on the bridge. Two and Three have a brief testosterone standoff. (Wonder how long it will take for that alliance to crack …)
Android explains what’s gleaned from the specs provided by the fixer: the freighter’s FTL drive is likely intact, but navigation from the bridge is impossible. She suggests establishing a neural link; then she could remotely upload a jump sequence, and the ship would then fly itself to its original destination.
One, Two, Three, Four and Six board the freighter. Life support is operational but minimal. Android says the freighter is operating on emergency power, but should have approximately six hours of life support left.
Two wants to get down to business; Three wants to explore and find contraband to skim from the ship. One reluctantly agrees, as does Six. Two heads to engineering, and says they’re all leaving when she’s done there.
Pixie joins Android on the bridge. Android makes her laugh (awww) and Pixie asks her if she can come to the infirmary and look at something. Pixie shows her the data card she found with the dead boy, and Android does a classic CSI leap from nothing to Something: it’s a data card after all. It’s molecular structure is similar to a subatomic matrix card. Which means, Android guesses, that it’s part of a much larger system designed to access pockets of extra-dimensional space. (I mean, duh! Just look at it.)
Why would someone want to do that? Android has no idea. Pixie asks Android to keep this a secret.
Two finds a junction box that gives her access to the freighter’s FTL drive; Six and Four find freshly dead bodies with gruesome injuries inflicted, Four says, with hands and teeth. Two orders them to fall back to her position in engineering so they can return to the Raza as soon as she’s done. As usual, One and Three don’t answer when she comms them.
Two tells Three the interference with their comms is likely caused by radiation. He’d like to get away from that stat because radiation. Three wants to continue his treasure hunt. When Two doesn’t cave, Three reminds him that Two is the one with the surgically altered face. Two reminds Three that when blackmailing someone, it’s best not to push them too far. Three fails to notice that Two has a weapon pointed at him.
Two hears someone as she’s working in engineering. She looks, and it’s a zombie!
And he bites her neck!
(Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out any second now, right? Right?!)
Six arrives and shoots the zombie, maybe killing him again. Nope! It grabs his ankle. Six shoots some more, then takes a look at the hideous bite wound on Two’s neck. Two contacts Android and asks her to access the freighter’s logs.
One and Three are still treasure hunting and bickering. Three says One may not be Jace Corso, but he’s probably a criminal. One wants to know what he was doing with Two. Three says it’s pretty obvious; One asks if he got her drunk. “No, but I totally would have,” Three brags. “Nah, in fact, she came on to me.” He claims One’s nice-guy, sensitive persona doesn’t do it for a woman like Two. We’ll see, One says.
Douche contest: scoreless at halftime.
Conveniently, most of the freighter’s logs were destroyed in the explosion, but Android has managed to salvage a portion of the first officer’s voice log. Once Android has enhanced the quality, it sounds remarkably like Two, and she’s talking about something possibly contagious transmitted by saliva and blood. Six orders Android to check every scrap of data from the freighter, and also to see if the infirmary survived the explosion. If so, he wants her to review those logs. Over Four’s objection, Six take Two back to the Raza, where Android treats her wound then places her in isolation and begins a scan.
One and Three continue their treasure hunt, but they’re going in circles. They hear a noise and find a crazed female zombie gnawing on a detached human arm. This is not the job One signed up for: “The crew on this ship is supposed to be dead. They’re definitely not supposed to be diseased cannibal monsters.” Three shoots zombies while One hotwires a locked door so they can escape. But Three also shoots an air vent, causing an explosion that breaches the freighter’s hull. They have to clutch walls, but somehow have oxygen for yelling. With a little teamwork, One saves Three’s life, hauling them through an airlock and back into life support, but they’re on the opposite side of the breach from the airlock where the marauder docks.
Six goes back for One and Three. Android says their comm interference is indeed due to radiation, which means One and Three are near the explosion site. She determines that the radiation isn’t at a toxic level, just enough to interfere with their comms.
Android says that the freighter’s last port of call was a planet called Torien Alpha, the site of a pharmaceutical research facility that’s now under galactic quarantine. The trees on the planet live for tens of thousands of years; the pharmaceutical tried to synthesize a drug that would make humans effectively immortal. “Instead, they created one of the deadliest viruses humankind has ever seen,” Android says.
Why would the freighter go there? Two suggests that someone spent billions on that research and want to sneak it out of quarantine.
How long does Two have? Symptoms typically appear within three hours of exposure, Android says. And there’s no known cure.
One and Three wake up on the floor of the freighter; having passed out due to lower oxygen levels caused by the breach. Six pages them from the marauder, and they arrange a rendezvous.
Four offers Two an “honorable death” now rather than waiting for symptoms to begin. Pixie is duly horrified. Two declines, but Four persists: if it were him, he’d want to die while he still had his wits about him. Not, yet, Two says.
Android notifies Six that the section of the freighter that they occupy has low oxygen levels. They have to be off the ship in ten minutes or less. Of course, the comms stop working again, so Six can’t tell One and Three.
Pixie doesn’t want Two to die; Two doesn’t want to die. And she’s sorry that Pixie saw her kill the thugs on the space station. “Next time, it’ll be different,” she says. Pixie doubts there will be a next time; Two asks her not to give up on the others. (Cue Pixie lip quiver.)
One and Three struggle to find a route to the airlock. When they do, their route is blocked by seven or eight oxygen-deprived zombies. Three wants to shoot them; One says no shooting, since it caused a breach last time. They’ll take their chances walking through, as the zombies seem to be much more incapacitated by the oxygen deprivation than One and Three.
Android doesn’t know this; she’s been working hard to restore backup life support. She comms to Six to report that she’s done it. The oxygen has an instantaneous effect on the zombies; Three shoots them and they stay down.
One and Three join Six and the marauder returns to the Raza. Android scans all who went to the freighter; none show signs of the virus.
One is sorry that Two’s ill, but they have something to discuss: the fate of the freighter. Over Three’s objections, One has Android blow up the freighter. Three threatens to blow One’s cover, but One calls his bluff, daring him to say something. Three says he’ll “save it for later.”
Five hours in, Two shows no symptoms of illness. A re-scan shows no sign of the virus. Two and One want her out of isolation; the others object. Android says no one has ever had a successful immune response to the virus; still, it’s gone, and there’s no threat. One insists and Android lets Two out of the isolation unit, but no one can forget about it. Two stalks off.
Three’s in his quarters, taking his shirt off, when Two shows up to apologize about losing the freighter. He just wishes they’d been paid for it, wants the money to have a little fun. Two says there are ways to have fun that don’t cost anything, but Three’s, ah, too tired. Crazy day.
Two returns to her quarters, takes off the bandage, and there’s no trace of the wound.
Is she the immortal the medicine was supposed to create? Tune in next time!