The Raza crew’s collective memories that Five carries weigh heavily on her in Dark Matter, Episode 6. She has an idea for hacking her own brain to bring out the crew’s memories, which are jumbled in her head, and only reveal themselves incoherently in dreams. She’ll modify some of the medical equipment and make a gadget that puts her into a trance, where she’ll land in a crew member’s memories, as if they’re happening to her and in real time. She sets to work.
Meanwhile, Two reports to the fixer that the freighter was blown up – in fact, her crew blew it up. The fixer’s outrage is quickly quelled when she calls him on the zombie / failed medical experiment crew of the freighter. Did he really not know? Or did he figure he’d win either way – either they’d salvage the freight and he’d get to be the hero to his client, or the Raza crew would be killed and off his hands.
The device lands Pixie in Four’s skin: he’s a young boy sparring a partner with a long stave to battle. Four goes easy on the boy, but his instructor steps in and beats him, while asking what would happen if he were emperor. Would an enemy hesitate? No! WHACK!
Two doesn’t like the way Pixie is thrashing, or what her brain scans show, so she ends the experiment. Pixie is angry that Two called off the test; Two says it was a bad idea.
In the training room, Four leaps up from meditation into deadly sword play; Pixie pays him a visit to tell him she was experiencing one of his memories during the test. Four tells her she needs to discipline her mind: these are memories, they can’t be changed, so having an emotional reaction “serves no purpose.”
(Indeed: the squinting and wrinkled forehead and general bewilderment that are supposed to pass for a range of emotions got really old somewhere around Episode 3. But I digress …)
When Pixie tries again, she’s back in Four’s memories, fast-forward a few years. Four’s half brother is being banished off-planet; the Emperor is getting old, and doesn’t want more than one potential heir around. But his brother and stepmother don’t buy it. They blame Four.
Pixie/Four watches his brother’s ship leave the planet, then decides to confront the emperor. His former teacher and minions try to warn him away, but Pixie/Four says he’s not afraid of the instructor anymore and swaggers into the emperor’s room. The emperor is in bed. After speechifying about how terrible the emperor is, how Four will never be like him, he finally realizes something’s up. He approaches the bed, pulls back the covers, and the Emperor is dead, murdered. Four has been set up by the emperor’s wife, mother of the brother just exiled.
Villainous stepmother gives her villain speech (I’m his beloved wife, who do you think they’ll believe, my son will be emperor and you will be dead, blah. blah, triumphant villain smile.)
The alarm goes up, and the emperor’s minions attempt to arrest Four. Four decapitates one, eviscerates another and throws a knife into the chest of the last.
Then Five starts convulsing and Two tells Android to remove the mind probe. But Five doesn’t come back like last time. She’s still thrashing and the “dream state persists,” Android notes. More thrashing, with some medico-babble from One, Two and Android, and Pixie awakes (in her head, that is; she’s still lying with eyes closed on an exam table in the Raza’s infirmary).
This time, she’s herself in the dream, and that self is a pickpocket. She’s got a hideout in a restricted area of a space station. She’s scored some cash, and wants to take her crew to dinner – but their hideout’s trashed, and no one is there. In the rubble, she finds a photo of herself with her friends; then one emerges. He’s TJ, and he’s been shot in the gut.
Who did it? Her mark from the day before, who didn’t have anything very interesting, just a data store she couldn’t crack. But TJ says the guy’s connected. And it’s not data storage; it’s some kind of key. She’d been planning to sell it for petty cash, but it’s worth a lot more than that. Some guys came around asking questions, TJ says. They never saw them coming; the rest of their friends are now dead. Pixie convinces TJ that they must stow away.
One and Three roll large trunks into a ship’s cargo bay and leave them. Pixie emerges from one; TJ’s in the other. She frees him, and they look for a place to hide. Once the ship is underway, Pixie suggests they come clean with the crew so they can get medical help for TJ, who is growing weaker from the gunshot wound. He talks her out of it. Pixie decides to sneak around the ship to look for medical supplies in the sick bay. She’ll sew him up and they’ll wait it out. Pixie hides in the vents as One and Six walk by, discussing one of Six’s elementary school teachers.
Meanwhile, in the current moment, Android determines that Pixie’s brain function is not normal, and her organs are shutting down. If they can’t restore her to normal brain function, she “won’t make it.”
Her mind is still function, Android reports, but it’s only processing inputs from the dream scenarios. “Her brain is losing contact with her body,” Android says. The crew debates how to help her; Four says one of them has to “go in after her.”
“Is that even possible?” One asks. (This appears to be his recurring line in every episode …) Android says that technically it is possible. Apparently so – Six is goin’ in.
We’re back in Pixie’s head as she skulks around the Raza. She finds the sick bay and is examining the medicine cabinet when Three catches her. He drags her away to shove her out of an airlock. “You can’t do this!” she protests.
But he can, and will – until she tries to bribe him with the stolen key. Three doesn’t care about a key. He closes the airlock as Pixie pounds on the window.
Meanwhile, Android instructs Six that he’ll experience things through Pixie’s perceptions, not as if they’re happening directly to him. Android says he’ll feel like an outside observer, and so he won’t get lost the way she did. How will he find her? Android will do her best to sync Six’s brain pattern to Five’s. (Uh, sure. Makes perfect sense …)
Six lands in one of his own memories, encountering himself with friends, laughing about their own awesomeness. No Pixie, but this trio is apparently the first in history to steal a Galactic Authority destroyer.
They go for a drink – handed to them by another member of their team; the leader had to leave. They toast: “To the insurrection!”
Turns out Six is an idealist who believes this ship heist is too big a story to be killed by the Galactic Authority stranglehold on news outlets. And once people hear about it, they’ll get inspired, rise up and take on GA. But another of the rebels returns bearing terrible news: an escalation in another sector, with as many as 10,000 dead at a station that was bombed. The perpetrators are suspected to have escaped on a stolen GA destroyer, the newsreader reports.
Six’s memory-self is staggered. “This is a mistake!” But no. Six’s leader rigged his shuttle to destroy the space station as soon as the destroyer jumped to FTL. The leader is a true believer who thinks the 10,000 on the space station deserved what they got. Six pukes. The leader mocks him for being weak and tells him to man up. Six puts a bullet through his forehead, and kills the rest for good measure.
Current-moment Six walks out of the shadows and says the memory has to be a mistake; Memory Six puts the gun to his own temple and pulls the trigger, but it misfires.
Six extracts himself from this memory and jumps to another. He’s in a barn. Pixie comes in and says, “I’m back,” to the woman raking hay. They discuss a horse, then the woman, possibly the mother of a Raza crew member, leaves the barn. When she’s gone, Pixie turns to Six and asks what he’s doing there.
Pixie believes the memory they’re in now is One’s – she sees a boy’s face. And he’s got two parents who love him! Pixie is adamant. A farm! Animals! Food on the table! “It’s perfect,” she says.
Six asks how long she’s been in this memory stream; she can’t remember, though it was summer when she arrived and it’s winter now.
“You know it’s not real, right?” Six asks. It may seem like seasons, but she’s only been on the table in sick bay for two hours.
Sometimes she forgets they’re memories, Five admits. Six says she has to come back with him because her body is dying without her. She wants to stay; she’s seen some of her own memories: “No thanks.” She likes not having to think or worry.
Six coaxes her into a hug, and they’re back on the Raza.
In the training room, Four is playing with his sword again; Pixie visits to tell him she saw more of his memories. She knows who he is and where he’s from; but Four already knows. He tells her about the signet ring and his research. Four believes he murdered his own father but Pixie sets him straight. She says that now that Four knows, he can put it behind him. We see on his face that this is unlikely. He stalks off.
Pixie goes to Six’s quarters to thank him for coming to get her. Now, she feels, she knows she can trust him. Six sees her off, then hits the archives. He finds a picture of the mastermind of the space station explosion, known only as The General.