Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-02-19 Entry: "Crusade - Pointless Romance"

Crusade again, and this time we have Dureena climbing a wall... oh, no, they've found a door they can't open... that says "Enter freely through the path of sorrows" which is convenient considering that the title of the episode is "The Path Of Sorrows."

Of course, Galen has the answer, once he verbally attacks Dureena long enough to make her cry... the meanie! Anyway, they can enter this place of healing, and what do they find? A funny looking alien of course... Cue titles.

Ooh, there's a stasis bubble around them, which gives Gideon a flashback to when he was floating in space - the Earthforce destroyer he was outside was running away from a strange looking ship - a bit like a Shadow ship, but not the same design - when it was destroyed trying to open a jump point. And Dureena's spotted that the Captain never walks away from a distress signal or leaves anyone behind.

Okay, it was the Cerberus, and Gideon was out surveying the damange from the initial attack of an unknown ship. He's down to 30 minutes air when the Technomages start passing him and he tries to hail them. And then, just when he thinks they've all left, Galen comes back for him.

Once back on Earth, Clarke's government declare it a malfunction of the jump engines.

And then a card game... and Gideon's opponent can't afford the bet, so he offers an Apocalypse Box instead... it apparently knows things that no-one else knows. The man who loses seems extremely pleased to have lost, and to have lost the box. The box also lies, apparently, not all the time, but just enough... and then the box makes a strange noise, the guy gets scared of it and runs off, at which point he's killed in a car accident.

Ooh, and now Matheson and the alien... flashback to Matheson while in the Psi-Corps - something to do with the capture a whole bunch of resistance members. They've captured one of the leaders of the resistance, a high-powered P12, but she's on sleepers because all the Psi-Cops are away mopping things up. So Matheson has to give her the drugs, as he's one of the strongest telepaths on hand.

When she's awake and lucid enough to talk to him, she suggests he looks at the records of the resistance members who have been sent back to Earth - all of them are dead. So then Matheson avoids giving her the shot, but finds out that the Resistance is planning a last strike on the Psi-Corps base they're in.

Galen apparently knows what it is and what it's doing... it feeds on sorrow as it has no such feelings of its own. The alien however, feels that it feeds on forgiveness. And it is apparently Galen who must forgive, rather than be forgiven. Flashback to Isabel and Galen, dying on a planet, and Galen wanting to go for help, but Isabel afraid that she'll die alone while he's gone.

They were betrayed by three of their own order and stripped of everything that made them what they are, so there's no magical aid. And Isabel says that one day, Galen must forgive God and the Universe for the design that Isabel should die.

Galen of course, is rather angry at having all this dredged up and nearly kills the alien because of it. Gideon decides that they should put it back for those who need it to find it.

Galen has received a mysterious message that came from "out there, in general" mostly lost in static, that just consists of his name, plus the word Love. Just like Isabel said she'd send him a message after she is gone...

Disc 2 opens with "Patterns Of The Soul" and the Excalibur is ordered to a human colony on an uninhabited planet that may or may not be infected by the Drakh plague. Eilerson is being pressured by his superiors in IPX to hand over more reports on technologies they can exploit, surveys of interesting finds, and such like.

So Theta 49, and the shapeshifting alien from the X-Files is one of the human colonists. But there appears to be existing inhabitants on the planet.

Cue the mystical nano-virus shield, that will protect those who breathe it in protected for 48 hours from contamination, even the Drakh plague. The leader of the 30 colonists will allow himself to be tested, but no-one else. Dureena meanwhile has gone wandering about the planet, and has found the other inhabitants. Just as she's discussing death with the hooded guy who's dying of old age, and talking about dying alone as she's the last of her race, she finds that he too is of her race. So she's not alone...

The colonists are infected, and Earthforce are acting extremely suspiciously about returning the colonists to Earth and deleting their ships logs. The doctor has also detected a cyber-organic substance in their bloodstream, so Gideon starts doing some digging to find out why Earthforce want them so badly.

The members of Dureena's race that are on the planet were brought there as labour. When they arrived, the Shadows appeared and destroyed the ship, but the lifepods made it to the surface.

The colonists made it off Earth before the plague was dropped, and the ship stopped off along the way and picked up some food that appears to have been deliberately contaminated to infect the colonists with. It was manufactured by the Pro-Zeta Corporation, which gives Gideon something else to dig into... or rather it gives Eilerson something to dig into...

Dureena has decided to hold the doctor responsible for any harm that comes to her people if Earthforce decide to move them. And one of the colonists decides to take matters into his own hands by taking Doctor Chambers hostage.

The leader of the colonists was a GROPOS in Earthforce before his transfer to the Bio-Weapons Division where he was experimented upon. The Earthforce commander who was in charge of the research arranged to have contaminated food supplied to the colonists.

Gideon fakes the death of the colonists, and then quarantines the planet as the virus has jumped species to infect the native fauna (Dureena's people). And we find out how Gideon was able to access Gold Channel classified information - he won someone's access in a bet...

The plague unfortunately works faster on Dureena's people than on Humans, so they've only got a year to live rather than the five for Earth... that'll certainly push things along, especially as the Shadows seemed very determined to destroy her race. And Eilerson shows he's a nice guy after all - hiding the fact that Dureena's people are on the planet.

For the first episode that the Doctor actually has something to do in, it's still not a great episode - hopefully her storylines will pick up later on...

Next, Captain Lochley is on Mars overseeing a conference on the plague and gets to meet Gideon. Chambers is giving the keynote speech at the conference and Gideon is hoping that security is suitably tight, considering the number of important researchers that are going to be present, and the target they make for the crazies.

And speaking of crazies, lets have someone stabbed before the titles... "Ruling From The Tomb" sees the return of Trace as the shuttle pilot, and desiring to escort Dureena around Mars... she's sure she doesn't need one, but both he and Eilerson are bickering over who gets the pleasure.

Franklin planned the conference, and picked Lochley to be in charge of security... so obviously she wants to find a cure for the plague so that she can go Earthside and thank him in person.

We have the lunatic doomsday cult - Sacred Omega - that believe the Drakh plague is the second coming of Noah's flood and will do anything to see it work it's way through the Human race.

Huh? When did Trace become a priest? The dead guy was a healer in the Foundationist Church, when Trace was there doing scut-work... and he was inspired by the guy to become a priest... not that he actually made it.

Eilerson gets the escort duty. Someone steals Eilerson's wallet and he goes after them, but Dureena deals with it before he can. Apparently she interfered because he was a sloppy thief and she hates to see sloppy thieves win. Then they go into a bar to celebrate and Max gets into another fight...

The mysterious priestly figure on Mars that Chambers ran into when she was waiting for Gideon earlier and who was subsequently in a church hearing voices, seems to know Trace as she ducks out of his way when he appears.

Lochley and Gideon arrange a dinner date... I'm not convinced by this romance but it's getting some good laughs.

Eilerson manages to avoid the fight, taking the easy way out and buying them all a drink. Trace comes in to join them.

The crazy priest guy has a bomb... this can't be good... but presumably Trace will recognize him and stop it. Oh, and it's Joan of Arc he keeps hearing the voice of, not that that's particularly relevant.

Of course, for Trace to recognize the guy, he probably shouldn't be getting horribly drunk with Max and Dureena... something happened in his past that made him lose his faith. Dureena can't dance, but Max and Trace are determined to teach her... well, Max is, Trace decides to take a walk outside where he's attacked by a guy with a knife. And so the other two are dancing while he's beaten up... until Dureena notices he's missing.

Trace knew the attacker from the Foundationist Church. He thinks he might remember a couple of other guys from that time, and he identifies the priestly guy... when the bad things happened, Trace left the Church and the priestly guy went crazy.

Wow, are we trying to gin up a romance here? The next episode, "The Rules Of The Game," takes them to Babylon 5 where they're not needed because they've got a perfectly good medical team of their own. Max's ex-wife is on the station. Gideon is negotiating with the Brakiri to be allowed into their space to investigate Lorka 7 - but he'll need to negotiate with the Lorkans directly.

Okay, Eilerson tries to deal with a thug who's trying to blackmail his ex-wife... this provides for some amusement but nothing particularly interesting... they do borrow the security collars from the beginning of The Running Man though.

Meanwhile, the Lorkans prove intractible, and Gideon and Lochley go for a wander in Down Below. The Lorkans decide to follow and attempt to kill them to prevent them discovering their trade in ancient artifacts from their world.

To be fair, this is a pretty slow and completely pointless episode, although we get a few more peeks into Eilerson's character, so it's not a complete loss.

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