THE SPACE RATS' EPISODE GUIDE
"Astrocore Encounter" (mine)
WRITTEN BY:"The Blob"
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Synopsis -- Neat Stuff
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"This one's not over yet," warns Jayce.
"Okay, hot shot," Herc's voice says over Armed Force's (AF's) communicator. "You'd better do something."
"Hey, I've never looked for a fight in my life," Jayce explains. "But sometimes you don't have any choice."
Back on the barge, Gillian makes a happy discovery. He explains over the communicators that he has just picked up a homing signal from Jayce's father. On hearing this news, Jayce breaks off his battle with the MM troopers and heads back to the barge as fast as he can.
"Where is he?" Jayce demands as soon as he walks onto the bridge.
"Sector 509, I recollect it dimly," Gillian says, excitement to his voice. "When I was a lad, I--"
"Grab your seats, folks," Herc interrupts. All members of the League strap in and the ship takes off from the vines. Herc activates the solar shields, and soon The Pride is on course to rendezvous with the source of Audric's signal. Everybody eagerly anticipates the expected reunion.
They track the signal to a huge asteroid that has been cracked in half by MM vines. Herc maneuvers the ship between the two halves of the asteroid, and when they emerge on the other side, a gigantic ship is revealed.
Oon looks out the bridge windows and notices the withered, brown vines that are tangled all around the huge ship and the broken asteroid. "Monster minds," he says, with a shudder.
"They've been and gone," Herc observes.
"Then is father dead?" Jayce asks in a worried tone.
"No, your father is not dead," Gillian reassures him.
Jayce walks up to the front of the bridge, staring at the image of the ship on the screen. "I wonder..." Jayce says, almost to himself, "does he still look the same?"
"I'm sorry, kid, but you're not going to find him out there," Herc announces. "I wouldn't land on that thing on a bet!"
Jayce turns to face the space captain. "Herc, my father's on that ship!"
"Yeah, and what else?" Herc asks, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning on the control board. "You ever seen a ship like this one before?"
"I haven't seen a lot of things," Jayce says forcefully, "and I haven't got time to be afraid."
"Take the time!" urges Herc. "That's a security tanker--dangerous cargoes. As long as that wreck's been drifting, it could be full of fumes and poison gas!"
"Or my father!" Jayce insists.
Flora enters the argument with the suggestion that on a ship as big as the security tanker, there's bound to be some gold. The thought of salvage rights brings Herc around to the idea that Audric might be on the tanker. Herc brings The Pride in close, and tries to activate the tanker's docking ports. The docking ports remain frozen shut, and Herc theorizes that either the tanker's not on the same docking frequency used by The Pride or the "tub's energy system must be low... you never know with these tankers..."
Unable to bring The Pride aboard the tanker, the League looks closer and finds a small, personnel entrance. Herc maneuvers the Pride in close, and Gillian is able to use a set of mechanical waldo arms to open the airlock's seal. Gillian, Jayce, and Oon proceed into the Tanker, while Herc and Flora remain on the barge.
Meanwhile, outside the tanker and outside The Pride the MM vines are not as dead as they appeared. A new green tendril grows out of one of the "dead" vines. Sawboss is now alerted to Jayce's whereabouts, and sends in his vines creeping towards The Pride.
Jayce, Gillian and Oon make their way through the huge, deserted tanker. The giant docking bay and the corridors and catwalks are all only dimly lit, and in the distance a persistent dripping sound and the buzz of shorted out wires can be heard. As they walk down a corridor decorated with abstract face designs, Jayce notices that the root is flashing with a blueish glow and shaking. Gillian realizes that the root is reacting to Audric's homing signal, and all agree that they are getting close. Jayce and Gillian move on, but Oon remains behind for a moment, studying one of the face murals. "Don't make faces at me," he says, before running to catch up with his master. Along the way, Oon steps into a puddle, and suddenly drops his lance and starts hopping up and down on the foot that didn't get wet... exclaiming "Ow-ow-ow! That water's hot!" Gillian and Jayce come back to Oon's side, and Gillian discovers that the puddle isn't water at all--it's metal solvent.
Jayce tightens a pipe valve to try and stop one leak of metal solvent while Gillian fixes Oon's foot with a little magic. But Jayce is unable to stop the leak. As they follow the root's reactions closer to Audric's signal, Jayce and Gillian discover more leaks of solvent, and Gillian warns Jayce and Oon to be careful, since "the solvent is causing this entire ship to erode."
Jayce, Gillian and Oon finally make their way to the Tanker's control center. Jayce kicks down the door and runs into the room excitedly. "Father?" he calls, looking around him... but the room is empty. "He's not here," Jayce muses. He looks down at the root, which is still reacting like mad. "He's gotta be."
Gillian crosses the control bridge to find a small communicator card sitting on one of the consoles. "That's all we've been tracking," Jayce says with disappointment.
"Perhaps," replies Gillian. "But perhaps not."
Gillian slips the communicator card into a slot in the control panel and a holograph display in the center of the room comes to life. Three lines of light are projected from a circle in the floor, and when they cross, a transluscent image of Audric glows against the darkness. In his message, Audric explains that he hoped to meet Jayce there on the tanker, but the MM had gotten too close. "The crew of this ship has sheltered me, but now we must move on," says Audric's recording. "Where I'm bound is far from here, and the journey will be difficult--"
The image winks out for a second, then comes back on for another moment only. Audric's coordinates flash into view for a split second, then are gone. Gillian discovers that the communicator device is drawing too much power for the Tanker's low energy level. Desperate to obtain the information necessary to follow his father, Jayce calls back to The Pride and tells Herc to bring the barge aboard the tanker.
"Oh, nothin' doin', pal," Herc replies back. "Besides, the docking bay won't open."
"The docking bay can be opened from the inside," Jayce insists. "It's the only way to find out where my father is!"
Herc reluctantly agrees to bring the ship onto the tanker, and tells Jayce to get a port open for him. Jayce, Gillian, and Oon go to a control room for manual operation of the Tanker's docking port. Together, they turn a huge wheel and slowly crank the giant docking bay doors open.
Outside, the MM vines that have been slowly approaching the barge loom close enough to grab hold. Flora, who has been helping Herc to monitor the docking procedure for the barge, suddenly sits straight up in her chair, sensing the closeness of the vines and the danger from them. "Watch it!" she yells to Herc.
"What?" Herc asks, looking up from the business of landing his ship on another. But there's no time for Flora to explain. The MM vines grab ahold of the barge and drag it away from the tanker, knocking Flora and Herc out of their seats.
Jayce and co are still struggling with the manual wheel for the docking port. "If the electronics won't work," Jayce says, pushing at the wheel, "we'll get it open the hard way." Then Flora's voice comes over the communicator. "Jayce!" she screams. "In a minute, Flora," Jayce says, but then Flora screams something that is too immediately threatening to ignore--"Monster Minds, Jayce! Monster minds!"
Jayce looks up from the wheel, and out past the heavy window of the operations booth and sees the MM vines for the first time, and sees the Pride getting dragged away. "No!" Jayce yells.
Meanwhile, Herc climbs back into the pilot's chair on the Pride and puts on his seatbelt: "Oh, hey... *nobody* knocks me out of my own seat, no sir." He takes control of the barge again, and manages to zoom in through the partially open docking bay doors and land the Pride in the tanker's giant docking bay.
Jayce immediately voice commands the vehicles to attack the troopers inside the bay. The vehicles are able to shoot out the vines that are wedged into the docking bay doors. Jayce and co are then able to close the outer doors and re-pressurize the bay--and not a moment too soon. A MM trooper gets in a good shot, and blasts out the thick glass shield between the docking bay control room and the bay itself.
Jayce, Gillian and Oon hit the deck, to avoid the worst of the flying glass and shrapnel. Jayce commands Armed Force to him, then climbs through the ruined window, grabs a severed cable and climbs down to the docking bay floor amid the deafening sounds of battle. Gillian notices that at least one MM trooper has headed off towards the tanker's control room. Jayce takes off after it to try and save the communicator and the message from his father, and tells Herc to replenish the tanker's energy supply.
Herc works to connect the Pride to the tanker's energy system. Atop a platform at the rear of the ship, Herc jumps up and catches a cable from the tanker and pulls it back down towards the Pride, using his body weight as leverage. He opens a panel on the pride and prepares to attach the energy cable--ducking MM pot-shots the whole time.
Meanwhile, the MM vines surrounding the tanker itself have begun to grow. From the Pride's control room, Flora stumbles and catches her balance against the chair at the pilot's consol as the whole ship lurches underneath her. She drops into the pilot's seat and checks the monitor to see that the Tanker has been pushed farther from the split asteroid by the vines outside. "They're taking us someplace!" she tells Jayce.
"What?!" exclaims Jayce. "We've got to hurry! Herc, how're we doing?"
"Just a minute," Herc snaps back, still trying to connect the Pride's energy system to the tanker's, and still trying not to get hit by fire from the MM troopers below.
"A minute?" says Gillian--he and Oon have now boarded one of the LL vehicles and are fighting their way back to the barge. "An eternity!"
Jayce has followed the MM troopers to a large catwalk. He and a trooper face off. The trooper charges, but at the last minute Jayce is able to swerve Armed Force out of the way. Unable to stop itself, the MM trooper crashes through the flimsy guard rail and plummets over the side of the catwalk. "Herc, how 'bout it?" Jayce asks.
"It's all yours kid," Herc announces, connecting the final cable and stepping back.
Starting from the point where the cables connect the two ships, lights begin to come on in the Tanker. They spread from the ceiling column to which the Barge is connected out through the whole bay. Within moments, the whole ship has come alight. Herc watches in amazement from atop the Pride's outer platform. Gillian and Oon, who have made it back safely, and Flora all watch from the Pride's bridge. Suddenly, panels and switches begin to spark and smoke. Things begin to short circuit everywhere.
"What in the world's happened?" demands Jayce, watching everything fizzle and spark in the corridor around him.
"The wiring must be so corroded we triggered an improper sequence when charging it up!" Gillian realizes.
"I've got to get to that communicator!" Jayce exclaims. "It's the only way I'll find out where my father is!" He presses deeper into the ship, fighting his way past monster minds troopers to do so. Flora and Oon plead with him to come back, because it's too dangerous, and because time is running out, but Jayce pushes onward.
He reaches the control center, but finds that a MM Saw Trooper has beat him there. The trooper attacks with its spinning buzz saw. Jayce is able to maneuver Armed Force and dodge the first strike but then all he can do to avoid the next blow is to spin the claw around and try to block it. The claw severs the green limb that holds the saw. Still spinning, the saw hurtles through he air. It collides with the communicator control board, cuts its way partially into it, and the entire console explodes.
Speechless, Jayce climbs out of Armed Force. He finds a piece of the shattered communicator from his father, and a determined look comes over his face--despite the fact that his father's coordinates are lost. "They won't stop us," Jayce declares. "I'll find you father!"
Gillian begs for Jayce to return, that time is of the essence. Jayce tells them he's coming, and tells Herc to get the docking bay doors open. Jayce then makes his way back through the tanker. He finds that one of the catwalks he needs to cross has given way, and has to use Armed Force's claw and some vehicular acrobatics to get across the chasm. When he reaches the docking bay, the remaining MM troopers immediately attack. Herc comes to his aid--clearing him a path with shots from Battle Base's telescoping gun turrret. Jayce makes it safely back to the ship, and the Pride blasts off.
But they're not out of the woods yet. Sawboss's vines have tangled the security tanker in a complex web. Even as Herc carefully tries to maneuver the Pride clear, more vines snake toward the ship to try and block the League's escape. And, even worse for our heroes--the tanker is so unstable that it's going to explode!
Herc carefully maneuvers through the vines. "Faster, Herc, faster!" urges Jayce. "We have less than two minutes left!"
"And I was just thinking about taking a lunch break," Herc says sarcastically. Everyone on the bridge literally holds their breath as Herc inches the barge forward and the security tanker approaches critical. At the last second, Herc guns the engines. The last few vines blocking the Pride's way snap and the Pride shoots forward.
Behind it, the tanker finally reaches a critical stage and explodes. The fireball vaporizes the tanker, all the nearby MM vines, and the split asteroid. Our heroes just make it out of the blast range in time.
Sawboss is furious!
Afterward, Jayce looks sadly out the windows at the glittering stars. Gillian steps up to console him. "Jayce, we travel on and we learn. We know now that your father still lives, that he's waiting."
"He won't have to wait much longer," Jayce says. His face brightens and he looks at Herc jokingly. "Herc, can't this tub go any faster?"
"Hey, watch it kid. Just watch it--" Herc says, then bursts out laughing. Oon and Jayce join him in laughing, and the barge flies onward.
Ep. 2 "Ghostship":
Teaser -- Notes -- Synopsis -- Neat Stuff -- Snapshots -- Quotes
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