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Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, syndicated
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Caution: Spoilers!

The Backstory:

So there was this planet in the Andromeda galaxy called Tarn Vedra, whose inhabitants discovered the slipstream, thus ushering in a new era of FTL travel and space exploration. 112 years later, the Vedran Empire, which spanned six galaxies, was founded in CY (Coronation Year, or later Commonwealth Year) 0, which would have been about 4926 BC on Earth. The Vedran Empire was reformed in CY 4279 (647 BC), becoming the Systems Commonwealth. Earth joined the Commonwealth in CY 7085 (AD 2159).

There is an offshoot race of humanity called Nietzscheans, who of course seem to think they're following the teachings of Friedrich Nietzsche and other such philosophers. The race was created by a human scientist named Paul Museveni. The Nietzschean race originated at Ayn Rand Station, which Museveni founded in CY 8400 (AD 3474), in orbit of the planet Fountainhead, in the Omari Globular Cluster. His... um, son... Drago Museveni, the progenitor of the Nietzschean race, was born two years after the founding of the colony. Nietzscheans are generally stronger than humans, and tougher, and can survive lots of things, and have an overriding will to survive and bring themselves and their prides as much honor as they can. And stuff. They also have these spikes on their forearms. And they seem to be all about perpetuating their genetic lines.

In CY 9766 (AD 4840), after 12 centuries of peace, the Commonwealth was invaded by previously unknown aliens who were dubbed the Magog. Their main purpose in life seems to be destruction. They rarely seem to act with much intelligence, or anything more than instinct, really. But they are intelligent creatures. They mostly attack and kill and eat people, all rather viciously. Sometimes they leave a person alive, and lay their eggs in the person's stomach, to grow and eventually burst out of the person all Aliens-style, killing the host rather horrifically.

In CY 9781 (AD 4855), the Commonwealth negotiated the Treaty of Antares, ending hostilities with the Magog. Many Nietzscheans regarded this as a singularly bad move, and advocated the total extermination of the Magog, but they eventually backed down. However, three years later, in CY 9784, the Nietzscheans unexpectedly broke away from the Commonwealth and started a war against it, which lasted two years. In the middle of the war, Tarn Vedra was mysteriously cut off from the slipstream, and hasn't been heard from since. The war ended with the Battle of Witchhead, after which the Magog attacked again, with little opposition.

The war with the Commonwealth had left the Nietzscheans much weaker, the prides divided and often warring amongst themselves. The Commonwealth itself was just over. The galaxies were in complete disorder and disarray, no central government or anything. But I should say that at the very start of the war, the Commonwealth's greatest ship, the Andromeda Ascendant, became stuck in the event horizon of a black hole. Time, for the ship, was frozen. The Nietzschean first officer, Gaheris Rhade, a friend of the ship's captain (Dylan Hunt, a half-human, half-heavy gravity worlder who lived on Tarn Vedra), had betrayed Captain Hunt and the crew. I think some of the crew made it away in escape pods, though many died. Finally there was a fight between the captain and first officer, and Hunt won. Then time froze.

Meanwhile, 303 years passed, outside. In CY 9787, the remains of Drago Museveni were entrusted to the Kodiak pride. This is important because there is a prophecy that one day a genetic reincarnation will be born, and the only way to know him is to test his DNA against that of the remains. He will be the Messiah of the Nietzschean people. In 9797, a Mogog on Earth founded the new amalgamated religion called the Way, renouncing his violent ways. The Drago-Kazov became the most powerful Nietzschean pride, controlling many slave worlds, including Earth. In 10065, they stole Drago Museveni's remains and exterminated the Kodiak pride, relocating the Progenitor's remains to their own homeworld, Enga's Redoubt. For more on the history of the Systems Commonwealth, consult All Systems University.

The Show:

In CY 10087 (AD 5161), a Nightsider named Gerentex hired the crew of a cargo ship called the Eureka Maru to find the Andromeda Ascendant and drag her out of the black hole's event horizon, so he could sell her and make tons and tons of money. The Maru's captain was Beka Valentine (we like her). Her crew included engineer Seamus Zelazny Harper (a human genius who had escaped Earth after years of fighting the Drago-Kazov there), Rev Bem (a Magog who was a Wayist, and disgusted by his people's savage natural tendencies), and a mysterious alien named Trance Gemini (who we like alot). Actually, I think Harper is my favorite character on the show, he reminds me in some ways of my own Star Trek fanfic character, Jax DeSabel. But not exactly. There were also some Nietzschean mercenaries working for Gerentex, including Tyr Anasazi, who was the sole surviving member of the Kodiak pride.

Anyway, It was an awful tricky job, but they managed to pull it off, and when the Andromeda Ascendant was extricated from the black hole, time was restored to normal. Meanwhile, Gerentex and his employees boarded the ship. The only one left from the crew was Captain Hunt, for whom no time had passed in three centuries. Also aboard was the ship's A.I., Andromeda (we like her), who could control everything, including the internal defenses and androids and whatnot. Andromeda and Hunt managed to fight off the intruders, and they got rid of all the Nietzscheans except Tyr. Also Beka and her crew stuck around. And they ditched Gerentex. And so Beka became the new first officer of Andromeda Ascendant, and her crew and Tyr all joined on for Dylan's mission to restore the Commonwealth. And Harper created a really good android body (or avatar) for Andromeda, who will be called Rommie.

So that's the story. Captain Hunt and these other folks are flying around, trying to get worlds to sign a charter to create a restored Systems Commonwealth. Meanwhile they help various people along the way. Make new friends and new enemies. Such as Nietzscheans. Eventually Tyr steals the remains of Drago Museveni back from the Drago-Kazov, and they're pretty pissed about that. Hunt isn't too happy, either, when he finds out about it some time later. He locks up the remains so he controls them, not Tyr. In fact the entire relationship between Dylan and Tyr is rather interesting. Dylan is a wildly optimistic idealist, who wants to change the universe back to what he remembers it being, against all odds. Tyr is more practical and possessed of an enlightened self-interest, Nietzschean that he is. But their goals are not entirely dissimilar. They do have their disagreements, to be sure.

Anyway... there are also two prides, Sabra and Jaguar, who were at war. Dylan and crew got involved and helped them form an alliance, through a marriage between the prides. Now the Sabra-Jaguar are perhaps the second strongest pride, and stand a chance of defending themselves against Drago-Kazov. So, they signed Dylan's charter. Another pride is called Orca, and Tyr had a son named Tamerlane with a woman named Freya, from that pride. And that's all I'll say about that, but trust me, it's important. Meanwhile, somewhere out there is a Magog worldship practically the size of a solar system, with like a sun at its core, or something. And the ship is full of like billions (or is it trillions?) of Magog and apparently the Commonwealth tried to destroy it hundreds of years ago, and failed. And like, the Magog are worshipping some mysterious alien "god," actually the spirit of the Abyss, who seems to be against the Commonwealth. So this is a huge threat, which makes it very important that the Commonwealth be restored.

What else to say? Rev Bem left in the second season. And Trance traded places with herself from the future. Don't ask. By the end of the second season, the charter had signatures from the required 50 worlds, and representatives gathered to ratify it, officially starting the restored Commonwealth. The third season... well, I'll just say it's kind of bizarre in some ways, and that it doesn't really seem like there's much of a story arc anymore. I'm not sure what else to say, except of course there are always other races and organizations out there at war with the Commonwealth, some familiar and some that come out of nowhere. There's a major battle in the season finale between the Commonwealth, Nietzscheans, and others, which Tyr seems to be at least partially responsible for instigating. In the end, he leaves Andromeda, to unite the Nietzschean prides, claiming to be the genetic reincarnation of Drago Museveni.

Season 4 is also fairly inexplicable. But Tyr as the new leader of the Nietzscheans is hardly the greatest of the Andromeda's problems. The Collectors, a group that after the Fall had preserved knowledge, has grown corrupt and power-mad. Particularly one called Pish. They attempt to discredit Dylan, and take over the new Commonwealth. Siding with Pish are two of the triumvirs (leaders of the Commonwealth), Tri-Jema and Tri-Camille. Siding with Dylan is Tri-Lorn. And so, there will be civil war. Which is exactly what the Universe doesn't need, with all the enemies the Commonwealth already has out there. Oh, and I should mention that Tyr's position on the Andromeda was filled by another Nietzschean, Telemachus Rhade, a descendant of Gaheris. He first showed up in an earlier season, on planet Terazed, where the ways of the old Commonwealth had been maintained after the Fall. Terazed is now the capital of the new Commonwealth. At some point Magog from the future show up in the present. Anyway, at the end of season 4, Dylan finds out he is something called a "Paradine," which are people with special powers or whatever, but it's pretty vague at the time. And the Magog attack a colony so devoted to peace that they don't want to defend themselves, so Dylan and company try to fight a losing battle against the invading Magog, themselves. They destroy the Magog I guess, but all the good guys seem to die, too. Except Dylan, who goes through this thing called the Route of Ages in a slipfighter.

Then in season 5, Dylan finds himself on a planet called Seefra-1, which turns out to be Tarn Vedra. But it's part of a nine-planet system, which it shouldn't have been. Something the Vedrans did after the Fall, I guess. But there are no Vedrans anymore. Everything in the Seefra system is relatively primitive, as technology is outlawed. Over the course a few eps, Dylan encounters his entire crew, each of whom had been in the system for different amounts of time, from months to years, each doing their own thing. Harper had tried to make a new Rommie, but was unsuccessful. He did however make a new android named Doyle (who we like), who has Andromeda's core personality or something, but totally different memories. And stuff. It's probably the most confusing season yet. But the system is cut off from slipstream, so everyone's stuck there. Oh, and Dylan finds out that Paradine are evolved Vedrans. And Trance doesn't remember who she is. And eventually the whole system is going to be destroyed, so Dylan and company have to try to stop that. Plus we meet more of Trance's people, who will be enemies. And that's pretty much all I can think to tell you. I don't want to spoil the end of the series, or anything. I've spoiled far too much already....


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