"Double Helix"
Week of October 30, 2000
by Michelle Erica Green

Sex on the Brain

"Double Helix" Plot Summary:

The android Andromeda asks Harper why he gave her so many flamboyantly feminine characteristics, but she soon has more serious concerns: Hunt has decided to intervene in a conflict between a Than fleet and a group of Nietzschean pirates, who turn their powerful plasma cannon on the High Guard ship. Hunt insists they should try to restore the peace, rescuing a Than ship and opening negotiations with the Nietzscheans. The Orca clan leader Guderian invites Hunt down to talk, but Anasazi expects a trap, and asks to go himself.

Guderian's men try to kill Anasazi, but he takes a hostage. This action impresses Freya, an Orca woman looking for a mate. The matriarch inspects Anasazi, and although she has reservations about his Kodiak clan background, she says Freya may choose him because his genes are excellent. Anasazi explains his background as a member of the tribe that guarded the body a Nietzschean progenitor, which was decimated when the other clans turned their backs on his people. He wants a home, which Freya and her people offer.

Back on the ship, however, Anasazi delivers the specs on the cannon and offers to help with reconfigurations to protect the Andromeda Ascendant. He says he has no loyalty to the Orca, who betrayed the Kodiak. "Destroy them, convert them, leave them alone, it's all the same to me."

Hunt admits to Rev Bem that he despises Nietzscheans as a race. He can never forget the betrayal of Rhade, his first officer and good friend. Rev says that if Dylan were truly prejudiced, he would never have taken on a Magog crewmember whose species rapes, murders, and tortures other humanoids. "You don't have to forgive, but you must look for good in beings you encounter," warns Rev; otherwise the restored Commonwealth will be built on distrust and doomed to failure.

Hunt tells Anasazi not to betray their tiny crew size to the Nietzscheans. As soon as Anasazi returns to the colony, he gives Guderian a force lance, but Guderian is furious Anasazi gave Hunt the schematics of the plasma cannon. Anasazi assures the other Nietzscheans that he needed to win Hunt's trust, but he blinded the ship's sensors, and can lead an attack force because the ship has only five crewmembers. Some of the other Nietzscheans still don't like Anasazi using their remote device to adjust the plasma cannon, but Guderian accepts the loner's insistence that it is more in his interests to serve Freya's clan than to serve the High Guard.

Hunt remembers Rhade cheating at 3-D Go. The Nietzschean first officer insisted that to lose would be a sign of inferiority, which could make his genes suspect and cost him the opportunity to reproduce. When Hunt insisted that his friend was missing out on the magic of love, Rhade said all that mattered was the double helix -- the merger of his DNA with that of a woman. "'Husband and father' is most important title a Nietzschean man can hold," Rhade explained, insisting that everything they did was sexually charged as a result.

While Anasazi makes love with Freya to pass on his genetic legacy, Hunt recalls that Rhade was proud of him for shooting him during their last confrontation. The first officer expected the captain to know he was cheating all along, and thought Hunt should have done. With that in mind, Hunt realizes he must keep an additional card to play against the Orca. He asks Andromeda to increase the proton mass in the engine valve.

The plasma cannon shoots the Andromeda Ascendant, and the crew is easily overwhelmed by a Nietzschean invasion. Guderian demands the ship, but Hunt demonstrates that the building proton mass will destroy it within three minutes. "Tyr, call me crazy, but I'm betting you've got a backup plan," the captain smiles. "Always," agrees Anasazi, who then blows up the plasma cannon with the remote device. Guderian says Anasazi betrayed his people, but Anasazi insists the Orca started it by betraying the Kodiak. Hunt orders Andromeda to begin emergency venting of protons.

The Than offer their respects to Captain Hunt as a force for peace. Hunt tells Anasazi he's sorry his decision cost him the status of husband and father among the clan. But Hunt doesn't believe Tyr was ever on his side -- he played his options right to the end, and Hunt has no doubt that if Guderian had triumphed, Anasazi would have killed him and taken Hunt's ship to found his own tribe. "I'm proud of you," says Anasazi, echoing Rhade's dying words, because Hunt is thinking like a Nietzschean. Hunt snaps that if he was thinking like a Nietzschean, he'd kill Anasazi, but his mission is to restore civilization, and if he can't convert a member of his own crew, he has no hope for the galaxy.

Back at the colony, the matriarch tells Freya that Tyr is a worthy father for outsmarting them all, but an unworthy one because of his betrayal. She offers the younger woman two vials of medicine, saying, "The decision is yours." As Tyr sits holding the broken double helix emblem in his hand, Freya considers whether or not to bear his child.


This episode starts with a quote about Machiavelli being an optimist, and goes on to demonstrate the state of the universe when the princes who strive for power get reduced to petty thievery. The Orca talk about their proud genetic history, but they look like a bunch of desperate thugs, dependent on their cannon for defense against the fleet of the aliens they victimize one by one. It's hard to believe Tyr would want anything to do with this gang even if they do offer frequent sex and propagation; how long can their descendants survive without their big gun, anyway?

I'm surprised Hunt doesn't make that argument, though I suppose he never gets the chance, being too distracted with memories of his best friend's betrayal in the name of Nietzschean ideals. Funny how Hunt seems more devastated about having lost Rhade than his fiancee -- what was her name? Almost everyone has sex on the brain this episode. Harper confesses he created Andromeda's android form for his personal enjoyment as well as her own. Rhade admits lust overshadows all his actions, which makes Hunt squirm and say "Too much information." Anasazi realizes that getting laid IS the meaning of life. It would seem an appropriate time for Hunt to reflect on his intimate loss when the Commonwealth was destroyed, but his lover's absence apparently pales compared to the wound Rhade gave him. Maybe Hunt sees the betrayal of his friend as a symbol of the magnitude of his task with the Nietzscheans. He seems to believe that if he can convert Anasazi, it will in some measure compensate for the perfidy of Rhade.

His motives have become clearer, but Hunt still sometimes seems either naive or in denial about the realities of a universe in which everyone calls the Than "bugs" and runs screaming from Rev Bem. When the captain says he represents the Systems Commonwealth, Guderian retorts, "Why not the Confederate States of America?" Valentine is barely in this episode, but she a great moment issuing a "Bulletin For Dylan" when he thinks he can get the Nietzscheans to negotiate. Maybe his optimism, which so far has allowed him to progress with little plan, will be ameliorated by next week's episode in which Hunt apparently will learn a few ugly truths about what happened on the last day of the Commonwealth.

I bet Freya has the baby. I bet that because I'm also betting it shows up sooner or later. Maybe much later, or maybe in one of those science fiction stories where it's an adult during the time span of this series. Nietzscheans probably don't hesitate to terminate imperfect fetuses or euthanase imperfect babies, so an aborted pregnancy wouldn't have nearly the same impact on Tyr as a child he never knew. Since he doesn't know Freya is pregnant, there's no point in telling the audience about it, unless one day he's going to be made to feel that loss.

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