JOIN THE 57TH CRUSADERS SQUADRON N O W - join the fight to bring S:AAB back!

Airdate: Sunday, 12 Nov 1995 (US) -- Sunday, 14 April 1996 (Germany)

Writers: Marilyn Osborne
Director: Michael Katelman

Vanessa Damphousse is being interrogated by Lt. Col. McQueen and Cmdr. Ross (in a preliminary hearing) regarding her actions on the last mission of the Wild Cards on planet Tartarus. She may be charged with:
  • Article 92 - Failure to obey an order (or regulation).
  • Article 99 - Misbehaviour before the enemy.

The 58 are on their way to Tartarus, the planet *beyond hell*, to make a much needed supply drop. Since the beginning of the Chig war, the planet has been the place of a war zone and of mysterious happenings.

The ISSCV lands, but immediately several Marines run towards the hatch in a crazed state and ask to enter. As the Wild Cards prepare to open the airlock, another Marine, from a high-point, kills his squadmates with friendly fire. The APC is badly damaged and the pilots are killed.

The young Marines are appalled, seeing the dead bodies of the Marines scattered on the ground in front of the ISSCV but nevertheless they decide to interrogate the crazy Marine who is still firing rounds after rounds and damaging the APC.

Upon approaching the Marine, he asks: "How afraid are you? I'm afraid of myself." In a fit of fear and madness, he starts to shoot wildly again and setting off a buzz-beam mine, he is blown to pieces.

The 58th makes a hasty retreat back to the ISSCV, but not before an incoming mortar detonates nearby; blinding them momentarily. Back at the ISSCV, they discover that the *light* has burnt them and gradually the Marines encounter their fears.

Wang is distracted from radioing for help by a cockroach and in a frenzy of fear destroys the radio with his K-bar.

Damphousse freaks out at the sight of her own blood and Hawkes' claustrophobia almost makes him go out into the dioxide atmosphere without his helmet. Only West and Vansen seem unaffected by the effect of the light and try to keep level-headed. Without a radio, the 58th is dead on this planet. A replacement up-link prom must be recovered from the portable radio of one of the Marines outside.

McQueen and Ross think that the Wild Cards are hiding something from them, as they all say that Vanessa has indeed disobeyed orders but that they were all NOT THEMSELVES.

Asked why the Cards have been behaving as they did on this particular mission, Nathan is left speechless.

The Marines suit up, except for Vanessa who refuses to go outside as long as her eva-suit is cut. They have to cross a mine field and fear takes everyone in its grip. As Wang retrieves the PROM from a dead soldier's radio, West suddenly hears a woman's voice and wanders off. West finds Sgt. Jackson sitting against a sheltering wall.

The Sergeant tells West that this planet in fact IS hell, that he had been here before ... Every time he wakes up from a nightmare, he knows he has been here ... on Tartarus. The 58th goes after West and finds him standing alone. As he is about to explain what he was told, the mist clears up and the Wild Cards can see a Marine bunker. Deciding to seek shelter there, the 58th enters the bunker to find that its inhabitants have killed each other.

Upon seeing what the Marines have done to each other, Wang and West try to explain what has happened. They blame the light mortar for the killings and strange behaviour. Wang explains that their burns and headaches results from damage inflicted on their pectoral base where the center of fear and emotions in the brain is situated. Disturbed by what they have seen, the Wild Cards return to the ISSCV; Shane steps onto a buzzbeam and while Wang tries to retract the laser beam, he freaks out when he sees a cockroach inside his helmet.

Faced with the question of disobedience, Shane Vansen, the honcho, explains: "The point of all this is to turn on each other but you are wasting your time ... because we already have!"

The damaged blood supplies in the ISSCV have freaked her out so much that she has cornered herself into a bunk, avoiding to spot the blood on the floor. The Marines break into ISSCV to find themselves in Damphousse's sight of her M-590.

After Paul and Cooper almost kill each other because Paul comes up too close to Cooper, Paul sobers up and yells: "Stop it, this is NOT us!"

Shane who is afraid of the darkness, agrees to repair the radio if Vanessa takes down her weapon and talks her through the procedure.

Shane succeeds and they can radio McQueen who picks them up. But the Marines have to cross the mine field again ... in exactly five minutes.

After the hearing, safely back on the Saratoga, McQueen informs them that the charges against Damphousse have been dropped as the whole incident is highly mysterious and cannot be explained. The Cards are relieved but somewhat subdued.

Cooper tells everyone what all fear, the enemy down on Tartarus weren't the Chigs ... "The enemy was us!"

The End

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