DARK MATTER “The Dwarf Star Conspiracy” Review
BY The Screen Spy Team
Published 5 years ago
By Rachel Thomas
Three ‘wakes’ with a start on board the Raza, ghoulish whispers overlaying the audio. He approaches a strange, membrane-like substance that’s taken over the ship. He finds a woman strapped to a chair, who vomits black goo—sending him back to reality.
(Dang, dude. Your dreams never work out well; take melatonin or something.)
In the real world, Six and Two have a clash of opinions: Six thinks they should go fight Ferrous Corp, while Two thinks they should hang back and observe the potential Dwarf Star facility. Three has a bad feeling about it all, but can’t explain why. Android calls them to the bridge, saying there’s something they should see.
The ‘something’ is a new outfit. She also discovered a set of unmanned security satellites around the potential Dwarf Star facility. Two suggests they use Dr Shaw’s override codes as a kind of back door entrance to the facility. Three still has a bad feeling about this, but they outvote him and use the override commands to disable the colony’s satellite network.
As the others prepare for a landing, Android approaches Three. She expresses her concern for his well-being, saying she detects something new in him—fear. Three insists he doesn’t know what she means, and doggedly pins his fear on the ‘hunch’ they’re going off of.
Two asks Android what’s going on with her outfit. Android asks if she’s done her boobs wrong, noting that Two is ‘very adept at packaging’ hers. Android reveals that she now feels more special—more autonomous—because she knows she was meant to be more. She extends her arms to Two and they hug as Android thanks Two for being her friend.
The crew approaches a super-not-sketchy base as Android detects an anomaly within the facility. It’s all powered down, but Two quickly finds a control panel that opens up a Very Large Door (TM). Inside is a lab, and inside the labs are pods, and inside the pods are people.
People full of nanites. Dwarf Star-built people, just like Two.
Lots of them.
Android confirms that they are bio-synthetic organisms, much like Two. Two remembers Android warning her about the Dwarf Star conspiracy as Five discovers they all have false identities set up—soldiers and spies alike, some as young as 5 and some as old as 65.
An FTL window opens as a Mikkei destroyer opens fire on the Raza. They allege they’re investigating a tip into Dwarf Star Technologies, and Two decides to cooperate with their investigation. The Mikkei troops order the away team to put down their weapons, but they’re barely saved from the overzealous lieutenant Sejan by the Mikkei commander, Tarkanian. And, oddly enough, he seems to know exactly what the pod-people are.
He wants to build a case against the currently-missing Alexander Rook, and suggests they’ll keep a few of the simulants for research and destroy the rest. This horrifies Six, who pointedly argues that they’re flesh and blood beings with their own minds and wills. Tarkanian is not convinced.
A junior officer leads the Mikkei leadership and our Raza crew to the source of the anomaly they detected from orbit—and it looks exactly like the membrane from his dream. In a swirl of voices and visions, Three collapses in a seizure as Tarkanian seals the base off until they get to the bottom of the anomaly.
(Come on, man. Be a little genre-savvy. You know this isn’t ending well.)
When Three comes to, he’s surrounded by his crew in the station’s old sick bay. His symptoms re-surge, and the doctor sedates him as he continues muttering that they have to get out before ‘they’ come through.
Two pointedly asks Tarkanian what he means to do with them, and he assures them that he simply needs to keep them there until he’s finished questioning one of the simulants. Six cautions him, and Tarkanian seems intrigued by his intensity. They conceal the source of their firsthand knowledge—for the time.
Back on the Raza, Five hacks the station’s mainframe.
Following a chilling but short monologue about the simulant’s total lack of rights, Tarkanian begins torturing him. Three busts out of sick bay. Tarkanian sets his crew after Three as Two and Six try to find him first. Two asks Five to tap into Three’s comm.
Lieutenant Sejan escorts the simulant to a holding chamber, and something is off—more off than usual—about her chilly manner. We see Three viciously but ineffectually attack the membrane, screaming to get out of his head. Android notifies Two where he is, but also notes that the anomaly is growing in intensity.
Our ‘favorite’ Mikkei commander tells Sejan to begin wrapping things up, because the place is starting to give him the creeps. Sejan tells him not to worry, and immediately shoots him in the back.
Over the comm, Sejan pins Tarkanian’s death on Three and tells their soldiers to shoot on sight. Two and Six find Three and struggle to wake him. Five tells them they found something—a list of a prior batch of simulants, only about a dozen, who worked their way into the corporate armies. No prizes for guessing their most prominent member…
In his unconscious state, Three is surrounded by aliens on the other side of the void—wearing the faces of his crew. The simulants aren’t just soldiers, he realizes—they’re host bodies. Three tells them they’re the worst neighbors ever and they deliver a grim Hannibal Speech about the futility of humankind.
Three awakens abruptly as the Mikkei troops surround the crew. Lieutenant Sajen orders them killed, but Two shows Sajen’s fabricated identity to the squad leader. Dr Aaron takes command of the mission, and orders them to relieve Sajen of her duties—but they don’t get there in time to stop her from waking up a couple of the simulants.
Two and Dr Aaron fall back to the shuttle while Three and Six return to the Marauder. Lieutenant Sajen sets her four simulants loose, and promptly invites her ‘brothers and sisters’ to come forth from the anomaly.
The ‘brothers and sisters’ are the black goo that Three foresaw earlier, and they fly through the air in horrifying form. They destroy the Mikkei troops; Two and the doctor hole up together in a safe room. Two convinces the doctor that they have to act, not just for their own sake—but for the good of everyone. He calls in a nuclear strike and promptly shoots himself, leaving Two to fend for herself. She leaves the room, somewhat tentatively but a shot in the back strikes her unconscious and she’s dragged away. Overhead, the Raza crew watch in horror as the missile strikes the base below.
Five, Six, and Three drown their sorrows in whiskey. Android enters, and informs them that she detected—possibly—a small FTL window in the moments right before the explosion.
Two awakens in the Marauder, coasting along in FTL. She asks ‘Three’ what’s going on. Not Three tells her to settle in—they’ve got a long ride ahead.
This hasn’t been a slack season by any means, but the tension in this episode was truly superb. The storyline was briskly paced yet supported with rich, true-to-form characterization at every turn. With the possible exception of Five, who (despite her importance) didn’t have quite as much screen time, each character bore an equal share of the narrative. From Android’s gratitude with Two to Six’s principled defense of the simulants, the Raza crew was at their finest.
Tense days for the Raza, which is all the better for us. It seems Ryo’s naughtiness is about due to pay off, and next week—with the tantalizing title ‘My Final Gift To You’—looks likely to cause All The Feelings. Put the kettle on, kids; these final two episodes will be something to remember.