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In which we return to the running theme that all scientists are a menace and should be locked up.



Devon, Rachel and Garth are understandably concerned to hear what sounds like an artillery barrage pounding the Ark. They eventually find their way to Farthing, the Ark's head astronomer, who is happy to explain what is going on: the Ark is doomed because it is heading into a cloud of debris at the center of which is a large comet. When Garth and Devon comment that it seems rather unlikely that the Ark should run into a comet in the depths of space, Farthing admits that it is no coincidence at all. Farthing himself used some secondary propulsion systems to alter the Ark's path once he realized that doing so would let him examine a comet up close. The fact that plowing through a cometary coma at one third the speed of light might be hazardous does not appear to have occurred to him until after he burned out the propulsion systems.

Although Farthing reassures everyone that nothing can be done and that everyone is doomed, the trio insist on seeing what they can do to repair the secondary propulsion system. For various reason, Farthing's engineer companion McBride cannot join the trio as they use Farthing's personal rocket ship to attempt repairs but she will guide them once the trio reaches the propulsion systems. What McBride actually does is run away to join her family once it becomes obvious how doomed the Ark is and it is only with great difficulty that Farthing persuades McBride to return to duty.

Devon is the lucky man who gets to go EVA. Guided by McBride, he repairs the drives, which fire long enough to save the Ark. When Devon tries to return to the rocket, the trio discover that the airlock seal has been damaged and if the outer door is opened, all the air will escape from the ship. If Rachal and Garth had bothered to put on the space suit which are stored in convenient locations all over the Ark all would be fine but they didn't and so Devon cannot re-enter the space craft without killing his friends.

Garth does his best to repair the airlock but even though he presses a button by the airlock several times, he does not manage to fix the problem. Eventually they realize Devon can ride the EVA cable until the ship gets back to the space dock. Devon recapitulates the air-lock scene in 2001, following which his friends dock safely.

Curiously, the trio do not then kick Farthing into a shapeless jelly for endangering the ship, no doubt because by this time they expect this sort of behavior from the Ark's scientists.

Comments: You may wonder whether the trio keep using Farthing's rocket or McBride's knowledge of Ark propulsion systems to help save the Ark in later episodes. The answer is "no." On the plus side, I don't recall anyone claiming the Ark was still in danger in the next two episodes.

Yeah, I really believed Garth was trying to save his romantic rival by pressing a button over and over again with the enthusiasm of a small boy eating brocolli.

It's odd given that Earth had the technology to build the Ark that no comet was ever examined prior to the Ark's launch.

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