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T-Minus is the first story in the Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars spinoff segment Tales of the United Solar System Alliance.


"T-Minus" on Nerdist


WorkJuice Players

Guest Stars

Detailed Description

Gene Peeples, commander of the USSA Starcraft Orsino, is traversing the universe on an eight-year mission for the United Solar System Alliance. Their mission is to protect those that fall under USSA protection and use their humanity to fill the void of space.

Gene's daughter, Erica, is practicing her singing in her father's quarters while her father attempts to update his journal. Ensign Lewis Bambrill, Erica's boyfriend, enters and Peeples expresses exasperation at his daughter dating a fellow officer. Peeples notes that Erica is particularly vigilant against Jupiter Spies, has held her own against a crew of MurderMen. However, since her recent promotion, her relationship with Bambrill is against the conduct codes of the USSA. Peeples sends Bambrill and Erica to their quarters on the opposite sides of the ship.

Bambrill returns to tell Peeples that he has received a communique saying Mars is under attack. Bambrill gave the communique to Peeples' wife, Linda, who Peeples calls to their quarters. Bambrill attempts awkward conversation with Gene until Linda arrives. Linda laments that to Erica, she is always the evil stepmother. She asks Gene to talk to Erica, and they have a small spat.

Linda tells Gene that Science Beings and Technology Beings are converging on Mars to engage in conflict. As it is a tri-planet conflict, the issue is now under USSA jurisdiction. Gene calls Technical and Specifications Robot into his quarters to tell it to set course to Mars. They arrive at Mars shortly, and the Orsino experiences a Message 612 - ship-wide systems failure. The 612 causes pain to the robot, and the ship begins to drift.

The robot says that the ship has been struck by a ultra-energy pulse of hyper-electrical proportions. One of the warring alien factions was attempting to stop the Orsino from helping in the fight. The robot is affected, too. Many of the ships higher functions were uploaded into the robot, and he now has feelings. The ship's self-destruct sequences was automatically activated when the ship's higher functions began shutting down, as the USSA doesn't want the starcraft falling into enemy hands. Gene tells the robot and Ensign Bambrill to evacuate the starcraft and to tell the crew to rendezvous on Space Station Omega. Once that is done, they are to begin preparing the ship for manual reboot. 

Peeples tells Linda to help him cancel the order to self destruct by rebooting the starcract manually. Linda becomes upset, as the voice of the emergency systems on the ship is the voice of Gretchen, Gene's ex-wife and Erica's mother. Gene orders Linda to evacuate, but she refuses, and is still upset about the voice. Bambrill reports he's made it into the system and begins attempting to manual reboot with the Techs and Specs robot. Linda argues that they should follow USSA protocol to abandon the ship, and program the robot to help Sparks Nevada. Peeples argues that he doesn't want to lose the Orsino. Linda reminds him that they will get another ship.

Gene agrees that Linda is right, and when the Techs and Specs robot returns, Gene begins reprogramming him to help Sparks Nevada and protect Mars. Though Gene worries that all the radiation on Mars might interfere with the robot's programming, they still jettison the robot towards Mars. Gene and Linda run for the evacuation pod, and make it just in time, meeting Bambrill along the way. Gene pilots the escape pod away just before the Orsino blows up.

Back on the ship, Gretchen had left a message for Gene that she never stopped loving him via the emergency voice.

Elsewhere, Techs lands on Mars, but the radiation does interfere with his programming, and his orders of "Help Sparks Nevada" glitch, and turn into "Kill Sparks Nevada!" 




This episode was recorded at Largo on August 6, 2011, and released on February 13, 2012.