Wednesday, May 22, 1996

Ares - 21

[A interesting episode even though it is only marginally believable. Campisano was played by the same actor who would later go on to become the weenie JAG lawyer, Lt Yuen. Also, cockpit footage was used (intentional or not) of a pilot with "Pendry" on his helmet.] Harm was in Okinawa in his Hawaiian shirt making a flight layover while on vacation; when, Lt Kate Pike came aboard, at the request of Chegwidden, to extract him into a murder investigation. Lt Mason had been chasing a teen thief when his shipmate, Lt Donovan, found him dead with a "Yankee go home" sign on his neck. Pike said that she had become expert into turning temporary assignments into semi-permanent exile, having been in Okinawa for over 6 months. Donovan had shipped out to war games so H and Pike shuttled out to the Destroyer, USS Daniel Boone, with Mason's replacement, Lt Cdr Gino Campisano. They met Pike's old partner, Cdr Brockman, already aboard the ship; and, who quickly became a pain in the ass, lording his rank over H at every chance. Pike admitted to having an affair with him but broke it off after he wanted to get married. Brockman was still pursuing her however. Campisano bragged to H that he had been the one who had trained Mason on the new ARES system which only 3 or 4 people knew how to run. It was a prototype navigation and combat computer system which could recognize, track and destroy targets by automating nearly every aspect of ships functions (all except conventional radar and ships com) - even locking doors!

Captain Evans had not allowed Brockman on the bridge and when H asked why he flippantly said: why don't you go, "in fact I'd like to see you try"! So harm went to the bridge and reported claiming that he'd been ordered there by Brockman. He convinced Evans to let him speak to Donovan before the games started. Brockman took over the interview and banned H and Pike to search Donovan's locker. They found Mason's old computer disks, which had been stolen, so they reported to the Captain that their mission was being compromised. While on the bridge H advised Evans that he had flown in his adversary's, Admiral Wiles, air wing; and, that he better "watch the deck" because he was a "hi lo man." That endeared him to the captain, so, when Brockman tried to extricate him from the bridge, Evans told him to "get off" and H to "stay." The ARES system unexpectedly switched to "live mode" when Wile's low-attack jets appeared and shot them down using missiles. The pilots ejected before explosion but couldn't be rescued, except by surface craft. Meg was arriving by helicopter, having past Bingo fuel, and was only saved by H racing to use a surface craft radio. He told them to "act like a boat" slow and skimming the waves. The ship automatically headed toward North Korea and H realized that, because North Korea hadn't launched aircraft, they already knew of the situation. The captain armed the crew to prevent boarding with a fight.

They interrogated Donovan, who was denying doing anything, and said that "Compisano had already tried the 'back-door' to the program but it didn't work." Brockman started to beat him up but Meg stopped him saying that when she had asked Compisano about the back door he had said that he "didn't know of one." After overhearing the captain prepare to set C4 charges to scuttle the ship in case of boarding, Compisano sneaked away and killed the seaman bringing the charge. H, Pike and Brockman began chasing Compisano. Pike told Brockman not to "try anything heroic" but he was nearly shot by H after getting into the way. H told him to "stay here" and he bristled "are you giving me an order"? H said, "no, a strategy." Meg went to get Donovan while N Korean ships were preparing to board. H found Compisano holding a gun to Brockman's throat in a compartment. He admitted to have been "inserted" by the North Koreans over a long time and threatened to shoot Brockman if H didn't put down his gun. H said "go ahead I don't like him anyway," and when he was distracted shot him right past Brockman's ear. H then told the Captain that "I found him but he didn't survive the encounter" as Meg used the retrieved codes to get in the back-door and restore the ships arms. Brockman asked H not to tell Pike what had happened and H agreed; but, told him to "let her go"! H invited Pike to accompany him on the remainder of his leave; but, on the plane again H was paged.

Wednesday, May 8, 1996

The Prisoner - 20

[A sort of "odd" complicated plot difficult, at times, to follow. We do learn some more information about H, namely: Military ID number: 989-54-8301, DOB Oct 25th 1963 and several details about what he and his father did before leaving for Viet Nam Richard Crenna provided the voice of Harms "father"] Harm was captured and brainwashed by Chinese who thought that he would be able to tell them whether or not the "Americans will intervene if we take back Matsu and Quemoy" from Taiwan. Maria Elena Carmelita Moreno Gutierrez was supposed to meet H to go sailing with him but he ended up going alone and went missing. Sec Bair (dunderhead state flunky from the Cuban episode) told Krennick to keep working with him on the legal report to the president while Austin tried to find what happened to Harm. Harm's female interrogater, Captain Lishi, claimed they had processed many americans since Viet Nam and offered to tell Harm what happened to his father if he would cooperate. H began giving mis- and superfluous- information so she injected him with drugs. After cutting himself on a sharp rock in his cell, H heard morse code from a prisoner below being tapped on the pipes. The prisoner new all about American ways and allowed H to convinced himself that he really was his father. He knew that Harm's father had taken him to Belmont Park, in San Diego on Mission Boulevard, the day before he had shipped out for Viet Nam. He said that he wanted to show him the roller-coaster before they tore down the park and they carved their initials on one of the cars. They had carved "HR with a little 2 (squared)" on one of the cars. The prisoner said that he would help Harm "keep sane" from all the "mind games" Col Hahn would play on him.

Austin found grey paint that showed Harms boat was rammed by Chinese naval vessel. Baird said his job was to "avoid international incidents not create them" and refused to help. So Krennick began slipping out on him. Inspector Chang informed Krennick that Harm was being held in local Chinese Garrison and possibly might be "bribed" out through the "black market." Col Hahn told H that he was given drugs incorrectly and had been in a coma for 27 days, and that everyone thought he was dead. The "prisoner" couldn't confirm how long he'd been gone but H found his fairly fresh cut still unhealed. Chang was actually the black marketeer and said that he had a "highly placed contact, who was probably honest, and could break Harm out - he wanted asylum in the US" and Chang wanted a 24/7 phone number he could call for instant embassy sanctuary should he ever need it. They retrieved Harm's wallet, ID and info that Harm could be broken out the next day but Baird still refused to help until Krennick blackmailed him with telling his wife they were having an affair.

Lishi told Harm that she had arranged to get her, Harm and his father out the next day. Harm, still confused from drugs, confided his confusion to "his father." He reminded him that he had always told him that "our instincts are always right, we just learn to ignore them," Harm finished, "and deep down if we know something is not right, it isn't." Lishi and Col Hahn were shown watching H have his discussion with his father over closed circuit television. Hahn said "he's created his father in his mind, just like you said he would." Harm subdued his guard the next day and, with gun, found his "fathers cell empty, but with the letters HR2 carved on the wall. Lishi said that his father was "already on his way" then shot a guard herself when Harm didn't shoot. They left for the cars and Hahn was shown watching on TV, then the "killed guard" got up. Meg and Krennick watched at the border crossing while Harm found that his father wasn't there and Lishi told him that it had only been drugs. He tried to shoot her but the gun had only blanks and he was surrounded by Chinese guards. Hahn showed up, Lishi told him that she had learned that the US wouldn't attack, but he claimed that she was a spy and had her arrested. He then took Harm at gunpoint to cross the border quickly. Lishi grabbed a machine gun and fired, hitting Hahn; but Meg and Krennick fired and hit her, starting a barrage of gunfire only stopped by an arm waving guard captain. When Harm told Hahn thanks, the Col said that he wasn't Hahn he was Col Yang-Chai (replaced Hahn 10 years prior) leaving Harm with the suspense that if the "visions" of his father were only a figment of his own mind- how did it "know" something that he didn't know! (No Chegwidden this episode.)

Wednesday, May 1, 1996

Recovery - 19

The US recon satellite over China failed and a replacement satellite was launched but failed to reach proper orbit. The next Space Shuttle mission which was supposed to test High Energy Light experiments (laser) was transferred into a repair mission with a 3 day window of opportunity. During the launch there was a main engine breech which was supposed to become fatal in 60 seconds (but never did and was never explained) and required all the astronauts to use their escape baskets on a wire. During the escape the pilot, Cdr Atkins, fell to his death requiring Lt. Cdr. Mark Lowrey, the backup pilot, to take over. Harm and Meg came to the launch site to investigate to Atkins dismay. H & he exchanged insults prompting Mg to say that she "knew a cockfight when she saw one." A civilian contractor named Gallant called to Hs attention that the cable had been carefully hollowed out and weakened with a laser so as to fail when a basket loaded with a man rode in it. Then they found that Lowrey's access card was used the night before the accident to enter the laser storage area at night. H tried to get Colonel Fisher to remove Lowrey but he wouldn't. Then he made formal recommendation to the president that the mission be delayed, but he wouldn't either. H wanted to talk to Lowrey but he was scheduled for STA (Shuttle Training Aircraft). Lowrey dismissed his 2nd saying that Harm was "the best pilot in JAG." There was a catastrophic failure of Lowrey's controls and H had to land the aircraft. They turned off the fuel and H "dead-stick" landed.

Someone had set up an accident to kill the primary pilot and frame the only one who could replace him. Then Mg realized that if it hadn't been for Gallant they wouldn't have suspected Lowrey. She found threads of STA programming in the erased sectors of Gallant's hard drive and that he had been a researcher in the SDI program which had been scuttled. Being disgruntled they surmised that Gallant would have been approached by the Chinese and told Fisher, who relieved Gallant from his station. He ran and H had to give chase to capture him. Gallant denied everything so H asked if he could try interrogating him. Gallant said he was a visionary and would be known for his exploration of the galaxy with his Super-Conducting Magnetic Ion Engine. He wouldn't destroy the shuttle, he said, and intimated that China had promised to build his engine. H realized that he may have sabotaged the capture mechanism and convinced Fisher to re-test the mechanism before using it on the sattelite. It blew up during the test so they were without a capture arm. H suggested that they "get a bunch of people out there and grab it." they tried that too, and it worked. Mg suggested H still had time to be "the first lawyer in space" as "navy pilots make the best astronauts." H responded, later alone to himself... "maybe."