- Version 2 -
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A mass of small colonies, centred around a myriad space stations and outposts within the solar system, the human race is no longer based upon Earth. Abandoned largely due to the severe pollution that has destroyed the ozone layer and made the air almost unbreathable, Earth is now inhabited only by the poorest people, who are unable to get away. Instead civilisation is focused upon Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Each planet has its own basic system of government, and cares nothing any longer for central Earth rule. Mars is the richest planet, where all of the biggest businesses are centred. Jupiter and Saturn are more sprawling, with their many moons home to further colonies. Space travel has enabled such colonisation, but is still enough in its infancy to make travel between the colonies, and the planets, a long and arduous business. Antimatter engines, which speed up the process no end, are little used, difficult to control, and highly dangerous. Many people live their whole lives on orbiting space stations or on board space ships, and never breathe a proper atmosphere. This is largely because, although parts of Mars support a semi-atmosphere of a kind, within domes, the only true atmosphere is the one back on Earth - and nobody wants to go there. With civilisation so spread out, law enforcement has become increasingly difficult, and crime has increased to massive proportions. Callisto is run almost exclusively by organised crime, but the biggest danger is from the Raiders. Wild clans of vicious pirates and opportunist thieves, they live out their lives on space ships, and prey on other vessels and small colonies. They perpetuate their numbers by kidnapping infants to raise as their own, usually killing the parents in the process. All of this means that there is real money to be made in bounty hunting, especially since so many of the official law enforcement agencies are corrupt.
Starhunter 2300 follows on from the TV series Starhunter, about bounty hunter Dante Montana. Dante travels the solar system in a massive, rickety old ship, the Tulip, leased from crooked businessman Rudolpho DeLuna. Whilst bounty hunting to make ends meet, he is really looking for his son Travis, kidnapped as a small boy by the Raiders, who also killed Dante's wife. Dante is accompanied by his niece, Percy; but when they experiment with hyperspace travel, Dante is lost. Percy finds herself returned to normal space fifteen years later, although for her mere moments have passed. Claiming ownership of the Tulip thanks to salvage laws, she sets out to make ends meet as best she can, whilst hoping to one day find Dante. The need to make money to keep patching up the battered old ship means that she soon winds up in an uneasy alliance with an extremely diverse bunch of people, with whom she now has a partnership of sorts.
The Divinity Cluster is a series of dormant genes within the human brain, apparently built into the human genome by a dying race of aliens who wanted to perpetuate their species. In the vast majority of cases, these genes remain inactive, but sometimes they come to life. Those who have at least one gene activated have a psychic link of sorts, although apparently this only works over relatively short distances - though it increases with the activation of further genes. Primarily, the genes allow a person to travel within the space-time continuum, and consequently hyperspace. The activation of the first gene inspires a feeling of virtual invulnerability, and may cause unpredictable time flashes - slips through the space-time continuum - usually during moments of extreme stress. The activation of the second gene, as well as allowing far greater control over such time flashes, also allows the subject to travel in hyperspace, instantly transporting him or herself anywhere in space. This makes people whose genes have activated extremely attractive to certain shadowy research groups, such as The Orchard, who hope to use the Divinity Cluster to gain control of hyperspace. They also hope to find out how to make the Cluster activate safely, since forcing it to do so by artificial means is lethal. The activation of the third gene seems to allow a greater affinity with hyperspace, whilst activation of the fourth gene, which apparently has never yet happened, will cause the metamorphosis of the subject into a member of the alien race responsible for the Cluster. This last point is so far known only to a very few - Travis and his friends not amongst them.
Travis Montana/Dazak Verran
Kidnapped as a small child by the Raiders, Travis was raised as a member of the Verran Clan. He was a particularly enthusiastic and violent Raider, known to be involved in drugs trafficking amongst other crimes, but eventually he realised that he wanted nothing more to do with the Clans. When he tried to break from them he was shot and left for dead, but survived, changed his name back to Travis Montana, and became a bounty hunter. The skills learnt as a Raider are of great use to him in his new line of work, but he hates what he once was. He cuts himself off from other people - Marcus excepted - until he comes across the Tulip and its diverse crew. Often silent, Travis is a solitary animal, apparently sombre and morose, though he has a sharp sense of humour when he chooses to use it. He is haunted by the past, however, and is wanted by the Raiders, who have a bounty on his head. Lately he has fallen in love with Callista Larkadia, but doesn't have a clue what to do about it. Travis's mother, Penny, was a scientist working on research into the Divinity Cluster, and it is thanks to her that his first gene was activated. He knew nothing about it for years, but recently the second gene has activated as well. Travis is now wanted by the Orchard, and the shadowy Tristan Catchpole, who have unknown plans for him. Born on Titan, Travis remembers nothing about it or his parents, and considers space his home.
Having grown up in an orphanage, Marcus ran away at an early age, and spent some years living rough on the streets. During this time he became a drug addict, but eventually got himself clean and discovered a remarkable talent as a mechanic. He was employed by the Raider Clans for a short time, but soon realised that the life was not for him. Travis got him away from the Clans, and they joined forces as bounty hunters. Energetic, enthusiastic and always hungry, Marcus talks almost constantly and generally loves life. He recently discovered that he is from the colony on Callisto, and was a son of the ruling family there. When Callisto fell to a coup by an organised crime syndicate, Marcus and his identical twin brother - then babies - were sent away for their own safety. Marcus's twin, who was their parents' heir, hopes to one day win Callisto back. Although overjoyed at finding a family connection, Marcus is not yet sure where his loyalties lie.
The daughter of one of the richest families on Mars, Callista (Cally) hates her family and its power, riches and snobbery. She rebelled at an early age, and eventually became an operative for Mars Special Forces, an elite crime fighting unit. After blowing the whistle on crooked colleagues, she left the unit and became a bounty hunter. Largely estranged from her family, though recently reunited with her father to some degree thanks to Travis's influence, Cally is professional and efficient to the core. Her methods frequently bring her into conflict with Travis, who she sees as haphazard and rash. She has fallen in love with him, and is infuriated by his stand-offishness and apparent inability to connect.
Rudolpho is a trader, with dodgy connections everywhere, friends in every port, and a host of illegal dealings here, there and everywhere. Recently he ran out of money, and wound up having to throw in with Percy to make ends meet. The original owner of the Tulip, he used to lease it out to Dante, but lost ownership of it following its apparent disappearance in hyperspace. Rudolpho has a teenage daughter that he rarely sees, and used to have loyalties only to himself. He even once tried to sell Travis to the Raiders, but the pair have now become very close. Large, jovial and friendly, Rudolpho is one of the good guys, but doesn't relish danger, and frequently despairs of his shipmates' talent for getting them all into trouble. He isn't entirely trustworthy around other people's valuables, but basically he means well.
The niece of Dante Montana, the Tulip's former captain, Percy has spent the vast majority of her life aboard the ship, and knows it better than anyone. A talented mechanic, Percy is highly eccentric and suffers from agoraphobia. She rarely leaves the Tulip and hates to do so, and instead spends her life amongst the ship's engines and electrical components, patching them up and helping to keep the ancient ship working. Percy is desperate to find the lost Dante, although - thanks to her lack of contacts in the outside world - she seems to have adjusted well to suddenly finding herself fifteen years in her own future. She was extremely suspicious at first of Travis, and his claim to be her long missing cousin, but has apparently now accepted him. Prone to wild mood swings and apparently odd behaviour, Percy is difficult to deal with and prefers to be left alone.
Caravaggio is the AI system on board the Tulip. As old as the ship itself, he is sometimes temperamental, and his holographic projection flickers almost constantly. Programmed during the ship's days as a luxury space liner, he is prickly, airy and a bit of a snob. More than capable of running the ship by himself, his workings can, however, be unpredictable. With his flickering image and ageing electronica, he is the perfect compliment to the continously patched and ancient Tulip.
A powerful, shadowy organisation involved in illegal research, the Orchard have eyes and tendrils everywhere. First set up with a view to controlling hyperspace, they appeared to have shut down as a result of internal strife, but have now stepped up their operations. With a large part of their operations geared towards work on the Divinity Cluster, they are trying to find all those humans whose genes are naturally activating. They want Travis, but are prepared to kill him instead if it will keep the Divinity Cluster, and their work, a secret.
Effectively the Chairman of the Orchard, Murchison is a respected psychologist. He has formed an alliance with the enigmatic Catchpole, which appears to be for the good of the Orchard, but is very likely as much for his own gain as that of his associates. Murchison is oily, slippery and untrustworthy, as happy to order a death as he is to make adjustments to the organisation's budget. As with Catchpole, it is unclear exactly where his ambitions lie.
The Orchard's main consultant on matters relating to the Divinity Cluster, Catchpole's own first three genes activated some time ago. He has made it his life's work to track down other 'Naturals', and either use them or kill them. He and Travis have collided more than once, and hate each other. Catchpole knows that the activation of the fourth gene will cause metamorphosis, but is not put off by this; on the contrary, he seems to celebrate it. He has his own agenda beyond his work for the Orchard, but at present it is not clear what that agenda is.
Percy Montana finds herself drifting in space after an ill-fated attempt to achieve hyperspace travel. Needing to finance her ship's necessary constant repairs, she double books it - one client is its former owner, Rudolpho DeLuna; the other a ragged tag team of bounty hunters, one of whom claims to be her long lost cousin Travis, kidnapped years ago. Joining forces with another bounty hunter, they set out to investigate the murders of a colony of scientists, only to find out that it is a trap set by enemies of Travis's, who are hoping to capture him.
Written By: Peter Zorich - Directed By: David Wheatley
2. Star Crossed
Travis is hired by the authorities to prevent a Raider civil war that seems set to break out, and he and Cally go undercover together. Things become increasingly complicated when an old girlfriend from his Raider days turns out to be involved. She is eager to rekindle old fires, but the fierce paranoia of their mark, the explosive Dakkota Clan leader, looks set to find them all out. Meanwhile, inspired by Travis's obvious knowledge of the inner workings of the Clans, Rudolpho sets out to discover what kind of blood money he could make for passing Travis on to the right people.
Written By: Peter Zorich - Directed By: Roger Gartland
The discovery of a desperately ill old friend of Marcus's leads the team into an investigation of the mysterious Father Abode, a lethal surgeon who performs genetic alterations on captive humans. Travis goes inside her organisation, but soon finds himself in trouble when the local crooked police force blow the whistle on him.
Written By: Peter Zorich - Directed By: David Wheatley
4. Chasing Janus
Cally is gravely injured when she is recognised and shot by somebody that she arrested years before. The only chance for her survival seems to lie with her father, from whom she has been estranged for years. When Travis contacts him, he hires the team to find the person responsible for almost killing his daughter.
Written By: Denis McGrath - Directed By: Roger Gartland
The gang find a sarcophagus floating in space, which turns out to contain Mishkin, a man who carries a potentially deadly mind-altering virus. When Rudolpho and Marcus are infected, they take over the Tulip, stranding Travis and Cally in deep space. Percy takes a liking to Mishkin, though, relating to him rather more than she does to the crew; and when a squad turns up hoping to capture him, the Tulip gang allow him to escape.
Written By: Nelu Girhan & David Wheatley - Directed By: David Wheatley
6. Becoming Shiva
Activists from Terra First, a pressure group set up to protect the interests of the pollution ravaged Earth, are the targets for Travis and the team, after they break their non-violence rule and kill a human. Percy worsens the situation when she turns to violence herself in an attempt to interrogate one of the prisoners, and then has to live with the consequences of her actions.
Written By: Denis McGrath - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
7. The Third Thing
Marcus gets bored staying on the ship to do repairs all the time, and demands that the next bounty be his. Meanwhile Rudolpho makes a deal with a television company who want to film the gang at work collecting a bounty. Unhappy to appear on television, especially with the Raider bounty on his head, Travis is happy to step back and let Marcus and Percy do the work for a change. They soon regret the swap, though, when the reality TV programme filming them turns out to be the docusoap from hell.
Written By: Michael Allcock & Roger Gartland - Directed By: David Wheatley
A man hires the gang when he receives a ransom demand for his kidnapped parents. Snatched fifty years ago, the effects of time dilation from travelling at close to light speed have meant that they have aged only eight months, and are consquently younger than their son. The case opens old wounds for Travis, who realises that the same sort of time dilation might have affected Dante, further deepening the gulf between them if they do ever find each other. Meanwhile, Rudolpho is forcibly reunited with his teenage daughter, who hates him and is intent upon causing friction wherever she goes.
Written By: Peter Zorich - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
An old friend of Dante's hires Travis and the team to tackle drug runners, when his son dies after taking Anaestha, the latest new drug to hit the colonies. The case becomes personal in all manner of ways, for Travis has to resume his Raider mantle in order to make contact with the suppliers of Anaestha. Beset with problems, Travis has to deal with his client's hatred and distrust when the truth comes out about his Raider past; and also discovers that somebody in the police force is on the take.
Written By: Denis McGrath - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
10. Skin Deep
Cally encounters an old friend, Lena, but soon discovers that Lena is wanted by bounty hunters all over the system. Whilst Percy and Marcus stay behind in Syn City to hunt out engine components for theTulip's experimental antimatter drive, Cally and Travis attempt to keep Lena safe. Things don't run smoothly, though, when to the annoyance of Cally, Travis begins to fall for Lena.
Written By: Jeffrey Hirschfield - Directed By: David Wheatley
11. Supermax Redux
Responding to a distress call, the Tulip crew pick up Max, a conman known to Percy from her days travelling with Dante. He claims to be on the level now, working to bring in a massive store of the rare mineral Omnium, which he says is worth a fortune. He offers to let the gang share in the riches, but soon turns out to be lying. He is in reality trying to find a priceless necklace supposedly hidden somewhere on the vast ship during its time as a cruise liner.
Written By: Noel Garland & Chris Jones Hansen - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
12. Pandora's Box
The gang are hired by scientists to bring in a Raider who has allegedly stolen secret research material. It soon turns out that the Raider is in fact in possession of damning evidence that could not only destroy the Keres Station Research Group, but also shed light on the murky dealings of massive scientific research organisation The Orchard.
Written By: Barry Simner - Directed By: David Wheatley
13. Stitch In Time
The Tulip crew answer a distress call, and discover a mining station facing imminent break-up. When nobody seems to have heard of the station, the gang realise that it is caught up in a pocket of time distortion, and attempt to help the sole remaining crew member to find his colleagues and work out what has gone wrong.
Written By: David Wheatley - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
14. The Prisoner
The Tulip transports a young woman with amnesia to a new care facility, but it soon becomes clear that something about Travis has greatly unsettled her. His attempt to tackle the situation leads to the revelation of his alien powers, and he demands that Percy tell him the truth about the Divinity Cluster. Meanwhile he inadvertently attracts the attention of Tristan Catchpole, a mercenary working for unprincipled research group The Orchard, who are very interested in investigating the Cluster.
Written By: David T. Reilly - Directed By: David Wheatley
Annoyed by what she perceives as Caravaggio's chauvinism, Percy reprograms the ship's computers, and turns Caravaggio into Kate - a far more developed, and far more human, AI system. It spells trouble for the crew, however, when Kate falls in love with Travis, and turns murderous in an attempt to make him hers.
Written By: Farrukh Dhondy - Directed By: Michael Cocker
Cally is tempted by a job offer from a well financed bounty hunting organisation, after becoming disillusioned with the Tulip, its temperamental systems, the slapdash working methods of its crew - and especially with Travis and his inability to get in touch with his feelings.
Written By: David T. Reilly - Directed By: Michael Cocker
17. The Heir And The Spare
The team pick up a young man with startling similarities to Marcus, and discover that, prior to certain surgeries, he was Marcus's exact double. It transpires that he and Marcus are twin brothers, and that Marcus is anything but the rootless nobody he has always assumed himself to be. The knowledge of his true identity brings danger, though, when it turns out that the crime syndicate that killed his parents is also eager to kill him and his newly discovered brother.
Written By: Stephen Lowe - Story By: David Wheatley - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
18. Just Politics
A Trade Minister hires the Tulip to take him to the Manheim Asteroid Belt, supposedly for secret negotiations. Rudolpho has suspicions and begins to investigate, soon finding out that all is by no mean as it should be, and that the lives of the crew are in immediate danger.
Written By: David T. Reilly - Directed By: Roger Gartland
19. Negative Energy
Discovering that it should be possible to get the Tulip's antimatter engines working if they can be adapted, the gang have to face an inspection from an official in order to gain a licence to carry out the alterations. There is trouble, though, when it turns out that the official is not who he claims to be.
Written By: Eitan Arrusi - Directed By: Colin Bucksey
20. License To Fill
(Clip Episode) The crew of the Tulip are taken to court, and many of their misadventures are brought to count against them in an attempt to confiscate their ship.
Written By: John Gartland - Directed By: John Gartland
21. Hyperspace I
In an attempt to achieve hyperspace travel, partly to help in their bounty hunting, and partly in the hope of finding Dante, the gang go in search of a doctor that they believe can help them. They soon find themselves up against Tristan Catchpole, though, and when his people once again target Travis, Cally is killed in a shoot out.
Written By: Hudson King - Directed By: Roger Gartland
22. Hyperspace II
The Tulip is thrown into hyperspace, and splits into three realities. Each in a different reality, Marcus, Rudolpho and Percy have to find a way to merge the ship back into one. Meanwhile, Travis fights to control his alien powers in an attempt to travel back in time and save Cally's life. His second divinity gene activates, but the Tulip is dangerously out of control, and there is very little time left to try to put everything right.
Written By: Hudson King - Directed By: Roger Gartland
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