Another Trip Around the Sun
Original Air Date: Jul 19, 2017
Vincent Chia – Staff Writer
Where are the back-up plans? You’re NASA. You should have a giant room full of geniuses thinking up plans and then another giant room full of back-up geniuses making back-up plans. (Imagine a rough and tumble oil driller saying it).
In our second episode, we find out that the Pentagon does, in fact, have a back-up plan. Though Darius Tanz also criticizes the back-up plan as something nearly as unworkable as shooting a nuclear weapon to explode the incoming asteroid.
Deputy Secretary Harris Edwards explains that the Goliath rocket launch test had failed. Without the Goliath rocket, the Pentagon does not have any practical way of reaching the asteroid in time to alter the asteroid’s path. The back-up plan drafted by the Plantary Defense Team (new name for Project Samson?) is to re-task a satellite that is currently orbiting Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. The satellite can be guided into a collision course with the asteroid to slam into the asteroid and break it up.
Darius Tanz strenuously objects to this plan, saying all it will do is create multiple objects smaller that could still slam into Earth. Tanz recommends that they stick with the original gravity tractor plan. When Edwards reminds Tanz that Tanz himself said they don’t have the technology to reach the asteroid in time, Tanz says they should invent it. Tanz wants to build an EM engine. An Electro-Magnetic engine does not run on fuel like a regular rocket and the EM engine can also run faster and faster with time. A Pentagon scientist says that the very concept of an EM engine violates the laws of Newtonian physics. Tanz responds that Newtonian physics itself had violated previous laws of physics from earlier times. Things are only impossible until they’re not.
Darius needs $2 billion to develop his EM engine. Edwards can only get him $1 billion. Darius takes that and appears satisfied. However, in private, Darius tells Grace that he also needs access to 100 kilos of uranium. Edwards has clearance to access uranium, however, he would never approve of such a thing. Darius asks Grace to go behind Edwards’ back. Grace refuses to commit treason, but Darius says it is necessary.
Darius sends Liam back to Boston to see if he could find more research on EM engines. Coincidentally, Liam’s former professor Malcolm Croft had done some research on EM engines. When Liam combs through Croft’s den, he gets a text warning him to get out of the house. It is later revealed that Professor Croft had escaped his home when some unidentified agents/goons arrived. Croft has his EM engine research saved in a USB thumb drive. Liam spots someone who seems to have been following him. Fearing it is a hitman, Liam and Croft run.
In a press briefing. Grace learns that a Pentagon employee named Walter Carnahan was murdered in his home. She says the Pentagon has no comment, but she is a little startled. This was the tech who helped her last episode with satellite video of the Goliath rocket failure. She confronts Edwards about it but Edwards either doesn’t know anything about the hit squad or he lies to Grace.
Carnahan’s death leads Grace to return to Darius Tanz and agree that they cannot trust the government. She will help Darius covertly gain access to uranium.
It is Grace’s birthday and Edwards is over at her house to help her celebrate. She asks him about Project Atlas, which a reporter mentioned to her as something Carnahan had mentioned to his sister before he was murdered. Edwards tells her never to mention Atlas as it is above her security clearance. He wants her to be careful. Grace purposely spills wine onto Edwards’ pants to get him out of the room. While he is distracted, Grace breaks into Edwards’ briefcase in order to get security codes that will authorize her to access uranium. She manages to get the codes and closes the briefcase before Edwards comes back. However, she accidentally dropped an earring into the suitcase before she closed it and hopes Edwards doesn’t find it.
Darius calls Edwards and requests his presence at a presentation to a fellow tech billionaire who might be interested in helping fund Darius’ EM engine. Darius and Edwards presents the partnership as a project to make America the first to land on Mars. The Pentagon will share some of their advanced technologies such as super-lightweight materials that they can build the rockets out of. The investor appears intrigued.
At a nearby military base, Grace uses Edwards’ access codes in order to get the 100 kilos of uranium that Darius asked for. She is initially cleared by one of the soldiers who has confirmed her identity, her security clearance, and her access codes. However, at the last minute, she is stopped by a lieutenant who says he must confirm with Deputy Secretary Edwards.
We soon learn that Darius called Edwards to his facility not to do the presentation on the EM engine, but so that Darius could clone Edward’s cell phone. The lieutenant reaches Darius instead. Darius impersonates Edwards’ voice and authorizes Grace to take the uranium.
Liam brings Professor Croft to Darius’ facility. It turns out that the man who was following Liam in Boston was actually a member of Darius’ security detail. Darius ominously says that Liam’s crush Jillian might prove to be a “problem.” Hopefully, she is not killed as collateral damage.
Grace visits Edwards at his home and appears to want to be romantic with him. They sleep together. However, as Edwards is asleep, Grace sneaks away to access his suitcase in order to find the earring she lost. She does not find it and returns to bed. In addition, Edwards was not completely asleep and now suspects Grace of betraying him, or possibly has his suspicions confirmed. I must say I am a little bit saddened by Grace betraying her boyfriend. But I suppose it is for what she perceives to be the greater good.
As far as the episode, there were a few things that seemed too implausible. Liam should not have been able to spot an agent tailing him, unless the person purposely let Liam spot him. Also, the whole concept that one person in the Pentagon can go rogue and steal 100 kilos of uranium seems too much of a stretch. The confirmation process for the orders should be stricter. Likewise, it should be harder for a person to impersonate the Deputy Secretary of Defense to verify Grace’s authorization. We’ll see in the upcoming episodes whether Edwards has figured out the uranium theft or perhaps was even notified by the military base officers and he had told them to let it go so he could deal with Grace himself personally.