Episode: 2 and 3
Written by: Petike
Air date: March 24, 2015 (Part 1), March 31, 2015 (Part 2)
The MES-2 Uchronia is on a semi-diplomatic mission to a timeline with a politically fractured New Zealand. While his crew is engaged in some reconnaissance of the local scene, the captain decides to fly off into a neighbouring system to buy some lunch at an orbital habitat. Eventually, the crew realises he's been away for too long, and has probably gone missing. They decide to mount a search for him and bring him back home. A few characters from the Allohistory join in to help.
Little does either of the crews know who they'll be dealing with…
This episode introduces the crew of the second ship of the Twin Fleet, the MES-2 Uchronia, as well as the members of a new recurring faction of the multiverse. The two-parter also involves cameo appearances for members of the MES-1 Allohistory and for a trio of characters representing a certain older AH.com-verse faction.
The episode is also the first to feature the MES-1 Allohistory crew members BEEDOK and MING777, and introduces the recurring character of THE WANDERING POET. Allohistory's LIFE IN BLACK also makes his first direct “on-screen” appearance.
The New Zealand Civil War timeline is introduced in the first half of the two-parter and set up for a future revisit. Several New Zealand and Australian AH.commers appear in guest roles in this segment.
The Google Spiders are mentioned, but not seen, despite PIEMAN97405's paranoid and insistent claims that there's an infestation of them on the Uchronia. Some of the technology introduced in this episode includes the larger Rhine Barge class shuttles, various portable computers used by the crews, the nanotech pipewrench, and last but not least, the technologies of the newly introduced recurring faction.
Overall, the two-parter was well-received. Several readers were intrigued at the possible future story arcs set up by this episode. It was also pointed out that the second crew introduced in the story is sufficiently different enough from the first crew, making for a distinctive cast. Some people also appreciated their cameos as members of the new recurring faction.
There were some minor criticisms of the resolution to Part II being less action-packed than expected.
The first two-parter of the show and Petike's first episode.
This episode was long in the making, though most of the writing was done between early January and late March 2015. By far the oldest bits of the episode are the teaser (in Part 1) and TDM's and MARC PASQUIN's conversation (in Part 2). They were written as far back as April and May 2014.
The episode was not originally planned as a two-parter, but the expansion of the New Zealand bit of the storyline eventually necessitated the split and the (somewhat) cliffhanger scene at the end of Part 1. In the very first draft of the story, the New Zealand timeline was at most just mentioned, but its version of Earth was not really visited. The addition of the visit in Part 1 of the finished version was done to avoid making the episode overly “outer space-centric”. The New Zealand civil war timeline is slated for a return appearance in a future episode.
Even in the very beginning, the plan for the episode was to introduce the crew members of the MES-2 Uchronia, as well as introduce the new recurring faction of the show, while keeping the Allohistory crew and the cameo appearences by a certain older faction to a minimum. BEEDOK's and MING777's fairly prominent appearances in the two-parter compensate for the fact that they couldn't be included in the very first episode due to pacing problems and general time constraints (as they were settled on as characters only around the time when the episode was ready to air).
In addition to AH.com culture and running gags, the two-part story contains quite a large number of popcultural references, especially ones related to the newly introduced faction. Some of the works alluded to in a tongue-in-cheek way include Dune, Firefly, StarGate, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Anathem, 1984 and several others. A certain song by David Bowie and one other by Nirvana also get mildly referenced.
A full list of references is here, with added spoiler protection.