Space-Madness! (The Starlost, Episode 4)

Episode four of “The Starlost” introduces us to the crew of The Pices, one of the Ark’s little survey vessels. The crew has been away for ten years and has been out of contact, and is very surprised to learn that the crew are dead. Given that the crew have been dead for hundreds of years, I suspect that this episode is going to try to convince us that the crew of the Ark did not understand the concept of special relativity.
Everyone piles aboard the Pices and takes a spin around the ship to survey the damage. Then, for some reason, the captain and one of the hot chyk crewmen fall asleep. The other one babbles something incoherent about “space senility” and does the same.
The captain dismisses their claims that the accident happened hundreds of years earlier, since it’s coming from a bunch of Space Amish, but they also seem a little weird. “Time does funny things in space,” the captain explains, and implies that they’re tired because they’re old.
Eager to find their families, they rush back to the crew area, where they meet a small family who don’t know them, but after pushing the old folks a bit, they manage to drag out of them that they’d heard of a ship called the Pices, from a very long time ago.
On the trashed bridge, Anton La Vey explains the mission of the Pices (and for some reason gives its size in “Jewbic Meters”). Despite the captain’s admonishment, the cuter of the two bridge bunnies has the computer verify that they’ve been gone 400 years, and we finally get it explained: the captain had ignored some warnings about their trajectory, and they set off using some bad navigational data, which resulted in them experiencing more time dilation than they’d expected: once the Ark lost contact, they’d been unable to sync their clock to the Ark, and as a result, they’d accidentally accelerated to near the speed of light without noticing (Which is not nearly as ridiculous as it sounds. If you just lean on the gas in a space ship, and keep the pedal down for a few years, you’ll just keep accelerating, and once they lost sight of the Ark, they couldn’t calculate their speed relative to it).
The Pices crew gets increasingly morose about their predicament, though the more-hot chyk takes a shine to Garth, and the less-hot chyk does The Creepy Sci Fi thing where she speaks from a position of the gender views of the period that produced the show. So, 800 years in the future, a space pilot thinks that being a happy homemaker with no skills other than cooking, cleaning, and sewing is really a better life for a woman than hers. (Also, the captain’s wife is recognized by the computer as Mrs. (Captain’s full name).)
The captain has another episode, and Anton La Vey diagnoses him as space-senile: doomed to have his mental age rapidly increase due to the time dilation. They’ll promptly have the minds of 400-year-olds unless they return to their previous time dilation.
As they all have a cracking good party to enjoy their remaining time, they watch the Pices’s logs, and see “an unidentified class G solar star” — which turns out to be the star which the Ark is going to strike. I guess a “solar star” is different from the other kind. The bridge bunnies decide to steal the Pices and shoot Devon with a phaser set to “Gurn”.
They reckon that their best bet is to go back to Earth and hope that there’s some of it left. While the captain objects in principle, he also objects in the pragmatic sense that he doesn’t think they have enough power to go back to Earth. Devon distracts them for a minute and pulls out one of the Orange clipboards on the wall reactor cores in order to send the ship off balance. For some reason, the bridge bunnies become compliant after this, and happily pilot the ship back to the Ark.
They drop our heroes off and then decide to bugger off themselves, since a slow death in space beats space senility and the chance to help save the rest of humanity.
Good riddance, frankly.

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