The Medusa Effect
Roots: Event Horizon, The Shining. There are references to Shakespeare, Jules Verne, and the Teletubbies.
Dialogue Triumphs: "Without a cause, a just cause, war is but murder writ large."
"Gracious in victory?"
"Condescending before execution."
Continuity: The Medusa is an experimental ship launched by the ARD circa 2574, which vanished on its maiden voyage. It had no modern technology on board. It was intended to combine the personality traits of a diverse group of passengers and imbue them into a new life form, as part of an experiment to create the perfect soldier for use in the Dalek War. The experiment failed due to a psychopath, Jackson Hart, smuggling himself on board; as a result, everyone on board ended up killing each other. The synthetic bodies for the soldiers continued growing unchecked; when they emerge here, they are malformed, bulbous creatures. They are destroyed along with the Medusa when its self-destruct programme completes. Taffeta Graize's genetic engineering programme has links with the DevCorps Project (Mean Streets).
Commander Skutloid is head of St Oscar's Strategic Institute and is one of the few people invited occasionally into the ARD. He is from Neo Aries [which, along with his description, confirms that he is an Ice Warrior]. His armour is gunmetal grey and grafted onto his body.
Bernice drinks tea with Braxiatel and Skutloid. After agreeing to join the ARD team to visit the Medusa, she has a medical at the University Medical Centre, which includes a broad-spectrum inoculation against viruses. She unwittingly drinks wine laced with sleeping pills on board Medusa. She also drinks champagne on board the ship. She makes a Molotov cocktail out of Thrascanian double-strength vodka.
A large painting by Turner covers one wall of Braxiatel's study.
St Oscar's newsletter is called Graduated Feedback. The Gerondo Strait is a main waterway between several of the larger islands on which St Oscar's is situated.
Links: Mean Streets (the ARD). Commander Skutloid first appeared in Dragon's Wrath.
Location: Dellah, and on board the Medusa, c2594.
Future History: The Jarrard line was a luxury range of spaceships. Memories of Childhood is a painting by Anton Tylos. Reinforced Duralinium Simply Explained is a book on board the Medusa.
The Bottom Line: "Why are these expeditions never as straightforward as they tell you they're going to be?" Justin Richards on autopilot, with an intriguing and creepy set-up that swiftly turns into something rather more contrived and banal.