At the Eurospace Consortium launch base in the Australian Outback, there are four minutes to the launch of the ESS shuttle. Alina drags unconscious leader pilot Daniel Bergerac beneath the shuttle, sarcastically says that he was too good, and leaves. She arrives in Mission Control and takes her position as a technician, and a supervisor Sovolev asks where Bergerac is, and Alina says that she doesn't know.
Bergerac wakes up as they spray down the launch area. The engines test-ignite and Bergerac is incinerated.
Jim picks up his briefing at a library as it closes, and is informed Bergerac's disappearance has compromised the entire world. He's listed as missing but the IMF believes that he was murdered. Frontier One has a super laser that can be used to clear cosmic debris and building a space station. The team must make sure that Frontier One isn't used in a terrorist plot.
At the apartment, Jim meets with Nicholas and Max. Grant is on-site posing as a biologist, and is with Matthew Rhine, the new lead pilot since Bergerac's disappearance. Rhine's background is clean, and Shannon is posing as a rival pilot to force the terrorists' hand. Grant has backed her up during her tests with the aid of a radio earring, and Nicholas will pose as a doctor specializing in pilot response. Max will go in as a technical safety supervisor, and Jim as a NASA executive observing the flight.
The others go on-site, and Max wishes Rhine good luck and says that the test is the final one that will decide Rhine's position. Shannon and Rhine enter the shuttle cockpit and Grant talks Shannon through the test so that she gets a perfect score. When Nicholas congratulates her, Shannon briefly needles Rhine. She scores better than Rhine on the second half of the test. Sovolev tells Rhine that Shannon is the new pilot, and Elina overhears him and launches the shuttle prematurely. Rhine congratulates Shannon and then initiates launch, and punches Shannon unconscious when she tries to get up.
Grant spots Elina and tells Jim, who grabs her. Grant is unable to override her launch program. and Rhine tells Mission Control that he ran all of the checks the day before and they're ready to launch. With that, the shuttle lifts off.
Robard and his terrorists arrive and secure Mission Control. Elina joins them and announces that the base us under the control of Robard and his "liberation force". When Sovolev protests, a terrorist knocks him unconscious and another one hits Max when he moves forward.
Shannon wakes up and Rhine tells her that he has backup. He welcomes Robard to the base and confirms that he is in control, and says that Elina decided that he could use a laser expert. Robard lights a cigarette and reviews the team's fake files. He says that he's in command supporting Rhine and anyone who interferes will be executed. Robard then tells Elina that she failed in her job and Rhine had to launch without full preparation. She points out that they needed Shannon and the launch went as planned, but Robard shoots her dead for making a decision without consulting him. Grant says that he runs a constant check on the crew, and Robard tells him to report to him personally.
Rhine opens the cargo bay and deploys the laser, then destroys a nearby communications satellite.
At NORAD, General Ransom receives word of the satellite's destruction and demands to know who is responsible.
Rhine reports to Robard that he destroyed the satellite as planned. He then patches Robard into another satellite and Robard announces that he commands the shuttle and demands that the U.S. give them the computer codes that let them command a surveillance satellite so they can protect their nation. If the U.S. doesn't agree then Robard will destroy every American satellite in space, and gives them three hours to agree
Rhine tells Robard that they should come within range of the surveillance satellite in thirty minutes. Meanwhile, the others slip into the bio-lab where Grant is working, and Grant puts Jim in contact with Shannon. She fakes a conversation with Rhine to answer Jim's questions that she can stop Rhine. Grant determines that the electric linkages on the laser weren't check before liftoff, and Shannon can overload them. A mercenary comes in and orders Jim to come with him, and Grant sends Shannon a program to overload the laser system. Rhine refuses to let her go, and Grant tells her to use the word "recalibrate" when she's ready.
Max tapes Grant's console into the security cameras, and Grant captures Robard's facial image. Meanwhile, Jim tells Robard that the crew have to run the technical and safety checks, saying that their there's radioactive material on the base. Robard tells him to do what is necessary. Max comes out and tells Jim that there's a conduit near Robard's chair with ventilation slots. Jim points out that Robard is a chain-smoker and they'll use that.
The shuttle approaches the surveillance satellite and Shannon warns that the laser may not be accurate. Rhine agrees to let her test the system.
Ransom prepares to launch non-nuclear missiles at the base and wipe it out rather than risk the lives of millions around the world.
Once Shannon accesses the system, Grant sends her the high-stress program to run. Max checks for radiation and detects a hot spot. The laser malfunctions and Rhine tells Shannon to go out and free it up. Meanwhile, Robard warns Max that if he's conducting any kind of ploy, he'll have him shot.
In the bio-lab, Jim puts a miniature device one of Robard's cigarettes.
Shannon goes out the airlock and Grant talks her through the spacewalk.
Ransom contacts Mission Control and informs whoever listening that the world governments will launch a missile attack in one hour. Grant can't get through NORAD so they have to go through Frontier One, and only Shannon can do that. Shannon loosens the jammed-up joint while staging a conversation for Rhine's benefit. Robard wants to destroy another satellite, and Rhine warns him that the laser is off-line.
While Rhine explains what is happening, Max drops a miniature gas canister into the ventilation vent. "Radioactive gas" starts leaking out at Robard's feet, and Max tells him to move away. Max takes him into the bio-lab and he demands a cigarette. Jim gives him the doctored cigarette and Robard starts to pass out. Nicholas removes his hazmat helmet, revealing that he's wearing a Robard mask.
Shannon continues working on the laser, and Max declares that the radiation is clear. The disguised Nicholas comes out and tells Robard's assistant Voss to bring in all of the terrorists so he can address them personally.
Shannon unjams the laser, but her tether lane snags on the mount. Rhine tells her to detach the line from her suit, and when she does so he deliberately knocks her loose from the shuttle using the laser mount. Shannon drifts off into space, and Rhine loses contact with her when she went off the tether. Grant has Shannon describe what tools that she has, and he has her use her air supply and the purge valve as a jet to propel herself back to the shuttle.
With 14 minutes until the missile launch, Rhine tells "Robard" that he's ready to take the satellite out. Nicholas tells him to wait, and Rhine explains that Shannon is dead. "Robard" then tells the mercenaries to go with Max to a bomb shelter against the upcoming missile attack. Voss realizes that the room Max is leading them to isn't a shelter, and Max knocks him unconscious, shoves him in, and locks the door shut.
Shannon enters the shuttle and purges the airlock. The decompression slams him into a wall and knocks him unconscious, and Shannon locks him in the airlock and tells Jim that she took him out. Jim has Grant patch communications through the shuttle, contacts Ransom, and he recites the proper security codes. He has Ransom cancel the missile strike, then "loses the connection" when Ransom demands to know how he's there. Shannon brings the shuttle down and as everyone in Mission Control watches. The team goes out and collects Shannon and they depart.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 25, 2018