MISSION: Cargo Drop (supplies) on Planet Tartarus
Vanessa Damphousse is under a preliminary inquiry by Ross for the "failure to
obey an order" and "misbehavior before the enemy." She recalls this episode as
she looks at the blood on her hand.
The 58th is on its way to drop supplies on Planet Tartarus which has experienced
the worst casualties since the beginning of the war; not from aliens, but from
friendly fire. As they land, a private without a helmet is killed from behind
by a Marine. The Marine stalks the 58th citing the following camp cadence, and
is eventually killed by a laser mine (buzz beam);
"Born in the woods, trained by a bear,
double set of dog teeth, triple coat of hair,
'M-mean as hell,' 'A-all the time,' 'R-rough and tough,'
'I-In the mud,' 'N-never quit,' 'E-every day!'"
As they retreat to the ISSCV, the 58th is hit with strobing lights which causes
burns on their skin. Wang, in trying to kill a cockroach, ruins the radio.
Damphousse, after seeing blood on her hand, feels covered in it and tears her
uniform trying to get away from it. Hawkes, affected by his feeling of
claustrophobia, can't stand to wear his helmet and tries to pull it off while
outside. West could swear he hears a woman screaming. Vansen, afraid of the
dark, insists on using her flashlight exposing the squadron's whereabouts.
To fix the radio, all but Damphousse exit to locate a cluster of 'uplink proms'
from the dead Marine's field pack. After the proms are collected, they enter a
bunker filled with eight Marines who apparently killed one another. After
evaluating the bunker massacre and their own experiences, the 58th discovers
that the strobe lights release an electronic nerve gas which intensifies a
person's greatest fears.
Upon their return, Damphousse, unable to enter the radio room because of her
intensified fear of blood, instructs Vansen on how to fix the radio. They
succeed in making contact with McQueen and are evacuated from the planet.
In closing, McQueen tells Damphousse that the Inquiry Panel has acquitted her of
all charges and voted against further investigation.