A rare professional argument arises between Chris Gentry and another command cadet, Matt Prentiss. Chris argues that Matt’s behavior on their previous assignment put lives at risk, while Matt claims Chris failed to follow his orders. The hearing presided over by Commander Gampu is cut short by an emergency: an unmanned remote power station on an asteroid has malfunctioned, which threatens all of nearby space with a deadly ion storm. Gampu sends the cadets on a high-risk mission to repair the station’s equipment, and puts Matt Prentiss in charge over Chris’ objections. But when Matt issues orders that puts the team’s lives in jeopardy, will Chris stand by and respect the chain of command, or try to take charge?
written by Robert Specht
directed by George Tyne
music by Yvette Blais & Jeff Michael and Horta-Mahana
Cast: Jonathan Harris (Commander Gampu), Pamelyn Ferdin (Laura), Ric Carrott (Chris), Ty Henderson (Paul), Maggie Cooper (Adrian), Brian Tochi (Tee Gar), Eric Greene (Loki), Peepo (himself), John Berwick (Matt Prentiss)
Notes: The science in this episode is simply off-the-scale bad. The concept of a remote facility beaming power to a planetary body has actually been studied in some depth, but the notion that it could “cause an ion storm” is far-fetched to say the least. And then there’s that bit about crashing an asteroid into another asteroid, resulting in the creation of a new star – making The Cheat a likely contender for the most scientifically inaccurate episode in Space Academy’s brief run. This is also one of very few epiosdes to show Tee Gar performing a martial arts feat, a slightly stereotypical element which was written into the character in the series bible but seldom exploited by the show’s scriptwriters.
LogBook entry by Earl Green