Guest Stars: R. H. Thomson, Clare Sims
Screenplay by Gavin Scott
Edited by Jean-François Bergeron, Christopher Wentzell
Directed by Eleanore Lindo
Location of Aurora: On a country estate in Russia
On board the Aurora, Phileas and Jules are practicing their fencing. Phileas points out that Jules' fencing will improve if he lets his guard down and risks everything. Rebecca waits for the point over Russia where she needs to parachute out of the Aurora. She is on a mission for the British Secret Service to trace a series of parabolic mirrors that have been shipped to Russia, which she explains might have military uses. After Rebecca jumps, Phileas plans to visit with his friend Count Nicolai Kugarin at the count's estate. They meet every three years for a series of wagers, and although this is actually five months earlier than planned, the count has requested that Phileas visit now. Rebecca remarks that the count might not be happy with the czar's plans to free the serfs, whom Phileas says number 600 on Kugarin's estate. As they reach her mark, Rebecca parachutes out of the Aurora and begins the search for the first parabolic mirror. She finds the mirror being placed near the top of a dead tree. She checks out the direction it is oriented in and begins to look for the next one in the string.
At the Kugarin estate, Phileas meets with his old friend. Kugarin lives there with his niece and ward Natasha. Natasha escorts Jules to his room and when she finds out that he is an author, she brings him the manuscript of a novel she has written for his opinion. She says her uncle doesn't approve of such pursuits and that she had to write in secrecy. Jules agrees to read the novel.
Kugarin takes Phileas into the library and immediately complains about writers as a group. He says that writers and intellectuals have corrupted the czar and turned him away from traditions. The two men begin their contests by blindfolding the count, then timing him as he turns the pages in a book of games. At the specified time, the count stops and they agree to play the game described on the open page. After Phileas leaves to prepare for the first game, the count is visited by a uniformed noble who says their system is almost ready.
While Passepartout learns about the realities of serfdom from the servants below the stairs, Jules reads the romance novel Natasha has written. Rebecca is still on the trail of the mirrors.
Phileas and Kugarin begin their contest on the croquet field. They discuss the concept of serfs, and how they belong to the land and the land in turn belongs to the nobles. Kugarin says that he can guarantee that the czar will never abolish serfdom, a claim of which Phileas is skeptical.
Jules finishes the book and sees Natasha hurrying across the lawn. He follows her into a forest and finds a small wooden structure which is a hidden entrance way to a huge factory. In the factory is a gigantic gun. The prince finds Jules there and explains that it is not a weapon but is instead a moon gun. Natasha, who joins them, explains that it is designed to send a giant projectile into space. Jules is delighted to hear of this scientific endeavor and wants to help with the project. The prince agrees to discuss the matter with the count but demands that Jules keep silent about it in the meantime.
Meanwhile, in the kitchens, Passepartout discovers that the serfs have no idea how many countries are in the world, or how important Russia really is in the world. The serfs think that there might be a few countries outside of Russian, but that the czar probably controls all of the other countries, too. Their discussion is interrupted by an enthusiastic Jules who enters and asks these serfs if any of them has ever thought of space travel.
For their next contest, Phileas and Kugarin throw axes at a target on a wooden tree stump. Phileas wins the contest and, with it, one third of the Kugarin estates. Phileas wants to stop the contests, but Kugarin insists that he be given a chance to win back what he has lost. He asks for one last contest where he will wager everything he owns, and Phileas will wager all he has brought with him to Russian, including the Aurora and Passepartout. Phileas explains that Passepartout is not a serf and so Phileas doesn't own him. Kugarin says that Passepartout has a contract with Phileas and that the contract can be wagered. Kugarin says that if Phileas refuses, he is reneging on their wager, and Phileas as a man of honor cannot say no to the contest.
Meanwhile, Jules is working on the moon gun and the projectile in which a moon traveler can travel. Sergei the serf is training to be the first luna-naut. Natasha is pleased to find that Jules really liked the novel. And, in a nearby area of the Russian country, Rebecca is still finding the trail of the parabolic mirrors, which all seem to be oriented north north-east.
For their final contest, Phileas and the count are playing cards. At first Phileas is winning. Then the count has his servant carrying a highly reflective ice bucket stand behind Phileas so that he can see Phileas' cards in the reflection. While Passepartout waits anxiously in the corridor, Phileas loses everything. He appears devastated, but always the gentleman, congratulates Kugarin on his brilliant playing. The count says he will arrange for Phileas' passage back to England. Phileas goes out of the room and tells Passepartout that he lost. Passepartout is philosophical and says that some games are won, some are lost, and Phileas adds that some perhaps should not be played at all. Jules interrupts and asks what is going on. Phileas explains. Passepartout says he was consulted before the game and agreed to the wager as a matter of honor. Jules is outraged and says it was insanity. Jules says why risk everything on the turn of a card, that isn't life enough of a gamble. Phileas says that he can only suppose that he does it because of a flaw in his character. Jules stomps out and Phileas proceeds stoically up the steps.
Left in the library where he is joined by the prince, Kugarin is not feeling good about his cheating. He says that they now have the Dirigible but he has lost his soul. He says that they will wait for the signal the next morning to see if the czar bows to their ultimatum to not abolish serfdom, and if he doesn't, they will fire the second projectile full of explosives on St. Petersburg. Then Kugarin will take his newly-acquired dirigible to the city himself and with the other nobles, restore order. Later in the factory, Jules find the explosives being loaded and Natasha explains about the real reason for the gun. She says she made up the other reason in an attempt to save Jules' life when he was found in the factory. Kugarin arrives and orders that Jules be strapped to the mouth of the gun and that Natasha be sent to a convent.
The next morning, Phileas prepares to leave the estate in a carriage. Kugarin tells him that Jules insisted on leaving alone after the altercation with Phileas last night. Phileas asks that he treat Passepartout well. As the carriage drives away, Phileas doesn't see Passepartout on t he road laboring with t he rest of the serfs. A while later as Phileas starts to play solitaire, he realizes that he has been cheated and how Kugarin had cheated. He demands that the carriage be turned around.
Rebecca finally arrives at the last mirror site on Kugarin's property and sees the giant gun with Jules stuck in the end. As the gun is prepared for firing, they activate an oiling mechanism and oil starts to drip on Jules' hands. Rebecca arrives and shouts to Jules that he should wriggle free and let go. The oil makes it easy for him to slip his hands out the manacles and he jumps down.
As Phileas' carriage races back to the estate, Passepartout runs after the returning carriage. Coming in the other direction running is Natasha who stops the carriage and explains what has happened to Jules. In the factory, the count and his crony get the message that the czar has freed the serfs. The count orders the gun be loaded with explosives. Before this can happen, Jules knocks out the guard, and he and Sergei begin to load the non-explosive projectile. Meanwhile Phileas comes in and confronts the count. When the count pulls a sword, Rebecca conveniently appears and tosses Phileas a sword. Phileas gets the upper hand and knocks the count over the balcony, where he lands in the empty projectile that Jules is loading into the gun. Passepartout and Natasha, meanwhile, are fighting more guards and the prince in the control room. Passepartout accidentally hits the lever to raise the gun's trajectory. Another lackey falls on the firing button and Kuagrin becomes the first Russian launched into space. Phileas and Jules make up. Natasha gives Jules a hug. Passepartout gives Rebecca a hug.
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