( A pan-view of the Galaxy. In slow transitions the
view zooms in further and further until it settles on the planet Gauda Prime. The voice of Orac speaks during this process.
Orac: ( V.O.) Different races across the Galaxy have marked Time in different ways but by the Second Calendar
it is the year 227, and approximately one quarter of the Galactic disc is under the rule of The Terran Federation. The Federation
was born from the ashes of the Atomic Wars, which nearly destroyed the Earth and its colonies, as an honourable Government
dedicated to protecting the survivors. Now corrupted by its own greed, and disfigured by its own paranoia, it has evolved
into an oppressive, totalitarian Empire dedicated to Absolute Control and Order, "From Strength to Unity." All dissent and
opposition without and within is ruthlessly crushed and the hard-earned freedom of the Galaxy has been stolen by its own saviours.
Despite the near-impossible odds, there are still those, be they brave, desperate or foolish, who will fight for freedom.
For the last five years, a ragged band of resistance fighters commanded by first the crusader Roj Blake, then the criminal
Kerr Avon, have been relentlessly pursued across the Galaxy by Federation warships. The rebel spaceships, Liberator and Scorpio
have both been destroyed during the many skirmishes. The tiny handful of surviving rebels, including their beleaguered commanders,
are now stranded on the wilderness planet of Gauda Prime...
( Earth, the City Dome. Early morning. )
Caption: NINE DAYS EARLIER, WEST EUROP DOME, EARTH.
( Within the city, people wander about their drug-induced
P.A.: ( V.O.) Access to Walkway 37 Gamma has been suspended for four hours. This is due to the spontaneous
protest by citizens of the Gamma Quarter against the cowardly acts of terrorism by Outsiders on the South Continent...
( A young lady, Jemecca walks down a series of corridors
while the announcements continue. She eyes the security cameras fearfully. She has a small folder tucked under her arm. She
eventually comes to a door with the words "Dr Rak Kyben - Medical Department" inscribed on it. She glances around, then steps
through the doors into a small medical office. Kyben is here, a tall man with half his face concealed behind a mechanical
eye-patch. A red electronic eye in the patch glows dully. )
Kyben: ( Checks his timekeeper. ) You took your time.
Jemecca: ( Looks hurt. ) Sorry. It was scary.
Kyben: I'm sure it was. ( Sits. ) Lighten up, Jemecca. And sit down.
Jemecca: ( Sits, looking about nervously. ) Thanks.
Kyben: ( Sighs. ) I probably should've left you on suppressants.
Kyben: Mm. ( Looks at her closely for a moment. ) How did it go?
Jemecca: ( Holds out the file. ) Got 'em.
Kyben: No problems opening the door? Quietly I mean?
Jemecca: Did the alarms go off?
Jemecca: Well then.
Kyben: ( Smiling. ) Good. Going outside the city's a dicy exercise. Not to mention a category four crime. So
tell me, what did you make of the Big Wide World? You've never been out there before.
Jemecca: It was very odd. Very cold. ( Grins. ) And damp.
Kyben: Sounds about right. How about food? Have you done as I told you?
Jemecca: ( Nods. ) I haven't had anything to eat or drink for a couple of days.
Kyben: Good. How do you feel?
Jemecca: ( Smiles. ) Hungry and thirsty. ( Hesitates. )
Kyben: ( Expecting more. ) And?
Jemecca: And... I don't know... actually, I feel a bit scared. I mean... I-I feel scared in a way I never have
Kyben: ( Knowing look. ) All sorts of things that never bothered you before... the security cameras, all of
a sudden they make you feel paranoid... invaded, right?
Jemecca: Yes, that's it. That's it exactly.
Kyben: Mm. The effects of the suppressants in your food have worn off.
( Kyben stands up and goes to a drink machine in the
corner, and comes back with a cup of water. )
Jemecca: ( Shocked. ) The what?
Kyben: ( Sips the water. ) The suppressants. ( Holds out the cup. ) You must be parched. Have some of this.
Jemecca: ( Takes the cup gratefully and sips from it in relief. Puzzled look. ) It tastes different.
Kyben: The water most people drink - including you - is full of drugs. Keeps folks calm, docile. The Administration's
favourite way of keeping the peace. ( Sarcastic. ) Bless 'em.
Jemecca: Drugs? ( Holds up cup. ) So what about this stuff?
Kyben: I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm high enough placed, I can drink untreated supplies. Now you can too.
Jemecca: ( Alarmed. ) Wait, Kyben. How long have they been drugging me?
Kyben: Your whole life. And more. Oh, don't be embarrassed, it's you and everyone else. Well almost everyone
Jemecca: I never realised... I mean I never thought...
Kyben: Of course you didn't think, that's what the suppressants are there for. Thought is a privilege not a
right. And a pretty exclusive privilege too.
Jemecca: I don't believe this.
Kyben: ( Uninterested. ) You're only a Beta grade Jemecca. In the Federation your opinion doesn't count for
a whole lot. ( Raises his cup, as if proposing a toast. ) Welcome to the World of the Conscious, Jemecca. Not a nice place
is it? ( Takes the file from Jemecca. ) To business. I don't suppose you saw our generous benefactor?
Jemecca: ( Shrugs. ) No one there, just the file. It was hidden behind one of those... rock things, like they
Kyben: Outsiders have to keep their heads down. Especially... ( Waves folder. ) ...with this sort of thing in
Jemecca: ( Raises eyebrow. ) Dangerous material is it?
Jemecca: Then why did I have to go and get it?
( Kyben smiles. )
( Residence One, President's office. The
President sits alone at his desk, doing paperwork. The intercom buzzes. )
Secretary: ( V.O. ) Mr President, Space Colonel Mablar is on channel six as requested.
( The President presses a switch and the
image of Colonel Mablar appears on the desk screen. )
Colonel: Mister President, Colonel Mablar reporting as ordered. Let me assure you that this channel is quintuple-coded
and totally secure.
President: Excellent Colonel. Now this is for your ears only. Pass on only the barest minimum you have to, no more
Colonel: Understood sir. May I ask what this concerns?
President: Three names Colonel Mablar. One an annoyance, one a conundrum, the other becoming a swearword.
Colonel: I imagine, Mr President, that the swearword would be Scorpio?
President: ( Nodding. ) Well come to that shortly. Firstly I'd like to turn attention to the conundrum. Commissioner
President: She's frequently assumed control of the Scorpio matter, but her successes have been few and far between.
Colonel: Indeed so, Mr President. In fact I wouldn't say she's had any successes of real note at all.
President: My sentiments exactly. Therefore I'm planning to take her off the assignment and summon her back to Earth
for a full review of her position. I'm also taking the matter away from Federation Security and placing it in the hands of
Space Command. That's where you come in, Mablar. I'm giving you my full authority to find and appoint a suitable Space Commander
to head up this assignment. But, we need to clear up a few details first.
President: I was reviewing the full record on the Scorpio investigation and I came across a small but worrying omission.
Colonel: Which would be?
President: Sleer has always stated that she was appointed to FedSec by my predecessor, the late Empress Servalan,
exclusively to pursue first the Liberator, then Scorpio.
Colonel: That's her story. Do you have information to the contrary?
President: Not exactly. I have no information at all. There's no sign in our files of the appointment ever being
made, Colonel Mablar. In fact, looking further back, there's no record inside Centrals files of her original promotion. By
anyone. There are brief summaries in the High Council's database. But the only tangible reports about Sleer at Central
begin several months after Servalan's death.
Colonel: I see. I imagine a fuller investigation is in order then? A private one? ( The President nods. ) And
I'd be the one you'd like to conduct it? ( The President nods again. The Colonel hesitates. ) May I suggest you leave Sleer's
Court Martial until my investigation is complete? If she doesn't know there's an enquiry going on there won't be any risk
of her allies trying to interfere.
President: ( Mulls it over for a moment. ) Very well, Mablar. I can probably afford to give you four week's head-start
Colonel: Thank you sir, I'll put them to good use.
President: You do that.
Colonel: So Mr President, what would the... how did you put it... "annoyance" be?
President: A corpse, Mablar. A dead man who has a serious problem understanding that he is a dead man.
Colonel: How supernatural. Whats the deceased's name?
( Gauda Prime. A burly figure is sat on
the ground, his back against the wall of a ricketty old wooden shack. His head is tilted forward, and the vague murmurs of
sleep are audible. He has wiry black hair, is unshaven, and has a scar disfiguring his left eye. A very obese man wanders
towards him from the trees. He has a look of stupidity and almost psychopathic glee. He scampers forward, keeping his eyes
fixed on the other mans gun, which is propped against a tree trunk. The large man slows down as he nears the gun, then reaches
out to grab it... Suddenly there is a peculiar whipping noise and the big man finds himself suspended upside down from a rope
to the branches of the tree. There is a cough behind him, and he twists in his bonds to see the other man standing there,
wide awake, a smaller gun at the ready, and eyeing him with disapproval. )
Caption: GAUDA PRIME.
Roj Blake: Dear oh dear, Tando. I can't believe even you fell for that old trick.
Tando: Oh come on, Blake, I wasnt gonna do nuthin'. I was just playin' y'know?
Roj Blake: Of course you were. You've been tracking me through this plantation for the last four hours as a joke,
Tando: Oh. You 'eard me?
Roj Blake: Tando, I imagine the Head of the Federation Society for the Terminally Deaf could have heard you
- all the way from Venus probably.
( Blake pulls out a knife from his jerkin
and holds it above Tando, who squeezes his eyes shut, bracing himself. Blake swings the knife and it slices through the rope.
Tando drops to the floor and knocks his head against the ground. )
Tando: Ow! That hurt...
Roj Blake: Don't make a fuss. Just tell me who hired you to track me.
Tando: ( Glances around in surprise, realising he isnt dead yet. ) What? You're not gonna kill me?
Roj Blake: ( Glares at him. ) You did me a favour a few months ago during that business with Lafayette. I'd be dead
now if you hadn't shot the mutoid, so I'm giving you a reprieve. Don't waste it. Tell me what I want to know.
Tando: No one 'ired me.
( Blake holds the knife close to Tando's
Tando: Honest! Look,
I ain't even armed.
Roj Blake: On this planet? Not wise.
Tando: Yeah, well I wasn't on the hunt. I was just practicin'.
Roj Blake: Practicing what?
Tando: That tracking stuff you taught me about. You know, after Kane attacked you, you thought I needed to learn
to be more... wossaword?
Roj Blake: Subtle?
Tando: Er, yeah, thassit. Suttle. 'Cos you were angry that I let Lafayette know where we was...
Roj Blake: ( Impatient. ) Yes, Tando, of course I remember! And I can't believe I taught you THAT badly.
( Tando untangles himself from the remains
of the rope. Blake helps him to his feet. )
Tando: I wasn't gonna do anythin', honest. I just wanted to prove I could sneak up on you all quiet-like.
Roj Blake: ( Sighs and shakes his head. ) Which you couldn't. If you've learned so little after all this time, I
don't think you ever will. I just don't think you've got the knack.
Roj Blake: No. I'm sorry, Tando, I've been putting off this conclusion for almost a year now. ( Distantly. ) I had
hopes for you, but you're just not the material I'm looking for.
Tando: For what?
Roj Blake: It doesn't matter.
( Blake gathers the gun and heads away.
Roj Blake: I'm returning
to the base. I'm sure Deva will have more targets for you when you arrive.
( Kyben's office. He and Jemecca sit either
side of the desk sorting through the contents of the file using computers. )
Kyben: ( Scanning screen and documents ) My my, they're very well informed.
Jemecca: Kyben, all this... ( Gestures. ) ...stuff. It's all about the terrorist...
Kyben: Blake, Jemecca. Not a terrorist.
Jemecca: I don't understand.
Kyben: Don't suppose you would. ( Sighs and sits back ) I'm sure you've heard the official twaddle coming from
the Information Bureau. "Blake has not escaped..." blah blah blah, "Blake remains confined on Cygnus Alpha..." blah blah blah.
I'm also sure youve heard the rumours about Liberator, yes?
Jemecca: Old Wives Tales.
Kyben: But they're true, Jemecca. You don't believe that Blake escaped from Cygnus Alpha because the Administration
doesn't want you to. But it's all true. All of it. Blake escaped and he's been rebelling against the Federation for the last...
Jemecca: But he can't have...
Kyben: Oh he can. The Feds've blacked out any reports on Blake and his allies but it's all still true. They've
done untold damage to the Federation.
Kyben: ( Shakes his head ) Uh uh. He's a revolutionary, not a terrorist.
Jemecca: How can you say all this? How can you stand up for...?
Kyben: Haven't you got the point yet? Don't you understand what all this means? The suppressants? The security
systems? The propaganda? Don't you understand what it's about?
Jemecca: You tell me.
Kyben: The Federation are LIARS, Jemecca. Blake was sent to Cygnus to shut him up. They exiled him
because he was an opponent. They wanted to discredit him any way they could so his trial was fixed and he was shipped off-world.
These documents prove it.
Jemecca: I... NO! I shouldn't even be listening to this! I shouldn't have helped you. I should tell the
Kyben: Do you know how my face wound up like this?
Jemecca: Of course. It was the Kasabi Movement. They attacked and you were injured. Proves my point...
Kyben: Does it really?
Jemecca: Yes. You were shot in the crossfire...
Kyben: By a Federation agent. ( Jemecca goes quiet. ) Oh yes, they tried to make out it was Veron's fault.
Even tried to persuade me it was all down to "irresponsible malcontents endangering innocent lives". The FedSec boys shot
me because they thought I might have been one of the rebels. They probably thought they were playing it safe, fire first,
Jemecca: Well... I'm sorry, but...
Kyben: All too typical I'm afraid. Any hint of opposition, the Federation will respond with violence. Extreme
Jemecca: You make them sound like murderers.
Kyben: ( Looks at her for a long moment. ) The Federation are LIARS. Or do you think I'm the liar?
Jemecca: ( Shivers. ) They've been drugging me all my life? They murder people? You expect me to believe you?
Kyben: Do you?
Jemecca: Would you believe it?
Kyben: I wouldn't want to. But what I believe isn't the issue is it? What do you believe, Jemecca?
Jemecca: ( Hesitates ) I believe you.
( Gauda Prime. Within the main Tracking Gallery of the
rebel silo, Blake is seated in the corner, his feet up on a side table. Klyn attends the securtiy monitors quietly. A couple
of other technicians busy themselves around the room. )
Roj Blake: What's on your mind?
Klyn: ( Startled. ) Pardon?
Roj Blake: You're very quiet, Klyn.
Klyn: Not against the law.
Roj Blake: ( Smiles wryly. ) Nothing is round here, is it?
Roj Blake: Come on, spill it.
Klyn: Oh... it's Tando.
Roj Blake: Again? What's wrong now?
Klyn: Ditching him like this doesn't make me feel all that comfortable.
Roj Blake: What? Oh for heaven's sake, Klyn, you've been telling me to offload him for months. I finally agree and
you're complaining again?
Klyn: I know, don't get me wrong. He's a complete psycho, I'm glad to see the back of him. It's just, don't
you think we've cut him off from us a little too much? I mean I'd be a lot happier if we were keeping an eye on him.
Roj Blake: Oh I see. Well, that's Deva's problem. Let's not forget that we need real bounty hunters to hide our
Klyn: I'd rather we sent a few bounty hunters after him, before he ends up killing someone we can use.
Roj Blake: Well, I'm going to have to arrange something for him sooner or later. I may be able to find something
soon to set him up with.
Klyn: Set him up? Why so elaborate?
Roj Blake: Be realistic, we don't want the mercenaries guild to launch an enquiry round here. Better we make it
look like he was killed in action.
Klyn: All right. It's just if the rumours are true that the Governor wants to restore the penal code, it's
best we get rid of Tando sooner, not later.
Roj Blake: Fair point. But it's not that...
( Deva walks in followed by Tekk Farin, a dusky man
of medium build and a look of crude aggression in his eyes. )
Roj Blake: What is it?
Farin: It's incredible. You're never going to believe it.
Roj Blake: I won't be able to if you don't tell me what it is.
Deva: We received a communication from your contact on Earth.
( Blake pulls a face of mock disbelief. )
Roj Blake: My goodness! And there I was thinking you were just going to tell me the skies had fallen in and that
Saurian Major had fallen into a black hole.
Deva: No Blake, listen. I was right...
Klyn: Even more unbelievable.
Deva: ( Ignoring her as haughtily as possible, and doing a mightily-impressive job of it. ) The Federation
are moving in on Terminal.
Roj Blake: ( Suddenly turns serious. ) What!
Deva: It came through on the hyperlink just two minutes ago. Kyben says that the Feds have appointed him chief
medical officer for a salvage operation in Delta Seven One Four.
Roj Blake: You don't seriously think...?
Farin: We do. What else could they be going there for?
Roj Blake: Maybe there's something on Terminal itself they want. According to our files its an artificial planet,
who knows what they might have discovered...?
Deva: No. I'm sure of it. The only thing we can be sure is there...
Roj Blake: We're not even sure of that, Deva. The excerpt from the Gedden file wasn't exactly first hand. In fact
it was about twelfth.
Deva: Yes, but if we've got our hands on the file, surely the President's seen it by now.
Roj Blake: I'm sure he has, but would he believe it?
Deva: No, but it wouldn't hurt him to check it would it?
( Blake pauses for thought. )
Roj Blake: Klyn, call up the file we got from Draigov again. The one we found on him after Jenna Stannis shot him.
( Everyone gathers round as Klyn pushes a few buttons
on the controls. The small screen on the console lights up with the seedy face of a rough individual. The collar of his jacket
is in view at the very bottom of the picture. It is clearly a battered Federation uniform. )
Draigov: ( On screen. ) If you're hearing this, the likelihood is I'm dead. I have been on the run from the Federation
since Servalan's defeat at Gedden and I record this as I flee to the Outer Territories. What will happen to me there I don't
know, but safety is not likely. I offer this journal as a possible truth, a truth that was pulled from President Servalan's
hidden files by one of her closest aides. How I obtained them is unimportant but I have every reason to believe that they
Roj Blake: Roll on to the data track.
( Data and written reports scroll down the screen. After
several pages there appears in bold print the words "SERVALAN WILL NOT BE PRESENT ON GEDDEN." )
Deva: See? I'm convinced of it. She wasn't on Gedden but she did disappear. And she disappears the same time
as the Liber-...
Roj Blake: Yes yes, I've never disputed any of that. But this doesn't prove that Terminal...
Farin: Oh come on, Blake! Those reports were written by Servalan's own hand, and they mention Terminal over
a dozen times. Now the Federation are heading for Terminal on a salvage mission. Come on, Deva's right, he always was!
( Blake stares at the screen for a long while. )
Roj Blake: All right, Farin, let's assume for a moment that I agree. What do we do?
Deva: We get in there first.
Roj Blake: How?
Farin: Kyben will be there for the salvage operation.
Roj Blake: So you tell me.
Farin: And Veron's managed to get him that information you wanted.
Roj Blake: About time. How's he going to get it to us?
Deva: Well, that's the good bit. Farin?
Farin: He says things are getting too risky for him on Earth now. He wants to defect outright.
Roj Blake: ( Light dawning in his eyes. ) Is that so?
Deva: We have someone on the inside, Blake. We can do more than just bring Kyben here. We can take the most
powerful weapon in the Galaxy.
Roj Blake: It was destroyed...
Deva: So they say. But if my theory's right, it won't stay that way.
Roj Blake: All right. Who's in charge of the operation?
Farin: Some bigwig Commissioner in Fed Security called Sleer.
Roj Blake: ( Narrows eyes. ) Sleer? Sounds familiar.
Farin: Kyben says she has a high profile.
Roj Blake: Deva, have a look into that name.
( Deva exits. )
Roj Blake: Well, we'd better make some preparations.
( Kyben is outside the Dome City in one
of the Earth's spaceports. He passes through a door into a cheap bar, freely-run by the Federation to draw Alpha-grade shipping
and business. Kyben looks edgily from side to side before taking a seat in an ill-lit booth in the corner. A waitress clad
in silks and felt, and not much of either, walks up to take his order. )
Caption: TWO DAYS LATER, EARTH.
Waitress: What'll it be, hon?
Kyben: Uh. Ill have a Dry Gulch, one slug of soma.
( The waitress heads away, comes back
a moment later with his drink, Kyben hands her a note. )
Waitress: No tip?
Kyben: Never eat chips with your fingers... ( Shrugs. ) ...you should eat your fingers separately.
Waitress: ( Disdainfully. ) Huh.
( She leaves. Kyben sips his drink nervously,
still glancing around. Eventually a girl with a mop of dark hair and sharp eyebrows walks over to his table and sits opposite
Hailee: Dr Kyben I presume?
Kyben: You're Gavisson?
Hailee: Hailee Gavisson at your service, Doctor. You tried a touch of witch hazel on that?
Kyben: ( Grits teeth. ) Oh, good start.
Hailee: ( Smiles. ) Only as I mean to go on. ( Sits back ) Well? You invited me. Are you going to offer me a
drink or what?
Kyben: I'm sure you get plenty of offers for a drink every time you walk into a bar. Why ask me?
Hailee: Oh shut-UP.
Kyben: I mean it. Why ask me?
Hailee: It sure ain't your looks.
Kyben: I'm not interested in yours either, so that's fair.
Hailee: That's a relief. What do you want then?
Kyben: You've got a pretty good rep among the mercenary community in Earth Sector. They say your ship's a good
bet - for hire.
Hailee: Oh God, I hate it when they try to flatter my price down.
Kyben: Nothing wrong with checking my facts.
Hailee: What? You seriously thought I'd deny it?
Kyben: No, but I can usually tell when I'm being lied to.
Kyben: Mechanical eyes have their redeeming qualities. Detecting heat-changes in a person's skin whenever they
try to conceal the truth, for instance. Still, you passed. I'm not planning to get you into trouble, I'm just trying to strike
Hailee: Smuggling or fair game?
Kyben: Smuggling I guess.
Hailee: I like you already.
( On the edge of an asteroid field a small
shuttle plies its way toward a distant star system. Within the shuttle, Farin and a flame-haired young woman sit at the controls,
glancing warily about themselves. The computers buzz and click noisily. )
Caption: BEYOND SYSTEM DELTA SEVEN ONE FOUR.
Stella: Well achieve Time Distort co-ordinates... ( Pauses, looks at Farin. ) ...that is the right word isn't
Farin: ( Looks up at her. ) Mm?
Stella: Co-ordinates. Is that the right word?
Farin: ( Sighs. ) Of course it's the right word.
Stella: Okay okay. Time Distort co-ordinates for system Delta Seven One Four achieved within four minutes.
Farin: Distance from System-edge?
Stella: Were within two thousand sp-... sp-... uh, spay-... sp-...
Farin: Spacials! Gah! Of all people why'd I have to get lumbered with you?
Stella: Leave me alone.
Farin: I'd love to, but there's nowhere else for me to go. Just keep your eyes on the screen, call out the distances
and let me concentrate.
Stella: Go snap on someone your own size.
Farin: It's "pick on someone your own size," moron. Now quiet!
( The ship heads on a little further )
Stella: This had better be worth it.
Farin: ( Warning look ) If the boss says we do it, we do it. Thats why I haven't shot you yet.
Stella: Oh thanks. Sometimes I think the Feds got the right idea about you, Farin.
Farin: No one cares what you think. Concentrate.
Stella: If it wasn't for...
Farin: Stella! I said concentrate.
Stella: I am concentrating. I'm tellin you, Farin, if it was anyone except Blake givin the orders I'd
have killed you by now.
Farin: ( Contemptuous snort ) You'd be dead before the gun left your holster. ( Glares at her. ) Could still
( Back on Earth, Kyben and Hailee are
still talking in the bar. )
Kyben: Both myself and a friend of mine are leaving Earth.
Hailee: And you can't take a regular charter? Even though you're allowed Outside?
Kyben: Let's just say we're heading a way off the usual space-routes.
Hailee: Ah. An adventurer. What a joy. Is that the only reason?
Kyben: For what?
Hailee: For hiring a smuggler?
Kyben: ( Sips his drink ) Taking an official flight off-planet needs clearance from the Administration.
Hailee: I know that.
Kyben: Which I won't get without giving them a good reason.
Hailee: And you don't have one?
Kyben: Not good enough for them.
Hailee: Why would they be so interested in you?
Kyben: I'm an "Insider."
Kyben: I'm an Alpha-plus, head of the medical division. This gives me clearance to leave the city whenever I
want, but not the planet.
Hailee: And I imagine the Arbiter General would be more interested in you wandering off than some Delta
grade nobody from nowhere.
Hailee: Do you know how deeply I'd be implicated if I took this job?
Kyben: So don't tell anyone.
Hailee: Oh that's good. Well thought out. They'll never find out of course.
Kyben: No. Believe me, I won't tell them either.
Hailee: That's all right then. I thought for a moment you were being careless. Ever thought of a job in Security?
Kyben: No, I'm hopeless at keeping secrets.
Hailee: That's reassuring.
Kyben: I'm offering you twelve thousand credits.
Hailee: That much? Are the Feds after you?
Kyben: No, I'm not a wanted man. But I must leave Earth.
Hailee: At which point you will be a wanted man.
Kyben: Oh c'mon, Hailee. Will you do it?
Hailee: ( Ponders ) What cargo?
Kyben: Nominal. Two passengers, some belongings. Nothing that'll take up too much room.
Hailee: And where are you headed?
Kyben: Free system called Delta Seven one-four. Its near Dysentastra. I have to meet someone there.
Hailee: Mm. What's so important, Kyben?
Kyben: What's important is that you get me there, quickly and quietly.
Kyben: Look, have I got a deal?
( Brief silence. )
Hailee: All right, you're on. My ship's based on the American Continent. Called the Daedalus.
Kyben: ( Smiles ) Thank you, you're full of heart.
Hailee: And youre full of rag, Kyben. We'll leave it till take off, but I want to know what's going on.
( In space, aboard Farin and Stella's
Farin: Stella, check the distance to Terminal's upper-atmosphere.
Stella: ( Types commands into Navicomputer ) Twelve hundred forty seven.
Farin: That's strange. The gravity pull's too slight for us to be that close.
Stella: ( Excited. ) Farin! I've got a contact...!
Farin: ( Covers his ears ) I'm right next to you, no need to shout.
Stella: Sorry. But look. ( Points to tactical display ) There. Firm contact.
Farin: At last. Get a fix and well head towards it.
Stella: ( Over-enthusiastically ) Ten-four!
Farin: ( Gives her a look of contempt, then struggles with the helm ) God, it's like flying through treacle...
( Grits his teeth ) C'mon Stella! Talk to me.
Stella: Uh? Whadd'ya wanna talk about?
Farin: I told you, gimme the co-ordinates, you brainless...
Stella: Oh sorry. ( Glances at the display. ) Oh. Um, Farin?
Stella: That... cloud, y'know, the one Klyn was tell-...
Farin: Yes, of course I know...
Stella: I think we're inside it.
Farin: ( Turns and looks at her. ) What?
Stella: Klyn must've got the co-ordinates wrong. We've dropped back into real-time right in the middle of the
Farin: ( Fuming. ) Why didn't you check the detectors when we arrived?
Stella: ( Embarrassed grin. ) Whoops.
Farin: Bungling idiot.
( Earth. Jemecca is in her quarters hastily
packing some belongings into a flight bag. She looks very nervous. The door suddenly bursts open in a shower of sparks. She
spins on her heel and gasps as she sees two Federation Troopers standing in the entryway. )
Troop Leader: Stay right where you are! ( Aims gun. )
Jemecca: Oh no...
( Entryway on Sub-Corridor Level 34. Kyben
has now re-entered the City. An attendant stands here, helping him close the door. )
Attendant: Did you find the injury, Doctor?
Kyben: Um, no. I got to the co-ordinates they gave in the distress call, no one was there. False alarm I expect.
Attendant: ( Nods ) More of those damn Outsiders playin' practical jokes I s'pose.
Kyben: Not the first time.
Attendant: Heh, no sir.
Kyben: Thanks for the help, Viddrin. ( Heads up the steps. ) I'll be on my way.
( Kyben heads through the corridors of
the City to his office. After rounding the last corner, he suddenly throws himself flat against the wall. Federation troopers
stand guard outside the door of his office. Jemecca is with them at gun point, eyes heavy with fear, shoulders slumped. )
( Kyben stays hidden by the wall
and watches. Two more troopers eventually leave the office. )
Troop Leader: Any sign of the file?
Trooper 2: No.
Troop Leader: ( Indicates Jemecca. ) She got anything to say for herself yet?
Trooper 4: Still can't get a word out of her, sir.
Troop Leader: They'll sort that out at the Detention Centre. ( Grabs Jemecca's arm. ) They've got a real knack for
helping people who can't talk. So many people who can't talk suddenly can't stop talking. Very thorough. And painful.
( Jemecca panics, breaks from the guards
and runs down the corridor. )
Kyben: ( Whispers. ) Jemecca, no...!
( The guards raise their rifles and fire.
The first few shots miss but eventually a blast strikes her square in the back and she falls. )
Trooper 3: Got her!
( Kyben swallows a yelp of horror. )
Trooper 4: ( Checks Jemeccas vital signs. ) She's dead. ( Glares at Trooper 3. ) Idiot.
Trooper 3: ( Taken aback ) What! She was resisting arrest.
Troop Leader: Dead people can't talk. A runaway can.
Trooper 3: This Kyben will talk.
Trooper 2: He'd better, or you've shot your last runaway.
( Kyben quietly backs away and disappears
round the corner, his single eye creased with remorse. )
Kyben: Your second mistake. Now it's my turn.
( Farin and Stella still battle to pull
their craft out of the Spatial Fluid. )
Stella: Picking up metal debris everywhere. Keeps scraping the hull... slowin' us.
Farin: ( Heaving on the helm. ) Yeah... be quicker if we... walked. Gnn...
Stella: Detectors are swamped. We can't see more than a couple hundred spacials.
Farin: Can you see the edge of the cloud yet?
Stella: Um... no. Whassis stuff made of, Farin?
Farin: When Klyn... gnn... studied it... she said it was an...( Growls as controls fight him. ) ...acidic
organism. Feeds off metallics...
( The whole ship quakes violently and
Stella is hurled from her seat. )
Stella: What was that?
Farin: I don't know. Nothing hit us.
( Another violent shake. )
Stella: ( Head hits floor ) Ow!
Farin: Stella, brace yourself, we're going into a spin...
( The spinning shuttle is coated with
a thin green enzyme. A hue mist obscures the view. )
Stella: Farin, I feel sick.
Farin: Don't, its too green around here already...
Stella: ( Resuming her seat ) My head's hurting.
Farin: Same here. G-Forces too high... blacking out...( Hauls the helm against the spin of the ship ) Spin's...
( The ship gradually stops spinning and
settles, shaking occasionally. Farin pants with exertion. Stella has her eyes closed, gripping her forehead. )
Stella: Oooh... that feels better...
Farin: I don't give a damn how you're feeling. We're still stuck. And we're still tremoring.
Stella: Maybe we're giving the fluid indigestion.
Stella: I'm serious.
Stella: Well it's alive right? It eats metal.
( Alarm sounds. Stella checks damage report
Pressurisation-loss on the lower deck
Farin: ( Sudden realisation. ) Wait! Give me a ship-wide damage report. ( Stella looks confused. ) I said I
want a damage report, blast you!
Stella: ( Operates computer. Fearful expression. ) There's a hull breach... it's on the lower deck as well...
Farin: That's what caused the spin; the atmosphere's escaping. The cloud IS eating us.
Stella: ( Operates controls. ) All doors on upper deck are sealed.
Farin: The Hull field was specially adapted. It should've kept the organism away.
Stella: Yeah. So why didn't you switch it on when we arrived?
Farin: ( Looks like he's been slapped ) Whoops.
Stella: Bungling idiot.
( Space Platform Omicron, Lewinsky Spaceport.
Hailee is prepping the Daedalus for the journey to Terminal. )
Caption: LEWINSKY SPACEPORT, AMERICAN CONTINENT.
( Hailee cuts her finger while disconnecting
the fuel feed from her ship's energy bank. )
Hailee: ( Sucks her finger and grimaces. ) Ow! Gah, must be mad... let him talk me into something like this...
should let him rot.
( Kyben stands in the hangar entrance,
arms folded, foot tapping the floor. ) One-eyed son of a...
Kyben: If you wanna get paid, you be very careful what you say about my mother.
Hailee: ( Nearly jumps out of her skin. ) Kyben! What are you doing here so early?
Kyben: ( Downcast. ) Seems I'm a wanted man sooner than I thought. I'm also the only remaining passenger.
Hailee: Why? Where's your friend?
Kyben: ( Coldly. ) Guess.
Hailee: Oh man, I knew I was asking for trouble when I agreed to this. I knew you were trouble. You can
get someone else to do your dirty work. I'm not doing it.
Hailee: Save it! I don't know what this is about, but I'm done with it. FedSec'd tear up anyone who helps you.
Kyben: We had a deal...
Hailee: "Had" is the key word. You haven't paid me yet, no obligation. Now get. ( Points to exit. )
Kyben: ( Looks down for a moment. ) Thanks for your time. ( Walks away. )
( Hailee activates an intercom to Flight
Hailee: ( Impatient. ) Come on, come on...
Flight Officer: ( On intercom. ) Docking Control.
Hailee: Gavisson, Platform Omicron. Request my place in the launch rotation be moved up. Looks like I'm leaving
( Outside the port, a large squad of Federation
troopers approach the hangar area. )
Troop Leader: Right, maintain duo-search patterns. Spread out in slot rotation. MOVE!
( The troopers break out into pairs and
begin searching. )
( Kyben heads along the corridors of the
spaceport, turmoil on his face. He suddenly looks up and spots two troopers heading his way. He ducks inside a darkened doorway
and watches as the troopers walk past. )
Trooper 2: ...called the Daedalus. If it is this Gavisson who's with him we look out for a ship by that name.
Trooper 3: Why don't we check with Docking Control?
Trooper 2: The Administration wants to keep it quiet as possible for some reason.
Trooper 3: Because Kyben's rich?
Trooper 2: Heh. Celebrities, eh? I swear...
( The rest of the conversation is lost
as they head down the corridor toward the hangar. Kyben steps out of cover. He waits until the troopers are a fair distance
further before following. )
Kyben: Oh my God. They'll kill her...
( Kyben runs after them. )
( Hailee heads for the entry ramp to her
ship when the two troopers walk in. )
Trooper 3: Halt!
( Hailee spins. She gulps as she sees
the troopers. )
Trooper 2: Whose ship is this?
Trooper 2: Are you Hailee Gavisson? Show me some ID.
( Hailee reaches into her pocket, but
pulls out a pistol instead of her papers. She shoots Trooper 2. Trooper 3 raises his gun to fire at her when he is shot in
the back. He is knocked off his feet but keeps a grip of his gun. He rolls over and sees Kyben standing in the doorway, shooting
low-energy bolts at him from his eye-patch. Hailee raises her pistol and blasts the trooper. )
Hailee: ( Puts gun away. ) I suppose you'd call that a "redeeming quality".
Kyben: It kept you alive, didn't it? I normally use it to treat cancer patients. What would you call it?
Hailee: ( Glances at the two dead troopers. ) I'd call it a problem. I'm getting out of here before they're missed.
( Heads up the gangplank. )
Kyben: ( Follows her. ) I'm going with you.
Hailee: ( Turns and holds up her hand. ) No you're not.
Kyben: Stop me.
Hailee: ( Draws pistol and aims it at him.) I can manage that.
Kyben: Do you really want to kill me?
( Pause. Hailee puts gun away. )
Hailee: Dammit, all right!
( They both head up the gangplank into
the Daedalus. On the Flight Deck, Hailee takes the controls, then points Kyben to a spare seat. )
Hailee: I still want
that explanation, Kyben.
Kyben: You'll get one. Can we just concentrate on staying alive for the time being?
Hailee: Strap yourself in.
( Kyben does as he's told. Hailee speaks
into comms. )
Hailee: Request takeoff
Flight Officer: ( V.O. ) Daedalus, transmit clearance code.
Hailee: ( Operating controls ) Transmitting.
( Sound of machine-chatter )
Flight Officer: ( V.O. ) Receipt of code is confirmed, Daedalus. Opening hangar.
( The roof of the hangar opens onto the
evening sky. Hailee operates more controls )
Hailee: Releasing landing claw... Main drive engaged.
( The ship rumbles into life. )
( In the Flight Control tower, the Flight
Officer and a pair of technicians work the control systems in boredom. )
Flight Officer: Understood, Daedalus. You're cleared to launch.
( The door bursts open and four troopers
enter the room. )
Troop Leader: Hold it! No ship is to leave.
Flight Officer: Uh? ( Looks up at them in surprise. ) Wh-... What's...?
Troop Leader: What are you waiting for? ( Points gun at the technicians. ) Abort all launches.
( The techs slowly get their heads together
and start operating controls. )
( Daedalus Flight Deck )
Hailee: All systems go... Lift off! ( Hauls main speed controls. The ship slowly climbs off the ground. )
Flight Officer: ( V.O. ) Negative, Daedalus. Abort launch. Repeat, abort launch!
( Control Tower. )
Flight Officer: What's going on?
Troop Leader: Classified.
Tech 1: Sir, they're still moving.
Troop Leader: Close the launch doors.
( The hangar doors begin to close as the
Daedalus rises. On the Flight Deck, Hailee activates the Master Computer. The computer screen lights up with the outline of
a face in bright green lines. The "lips" on the face move as the Computer speaks. )
Gan: Yes ma'am?
Hailee: Gan, full automatics. Accelerated lift-off.
Gan: Very good, ma'am.
Kyben: What's going on?
( An increase in upward velocity forces
Hailee and Kyben back into their seats. )
Hailee: Launch doors are closing back up! Hold tight!
( The ship accelerates and scrapes through
the hangar doors, which close up with a thunderous clang behind it. )
Gan: Rear starboard stabiliser has taken minor damage, ma'am. We will achieve high orbit over the planet Earth
in twenty seconds.
Hailee: Once orbit's achieved, engage the standby course for Dysentastra.
Gan: Certainly, ma'am. Please specify the appropriate speed.
Hailee: Time Distort 6.
Gan: Very good, ma'am.
( The Daedalus breaks the terminator of
the atmosphere and catapults into space. Hailee and Kyben unbuckle their seat-belts and sit up. )
Engaging course for Dysentastra, ma'am.
Hailee: ( To Kyben ) Once we're at Dysentastra you can look for someone to take you on to Delta Seven One Four.
Kyben: What? What are you gonna do?
Hailee: I'm gonna find somewhere to bury myself for the next century. ( Glares at Kyben angrily. ) Thanks to
you I'll be on the Feds Wanted list for the rest of my life. ( Ironically. ) Still, at least that won't be a long time.
Kyben: You can't put down on Dysentastra. The Feds'd catch us in no time.
Hailee: They'll catch you. Not me.
Kyben: And you won't get those twelve thousand credits unless you take me to Delta Seven One Four.
( Hailee looks at him, suddenly reconsidering.
Hailee: That's a point.
( Farin and Stella struggle to repair
internal systems and structures on their ship. Spatial fluid visibly seeps through doors, instrument panels and wall-junctures.
Stella: ( Trying to weld a seal over a crack in the inner hull. ) This gunk's pushin' back.
Farin: ( Gasping ) And it stinks. ( Bolts a sheet of steel over a fracture in the navicomputers frame. ) Radiation
emissions from the main drive... creating a shell. Should force it to recede.
Stella: The Flare shield's still out.
Farin: Leave it! Other repairs first.
( Fresh ruptures open up on the far wall.
Air hisses through the cracks. )
Stella: Oh 'eck! Farin...
Farin: I saw it, I saw it! ( Panicky. ) Try and seal it.
Stella: I ain't closed this one yet.
Farin: Oh God! ( Drops his computer repairs and heads for the hole in the wall. ) Air pressure's down below
ninety per cent again... ( Starts repairing crack with welding torch. )
Stella: We're finished!
( Stella thumps the wall in frustration.
This causes the seal she was trying to secure to come unstuck. More air escapes. )
Farin: You idiot!
Stella: ( Leaps for control panel. ) That's it. I'm sending the distress beacon.
Farin: No! If a Federation ship hears it...
Stella: We're dead anyway! Maybe the guy Blake sent us to meet will hear it. ( Activates SOS transmitter. )
Farin: Aaa-... this is all your fault, Stella.
( Hailee's ship. Kyben shows Hailee the
datafile of Blake's trial. )
Kyben: A resistance leader on Earth called Veron managed to uncover this in a Federation data dump her troops
raided a while back. It proves Blake's trials were both fixed. She's managed to contact Blake on Gauda Prime and he needs
Hailee: I didn't even know Blake was still alive.
Kyben: Few people do. Anyway, I've been feeding data to the Outsiders for years. So Veron thought I'd be in
the best position to get the data to Gauda Prime.
Hailee: So why are we going to - what did you call it - "Terminal?" Why not GP?
Kyben: Blake's sent a ship to Terminal to pick me up. Helps cover the tracks, I guess.
Hailee: Why are you involved in all this? I mean you're an Alpha-plus. You're about as privileged as they come.
Kyben: ( Taps his eye-patch. ) Federation Security Officer nearly killed me. Called Dev Tarrant. He apologised
for blowing half my face open. Very polite. He didn't get so much as a telling-off. I get scarred for life, he gets on with
Hailee: Ah. I thought you were an idealist for a moment.
Kyben: I am. Any government that opens fire just to be on the safe side makes an enemy of me.
Hailee: Oh, how disappointing. A real criminal's so much more interesting than a politico.
Kyben: Don't be a hypocrite.
Hailee: A what?
Kyben: You're an idealist too. Just because you have'nt got the nerve to fight the Feds, that doesnt mean you're
not an idealist.
( Hailee looks angry. )
Why else would you name your computer
after one of Blake's crew?
Hailee: ( Glances at the computer ) Oh. You've heard of Olag Gan then?
Hailee: Okay, I admit it. I wish Blake had won on Gevron. I wish he'd made it back to Earth to lead the revolt.
I wish the Federation was gone.
Kyben: But it isn't.
Hailee: No. And I'm not putting my neck on the line to try it.
Kyben: ( Smiles. ) You mercs. You really think people are gonna admire you for being cowards.
Hailee: I don't care whether you admire me or not, faceache. I just want to stay alive. Thats why I didn't want
Kyben: I want to stay alive as well, y'know. I just don't think selfishness is a virtue.
( Farin's shuttle is beginning to crumble.
Armour panelling and fusellage are tumbling away into the void. Inside, Farin has completed the seal on the crack on the inner
hull. He and Stella are battling to repair the other. )
Farin: God, you're right! It's like this ooze has arms... gnn.
Stella: I nearly got it... ( Forces the seal plating down and starts welding. ) How long we got?
Farin: Depends how powerful we can get the radiation field up to.
Stella: Well increase the power on it.
Farin: I can't, you fool, the flare shields aren't working, remember? If I set it too high well be burned to
Stella: Oh. We're finished aren't we?
Farin: Stop saying that.
Stella: Aren't we?!?
( Hailee and Kyben are buckled into their
seats, ready for when the ship drops to sub-light speeds. )
Kyben: Smooth flight.
Hailee: Shut up.
Kyben: Pardon me for being nice.
Hailee: I will. When you shut up.
Kyben: For the hundredth time, I'm sorry you're in trouble. But I had to leave Earth. You had to take me.
Hailee: Yeah? Well I don't let anyone decide what I have to...
( Buzzing noise from comms panel. )
Hailee: What the Hell...?
Gan: Forgive the interruption, ma'am, but I have detected an emergency code beacon at an estimated distance
of eleven thousand spacials from the surface of the only planet in the system Delta Seven One Four. It appears to match the
pattern of a standard general distress call, non-Federation sequence.
Hailee: Wait, Gan, backtrack a bit. You're saying it's coming from Terminal?
Gan: Indeed, ma'am. Do you have any instructions for me?
Hailee: Proceed to the Time Distort waypoint, Gan. We'll deal with the distress call once were there.
Gan: As you wish, ma'am.
( Farin and Stella have given up the repairs.
With the liquid chaos continuing all about them, they are seated on the floor, bitching at each other. )
Farin: I knew I should've asked for a different co-pilot.
Stella: You were the one who didn't turn the Flare shield on in time.
Farin: You were the one who didn't spot the fluid on the detectors in the first place!
Stella: Yeah? Well you were the one who... er... um...
Farin: You're useless, Stella! You're not even good at being pompous.
Stella: I... ( Confused ) ...what's pompous mean?
Farin: ( Withering ) Forget it! Yeah. Forgetting things. That's something you are good at.
( Aboard the Daedalus. )
Gan: Resuming normal time-shift now, ma'am.
( The ship returns to sub-light speeds.
It's heading straight for the fluid-cloud. )
Kyben: Watch it!
Hailee: Oh shoot! Gan, controls to manual! Hurry! ( Hauls on the helm. )
Gan: Certainly, ma'am. Controls have been switched to manual operation.
( The ship veers to starboard, just evading
the enzymes of the cloud. )
Hailee: What is that stuff?
Kyben: Hailee, there's something in there.
Kyben: Gan, can you scan the interior of that nebula?
Gan: An elementary task, sir.
Kyben: See if you can get a lock on that ship.
Gan: With pleasure, sir.
( Daedalus maneuvers toward the edge of
the cloud, and slowly comes to a halt. )
( Inside the ship. )
Kyben: ( Pointing. ) There. It's there.
Hailee: I can see it, ya dolt.
Gan: External sensors have locked onto the target ship.
Hailee: Good. Open comms.
Gan: I have taken the liberty, ma'am, and I am attempting to isolate the frequency as we speak.
Kyben: That ship's falling apart in there.
Hailee: I hope your friends weren't on that crate.
Kyben: Who else'd be here?
Gan: Channel secured, ma'am. Ready to transmit.
Hailee: This is civilian haulage craft... um, Ulysses. We've received your distress call. Can anyone read me?
( Farin and Stella hear Hailee's transmission
and look at one another in astonishment. Farin leaps to his feet and opens comm channels. )
Farin: Copy, Ulysses. Uh, our detectors are burned out. Where are you?
Hailee: ( V.O. ) If you're the one inside the nebula, were right behind you. Your ship looks in a bad way.
Farin: We're in critical condition. This clouds some kind of acid-based life-form. It's eroding the hull of
the ship. We've only got minutes before the structure collapses.
( Daedalus. Hailee looks at Kyben. )
Hailee: Do you wanna ask them?
Kyben: Is the channel secure?
Hailee: Probably not at their end.
Kyben: No then. We'd better help them though.
Hailee: Hey, wait a second, Long John. If they're not your friends they could be Feds.
Kyben: On the other hand they're probably not.
Hailee: Yeah, well I'm not taking the chance till I'm sure.
Kyben: Hailee, they must be dying in there!
Hailee: They're not part of the deal. I'm not helping them.
Kyben: ( Exasperated. ) Gan, can you detect any other traffic in this system?
Gan: None, sir.
Kyben: Then it must be Blake's people. Oh come on, Hailee. Who else'd be here?
Kyben: My journey with you isn't complete until I'm with them, heading for Gauda Prime. So if you want your
Farin: ( V.O. ) What are you waiting for?
Hailee: All right. ( Re-opens comms. ) We're moving now. We need to disperse the cloud first or we'll get torn
Farin: ( V.O. ) Right, listen you should be able to burn away the enzyme with direct radiation bursts from your
ship's engines. Try to keep it at a low frequency, though, our Flare-shield's out.
Hailee: I read you. ( Switches off comms. ) Gan, you got all that?
Gan: Indeed, ma'am. I have taken the liberty of beginning preparations.
Hailee: Good. ( Activates comms ) Were starting now.
Farin: ( V.O. ) Okay. And... thanks.
( Shuttle. Farin fidgets uselessly with
the controls while Stella sulks in the corner. )
Stella: Taking too long. I should've told Blake not to send me.
Farin: I agree.
Stella: Dying's bad enough when you're alone. Why'd I have to die with you?
Farin: You'll be dying before me if I have my way.
( A beam of soft orange light emits from Hailee's ship.
It bathes the enzyme, which immediately starts to burn away. )
Kyben: ( V.O. ) How
about that? Its working.
( Farin and Stella head for a bank of
escape capsules and start prepping them. )
Farin: We'll launch these once they've cleared a safe path out of the fluid.
Stella: What about the ship?
Farin: Wake up! It's a ruin. Anyway, it might be useful raw materials.
Stella: For what?
Farin: You know why Blake chose this system for the rendez-vous. You know what's here.
Stella: You really think it'll happen?
Farin: As soon as the wreckage is free of the cloud.
( On the other ship. )
Kyben: Almost clear.
Hailee: ( Irritated. ) Allelieujah.
Gan: Forgive my interruption, ma'am, but I'm detecting vast swathes of metal atomic particles emerging from
the nebula. They are all very small but they appear to be moving.
Hailee: Probably a dispersion field caused by the radiation.
Gan: With respect, ma'am, that seems unlikely. They appear to be converging, rather than dispersing.
( Hailee and Kyben exchange looks. )
Gan: Unknown, ma'am.
( There is a sudden blast of light and
a hollow roar. The other ship loudly collapses in on itself and explodes. )