The Blake's 7 Super Test

Blake's 7 Super Test
Blake's Legacy
Blake's Progress
Naming Blake
"Avon: A Terrible Novel"?
Birth Of The Federation
The Blake's 7 Formula
To Kill Or To Stun
The Blake's 7 Drinking Game
Blake's Chicken
Blake's Parrott
ACT V - Freedom


Based on the original story by Neil Blissett.

( Liberator Flight Deck. Vila sits in the pit. Avon is repairing Orac. )

Vila: I still think you should've told them the truth.

Avon: I did tell them the truth. The Federation raided the silo and Blake was killed during the firing. That was what happened.

Vila: It wasn't all that happened.

Avon: It's all I'm telling them. ( Menacing look. ) And it's all that you are telling them.

Vila: I'm not stupid, Avon.

Avon: I've heard that one before. It wasn't funny the first time.

Vila: If I tell them, you'll kill me. I don't need you to tell me that...

( Farin enters from the port-side corridor. )

Farin: To tell you what?

Vila: Nothing.

Farin: ( Suspicious. ) What's going on now?

Avon: He said "nothing." What part of "nothing" do you find so impossible to comprehend? Anyway what do you want?

Farin: We've finished installing the synthetic crystals in the weaponry system. We're ready to test them.

Avon: Well you know where the weapon controls are. You'd better get on with it.

( Farin seethes at Avon's rudeness, then heads for the console and starts operating controls. )

Farin: Zen, auto-grid scan for the neutron blasters. Activate the neutron flare shield and clear all weapons for firing.

Zen: Confirmed. All weapons are cleared for firing.

Farin: ( Into comms. ) Ready, Hailee?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Just get on with it, bandilocks!

( Avon smiles. )

Avon: That girl shows promise.

Vila: Generating crystals in the ship's drive can't make them very pure. Are you sure this'll work?

Avon: Of course not. If we were sure it would work, we wouldn't bother to test them.

Farin: Forty per cent power, firing now.

( Farin presses the firing control. A neutron bolt launches from each blaster of the Liberator. )

Vila: Hey, Avon's gadget works. Twice in one lifetime!

Avon: Increase to sixty per cent.

Farin: Right. Firing now.

( Another shot launches from each blaster. )

Avon: So far so good. Try ninety per cent.

( Another shot launches from each blaster, followed in turn by a shower of sparks. The lights on the Flight Deck flicker briefly. )

Zen: Focusing crystals in the neutron blasters have fractured. Further use of the weaponry system is impossible until replacement crystals can be installed.

Farin: Damn!

Avon: Pity. Still, no more than was to be expected.

Vila: What do you mean? We're defenceless.

Avon: We were before. Has it really taken you this long to work it out?

Farin: Well how are we going to replace them?

Vila: Where are we going to replace them?

Avon: This is a moment for the history tapes. Both of you have managed to ask a sensible question.

Vila: Hang sensible. I'm scared.

Avon: Oh. Not such a rare occasion after all.

Farin: Do you have an answer, Avon? Where can we replace them?

( Avon slots in Orac's circuit key. )

Avon: Orac. ( Silence. ) Orac! Stop sulking or I'll jam a static charge across your logic terminals.

Orac: Oh, what is it this time?

Avon: We have a problem...

Orac: Naturally.

Avon: It shouldn't be too difficult for you...

Orac: Again, this goes without saying. The quantity of my precious operating time you have wasted over the years on petty menial difficulties is frighteningly profligate.

Avon: I apologise, Orac...

Orac: A valueless gesture. Do not waste my time with meaningless platitudes.

Avon: Yes, well...

Orac: Well what do you want?

Farin: Is he always like this?

Orac: Am I always like what?

Farin: What you are now.

Orac: Of course. There is no reason to change intellectual perfection...

( Avon removes the key and Orac switches off. )

Avon: I'll ask after I've repaired its output overrides.

Vila: His what?

Avon: Orac has special override chips that keep it from interrupting people, except in emergencies. They were damaged in the cave-in on Xenon Base.

Vila: Ah, I thought he was just in one of his moods.

Farin: What do we do until he's fixed?

Avon: We still have a fast ship. We just stay out of everyone else's way.

Farin: You sound confident.

Avon: Don't be an idiot. If we can't stay ahead of the pack in a ship like this, what hope have we got anyway?


( Hailee is on a wall-ladder in the maintenance duct of one the neutron blasters. She's wearing a pair of goggles and is welding some of the burnt-out circuits. The comms sound, causing Hailee to cut her finger on a panel cover. )

Hailee: Ow! Not again.

Farin: ( V.O. ) Hailee?

( Hailee sucks her finger, then opens comms. )

Hailee: Aaah, what is it?

Farin: ( V.O. Touch of sarcasm. ) Commander Avon's decided we'll have to buy the crystals we need.

Hailee: It took me ages to get Fed clearance for them when I was legit. Who'd risk selling to a bunch of mercenaries?

Avon: ( V.O. ) We should be able to find something on the Black Market.

Hailee: Yeah, we'll just look up the Galactic Guide to Suicidal Morons. Black Market or Legit, no-one'd be stupid enough to sell to us.


( Flight Deck. Avon is standing in the pit, still repairing Orac, Farin and Vila are at the controls. )

Avon:  That could be a problem. The only people I know of who are that stupid are already on this ship.


( Earth, Residence One. The President's transport has arrived. In the main hall a number of aides greet the President. )

Aide 1: Mr President, an honour to welcome you home, sir.

President: Thank you, it is a relief to leave the confines of Space Command. They're too stifling. ( Spreads his arms. ) Ah, it so lacks the splendour of Earth. Still, no rest for the wicked, duty calls.

( The President and two aides enter an office where they sit around a table. )

Aide 1: The wreckage of the Scorpio-freighter has been salvaged, Mr President. It appears the rebels detonated what little was left.

President: Good good. Two ships are more than enough for Avon. What progress Blake and Tarrant?

Aide 2: Their bodies have already been transported to Earth, sir. The, er, operations were completed within the last hour.

President: Excellent. Send word to proceed with the cremations. I won't be attending. I've never been one to dance on an enemy's grave. Especially this particular enemy.

Aide 2: Certainly, Mr President.

President: Has Veron arrived yet?

Aide 2: The prison ship is currently en route to Earth. ETA given as... ( Checks his timekeeper. ) ...twenty-seven minutes.

President: Splendid. She's been proving difficult for the interrogators at Space Command. I've arranged for one of FedSec's best specialists to sort her out. Now, have we received word of Commissioner Sleer's arrest yet?

Aide 1: Not as yet. The report filed by Security indicates she departed Gauda Prime two days ago. They've offered no word as to her destination. Space Major Brecht is still attempting to trace her, but we're yet to receive a report from him.

President: Hmm. Maybe FedSec need a little encouragement. Contact the Kommisar at Security Command for me. I want to speak to him within the hour.


( Liberator Medical Unit. Soolin is still on life-support. Kyben is monitoring her vital signs and mixing serums. )

Kyben: Nn. Wont work.

( Vila walks in. )

Vila: What's up, Doc?

Kyben: Where'd you get that line from?

Vila: Oh, just made it up. Did you know how big your ears are?

Kyben: ( Puzzled. ) No.

Vila: Well maybe not. They look kind of big from some angles...

Kyben: Vila, is there something you want?

Vila: Oh I was just wondering how Soolin's doing.

Kyben: All I've got to make medicines with are these grass samples from Gauda Prime. Believe me, the only change will be for the worse. (Sighs. )

Vila: What's wrong?

Kyben: Just thinking about someone.

Vila: Love-sick or just brooding?

Kyben: Just brooding.

Vila: What about?

Kyben: I'm a failure.

Vila: Failure?

Kyben: Yes. Look at me. I'm a Doctor. That means I'm supposed to save lives, right? Over the last few days I've killed people instead. Even worse when Jemecca was shot I couldn't save her. When Dayna was shot I couldn't save her. ( Hesitates. ) Stella too. I couldn't save any of them, and now I can't do anything for Soolin. All this blood, and I can't do anything.

Vila: Look, no-one's blaming you for what happened. Stella was probably gone before you got to her.

Kyben: I don't need anyone to blame me. I blame me. I was the one who got Jemecca caught up in all this, AND I encouraged Stella to fight a battle she wasn't ready for...

Vila: That was her decision. She made it before she even met you. ( Looks upset. ) I'd blame Blake, but... no, I'm the one who should've tried to stop her. Instead of getting deported.

Kyben: Thanks for trying, Vila, but it's not making me feel any better.

Vila: That's a pity. It's made me feel ten times worse.

( Comms sound. )

Avon: ( V.O. ) Vila, Kyben. Come to the Flight Deck.


( Vila and Kyben arrive on the Flight Deck. All the others are present. Orac is switched on. )

Vila: What's happened?

Avon: Orac has finally knuckled down and conducted a search for the components we need. Isn't that right, Orac?

Orac: "Knuckled down"? What manner of verbiage is that?

Avon: I'm sorry I asked. Just tell everyone what you found out.

Orac: Very well. The onerous task I was laboured with of monitoring commercial transmissions and advertising material across Terran space has turned up the information that was requested. Focusing crystals of a size and type theoretically appropriate for installation in the targeting units of the Liberators weaponry systems are available for monetary purchase outside of all Federation or alternative Governmental taxable jurisdiction.

Vila: Er...

Kyben: Does that mean "we can buy some crystals on the Black Market?"

Orac: Well of course it does.

Hailee: Just say so in future. ( To Farin. ) Never mind getting blasted by the Feds, we'll die of old age the rate he's going.

Vila: What are we waiting for? We're sitting ducks like this.

Avon: I like the enthusiasm. But you haven't heard the good bit yet.

Vila: Good bit?

Avon: Yes.

Vila: Are you sure you mean good bit?

Avon: Of course.

Vila: It's just whenever you say something's good, it always turns out to be a door I have to unlock to escape from something very, very lethal.

Avon: ( Smiles. ) You're too clever for me, Vila. All right, there is a problem.

Vila: Oh nooo...

Hailee: No, be fair, Avon, there isn't a problem.

Vila: ( Brightening. ) Oh good...

Hailee: There are two problems.

Vila: Oh no, oh nooo...

Avon: First, the price of crystals of the size, purity and flawlessness required for starship weaponry systems has rocketed since the Intergalactic War. Since none of the currency or precious metals on the Liberator survived the explosion, we cannot afford the price, or anything like it.

Vila: Oh.

Avon: Second...

Vila: Do we need a second problem?

Avon: No. Consider it a bonus. Second, the dealer advertising the crystals does business from a certain hostile territory.

Vila: "Hostile territory" he says. Is there any other kind?

Hailee: He's got a point there.

Farin: ( Impatient. ) Orac, tell them where it is, will you?

Orac: The dealer is located on a satellite world approximately twelve light years beyond the Federations Coreward Frontier. It is a space station that the Liberator is acquainted with.

Vila: Eh? Whassit called?

Avon: That's the lethal bit. Tell him, Orac.

Orac: I was about to. The inhabitants of the station refer to it as Freedom City.

Vila: Freedom City? Oh no. Avon, we're not going there. Please.

Avon: Would you feel happier if the ship were to remain unarmed?

Vila: No. I'd just feel happier going near Krantor after were armed.

Kyben: You've run into Krantor before, I take it?

Avon: Oh yes. And I very much suspect he's worked out how Vila survived that game of speed chess by now.

Hailee: Speed chess? ( Looks at Vila dubiously. ) You? A slack-bladdered cretin like you went up against the Klute?

Vila: ( Cringing. ) Don't remind me. I get the bends just thinking about it.

Farin: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought playing the Klute meant betting your life.

Orac: It does.

Farin: And Vila did it? I'm not convinced.

Avon: With Orac's assistance we succeeded in cheating the casino out of five million credits, doubled our money with a game of speed chess, escaped with our lives and Blake never found out about any of it. Not bad for two hours' work.

Hailee: Pity you don't have any of the loot now. Shall we get moving?

Vila: But if we go there we'll be...

Hailee: Stop whining, Vila.

Avon: I'm with Hailee on that one.

Farin: You just said we haven't got the money.

Avon: We'll worry about that once we're there.

Vila: Why there? We could get the crystals from a Federation base.

Avon: Would you prefer a Federation base? Ferno, perhaps?

Vila: Let me think about it.

Kyben: Look Vila, Freedom City's the biggest commercial outpost outside the Federation.

Vila: I know that.

Kyben: You can buy almost anything there.

Vila: Anything that's legal, most things that aren't. What's your point?

Kyben: The point, dummy, is we need food. We need medical supplies.

Avon: That's true. Soolin needs particularly intensive therapy.

Kyben: Which I can't provide until we restock the medical unit.

Hailee: They're right. If we're going to find anything useful, it's going to be there.

Vila: ( Suddenly hopeful. ) Maybe we'll find some soma!

Avon: ( Grits teeth. ) Probably. Zen, plot a course for Freedom City. Speed Standard by six.

Zen: Confirmed.


( Landing platform near the West Europ Dome City on Earth. A transporter-ship heads in to land. After a moment a gangplank lowers and several troopers march the beleaguered Veron out of the ship. A Federation Security Officer, Dev Tarrant himself, strides up, limping as he goes, to greet her. )

Dev Tarrant: Welcome back to Earth, Veron. I look forward to resuming Federation hospitality.

Veron: Dev Tarrant. I didn't think this place would be dank enough without you.

Dev Tarrant: Oh, I'll make sure it's dank enough for you. I hate to disappoint a girl.

Veron: I'd have thought you'd be quite used to that by now.

Dev Tarrant: Perhaps I am. And I may decide to take out my frustrations on you.

Veron: More "questions"?

Dev Tarrant: As the President orders of course.

( Tarrant gestures to the troopers and they start to march Veron away. )

Veron: Of course...


( The Liberator arrives in range of Freedom City. On the Flight Deck all are present. )

Avon: Anything yet?

Kyben: ( Monitoring comms traffic. ) Nothing that seems to concern us. Except for traffic control asking us what we want I don't think anyone cares about us.

Avon: What did you tell them?

Kyben: I said we were damaged by meteorites and needed somewhere to lay over and make repairs. Not a million light years from the truth. They offered to let us dock but I declined. I said we might send over a shuttle if we needed any spare parts.

Avon: Good. Hopefully we'll be gone before anyone gets too interested in us. Zen, what armament does the city have?

Zen: Detectors report eight laser cannon emplacements and four missile launchers in addition to the six guardships patrolling the local system.

Avon: Are the guardships powerful enough to give us problems?

Zen: Negative. The guardships' armament would require to land a considerable number of direct hits to penetrate the Liberator's force wall.

Avon: We can't shoot at them, they can't hurt us. Sounds reasonably safe.

Vila: I still don't like this.

Hailee: Altogether now  -  awwww.

Vila: I mean it.

Hailee: I know you mean it. That's what makes me so confident.

Avon: Vila, you can remain on board while the rest of us try to arrange the deal... if you'd feel happier being all alone for a few hours.

Vila: ( Shocked. ) Why'd you be away so long?

Hailee: It's a big place, moron. It could take ages finding the dealer, especially keeping our heads down.

Vila: Um, ages you say? In there? I think I'll stay behind and watch the ship.

Avon: That's very brave of you. You can operate the teleport then.

Vila: Why do I always get teleport duty?

Avon: Because you're usually the only one left on board. Or would you rather go down there after all?

Vila: Okay, teleport duty it is.

( Vila exits and heads toward the Teleport section. )

Farin: What exactly is the plan then?

Avon: I have a few ideas. Let's go.

( They collect weapons. Avon, and Hailee choose Scorpio clip-guns, Farin and Kyben gather Liberator handguns. They then set off to the teleport section where Vila has seated himself at the controls. The others collect bracelets and line up in the bay. )

Vila: Ready?

Avon: Get on with it.

( Vila operates the controls and the others dematerialise. They materialise in an alley in Freedom City and draw their guns. There are some bins nearby that clearly haven't been emptied in a long while. They all pull faces at the smell. )

Hailee: Urgh. Thanks a lot, Vila.

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) Safely across. ( Eyes the bins with revulsion. ) Sort of. Stay awake, Vila.

Vila: ( V.O. ) Yeah yeah yeah. Liberator out.

Hailee: Why didn't he just send us into the waste-recyclers and have done with it?

Avon: I'll pass that on for next time if you like.

( They put their guns away. )

Let's start looking around for that dealer.

Hailee: That could take a while.

Avon: Maybe not. Things don't seem to have changed much since last time by the look of it. ( Gestures at the bins. ) Including the contents of those.


( Krantor's quarters. Krantor is sitting watching the Liberator on his mirror/screen. Toise walks in. )

Toise: I was just coming to tell you about that.

Krantor: Yes. I spotted it from my window as it started its approach. Never thought I'd see a ship like that again.

Toise: I heard it had been destroyed.

Krantor: That's what I mean. You don't think those two thieves are on board do you? I've wanted to get my hands on them for years. They humiliated me. Them and that computer of theirs.

Toise: Unlikely. Still, I've shown their likenesses to the guards and told them to keep an eye out for them. If either one sets foot in Freedom City we'll get them.

Krantor: Jolly good. Arrest them on sight. The Klute's been gagging for a rematch. ( Rubs his chin. ) Assuming they don't resist arrest of course.

Toise: I've ordered the guards to shoot to kill if that happens. Would you like me to reverse that order?

Krantor: ( Muses. ) Mmm... no. A demonstration of effective law-enforcement is always good for business.

Toise: My thoughts exactly. Neutral or not, we need to keep the town in good order.

Krantor: Arrest them or shoot them, either way it sets a good example for keeping the punters in line.

( Krantor flashes a sickly smile. )

Krantor: Krantor wins both ways...

Toise: Rule of the house?

Krantor: ( Pouts. ) Toise! That's my line.


( Hailee, Farin and Kyben sit in a shaded alcove of Chenie's bar, The Rink, keeping their heads down. A few other patrons sit around the bar, all drunk and noisy in varying degrees. )

Kyben: This is... ( Shakes head, synonyms failing him. ) ...loud.

Hailee: Whassamatter, egghead? Not your scene?

Kyben: Not really no.

Hailee: Ah, you Alpha-pluses are wimps.

Kyben: I doubt I'm still a plus actually. The Banking System's already frozen my account.

Hailee: Who's fault's that?

Kyben: Mine, I guess.

Hailee: That's right. Also thanks to you, I'll just have to go near the Administration and I won't last five minutes. And you still haven't paid me.

Farin: You got a photonic drive out of it. Stop moaning.

Hailee: It won't be any use if you don't help me connect it up.

Kyben: Hailee, he said stop moaning.

Hailee: You reckon I'll take orders from him? Or you for that matter...?

( Avon walks in and furtively joins them. )

Avon: Got him.

Hailee: Well?

Avon: The dealer's operating out of a bar on level 23. I've managed to set up a meeting for about an hour's time.

Hailee: Well that was easy enough. What's on offer?

Avon: He's got a shipment large enough to run the neutron blasters for about thirty years. Costs five million.

Farin: And that's expensive enough. How do we pay for them?

Avon: A bit of trickery. Kyben, I'll need you with me when I make the deal. Farin, you'll keep watch...

Farin: Okay, okay. But what exactly is this "bit of trickery"?

Avon: Hailee and Orac will provide that. The rest of us just need to keep him away from his ship for long enough.


( In the bar on Level 23 later, Avon and Kyben are talking to a rough looking man at a table in a dark corner. Avon stands and waves over Farin. )

Avon: I've done a deal. We get enough crystals to run the blasters indefinitely.

Farin: Oh yeah? How can we be sure we're getting the genuine article?

( The dealer produces an orange crystal. )

Dealer: This is a sample. It's a little smaller than the ones you want but good enough for a quality check, I'd say. You can pay for it with the rest when we do business.

Farin: We need to return it to our ship for analysis.

Dealer: One of you can go. The others will remain to ensure good faith. Otherwise, no dice.

Kyben: Fair.

( Avon picks up the crystal and hands it to Farin. )

Avon: You'd better take this back to the ship and get Orac to run an analysis of it.

( Farin pockets the crystal and leaves. )

Dealer: Well, we might as well be comfortable. Whatcha drinking? ( To Kyben, gesturing at the eye patch. ) Want a slice of cucumber for that?

( The dealer laughs while Kyben gives him a black look. Avon tries to hide a smile. )


( Liberator teleport room. Vila has his boots off and is sitting with his feet up on the console. )

Farin: ( V.O. ) Vila, teleport.

( Vila swings his feet off the console, pulls the levers and Farin teleports in. He wrinkles his face in disgust. )

Farin: Phwoah! When's the last time you washed your feet?

Vila: My feet dont smell!

Farin: Your nose doesn't work either.

Vila: Did you get the crystals?

Farin: I got a sample.

( Farin takes out the crystal and places it on the console next to Orac. )

Farin: Orac, I want an analysis of this. We know it's too small, but other than that could we have used it in the neutron blasters?

Orac: Negative.

Farin: What? Isnt it compatible?

Orac: The crystal is of a type compatible with the neutron blasters. This particular crystal is of a purity and hardness that is ideal for the purpose. Or would have been.

Farin: Stop talking in riddles, Orac. Either it's useful or it isn't.

Orac: Without giving due consideration to its size, this crystal was, until approximately fifty five seconds ago, perfect for use in the focusing mechanisms of the Liberator's neutron blasters. Then it was subjected to the teleport beam, and the molecular-dissolution process therein caused a small but significant alteration in its crystalline structure. The crystal could be used in the neutron blasters of the Liberator, but the heat-induced stress would cause its new form to shatter after only a few neutron discharges.

Farin: So any crystals we get in the future need to be brought on board without using the teleport?

Orac: If they are to be of any long-term value, yes.

Farin: That could make things awkward for Hailee.

( Farin opens comms to the Flight Deck. )

Farin: Zen. Tell the Gan computer to prepare the Daedalus for launch.

Zen: ( V.O. ) Confirmed.

Farin: Vila get kitted up. I'm sending you across.

Vila: What!

Farin: I need you to tell Avon that Daedalus will be transporting the crystals.

Vila: I'm not going down there! If any of Krantor's men see me, I'll-...

( Farin grabs Vila by the scruff of the neck. )

Farin: I said get kitted up! Move it!


( Freedom City hangar decks. Hailee is hidden here, gun drawn watching a few guards and pilots as they wander past. She heads over to one ship once the coast is clear then checks the identifier units on several of its unloaded cargo pods. Eventually she finds the right one. )

Hailee: ( Whispers. ) Got it!

( She takes off her bracelet, holds down the transmitter, then holds it close to the identifier unit. )

Hailee: Orac, do you hear me?

Orac: ( V.O. ) Of course I do.

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Lock onto the nearest identifier unit to my bracelet and wipe it.

Orac: ( V.O. ) Very well.

( There is a quiet series of clicks. Hailee checks the identifier unit has been wiped clean, then runs over to a cargo pod from another ship, and holds the bracelet against that one's identifier. )

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Now, Orac. Overwrite the old signal to this pod's tagging unit.

Orac: As you wish.

( Another series of clicks. Hailee checks it again. )

Hailee: Perfect. Now Avon's friend upstairs'll think this is his crate of crystals. ( Puts her bracelet on and speaks into it. ) Y'know, Orac, I may grow to like you after all.

Orac: ( V.O. ) I find it most unlikely that that will make even the slightest difference to me.

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Suit yourself, crate face. Vila, do you copy?

Farin: ( V.O. ) This is Farin.

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Back already, you loafer? I'm done here. Bring the spare bracelet and we can shift the crate.

Farin: ( V.O. ) There's a hitch Im afraid.


( The bar in Freedom City. Vila enters and crosses to where Avon, Kyben and the dealer are sitting. )

Dealer: What do you want?

Avon: He's with us, unfortunately. Where's Farin?

( Vila gives the dealer a nervous look. )

Vila: There's been a complication. Farin's bringing Daedalus down to transport the crystals. Orac says the crystals check out as perfect quality.

Kyben: Why Daedalus? Why not just use...?

Avon: ( Hurriedly. ) Let us discuss payment.

( Avon shoots a warning look at Kyben who looks guilty. )

Dealer: What's going on? What are you hiding?

Avon: That's no concern of yours. We are paying you a lot of money. Curiosity could be expensive.

Dealer: I don't like it when people keep secrets from me.

Avon: Then maybe you should try a different line of work.

Dealer: All right, all right. How ARE you planning to pay for the crystals?

Avon: Data transfer from our account to yours, naturally.

Dealer: Naturally nothing. It's hard cash or no deal.

Kyben: Hard cash? Do our pockets look that deep?

Avon: We don't have that sort of money on us.

Dealer: Well then I suggest you come back when...

( Suddenly five uniformed guards burst into the bar and surround the table. )

Kyben: Problem?

Guard 1: You! ( Points at Avon. ) And you! ( Points at Vila. ) You're under arrest. You will come with us. The other two gentlemen may go.

( Avon pulls out his gun but the other guards draw their guns and aim them at him. )

Guard 1: We can do this the easy way or the hard way.

( He slams his hand onto Avons arm. Avon drops the gun and gasps in pain. )

Guard 1: Personally I like a bit of hard work. ( Grins. )

Vila: ( Raising his hands. ) I don't. I surrender.

( The guards pull Avon and Vila to their feet and take their guns]

Kyben: I'll take those.

( Guard 1 looks like he is going to argue but then removes the clips and hands over the guns. )

Guard 1: You can take their communicators too.

( Avon and Vila hand their bracelets to Kyben before being led away. )

Dealer: I'm not trading with anyone whose friends get arrested at a business meeting.

Kyben: I have to return to our ship. Can we meet again after this is straightened out? Five million credits is a lot of money, arrests or no.

Dealer: Five million creds ain't worth getting shot for. Clear off.

( Kyben curses then stands, gathers up the guns and steps away from the table. The Dealer sits back and orders another drink. Kyben steps to one side and talks into his bracelet. )

Kyben: ( Into bracelet. ) Hailee, do you copy?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) I copy. What's happening?

Kyben: ( Into bracelet. ) Have you finished?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) All done.

Kyben: ( Into bracelet, relieved. ) The dealer won't matter anymore then. Look, there's a problem. Is Farin on his way?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) He should've launched by now, yes.

Kyben: ( Into bracelet. ) Right. You'd better get ready to teleport.

Hailee: ( V.O., irritated ) What's wrong this time?

Kyben: ( Into bracelet. ) Not here. I'll explain once we're back on board. Orac, teleport myself and Hailee in ten seconds.

Orac: ( V.O.) Oh very well.

( Kyben hides in a dark, empty alcove, then dematerialises. )


( Kyben and Hailee appear in the Liberator teleport bay. )

Hailee: Where are the others?

Kyben: They've been arrested. It's a good bet Krantor remembered them. We'll have to help them.

Hailee: ( Scoffs. ) Will we?

( Kyben picks up Orac and shoots Hailee a pointed look. )

Hailee: All right, all right.

( They head for the flight deck. There, Hailee opens comms to Daedalus. Kyben puts Orac down on the table in the pit. )

Hailee: Hope you're taking care of my ship, Farin.

Farin: ( V.O. ) Stop moaning, I'll be docking in two minutes. Where are you?

Hailee: I'm back on Liberator.

Farin: ( V.O. ) What? Why are...?

Hailee: I've marked the crate with the crystals. You just concentrate on loading them and getting them back to the Liberator. And keep it quiet for a change. We've got another little problem to deal with.

Farin: ( V.O. ) What other...?

Hailee: Nothing to worry about. Just hurry up.

( Hailee switches off the comms. )

Hailee: Orac, monitor all communications around Freedom City. Report anything relating to Avon or Vila.

Orac: Such a task requires a disproportionate expenditure of my resources.

Kyben: Pity about that. Get on with it.

Orac: Very well.

Hailee: Now we wait.


( Krantor's office. Krantor and Toise are present. Avon and Vila are shoved in by guards. )

Vila: There's no need to push.

Krantor: Vila. Avon. So good to see you again.

Avon: We might share the sentiment if the invitation had been less strident.

Krantor: A necessity. After what you pulled on your last visit I wasn't sure you'd have come if I'd simply asked you.

Avon: You're probably right. What do you want?

Krantor: Straight to the point. I like that. I believe that you cheated me out of five million credits when you played that game of speed chess against the Klute. I'm sure you remember it. Add to that the other five million you filched on the Big Wheel and I'd say I have the right to be a little strident with you. To settle the matter I really must insist you play a rematch.

Vila: Oh look, do I have to? I'm fed up of playing chess. What about a nice game of Whist instead...?

Krantor: No no, Vila, my dear boy. You don't have to play.

Vila: Oh, that's very kind of you.

Krantor: I'd prefer it if Avon played instead.

Avon: Oh would you?

Krantor: Well of course. I mean, look at what happened last time. We've all seen what sublime tactical knowledge Vila possesses. What could we possibly learn by putting him forward as the challenger again that we don't already know? You, on the other hand, staking your life on a high tempo battle of wits? Well now, that's unexplored territory.

Avon: You have no idea.

Krantor: I'm curious to see you in action, Avon, to see if you can match the Klute as well as Vila can...

Avon: In other words you're a bad loser.

Krantor: Avon, you show me a good loser, I'll show you a loser.

Vila: ( Mutters. ) You show me a loser, I'll show you a mirror.

Krantor: ( Glowers at Vila coldly. ) To make it more interesting I am willing to offer you the same terms as last time. If you win you get ten million credits.

Avon: Generous. We're not interested.

Krantor: Oh you party poop. Very well. Just pay me back the ten million credits and we'll call it quits.

Avon: Do I look like I have ten million credits in my pocket? I wouldn't be able to stand up straight.

Krantor: Pity. The rematch is being announced as we speak. Still if you can produce the money before the first move, I will, reluctantly, allow you to cancel.

Avon: We'll need to talk to our ship.

Krantor: Of course. You can use this link.

( Krantor gestures to his mirror/screen. )


( Liberator flight deck. )

Zen: Information. A visual message is being received from Freedom City.

Kyben: Put it on the main screen.

( Avon appears on the screen. During the following dialogue the scene moves between the flight deck and Krantor's office. )

Avon: We are being held on charges of cheating the casino. Krantor has offered to settle the issue with a rematch game of speed chess or repayment of the original ten million credits.

Hailee: Ten million? We're not paying a ransom. Blackmail's against our policy.

Avon: I understand.

Hailee: I'm sure you do.

Avon: The game begins in one hour. Out.

( Comm closes and Avon vanishes from the screen. )

Kyben: Against our policy?

Hailee: Well what did you expect me to say? "Sorry, we've only got about fifty credits between us"?

Kyben: All right, so what do we do?

Hailee: Rescue them I suppose.

Orac: If I may have your attention. I am receiving an incoming advertisement transmission from Freedom City, whose content appears to be related to Avon.

Hailee: Let's see it.

( The main screen switches on to show a middle-aged woman in an elaborate suit. She is an announcer, rather like a ringleader at the Big Top. )

Announcer: Ladeeeez and gentlemen! In one hour Freedom City will play host to ze greatest game of speed chess in ze history of ze galaxy. Ze courageous Kerr Avon, daredevil gambler and strategist extraordinaire, 'as issued a challenge to ze mightiest chess player in the Universe... Ze Klute! Avon will gamble his very life on a single game of speed chess, to decide once and for all who is ze greatest chess master the cosmos 'as ever known. Should he succeed, Avon will receive a prize of no fewer zan ten million credits. Roll up, roll up! Come one, come all to Freedom City's most exciting event of ze year.

( Screen closes down. )

Hailee: I could never understand that place. Watching chess is their idea of fun?

Kyben: Ten million. We could buy all the supplies we need twice over with that.

Hailee: In case you hadn't noticed, Avon and Vila haven't got their bracelets. Without Orac's help, even Avon won't have a chance.

Kyben: I know, but... ( Smiles. ) Wait a minute. Of course. Orac?

Orac: Yes?

Kyben: What's your understanding of the game of speed chess?

Orac: Speed chess is a game of chess played with only five seconds allowed to each player, for each move. Should a player take longer than this he loses a pawn. Once all the pawns are gone he loses pieces in rising order of rank...

Kyben: Yeah, thank you, Orac, I don't need a tutorial. What about the Klute?

Orac: The Klute is a master speed chess player. It reacts very quickly to its opponent's moves. As the opponent is playing for his life he invariably begins to panic after a few moves, which leads to mistakes and hence he loses the game. The Klute however, is a product of highly-advanced psycho-kinetic genetic engineering. It therefore has the advantage of not having emotions to interfere with its game.

Kyben: So it thinks like a computer?

Orac: Correct.

Kyben: ( Smiles. ) Further to this, does it assimilate data at a reactionary level or does it purely assess data as presented to it?

Hailee: What are you waffling about?

Kyben: Shh.

Orac: Available information in this area is sparse. My conjecture would be that the Klute's reactions are largely subconscious, and its brain assesses each individual move on its own merits.

Kyben: So if something happened that didn't make sense, it would respond by altering strategy, but it wouldn't really register any surprise or suspicion?

Orac: Correct.

Kyben: ( To Hailee. ) I have an idea.


( Freedom City's cargo hangar. Farin is loading the crate of crystals into Daedalus. He suddenly ducks behind the crate as he sees the Dealer walk in followed by two flight attendants. )

Dealer: ( To attendants. ) Load all my cargo back up. I won't be selling today after all.

Attendant 1: Yes, sir.

( The Dealer leaves, and the flight attendants start loading crates onto his ship, including the crate whose i.d. Hailee falsified. Farin comes out of cover and continues loading the crate of crystals into Daedalus. )


( The Speed Chess Room in Freedom City. The Klute sits behind a raised desk at one end of the room. Several people are sitting on chairs in front of the desk. Certain areas of the room are partitioned off into private areas. The announcer stands in front of the desk, between the Klute and the audience. To a loud fanfare, Krantor and Toise enter, each carrying a money case, followed by Avon, Vila and four guards. Hailee emerges from behind a partition and moves to intercept them. She shakes Avon's and Vila's hands each in turn. )

Hailee: ( To Avon. ) Good luck, old boy. ( To Vila. ) Relax, Vila, I'm sure your life's in safe hands.

Vila: ( Without enthusiasm. ) Thanks.

Krantor: Who are you?

Hailee: I'm their Commanding Officer.

( Hailee gestures at Avon and Vila, who give her disbelieving looks. )

Avon: ( Whispers to Vila. ) Commander Hailee?

Krantor: I hope I'm not going to have any trouble with you.

Hailee: There won't be ANY trouble. Any at all. I can't wait for the contest to begin.

( Avon and Vila look at each other in surprise and then glare at Hailee who winks at them and takes a seat. The guards lead Avon to the spare chair next to the Klute and force him to sit down. Vila has a wire attached to his wrist and plugged into Avon's chair. Avon mouths "What are you doing?" at Hailee, who mouths "Trust me" back. )

Announcer: Zis match will commence in one minute. Should Avon win he will take away ten million credits. Should he lose, both he and Vila will suffer death by electrocution. Ze Klute plays only for ze chance to activate ze electric chair in which Avon is sitting and to which Vila's central nervous system is directly connected. That is ze Klute's only privilege. Quel domage.

Hailee: ( Whispers into bracelet. ) Ready?

Kyben: ( V.O. ) I'm ready. I just hope Orac doesn't start sulking about having two jobs to do.

Krantor: Avon, the Klute offers you the advantage of the White pieces, and the first move. ( Spreads his arms dramatically. ) Let the game begin.

( Avon makes the first move. The Klute counters and they play for several minutes until Avon emerges victorious. Avon stands up and he and Vila cross to Hailee in a daze. )

Krantor: No. That's impossible. Guards detain them. ( To Hailee. ) You will all stay here until we get to the bottom of this.

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Now Orac.

( Kyben teleports in behind Krantor and Toise. He aims his gun at Krantor. )

Kyben: Still, all of you. One wrong move and you're looking for a new boss.

( Kyben relieves Krantor and Toise of the money cases. )

Hailee: Nice timing, Doc, but er, you need to work on the dialogue.

Krantor: I have six guards in this room and only one of you is armed. How do you expect to get away?

( Hailee slips teleport bracelets to Avon and Vila.)

Hailee: Like this. ( Into bracelet. ) Orac, teleport.

( Avon, Vila, Hailee and Kyben teleport away. )

Krantor: ( Shouts. ) No! Call the guardships. Destroy them.


( Liberator Teleport section. Everyone is busy putting their bracelets away, and removing their gun-belts. )

Avon: I wondered what you were playing at there for a while.

Hailee: We thought we might have a chance of getting our hands on the ten million credits.

Kyben: Sorry for gambling with your lives for money like that. I guess it's just we have the utmost faith in you both.

Vila: Faith?

Kyben: We knew Avon would win.

Avon: I didn't. I still don't understand what happened back there. Every couple of turns the Klute made just the move I wanted him to.

Hailee: No it didn't. Tell them, Kyben.

Kyben: The chess computer wasn't controlling the game. It was Orac.

Vila: Eh?

Kyben: The Klute is a human-machine. It has lightning-quick thought processes but dull reflexes. The moves it keyed into the game-machine were overridden by Orac and because the Klute thinks like a computer it didn't notice that the moves on the screen didnt match what it chose. It just responded to what it saw with the most logical long-term move when its next turn came around.

Avon: ( Grudgingly. ) Ah. Clever.

Kyben: Why thank you.

Hailee: Why are you thanking him? We saved HIS life.

Avon: You also risked it.

Hailee: I like a risk. Especially when the cards are stacked in my favour.

Avon: ( Smiles. ) Ironic isn't it? We had to spend five million credits we didn't have, and suddenly we've gained ten million credits we didn't have.

Vila: That's good.

Hailee: Yeah, it's like...

Zen: ( V.O. ) Information. The freighter Daedalus has successfully docked with the Liberator.

Vila: That's good.

Zen: ( V.O. ) Sensors detect Freedom City Guardships have moved to engage Liberator's present position.

Vila: That's good. ( Face falls. ) No wait. That's bad. That's very bad!

Zen: ( V.O. ) Confirmed.

( Everyone heads for the Flight Deck at a run. When they arrive they get to their positions. )

Avon: Zen. Put up the force wall. Take us out of here. Speed standard by eight. Optimum evasive trajectory.

Zen: Confirmed.

( The Liberator turns and heads away from the guardships, accelerating all the time. One of the guardships opens fire. )

Zen: Plasma bolt launch.

Hailee: ( Hauling on the controls. ) Evading.

( The plasma bolt brushes past the Liberator. Two more ships fire. )

Zen: Double plasma bolt launch.

Hailee: Only two? This is like playing tag!

( Hailee coolly guides the Liberator out of the firing line. )

Vila: Oh this isn't doing my stomach much good.

Hailee: Hold onto your guts for a just a few more seconds, Vila.

( Hailee suddenly swings the ship around 180 degrees on a wide arc, heading back toward its pursuers. )

Vila: What the Hell are you-...?

( Liberator and the guardships hurtle towards each other at increasing speeds. Vila and Kyben look panicked, Avon looks calmly entertained. Hailee grits her teeth as she aims the Liberator's prow toward the nearest guardship, dead on. )

Kyben: Hailee, what are you doing?

Hailee: Relax, shiner. Just having some fun.

Vila: ( Gripping the control panel for dear life. ) Fun? Did she say fun?

Hailee: ( Determined grin. ) I'm betting they'll swerve first.

Vila: Betting what? Your life?

Hailee: Sure. You and Avon did it earlier. Why can't I join in?

Vila: Go kill yourself when no one else is around! I'm not insured.

Hailee: ( Shrugs. ) Oh, well in that case.

( Just as the ships look certain to collide at mind-numbing speed, Hailee pushes forward on the helm and the Liberator dips "below" the guardships, which are also scattering in all directions in some panic. Hailee takes advantage of their confusion to turn Liberator onto a course that takes it directly away from both the guardships and Freedom City. Her face lights up in a smile that Vila would doubtless find captivating if he weren't scared down to his socks. Kyben lets out a long-held breath and slumps into his seat, overwhelmed by the terrifying adrenaline-rush of Hailee's crazy battle tactics. Avon merely gives Hailee a nod of quiet admiration, which Hailee seems to appreciate. )

Hailee: ( Coolly. ) Damn. I lost the bet.

Vila: ( Wearily. ) Does that mean you lose your life too?

Hailee: In your dreams, slack-pants. Like I say, I like a risk when the cards are stacked in my favour.

Vila: But, where's the risk if the cards are stacked in...?

Zen: Information. Speed is now standard by eight. Liberator is beyond range of Freedom City guardships' weaponry systems. Battle computers indicate that guardships are breaking off pursuit.

Avon: Good.

( Avon steps away from his station and seats himself in the central pit. )

Avon: A pity we didn't find those other supplies we needed. But there are other places nearby where we can find them.

Hailee: And we can definitely afford them now.

( Farin wanders onto the Flight Deck, casually carrying a handful of crystals. )

Farin: I did it, I did it! These'll do the trick.

Avon: ( Bored. ) Our hero.

Farin: ( Smiles proudly. ) I'll have you know it was really difficult work... ( Somewhat displeased. ) ...seeing how I had to do it all on my own. By the way, someone ought to check the stabilisers on the port side some time. The ship was really shaking up for a while back there.

Hailee: ( Sarcastic. ) Was it? I wonder what caused that.

Farin: Well like I say, it's probably one of the stabilisers on the...

Hailee: ( Irritated. ) Thanks, Farin, we'll check it... ( Under her breath. ) ...on the day our brains fall through our knees.

Farin: Jolly good.

( Farin drops the crystals onto the table in the pit. )

Farin: So. Anything interesting happen while I was away?

( The others all look at each other, then glower at Farin. )





This is very similar to the original version of Freedom from Neil Blissett's version, with a few modifications, some different scenes at the beginning, and for reasons of time I've had to axe the lengthy aquitar sequence at the end.

I've also had the crew steal the crystals rather than buy them, as I thought this sub-plot was a good vehicle for emphasising Avon's sense of cunning.

The plan for winning the speed chess-match is also slightly different as I did think that Orac taking control of the Klute was a bit of a "get-out", especially as I'm not convinced that the Klute is a computer anyway. The effects of the new plan are essentially the same, but the mechanics are just a tad more complex.

This episode has been patched several times. The biggest change was made a couple of years ago so that Avon, not Vila, is put forward as the Klute's opponent from the outset. I've also extended the end of the episode, as I realised the previous version was probably a little under-long.



Neil Blissett:

A direct parallel to the Freedom story in the main project, this script changes only the way the Klute is beaten and how the crystals are acquired (although they have been extensively re-written to account for the different characters).

In the revised version of this episode there are minor changes throughout. These are mainly a few words of dialogue here and there where Martin has taken the opportunity to tidy up a few things and make the lines more characteristic of the people saying them. The major changes are the speed chess game and the extra battle sequence at the end.

The cut-aways to the President are give a tempting glimpse of future developments. The return of Veron and Dev Tarrant are an interesting side-line.


Jane Walton:

Orac has over-ride chips to stop him interrupting, since when?!

Ah yes, now I thought that this reference might provoke a few baffled looks. It's just a bit of licence I gave myself. There's nothing in the series that actually contradicts this, and the thing I've always noticed about Orac is that he's awfully polite for someone so irrascible. What I mean is that whenever someone cuts in on him he immediately shuts up, and he tends not to interrupt other people unless it's urgent. Even then he usually says things like "If I might be permitted to point out..."

Considering Ensor was constantly interrupting Blake and Cally when they met him, and Orac is supposed to reflect his personality so closely, it strikes me as odd that Orac always waits for people to finish speaking before speaking himself, no matter how rude or pompous his comments turn out to be. As he's got such a hideous superiority complex, he'd behave like he did at the beginning of Freedom more often (i.e. not letting anyone get a word in edgeways), and this seemed a good explanation for why he doesn't.

I like your portrayal of Orac though, he is his usual, objectionable and irritating self!

He's always like that  -  but then why change perfection?

I find the alternate version of how to beat ze Klute to be a lot more believable than the Sequel version. I'm still arguing the point with Neil that Orac couldn't control other computers, only communicate with them and feed information in to confuse them!

As a matter of fact, I agree with Neil on that point  -  I believe that Orac can control other computers. The reason why I changed the mechanics of the Speed Chess plan was that I'm not convinced that the Klute is a computer at all.

I still find it hard to believe that Krantor wouldn't have had a nasty surprise up his sleeve. If I were him, I would've been plotting their downfall since the minute they escaped in Gambit. He seems the vengeful type to me.

I disagree. I just don't think Krantor's bright enough to think up contingencies. Besides, much as he'd have been gasping for vengeance, I don't think he'd bother thinking up an elaborate scheme after Gambit, as he probably didn't expect to see Avon or Vila again.

Stealing the crystals is infinitely better than magically producing the money to buy them. They are wanted criminals not honest businessmen anyway.

I've read the revised version of Freedom. I like Hailee's battle scene at the end. It gives us a hint of the type of person she used to be before she joined the Liberator, shows her wild and reckless side.

"Reckless" is an overstatement. "Unorthodox" is more accurate. She's very canny and wise beyond her years, so she wouldn't be reckless. But wild? Yes, there's plenty of that in her.

I'm surprised that she doesn't let this side of herself out more, after all she was her own boss for a long time and then she found herself forced into working as a team with a bunch of outlaws she didn't know and mostly didn't like. It seems to me that she adapted remarkably quickly.

That's just it, she hasn't. The main reason why Hailee's always lashing out at the other members of the crew is frustration, because she usually has to bite her fingers and not behave the way she does at the end of Freedom. You notice how cheerful she was after playing chicken with the guardships? She's normally a bit of an ingrate because she knows the others just won't let her behave like that very often, but when she does get the chance to be a bit reckless, she feels so much better for it. She's not adapting quickly, she's just a jigsaw piece getting forced into the wrong space, grating and complaining as she gets squeezed into the slot. Yes, she's very tough, very streetwise, and well capable of insulting people, but she was normally cheerful about it before she joined the Liberator crew. If she had adapted as smoothly as you're suggesting, she'd be less noisy or coarse.


Brian McLennan:

I thought that Freedom passes the time quite well, but that most of the changes you made from Neil Blissett's version were unnecessary. The dialogue alterations were all perfectly reasonable because of the different characters of course, but I thought the mechanics of the episode were fine the way they were.

For the most part I agree, but then I think the mechanics are also fine as they are now, so no harm done. In most cases I just fancied doing things a different way - or someone else, (mentioning no names, Ms Walton), talked me into it. Indulge me.

I also stand by the changes I made to the speed chess plan as entirely necessary, as there is no indication whatsoever in Gambit that the Klute is a computer. Indeed Vila, unreliable though his knowledge may be, explicitly stated that it was not.

I notice that you keep changing the insult that the dealer throws at Kyben!

The "lemonade" line that the dealer made to Nij Blake in Neil's version was an absolute gem, so I wanted to keep it in. Unfortunately, while Kyben is no old codger (he'd be late-twenties/early thirties) he isn't young enough for the line to make much sense, so I toyed with a few different ones that refered to his eyepatch instead. The engine oil one would've worked better if Kyben were a mutoid, but not as things stand so in the end I got rid of it and settled on the "slice of cucumber" remark (the implication being that Kyben has a black eye, which in a manner of speaking he has).

My replies are in ORANGE ITALICS


Season One Scripts