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 XIV - Zealots


( A computer read-out displays page-upon-page of digital and diagrammatic information. The subject of the read-out is Herculania-class Battle Drones. A computer voice intones key details. )

Computer: The core of each drone is powered by pure plasma energy, the concentration of which can be reliably stored in such limited space. Power converters transfer this power in the form of thermal energy into the central distributor, which then redirects the power in second-long discharges to any systems in active operation. This discharge of thermal energy from the core to internal systems can be any current up to and including the equivalent of forty thousand kilowatts per second, dependent upon whichever systems are in operation. The power demands of each internal system are listed on-screen now...

( The screen is flooded with statistics far quicker than most minds could follow. Avon is seated in front of the screen, in his quarters. His eyes run over the screen rapidly, reading and digesting all the information without difficulty. )

Computer: Each drone is guided by a network of three Central Processing Units - an internal unit operating within the cerebral housing, a motivational guidance unit interfaced directly with the above from the upper torso, and a remote sub-beam access to the central guidance control net...

Avon: Hold.

( The computer read-outs pause. )

Avon: Where? Where is it?

Computer: Does not compute.

Avon: Where can we find the remote guidance control net? All we know is that it is an amalgamation of four dead human brains somewhere within Federation space. Where does it operate from?

Computer: Negative information.

Avon: Then speculate.

Computer: Unrecognised command.

Avon: ( Scowling. ) Then I'll have to ask Orac. Continue.


( Torpedo bay. All the crew bar Avon and Hailee are present, gathered round a torpedo launch tube. Orac is switched on. Soolin solemnly places a small casket into the tube.

Soolin: You could be aggravating, you could be foolish, and you were incapable of manners. But you were one of us, Farin. I never really understood what that phrase meant in the Past - "One of us" I mean. It sounded mindless, tribalistic. But I do know now, I know what needing people means, and that there's nothing wrong with it. And that's why I thought this was the least we could do. It's not much, a small memorial like this. But I know it's right.

( Nij Blake closes the tube and signals to Orac with a snap of his fingers. )

Orac: Does that gesture mean something?

Kyben: ( Angry. ) He means get on with it, Orac!

Orac: I must repeat my conviction that this procedure represents a gross misuse of vital resources that would serve the Liberator better if they were preserved for times of combat or...

( Blake pulls out Oracs key and hurls it aside. )

Nij Blake: I told you we shouldn't have brought this glorified radio along. He's got no sense of dignity. Launch manually.

Vila: All right.

( Vila heads over to the firing controls and operates them. After a moment, the tiny casket fires from the Liberator's launch tube and burns brightly as it flies into the vacuum, slowly fading into the distance as a faint speck of light. Vila, Soolin, Kyben and Blake bow their heads for a moment. Blake then retrieves Orac's key, shaking his head sadly. Kyben picks up Orac, then the four of them shuffle out. )


( Flight Deck. Hailee is at the controls, looking bored. Vila, Soolin, Blake and Kyben walk in. Kyben puts Orac down on the table in the pit. )

Hailee: Finished?

Soolin: Uh huh.

Hailee: Good, so we can get moving. We've wasted too much time as it is.

Vila: Why's a funeral a waste of time?

Hailee: Worry about the living first or there'll be a lot more funerals.

Kyben: Why are you always like this?

Hailee: Like what?

Kyben: Like death doesn't concern you.

Hailee: Does it have to?

Kyben: There you go again. You really think people are impressed that you don't care, don't you? We're not you know.

Hailee: Kyben, my own cousin tried to kill me the other day. Pardon me if I'm a bit too worried about avoiding death to worry about someone else's.

( Kyben sits in the pit, head in hands, and sobs slightly. The others look at him in astonishment. )

Soolin: Kyben?

Vila: What's wrong? I didn't think you even liked Farin.

Soolin: Mouth closed, Vila.

Kyben: ( Shaking his head, anguished. ) I can't deal with all this. I swear, one more death is all it'll take.

Nij Blake: One more death? For what?

Kyben: To send me right over the edge.

Hailee: What, and this is you sane is it? I only ask for information's sake.

Soolin: ( Putting a hand on Kybens shoulder. ) Shut up, Hailee...

Hailee: Don't tell me to shut up, bimbo.

Soolin: ( Hisses. ) I'll do a lot worse in a minute.

( Hailee flinches when she sees the look in Soolins eyes and falls quiet. )

Soolin: Kyben, what do you mean you can't deal with this? You're a doctor, you must have seen people dying all the time.

Kyben: ( Distantly. ) I... was a different person once. I was stronger. ( Narrows eye. ) Then I learned to care. I learned to value people. ( Very quietly. ) To value life.

( Kyben suddenly gets to his feet and storms out. The others exchange quiet looks of amazement. Avon walks in from the other corridor. )

Avon: I notice the level of conversation on this ship remains of the highest philosophical standard.

Vila: Oh joy, it's another edition of "Avons Comedy Hour."

Avon: With you as my special guest star? No wonder people keep trying to kill me. Whilst you have all wasted the last few hours mourning our dearly departed pyromaniac...

Hailee: Not quite all of us.

Avon: I have made use of that valuable time to assimilate the data weve obtained.

Vila: Oh that IS interesting.

Avon: Quite. The files contained no clear indication of where we should attempt to search for the control net. However, they should still be invaluable to the various resistance groups. This information and the vaccine for Pylene-50 should give us some bargaining power.

Vila: Oh? Think we can hold the Outer Planets to ransom?

Avon: Absolutely.

Soolin: Ransom? Why?

Avon: Vila is deeply concerned because weve run out of wine again. He wants us to restock as soon as possible, and if nothing else, blackmail can be quick.

Vila: Just thinking of the crew's morale.

( Avon glares at Vila for just a moment. )

Avon: I need Orac's assistance. Key?

( Blake hands over Orac's activator key. Avon slots it into place. )

Avon: Orac, the Liberator's computers have deciphered the information we required for the Herculania Battle Drones. This includes the exact sub-beam frequency for the guidance control net. Can you use this frequency to trace possible sources and destinations for the signals?

Orac: I am not a communications relay unit...

Avon: I'm not asking you to relay communications, I'm asking you to monitor information, like you normally do. Can you use the guidance net's communications to trace the source? That is all I'm asking, I expect an answer.

Orac: The answer is yes.

Avon: I thought it might be. Patch yourself into Liberator's database, assimilate all the information you require and begin.

Orac: Very we-...

( Avon unplugs Orac's key. )

Avon: We must be able to find something, even if it's only a relay point. There has to be something we can trace back to source.

Vila: Look at him, he's getting all fired up, bless 'im.

Avon: The thrill of the chase, Vila. And the reassuring knowledge that I can use expendable thieves as cannon fodder when we attack.


( Flotilla of Federation Pursuit ships orbiting the Earth's moon. On Pursuit One, Dev Tarrant and Commander Kreel are standing reading logistical data on a computer screen. Mutoids man the controls. )

Kreel: Conclusion: It can only be some form of cloaking device. I see no continuity in these sightings otherwise. I judge the Liberator cannot be reliably tracked under these conditions. Even the recent skirmish with its crew on Earth is of no indicative value.

Dev Tarrant: Agreed. Servalan's disappearance meanwhile has been total.

Kreel: I theorise she is in hiding while her allies continue her anti-Federation work. I maintain our best hope of reaching Servalan is through identifying her supporters in the Administration and the High Council.

Dev Tarrant: Very well. Although I imagine the President is already taking action in that regard. Whatever the case, neither the Administration nor the Council are under our present jurisdiction.

Kreel: So we treat the Liberator as priority?

Dev Tarrant: Indeed. It is after all, the symbol of opposition. Mutoids?

Mutoid 1: Yes Kommisar?

Dev Tarrant: Plot a course for the Zarnoq system, speed Time Distort Nine.

( The Flotilla moves out of orbit and into Space. )


( The Liberator crosses the Federation frontier and enters the Outer Planets. In the Medical Bay, Kyben is sipping an Adrenaline and Soma and looking very distressed. Soolin walks in and looks at him in alarm. )

Soolin: Kyben, you look like Hell.

Kyben: So that's what happens to Charm school dropouts.

Soolin: Yes, we become staters of the obvious.

Kyben: ( Takes another sip. ) I'm sure I'll live with it. Is there anything I can do for you?

Soolin: I just thought you should know, we've left Federation Space and we're heading into the Outer Planets. We're going to try and use the information we've gained to buy support from the Neutral planets.

Kyben: Support? From NEUTRAL planets? Avon has a funny definition of Neutral.

Soolin: Hysterical.

Kyben: Is that all you wanted to tell me? Why not just use the intercom?

Soolin: I was worried about you.

Kyben: ( Drains the rest of the glass and gives Soolin a slightly drunken look. ) I appreciate the thought, Soolin. But right now I need a whole lot more than worry.

Soolin: Like what?

Kyben: ( Sits on a couch and looks sorry for himself. ) Like out of here. Why did I defect? I had everything I could ever want with the Feder-...

( Soolin steps up to him angrily, grabs his face firmly in her fingers and twists it up to look at her. Kyben drops the empty glass in surprise. It shatters on the floor. )

Soolin: Don't you even go there, Kyben. You've nothing to be proud of from those days.

Kyben: And now? Jemecca's dead, Stella's dead, Farin's dead... at least when I was in the Medical Division I was saving lives, now I seem to be sacrificing them. What's there to be proud of in that, Soolin? I'm surrounded by the thing I hate the most.

Soolin: What?

Kyben: I'm surrounded by death. I can't cope... I don't deserve this.

Soolin: ( Shocked. ) Deserve? You did some unnecessary surgery a few years ago or have you forgotten?

Kyben: ( Quietly. ) No I haven't forgotten. I wish I could forget everything. ( Becomes tearful. ) I wish I could forget everything I've done. I wish I could forget everyone I ever knew. I wish I could forget everything I am. ( Whispers. ) I can't live like this.

( Soolin sits next to him and puts an arm round him. )

Kyben: Never mind what I deserve, Soolin. It's not about that. Im just not a soldier, I cant cope with all this death...

( Soolin and Kyben kiss. )


( Liberator arrives in orbit around the planet Craeus. On the Flight Deck, Avon, Vila and Blake are present, looking impassive, bored, and impatient respectively. A visual of the planet is on the main screen. )

Nij Blake: Doesn't look very promising.

Avon: Appearances can be so deceptive. There are so many things in the Galaxy that promise little, appear frail and valueless, but still prove to have their uses.

( Vila looks resentful when he realises Avon and Blake are staring at him. )

Nij Blake: ( Tries to hide a smile. ) I wasn't talking about what's on the screen. ( Holds up a data module. ) I'm talking about the readout on this. It says the population of Craeus is largely primitive, no real development since it was colonised in the twenty fifth century of the Old Calendar.

Avon: I'm aware of that. In fact there was serious regression there throughout the days of the First Empire right up until the start of the Atomic Wars.

Vila: How come?

Avon: It was settled by a number of devout religious groups. They spent years arguing with each other about which God was real, then years more FIGHTING each other about which God was real. About the only thing they could ever agree on was that technological development was not merely unnecessary but sinful. By the time the Holy War was over they'd all started working backwards through the realms of scientific achievement, until their whole world had entered the blessed state of total harmony with the Holiest One.

Vila: I love a happy ending.

Avon: Then you'll be disappointed here. Eleven years ago one of the Resistance groups not answerable to Bran Foster surrendered to the Federation, in the mistaken belief that they would be granted amnesty.

Vila: They sound naive.

Avon: Every one of the resistors was deported to Craeus. The Administrations intention was to execute the lot of them on arrival. A large number of the resistors escaped the massacre however and hid among the local populace. The Federation decided there was no need to slaughter anyone else as there was no way the resistors could get off the planet, so they just left. Thereafter the resistors brought their Unbelieving ways into Craeus' society and fighting broke out again, between the religious groups and the Technologists.

Vila: Sounds a bit like Chenga. Who won?

Avon: No idea. No one from off-planet's been near the place since before the Galactic War. I'm hoping the Technologists won, though. They're an obvious possible ally.

Vila: ( Nods wisely. ) Obvious.

Avon: ( Not even looking at Vila. ) You lost track of what I was saying ages ago, didn't you?

Vila: I can't help it, you're very dreary to talk to.

Avon: If you find talking to me dreary then don't talk.

Nij Blake: But that's the bottom line, we're here to get recruits from the Technologists?

Avon: Correct. The more I learn about the battle drones the more I'm convinced we need reinforcements before we can try to fight them.

Nij Blake: Former Federation resistors? Sounds reasonable.

( Hailee enters. )

Hailee: What's reasonable?

Nij Blake: We're going to make some new friends.

Hailee: ( Looks nauseous. ) Oh how wonderful. Lots of new little school-chums for you to play tag with, eh Blake?

( Blake looks annoyed. Avon and Vila smile. )

Avon: She takes my breath away sometimes. ( Opens comms. ) Soolin, meet us in the teleport section. ( Closes comms. ) Hailee, Blake, get the guns.

Vila: Does that mean I don't have to go down there with you?

Avon: Of course you're coming with us, Vila. I'm sure we'll need your remarkable diplomatic skills.

Vila: ( Unhappy. ) Oh. Well in that case, I'd love to tag along.


( The renegade Federation Ship Pursuit 5 plows through Neutral Space. On board, Servalan sits in the command seat. Norcris and two other Pirates are at the controls. )

Norcris: We'll be crossing into the Twelfth Sector in seventeen minutes, my Empress.

Servalan: Refreshing to be ahead of schedule for once. It's also surprising to find a bunch of mindless mercenaries are by far the most reliable servants I've ever had at my disposal.

Norcris: I thank you for the compliment, my Empress. But I still fail to understand why we are heading so far beyond the Federation's frontier.

Servalan: And I still fail to see why you need to understand.

Norcris: It might make our services in the name of our beloved Empress more effective...

Servalan: Unlikely. But I will reveal that even when I've possessed the most powerful weapons in the Galaxy, I've always looked for contingencies. This is one of them.

Norcris: Contingency, maam?

Servalan: That's right, Norcris. You see, for a very brief time I controlled the Liberator, but I knew even then that I might need a fail-safe plan in case I ever lost it. Now with the Liberator's rebirth, combined with knowledge I uncovered while I controlled her, I've learned exactly how to do it. We are about to claim the key to power untold. Ahead, Norcris. Ahead to Astro point-seven-eight-one.

( Pursuit 5 continues on its way. )


( Liberator teleport section. All bar Kyben are present. Avon, Blake, Soolin and Vila are kitted up, Hailee is sat at the controls. )

Avon: If Kyben chooses to grace you with his presence at some point he can take over here while you take the Flight Deck.

Hailee: Thanks. I'm wasted here.

Avon: Yes, I'm sorry you're having to descend to Vila's level...

Vila: Oy!

Avon: ...But I'm sure Kyben will fit the role just perfectly.

Soolin: Give Kyben a break, Avon.

Avon: He's taken a break that has lasted over five hours, Soolin. I don't think a few mild insults will do him any harm.

Soolin: Nor would leaving him alone.

Avon: ( Knowing look. ) Is that what you've been doing?

( Soolin looks embarrassed, then lines up in the teleport bay. )

Soolin: Let's just go.

( Avon raises his eyebrows slightly, then, he, Blake and Vila join Soolin in the teleport bay. )

Hailee: Ready?

Avon: And waiting.

( Hailee operates the controls and Avon et al vanish. )


( Surface of Craeus. Avon, Blake, Soolin and Vila materialise, draw their guns and glance about. After a moment they put their guns away. It is late evening here, and they are in a dark wooded area. The undergrowth has a reddish tinge to it. )

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) Down and safe. We'll call in again when weve found a local settlement.

Vila: I hope there arent any of those Skar-things in this place.

Avon: Why would there be?

Vila: They would be. Just to annoy.

Avon: Where the annoyance you cause is incidental?

Vila: Yeah. ( Thinks for a moment. ) That was an insult wasn't it?

Avon: Yes.

Soolin: Yes.

Nij Blake: Yes.

Avon: According to the sensors on the Liberator there's a settlement about half a mile to the East. Let's move.

Nij Blake: How do we know if they're going to be friendly?

Avon: Without telepathic help there's no way we can know is there? Other than paying a visit of course. Come on.

( They all set off into the woods. )


( Liberator teleport section. Hailee is here twiddling her thumbs. Kyben walks in, looking haggard. )

Hailee: Where have you been sulking all day, you sissy?

Kyben: Shut up, Hailee.

Hailee: That's the second time someone's said that today...

Kyben: Well maybe it has a meaning. Like everyone wants you to stop talking for once. Try it.

Hailee: I don't take orders from you, Kyben, or your girlfriend.

Kyben: ( Narrows eye. ) Who?

Hailee: Kyben, I've seen the way you and Soolin have been fawning all over each other ever since she came out of the coma. It's really pathetic. The only thing more sickening is the way you keep pretending it's not true.

Kyben: ( Angry. ) Shut up anyway.

Hailee: What's eating you, Kyben? Withdrawal symptoms? Not operated on enough brains recently?

Kyben: I haven't shot anyone in a while ether.

Hailee: Is that what passes for a threat in your book?

Kyben: You can treat it any way you like. Now get out, it's my turn on duty.

Hailee: ( Getting up. ) Suits me. Seeing you're so eager, you can do a double-shift if you like. ( Heads for the exit. )

Kyben: If it means not having to talk to you for the rest of the day, I'll be glad to.

( Hailee exits. Kyben sits behind the console and buries his head in his hands. )


( Outskirts of a village on Craeus. Avon and the others are here at the top of a hill, looking down on the village below through electro-binoculars. The village is very rural in shape, size and character. A mixture of sturdy huts and a market square. The largest building is a modest chapel, at the heart of the village. The twilight is fading quickly. )

Vila: Primitive did you say? There are parts of the Animal Kingdom on Earth that are more advanced than this.

Avon: ( Nodding. ) All we'd need are a few sand dunes and we'd be looking at the Sarrans.

Nij Blake: They must be one of the religious groups down there.

Soolin: I'd say that's a good bet. Did Zen find any other settlements we can try? I don't think the people here are going to be very sympathetic.

Avon: There's another place a mile further along to the south. We'll skirt around the village and push on. As you say, the locals won't be too sympathetic, so I'd rather we didn't run into...

( A voice calls out from behind them. )

Stish 1: Hold it there!

Vila: ( Grimaces calmly, then turns and looks at Avon. ) That was a silly thing you just said y'know.

Avon: ( Looks back at him. ) Yes. I've obviously been talking to you too much.

( They all slowly turn to see three men dressed in medieval tabards and armed with crossbows. The crossbows are aimed at Avon. )

Stish 2: Who is you people? We don't knows you.

Avon: We're just travelers. We...

Stish 3: You's entruding on Stitenhame! Why is you here?

Vila: Intruding on what?

Stish 1: Stitenhame. Is you anti-stits? Who is you?

Avon: I'm sorry, we don't know what you...

( The three men walk closer. The leader grabs at Avon's gun. Avon tries to stop him but gives up when the other two wave their crossbows in his face. The leader pulls the gun from Avon's holster and examines it in growing horror and alarm. )

Stish 1: What is this?

Stish 3: It does looks like a wippon of some kind. Likes the ancients once created.

Stish 2: They is anti-stits! They must be.

( Soolin pulls out her gun but even before she can fire, Stish 3 grabs Avon and holds the crossbow to his head. )

Stish 3: Drop it. Drop the devil's tool, drop it!

Soolin: ( Aims the gun at the Leader. ) We outnumber you you know.

Stish 1: He'd be deaded soon as you's fires.

Soolin: ( Head on one sie. ) That's a shame. So would you though, I think that's a big consolation.

( Avon suddenly swings his elbows backwards and catches Stish 3 in the ribs. He springs to the side just as Stish 2 opens fire. The bolt misses Avon and buries itself in Stish 3's side. Stish 3 cries in pain. Blake leaps at Stish 2 with a snarl of relish and knocks him cold. Soolin drops to the floor and trips the Leader before he can fire. Throughout all this Vila has been on his knees covering his head with his hands. As soon as the fight ends he glances up, then stands, and dusts himself down. )

Vila: Wimps...!

Nij Blake: Thanks for your support, Vila.

Vila: You know me. One for all, and every man for himself.

( Avon picks up his gun and aims it at the Stish Leader. He is about to fire... )

Soolin: No!

Avon: Why not?

Soolin: They may know where we can find a Technologist camp.

( The Stish Leader looks at Stish 3. )

Stish 1: Anti-stit monsters! Sees what your foul tek-nollijy is done to him?

Soolin: I think it was your own weapons that did it, actually.

( Stish 3 whimpers with pain as he tries, unsuccessfully to remove the bolt. )

Stish 3: Help... please...

( The Stish Leader crawls over to his side. )

Stish 1: Oh, the blood... Great Gods Above, comes to our aid.

Avon: As a matter of fact, WE might be able to help him. But first you have to help us.

Stish 1: ( Stares at him. ) Why should I helps filthy anti-stit heretics like you?

Avon: I don't know what this thing you're calling us is supposed to be, but it doesn't sound very flattering.

Stish 1: It isn't.

Avon: Which means you're not being very wise. Not if you want your friend to survive. We can get him medical attention, or we can kill him. What would you like me to do?


( Liberator teleport section. Kyben is still sitting here looking depressed. )

Soolin: ( V.O. ) Liberator? Liberator, come in.

Kyben: ( Into comms. ) Liberator here, go ahead Soolin.

Soolin: ( V.O. ) Feeling any better?

Kyben: ( Into comms. ) No.

Soolin: ( V.O.) Good. We have a little job for you. Might cheer you up.


( Liberator Flight Deck. Hailee is at the helm, snoozing quietly. )

Kyben: ( V.O. ) Hailee. Hailee!

( Hailee wakes up. )

Hailee: Wh-what? ( Shakes her head to clear the cobwebs, then activates comms. ) What is it?

Kyben: ( V.O. ) Come to the teleport section, I need to go down to the surface. And bring me a clip-gun.


( Teleport section. Hailee is seating herself at the controls. Kyben is putting on his gun-belt and bracelet. He has a medi-kit at his feet. )

Kyben: Apparently the wound is so deep they need a professional. That's where I come in.

Hailee: Oo. "A professional," he says.

Kyben: It's what I am...

Hailee: I've got a my own ideas about what you are.

Kyben: Put me down about a hundred metres from them.

Hailee: Oh? Why? Don't you trust Avon?

Kyben: No of course not.

Hailee: All right, ya lousy chicken.

Kyben: Just teleport me.

Hailee: If you'd hurry up and get ready...

( Kyben grabs the medi-kit and steps into the teleport bay. )

Kyben: I'm ready!

( Hailee operates the controls and Kyben teleports out. )

Hailee: ( Shakes her head. ) Someone needs to relax a bit.


( Outskirts of village on Craeus. At the top of the hill, three stishes remain under Avon's armed guard. At the foot of the hill Kyben teleports in. He draws his gun and glances around, then puts it away again. He starts up the hill, furtively. At the top, Stish 3 is weeping with pain. There is a lot of blood flowing over his fingers as they clutch his wound. He has not been able to remove the crossbow bolt. )

Stish 1: The foul anti-stits does hurts us for being more righteous than they is...

Vila: Self-righteous you mean.

Stish 1: ( Angered. ) We is RIGHTEOUS! They is wrong. You is wrong! We fights them till they is made righteous or they is all dead.

Soolin: Sounds like a dictatorship to me.

Stish 1: The Gods does frown on anti-stition! We is not oppresses, we is right. We makes them right, we not lets them hurts us no more. We makes them makes us no deaded no more.

Soolin: ( Narrows eyes. ) They hurt you, did you say?

Stish 1: They hurts us. They says we's wrong. We is righteous!

( Soolin and Blake exchange blank looks. Avon and Vila walk off to one side. )

Avon: From what he's told us I think I can at least understand the expressions he uses.

Vila: You do?

Avon: Think. Even before the Federation outlawed them all, religions were seen by many people as a form of superstition. Presumably therefore, anti-stit is simply short for "Anti-superstition". They use the term to describe Unbelievers it seems. These people on the other hand do believe in God. Or Gods. They are superstitious, so their opponents in the Holy War nicknamed them stishes, or something similar, for short. The names simply stuck.

Vila: Ah. Well, I know whose side I'm on.

( Avon looks at him doubtfully for a moment. )

Vila: Well it's the same old story isn't it? People using their religious beliefs as an excuse to attack everyone else. Who needs a pack of religious fanatics?

Stish 1: We is NOT fanatics! We is righteous! We fights the not-righteous, till they lets us be righteous...

Vila: ( Rolls his eyes. ) So what's your idea of fanatics then?

Avon: ( To stishes. ) Be quiet. We can always send our Doctor back to the ship if you keep irritating us.

Stish 1: We no needs yours Doc-toring. We has faith in the Righteous ones, faith in the Gods Almighty...

Avon: Faith healing is aesthetically pleasing I cannot deny it. But in my experience, a poetry-recital will not help a man when he's bleeding to death. That bolt is dangerously-close to your friend's liver. He needs expert treatment and he needs it soon.

Nij Blake: Speaking of which, where's Kyben got to?


( Kyben is watching from behind some bushes about a hundred yards away. He is about to step out from the cover when a gun barrel points against his damaged cheek. He turns in alarm and raises his hands as he comes face-to-face with two women in Federation prisoner overalls. One of them removes his gun from its holster and hurls it down the hill. )

Chaesla: Well you can't be a stish. Not with those clothes. Or that gun.

Kyben: Who are you?

Chaesla: You can call me madam. And you will if you know what's good for you.

Ariadne: We can't carry on with this scout mission, Chaesla. Not with a prisoner in tow.

Kyben: Don't feel you have to take me prisoner.

Ariadne: I don't. I also don't feel I have to let you speak.

Chaesla: What's your name?

Kyben: If I told you I couldn't remember, would you believe me?

Ariadne: No...

Kyben: You would be difficult.

( Chaesla and Ariadne exchange irritated looks. Chaesla indicates the bracelet on Kyben's wrist. )

Chaesla: What's that?

( Chaesla grabs at the bracelet. Kyben tries to snatch away and press the teleport stud, but Ariadne steps forward and hand-chops his arm. Kyben snarls with pain. Chaesla removes the bracelet and examines it. )

Chaesla: Communicator?

Kyben: If I told you I couldn't remember...

Chaesla: Oh shut up. ( To Ariadne. ) What do we do with him?

Ariadne: Let's take him back to Teklair. The Commander may be able to get some answers out of him. Could be useful stuff. I think we'd all like to know what a stranger's doing on Craeus. Okay, Forgetful One, move.

Kyben: Look, I have something important to do. I'm a Doctor you see, I have to help...

Ariadne: Help yourself. By moving.

Kyben: ( Wants to argue further. Eyes the guns, thinks better of it. ) Where to?

Ariadne: ( Gestures downhill. ) Thataway. MOVE!

( Kyben glances over his shoulder to where his crew mates are still gathered, then staggers down the hill. The two women follow him, their guns never wavering from his back. )


( Hilltop on Craeus. Avon et al are still present. The injured stish is looking seriously pale and unwell. )

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) The idiot. Did he think I was planning to shoot him?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) No one ever knows what you're thinking, Avon. He hasn't trusted you one bit since... you know...

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) Yes, Hailee, I know.

Nij Blake: He should still be here by now. I mean it was only a hundred metres away. ( Into bracelet. ) We've got someone dying here, Hailee. When did you teleport Kyben down?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) At least ten minutes ago.

( Avon and Soolin glance at each other. Avon looks angry, Soolin looks worried. )

Avon: He could be playing games.

Nij Blake: He could be lost.

Soolin: ( Angered. ) He could be in danger!


( Kyben is marched into Teklair, a small oasis of technology on the edge of the wood. It is like a small military camp made up of moveable buildings. Cheasla shoves Kyben with excessive force towards the apparent Command Centre. )

Chaesla: Today, Kyben, today.

Kyben: You promised to be nice to me if I told you my name.

Chaesla: ( Shoves him again. ) You can complain to my boss about my outrageous bullying if you like. I'm sure hell give me a good telling off.

Kyben: Friendly is he?

Chaesla: As friendly as I'm gentle. ( Shoves him again. )

Kyben: ( Frowns. ) Oh good.

Ariadne: Keep walking, Kyben. That's the only way you'll keep us nice.

( They march him into the Command Centre. Within there is a great deal of radio equipment and some old fashioned weaponry, primitive by Federation standards, but advanced by those of Craeus. Behind an overlarge desk, of the type that inadequate leaders use to make themselves look important, sits a heavily scarred and weathered young man. His arms are clad in bandages that look like they have not been changed in years. His face is careworn and stained. )

Shivan: Back already, Chaesla? Who is this?

Chaesla: An off-worlder, chief. Interfered with the reconnaisance mission. We thought he might be useful though.

Kyben: How can I be use-...?

Ariadne: Anyone tell you to speak, Kyben? I didn't hear them.

Shivan: Kyben? Rak Kyben?

Kyben: You've heard of me?

Shivan: You deserted the Federation a few months ago. You're from the Liberator.

Kyben: ( Eyes the communications equipment. ) At least someone on this planet keeps in touch with the big wide world. Who are you?

Shivan: My name is Shivan.

Kyben: ( Skeptical. ) You? Shivan?

Shivan: You've obviously heard of my father. He was a Resistance Leader who was killed by Federation infiltrators when I was a teenager. As you may have gathered from my appearance, I nearly died with him.


( The Stish village. It is now very dark. Most of the huts have lit torches on the walls. Avon and Stish 1 are carrying Stish 3 between them into the centre of the village. The others follow behind. )

Avon: ( Grunting with exertion. ) I still say this is an absurd risk. We have no oblig-...

Soolin: The stishes will have an obligation to us, Avon. If we help save this man's life.

Avon: They'll despise us for carrying technology. What makes you so sure they'll be grateful?

Soolin: ( Shrugs. ) Faith?

Stish 2: You's hurries, you's hurries! Pleases. He is dies.

Vila: ( Sighs. ) We is hurriesing. I see education isn't the churchs highest priority on this planet.

Avon: We can't all be budding scholars like you, Vila.

Shaman: ( Out of shot. ) Who is you strangers?

( Soolin and Blake aim their guns in the direction of the voice. They see a tall, elderly man leaning on a mighty staff with a diagonal cross on it. Villagers step out of their homes onto the street, surrounding the group, watching the visitors in consternation. There is a brief silence as the two groups stare at each other. There are soon dozens of villagers in the square, some armed, all eyeing their visitors with fear. )

Vila: I think we've been spotted, Avon.


( Anti-stit Command Centre. Kyben is now seated opposite Shivan. Ariadne and Chaesla stand by the door, their guns still trained on Kyben. )

Shivan: Blake, Foster, Kasabi, Avalon... they were all deluded, Kyben. Avon may not have the principles I aspire to, but at least he lives in the real world.

Kyben: Real world?

Shivan: There is no destroying the Federation, and Avon knows it. I believed when I was young, because my father believed so passionately that he could win, that truth would win the day. But he died, died in a Federation lie. My inspiration was gone, Kyben. I never believed he could die, I never imagined a battle he couldnt win. But he lost and only then did I realise the truth. That the Federation cannot be stopped. I took command of his Resistance Force and I offered our surrender. We were exiled to this backward planet but at least we survived.

Kyben: I doubt your father would've approved.

Shivan: Don't imagine you can speak for my father, Doctor! He may have been misgudided but he wasn't unique for nothing.

Kyben: All right but I don't approve.

Shivan: Your opinion makes no difference to me. You've become as deluded as Blake was before you.

Kyben: I mean, Avon was hoping we could enlist your help. But from what you say, fighting the Feds isn't a big priority of yours anymore.

Shivan: Not even remotely. Even if it still means everything to you.

Kyben: It did. Once.

Shivan: ( Eyes him in surprise. ) You don't wish to be part of the Resistance either do you? I can tell.

Kyben: ( Forlorn. ) I hate the Federation. I hate it more than words can say. But... I'm not right for this. I'm not a fighter. I've seen so much struggle and death since I deserted. And I know that we're not going to win. I just know it.

Shivan: You see? You know it. You know the truth as clearly as I. Rebellion is futile, a suicidal gesture. I knew that surrender was the only way my people could survive. You're no fanatic and neither am I. ( Chuckles. ) I've found a new task on this world fighting against fanaticism. Fighting against the stagnation of religion.

Kyben: Meaning?

Shivan: Look at this place, Kyben. See the way the zealots of the various churches have held themselves and each other back, destroyed the treasures of knowledge and science. I will drag them kicking and screaming into the real world, Kyben.

Kyben: War you mean? You've declared another war?

Shivan: Exactly. We can't allow the primitives to keep on taking refuge in superstitious nonsense. We will educate the primitives about reality or if they won't accept we will have to kill them.

Kyben: ( Shocked. ) Kill them? You can't attack them with this kind of technology! Their weapons are useless, you'll slaughter them.

Shivan: They have to learn the truth, Kyben, as I did. And those who won't learn will be a hindrance to those who will, so they must be removed. Unpleasant, but all for the best.

Kyben: But... ( Nasty thought suddenly occurs. ) How long have you been at war?

Shivan: Since six months after the Prison ship left. At least ten years.

Kyben: ( Looks around, appalled. ) And?

Shivan: And what?

Kyben: And what's happened? Who's winning?

Shivan: We are, of course. We control practically the entire planet now. ( Looks puzzled by Kyben's concern. ) That village we found you in is the last stish settlement left on Craeus. It's a refugee point for the most superstitious fools of all. These ones' minds are so far closed they won't even accept that they're beaten, that their beloved Gods might let them lose the war. Even as their throwback culture collapses around them, they're convinced they will win, so on they fight. They'll all have to die.

Kyben: ( Looks ill. ) Their last refuge? Wh-... how many people have you converted?

Shivan: Hundreds. It's been a brutal, painful process educating these fanatics as to the lies of their beliefs, but it's worth it. We don't enjoy beating the truth into them, but once they finally accept...

Kyben: ( Angry. ) And how many have you killed?

Shivan: Well, it's unfortunate of course but...

Kyben: ( Furiously. ) HOW MANY?

( Ariadne and Chaesla look a little uncomfortable. )

Shivan: ( Startled. ) Well, must be at least a hundred thousand by now...

Kyben: ( Soundlessly. ) What...!

Shivan: Why are you so concerned? You're not religious are you?

Kyben: Of course I'm not!

Shivan: So what's the problem?

Kyben: The problem? The problem is genocide.

Shivan: Genocide?

Kyben: ( Stands up and leans closer menacingly. ) You're wiping out an entire culture. And you could wipe out an entire people.

( Ariadne steps forward and hits Kyben across the back of the head with the butt of her pistol. Kyben slumps across the desk. )

Shivan: I think he's one of them. Secure him in one of the training cells. We'll have to convert him.


( Village square. Avon, Blake, Soolin and Vila are completely surrounded by dozens and dozens of stishes. The shaman of the stishes raises his staff and chants unintelligibly to the stars. Soolin and Blake exchange uneasy looks. )

Shaman: "Urgg ghahl brorg siggim gharra larr gaara..."

Vila: ( Mutters. ) Well that's cleared that up...

( Avon nudges Vila to be quiet. Stish 1 gently puts Stish 3 on the floor, then scampers up to the shaman and kneels at his feet. )

Stish 1: O shaman, my greatness shaman! We findses the stranges. They's fights us. They's now helpses us. My brother is hurts. Need the Lords. Must helps us, the Righteous Ones, the Gods Almighty must saves my brother.

( The shaman places his palm on stish 1's head. Several of the people in the crowd gather round the injured man, lift him from the ground and carry him into the chapel. Some of them give the Liberator crew some unfriendly looks and push past them. )

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) Hailee, we've met one of the Religious groups. We're not exactly flavour of the month around here but at least they're not attacking us.

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Any good news?

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) I'll let you know.


( Prison block in Teklair. Kyben slowly comes round and sits up, rubbing the back of his head. The cell is small, the floor lined with soil. The door is just an old-fashioned barred gate. Chaesla is on guard duty, watching him uncertainly. )

Kyben: And I thought you were going to be nice.

Chaesla: I wasn't the one who hit you.

Kyben: You didn't try to stop her either.

Chaesla: Should I have?

Kyben: ( Shrugs indifferently. ) It would've been nice.

Chaesla: You really are whimsical aren't you?

Kyben: People tell me that all the time. You can't all be wrong I suppose. What's going to happen to me?

Chaesla: Shivan wants to convert you. I couldn't believe what you were saying in there. I thought you were supposed to be in the Administration, why would you become a stish?

Kyben: I'm not a stish.

Chaesla: So why did you say all those things?

Kyben: Because I don't like killers. What's he doing now?

Chaesla: Shivan? He's sent our assault force to secure the stish village.

Kyben: Wha-... no! My friends are there. I've got to warn them.

Chaesla: Oh come on, I'm not letting you out of the cell.

Kyben: You've got to.

( Chaesla merely folds her arms and taps her foot on the floor. )

Kyben: All right, give me back my bracelet, I'll contact them with that.

Chaesla: Not a chance.

Kyben: I won't tell them where to find me, I have to warn them...

Chaesla: Shivan didn't say you were entitled to...

Kyben: ( Stands. ) Chaesla, why do you listen to your leader? He's mad.

Chaesla: ( Trying not to laugh. ) What?

Kyben: Your leader is a fanatic.

Chaesla: That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. He's not religious...

Kyben: Why does he have to be religious? He's prepared to kill thousands of people on principle. If that's not fanaticism, what is? ( Chaesla cannot answer. ) Why do you call religious people zealots?

Chaesla: Because... er... ( Voice tails off. )

Kyben: Because Shivan says they are? Why are they wrong? Because they believe something you don't?

Chaesla: No it's because... er... ( Trying to sound confident. ) ...Um, it's because they believe so strongly in something unproven. So strongly they'd kill for it.

Kyben: And Shivan says that that makes them fanatics? ( Chaesla nods. ) And has Shivan ever proven to you that they are? ( Chaesla hesitates, then shakes her head. ) And yet you believe it? So strongly, you're even prepared to kill for it? By your own reasoning, doesn't that make you a fanatic as well?

Chaesla: ( Uncomfortable. ) I... No, that's not the same at all.

Kyben: ( Snorts. ) Oh no of course not.

Chaesla: It's not! Religion is... it's superstition. It's laughable. It's...

Kyben: I agree. It's nonsense. It's fantasy. It's gibberish. Religions are what societies make do with while they're waiting to learn the meaning of life. But why does believing in superstition make you a fanatic, Chaesla? Just because someone believes a load of nonsense, does that cause any harm?

Chaesla: It can. ( Now deeply confused. )

Kyben: Put it this way. An ignorant farmer bows to the sun every morning because he thinks it's a God, then goes and spends each day growing crops to feed his family because he thinks his "God" is smiling on him. Another man decides that all people who think this way are fools and kills them if they won't agree with him. ( Leans closer. ) Now you tell me, Chaesla, you tell me... who do you think is causing the real harm?

( Chaesla puts her hands over her ears. )

Chaesla: Stop saying all this! It's... it's...

Kyben: It's not what people think that makes them dangerous, it's what they do. ( Shakes head. ) Look at Shivan. I mean look at him. Look at what he's trying to do! He's like so many opponents of religion before him. He's as mindless and as bigoted and as unreasonable as any church leader ever was. Do you really want to help him commit genocide? ( Chaesla looks uncertain. ) C'mon, time's running out. In fact it's just run out.

( A laser bolt propels from Kyben's eye-patch and knocks the gun out of Chaesla's hand. )

Chaesla: Aaaa-...!

( Kyben starts firing bolts at the prison bars to try and melt them open, but the bars are too strong to cut that quickly. )

Kyben: Melt, damn you, melt!

( Chaesla scoops the gun off the floor and aims it at Kyben. )

Chaesla: Stop firing, Doctor!

( Kyben stops firing. Chaesla tries to hold the gun steady, but she is clearly bothered by everything she has just heard. The gun wavers. )

Kyben: Let me out, Chaesla. There must be over two hundred people in that village, and Shivan's going to slaughter all of them, just because they wanted to believe something he didn't. He has to be stopped...


( Chapel in the stish village. Avon, Soolin, Blake and Vila are huddled with many of the stishes at the door watching a peculiar ceremony within. The shaman and a handful of people are inside the chapel. The injured stish is lying on a crude altair. He is close to death. The shaman is chanting more unintelligible sounds, while the others within the chapel are down on bent knee. There is much light coming from candles on every wall. )

Vila: What do they think they're doing? The man's dying, he needs treatment. Singing isn't going to help him.

Stish 4: ( Elbows Vila. ) Quietness, Outsider. You will shows respectfulness. You will believes.

( Avon watches the ceremony in stony silence. Blake looks frustrated, Soolin looks intrigued. )

Vila: Believe what?

Stish 4: Quietness! Great shaman does heals him! The Gods does renew him!

( They all watch in silence as the shaman continues his incantation. After a moment, the shaman yanks the bolt out of the stish's side. Vila winces. A moment later the stish goes limp. The shaman runs his hand along the stishs temples then turns to face the gathering. )

Shaman: Our child is deaded. He is lost to us.

( There are mournful looks and cries from the gathered stishes. Vila gives a "told-you-so" look to everyone who'll acknowledge it i.e. nobody. Avon turns and walks away, impassively. The other crew members follow him. They reach the edge of the village, leaving the mourning stishes far behind, before any of them speak. )

Soolin: Where are we going?

Avon: We are not going to get any help at all from these dear gentlefolk  -  they'll probably spend the next few weeks in mourning. The collective spirit of small communities is so often like that. One death saps the ability of its people to keep on in the face of tragedy. We'll have to find the technologists ourselves.

( As they head back up the hill, a sudden blast of light and sound turns their attention back to the village square. )

Nij Blake: What the...?

Vila: Is that the ceremony?

Avon: ( Narrows eyes. ) No. It looks like they're under attack.

( Dozens of armed fighters in Federal Prison uniforms are entering the village from the South, firing as they go. The stishes try to gather themselves to fight back but are rapidly getting mowed down by plasma bullets. The expressions on the invaders' faces are entirely emotionless and business-like. At their head is Shivan himself. His expression is full of cold determination. )

Shivan: Exterminate them! Kill them all! Burn them!

( A young child in stish clothing runs up to him. )

Stish Child: Stops! Stops! Pleases!

( Shivan points his gun at the child, then pauses and lowers it. He then grabs the girl by the back of her tunic and lifts her bodily from the ground. )

Shivan: Ariadne!

( Ariadne comes running up to him, firing in the direction of the stishes. )

Ariadne: You bellowed?

Shivan: Take this one back to Teklair, she's still young enough. A prime candidate for conversion.

( Ariadne grabs the struggling girl and turns to leave. The child's mother is searching around for her in a panic, surrounded by flames and confusion. She then sees Ariadne carrying her off and pursues, tears welling up in her eyes. )

Mother: No! No! My dau'er! My dau'-...

( The sound of a nearby shot rings out. The child's mother suddenly freezes, then falls, a bloody wound in the middle of her back. Shivan stands some distance behind her, his plasma rifle pointed at her, its barrel still smoking. )

Shivan: You may proceed, Ariadne.

( On the hill outside the village, the crew of the Liberator watch quietly, most of them aghast. Blake cannot restrain himself any longer. )

Nij Blake: They need our help down there. They're getting murdered.

( Blake moves to head back into the village, but Avon puts a restraining hand on his shoulder. )

Avon: No, Blake! There are only four of us, at least fifty of them. We'd be dead in seconds.

Nij Blake: But...

Avon: No buts, Blake. In any case, those invaders are the technologists. They're the people we came to ally ourselves with. If we started killing them it might make them less open to our point of view, don't you think?

Nij Blake: ( Outraged. ) Ally...? You want us to team up with them?

( Avon watches impassively for a moment but keeps his restraining hand on Blake's shoulder. Soolin clearly wants to intervene in the battle but won't make a move against such odds on her own. Vila looks horrified. )

Vila: They're psychopaths, Avon. We can't work with them.

Avon: Remember Star One? After what we tried to do there, some would say that WE are psychopaths.

( The slaughter continues. Fires are spreading through the village which is soon ablaze. There are cries and screams of terror and agony from the helpless stishes. )

Vila: Did I really say the stishes were the fanatics...?

Avon: Prejudice? Perhaps you're right though. Perhaps we should find a better class of Alliance. ( Into bracelet. ) Hailee, have you heard from Kyben yet?


( Kyben and Chaesla are running for all they're worth through the woods toward the village. Kyben has his bracelet on his wrist again. )

Kyben: ( Into bracelet, panting. ) Avon... Avon... you've got to get out of there! Avon!

( They pass over a rise and see in the valley below the horrifying scene of a village ablaze. Kyben holds his head as tears fill his eyes again. )

Kyben: Oh no... oh no...

Avon: ( V.O. ) Kyben? Where have you been?

Kyben: I'm too late. Oh God, how many more have to die?


( Avon and the others are still at the foot of the hill. )

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) Kyben, we're just outside the village on the north side. Get down here. ( No answer. ) Now what's wrong with him?

Vila: ( Looks like he's going to throw up. ) Let's just teleport out of here, Avon. There's nothing left for us here now.

( Avon looks at him for a moment then nods. )


( Kyben looks more distraught than ever. Chaesla tugs his sleeve. )

Chaesla: Come on, let's join those friends of yours.

Kyben: ( Distant. ) Why bother?

Chaesla: I could do with a lift out of here for one thing. I don't think Shivan's going to be happy with me when he finds out I released you.


( Above the planet, fingers operate teleport controls. Unseen feet dash out of the teleport section, which is soon empty. )


( Back on the planet surface, Kyben suddenly dematerialises, to Chaeslas bewilderment. )

Chaesla: What the blazes?


( At the foot of the hill, the Liberator crew get ready to teleport out. Chaesla suddenly skids down the slope toward them. )

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) All right, Hailee we're read-...

Chaesla: Wait!

( Avon and Soolin turn and aim their guns at her. )

Avon: Who are you?

Chaesla: I'm a friend of Kyben's. Something's happened to him.

Soolin: What!


( Kyben materialises in the teleport bay. He looks around in surprise when he realises he's been teleported out. He sees to his puzzlement that no one else is here. )

Kyben: Hailee? Hailee, where are you?

( Kyben removes his teleport bracelet and puts it into a slot in the trolley - and looks alarmed. All the other bracelets are original Liberator bracelets, there are none of the new ones Avon built. Kyben picks one of the bracelets up and examines it. )

Kyben: What the...?

( Kyben returns the bracelet to its slot, draws his gun and heads out toward the Flight Deck, glancing from side to side in consternation. The ship appears deserted, everything looks the same, and yet not the same. Kyben does not notice that someone is now following him at a distance. )


( Back on Craeus, Chaesla is finishing her explanation to the crew. )

Chaesla: And then he just vanished...

Avon: That suggests you're telling the truth. Our ship has teleport facilities.

Chaesla: Teleport? Ah. So he's all right then?

Avon: ( Disinterestedly. ) Presumably.

Vila: ( Into bracelet. ) Hailee, that's not fair.

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Oh what are you whining about now, you soft prune?

Vila: Why did you have to bring Kyben up first? We're the ones who are surrounded.


( Liberator teleport section. Hailee is sitting behind the controls looking annoyed and confused. )

Hailee: ( Into comms. ) Say that again?

Vila: ( V.O. ) I said why'd you have to bring Kyben up before me? I'm...

Hailee: ( Into comms. ) What are you on about? Kyben's still down there.

Avon: ( V.O. ) What are YOU on about, Hailee? He teleported out two minutes ago.

Hailee: ( Into comms. ) He can't have. I haven't operated the teleport since I sent him down.


( Craeus surface. Everyone looks at each other, then at Chaesla, who shrugs, looking genuinely perplexed. )

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) WHAT!


( Above the planet, Kyben arrives on the Flight Deck and looks baffled. Everything is here yet somehow the layout does not quite look the same. Kyben narrows his eye, and looks up at Zen. Zen also looks somehow different. )

Kyben: Zen? ( No answer. ) Zen, answer me. Zen!

( Kyben walks over to one of the consoles and puts his hand on Zens activation panel. )

Kyben: Zen?

( The computer starts up, only the vocal lights shine red instead of white. )

Octon: Negative. Octon.

Kyben: What?

Octon: Zen, negative. Octon.

Kyben: Octon? What do you mean...?

( Someone sneaks up on Kyben from behind and koshes him over the back of the head. He falls dizzily, still not fully recovered from the earlier whack he took. He looks up and sees Norcris standing over him, aiming her gun at his forehead. Other pirates now enter and aim their weapons at him. )

Kyben: Who...?

Servalan: ( V.O. ) Kyben, you seem to be under the impression you're on the Liberator. You're mistaken, I'm afraid. You've been... diverted.

( Servalan strides down the stairs onto the Flight Deck, smiling triumphantly. )

Kyben: Oh no...

Servalan: Doctor Kyben, I bid you welcome aboard the most powerful of all The System's cruisers. Welcome to Deep Space Vehicle One.

( Kyben looks terrified, then his eye rolls shut, and he collapses. )




This story has a slightly different emphasis from previous ones in the series. It has also undergone a rewrite expanding two key scenes in the second half.

Avon and the Liberator crew head out to the frontier to find new allies. They find the planet Craeus, a world split between a group of religious sects and an anti-religious society. You may have discovered that the title does not refer to what you might have expected initially.

A new central character makes her debut, although she will not become a regular until early in season two. Her name is Chaesla (pronounced Kezz-LAH). She used to be a resistance fighter before the demise of the Freedom Party (although she wasn't a member). She's a follower, blind to the rights and wrongs of orders she receives, she is "only obeying zem" for reasons of Shivan's ruthless doctrines. On the other hand she can also be quite bullying to enemies.

With Farin's death, Kyben's behaviour is becoming more and more erratic, and he's becoming less and less trustworthy. Hailee's insults start getting to him more easily than usual as well.

The first expanded scene is the one where Kyben is stuck in the prison cell in Teklair, talking to Chaesla. I've lengthened the conversation considerably, trying to broaden the message behind the story, while making it less direct. As such it makes it more plausible that Chaesla changes her mind and lets Kyben escape, while reducing that feeling the audience get of being lectured in that irritating Star Trek way. Instead it now allows readers to draw conclusions for themselves a bit more.

And in response to Neil Blissett's (entirely correct) assertion that Shivan should be given more to do in the episode, in the second scene he now spearheads the attack on the stish village. Admittedly he still doesn't have a huge amount to do, but there you go.

I'm far happier with Zealots now. Overall these two scenes flesh things out properly and allows things to make a little more sense, finally making it into (more or less) the episode that I'd envisaged from the outset.



Neil Blissett:

The rest of the crew are starting to notice Soolin and Kyben's relationship more and more. It appears to be really starting to upset Hailee.

Hailee's not upset or jealous of Soolin or anything like that, she just likes making fun of people, and as Kyben and Soolin are trying to keep their little relationship secret, well that's too good an opportunity to miss!

Another son of a great resistance leader [Shivan Jr] appears to be totally insane. Shivan was mentioned in Voice From The Past although he was actually already dead by that point, having been replaced by Travis.

The timing of this episode is deeply suspect. Shivan says he's been fighting this war for ten years and it started six months after they arrived. This puts Voice From The Past at least eleven years ago.

I think you may have misunderstood what Shivan Jnr was referring to. His father's injuries were suffered in a Federation trap, we all know that, but it was never made very clear when it happened. I've always viewed Shivan as being leader of one of the other resistance groups Bran Foster mentioned in The Way Back, and a predecessor to Blake and Foster. I could always be wrong, but I decided to establish that his demise was a few years before Blake's 7 began. Zealots is only about five or six years after Voice From The Past.

Servalan now has command of a ship more powerful than the Liberator. I'm really looking forward to finding out how she got it away from The System. The name of the new ship should be interesting too. Zen pulled "Liberator" from Jenna's mind. I wonder what Octon found in Servalan's.


Jane Walton:

I thought this was brilliant. I found it wonderfully philosophical and thought provoking, especially in the light of recent events in America. Fanatiscism can be a terrible evil and It was nicely done in the way that you showed that religion wasn't the only perpetrator of it.

Well in fact the message I was trying to put across runs a little deeper than that - it's not just that religions aren't the only cause of fanaticism, I was actually saying that religions are often the VICTIMS of fanaticism, and that people in our modern theoskeptic society shouldn't forget that when discussing the relative merits (or lack thereof) of religious orders. Witness the horrors of World War II. Jews and Catholics were persecuted for their beliefs by people whose own religious persuasions were not deeply-held, they just hated other cultures.

Incidentally, I'd like to stress that I am an atheist. I just get annoyed when other atheists treat religious people disrespectfully - it's every bit as arrogant to assume you're definitely right to disbelieve as it is for worshippers to assume they are holier than "unbelieving infidels", another point that Zealots was making, especially at the moment when Vila sneers at the primitives' beliefs.

I always assumed that DSV1 was the sister ship which got blown up at the end of Redemption...

It was. Just like Liberator was destroyed at the end of Terminal, but is currently in orbit around Craeus. Think about it. You'll get the full story of Servalan's acquisition of Deep Space Vehicle One in the next episode.


Brian McLennan:

This episode would make a tremendous bit of Star Trek...

That's an insult too far, buddy. Gloves-off time!

...but I'm not quite so sure about it in the Blake's 7 universe. While it's true that past episodes of Blake's 7 have been written like parables  -  The Web and Power are two examples that seem to have ended with some kind of moral sermon  -  I'm not sure it really belongs here.

Hey, why not? As long as Blake's 7's characterisation remains as 3D and ambiguous as Star Trek's is simplistic and pompous, it can be just as valid a vehicle for the genre while still remaining Blake's 7.

On the other hand, there's no denying it's a very insightful, mature and provoking message about the long-running religion v. secularism debate, certainly an angle on it that had never occurred to me before, so hats must still go off to you for that.

Kyben's proving to be such a self-righteous toad. I really am starting to hate him, almost as much as Farin.

Don't worry, you won't have to put up with him much long-... oops! To be fair, he did have good reason to be the lecturing moraliser this time.

Nobody seems to spot the irony I put into the structure of this storyline, though. Here's Rak Kyben, a man who made a fruitful living operating on people's brains to keep their thought patterns in line with the wishes of the powers-that-be in a military dictatorship, condemning the ruler of Craeus for being a tyrant and a virtual brainwasher!

Logical move bringing back the System's other battle cruiser. A rematch between Liberator and DSV1 on the cards no doubt.

Sort of.


My replies are in ORANGE ITALICS


Season One Scripts