( Liberator Flight Deck. Avon, Hailee, Soolin, Blake
and Vila stare at the main screen, on which plays a recording of Servalan. )
Servalan: Well done, Avon. I knew you'd figure out the code sooner rather than later...
Soolin: I figured it out actually.
Servalan: ...and you've no doubt realised by now that I left this message for you deliberately. I wouldn't give
the message such an obvious code if I didn't want you to break it.
Avon: The thought had occurred.
Vila: Well you weren't the one who...
Avon: Shut up, Vila.
Servalan: My purpose in this is very simple. I've taken Kyben hostage but wanted to offer terms for returning him.
But I felt it wiser to make sure that I had time to leave before you found me. Hence the delaying tactic with the code that
my computer left in Zen.
Avon: Very wise.
Servalan: As you've no doubt discovered by now, Avon, the balance of our relationship has shifted once again. If
ever we were to meet in battle again, it would this time be as equals, as I have salvaged the Liberator's sister ship.
What tips the balance in my favour is Kyben. I hold captive someone who is very important to a member of your crew, and if
his death were your responsibility, I doubt Soolin would ever co-operate with you again.
( The others slowly turn and look at Soolin, who looks
Avon: How would she know?
Soolin: She just knows.
Servalan: My objective is of course to retake the Presidency. My terms are simply these, Avon. Provided you do
not interfere with my crusade against the false President, Kyben will be spared, and even allowed to return to you once I
have won. Attempt to involve yourself in any way, and he dies. After I have finished my present assignment on Belquon, I will
contact you at frequent intervals to update you as to my progress. After the Presidency is mine once more, we will arrange
Kyben's safe return. ( Leans forward. ) Remember, Avon. Stay away from me until then.
( The screen goes blank. )
Nij Blake: At least we know he's still alive then.
Avon: Do we?
Soolin: Where did she say she was going? Belquon?
Vila: So we stay away from there, right?
Nij Blake: Wrong. We don't take any orders from her. We go after them.
Avon: Vila is correct for once.
Nij Blake: What!
Avon: We'd be playing right into her hands if we followed her.
Nij Blake: Why? You heard her? She wants us to stay away. That says to me we should make her life difficult.
( Avon says nothing and looks at Hailee imploringly.
Hailee: Servalan's no idiot, Blake. If she wanted to keep us at arm's length, do you really think she'd be stupid
enough to tell us where she's headed? She told us deliberately. She wants us to follow her.
Vila: Er, yeah. That's what I was thinking.
Soolin: I agree.
Avon: You do?
Soolin: But I still want to follow.
Avon: ( Angered. ) What a shock.
Soolin: Avon, you don't seriously think she'll let Kyben live do you? She won't have to keep her promise. As
soon as she's President again she'll just kill him.
Avon: You shared a mind with her, you'll know if anyone does. Of course you're right. She will kill him.
Soolin: So we have to go and help him.
Avon: Not on Belquon. She'll have a trap set up for us there, not to mention a ship as powerful as the Liberator.
It would be tantamount to shooting ourselves.
Soolin: ( Desperately. ) Avon, please!
Avon: No. There will be other opportunities to take her ship. And to free Kyben.
Soolin: No there won't. If this is a trap and it fails, Servalan will have no reason to keep him alive.
Avon: Then he'll be dead. The first objective will be to take her ship. With that and the Liberator the rest
of us will be unbeatable.
Soolin: That's the only thing you care about isn't it? Never mind Kyben. The only thing that matters to you is
Avon: Power is what we need to survive! I thought you knew that as well as any of us. And our lives are about
survival. If we lose one of us to achieve it, it is still a worthwhile sacrifice.
Soolin: ( Furious. ) Sacrifice?! What about Cally? What about Dayna? Hasnt that sacrifice already been made?
Avon: ( Looks at her for a long moment. ) This is not a discussion. You cannot remain objective or rational
about this. Any decision you make will be based on emotion only...
Soolin: Yes all right! Surely caring's the only reason I need to go and help him. It was enough to send you to
Earth for Anna's sake, and you thought she was dead, remember?
( Avon slowly turns and looks at the others. They are
all very muted and indecisive, even sheepish. One by one they nod. Avon curses under his breath. )
Avon: Very well. Zen. Set course for the Belquon system. Speed Standard by seven.
( The engineering level of the Subjugator. Kyben and
Tarrant are drifting in midair. Kyben has a gun trained on his foe. It is dark. )
Kyben: This is quite pleasant isnt it? Freed of the shackles of gravity?
Dev Tarrant: Quite passable.
Kyben: ( Examining the gun. ) Y'know, under these conditions the kickback from this gun will probably be quite
painful for my shoulder when I shoot you.
Dev Tarrant: So don't shoot me.
Kyben: There's an idea. Here's an even better one though - I WILL shoot you.
Dev Tarrant: ( Shaken but not really frightened. ) Oh, Kyben we're not going to go through this again are we?
Kyben: We wouldn't have to if you'd taken your punishment in the first place. I wouldn't even have deserted.
Dev Tarrant: That was your choice, Kyben, don't blame me if it was the wrong one.
Kyben: It was your choice to shoot me, I'm the one who suffered for that.
Dev Tarrant: I know. How many times do I have to apologise for it?
Kyben: As many times as it takes you to convince me.
Dev Tarrant: I don't think I ever could.
Kyben: That's right. If you were ever sorry for what you did to me you wouldn't have fixed your trial...
Dev Tarrant: And that wasnt my choice either. It was Servalan's.
Kyben: I seem to remember you pleading not guilty.
Dev Tarrant: Because I was charged with attempted murder, which is not what it was. When I opened fire I didn't realise
it was you.
Kyben: Oh, I feel greatly cheered having heard that, Tarrant. I'll try to kill you as gently as possible.
( Kyben lifts the gun and holds it to Tarrant's jaw.
Tarrant braces himself slightly, but his expression doesn't flicker. He just stares deep into Kyben's mechanical eye. Kyben's
thumb moves over the firing stud... but he withdraws it. Tarrant smiles arrogantly. )
Dev Tarrant: I didn't think you could do it somehow. You just don't have the courage.
Kyben: ( Frustrated and angry with himself. ) Shooting an unarmed prisoner? That's your idea of courage?
De Tarrant: All right then, the nerve.
( The look of hatred crosses Kyben's face again, followed
by a strange grin. )
Kyben: So I'm not an assassin. I can still kill you. ( Gestures towards an inner doorway. ) Move.
Dev Tarrant: Where to?
Kyben: The sooner you move the sooner you'll find out, won't you? Move.
Dev Tarrant: What for? I thought you wanted to kill me.
Kyben: I do, so don't tax any more of my patience. I could still shoot you if you make me angry enough. Move.
( Tarrant looks toward the doorway indicated and starts
to move toward it. He stops and looks at Kyben suspiciously. )
Dev Tarrant: How did Servalan take the Liberator?
Kyben: She didn't. Now move!
( With an awkward "swimming" motion, Tarrant floats
through the doorway. Kyben follows him, still keeping his gun trained on him. )
( Subjugator Flight Deck. Servalan is floating in mid-air
looking embarrassed, confused, and more than a little annoyed. )
Servalan: Octon, restore power to the life support systems, you fool!
Octon: ( Sounding slightly miffed. ) Negative. Life support is already fully-functional and fully-powered. Request
is therefore unsustainable.
Servalan: Don't be ridiculous. The life support systems are clearly off-line.
Octon: Negative. Life support is fully-functional.
Servalan: It isn't. Recheck the data.
( Servalan flaps her arms impatiently. This causes her
to spin around uncontrollably. )
Servalan: Aaaaa-....! Hurry up!
Octon: Analysis of life support systems complete. All units functioning on life support circuit are fully-powered.
Servalan: Well then what...? ( Narrows eyes. ) Wait. Wait a minute. Octon, are the artificial gravity generators
still on the life support circuit?
Servalan: Well what's happened to it? Can it be restored?
Servalan: Why not?!
Octon: Unable to detect artificial gravity generators at any status on any circuit aboard the Subjugator.
Servalan: Recheck all systems down to component level. Switch artificial gravity to first priority for automatic
Servalan: What! What now?
Octon: All automatic repair systems are nonfunctional.
Servalan: Well put them back online, idiot!
Octon: Negative. The automatic repair systems have been shut down and broken out of the initialisation circuits.
Likely explanation: Sabotage.
Servalan: ( Hisses. ) Kyben...
( Kyben and Dev Tarrant float through a low door onto
a thin, railed gantry above the largest chamber on the ship. Thirty feet below and more is a vast blazing silver ball of energy.
It provides all the dancing light in the chamber. This high up the light dances fleetingly, but the ball of energy is almost
blinding. Tarrant finds that he and Kyben are both standing on the gantry - there is gravity here. )
Dev Tarrant: ( Genuinely shaken. ) Where are we?
Kyben: This is the rearmost section of the ship. Down there's the power core - pure plasma energy according
to Avon. There's a force field that keeps the energy from escaping but the heat it generates is still beyond measure. We're
protected up here by dampers, but if you were to fall down there, even if you survived contact with the field, the heat of
the power core would melt you in seconds.
( Tarrant looks interested in Kyben's guttural, matter-of-fact
Dev Tarrant: Is that what youre going to do? Throw me into the power core?
Kyben: That's right. The core's so powerful it even generates a gravity pull of its own. Just one firm nudge
and you'd go over the edge to a quick death.
Dev Tarrant: Still sounds cold-blooded to me. I thought we'd established that you couldn't kill like that.
( Kyben raises the gun. Tarrant braces himself. Kyben
aims the gun at the left handrail and fires. He aims further along the handrail and fires again. A long segment of the rail
drops to the gantry-floor with a loud clang. Kyben then aims at the other handrail and fires twice more. Another length of
rail drops to the floor. The cut edges of both dislodged cylinders smolder on the gantry floor. )
( Tarrant blinks in incomprehension. He looks at the
two cylinders then realises what Kyben is referring to. He kneels down and inspects the two cylinders, then chooses the one
on his left. Kyben takes the other one. He then takes a step back, holds up the gun, and to Tarrant's clear amazement, casually
chucks it over the side. The gun "flash-fries" on the force-field above the power core. )
Kyben: I could have pretended that you weren't
helpless anymore and just shot you when you picked up the staff, Tarrant. But while I was on Craeus I learned something. Something
about self-deceit. I've got to stop lying to myself about the terrible things I've done. First step to that is to stop cheating
Dev Tarrant: A mistake on your part surely? You don't expect to beat me in a fair fight do you? Have you already forgotten
your humiliation on Taurus?
Kyben: Believe me, Tarrant, that's just one of the things preying on my mind. We have many scores to settle,
you and I.
( Kyben holds his staff ready to attack. Tarrant takes
a defensive stance. )
Kyben: Now's the time.
Dev Tarrant: Then settle them.
( Kyben advances and swings the staff down toward Tarrant's
head. Tarrant raises his staff and holds it horizontally above his head, easily deflecting the blow. Tarrant stabs his foot
into the ground and pushes up. In the low gravity he vaults up high and does a neat back-flip to land back on the gantry ten
feet back. He is now not far from the wall at the end of the gantry. Kyben presses forward. He attacks high again and Tarrant
again blocks. But Tarrant is now cornered and can't back off much further. Kyben advances another step and feints to attack
high again. Tarrant raises his staff to block, but Kyben drops to the floor and uses his staff to sweep Tarrant's feet out
from under him. Tarrant collapses against the railing with a painful grunt, and panics briefly as he realises he is about
to fall over the edge. He rights himself just in time to evade Kyben's follow-up attack, then vaults over Kyben's head again,
this time landing behind him. Kyben spins quickly to face him, but not quickly enough. Tarrant swings his staff as hard as
he can and it smites Kyben's shoulder agonisingly. Kyben manages to stay on his feet but Tarrant follows up with a fast jab
into his chest with the burning edge of his staff. Kyben topples to the floor. Tarrant stands over him and raises his staff
to strike. Kyben holds his own staff across his body and blocks awkwardly, his elbows buckling under the force of the blow.
Kyben edges backward to avoid the next few blows, and staggers to his feet. Kyben and Tarrant face off warily once more. )
( Liberator Flight Deck. All the crew, bar Kyben of
course, are present at their positions. )
Zen: Attention. Liberator is now approaching the Belquon system.
Hailee: Reduce speed to Standard by two, Zen.
Hailee: Put the battle computers online.
Vila: ( Nervously, but now sober. ) Activate the neutron flare shield and clear weapons for firing. Put the
force wall on standby.
Vila: And get me something for a headache, someone.
Hailee: Someone get him some Hyperpenanduros Tepanoscopol Tegroflibularian Amodrosturaloxulate.
Vila: ( Brightening. ) That sounds good. I didn't know you were so good with medicine.
Nij Blake: Some what?
Hailee: ( Through gritted teeth. ) Cyanide.
Vila: ( Pouting. ) Why do you always pick on me?
Hailee: Oh I don't know, let me see now...
( Everyone falls silent and looks up at Avon. )
Avon: We are heading onto Servalan's turf now.
Let us try a little concentration. Victimising a half-wit is only justified when it doesn't cost us our lives.
( Subjugator Flight Deck. Servalan has managed to grab
hold of the acceleration couch in the seating pit and is pulling herself to the Flight Deck floor. Once she is back more or
less upright, she takes a hesitant step forward, at all times keeping hold of the seat-back. In this very gingered manner
she manages to reach the communicators. )
Servalan: ( Into comms. ) This is Servalan...
( Servalan's voice echoes through the many corridors
of the Subjugator. The pirate slaves, all drifting contentedly in midair all over the ship look up in quiet attention. )
Servalan: ( V.O. ) ...President and Supreme Commander
of the Terran Federation, Supreme Empress of the Earth and All Her Territories. I hereby command all to return to the Flight
Deck by any methods you find available to you. I repeat, return to the Flight Deck...
( Within the power core chamber, Kyben and Tarrant are
still deadlocked, when Servalan's voice reaches them. They slowly take a step away from each other and listen to Servalan's
commands, but keep their weapons at the ready in case either chooses to renew the attack. )
Servalan: ( V.O. echoing. ) ...command all to return to the Flight Deck by any methods you find available to you.
I repeat, return to the Flight Deck. We must regroup until life support systems can be restored.
Dev Tarrant: Well, what do you think?
Kyben: About what?
Dev Tarrant: That! What she said. Her whole crew must be helpless, Kyben. Why are we trying to kill each other when
we have a chance to escape? Maybe even take control of the Liberator...
Kyben: ( Raising his voice to make sure Tarrant doesn't continue. ) FIRSTLY... we're not on the Liberator,
as I've tried to tell you. Secondly, where would we escape to? Thirdly why would I try to escape with you? You'd stab me in
the back as soon as we were safe.
Dev Tarrant: How can I answer that? All I can tell you is the truth. I wouldn't betray you.
Kyben: ( Chuckles bleakly. ) Right. Like you wouldn't shoot off half an unarmed civilian's face? (Shakes head.
) You just don't get it do you, Tarrant? There's no escape from this, for either of us. Were both going
to die here. And I can look forward to the pleasure of being the one who kills you.
Dev Tarrant: Don't be a fool! My ship's still docked with this one,
we can escape in that.
Kyben: ( Remorsefully. ) I don't care anymore, Tarrant. I'm too tired
to be scared anymore. Too sick to care anymore. All I've got the strength left for is hating you.
Dev Tarrant: ( Bewildered. ) You really have gone mad...
Kyben: ( Grits his teeth. ) Hating you. That's all I've got left...
and I'm going to see it through... ( Raises his staff slowly. ) ...right... to the bitter... ( The staff reaches the apex
of its climb. ) ...END!!!
( Kyben swings the staff down. Tarrant is so fixated on the insanity in Kyben's expression that he
scarcely notices. As if coming out of a trance he finally notices and raises his staff and blocks Kyben's attack mere centimetres
from his face. )
Kyben: All that's left...
( Kyben swings the staff down again, this time even
harder. Tarrant blocks again, but this time the blow catches him on the knuckles. Tarrant gasps in pain. There is blood trickling
from his fingers. He totters. Kyben hisses at him dangerously. )
Kyben: ALL that's left...
( Kyben this time swings the staff across his body from
right to left. It connects with a painful searing THWACK across Tarrant's cheek. It inflicts an enormous, very deep
gash right below the left eye. Tarrant falls to his knees, but holds up the staff in front of himself desperately, trying
to defend himself. )
Kyben: You see now? Do you get it now? Your death
is all that I want. Never mind survival, what's there left to live for? The Federation'll find me eventually. And even if
they don't I'll spend the whole of my life running from them. What kind of life is that, Tarrant? All I want is your death,
and if I have to fight fair for it, well that won't stop me...
( Tarrant scrabbles backwards desperately. Kyben advances
on him and drives the staff under Tarrant's guard. He then twists the staff in his grip and tilts it up, lifting Tarrant over
the railings. With a howl of anguish Tarrant falls over the edge. Kyben steps up and glances over the edge. He sees the blinding
flash of bright light as contact is made with the force-field and reflexively has to throw his arms up in front of his face.
As his vision clears and the worst of the light dissipates, he looks over the edge again. Resting on the surface of the shield,
shrouded in rising smoke, he sees a thin rapidly-melting object, presumably the disintegrating remains of Tarrant's corpse.
Kyben allows the elation of victory to wash over him for a moment. )
Kyben: One thing left to do. Stop Avon.
( Kyben turns and walks to the door. For a while after
he's gone the smoke continues to rise around the chamber, and the flickering lights continue to dance along the walls. Then
from beneath the gantry, a large hand reaches up and grabs the handrail. Tarrant hauls himself up from the underside of the
gantry, which he had grabbed onto to break his fall, and climbs through the rail and onto the gantry floor. Blood coats the
left-side of his face. It looks eerily similar to Kyben's eye patch... )
Dev Tarrant: All right, Kyben. Now I start taking you seriously...
( Liberator Flight Deck. )
Zen: Attention. The Liberator is now crossing the boundary into the Belquon System. Federation Pursuit ships
have been detected.
Avon: Activate cloaking device.
Avon: Reduce to sub-light speeds.
( Kyben coolly walks past the pirates drifting in mid-air
above the staircase. They still cannot work out how to control their movements. Kyben leaps up the staircase in a single bound,
pushes off the ceiling and lands on the floor. He carefully climbs up another level, then along a corridor, all the time keeping
a restraining hand in contact with the walls, and finally arrives in the teleport bay. The bracelet trolley and its contents
are all drifting aimlessly in mid-air. Kyben gently jumps and snatches one of the bracelets out of the air. He then twists
upside down and lands on the ceiling. He slips the bracelet onto his wrist, making sure that its well-hidden up his sleeve,
then walks along the ceiling through the exit toward the Flight Deck. When he arrives, he finds Servalan has been joined by
a number of her pirate followers. Servalan is holding onto one of the control panels, and glowers at Kyben furiously. The
pirates are floating above the seating pit and controls. They all turn their guns in Kyben's direction. He raises his arms
and drops to the Flight Deck floor. )
Kyben: I surrender.
Servalan: Oh you do, do you? And you think that that will keep me from killing you?
Kyben: Not at all. In my experience the Federation treat surrender as a signal to open fire. You especially.
Servalan: ( A smile that cooks with slow anger. ) How well we know each other. I used to think only Avon knew me
so well. But you... you've learned so very quickly, my young lover.
Kyben: ( Shakes his head. ) Not quickly. And not nearly quickly enough.
Servalan: May I ask, how did you break the drug I injected into you?
Kyben: Of course you may. Presidential prerogative.
Servalan: "Presidential prerogative." How delightful! I must remember that phrase when I reclaim office. It could
be very handy at getting awkward councilors to cooperate whenever I address the Assembly
Kyben: That's another favour you owe me, then.
Servalan: You won't regret it. Are you going to answer me? The drug I mean?
Kyben: You said it yourself. Pylene-50 and Pylene-100 are essentially the same stuff. Avon discovered a vaccine
against it ages ago.
Servalan: Did he? That explains why Dayna and Del Tarrant weren't affected by it on Helotrix.
Kyben: Probably. I treated everyone on the Liberator before Taurus. And that's yet another favour you owe me.
I make that at least three.
Servalan: Or one very big favour. What will it be?
Kyben: Dev Tarrant's ship.
Servalan: You want a chance to escape in it?
Kyben: Mm, no. I want us both to escape in it.
Servalan: ( Surprised. ) I beg your pardon?
Kyben: Granted. I want us both to leave.
Servalan: You want... BOTH of us to leave?
Kyben: Give that lady a round of applause.
Servalan: I don't understand.
Kyben: This ship is unusable now. You must know that. I destroyed the artificial gravity and the automatic repair
systems are off-line. You can't reactivate them now that they're out of the computer's supervision circuit. This ship's dead
in the water. We have to abandon it, both of us. We'll die if we don't. Even this ship won't be able to win a fight against
the Federation with its crew out of action.
Servalan: What do you want me to go with you for?
( Kyben takes a careful step forward. )
Kyben: You know why.
( Servalan blinks in amazement then throws her head
back and laughs. )
Kyben: Why does it sound so ridiculous? I just
want to take back what I had before, Servalan. I want my life back. I was meant to be part of the Federation, I belong to
the Federation. It's all I know, it's where I fit. I want to help you get the Presidency back.
( Servalan's smile begins to fade. )
Kyben: I understand now, Servalan! I shouldn't
have defected! I want back everything I lost, Servalan, and you're the only one who can give that to me. I won't be welcome
back on Earth as long as that idiot remains President. I can help you, Servalan, you know I can. All I ask in return is you
let me go with you.
Servalan: You're serious arent you?
( Kyben just looks at her. )
Why didn't you just say all this when I captured you?
I mean, why all this nonsense with the ship's systems?
Kyben: It's easy to say, "I'm on your side" when you're in chains, Servalan. I thought you'd be more likely
to believe the truth if I had a chance to escape and surrendered to you instead. I mean I could have just taken Tarrant's
ship and left, couldn't I?
Servalan: Yes. But you came to me instead. Tell me, if you side with me, what about Soolin?
Kyben: What about her? If she tries to stop us I'll kill her myself. I want to be with you.
Servalan: I do believe you. And Rak, I would love to have you at my side once more. But you quite misunderstand
Kyben: What do you mean?
Servalan: The Subjugator isn't going into battle against the Liberator. Why would I want to risk having a damaged
super-cruiser as my flagship? I want my ship intact. And with a cloaking device...
Kyben: Cloaking device? But... Oh.
Servalan: I think you understand me, don't you Kyben?
Kyben: I never was a hostage was I? I'm bait.
Servalan: That's right. I don't want the Subjugator. I still want the Liberator. This ship is Avon's bait, you
are Soolin's. They should be here any moment.
Kyben: Why though?
Servalan: The truth is I already knew that Avon had the cloaking device, long before you told me.
Kyben: Oh yes? How?
Servalan: Well let's see. Velcosa is assigned a prototype cloaking device by Federation Security for her operation
against counterfeiters on Taurus III. Later Daedalus crashes on Taurus with Liberator in pursuit. The Liberator arrives, then
after it leaves again it starts disappearing without a trace at convenient intervals, then reappearing in unlikely locations
without anyone ever catching the slightest glimpse of it on the way. How clever does a girl have to be to figure that little
Kyben: ( Looks confused. ) How did you know about Velco-...? ( The penny drops. ) You were a Commissioner, of
course you knew.
Servalan: That's right. And a cloaking device will be the ideal weapon for infiltrating the Earth. This ship is
powerful, but a ship this powerful AND a cloaking device? No, the Subjugator is inadequate, I need the Liberator.
Kyben: And when it arrives?
Servalan: Avon will board the Subjugator and take it without resistance. Handily, his suspicions may be partly
allayed by the destruction of life support. All that will leave Liberator ripe for the taking. Our pirate friends here will
break any resistance from your estranged crew-mates, then you will give Zen my voice pattern, and we're away.
Kyben: ( Smiles. ) Brilliant. I can't deny it, you're brilliant. I don't know why I ever sided against you.
Servalan: Grief over my reported "death", I presume.
Kyben: That certainly played its part.
Servalan: Perhaps it did. Octon, tactical.
( The view screen lights up with a diagram of the Belquon
system. The marks representing the Pursuit ships are visible all around the outer rim of the system. The planet Belquon is
visible orbiting its star, while the black hole is near the top edge of the map. )
Servalan: As you can see, I had Kreel post the Pursuit ships in a defensive perimeter on the edge of the system.
Just to make sure Avon doesn't think this is all too easy.
Kyben: Easy for the Liberator to get past.
Servalan: Of course, like I say I want the Liberator intact. But he'll believe he has opposition in his way. Avon
will use the Liberator's cloak to get past them, and get as close to us as he can...
( Liberator Flight Deck. The crew are at their positions,
watching the view-screen intently. There are voice-overs from Servalan throughout this scene. The crew of the Liberator cannot
hear her, as she is explaining her plan to Kyben. )
Hailee: Okay, we're past the Pursuit ships.
Avon: Have you got a fix on DSV1 yet?
Soolin: Not a very clean contact. Even from this range the interference from that black hole's unbelievable.
Avon: Where is it? General direction.
Soolin: It's close to the planet.
Avon: ( Suspicious frown. ) Take us in that direction. Carefully.
Servalan: ( V.O. ) Avon will hope to use the interference of the black hole to cover the Liberator's signal once
he's dropped the cloak.
Avon: With luck, the interference will work in our favour if we have to drop the cloak.
Nij Blake: We will in two hours at the most with the energy drain. The radiation from the black hole's increasing
Servalan: ( V.O. ) The black hole will probably distort the cloak and increase the energy drain, so we have to
complete the capture sooner rather than later.
( The Liberator closes in on Belquon orbit. The more
it nears the planet, the more the cloak begins to malfunction and the more visible the ship becomes. )
Avon: ( V.O. ) Increase power to the cloaking device.
( Back on the Liberator Flight Deck. )
Hailee: We can't...
Avon: ( Acidly. ) I said increase the power!
Hailee: ( Even more acidly. ) And I said we can't! If we turn it up any further the sub-light engines will stall!
Nij Blake: We have to chance our arm, Avon, and hope they don't see us in the distortion field.
( Avon hesitates. )
Servalan: ( V.O. ) It won't be long before the drain is so high they'll be forced to switch off the cloak completely.
Vila: Avon, the energy drain's too high as it is. One of the neutron blasters has already gone off-line.
Soolin: I agree with them. Our detector range is decreasing by the second as well. We've got to switch off the
Avon: ( Breathes out heavily. ) All right. Zen, deactivate cloaking device.
( A blue shimmer runs along the surface of the Liberator
as it becomes fully visible once more. )
Zen: Cloaking device is now off-line. Liberator
is now fully visible to external sensors.
Soolin: Let's hope not.
Servalan: ( V.O. ) Avon will assume that the lack of response from the Pursuit ships means that they haven't detected
the Liberator through all that radioactive interference. It may even be true, but I have of course ordered them not to take
action in any case.
Avon: Well, are the Pursuit ships approaching?
Nij Blake: Nothing here.
Soolin: Nor here.
Vila: ( Relieved look. ) No, they've missed us!
Avon: ( Unsure. ) Can you confirm that, Soolin?
Soolin: It's not clear - our scanners are still taking a lot of punishment too - but
it looks very good.
Avon: The Federation have a knack of making things look very good for any audience they choose. Zen? What do
the battle computers say?
Zen: Battle computers project an eighty-seven per cent probability that detection by enemy ships has
Nij Blake: Well they're good odds.
Avon: Aren't they just? All right, we'll assume for the moment that we've got the better of them. Just remember,
being careful is nothing to be ashamed of.
Soolin: We're being careful! Can we concentrate on finding Kyben please?
Avon: You really have got it bad haven't you?
Avon: Irritated. You try and concentrate on keeping us alive, and I'll concentrate on keeping Kyben alive.
And taking Deep Space Vehicle One. Not necessarily in that order.
Soolin: At least you're honest about it.
Avon: That's the one thing you can always count on.
( Subjugator Flight Deck. Servalan and Kyben are either
side of the control bays, holding panels to avoid floating away. The pirates are gathered in the seating pit, or more accurately
a few feet ABOVE it. )
Servalan: Oh yes, I've gone to great pains calculating every detail. It'll work. Avon is someone I can always count
Kyben: ( Skeptical. ) Count on Avon? The man's a psycho!
Servalan: An overstatement, but not entirely untrue. Whatever, a psychopath can be very easily manipulated in that
after you've known them long enough they become... predictably unpredictable. His desire to survive is such that he can't
risk this ship staying in the hands of a prospective President.
Kyben: So what happens when they board?
Servalan: Do you imagine I chose this system at random? Oh no, it's obvious. I have pre-programmed a course into
Octon that will take Subjugator into the gravity well of the black hole. It's against his programming to self-destruct directly,
of course, but once Avon and his friends are aboard, Octon will send the ship into range of the vortex and then we can let
gravity do the rest.
Kyben: ( Grinning with malevolent awe. ) While we teleport aboard the Liberator and take control. Magnificent.
We cannot lose!
Servalan: ( Smiles warmly. ) No. I dare say even if we wished to fail now, it would be impossible.
Kyben: ( Under his breath. ) We'll see, Servalan.
Servalan: ( Looks up at him sharply. ) What was that, sorry?
Kyben: Well said, Servalan.
( Servalan nods appreciatively. )
Octon: Alert. Deep Space Vehicle Two has been detected approaching this position.
Servalan: That's it! This is the moment we've waited for, Kyben. The Presidency will be mine again in just days!
Kyben: ( Looks away. ) Excellent. ( Narrows eye as a thought occurs to him. ) Look, I've just had a nasty thought.
The teleport is partly interfaced with the life support systems - the dissolution circuit needs data from life
support to make sure the body dematerialises and reforms safely.
Kyben: I damaged the life support, didn't I?
( Servalan's face falls. )
Kyben: I think I'd better go make sure we can
leave. If we can't teleport out I'd rather not find out in a hurry...
Servalan: Yes, yes, go quickly!!
( Kyben takes a leap and propels through the corridor.
Servalan: You pirates, stand guard over the entrances.
Make sure only authorised personnel can enter the Flight Deck.
Pirate 4: Yes, my Empress.
( At the other end of the corridor, Kyben comes to a
halt and rolls up his sleeve to reveal the teleport bracelet. )
Kyben: ( Into bracelet, quietly. ) Liberator? Liberator, do you copy?
( Liberator Flight Deck. Soolin has a pair of headphones
on, monitoring signal traffic. )
Soolin: ( Starts punching communicator controls urgently. ) Avon!
Avon: What is it, Soolin?
Soolin: I'm receiving some kind of signal from the other ship. It's a bit garbled but...
Avon: Let's hear it.
( Soolin switches the communication to the main speaker.
Soolin: ( Worriedly. ) Here it is...
Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...Crrzztt... me? Bzzz... Ckkkk... Clsss... Crkkk.... Sssssss...
Hailee: Here's what? There's no signal in that. You're so wound up, you're hearing things now!
Soolin: There is a signal! I heard a voice...
Hailee: I don't doubt it. It's where you heard it from that worries me.
Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...Ckkkk... you read me?
( Everyone looks up sharply. Soolin starts hitting the
controls again, desperately trying to find a clearer frequency. )
Avon: That sounds like a signal to me.
Soolin: ( Into comms. ) Kyben, is that you? We read you, go ahead...
Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...Brrzzt... Clsshk... Crrrkk...
Soolin: ( Almost shouting. ) Kyben! Answer me, please...
Avon: Cease transmitting immediately. It might be a trick.
Soolin: What are you talking about, Avon? You heard the voice...
Avon: Which could have been anyone.
Vila: It sounded like Kyben to me.
Avon: By all means, keep receiving, but do not answer until I tell you.
Avon: ( Thumps the console in frustration. ) Contradict me one more time, Soolin. Just once more!
( Soolin sees the look on Avon's face, and falls silent.
Avon: Your brainless devotion to Kyben's survival
will do you little credit, Soolin, if you get the rest of us killed saving him.
Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...hear me now? I... -nt know if you can... -ar me. If you can, switch Or-... on. I need his
( Avon steps into the pit and puts Orac's key in. )
Avon: Orac, get ready to receive a high-priority signal external to the Liberator. Be warned it will be distorted
by radiation from a nearby black hole.
Orac: ( Almost sighing in boredom. ) Very well.
( Subjugator corridor. )
Kyben: Liberator, I repeat, switch Orac on I need...
Orac: ( V.O. ) I am already receiving your signal! I have switched your communicator to Tarial frequencies,
as they are far more resistant to x-ray interference. You may continue without further distortion.
Kyben: ( Smiles with relief. ) Nice to hear a friendly voice. Never thought I'd be glad to speak to you again,
Orac: ( V.O. ) The information is noted, although I hardly see how such trivial data can be classified as high-priority...
Kyben: It isn't, Orac. This is. I have a series of instructions for you, none of which may be repeated outside
of this direct communication. This applies doubly to anyone presently on the Liberator. Understood?
Orac: ( V.O. ) That is understood. My security programs have barred all external access to our current communication.
Kyben: Right, listen carefully...
( Liberator Flight Deck. )
Orac: I have received full details from Rak Kyben of the situation on the System cruiser designated Deep Space
Avon: Don't keep us in suspense.
Orac: Kyben warns that no one on the Liberator should attempt to board DSV1. Servalan is attempting to use
it as a trap for her to obtain the Liberator.
Avon: The Liberator? Why? She's got an even more powerful ship now, why would she need this one?
Orac: If I may be permitted to continue? Servalan values the cloaking device above the extra speed-potential
of her new ship.
Hailee: She knows about the cloak?
Orac: Indeed. Once a salvage team from the Liberator has boarded Deep Space Vehicle One, Servalan and her crew
will teleport aboard the Liberator, and set DSV1 on a suicide course into the black hole.
Avon: ( Smiles grimly. ) How very... Servalan. Still, now we know we can double-bluff our way round this.
Orac: You will not take any further action. The Liberator will maintain its present position until further
Hailee: Oh it will, will it?
( The lights suddenly dim and Zen switches off. )
Nij Blake: What th-...
Avon: ( Furious. ) Orac, what are you doing? We'll be sitting ducks like...
Orac: You will take no further action. Kyben has programmed me to shut down all systems on the Liberator bar
life support and emergency propulsion until his present plan reaches fruition.
Soolin: ( Panicky. ) What plan?
Orac: You will not take any further action.
( Subjugator Teleport room. Kyben is seated behind the
console. He is rewiring the guidance controls. He finishes then switches on the communicator. )
Kyben: ( Into comms. ) Servalan, I've checked the system. It's working fine. You'd better all get here quickly,
the Liberator will arrive in the next couple of minutes.
Servalan: ( V.O. ) We're on our way, it's just it won't be easy getting there in zero-gee.
Kyben: It's easier than you think. Just remember there's no real up or down, so you can walk on any surface
Servalan: ( V.O. ) I'll keep that in mind.
( Liberator Flight Deck. The crew are tearing their
hair out trying to get things working. )
Avon: Orac, the order to shut down the systems is countermanded.
Orac: Not without the correct recall code...
Hailee: Oh no, we're not going through all that again are we?
Avon: Orac, what exactly is Kyben's plan supposed to be? If leaving us drifting helpless in the vicinity of
the black hole is the best he can do, I'd rather he left it to me to devise our salvation.
Orac: His plan will result in ourselves retaining control of the Liberator, and Servalan deprived of DSV1.
I calculate odds of three to two on success.
Avon: Success at what?
Orac: His plan requires that no one other than he knows what he is attempting. I can only recommend that you
try, in his own words, "trusting him for once in your misbegotten life."
Soolin: ( Looks hurt. ) Why should we trust him when he won't trust us?
( Subjugator Teleport room. Kyben stands by the teleport
bay whispering into his teleport bracelet. )
Kyben: Okay, ninety seconds, Orac. Starting ten seconds ago.
( Kyben closes comms hurriedly as several pirates walk
in, followed by Servalan who wanders in on the ceiling. )
Servalan: You're right actually, Kyben, this is very easy once you get the hang of it. Amusing too.
( Servalan bends her knees, pushes away from the ceiling
and makes a nicely-cushioned two-point landing on the floor. Kyben gently takes her arm to make sure her momentum does not
lift her into the air again. She looks at him and smiles at their proximity. Kyben flinches from kissing her though. )
Kyben: Plenty of time for that later.
( Kyben presents Servalan and all but one of the pirates
with teleport bracelets. The remaining pirate gives Kyben a handgun and takes a seat behind the console. )
Kyben: How will we know when Avon arrives?
Servalan: Octon will detect the teleport field. Nothing to worry about there. As soon as Avon's motley crew are
aboard it'll send us a warning, and our sacrificial lamb there... ( Points at the pirate at the controls. ) ...will send us
to our meeting with destiny.
Kyben: ( Sumptuously. ) Destiny. I like the sound of that.
Servalan: The Federation will be mine again. Mine and yours. That's what I call destiny.
( Servalan takes a step toward Kyben. This time he kisses
her - he can see he has little choice. )
( Liberator Flight Deck. Everyone's still battling in
the dim light to bypass Orac's shutdown command with no success. Suddenly they all stop and stare at Orac as he starts talking
to someone who isn't there. )
Orac: Warning... priority one warning...
Nij Blake: What's wrong?
Orac: Teleport field detected! Enemy boarding party detected!
Nij Blake: What! Where?
Orac: Now is the optimum time to begin the operation...
Nij Blake: What do you mean operation? We're under attack! Where are they coming in from?
Orac: Kindly be quiet, Blake! I am not talking to you! Let me concentrate.
( Subjugator Flight Deck. Octon lights up. )
Octon: Warning... priority one warning... Teleport field detected!
( Subjugator Teleport bay. Servalan, Kyben and the pirates
take up their positions in the teleport bay as they hear Octon's voice. )
Servalan: That's it! The time is on us at last!
Octon: ( V.O. ) Enemy boarding party detected!
Servalan: Avon's aboard.
Octon: ( V.O. ) Now is the optimum time to begin the operation.
Servalan: Octon, engage standby course.
Octon: ( V.O. ) Affirmative.
( The pirate at the console starts operating the controls.
Kyben suddenly pushes down on the floor enough to lift himself into the air. He kicks his feet back against the wall behind
him and pushes himself forward out of the teleport bay. )
Servalan: Kyben! What are you...?!
( Servalan and the pirates dematerialise. Kyben raises
his gun and shoots the remaining pirate. He then hurls the gun aside and starts running toward the Flight Deck. )
( Servalan and her boarding party materialise on the
Flight Deck of Pursuit Two. The crew of mutoids and their Space Major look up at her in astonishment. Servalan is confused,
but recovers more quickly. )
Servalan: I... what? Kill them!
( The pirates raise their guns and make short work of
the Pursuit ship's crew. )
Servalan: Stand guard!
( Servalan strides up to the controls, pushes the corpse
of a mutoid pilot out of the seat, and starts punching the communicator. It doesn't work but then she hears Kyben's voice
on the speaker. )
Kyben: ( V.O. ) I hope you can hear this Servalan. Orac promises he can relay it through the interference...
( Subjugator Flight Deck. Kyben is here, at the controls,
speaking into a communicator. )
Kyben: ( Into comms. ) I couldn't bring myself to kill you, Servalan. I wanted to reprogram the teleport to
send you into space, but I couldn't manage it. This is the next best thing. Must feel strange to be manipulated rather than
manipulator for a change. Still the important thing is you now have neither the Liberator nor the Subjugator. And I'm now
going to make sure neither you nor Avon can ever use this tub again. Or me for that matter.
( Pursuit Two. Servalan listens to Kyben with growing
Kyben: ( V.O. ) Oh by the way, Servalan. The real favour I wanted from you. Whatever happens from now on, even
if you ever do become President or Supreme Commander or Empress or whatever you choose to be... well I know you'll manage
it sooner or later. I don't think anyone would dare to stop you. All I ask is, if you do catch Avon and his crew eventually...
let Soolin live. Please. If there's any part of you that truly cared about me, you'll do me that much. Goodbye, Servalan.
I won't live long enough to forget you, but I wouldn't have anyway.
( Comms close. Servalan just stands motionless for a
long moment. Then a small tear trickles from the corner of her eye. She wipes it away hurriedly, and motions her Pirates to
take the controls of the ship. )
Servalan: ( Darkly. ) We've lost this one. Get us out of the system. Shortest route.
( Pursuit Two breaks off and heads out of the Belquon
( Liberator Flight Deck. Everyone, bar Soolin, is seated
in the pit, waiting impatiently, and furiously avoiding each other's eyes. Soolin stands at the communication console, watching
the readouts intently for any sign of a response from the Subjugator. Suddenly the main lights switch back on. )
Orac: Notice is now given. Full function to all systems except teleport has been restored.
Vila: You mean he did it?
Orac: If by that highly over-generalised expression, you mean, "Has Kyben taken control of Deep Space Vehicle
One?" the answer is "yes."
Nij Blake: Well, then... ( Stammers. ) ...we've got them both? We've got the Liberator and DSV1?
Orac: Up to a point, that is correct.
Nij Blake: ( Leaps to his feet and throws his arms up in the air. ) Fantastic!
Avon: ( Suspicious. ) What do you mean by "Up to a..."
Soolin: ( More concerned. ) And what about Kyben? Is he all right?
Orac: For the time being, yes.
Soolin: For the time being?
Orac: His plan is not yet completed.
Avon: What's going on?
Soolin: Let's teleport him back, he can tell us himself.
Orac: That will not be possible. The teleport system remains dysfunctional until further notice. Restoration
of the system will not proceed without receipt of the appropriate recall code, or the event of Deep Space Vehicle One's destruction.
Avon: ( Getting to his feet. ) Destruction?
Avon: All right, Orac, what's going on?
Orac: Why not ask Kyben yourselves? I can open a communication link for you now.
Avon: You do that.
Soolin: And hurry up.
( Kyben's voice suddenly rings out on the main speaker.
Kyben: ( V.O. ) I suppose now's the time for explanations isn't it?
Avon: Is that all you have to say? You left us adrift ahead of a black hole for minutes on end and you still
won't let us have full control of the Liberator? What the devil are you playing at?
Kyben: ( V.O. ) Avon, I have the Subjugator... DSV1 you'd call it.
Avon: Good, so reactivate the teleport so we can salvage it.
Kyben: ( V.O. ) No.
Avon: Maybe you didn't hear. I said...
Kyben: ( V.O. ) I said no! This ship is on a course for the black hole. And I'm going to make damn sure
it goes the full distance.
Soolin: Kyben, what are you saying?
( Subjugator Flight Deck. )
Kyben: ( Into comms. ) I'm sorry, Avon, but I can't let you have this ship as well as the Liberator...
Avon: ( V.O. ) Kyben, you fool!
Kyben: Wrong! I'd be a fool to let you have more power than you already have. Both of the System's flagships
would be enough for you to take over the Federation. And you'd be a worse tyrant than anyone who ruled before you.
( Liberator Flight Deck. )
Soolin: ( Into comms. ) Okay, Kyben, we'll let the ship go. It's too close to the black hole for us to try and
salvage now anyway. Now get off that ship!
Kyben: ( V.O. ) Best if I don't, Soolin. Not much power left in this thing. Gotta make sure it doesn't grind
to a halt before it reaches the event horizon. And anyway... I'm not sure I want to come back.
Hailee: ( Into comms. ) What are you talking about, you idiot? Teleport out of there now. If you get much closer
to the black hole the teleport signal won't escape!
Kyben: ( V.O.) No. I'm sorry, really I am. But I can't live as a rebel anymore, and I can't go back to Earth.
You were right all along, Hailee. I don't have any choices now.
Hailee: ( Into comms, now frantic. ) Kyben, you're mad, get off that ship...!
( Subjugator Flight Deck. The rest of this conversation
switches back and forth between the two ships. )
Kyben: No. I've got nothing to go back for.
Soolin: ( Suddenly furious. ) Nothing to go back for?! What about all of us? We need you!
Kyben: No you don't. I'm no fighter, I just get in the way. You're all better off without me...
Soolin: ( More quietly. ) Then what about me, Kyben? I need you.
Kyben: No you don't. I'm the worst thing that ever happened to you...
Soolin: I love you.
Kyben: ( Looks like he's been slapped. ) No. No that's not true. It was never true. Servalan's affected the
way you think, Soolin. What you feel is Servalan's memory of me. It's not you!
Soolin: I don't care what the reason is, Kyben! Come back to me.
( Very long, very painful silence. )
Kyben: I love you, Soolin. And I'm sorry. Goodbye.
( The comms close. Soolin punches the controls in desperation.
Soolin: ( Into comms. ) Kyben? Kyben!
( Avon looks stony-faced but his anger is still obvious.
Avon: The idiot! Vila, Blake, get to the teleport room while I try to over-ride Orac's shutdown veto. Be ready
to bring Kyben out of there at a moment's notice.
( Vila and Blake leap to their feet and dash for the
teleport section. )
Hailee: What if he's not wearing his bracelet?
Avon: Then he'll die won't he? ( Switches Orac on. )
Soolin: Thanks, Avon. Could you try being a bit more blunt about it?
Avon: There's no point in trying to pretend, Soolin. This is the best I can do! Orac.
Orac: Will you kindly stop bothering me? I am busy monitoring the course of Deep Space Vehicle One towards
the black hole in line with the directives given to me, and I can ill-afford any further interruptions...
Avon: Orac. With all due respect, you can stick it.
Orac: I can what?
Avon: I said you can stick it! Clear the program Kyben gave you and reactivate the teleport. Now!
Orac: The correct clearance code is required before...
Avon: ( At the top of his voice, with utter fury. ) THAT CONDITION IS COUNTERMANDED!!!! ( More evenly.
) No such condition was ever put forward by me. I am the first authority on this ship! I am also the first authority over
you. Such a clearance code as Kyben has entered into your memory circuits is canceled! Do you hear me, Orac? Canceled! You
will only take orders from those present on the Liberator from this moment onward, and you will obey EVERY order so
given to you. Without exception. WithOUT exception. Is that understood, Orac?
Orac: I cannot...
Avon: Without exception, Orac! No further argument will be tolerated. Is... that... underSTOOD?!?
Orac: ( Slightly sheepish. ) I-... very well. The security code restricting use of the Liberator's teleport
system is now removed. It will take two minutes for the computers to revert to normal operations.
Avon: Two minutes?
Soolin: ( Almost shrieks. ) Why?
Orac: I was forced to divert the computations to an alternative circuit. Rerouting back to the original feed
will require direct physical reconnections. It will require a few moments longer. Please remain pati-...
Hailee: Oh shut up!
Soolin: ( Into comms. ) Blake, we've managed to bypass Orac's over-ride, stand by on our signal.
Nij Blake: ( V.O. ) Copy, Soolin.
Soolin: Thanks. For trying.
( Avon merely looks at her. )
( Subjugator Flight Deck. Kyben smiles insanely as he
"sees" the black hole on the screen ahead. He doesn't see Tarrant drifting painfully onto the Flight Deck from the port side
Kyben: Nearly there. Almost over at last...
( Tarrant realises what Kyben is about to do. )
Dev Tarrant: No! You lunatic, you'll kill us both!!
( Kyben looks up at him in terror as he sees Tarrant
spring toward him, fists raised. )
Kyben: No, I killed you!
( Tarrant collides with Kyben and they go flying into
a wall. )
Kyben: I threw you onto the force-field!
Dev Tarrant: You saw my staff fall onto the force-field, that's all.
Dev Tarrant: I grabbed the bottom of the gantry, you idiot!
( Tarrant punches Kyben in the stomach, then again across
the jaw. Kyben raises his fists to respond but Tarrant reaches up and grabs his arms. Kyben battles to free his hands from
Tarrant's grip, but it's like a vice. They struggle for purchase. )
Dev Tarrant: Turn this ship around, you fool!
Kyben: Be more polite, or you won't convince me.
( Liberator Teleport room. Blake and Vila are at the
controls, both looking terrified. Finally... )
Soolin: ( V.O. ) That's it, the teleport's online! Go! And please hurry!
( Vila and Blake operate the controls beween them to
speed things up a bit. The teleport mechanism grinds into life. )
Soolin: Hurry! There's only seconds left!
( The Subjugator's shape is beginning to alter and stretch
as it nears the black hole. On the Flight Deck. Tarrant and Kyben are still locked in combat. Tarrant continues to grip Kyben's
arms to prevent him from throwing any wild punches. There is a growing noise as Subjugator increases speed toward the black
hole. The light distorts and warps all about them. Parts of the walls and ceiling creak and snap away in a maelstrom of noise
and chaos. )
Kyben: ( Completely mad now. ) Is it not glorious, Tarrant? We will die together! Our feud ends in a draw! How
ironic, I always thought you'd win in the end!
( Tarrant's fingers have run under the bracelet on Kyben's
left wrist. )
Dev Tarrant: Youre mad. Even now, your stupid vendetta, it's all that you can think about! You need help, Kyben...
Kyben: ( Laughing hysterically. ) Bit late for that don't you think?
Dev Tarrant: Turn the ship around, Kyben!
Kyben: ( Laughs even more loudly. ) Too late for that too. Don't you see, Tarrant? We're dead already! Revel
( A sudden surge of warping and physical distortion
runs through the entire ship. Everything becomes stretched and ruined. Every electrical and mechanical component scuppers
and burns up in showers of sparks. On the Flight Deck, everything breaks up and becomes torn and misshapen, including Kyben
and Tarrant, who howl in agony untold as their bodies become ravaged parodies of what they were. Tarrant's hand, such as it
still is one, is still snagged inside Kyben's bracelet. Suddenly, in all the confusion of tangled matter and fire, a white
outline engulfs Kyben and Tarrant. It distorts and changes to all colours of the spectrum, whines fearfully and on several
occasions even loses its lock on them. But finally it takes a firm and clear enough hold and both Tarrant and Kyben dematerialise.
Seconds later the Flight Deck of the Subjugator starts to collapse in on itself. )
( In the shadow of the radiation field, the teleport
beam is actually visible as it travels between the Subjugator and the Liberator, and heavily slowed-down by the incredible
pull of the black hole. For a moment the beam seems to short out and get pulled back toward the black hole, but as it reaches
the crumbling ruin of the Subjugator, it appears to "bounce off" it. A tiny shard of light from the beam rebounds off and
disappears into the ether in the direction of the star, the rest of it heads to the Liberator. This time it reaches its destination.
The Subjugator by now has stretched and flattened to resemble a thin cone shape whose point aims directly into the black hole.
It then crosses the Event Horizon and no light can reach beyond. The Liberator swiftly turns and heads away from the black
hole before it can get pulled into the vortex. )
( Liberator teleport room. Avon, Soolin and Hailee have
arrived. The teleporter is still rumbling and whining as it tries to make sense of the signal it has received. A field of
energy keeps coming into view in the teleport bay, but it has no discernible pattern to it. Blake and Vila make constant minor
adjustments to the control settings, but it doesn't appear to make any difference. )
Soolin: ( Frantic. ) What's wrong?
Nij Blake: The teleporter can't cope! According to these readings it's definitely Kyben in there, but all the distortion
from the black hole's jumbled the signal pattern. It's taking the computers forever to sort it out.
Avon: That doesn't make sense! Even a black hole couldn't cause that much damage. Not to a sub-beam signal.
The computers should have unscrambled it by now.
Vila: Tell the computers, not us!
Soolin: What'll happen if it doesn't sort it out soon?
Avon: Every time the bio-energy recycles through the bay more of it gets burned up. If it takes much longer
there won't be enough power left to rebuild Kyben's body. Blake, can you divert extra power from the energy banks to the bio-energy
Nij Blake: We're already at maximum transfer now. Any more and the teleport won't have enough power left to keep
operating. Everything'll short out...
Vila: ( Cringing. ) Including Kyben...
Hailee: ( Excited. ) We're getting something!
( The energy field reappears in the bay and this time
it has a definite shape to it. More and more shape develops. )
Nij Blake: Yes, come on... come on... ( Fine-tunes the signal a little more. ) That's it, just a bit more...
( The field disappears again. Blake thumps the console
while the teleporter rumbles on. )
Nij Blake: Damn! It nearly had him! Why'd it
cut out again?
Avon: I don't know. It should have worked by now. It's almost as if there's something else in the system...
Hailee: Here it comes again...
( Blake pulls an extra lever on the console and everyone
braces themselves. This time the signal is complete and unjumbled, and the materialisation process finishes itself. No one
is pleased. Instead there are gasps of horror and revulsion. Even Avon cannot suppress a small shudder of dread. What is propped
up on its hands and knees in the teleport bay is hideous. It is humanoid, more or less, but the surface of its skin is mottled
and burned reddy-brown from top to toe. The body is elongated with many joints inverted. One arm is longer than the other,
with no more than two fingers on the right hand, at least seven on the left. But most ghastly of all is the head. It is singed
orange-black and appears to be gashed right down the middle, as though it were halves of two separate faces sewn together.
Its mouth is a revolting smear of red in its face, not a single tooth within properly shaped or even. And the eyes... the
irises are both blue but the rest of the eyes are a mix of stale yellow and bloodshot red. The ghastly creature lets out a
scream of turmoil and anguish. When finally the scream ends there is only a horrible cold silence. Eventually... )
Nij Blake: What... is... that?
( There seems nothing else to say. The creature looks
up in the direction of the voice, but its mismatched eyes fail to focus. Then it turns its confused and petrified gaze on
Soolin, who merely stands transfixed. After staring for a long moment, the creature shuffles toward Soolin on all fours, leaving
on the floor behind it a chilling trail of its own blood. The Liberator crew recoil reflexively away from the creature as
it passes them. )
Creature: ( Rasps. ) Soon... Soo-o-o-o-o-n...
( With terrible whimpers of pain, the creature pulls
itself to its feet, a sad balancing act as its legs are very different lengths.. It wobbles uncertainly on its feet for a
( It looks from one face to the next, sees the expressions
of disgust, even hostility in one or two, and suddenly turns and runs from them. )
Avon: ( Suddenly snapping out of it. ) What th-... don't let it get away!
Vila: What was that thing, Avon?
( Avon starts heading after the creature. )
Avon: I don't know, but I doubt we want it running loose on...
Hailee: It was Kyben.
( Everyone stands rooted to the spot and all turn and
look at her. )
Hailee: It was him. I'm sure of it. Couldn't you see it? It was all ruined but, I could see it. It was his face.
Or part of it. ( Starts jabbering, clearly rattled. ) But I saw him. It was him. It WAS him... wasn't it? I-...
Avon: That thing, you think it's...? ( Voice tails off as it sinks in. ) Of course, it must be! The distortion
caused by the black hole would have done incredible harm to him even before we teleported him. Add to that the scrambling
of the teleport signal... Blake, check the readings on the teleport now. We must be sure. Vila, Soolin, get after the creature,
quickly. Before it causes any damage.
Vila: What? Why do I have to go?
Avon: Either go and restrain that creature, or stay here and face me.
Vila: ( Gulps. ) Oh... All right I'm going.
( Vila pauses at the exit. )
Vila: Why did he keep saying "soon"?
Hailee: I think he meant "Soolin."
Vila: Oh. That makes sense I guess. Come on, Soolin!
( Soolin looks like she's going into shock. )
Soolin: Kyben? That thing? Kyben? No. Please, not like that. I'd rather he was dead than live like that.
( Vila gently takes Soolin's arm and leads her toward
the Flight Deck. Avon and Hailee gather round the teleport console. )
Nij Blake: The computers are still assessing.
Hailee: Well, tell them to assess more quickly.
Avon: Time may be short, Blake. If that thing really is Kyben, it may not have long to live.
Nij Blake: I'm on it, I'm on it!
( Data scrolls over a tiny screen on the console. It
shows a diagram of a human, then a second human, and the two images merging. The images break into separate parts again. The
diagram of the first human is selected and a photographic image of Kyben's face appears next to it. These images melt away
to be replaced by the outline of the second human. Another photograph appears, this time the face of Dev Tarrant. )
Nij Blake: Oh... my... God!
Hailee: What is it? Come on, Blake, answer me, what is it?
Nij Blake: ( Leaps to his feet and quickly climbs out from behind the console. ) We've got to get after that thing.
It's not Kyben. I mean it is but...
Hailee: But what? What do you mean?
( Blake looks at her like he's seen a ghost. )
( Flight Deck. Vila and Soolin find the creature lying
face down on the floor by the seating pit, weeping to itself softly. Soolin kneels down next to it, while Vila collects a
medi-kit from the locker. )
Soolin: ( Whispers. ) Kyben? Is that really you?
( Vila scuttles over quickly, preparing a hypodermic.
Vila: Is he still breathing?
Soolin: ( Not concentrating. ) What?
Vila: Is he... oh look never mind...
( Vila kneels next to the creature, checks there is
enough serum in the syringe, then gently slides it into the creature's arm. )
Vila: This should ease the...
( The creature howls in pain and rage. It springs awkwardly
to its feet and turns and faces Vila, who takes a leap backwards. )
( The creature howls and runs at Vila. Vila tries to
ward it off, but is engulfed in a bear hug. Vila screams. )
Vila: It's burning me! It BU-U-UR-R-RN-N-NS-S-SS!
( Soolin runs for the gun locker and pulls out a clip
gun. She spins on her heel, steps forward, and aims the gun at the creature, a look of cold determination in her eyes. The
creature looks up at her, and releases Vila, who drops to the floor, gasping with relief. Soolin glances between the creature
and Vila, and her eyes settle on the creature's. She finds her resolve slipping. )
Creature: Sool'n! Sool'n... Luf... yu... Sool'n...
( It takes a step toward her. She raises the gun warningly,
but does not fire. Avon, Hailee and Blake arrive. Blake quickly goes to pull Vila away from the creature, while Hailee moves
toward Soolin. Avon steps toward the creature. )
Avon: Soolin, pull the trigger.
Soolin: What! That's Kyben. You can't ask me to kill him...!
Avon: I'm not asking, I'm telling. Let that creature live and you'll be doing Kyben the worst turn you can
Soolin: There must be a way to heal him...
( The creature takes another step toward Soolin just
as Hailee arrives at her side. Soolin waves the gun at the creature, who stops once more. Hailee eyes the gun locker. She
knows she cannot reach it before the creature turns berserk again. )
Hailee: Soolin, it's not that simple. It's not Kyben. It's Tarrant. It's Dev Tarrant.
Soolin: ( Glances at her. ) What do you mean? You said...
Hailee: Yes! All right, it is Kyben. But it's... it's Tarrant too.
( Soolin looks at the creature in shock. )
Hailee: They were both on DSV1 when the teleport activated. I don't know, the ship must have reached the event
horizon just as Kyben beamed out... or something. Somehow Tarrant got caught in the beam. The compression must have merged
their physio patterns.
Hailee: That's the result. Their bodies have fused. It's not Kyben anymore, Soolin. You've got to kill it.
( Silence. Soolin keeps the gun trained on the creature,
her eyes brimming with turmoil. )
Soolin: I can't. If there's any part of him left in there...
Avon: You must kill it, Soolin!
Hailee: Soolin, listen to me! Remember how you felt when your mind was merged with Servalan's? Do you? Do you
remember? Well, Kyben's is merged with Tarrant's right now! Bonded with what he hates the most. And this time there's no way
to separate them. You must fire, Soolin. It's the only way to free him.
( Soolin still sees the pleading eyes. The creature
takes another faltering step forward to her. It reaches out with one acrid hand to touch her. )
Nij Blake: Soolin, shoot!
Creature: Soo'n. SOO-O-OOL'N!
( It grabs for her. )
Vila: Kill it!
Hailee: KILL IT!!!!
( Soolin pulls the trigger...)