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 XX - Last Spectre Of Auron


( Residence One, Earth. The President's office. The President, bags under his eyes and sad songs in his heart, is sat behind his desk. He is being briefed by Space Major Brecht and Secretary Demwuhl, but appears to be only half paying attention. )

Brecht: Sarkoff's death was natural. Heart attack apparently.

President: Mm.

Brecht: Lindor is now a prime target for the pacification police. His daughter's attempting to set up an interim government, which may cause complications, but the renewed civil unrest on the planet is now such that our agents should be able to infiltrate unhindered.

President: Mm. Good.

Brecht: Our next target in the battle for control of Agro 34 against Vandor is a chain of islands on the disputed borderline. Our strategists plan to set up a secret outpost from which to tap the syndeton resources we need from the seabed.

President: Mm.

Brecht: With the richness of the mineral pocket located there, we should be able to supply a fleet large enough to secure the key space lanes across most of that quadrant.

President: Mm.

Brecht: ( Annoyed by the President's lack of interest. ) Moving on, the ongoing dispute in the Outer Planets between Betafarl, Besloc, and Khom is on the brink of a fresh round of war.

President: Mm.

Brecht: The dispute, as you know, goes back to Betafarl's accusation that Khom had assassinated their former leader, Zuk-... ( Voice tails off as he realises that the President is no longer paying any attention at all. ) ...Mr President, am I boring you?

President: Just go, Brecht. And you, Demwuhl.

( Brecht looks like he is about to protest. )

President: Just... go.

( Brecht nods to Demwuhl and they both exit. The President lets out a long sigh, and presses his palms together in front of his face. He sits in this position for a long moment. Then he gets to his feet. )

President: Ah well. Off heads the lamb to face the baying wolves...

( The President walks out of his office, closing the door behind him, and steps into the main reception area. Demwuhl and Brecht are still here, talking quietly. There are a few clerical staff here as well, sat behind desks and working with a great deal of paper that signifies very little. They all turn to look at the President as he strides their way. )

President: ( Unpleasantly. ) Still here, Brecht?

Brecht: Not for long, sir. Are you sure you don't want me to resume the briefing...?

President: Am I sure? You doubting my judgement again, Major?

Brecht: Well, that's not entirely what I meant...

President: Because if you are, Major, I don't see any point in continuing the briefing, do you? As you clearly know so much better than me, what can I possibly decide that you couldn't do better? Hmm?

( Brecht's face colours at the public rebuke. )

Brecht: Excellency...

President: No, you carry on doing things your way, Major. I don't doubt that you've been doing so anyway.

Brecht: ( Shocked. ) Sir?

President: ( Quietly. ) Don't think I haven't got my eye on everything you do, Brecht. The whole reason why I made you Space Command's delegate on the High Council was because I knew you were too feeble for active service...

Brecht: ( Affronted. ) Feeble?!

President: Yes, feeble. And therefore expendable. And don't you forget that.

Brecht: Your Excellency, I don't understand. Are you accusing me of something...?

President: You figure it out. Now if you'll all excuse me, I have an address to make to the Council.

( The President walks out, leaving a room full of embarrassed and silent people. Jaw flapping wildly, Brecht stares at the exit the President has just disappeared through. )

Brecht: ( Clearly shocked, and genuinely hurt. ) I don't understand. Why's he accusing me? If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't even be a Major now. After everything he did for me after Gedden, why in the world does he think I'd want to betray him?

Demwuhl: He's scared, Major, and it's getting worse. He knows that it'll take just one more big setback, and the families on the Council will call for his head. And you know what happens to Presidents when they're impeached. ( Brecht nods. ) He's becoming so paranoid, he's even turning on his closest colleagues. If your agents at Space Command don't find Servalan soon, we're all in for the chop.

Brecht: You make it sound like it's just a matter of trying a bit harder.

Demwuhl: Oh no. I realise it'll take a lot more than that. ( Smiles slightly. ) I'm well aware of that. ( Frowns again as Brecht turns to look at her. ) But Servalan's continued survival is causing enormous disruption - exactly the kind of uncertainty that the Council hates. They'd rather see Servalan restored to the Presidency than both of them alive and at liberty.

( Brecht looks back to the door with a sad frown. )

Brecht: To be honest, her restoration is looking more likely than anything else. She keeps slipping through our fingers, and I'm sure she's getting help from traitors here on Earth.

Demwuhl: ( Quietly. ) Probably. ( A little more loudly. ) That's why the President's so scared. One of them has to die, and he knows the odds at the moment are that it'll be him, especially as Servalan's allies are proving so difficult to find. Don't take it too personally though. He's suspicious of everyone.

Brecht: ( Chuckles bleakly. ) That's one way of making sure you accuse the real traitor - accuse everyone.

( Demwuhl smiles gently and heads for the door. )

Demwuhl: Impractical though, I'd say. Anyway, if his Excellency's making an address, I'd better attend the Council and hear exactly what it is he has to say.

Brecht: ( Bitterly. ) I'm sure it'll be riveting...


( Liberator flight deck. Avon and Soolin are sat in the central pit. Vila is snoozing contentedly at one of the flight consoles. )

Soolin: But killing him?

Avon: Sabbath was like all Iron Guards, therefore like all Federation troopers.

Soolin: Surely not. You said they were the President's personal security detachment. They'd have to be the best...

Avon: The badges are the best, that's all. They've still got the same species of animal pinned to them. He would have killed me, so I killed him. The maths are simple enough, but it's amazing how few people are able to act on the sums.

Soolin: But you are?

Avon: Obviously. I'm still alive.

Soolin: So I see. Well if it was a contest it was a good one. You won't hear any complaints from the loser after all, and the judge's decision can't be much more final.

Avon: ( Reflectively. ) I suppose not.

Soolin: You only suppose not? I've never heard complaints from the dead. Have you?

( Avon looks ucomfortable. He hears Roj Blake's scolding voice. )

Roj Blake: ( V.O. more ethereal than ever. ) Why?

Avon: Not often.

Soolin: Has anyone ever told you how bizarre you are, Avon?

Avon: That's a new one. I've been accused of brilliance, corruption, avarice, egotism and psychopathic cruelty. But I don't recall being described as bizarre.

Soolin: It's just that in my time I've been orphaned, I've murdered my parents' killers, I' ve cohabited with a man who was over two hundred years old, and I've shared minds with a former Empress. I've been through all that, and yet every time I talk to you, you manage to scare me more than anything else I've ever known.

( Avon smiles and gets to his feet. )

Avon: It's probably just your diet. Vila, wake up!

( Vila wakes with a start. )

Vila: Wh-... What? ( Coughs. ) It's all right, I wasn't asleep!

Avon: No of course not. I was just making sure you were keeping those catlike reflexes as sharp as possible.

Vila: ( Shrugs. ) You know me. What is it anyway?

Avon: I'm turning in now...

Vila: Oh I see. You're allowed to sleep and I'm not?

Soolin: So you were asleep?

Vila: ( Smiles innocently. ) You know me.

Avon: Hailee's turn on watch is in two hours. Until then you and Soolin are on your own.

Vila: I still don't think it's a good idea having at least two people on watch all the time. You said it yourselves back on Tyrix, we're tired enough already.

Avon: It's only until we get back to the frontier, Vila. This zone in particular has become rife with pirate activity since the Federation caved in. I'd prefer it if we take extra precautions until we're back in safer space.

Vila: "Safer space," he says! Where is that exactly?

Avon: Oh I'm sure we'll find a nice, accessible wormhole falling into the infinite void of nothingness one day. We can be sure no Federation ships or pirates will go anywhere near that.

Vila: ( Sarcastically. ) Well, it's a comforting thought.

Avon: Good night.

( Avon walks out. Vila smiles at Soolin. )

Soolin: What?

Vila: Bizarre? That's a good one.

Soolin: Pardon?

Vila: I must be able to find a way to rile him with that one.

Soolin: You were awake weren't you?

Vila: Course I was. No way I was gonna get forty winks with you two yammering away like a pair of school-kids. ( Leans back, crosses arms and looks bored. ) Sleep's a real trick on this ship sometimes. There's always something to wake you up.


( Avon's quarters. Avon himself is asleep on his bunk. There is a narrow trickle of sweat running down from his forehead to his ear. )

Avon: ( Murmurs. ) No... no...

( Avon suddenly opens his eyes. He is clearly still asleep. )

Avon: C-... C-... C-...


( Lupus Castle, Earth. The President is fielding questions from the High Council. Once again, there is many a furrowed brow and little dignity among the attending dignitaries. Shouts of anger and protest occasionally echo around the chamber. A delegate from the Family heading the Science Ministry gets to his feet. )

Science Delegate: Your Excellency, we understood from your previous address that a full flotilla from the Galactic Third Fleet had been assigned to Central Security for the task of apprehending Servalan.

( There are loud murmurs of agreement all around the chamber. The Science Delegate - who really should know better - makes a big show of waving his fist indignantly as he continues. )

Science Delegate: Why has this Council still not received a direct report from the Flotilla's commanding officer? Have you chosen to shelve the report? Perhaps it contains news that the Council would not be happy to hear? Or perhaps you haven't received a report at all? Are you unable to maintain high enough standards of discipline for Space Command to follow even the most basic procedures?

( There is a roar of agreement from all about as the Science Delegate resumes sitting. )

President: We have not received a formal report from Space Commander Kreel as yet, although we have of course received regular verbal updates...

( The Science Delegate stands once more. )

Science Delegate: Mr President, we are not interested in "verbal updates". They mean little or nothing. It is, and has always been, strict procedure that the commanding officer of any ship on a long-term tour of military duty must transmit personally-written reports to Space Command Headquarters, detailing all mission and crew activity, every seven days. Kreel departed from Earth with Komissar Tarrant weeks ago. Are you telling us that you still haven't received even one formal report from Kreel in that time?

President: ( Hesitates, swallows. ) None.

( Outraged cries of complaint from all about the chamber. )

President: The nature of... the nature of the mission they are conducting makes it possible that time for such formalities will not be available, as has been the case here. Not only are they trying... ( Has to raise voice to be heard over the protests. ) ...not only are they trying to track Servalan, but they have also been assigned to destroy the Liberator...

( A representative of the Family running the Federation Banking Cartel gets to her feet. )

Banking Delegate: Mr President, would it be possible for you to remind us who it was who assigned Kreel and Tarrant to both tasks, when it was the recommendation of this Council that one of the tasks should be assigned to someone else entirely?

( This question is met by nods from many of the Councillors. Mocking jeers are aimed at the President as the Banking Delegate sits. )

President: I would point out that it was also the insistence of this Council that the captures of both Servalan and Kerr Avon should be given equal priority, and that no other agents of sufficiently proven ability were available at the time...

( A representative of the Commerce Guild gets to his feet. )

Commerce Delegate: Mr President, are you having difficulty understanding the question? The delegate from the Banking Cartel was asking you who made the decision, not the circumstances governing that decision.

( With a pained grimace, the President closes his eyes for a moment. Then he hurriedly reopens them, as he realises that appearing overwhelmed will not give a positive impression. )

President: It was my decision and I stand by it!

( There are shouts and hoots of derision at this. The President struggles to make himself heard above it all. Secretary Demwuhl is stood on a balcony above the chamber, enjoying the President's discomfort, although doing well to hide it. She is soon joined by one of the Senators. )

Senator: You should be down there with him, Secretary. He needs all the help he can get.

Demwuhl: Against that lot, Senator? No point, I'd just burn up with him.

Senator: Simple loyalty, though.

( Demwuhl turns and looks at the Senator intensely. )

Demwuhl: Yes, but then I'm not simple.

Senator: ( Calmly. ) No, my dear. I don't think you are.

Demwuhl: Why aren't you down there joining in? Surely you'd like to get a piece of him?

Senator: Same choice, opposite reason. Like you say, he's getting burned up completely. Any extra missiles thrown his way are a waste of ammunition. ( Turns eyes back to President. ) No, he's already lost this debate. He hasn't got long left now, whatever anyone does.

Demwuhl: It's beginning to look that way.

Senator: You don't sound all that upset about it, Demwuhl.

Demwuhl: ( Distantly. ) Don't I? Well, I can promise you, Senator, I'm as upset about it as you are.

( The Senator gives Demwuhl a knowing, sidelong glance, but does not reply. )


( Liberator. Hailee emerges from her quarters and starts along one of the corridors leading in the direction of the flight deck. As she passes the door to Avon's quarters, she hears the sound of someone in pain. She knocks on the door. )

Hailee: Avon? Avon, are you okay in there?

( More sounds of pain. )
Hailee: ( More urgently. ) Avon! ( Hammers door with fist. ) Avon, open the
door! It's Hailee! Avon!

( Hailee curses and runs to the flight deck. There, Soolin and Vila are still on watch. )

Soolin: There you are. I was beginning to think you'd never...

Hailee: Vila, come with me. Quickly!

Vila: What? Why, what's...?

( Hailee grabs hold of Vila's ear and starts dragging him toward the exit. )

Vila: Oooww!! Let go!

Hailee: Stop talking and follow me! Avon's in trouble and I can't get to him.

( Vila gently disengages his ear from Hailee's grip. )

Vila: Well just say so next time.

( Vila and Hailee run along the starboard corridor. Soolin blinks once or twice, then follows. )

Soolin: Zen, report any disturbances over internal comms.

Zen: Confirmed.


( Vila and Hailee arrive outside Avon's quarters. There are more sounds of anguish through the door. )

Vila: Crikey, what's happening in th-...?

Hailee: Stop asking questions and open the damn door!

Vila: Okay, okay!

( Vila plucks a small screwdriver from his shirt pocket and starts tinkering with the lock mechanism on the door. )

Hailee: ( Impatiently. ) Hurry up!

Vila: ( Calmly, not looking up from his work. ) Gimme a chance, gimme a chance...

Hailee: Give you a chance? You keep telling me you're the greatest thief in the galaxy and you can't even pick the locks on our own ship?

Vila: Actually...

( Vila presses a button on the door and the lock releases. The door slides open. )

Vila: ...I just did. It just takes me a while because I don't get much practice with these ones. Like you say, it's our own ship, so there's need to pick the locks...

( Hailee pushes past Vila through the doorway. Vila shrugs and follows, just as Soolin arrives. Inside, Avon is sprawled on the floor, unconscious. He is in the grip of a fever, occasionally moaning. )

Hailee: Avon!

( Hailee and Soolin sit Avon up and lean him against the base of the bunk. Vila goes to the sink in the corner, damps a cloth in cold water and carries it over. Soolin takes it and starts dabbing Avon's brow with it. )

Hailee: This is weird.

Vila: What is?

Soolin: He's still asleep. He's in a fever, he's fallen out of bed, we're moving him around... ( Shakes head. ) ...and he's not reacting at all.

Avon: C-... C-... can't... be... C-...

Hailee: Avon?

Soolin: Avon, what are you trying to say? Can't be what?

Avon: C-... C-...

( Avon suddenly relaxes and goes limp. )

Vila: ( Alarmed. ) Is he all right?

( Hailee checks Avon's vital signs. )

Hailee: Looks like it.

Soolin: I think he was having some kind of nightmare. It must have ended.

Hailee: REM sleep over?

Soolin: Probably.

Vila: Avon having nightmares? That doesn't sound likely.

Hailee: No?

Vila: What self-respecting dream would want to get trapped inside Avon's head?

Soolin: In my experience, nightmares have little to do with self-respect.

Vila: What, you get them too?

Soolin: ( Frosty look. ) Have you already forgotten what I told you on Tyrix?

( Vila takes the point. )

Hailee: Let's just get him back into bed. We can talk to him about it in the morning.

Vila: We're in space, Hailee, there's no such as thing as morning round here.

( Hailee gives Vila a black look. Together they gently lift Avon from the floor and put him back onto his bunk. They then walk out, closing the door behind them. Vila points to the dismantled lock on the door. )

Vila: He's not going to be happy about that.

Soolin: So you'd better fix it, hadn't you?

Vila: I... can't we leave it to the automatics?

Soolin: No, because it's not been damaged, just rewired. Fix it.

Vila: Not right now, I might wake Avon.

Soolin: After everything he just slept through, I'd be surprised if he could hear you if you welded the door shut. Now get to it.

( Vila rolls his eyes and starts trying to patch up the lock on the door. )

Vila: I'm not used to doing it this way round...


( Flight deck. Hailee takes the helm. )

Hailee: Anything to report, Zen?

Zen: Negative.

Hailee: Approximate flight time to Exbar?

Zen: Twenty eight hours, forty seven minutes.

( Soolin walks in. )

Soolin: Why would Avon have a fever?

Hailee: Probably caught something from the locals on Tyrix. I mean the health care on that moon wasn't much to write home about. Who knows what germs those people were carrying?

Soolin: Thanks Hailee, that puts my mind at rest.


( Vila finishes repairing the lock on Avon's door, closes it up, and slots the screwdriver back in his pocket. He is about to walk off, when suddenly the tiny panel on the lock falls back open. Vila frowns and is about to close it again when he realises that some of the wires that he had just rerouted have come loose. He scowls, pulls out his screwdriver and starts repairing them again. After a moment, he nods to himself and closes the lock up. As soon as he withdraws his hand the panel falls open once more. Before his eyes, the wires start to come loose again. )

Vila: What the...? What's going on?

( Vila reaches back into the lock again. There is a loud crackle, a bright flash and Vila is hurled to the floor. He is out cold. )


( On the other side of the door, Avon sits up with a start at the sound. He feels his forehead in confusion, then shakily, dizzily, he gets to his feet and walks to his door. He opens it and sees Vila sprawled on the floor ahead of him. )


( Medical unit. Vila is on a rehab couch. His life signs are being monitored by the computers. Avon, Soolin, Hailee and Blake are all here watching Vila, some in concern, all in bafflement. )

Avon: Well, Slave?

Slave: Patient appears to be unconscious, Master.

( Avon exchanges despairing looks with Soolin. )

Soolin: ( Through gritted teeth. ) What's the cause, Slave?

Slave: The cause appears to be acute electrical trauma, madam. Mental activity is presently low and haphazard...

Avon: ( Sourly. ) That's a sign of normal health on this ship.

Slave: Physical damage is minor, and confined chiefly to shock to the nervous system. Full recovery should be achieved within three hours.

Avon: When will he wake up?

Slave: With my extreme shortcomings, I can give no reliable estimate, Master, but I would suggest the patient will be ready to wake within minutes.

( Avon reclines on one of the other couches, looking exhausted. )

Soolin: Well we should be able to ask him what happened at least. How are you feeling now?

Avon: Tired, and thirsty. You're saying I had a nightmare?

Hailee: You tell us.

Avon: I... remember something. I find dreams so difficult to hold onto when I wake.

Nij Blake: That's just you and everyone else.

Soolin: You said something while we tried to wake you. "Can't be." Any idea what it was? Or rather, what it couldn't have been?

Avon: I... I remember... I remember... ( Eyes widen. ) Her!

( Avon suddenly slumps back on the couch, eyes closed. )

Hailee: Avon! ( Puts hand on Avon's cheek, trying to wake him. ) Avon, are you all right? Avon!

( Hailee exchanged worried looks with Soolin, who attaches sensor pads from the medical computer to the temples of Avon's head. )

Soolin: Slave, we need you to perform another analysis.

Slave: At once, madam.

Nij Blake: Who?

Soolin: What did you say?

Nij Blake: "Her," he said. Her who?

Soolin: Do you think we can worry about that later, Blake?

Nij Blake: No.

( Blake points at Avon, who is falling into another fever. )

Nij Blake: Y'see, I get the feeling that he's worrying about it already.


( Avon is falling. He cannot see where he is, or where he is falling to, but he is definitely falling. There appears to be some kind of hole in the ground far below him, and he is heading that way. He scrambles around for something to grab hold of and arrest his fall but there is nothing. The background around him is just a distortion of bizarre colours, mainly green and brown. )

Avon: Where am I? Where am I?!

( Suddenly the colours in the background resolve their distortion and begin to take shape. A face is appearing. A number of faces in fact, in a ring around Avon as he falls. )

Roj Blake: ( V.O. ) Why did you kill me? Why?

Avon: No! Not you again! I reject this fantasy. You are dead, and I will not let you steal from my mind anymore!

Roj Blake: ( V.O. ) Why did you kill me, Avon?

Avon: You betrayed me. You betrayed me before you died, you betray me now...

Roj Blake: ( V.O. suddenly sounding different, less booming. ) Betrayed you? I did not betray you.

Avon: I...

Roj Blake: ( V.O. Now sounding much softer. ) You betrayed me, Avon. If it weren't for you I'd still be alive.

( Avon looks down and sees that he is about to disappear through the hole. )

Avon: Leave me, Blake! Leave my mind!

Apparition: ( V.O. Sounding vaguely feminine. ) Blake? Who said anything about Blake?

( Avon looks around and then realises that he is not falling at all but floating in the middle of nowhere. He also realises that the hole is not beneath him but right in front of him. It is a mouth, and it is not in the ground, it is part of a face. The images around him blur back out into brown and green distortions on the face, forming giant eyes that stare at Avon with pained disapproval and love. )


( Medical unit. Vila is now in a fever, and is starting to make pained noises as he collapses into a nightmare. )

Soolin: I don't believe this.

Hailee: ( Tending to Avon. ) What is it?

Soolin: Vila's got a fever now as well. ( Checks computer. ) His body temperature's up over thirty nine degrees! Much higher and he'll die.

Nij Blake: Avon's temperature's close to forty. Slave, have we got anything that can normalise their body heat?

Slave: It would be most inadvisable to do that, sir.

Nij Blake: If they heat up any further they're dead, Slave. Is that advisable?

Slave: My advice is born of the poorest capacities, sir. I am sure your opinion is worth far more than mine, so...

Nij Blake: I'm not asking for opinions, Slave, I want facts. What have we got that will reduce body temperature?

Slave: I recommend a small infusion of saline liquid, sir. The latent heat capacity should be high enough to...

Soolin: ( To Blake. ) Check in the stocks. ( Points to cabinet. ) Move it! ( Glances at Vila, who writhes. ) They haven't got long.


( Vila is falling. He cannot see where he is, or where he is falling to, but he is definitely falling. The background around him is just a distortion of bizarre colours, mainly green and brown. He scrambles around for something to grab hold of and arrest his fall but there is nothing. )

Vila: Help! Help me! Avon! Soolin-Blake-Hailee-someone-anyone... help!!!!

( A giant hand, at least as large as Vila, suddenly appears out of nowhere and catches him, gently cradling him in its palm. The hand is long and thin, quite shapely. Vila looks about himself in disbelief. )

Apparition: ( V.O. ) They can't help you, Vila. But I can.

Vila: What's going on? What's...?

( The brown and green distortions resolve and twist beyond the hand, forming giant eyes that stare at Vila with pained disapproval and affection. Vila looks into the eyes with fear. Then his expression changes from fearful to wary. He recognises the eyes somehow. )

Vila: C-...?


( Avon still stares at the giant face in front of him. The eyes are the same as the ones in Vila's dream. )

Avon: Ca-...?


( Medical unit. Blake has finished mixing a saline solution and is getting ready to start administering it. )

Hailee: Hurry it up, Blake!

Nij Blake: All right, all right!

( Blake fills a hypodermic with the solution and holds it poised next to Vila's arm. )

Nij Blake: Ready?

Hailee: What are you waiting for? An executive court order? Do it!

( Blake begins to slide the needle into Vila's arm... when suddenly the lights go out. The only illumination remaining in the room comes from the computers. Soolin, Hailee and Blake are thrown completely. )

Nij Blake: What the hell?

Soolin: I don't believe this. Slave, what's going on?

Apparition: ( V.O. unheard by those present. ) No! You will not wake them! They're mine! I have waited too long for them! They're mine!

Soolin: Slave?

Hailee: ( Glancing at Slave. ) Well, either he's finally learned how to sulk... ( Looks up. ) ...or we've got some kind of stowaway.


( Within the landscape of their dreams, Avon and Vila find themselves kneeling next to each other in the palm of a giant hand. )

Vila: Avon, is that...?

Avon: Yes.

Vila: ( Suddenly looks at Avon. ) Hang on, how did you get here?

Avon: It's a puzzle, I admit, but I wouldn't call it the priority right now, would you?

Vila: Probably not. But... how is she...? I mean what's going on?

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

Vila: Possessed? They can't do that to me! I'm mine, no one's allowed to possess me without permission...

Avon: I doubt that she cares about that anymore. She feels great anger and hurt, and very little else.

Vila: Anger? Hurt? What are you talking about?

Avon: I killed her. She's returned for me. She's been trying to break through to me for months, tried to invade me through my dreams, and now she's finally done it.


( Medical unit. It it still dark, but Blake tries once more to inject the saline solution into Vila's arm. )

Nij Blake: This is going to hurt me a lot more than it's going to hurt you, Vi-...

( Vila's arm suddenly swings out and connects sharply with Blake's cheek. )

Nij Blake: ...-L-AAAA!!!

( Blake is thrown back into the wall. Vila starts to sit up. )

Soolin: Vila! What are you...?!

Hailee: ( Examining readout on computer. ) It wasn't him, Soolin. He's still asleep!

Soolin: What?

( Soolin tries to push Vila back down but he brushes her aside with no apparent difficulty. His eyes are still closed. Hailee goes to Soolin's aid. )

Hailee: Slave, what's going on?

Slave: Mental activity in both patients is rife, madam, but remains dangerously errat-...

( Vila picks up an oscilloscope and hurls it at the medi-computer. Slave shorts out with a loud crash and a shower of sparks. )

Soolin: Vila, what are you doing?!

( In the murk, Vila turns to look at Soolin and Hailee. His eyes flicker open briefly. )

Vila: I'm... sorry... can't... help... ( His voice suddenly changes into that of the apparition. ) Do not interfere. They're mine. The next one to interfere will die... alone and silent!

( Blake leaps up and grabs Vila, who struggles against him. Soolin's expression flickers slightly. )

Vila: Do not... interfere!

( Suddenly Vila goes limp. Blake realises and lays him back down on the couch. Then there is another shower of sparks, and smoke starts to flood into the compartment through the air filters. )

Hailee: Oh no...

Soolin: Out! Everybody out, quickly! Hailee, help me carry Vila. Blake, you take Avon. Hurry!

Apparition: ( V.O. unheard by those present. ) No! You will leave them here.

( Blake tries to lift Avon, who keeps pushing him away. The same happens to Hailee and Soolin as they try to lift Vila. )

Hailee: It's no good. ( Coughs on the smoke. )

Nij Blake: We can't just leave them in here...

Soolin: We can, and I think we have to.

Apparition: ( V.O. unheard. ) Yes. Yes, you have to. Go. GO!

( More smoke billows into the compartment. Visibility is now practically zero, so Soolin, Hailee and Blake stagger to the exit and manage to work they way out. Once they are all out, Soolin pulls the door closed behind them, while Hailee collapses to her knees, coughing and spluttering. )

Hailee: Oh God, I feel sick...

( Hailee suddenly throws up. Soolin turns and runs along the corridor. )

Soolin: Blake, do you what can for her.

Nij Blake: Where are you going?

Soolin: To get some pressure suits. We have to get back into the medical unit, and to do that we need to breathe.

( Soolin exits. Blake couches down next to Hailee. )

Nij Blake: You okay?

Hailee: I will be. Oh man, that smoke... what the hell was in it?


( Avon and Vila are sat back-to-back in darkness. )

Avon: Cally? Cally, you wanted me, well here I am. Speak to me.

Apparition: ( V.O. ) It's not that simple though is it, Avon?

( There is a rush of light to one side, and then an image of Cally appears. She is dressed magnificently, a cloak of green ermine, dark velvet gloves, and a bright scarlet dress. Her hair is tied back in a tail. Avon and Vila stare up at her, agog. )

Cally: I know what you're thinking, Vila. No, it's not a dream, it's really me.

Avon: All your powers, Cally. All those gifts. You never told me they included the capacity to live beyond your own death.

Cally: The Lost managed it.

Avon: You are not one of them.

Cally: No. And I'm not one of the living either. You saw to that.

Avon: That was hardly my doing.

Cally: Wasn't it?

Vila: How is this happening? How can you be here?

Cally: Avon can probably answer that.

Avon: I can?

Cally: It started the day you murdered Blake.

Avon: I did not murder...

Cally: Don't argue semantics with me now, Avon. You killed him, in cold blood. And then you murdered your friend Farin. And then Kyben died, also gunned down by one of his own. ( Looks at Vila. ) Your niece died, Vila. None of you could save her either. ( To Avon. ) Are you sure you don't know how I came to be here?

Avon: What you say makes no sense.

Cally: You're talking to a ghost, Avon. Does that make sense?

Avon: These are only my dreams.

Cally: You don't believe that. You know it's more than that. This I the culmination of an agony that's been growing in you for a long time, Avon, since the day I died.

Avon: You were... are... a friend. You died. Yes, it was difficult, but it was not agony.

Cally: Why do you always lie to yourself, Avon? You felt loss, and guilt.

Avon: Guilt? I know nothing of guilt...

Cally: Maybe not, but it doesn't mean you don't feel it. I'd still be alive now if you'd listened to us when we warned you not to take us to Terminal. You...

Avon: And I warned you not to follow me to the planet surface.

Cally: That's not what killed me though, was it? I was doomed the moment you took us on that journey, and it was a miracle that I was the only one. And I know you'll never admit it, but it's been preying on your mind ever since. ( Avon does not respond. ) Then you killed Blake. Tarrant and Dayna died with him, all because you made the same mistake again. That was what awoke me, Avon. That jolt of pain, so like the pain you felt when you saw me dead. When you stared into my eyes and saw nothingness staring back at you. You saw it again when you stood over Blake's dead body and looked into his eyes, and in that moment, you reawakened me. My spirit's been fighting to speak with you ever since, but as usual, you just wouldn't acknowledge it. Dismissed it as sentimental imagination.

Avon: Cally...

Cally: Yes? Speak, Avon. For once in your life, don't hesitate, don't punish yourself with your own silence. We are in the confines of your own mind here. No one is here to trick you or manipulate you. Here, you can say to me what you've always wanted to.

Avon: And what is that exactly?

( Cally stares at Avon for a moment, then turns away. )

Cally: If you can't say it now, you never will. Unless, perhaps...

( Cally suddenly vanishes. )

Avon: Cally? Cally!

( Avon looks over his shoulder and then realises that Vila is not there either. )

Cally: ( V.O. ) How about now, Avon? Can you say it now? Vila's gone. I can hear you, but my eyes are no longer on you. Can you say it now?

Avon: I don't understand...

Cally: ( V.O. angered. ) Oh don't tell me that! You do understand, Avon! You do understand... you do understand... you do understand...


( Corridor outside the medical unit. Hailee is on her feet, albeit leaning queasily against a wall. Blake is watching with distaste as a maintenance unit tidies up the mess of what was previously lining Hailee's stomach. Soolin arrives carrying pressure suits, all draped over one arm. )

Soolin: Right, get these on.

Nij Blake: Not my colour.

Soolin: Not funny either.

( Soolin and Blake pull on a suit each, while Hailee looks at hers less enthusiastically. )

Hailee: Can't I sit this one out, Soolin? My stomach feels like it's been scraped inside out with a cheese grater.

Soolin: It's probably just your diet. It'll be better if one of us stays outside anyway. Stand back.

( Hailee moves well away from the door while Soolin and Blake put on their helmets. Blake then hauls open the door. Smoke seeps out into the corridor as Soolin crosses the threshold back into the medical unit. Inside it is dark, but most of the smoke is gone. Avon and Vila both remain prone on the rehab couches. Blake shuffles in behind Soolin, who goes over to check Avon's and Vila's life signs. )

Soolin: Looks like they're still alive. There's an air-quality meter on the sleeve of your suit. Check it.

( Blake checks the small meter on the wrist of his suit. )

Nij Blake: ( Surprised. ) Air's not too clean, but it's just about breathable. ( Looks up. ) The filters must have cycled most of the smoke out of the room.

Soolin: That is handy isn't it?

Nij Blake: What does that mean?

Soolin: The smoke seems to have come from the filters in the first place, while we were trying to move Bill and Ben here. Then, once we'd gone, the filters cycled it out again.

Nij Blake: So?

Soolin: And Vila tried to stop us from moving him. Then Avon joined in.

Nij Blake: They were delirious. It was brought on by the fever...

Soolin: Was it? Was it really?

( Blake is about to respond again when he checks his air meter again and removes his helmet. )

Nij Blake: Looks safe now.

( Soolin removes her helmet as well. )

Nij Blake: What are you trying to say?

Soolin: Something Vila said.

Nij Blake: What?

Soolin: "The next one to interfere will die. Alone and silent."

Nij Blake: ( Wondering where all this is leading. ) I remember. And?

Soolin: Just a hunch. Look, don't you think it's suspicious?

Nij Blake: What is?

Soolin: They're both suffering nightmares. Both catch identical fevers. They both try to stop us moving them or treating them. The lights go out while you try to inject one of them. A malfunction sets in on the life support system, but only in this room, and happens to clear up as soon as we leave. In other words, enough to get rid of us, but little enough to avoid harming these two.

Nij Blake: All right. Put that way it sounds like it's happening by design.

Soolin: Well that's just it. This has happened before.

Nij Blake: ( Amazed. ) What? When?

Soolin: A long time ago, before either of us got caught up with the resistance. This ship was possessed by an undead psychic influence...

Nij Blake: I'm not superstitious, Soolin. You can say "ghost" in front of me. I promise I won't freak out.

Soolin: ( Indulging smile. ) All right, a ghost then. According to Vila, it took possession of Cally...

Nij Blake: The telepath?

Soolin: ( Nods. ) Yes.

Nij Blake: And what does all this have to do with now?

Soolin: ( Comes to a snap decision. ) Forget it for now. Let's just get these two back on their feet again.


( Vila is alone in darkness. )

Vila: Cally? Cally, where are you?

( Vila gets up and starts running, but he gets nearer to, and further from, nothing at all, as there is nothing here. )

Vila: Cally? Avon? Don't leave me alone in here. You know how much I hate the dark! Cally?

Cally: ( V.O. ) Do not fear, Vila. You will be free as soon as you forget.

Vila: Forget? Forget what? Cally?


( Corridor outside medical unit, Hailee is waiting nervously for the others to get back, when suddenly she looks up in alarm. She then turns and starts to run along the corridor. )

Hailee: No... NO!

( As she runs she can feel her head spinning. She stumbles and falls to the floor. As she gets up, she hears two voices in her head. )

Hailee: ( V.O. ) No, Cally. Please don't... don't take my mind from me, it's all I have left...

Cally: ( V.O. ) I'm not taking anything from you, Hailee. Nothing at all.


( Medical unit. Avon and Vila are still asleep in the rehab couches. Blake and Soolin are still trying to wake them. )

Soolin: No good.

Nij Blake: It's strange. It's like they just don't want to wake up.

Soolin: We all feel like that some mornings.

( There is a whirring of machinery. )

Soolin: Slave, are you back online?

Slave: Er yes, esteemed madam. My limited powers are once more at your disposal.

Soolin: See if there's anything you can do to wake the two patients.

Slave: At once, madam.

Nij Blake: So... do you want to tell me about that hunch now?

Soolin: Go and fetch Hailee first. It'll be quicker if I tell you both.

( Blake looks annoyed and heads for the door. )

Nij Blake: Do this, do that...

Soolin: Oh stop it, you're starting to sound like Vila.

( Blake exits. )

Cally: ( V.O. unheard by Soolin. ) You can wake up now, Vila, but you must forget. These friends of yours must not be allowed to interfere.

( Vila suddenly sits up, squeezing his eyes shut and pinching the bridge of his nose. )

Soolin: Vila, are you okay now?

Vila: Oh not so loud. My head's killing me.

( Soolin fetches Vila some water. )

Soolin: I'm not surprised. The temperature you were running it's a wonder you didn't evaporate. Here, have this.

( Vila accepts the water and drinks it all in one thirsty gulp. )

Soolin: More?

Vila: Please. With a few thousand grammes of soma in it if you can manage it. Why's it so dark in here?

( Soolin fetches some more water, adding precisely one gramme of soma to it. )

Soolin: I'll explain later. Here.

( Vila drinks with more of the same abandon. )

Soolin: Want to tell me about those dreams you were having?

Vila: ( Looks up at Soolin, confused. ) Dreams? What dreams?


( Blake is rushing along one of the corridors nearby. He looks baffled. )

Nij Blake: Hailee? Hailee, where've you got to?

( Blake sees a comm on a wall and speaks into it. )
Nij Blake: Hailee, come back to the medical unit, pl-...

( Blake's voice tails off as, everywhere about him, the lights go out. )

Nij Blake: What the blazes is happenin' now?

( Blake reaches to his belt and pulls out a small torch, which he switches on. )


( At the rear of the ship, Hailee has entered the power core chamber. She is on a gantry over thirty feet above the plasma energy core, which illuminates the entire chamber with dazzling silver light. On Hailee's belt is a large explosive charge. )


( Medical unit. All are gathered here in the dark except Hailee. Avon is still out cold on his couch. Vila is recovering well. There are numerous torches and computer screens lit up around the room, providing some illumination. )

Nij Blake: Most power on the ship seems to be okay. The engines are working, the computers are all functioning fine, and life support's largely unaffected. We just don't seem to be able to get any main lighting.

Vila: I don't understand this. Surely the lights'll be on the life support system.

Nij Blake: They are.

Vila: So how come the automatics aren't able to restore them?

Nij Blake: Well that's what I'm saying, we don't know.

Soolin: Don't we?

Nij Blake: ( Sarcastically, a sign that he's getting fed up with Soolin taking charge all the time. ) Oh pray tell.

Soolin: Firstly, tell me where Hailee's got to.

Nij Blake: I already told you. I don't know.

Vila: You're being very informative about what you don't know aren't you?

Soolin: That's all we need to know.

Nij Blake: What? You're saying Hailee sabotaged it or something?

Soolin: Close. She's trying to disable the ship without harming it.

Vila: Why?

Soolin: I think she's trying to make something happen and she doesn't want us to interfere.

Nij Blake: Why would Hailee wanna do that?

Soolin: If my guess is right, Hailee doesn't. Cally does.

( Blake and Vila exchange bewildered looks. )

Vila: Cally?!

Cally: ( V.O. unheard ) So they already know...

( Avon suddenly sits up with a start. )


( Power core. Hailee walks along to the end of the gantry to a small control panel set into the wall. Then she takes the charge from her belt and sets it into position on the panel. Then she turns and heads back to the exit. )


( Medical unit. Avon is sipping water. He looks somewhat haggard, but otherwise none the worse for his troubles. Vila, Soolin and Blake are all still here. There is something of an atmosphere. )

Avon: Yes. It is Cally.

Vila: But... she's dead.

Avon: So were the Lost. So was the phantom that possessed her. She has been possessed more than once by the dead. Now that she is dead, she is the one doing the possessing. She did it to you, Vila, and she's been doing it to me for months.

Soolin: And now I think she may have possessed Hailee.

( Avon looks up at Soolin sharply. )

Avon: Why do you say that?

Soolin: She went missing shortly before you woke up. The lights then went out just as Blake started looking for her. A bit much to be a coincidence, wouldn't you say?

Avon: A bit much.

Vila: But if it is Cally...

Avon: It is. I spoke to her. You spoke to her, although she appears to have blinded you to that fact.

Vila: All right, I'll buy that it's her. But... why? What's she doing? Why's she doing it?

Avon: I wish I could tell you.

Vila: Well if you spoke to her, she must've given you some idea.

( Avon looks uncomfortable. )

Soolin: You could just try talking to her again. Surely she'd give you another chance to speak to her. I mean she was supposed to be your friend.

Avon: Perhaps... more. But...

Zen: ( V.O. ) Attention.

Avon: What is it, Zen?

Zen: ( V.O. ) Activity as been detected directly above the power core of the ship.

( There are alarmed looks from all present. )

Avon: What activity?

Zen: ( V.O. ) Repair monitors report explosive device attached to primary power regulator controls.

( Avon stands. )

Avon: If that detonates, emissions from the power core will start to accelerate. The engines will overload and then...

Vila: Meltdown!

Avon: Let's move.

( All present rush out into the ill-lit corridors of the ship. )

Vila: How are we s'posed to get to the power core when we can't even see where we're going?

Avon: We'll have to play it by memory.

Nij Blake: Memory? I've never even been told where the core is, let alone seen it.

Vila: Me neither. I've only been to that part of the ship once and I didn't dare go inside.

Avon: All right then, I'll have to play it by memory. You lot will have to follow, feigning enthusiasm.

( Blake hands Avon his torch. Avon puts his hand on the wall and edges his way along. Soolin has a grip on the back of his shirt, Blake a grip on the back of hers, Vila a grip on the back of his. Moving in an awkward chain, they follow Avon along the corridor. )

Vila: Why do I have to go last? I've seen horror films. It's always the guy at the back who the ghost jumps first...

Avon: Vila?

Vila: I know, I know, "shut up, Vila."

Avon: Thank you for sparing me the effort, but what I was actually going to suggest is that you go to the flight deck and keep watch.

Vila: What?

Avon: You obviously don't want to come with us.

Vila: No way! You're not leaving me on my own with the lights down...

Avon: Fine. Shut up then.


( Hailee is sat on the floor in front of the door to the power core chamber. She smiles to herself knowingly and pulls a small remote from her pocket and flicks a switch on it. The lights all switch back on. )


( Not far away, the rest of the crew have to shield their eyes briefly from the sudden glare as the lights turn on. )

Vila: Oh, thank God for that.

Soolin: Don't get too comfortable, Vila, this may not be good news.

Vila: Why not?

Soolin: Cally shut down the lighting to stop us interfering in whatever it is she's trying to do. Now that she's turned them back on that must mean...

( Avon suddenly breaks into a run. )

Avon: She's right, come on!


( Hailee is still sat calmly on the floor in front of the door to the power core chamber as Avon and the others round a corner in the corridor ahead. )

Hailee: I was beginning to wonder if you'd ever get here.

Avon: Cally?

Hailee: Who else?

( Avon and Blake advance toward Hailee. She holds up another remote in full view. )

Hailee: Not another step. I attached an explosive to the power regulator in there. Any of you come any closer and I throw this switch.

( Avon and Blake stop moving. Hailee gets to her feet. )

Hailee: I'm going inside now. Avon, I want you to follow me. If anyone else tries to come with us I blow us all to Kingdom come. Understood?

Soolin: What are you going to do to him?

Hailee: I asked if you understood, not if you wanted to ask questions.

Nij Blake: Er...

Vila: Understood.

( Avon gives Vila an accusing look. )

Vila: Go with her, Avon. Remember, it's Cally.

( Avon's expression changes from anger to confusion. Hailee opens the door and steps inside the core chamber. Avon hesitates, then follows. Hailee shuts the door behind them, locking it. )

Nij Blake: Vila, get the door open, quick!

Vila: No point. She'd just blow the charge if we tried that.

Soolin: Would she?

Vila: ( Meaningfully. ) Soolin, Cally had a heart of gold, but she was also strong. She wasn't one for bluffing. Whatever she wants here, she must think it's important. And if she thinks it's important, then... she's not bluffing.


( On the gantry inside the core chamber, Avon and Hailee stand a few paces apart, facing each other. The dancing silvery light gives Hailee a disturbing aura. Most like Cally, in fact. )

Avon: Why are you doing this, Cally?

Hailee: There are matters between us, Avon, matters in your own heart that you just won't acknowledge. I had to make you face them, and this seemed to be the only way of making you listen to me. It's a little extreme I know...

Avon: A little extreme? I've seldom seen such a grotesque display of theatrics.

Hailee: They're not theatrics, Avon. I'm already dead, remember? I've got nothing to lose in blowing this ship up.

Avon: You'd really kill me just to get your point across? I don't think so.

Hailee: No? Are you ready to bet your life on that?

Avon: I've done it before.

Hailee: So you did. You did it to free me from that phantom. You gave me my life back that day. Well now I'm going to do the same for you.

Avon: The only phantom that has possessed me in the last few days is you.

Hailee: I don't mean in the same way. I'm simply here to bring us peace.

Avon: Peace?

Hailee: For all of us. Especially you and me.

( Avon glances over the edge into the plasma core. )

Avon: I'm not sure the kind of peace you're offering here is what we're looking for, Cally. It looks a little too final from where I'm standing.

Hailee: ( Infuriated. ) You really don't understand do you? I didn't return here to hurt you. I returned to tell you that it's all right. That you made a mistake, a terrible mistake that cost me my life, but that I don't want you to spend any more time hurting over what happened. I'm here to forgive you.

Avon: Destroying the ship is not forgiveness, it's vengeance.

Hailee: Well you'll have to talk me out of doing it then.

Avon: You make that sound very easy.

Hailee: It is very easy. ( Shakes head. ) Think. If I can forgive you, I won't destroy you. But forgiveness is an emotion. A sentiment if you like. For you to convince me to behave sentimentally toward you...

Avon: I have to be sentimental about you.

Hailee: ( Shrugs. ) It's only fair.

Avon: ( Smiles tersely. ) You know what I think about sentiment. It's weak.

Hailee: Then you'll have to find the strength to be that weak, Avon. Just for a moment. You don't want those dreams to continue do you?

Avon: I still don't know...

Hailee: Avon! You know what the words are. The only words that will stop me.

( Hailee steps up to Avon and puts her arms round him. )

Hailee: Don't you see? My spirit can't rest until I hear you say them. And my spirit is so tired. So very tired of feeling your pain...

Avon: ( Hesitates. ) I...

Hailee: Say it, Avon! Please. If you won't say it for yourself, say it for me.

( Avon and Hailee stare at each other for a long moment. )

Avon: I...

( Hailee smiles very gently. )

Hailee: It's just you and me here, Avon. No one has to know. Just say it.

Avon: I... ( Agonises briefly. ) I love you, Cally. I always did.

( Hailee leans forward and kisses Avon very briefly. Then she falls back, unconscious. )

Cally: ( V.O. fading whisper. ) And I love you... thank you for giving me a little peace...

( Avon cradles Hailee in his arms and looks up to where the voice came from. But there is nothing. )


( Flight deck. Vila, Soolin and Blake are on watch. They are all seated in the central pit, playing a card game. Avon walks in, still looking tired and unsettled. )

Vila: Hi, Avon. You look bizarre.

Avon: ( Barely listening. ) Hmm?

Vila: ( Disappointed. ) Damn, I was sure that was going to get you.

Soolin: How's Hailee?

Avon: Oh, she has a mild fever.

Soolin: Her as well?

Avon: She's confined herself to quarters until she recovers.

Soolin: Seems to be a common side effect.

Nij Blake: Hey, a new claim for fame! We've discovered our very own brand new disease. We can call it "Liberatorial Possessive Ague"... or something!

( Avon sits in the pit. )

Vila: I still don't understand how you broke the spell.

Avon: ( Looks at Vila. ) You don't have to. But I think I can promise with some confidence that Cally won't be returning.

Vila: ( Downcast. ) Pity.

Avon: Pity? I thought these mystical phenomena always frightened you?

Vila: Well yeah, of course it does. But... y'know. It would've been nice to say goodbye to her properly. I never got the chance before.

Avon: ( Carefully. ) That wasn't exactly why she was here, Vila. Not quite.

Vila: No? Well then what...?

Avon: And I have no intention of explaining what it really was. Zen. Remaining flight time to Exbar?

Zen: Twenty-one hours, seventeen minutes.

Avon: Try and improve on that.

Zen: Confirmed.

Avon: ( Looking at Blake. ) I can't speak for the rest of you, but I've waited quite long enough to hear what Inga has to say for herself. I'm off to get some more rest.

( Avon gets up and walks from the flight deck. He strides along the corridor for a while, but suddenly the energy seems to leave him. He stops walking, looks up and sees an image of Cally's face flicker briefly in front of his eyes. )

Avon: ( Very quietly. ) Cally... I love you.




Before I say anything else, I should make it clear that I was very unwell when I wrote this episode. As such, there are times when the dialogue lacks a certain amount of sharpness. I plan to do another draft eventually.

The posting of the story is a little odd as I'd originally had it pencilled in for rather later in the series, Act 24 in fact, and it was only quite recently that I'd decided to slot it in earlier. As for why I chose to move it, I realised that bigger things will be happening at the time it was originally going to be set, and that therefore this story would get in the way of the larger plot. Furthermore, as we finally learn the exact cause of Avon's encroaching nightmares, and their resolution, Last Spectre rests well alongside Live By The Sword, Die By The Gun as a key turning point in the series i.e. Vila and now Avon have both been able to face matters that have long been preying on their minds. One key difference though is that Vila was able to resolve his problems, whereas Avon has only become more confused with his.

The decision to give Cally a belated farewell episode was just another of those artistic niggles I often make. Jan Chappell's last minute decision not to appear in season four meant that Cally's original send off had to be skated over somewhat. This way she goes to her final rest in a way she better deserved.

The scenes with the President on Earth would've been in the next episode had it not become the next episode but remained this one... er, if you follow. (I'm sure you don't - nor for that matter do I!) His conflicts with the High Council and Space Command's conspirators will come to a head soon.



Brian McLennan:

This is all very sweet and charming... and therefore not very good.

You guessed it, folks, it's "taunt-Martin-till-you-drop" time again!

The character portrayals seem wrong from beginning to end. Avon's early boasting about his brutal past was too macho...

He wasn't boasting, he was explaining. You don't read the start of the conversation, you see - he was actually answering a question that Soolin had asked him.

...Vila was too dopy when he was opening the door to Avon's quarters...

No, he just got carried away with the mechanics of it. He always does that whenever he unlocks something because it's what he lives for.

...Cally's behaviour was far too ruthless. Her actions never got so far out of proportion to her circumstances, not even when Auron was threatened by Servalan...

She was bluffing a lot of the time, but in any case, Cally was now a ghost who could not rest because she was feeling the pain of Avon's guilt. That had become her entire disembodied perspective, therefore it was not disproportionate to her at all. It was everything to her.

...and not for the first time, Soolin seemed to be too "in charge" when Avon was out of action. Her indifferent loyalties should make her less inclined to become so pro-active.

Originally perhaps, but I think you're talking about the Soolin of early season four. By the mid-to-late stages of that season she'd developed a bond with the rest of the crew, even if it wasn't as strong as the bond already shared by some of the others. By now she can't really see any future for herself without the rest of the Liberator crew. As for displaying authority, she's always had oodles of that.

The final couple of scenes were mushy, with Avon not really coming across as very Avon-like at all.

I'd agree with that. At some point in the future I will redraft some of the later parts of the episode to get the feel of it a lot darker, and maybe even a little more ambiguous. It's not been easy with my health being what it is at the time of writing though. I was just happy to get the episode finished with and out of the way.

On a broader note, there seems to be an unhealthy streak of sentimentality running through recent stories. Get rid of it! If it gets out of hand the series will lose all of its edge and appeal.

Oh certainly, master. Have you any other commands for me, master? >Sigh.< I've told you before, Brian, I don't get paid for doing this!

The Cally's-ghost plot idea feels worn out. It must've been used a million times by Blake's 7 fans in the past.

Has it? Certainly Avon and Cally have been the inevitable subject of a lot of adult fanfics over the years, so I suppose it's entirely possible that the ghost idea's been used from time to time as well, but not in any stories that I've read so far. If any readers have written such a story, please send me a copy, usual address. Meanwhile I'll skim through the library on Judith Proctor's Hermit site.

And the title made the identity of the ghost all too obvious anyway.

That's because it wasn't really meant to be a mystery story, at least not one of the "hoodunnit" variety. The mystery, such as it was, was more a question of what the ghost wanted than a question of who it was.


Jane Walton:

I didn't much like this episode. I accept that you were ill when you wrote it but since when has that ever been a valid excuse for anything?

It seemed to take a long time to get going, fine if the pace then picks up substantially but to me it never really flew.

I agree the episode's not much kop, but it needs rewriting to sharpen the dialogue as opposed to fundamentally changing the story.

Avon wasn't quite his usual intelligent self. I realise he was suffering and has been under extreme stress but he did appear very slow on the uptake in this episode.

He was actually in denial, rather than being dumb. The one thing he is irrational about is rationality, and as a result he is stubborn about separating himself from his own feelings, especially toward Cally. He really knew straight away what was happening but didn't want to believe it, knowing that he'd have to face up to his longings and guilt.

I also find it hard to believe that Cally would behave in that manner towards people she cared about. I accept that she had her tough side but she usually displayed it towards the enemy, not her associates.

For the most part she was bluffing - she wasn't really going to hurt anyone - as Vila realised near the end. And the fevers Avon and Vila were suffering were not a direct result of possession by Cally, but their attempts to fight it. As for the rest of the crew, why would Cally care about them? She never met them. That's not to say that she's vindictive or anything, but she wouldn't have had too many qualms about pushing them aside if she had a purpose and they were in her way.

It was obvious in the originals that Cally was in love with Avon, obvious that he knew and quite clear that she was aware of his knowledge. If she'd been bothered by his lack of commitment, wouldn't she have done something about it back then?

That's all beside the point (see the bottom paragraph below).

Cally wasn't shy with her emotions.

Again, this is not really the point, but can I just say that you appear to be contradicting yourself here? As you say, Cally was in love with Avon, yet she never expressed it, not even telepathically as far as we can tell. And yet you're also saying she wasn't shy with her emotions? I suppose there may be other reasons for her silence, but I doubt it. (Consider the early stages of Children Of Auron. Again see below.)

I think she was content to 'wait and see'. Possibly the sudden nature of her death might have left her with a sense of incompleteness but she'd lost far more important people than Avon when she lost Auron...

Not too sure about that. Zelda perhaps, but I wouldn't say she was that much more important to her than Avon. As for the rest, they'd exiled her. Cally was therefore closer to Avon than to her people by the end.

...Surely in death she was reunited with her sister and the rest of her family... shouldn't that have eased her loneliness and isolation?

No, because she wasn't reunited with them yet. That's half the point. (Yet again see below.)

Cally wasn't usually insecure. I doubt she'd have need of a forced admission from anyone to confirm something she already knew.

I'm afraid you've misinterpreted what happened. This story has nothing to do with any lingering insecurity on Cally's part (and on that issue, are you sure she wasn't insecure? Listen to what she said at the beginning of Children Of Auron, at the early stages of which she even tried to make out that she despised Avon. That suggests she was in denial, which is the classic symptom of insecurity. She also seemed slightly unsettled by mentions of Anna Grant). She was doing what she was doing here for Avon's sake as much as for her own - he was supressing his guilt, and the resulting pain was calling out to her spirit, keeping it from dispersing. For this reason she hadn't yet been reunited with her family at all. Cally knew that if Avon could let go of his guilt and the other feelings he'd been bottling up, he might feel a release, and that would in turn release her to the "next plane of existence", where she could finally be reunited with Zelda and her family.


Nico Mody-Nikoloff:

I enjoyed Last Spectre of Auron.

That brings the number of drooling devotees of the episode up to... er, one.

I'm not sure why Cally ensnared Vila too, as it was really Avon she wanted to resolve things with.

Cally "ensnared" Vila to try and keep him from telling the others what was happening  -  she knew that Vila would be the quickest to recognise her and that if he said anything it might cause the others to intervene between her and Avon. And she was right about Vila rescognising her, wasn't she? He was the one who convinced Avon to trust her.

I did enjoy the Avon-Vila interaction. Spot on--you write their bickering well.

I'm good at writing bickering because I have both a brother and a sister whom I practice bickering with constantly.



Season Two Scripts