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 XXI - Enter Kameleon


( Liberator orbits the planet Exbar. )

Zen: ( V.O. ) Attention. Long range scans indicate Federation pursuit ships passing along the outer rim of this star system.

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Put up the cloak, Zen.

Zen: ( V.O. ) Confirmed.

( With a shimmer, Liberator disappears from view. )


( Flight deck. Hailee is on watch at the helm, arms folded. )

Hailee: Any sign of detection?

Zen: Negative. Pursuit ships are proceeding on course, no deviation of flight path.

Hailee: Good. Power reserves?

Zen: Energy banks are at thirty-six per cent of capacity. Advise deactivation of cloaking device as soon as is strategically practical.

Hailee: ( Nods. ) At your discretion, Zen. ( Nervously. ) Hurry it up down there, Avon... ( Into comm. ) Vila, any more word from the surface?

Vila: ( V.O. ) Not for twenty minutes now. Do you want me to call down?

Hailee: ( Into comm. ) Better not. I'm sure they'd call us if there's a problem.


( Surface of Exbar. Soolin is stood outside a low dugout among the wild tangles of undergrowth. She has her gun drawn and is coiled warily, glancing all about uneasily. Her breath turns to steam in the cold air. After a moment, Avon and Nij Blake emerge from the dugout, looking annoyed. )

Soolin: No sign?

Avon: Nothing, and no one. ( To Blake. ) Are you sure this was Ushton's dugout?

Nij Blake: Of course I'm sure. I lived here long enough.

( Blake glances back over his shoulder into the dugout, and suddenly looks very confused. )

Nij Blake: At least I think I did.

Soolin: What's that supposed to mean?

Nij Blake: I... ( Shrugs. ) Oh nothing.

Soolin: No, go on, what were you going to say?

Nij Blake: It's just... it's funny. I have definite memory of having lived here but...

Soolin: ( Insistently. ) But what?

Nij Blake: Now that I think about it, I don't have any specific memories from living here. ( Shakes head and looks at Avon and Soolin. ) I can't remember ever doing anything while I was on this planet.

( Soolin exchanges glances with Avon. )

Soolin: That sounds strange. It also doesn't make your guidance very reliable.

Nij Blake: I'm doing my best.

Soolin: ( Sarcastically. ) What more could we ask for?

Nij Blake: ( Gestures along a path around the base of a nearby hill. ) If I remember rightly, there's a settlement of dugouts past that rise. We may be able to find someone and ask them for directions.

( Soolin shrugs and follows Blake in the indicated direction. Avon pauses, rubbing his jaw and watching Blake through narrowed eyes. Soolin realises that Avon is not keeping up and turns. )

Soolin: You still with us?

( Avon nods and follows. )


( In orbit above, Liberator shimmers back into view. )

Zen: ( V.O. ) Pursuit ships now beyond Federation detector range. Cloaking device is now offline.


( Flight deck. Hailee is stood over the flight console in the central pit. )

Hailee: Thank you, Zen. ( Into comms. ) I didn't get that, Avon, can you repeat?

Avon: ( V.O. testily. ) I said, there's still no sign of Inga so far. We've found what passes for a village on this grit heap, and we're going to ask around. Tell Vila to adjust teleport co-ordinates to three-seven-seven.

Hailee: ( Into comms. ) Will do. Out.


( On the planet below, Avon, Soolin and Blake are outside a line of dugouts cut into the ground. There are a number of local prisoners around here, dressed in heavy rags. Their expressions are generally defensive and untrusting. Blake is talking quietly to one of them, a woman who bears a wary expression. )

Soolin: ( To Avon, quietly. ) Something's on your mind.

Avon: More than most people could ever imagine.

Soolin: ( Smiles. ) Could we leave your ego out of this for a moment?

Avon: I find it too large and cumbersome to remove from any situation.

Soolin: All right, but why don't you get to the point?

Avon: What Blake said. About be awaring of the facts but having no memory of them.

Soolin: Yes?

Avon: It sounds reminiscent of a number of things his "father" once said.

Soolin: You mean the brainwashing? The memory revisions?

Avon: That's precisely what I mean.

( Blake walks over to join them. )

Nij Blake: It's not easy getting answers out of these people. They don't trust off-worlders at all.

Soolin: I thought you knew them.

Nij Blake: So did I. But I can't remember any of them.

( Avon and Soolin exchange another uneasy look. )

Nij Blake: And they certainly don't know me.

Avon: What have they told you so far?

Nij Blake: Inga's not on Exbar at all.

Soolin: ( Frustrated. ) What?

Nij Blake: She left the planet several weeks ago. I can't get them to say where though.

Avon: Irritating.

Nij Blake: Kind of a relief actually.

Avon: Why?

Nij Blake: Have you forgotten why we're looking for her?

( Blake walks off again, looking angry, to speak to the locals again. )

Soolin: This isn't going to be easy for him, Avon. If Slave was right, then Blake has no idea who he really is. Everything he knows and believes about himself is unsure. He must be scared of what Inga may tell us. I would be.

Avon: ( Not really interested. ) I wonder how she got off the planet.

Soolin: What?

Avon: Inga.

Soolin: A spacecraft presumably.

Avon: Naturally, but where did she get it from?

Soolin: If we find out where she's gone, maybe we can ask her that as well.

( Blake is talking to an old man who is being very unco-operative. )

Avon: Well, we won't find out if we don't lay down the law...

( Avon walks over to Blake, pushes past him and draws a gun on the old man. All the other prisoners are taken aback. )

Avon: I've had enough of this, old man. We want to know where Ushton's daughter went, and that information is worth far more to me than all your lives will ever be. Tell me where she is.

Old man: We promised not to say...

Avon: Some promises are not worth dying for, whereas some secrets are worth killing for. She knows a secret I'd kill to hear, so are you prepared to die to keep your promise? You'll probably die soon anyway from the look of you, so I wouldn't see any loss in shooting you right now.

Old man: No loss for me neither then.

Avon: Maybe, but it is your death we're discussing.

( The old man tries to stare Avon down, but finally relents with a gulp. He looks away. )

Old man: She took the shuttle. The special shuttle. Coupla weeks back.

Soolin: ( To Blake. ) Special shuttle?

Nij Blake: Never heard of it.

Old man: You must've done. You keep sayin' you come from 'ere. You must know it. It goes between 'ere and the frontier. We get supplies from the old war zone planets with it.

( Blake just looks bewildered. Avon raises a suspicious eyebrow. )

Avon: Fine. Where did she go?

Old man: Like I say, the frontier. She said there was another anti-Fed group she had to look for.

Soolin: Ah. That was probably us.

Nij Blake: Did she mention the Liberator?

Old man: ( Brightening. ) Yeah! Yeah that's it. What, that's you?

Avon: Our ship, yes. ( Scowls. ) The old, old story then.

( Avon turns and trudges away. Soolin and Blake hurry to keep up. )

Soolin: We come here looking for Inga only to find she's just gone looking for us.

Avon: Precisely. How in the galaxy she ever thought she'd be able to find us, let alone catch up with us...

( Blake grunts, kicking at the ground sourly. )

Avon: Now what are you sulking about?

Soolin: Still worried about what Inga will say?

Nij Blake: No. ( Gives Avon a disapproving look. ) It was what you did back there.

Avon: Getting the information we wanted you mean?

Nij Blake: No, I mean using a gun to bully a helpless old man. Talk about overkill. Are there any depths you won't plumb?

Avon: You would have tried a different approach?

Nij Blake: You bet I would.

Avon: Really?

Nij Blake: Really. I'd have pulled the trigger to scare the others into answering. ( Turns and walks away. ) That's the depth I was asking about.

Avon: ( Smiling to himself. ) Promising. Really very promising.


( Teklair, planet Craeus. Ariadne stands outside a large cage, in which sit children dressed in the simple clothes of the stish people. They look hungry and battered. A number of them have cruel red marks on their skin. Ariadne is holding a whip. )

Ariadne: You're slow learners, you lot. Let's try an easier one. Who is the only God?

Stishes: The righteous one.

( Ariadne cracks the whip through the bars. One or two of the stishes recoil with hisses of anguish. )

Ariadne: NO!! Haven't you even got that yet? There is no God! No God. God is a lie. Lies lead to pain.

( As she says the word "pain", Ariadne cracks the whip again just to underline the point. More hisses of pain from the children. )

Ariadne: Pain. ( Hands to hips, angry and disappointed. ) I'm not pleased with you. Not pleased at all. No food for you for the rest of the day.


( Shivan's Command Cabin. Shivan is sat at his desk, listening with interest through a set of headphones to sub-beam signals picked up on the communication equipment. Ariadne walks in. )

Ariadne: It's no use, sir. Teaching them is like giving a blind man contact lenses.

Shivan: Contact lenses? How obsolete. Corrective surgery replaced them centuries ago. ( Sternly. ) You're almost beginning to talk like a primitive.

Ariadne: That's my point, sir. It's futile just trying to talk these ones out of their beliefs. It's ingrained into them.

Shivan: They were always going to be like that, Ariadne. They're from the last group of recusants on the planet, the most stubborn resisters. Their parents would have been drumming superstitious fooleries into their heads since before the poor kids were old enough to speak.

Ariadne: I appreciate that, but it doesn't make the task any easier.

Shivan: Necessities are seldom easy, Ariadne. They are necessary. That's why we call them necessities.

Ariadne: Fine, but it's not just going to be a matter of trying a bit harder. They're too frail for me to use heavy conditioning treatments on them without killing them, and their minds are too resistant to the treatments I'm applying right now.

Shivan: So don't change strength, change approach.

Ariadne: I'm listening.

Shivan: Yes, your open-mindedness is a quality I've always admired, Ariadne. But imagination is not your strong point. I suggest you use a mix of treatment and psychology.

Ariadne: That's a new one on me.

Shivan: Fear of painful reprisals is always more persuasive than the application of painful reprisals. Use heavy conditioning on one of them, and make sure that all the others are there to see it. If the subject dies, well, that's very sad, but either way it should instill in the others a fear of what may happen to them if they continue to resist the realities we're providing them.

Ariadne: ( Uncomfortably. ) You're happy to let one die? They're children!

Shivan: Not happy, no. It's terribly sad the wasteful destruction religion inflicts on young minds, and the ghastly traumas they must suffer to free themselves from them. But... one quick sacrifice to save a dozen is better than a dozen being allowed to slowly drift into the stagnant chasms of mental oblivion. Wouldn't you say?

Ariadne: ( Not really following. ) Er, yeah. Right.


( Liberator flight deck. The crew are moving to their positions, except Avon who heads for the central pit, where Orac is switched off on the table. )

Vila: So what are you saying? We're heading straight back across the frontier again? After we spent all that time getting here?

Avon: As I said on the surface, it's an irritating old story.

Soolin: Seeing that we don't know where she is, and she's looking for us, why don't we stay here and wait for her?

Avon: Because she might decide to sit in wherever she is and wait for us. Because she doesn't appear to have a ship of her own. Because she doesn't know where we are any more than we know where she is. Do you need any other reasons? I'm sure I can think of some. ( Plugs in Orac's key. )

Soolin: I was only asking...

Avon: Orac.

Orac: Not now.

Avon: Now.

Orac: I am busy studying the peculiarities of this planet's erratic orbital path and the effect it has on the climate...

Avon: Now.

Orac: ( Disappointed. ) What is it then?

Avon: I want you to tap information from non-Federation shipping registries, specifically for any Neutral planets that were directly affected by the Intergalactic War.

Orac: Would this include any Federation worlds that seceded as a result of the conflict?

Avon: Yes.

Orac: And what specific information do you require?

Avon: Any reference to Exbar coming under any specific regular flight plan, as a destination or as an en route stopover point. Can you do that?

Orac: Is that a real question?

Avon: Only if that was an answer.

Orac: I should be able to bring you the information momentarily. Ex-Federation computer systems frequently have older security measures installed, ones that are easier for me to...

Avon: Spare me the details, Orac, just get me the answers.

Hailee: Are you sure that it's worth the bother of finding Inga?

Avon: I want to know the truth. She lumbered us with him... ( Waves an unfriendly finger in Blake's direction. ) ...I think we're entitled to know why.

Nij Blake: ( Sourly. ) Thanks a lot.

( Blake turns and walks from the flight deck, looking very frustrated and unhappy. )

Hailee: Oh nice one, Avon.

Avon: Teenage angst is of no use to us right now anyway. It's better that he goes and sulks in his room...

Hailee: That's the point! He's only a boy, Avon. Have you any idea what a nightmare this must be for him?

Avon: And?

Hailee: ( Nods. ) Fine. I'll remember that... next time I find you slumped on the floor dying of a fever.

Avon: What I meant was, the way his concentration is right now, it's better that he leaves the flying to us. He can wait until we've found Inga...

Orac: I have procured the information as requested.

Avon: Refreshingly swift work.

Orac: The planet that you seek is Meccos. It formally became an independent planet two days after the destruction of Federation Central Control. It had previously been the Central Administrative hub of the Federation Civil Service in the Outer Worlds...

Soolin: The bureaucrats' front door.

Orac: ...and the machinery thus left in place is now used by the planet's new Chief Regulator to provide humanitarian aid to other planets that have been left ungovernable by the collapse of the Federation.

Soolin: Who'd have thought it? A benign government.

Orac: Hardly. The price that Meccos demands for its charity is a steady supply of slave workers from the recipient planets...

Avon: I told you to spare me the details, Orac. Would Meccos by chance give any priority to planets that the Federation used as penitentiaries before the war?

Orac: The highest priority.

Avon: ( Smiles. ) I thought as much. Would you be able to access a record of the manifest on any flight leaving Exbar in the last month?

Orac: Of course, should it be necessary.

Avon: It is. Find reference to any female passenger boarding a Meccos shuttle at Exbar, and/or answering to the name of Inga.

Orac: I will report any findings.

Soolin: I have a suspicion.

Avon: About what?

Soolin: Orac, one extra parameter to consider...

Orac: Yes?

Soolin: Check for any references to flights involving the planet Craeus in the last month.

Vila: Craeus? Why would...?

Soolin: It's another prison planet, and as we were there and Inga was looking for us...?

Avon: ( Nods. ) That's possible.

Orac: It is indeed. I have found the reference as described. A flight leaving the planet Exbar twenty-two days ago was scheduled to return straight to Meccos, but it diverted to Craeus, for a stopover of only a few minutes.

Vila: Oh. So we have to go back there do we?

( Avon, Soolin and Hailee exchange nods. )

Avon: Zen, set course for the planet Craeus. Speed standard by nine.


( Prison block in the ruins of Stitenhame on Craeus. Chaesla is imprisoned in a very similar cell to the one in which Kyben had been incarcerated in Teklair. She is lying on the soil floor, sleeping uncomfortably. The door opens and a man walks in carrying a wooden bowl full of a thin white paste, a little like gruel. He slips it along the floor between the bars. He then reaches his leg through the bars of the gate and nudges Chaesla with his shoe. She wakes with a start. )

Guard: Lunch up, Miss Lerga.

( Chaesla sits up with a jaded expression on her face and takes the bowl. She lifts the bowl to her lips without enthusiasm and tips some of the paste into her mouth. She lowers the bowl again a moment later and looks even less happy than before. )

Chaesla: Cold soup again. Spoiling me a bit aren't you? I mean twelve times this week?

Guard: Shut up!

( Chaesla falls silent. She puts the bowl and its uninviting contents down and curls up into a foetal ball on the floor. The door opens again and in steps Shivan. He crouches down near to Chaesla. )

Shivan: Well, Chaesla, are you going to say something to me today?

Chaesla: I speak to you every time you visit.

Shivan: You speak to me, but you never say anything. Like where Kyben went after you allowed him to escape.

Chaesla: I didn't allow him to...

Shivan: Please, Chaesla. Last chorus. You didn't fool me the first time you said that, you didn't fool me any other time, and you're not fooling me now. You let him out.

Chaesla: I didn't. I swear I didn't...

Shivan: Oh whatever! It doesn't change anything. I still want to know where he went.

Chaesla: I don't know! Really, I don't.

Shivan: Chaesla, let me be candid with you. I've realised that somehow your mind has come to reject its conditioning, to retreat into the comforting absurdities of superstitious fantasy. You need help. I will give you that help. You can either accept that help willingly and be cured peacefully and comfortably, or you can fight it and be cured forcefully. You must realise how painful that would be. You do, don't you?

Chaesla: Yes.

Shivan: To help you, I need you to help me.

Chaesla: Why? What difference will Kyben make?

Shivan: He needs healing too. If you help to find him, to bring him back and cure him, then I'll know that you want help. That you realise that you have taken a wrong path and that you're prepared to accept my guidance.

Chaesla: I...

( Shivan gently reaches through the bars and strokes Chaesla's cheek. )

Shivan: Please, Chaesla. You know how dear you are to me. How... hurt I was when I learned that you had faltered. How much joy it would bring me to know that I can still help you, still be there for you, whenever you need me. You know all that.

( Chaesla looks at him, as though convinced, but then her expression flickers slightly as she hears another voice in her head. )

Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...why do you listen to your leader? He's mad.

Shivan: Chaesla? You do know that I speak the truth. That I'd never tell you any other?

Kyben: ( V.O. ) Look at Shivan.

Shivan: Chaesla?

Kyben: ( V.O. ) I mean look at him.

( Chaesla nods weakly. Shivan gives her a serene smile. )

Shivan: Good girl. I can help you then. Now. Tell me the truth. Where is Kyben?

Kyben: ( V.O. ) Your leader is a fanatic...

Shivan: Chaesla?

Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...a fanatic...

Shivan: Chaesla, answer me.

Kyben: ( V.O. ) ...a fanatic!!

Chaesla: ( Grips sides of own head. ) I don't know, I don't know...

Shivan: You must have some idea...

Chaesla: I-don't-know-I-don't-know-I-don't-knooooowww!!!

( Chaesla suddenly picks up the bowl of food and throws it at Shivan, who hurriedly gets out of the way. Chaesla curls up into a ball on the floor again. The guard pulls out a small baton and shapes to attack Chaesla with it. Shivan intercedes. )

Shivan: No! There's no need for that. She punishes herself. ( Looks down at Chaesla. ) She's thrown her own meal away. She'll just get hungry that's all, as if she wasn't hungry enough already. ( Shrugs. ) Perhaps it's better this way. She'll be less resistant to... persuasion on an empty stomach.

Chaesla: ( Crying. ) Shivan... please... I'm telling you... I don't know where Kyben went.

( There is a brief silence, during which Shivan looks thoughtful. )

Shivan: All right, Chaesla, we'll assume for a moment that I believe you. I want you to tell me the whole truth. Tell me exactly what really happened. If you can convince me, I might not resort to more extreme methods of re-educating you. I might even arrange you a replacement meal.

Chaesla: ( Weakly. ) I... I did let Kyben escape. I was going to leave with him...

Shivan: ( Almost dumbfounded. ) You were... what?

Chaesla: I was going to leave with him. Then he disappeared. Just vanished into thin air. His friends told me that it was something called a teleport.

Guard: Friends? There were others here?

Shivan: Stands to reason. One of them must have been Kerr Avon. A teleport you say, Chaesla?

Chaesla: That's what they said. Then they disappeared too. They didn't trust me so they wouldn't take me with them.

Guard: That means they're gone, sir. Probably for good.

Shivan: Oh I don't think so. They'll be back.

Guard: Why sir? What would they come here for?

Shivan: You could've asked that question before. They still came. And now I suspect that they've got another reason to come back.

Guard: Her? Surely not.

Shivan: Chaesla? No, not her. The other prisoner.

Guard: The... ( Look of understanding. ) Oooh. I see what you mean, sir.

Shivan: Chaesla, why? Why did you want to leave us? You've been one of my most capable soldiers, I made you one of my most senior officers. I brought you up as though you were my own daughter. Why would you want to abandon your family?

Chaesla: I... don't know.

( Shivan crouches and strokes Chaesla's cheek again. )

Shivan: We must work together to find out why. To answer whatever need it is in you that you felt only desertion would satisfy. Only then can we cure you. Make you well again...

( Chaesla nods feebly, but a Shivan leaves, she again hears the voice pulling her in a different direction. )

Kyben: ( V.O. ) Do you really want to help him...? ...time's running out... why do you listen to your leader...? Your leader is a fanatic... He's MAD!!!

( The word "mad" achoes through Chaesla's mind for some while. Suddenly she writhes in pain and grasps her head. )

Chaesla: No! No not now! Aaaa-...

Guard: ( Smiling cruelly. ) Starting again is it, Chaesla?


( Liberator flight deck. All are present. Blake is sat in the central pit, looking irritable, his feet propped up on Orac, which is on the table, still switched on. The rest of the crew are at their positions on the flight consoles. )

Zen: Course completed. Liberator is now positioned at approximately nine thousand spacials above the planet Craeus.

Soolin: Have we a suitable position to teleport down?

Zen: Confirmed. Location has been selected as stipulated. Magnetic emissions from said location indicate possible headquarters for technologist group.

( Avon steps away from his console and heads for the pit. )

Avon: Put cloaking device on stand by, Zen. Automatically raise it upon detection of any Federation craft moving into range.

( As he says "range", Avon shoves Blake's feet off of Orac. Blake looks even more annoyed. )

Zen: Confirmed.

Avon: Orac, key yourself into Federation sub-beam frequencies. Then open a sensory link to the Zen computer and transmit any data you receive regarding local troop or ship deployments. Just to give our sensors an extra edge. I don't want any repeat of our recent mishaps in this quadrant.

Orac: As you wish.

Avon: Hailee, Blake, Vila, get yourselves kitted up.

( Hailee and Blake move to collect weapons from the armoury. Vila looks unenthusiastic. )

Vila: You're not hauling me down there again! Not with those gun-toting lunatics on the...

Avon: That's right, I'm not hauling you down there. I'm sending you down there.

Vila: I... ( Surprised blink. ) Aren't you coming with us?

Avon: No. We're doing this for Blake's benefit, so he has to go, but Soolin and I went down to Exbar, and we are both in need of rest. That means it's your turn, now get moving.

( Vila rolls his eyes but does as he is told. )


( Liberator teleport room. Avon walks in and sits at the controls. Vila, Blake and Hailee follow in away outfits. They gather teleport bracelets. )

Hailee: I haven't been down there before, so remember to show me round.

Vila: What, am I a tour guide now?

Nij Blake: Hey, I can see you writing a book about it. ( Rather too sumptuously. ) The Vila Guide To Holidays On Planets Torn Apart By Sickeningly Violent Religious Massacres.

( Vila looks slightly alarmed at this thought. )

Hailee: Not a chance, Blake. Writing involves work. ( Gestures to Vila. )

( Vila looks really alarmed at this thought. )

Nij Blake: Oh, see your point.

( Avon is drumming his fingers on the teleport console impatiently. )

Avon: I'm not interrupting you am I?

Nij Blake: Oh sorry.

( Vila, Hailee and Blake line up in the bay. Avon operates the controls and they dematerialise. )


( A meadow on Craeus. Vila, Hailee and Blake teleport in, draw weapons and glance around edgily. It is late afternoon. The sun gives a pale glow across the sky. The grass is thick and dry beneath their feet, faded and yellowed for lack of moisture. )

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Safely down.

Avon: ( V.O. ) That's your opinion. What can you see?

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) Nothing yet. What exactly are we looking for out of interest?

( The rest of the conversation switches between the teleport bay and the planet surface. )

Avon: The technologists' base that Zen mentioned would be a promising start, wouldn't you say?

Hailee: From what you told me about them? Not really, no.

Avon: Hailee, just get on with it.

Hailee: Avon, have you had any surgery recently that you haven't told us about? It's just you sound like you've had your sense of humour removed.

Avon: ( Sounding bored. ) "My computer's got no nose. How does it smell? Terrible." Is that better?

Hailee: ( Grins. ) Much. We'll call in again in fifteen minutes or when we find the base, whichever happens first. Out.


( Liberator flight deck. Soolin is on watch. Avon walks in and takes the helm. )

Soolin: Do you want to tell me why?

Avon: Only if you tell me 'W'.

Soolin: Stop playing games! You've been biting everyone's heads off for days, and you made damn sure that the others went down to the surface instead of us. What's going on?

Avon: Maybe I'm just not feeling like my usual, happy-go-lucky self today...

Soolin: Avon!

Avon: All right, maybe I'm just feeling cowardly.

Soolin: You're a lot of things, Avon, including a few things that I have little taste for. But not that.

Avon: So it must be something else.

Soolin: Let me try and work out what that something else is.

Avon: No.

Soolin: You know better than to try and stop me doing something after I've made up my mind, Avon. And I've made up my mind to do this.

Avon: A waste of effort, but all right, I'll humour you.

Soolin: Cally.

Avon: What about her?

Soolin: Oh give me some credit, Avon! It's not difficult to work out how you convinced her ghost to disperse, because it's also not difficult to work out why she came back in the first place.

Avon: Really? Well perhaps you can tell me.

Soolin: Perhaps I can. But I don't have to.

Avon: No. ( Pause. ) Tell me anyway. I can tell you're itching to parade your extensive powers of psychoanalysis.

Soolin: I will, because I can tell that you desperately want to talk to someone about it but you don't trust yourself to speak the words.

Avon: What are you waiting for, a round of applause?

Soolin: I don't expect applause for knowing something as obvious as that, Avon.

Avon: Why obvious?

Soolin: Because I'm like that too.

Avon: I had noticed.

Soolin: Cally came back for you. The only way you could give her peace was to tell her what she wanted to hear. You told her, and it's something you never thought you'd ever say. It's left you confused. Another weakness you never thought you'd be prone to.

Avon: I'm not that proud.

Soolin: Yes you are. That's why you need someone to help you through this. You know it can't be Blake - he's too young to understand, and you don't trust each other anyway. It can't be Vila - certainly he'd understand, but you're still not completely sure where you stand after what happened on Tyrix. And you can't tell Hailee, because she was the one Cally possessed. It would only be more confusing talking to her about it. So that left me.

Avon: You sound very sure of yourself.

Soolin: Oh no. It's you I'm sure of, Avon.

Avon: That... is always a mistake.

Soolin: You don't have to say any more about it...

Avon: You are the only one who has said anything about it.

Soolin: ( Refusing to be side-tracked. ) I just thought you should know that you don't have to deal with it alone. ( Leans forward. ) In fact, I think that's all you really wanted to hear.

Avon: ( Gritty smile. ) You think a lot of things, don't you?

Soolin: Yes I do. That's why you were right to come to me.

Avon: I didn't actually. It was more that I just didn't send you away.

Soolin: ( Shrugs. ) Good enough.


( Planet surface. Not far outside Teklair, Vila and Blake are hidden in some foliage. Hailee runs towards them from the rim of the lair. )

Nij Blake: Well, what do you think?

Hailee: By this planet's standards it looks pretty heavy duty.

Vila: What, you mean it's got two fire extinguishers?

Hailee: Well if it has, they outnumber your brain cells. I think Zen called it right, this is what passes for a "capital city" around here.

Nij Blake: I still don't see what difference it makes. Why would Inga come here?

Hailee: I don't know, but as you haven't got a vade mecum for the planet it's as good a place as any to start looking.

Vila: Start looking?

Hailee: Yes, start looking. She might not be here.

Vila: That's what bothers me. What if she's not here? We've got a whole planet to...

Hailee: If you've got a better idea I'll be grateful to hear it.

Vila: ( Frowns. ) All right then, I s'pose you're in charge. How exactly do we get in there?

Hailee: Let's try and fit in a bit better.

Vila: How?


( A while later, two unconscious bodies in Federation prison uniforms are dragged into a bush. After a moment, Hailee and Blake step out of the bush, dressed in the uniforms, and carrying plasma rifles. )

Hailee: If they wake up, Vila, just give them another knock to the heads.

Vila: ( V.O. from bush. ) Don't take too long! I don't like being left on my own.

Hailee: Well if you tried being better company...

( Despite his nerves, Blake cannot resist a slight smirk. He and Hailee head into Teklair. )

Nij Blake: These weapons are museum pieces.

Hailee: They will be, they're modelled on the standard issue rifles the Feds were using eleven years ago.

Nij Blake: I know that. It's just we've got a technical advantage. Should we be throwing it away just for the sake of fitting in?

Hailee: You've got a lot to learn about infiltration, kid. You've still got your clip gun hidden inside your suit haven't you?

Nij Blake: Of course I have. You don't think I'd be stupid enough to...

Hailee: No problem then. If we run into trouble, we've still got our trump card. Relax, Blake. We're the big shots on this planet, and we'll let them find that out if we have to.

Nij Blake: ( Taking Hailee's words as a tonic. ) Hailee?

Hailee: That'll be me.

Nij Blake: I'm glad it's you who came down here with me and not Avon.

Hailee: ( Lopsided smile. ) Oh yeah? Why's that?

Nij Blake: I'm... scared.

Hailee: I know you are. Given what's happening, that's nothing to be ashamed of...

Nij Blake: That's not what I mean. It's just... you know the right thing to say to me. Avon wouldn't care.

( Hailee glances at Blake and pats his arm. )

Hailee: C'mon, let's go find that cousin of yours who's causing all this trouble.


( Back in the bushes, one of the captives looks like he is about to wake up. Vila hurriedly delivers a punch to the back of his head. To Vila's surprise, the captive is knocked out. Vila studies his own fist, satisfied. )

Vila: ( Smiles. ) This is easy.


( Stitenhame. Most of the village is charred ash and ruin. The only intact buildings are the prison cabins. Inside one of them, a guard is delivering food to a young man who is imprisoned behind the bars of a cell identical to the one in which Chaesla is imprisoned. )

Guard: Still not calmed down, eh?

Alekhs: Obviously.

Guard: Shut up!

( The man falls silent, and looks intimidated. )

Guard: I hope you'll behave this time. You should appreciate your luck. It's not often that prisoners are allowed a second meal.

Alekhs: I never ate the first one.

Guard: I said shut up. Save your energy for eating, Alekhs.

( The man looks down at the food he has been served and starts to eat it listlessly. )


( Teklair. There are a lot of people, most of them armed and conducting their everyday pursuits with a humourless, almost military discipline. And that's just the children. In their disguises, Hailee and Blake find that they are able to move relatively freely among the wide scattering of buildings drawing few, if any, suspicious glances. Blake points to a gap between two low cabins that leads into a broad ring of buildings, at the centre of which there seems to be some kind of commotion. )

Nij Blake: This way?

Hailee: Why not? ( Scowls as they walk. ) The problem is, how do we know who to ask?

Nij Blake: More to the point, what do we ask them? "Excuse me, we're interlopers from off-planet. Do you know where my cousin is? We've come to ask her who I really am, and we want to take her away from here because we're afraid you psychos might try to kill her before we can ask her."

Hailee: Hey, who said anything about her getting killed?

Nij Blake: Hailee, you didn't see what these people are like. I did. I know what they're capable of. I don't know what you've been thinking, but I know what the rest of us thought when we found out Inga had landed here.

Hailee: You really think it could be that bad?

Nij Blake: I saw them massacre an entire village of primitives. They burned down every building in sight and gunned down every person they saw. All the primitives had to fight back with were sticks and arrows, and that only seemed to make these killers even angrier. Yes, Hailee, I think it could be that bad. We've all been thinking that, it's just nobody wanted to say it.

Hailee: Well I wish someone had said it to me. All I was told was that Avon had decided that the technologists weren't the allies for us.

Nij Blake: He was right, they weren't.

( Hailee and Blake step out into a clearing in the middle of the ring of ramshackle buildings. They immediately blanch as they get a clearer view of what is happening. Ariadne is stood here. Suspended above the ground on a chain from a giant retort pully is a large cage full of battered, malnourished children, all staring disconsolately out as Ariadne brandishes a whip. Suspended above the ground by a chain from the bottom of the cage is one of the children. His wrists are soaked in his own blood, let by the chafing of his bonds. Directly beneath him there is a small fire, burning and tormenting his feet every time his legs become too tired to keep them away from the poisonous tongues of flame. The poor boy is so bloodied and tired that he cannot keep his eyes open. )

Ariadne: You! Girl!

( Hailee and Blake stiffen, but then realise that they are not the ones Ariadne is addressing. )

Ariadne: ( To girl near the front of the cage. ) You turned your eyes away again. I won't have it. One more display of squeamishness like that and you'll be the next one down there.

( The girl Ariadne has accosted turns her face back down toward where her fellow prisoner is dangling. Her eyes fill with tears. )

Ariadne: Better. None of you turn your eyes from him again. If you won't let yourselves see the dire consequences of false belief, you will feel them instead.

( Ariadne cracks the whip at the boy. He gives a howl. )

Hailee: ( Pale with shock. ) Oh... my... God...

Nij Blake: ( Hoarsely. ) Just children... they're just children...

( Blake is about to fire his gun at Ariadne when Hailee suddenly stops him. )

Hailee: ( Whispers. ) No. Look at the symbol on her uniform.

Nij Blake: What about it?

Hailee: I think she may be in authority.

Nij Blake: ( Disbelief. ) What do you expect me to do? Ask her for permission to shoot her?

Hailee: No! She may know where we can look for Inga. By all means, let's stop her, but let's be subtle. We shouldn't kill her yet.

( Hailee gestures to Blake to walk around the edge of the clearing. )

Hailee: It shouldn't be difficult.

( Hailee wanders over toward where Ariadne is standing, putting on her best "See-what-a-mug-I-am!" expression. Meanwhile, Blake edges around the outside of the clearing, trying to keep himself at Ariadne's back. )

Hailee: ( In the sort of dimwit accent that carries on for a long time. ) Excuse me-e-e-e-e-e-e...

Ariadne: ( Looking up with a start. ) What...? Who are you?

Hailee: I'm lookin' for some-wu-u-u-un.

Ariadne: ( Suspicious. ) I don't recognise you.

Hailee: Oh, that'll be beca-a-a-u-u-use I'm new round he-e-e-e-e-ere.

Ariadne: Oh? Which settlement are you from?

Hailee: ( Nodding wisely. ) Err, somewhere else. ( Hurriedly, before Ariadne can press the point. ) Do you kno-o-o-o-o-o-ow where I can find hi-i-i-i-im?

Ariadne: How the hell should I know? You haven't even told me who it is you're looking for!

Hailee: Oh, he's called Bla-a-a-a-a-ake.

Ariadne: ( Blankly. ) Blake?

Hailee: Ya, that's the o-o-o-o-one! He's the big bloke who's about to smack you one across the back of the he-e-e-e-ad...

( Before this can register, Blake steps up behind Ariadne and smacks her one across the back of the head. Ariadne collapses. )

Nij Blake: Was that as easy as I thought it was?

Hailee: Ask me that exact question when we're back on Liberator. Let's get her into some cover.

( Hailee jerks her thumb over her shoulder, toward a cabin whose door has been left open. )

Hailee: Check to see if there's anyone in there...

Nij Blake: First things first.

( Blake opens the cage, and the bedraggled children tumble out. They are relieved to have the luxury of room to breathe, but simply lie on the floor, as though unable to move. Blake meanwhile unties the poor boy who is above the fire. )

Nij Blake: ( Shaking with tearful anger. ) How could she do...?

Hailee: Not now, Blake. Just get the poor little mite down. We'll worry about revenge later.

Nij Blake: That's your idea.

( Blake cradles the boy in his arms. Then he gently lowers him onto the grass, eyeing Ariadne with hatred. )

Nij Blake: I've got a better one.


( Vila is still keeping watch on his two captives. )

Vila: ( Into bracelet. ) I haven't heard from them in about fifteen minutes now.

Soolin: ( V.O. ) I'll try and contact them directly.

Vila: ( Into bracelet. ) No don't! If anyone in that place hears you trying to contact them...

Soolin: ( V.O. ) Fair point. Do you want to come up?

Vila: ( Into bracelet. ) Better not. Someone's got to make sure these two don't sound the alarm. Besides...

( One of the captives starts to stir with a soft groan. Vila quickly smacks him across the back of the head with the butt of his gun. The captive is knocked back out. )

Vila: ...Surprisingly enough, I'm kind of enjoying this. It's a bit rough, but at least it's easy.


( Darkness. There is an occasional crackling noise. )

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) Uuuurrrr... wh-... what's going on?

Nij Blake: ( V.O. nastily. ) Welcome back to reality.

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) What's going on? Why can't I see?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Eyesight is the most overrated of the five senses, don't you find? What does sight ever do for you, huh? Lets you see how ugly the world is. Who wants that? The only beauty is in sound. You can hear us perfectly clearly can't you?

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) Of course I can hear you. Why can't I see?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Because you wouldn't want to.

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) I want to see. Why can't I see? And why's it so damn hot?

Hailee: ( V.O. ) Take my word for it, you disgusting little bitch, you don't want to see. You don't want to know.

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) What's going on? Tell me, what's going on. Why can't I move? I feel so uncomfortable. Tell me!

Nij Blake: ( V.O. ) You're in no position to make demands. Believe me.

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) Why should I take your word for anything?

Nij Blake: ( V.O. ) Because I can see where you are. Are you sure you want to share that knowledge?

Ariadne: ( V.O. ) Let me see! Please...

Hailee: ( V.O. ) She wants to see, Blake. Go ahead.

( Narrow slits of light suddenly pierce through the darkness, widening and spreading horizontally as the obstructive dark lines move aside. It is suddenly clear that the dark lines are fingers - someone has had their hands over Ariadne's eyes. She blinks several times as her eyes adjust to the sudden intrusion of light against her retinas. Then she gives a squeal of fright. )

Hailee: I did warn you.

( Ariadne is wrapped from head to foot in ropes and chains. She is also suspended, upside-down, from the drape of the roof of one of the cabins. Ten feet below is the ground, on which there is a fire, directly beneath her. Hailee, Blake and the children are all gathered around. Blake is holding the other end of the rope that is holding Ariadne up. It is pullied over the drape. )

Hailee: I'll say now that we won't kill you if you co-operate. Just the tedious formalities of threatening behavioural procedure you see. We'll get to the guts of this nice and quick, okay? We want to know where we can find a woman called Inga. Ring any bells?

( Ariadne offers no response, so Hailee nods to Blake who briefly loosens grip on the rope. Ariadne drops a few inches and lets out another squeal of terror as the fire suddenly moves towards her. Blake tightens his grip again and Ariadne stops falling. )

Hailee: Can I just make a couple of other things clear at this point? When I ask an open question, there's all manner of answers I'll accept, but the one answer I won't tolerate is silence. The other thing is, while we won't kill you if you co-operate, your health is of so little importance to us that we'll hurt you as much as we need to, for as long as we need to. So, if you don't want that to be long, you'd better hurry up and answer.

Ariadne: Your Kyben's people aren't you?

( Hailee and Blake exchange brief looks of surprise. )

Hailee: Something like that, but I'm asking the questions.

( Blake lets Ariadne drop a few extra inches to underline the point. )

Ariadne: No, no! I had to ask! It means I can help. ( Pauses to catch her breath. ) Stitenhame. When we take an enemy village, we always turn what's left of them into a prison... to hold the worst of the surviving resisters. We captured another offworlder some time ago and imprisoned her there too.

Nij Blake: Inga...? ( Angry. ) Why do that to her?

Ariadne: She argued with Shivan about the attack.

Hailee: Shivan?! ( Baffled. ) He died years ago... What's going on?

Ariadne: Go to the village where your Kyben-friend disappeared, you'll find her there.

Nij Blake: That must be the village I told you about. The one they destroyed!

Hailee: ( Grits teeth. ) And she's a prisoner.

Ariadne: The commander is there now. He goes there at least twice a week to interrogate prisoners...

Hailee: Good, I look forward to the opportunity of interrogating him. Let's go, Blake.

Nij Blake: Just a sec.

( Blake offers the rope to the strongest of the children. )

Nij Blake: All yours, and welcome.

Ariadne: No wait! You said you'd free me...

Hailee: No we didn't. We said we wouldn't kill you. You're still breathing aren't you?

Ariadne: But these children don't understand why I was conditioning them. They still hate me at the moment, they'll kill me...

Nij Blake: ( Shrugs. ) We said we wouldn't kill you. These kids are nothing to do with us.

Hailee: ( Into bracelet. ) We've got a fix on Inga's location, Avon. We're ready to teleport.

Avon: ( V.O. ) Good. Stand by.

( Ariadne whimpers and gibbers as Blake hands over the rope to the children. )

Ariadne: No. Oh God, please...!

Nij Blake: Did you hear that, Hailee?

Hailee: Yeah. She said "Oh God!" Some technologist you are. ( Nudges Blake and winks. ) Same old story. Cut away all the so-called "civilised" verbal diarrhoea and they still come out exactly the same underneath. Superstitious little kiddies, crying out in their darkest moments to some mystical higher power for salvation. ( To Ariadne. ) Sorry, sweetheart, there's no help coming from that direction. Heh, I bet you're hoping you've got it all wrong now. ( Cheeky wave. ) Byeeeee...

( Hailee and Blake teleport out. The children finally decide to release the rope. With a scream Ariadne plummets toward the flames... )

Ariadne: Nooooooo...!!!


( Vila, Hailee and Blake materialise in Liberator's teleport section. Soolin is at the controls. )

Soolin: Good news then?

Hailee: Welllllll... that depends on two things.

Soolin: Like what?

Hailee: Your definition of "news". And your definition of "good".

Soolin: Does that mean Inga's in trouble?

Hailee: You read my mind.

Vila: That's because big print's easy to read.


( Stitenhame. Avon, Vila, Soolin, Hailee and Blake teleport in, draw their weapons and survey the ruins with distaste or sheer horror. )

Nij Blake: ( Into bracelet. ) Safely down, Orac. ( Distraught. ) Look at this place.

Avon: I'll say this for Shivan, if that's really who it is, he was always thorough.

Soolin: You don't think it's really Shivan?

Avon: No. He died. I'm interested in finding out who it really is though.

Hailee: ( Points. ) That way!

( Hailee gestures in the direction of some low cabins, the prison cells. Blake immediately runs toward them. )

Avon: ( Hisses. ) Blake, wait!

( Blake ignores the instruction and keeps running. )

Avon: Get after him, before he gives us away!

( Vila, Soolin and Hailee break into a run in pursuit of Blake. Avon follows at a more measured, even disinterested, pace. Blake soon reaches the nearest of the cabins and hauls the door open. The cabin is empty, except for the corpse of a woman who has starved to death behind the bars. Reflexively, Blake puts a hand over his nose and mouth against the stench, then hauls the door shut. He goes on to the next cabin, and finds a guard inside. )

Guard 2: Who...?

( Without thinking, Blake guns the man down. There is no prisoner in the cabin though. Without hesitating he runs on to the next cabin. )


( Stitenhame command cabin. Shivan lies on a hammock, getting some rest. He sits up with a start as he hears the sound of Blake's shot. He hauls himself up and grabs a weapon from the table. )

Shivan: What the blazes is going on out there?


( Vila, Soolin and Hailee finally catch up with Blake as he enters the next cabin. Alekhs is behind the cell bars. Also here is the first guard, who reacts fast, locking his arm around Blake's throat and holding a knife to his cheek. Vila, Soolin and Hailee hold their ground. )

Vila: Oh whoops.

Nij Blake: I... am... getting...

( Blake suddenly swings back his elbow into the guard's ribs, then bends forward and rolls him over his back onto the floor, snatching away the knife in the same move. )

Nij Blake: ...fed up...

( In a violent swing he brings the knife down into the guard's chest, killing him instantly. )

Nij Blake: ( Panting, and quaking with quiet rage. ) ...of people drawing knives on me.

Vila: ( Stunned. ) How did you do all that?

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

Nij Blake: ( Lost in rage. ) Want me to demonstrate again, do you?!

( Soolin and Hailee quickly step in to try and make Blake release Vila. )

Soolin: Blake, control yourself!

Nij Blake: No? Get out of my way then!

( Blake pushes Vila aside and brushes past the others to resume his search. )

Vila: What's happening to him? He's out of his skull!

Soolin: ( To prisoner. ) You? Do you know a prisoner called Inga?

( The prisoner shakes his head. )

Soolin: ( To Vila. ) Try and get him out.

Vila: How?

Soolin: Are you seriously asking me that?

Vila: Sorry. Forgot myself.

Soolin: Hailee, with me.

( Soolin and Hailee set off after Blake who has already reached the next cabin. It is empty. Just as he is about to move on, a loud shot rings out. Blake falls. )

Soolin: Blake!

( Shivan emerges from the shadow of another cabin. He is holding a para-gun. )

Shivan: Blake, you say? I think not.

( Soolin and Hailee move toward Blake. )

Shivan: Stay where you are.

Soolin: We're armed too, you know.

( Shivan kneels down next to Blake and points the gun at him. )

Shivan: I have a hostage, who still appears to be alive. He should be, I aimed for his leg.

Soolin: Who are you?

Shivan: You may call me Shivan.

Hailee: ( Mocking. ) Shivan, you say? I think not.

Shivan: You've heard of my father then.

Hailee: ( Understanding. ) Ah. And you must've heard of his.

( Soolin looks past Shivan's shoulder, and seems to take an inspiration. )

Soolin: Your father was the Shivan who fought against the Federation?

Shivan: That's right. ( Sadly. ) A man of great strength and little judgement.

Soolin: ( Trying to keep Shivan talking. ) Didn't you like him?

Shivan: Like him? He was the greatest father I could have asked for. Loving, devoted, honest. He was just so misguided. Fighting for some mindless, fanatical ideal for his whole, wasted life. Is it any wonder he died so far ahead of his time...?

( Another shot rings out, the shot of a clip gun. Shivan freezes, looks horror-struck and his jaw drops. A trickle of blood escapes the corner of his mouth and he falls, a plasma bullet wound in his back. Behind Shivan stands Avon, his gun still trained on the madman's fallen form. )

Avon: Like father, like son then.

( Avon runs over to join Soolin and Hailee who check both Blake's and Shivan's vital signs. )

Hailee: ( Kicking Shivan. ) This one won't be burning any villages again.

Avon: I can't say I'm sorry. Plasma ammunition that doesn't kill is wasted. How is Blake?

Soolin: He'll be fine, just a flesh wound on his arm. I think he just passed out through the shock.

Avon: ( Puzzled. ) Passed out? He's a bit raw, but he's not that soft.

Soolin: It was frightening. He seemed to become manic, attacking everything and everyone he saw. He almost tried to beat Vila up.

Hailee: ( Nodding. ) He was in a total rage. It was as though it had sent every sense in his body had gone into overdrive.

Soolin: That might explain why passed out. The pain would have been amplified so far that it just knocked him out.

Avon: But how? Anger is a useful fuel for the human body, but not to that...

( Vila suddenly calls out from the door of one of the cabins some way back. )

Vila: Hey you lot! Come quickly. I've found her!


( Another cell cabin. Inga is here, lying on the floor. She is starving, battered and bloodied. Chaesla is also here, sitting next to Inga, holding her hand. Vila is at the door, through which he leads first Avon, then Hailee and Soolin. In anxiety, Blake pushes past all of them. He then freezes to the spot when he sees Inga on the floor. )

Nij Blake: ( Voicelessly. ) No...

( With tears in his eyes, Blake kneels next to Inga and puts his head on her shoulder. )

Avon: ( To Chaesla. ) We know you.

Chaesla: ( Awkwardly. ) Yes. You left me behind. Where's Kyben?

( Avon does not answer. Inga's eyes open, and focus on Blake's. )

Inga: Nij...? Nij...? Nij...?

Nij Blake: ( Overjoyed. ) She's all right. She's going to be all right...!

Avon: ( Gently. ) No, Blake. She isn't.

Nij Blake: What do you mean? She's...!

Avon: The candle always burns brightest just as it is about to burn out.

Nij Blake: ( Uncomprehending. ) Burn out...? What do you...? ( Suddenly understands. Shakes head. ) No! No!

( Avon kneels down next to Inga. )

Avon: Inga. You haven't got long left. Kyben died some time ago, and without his help we can do nothing to save you. Do you understand?

Inga: Nij... Nij... must tell you... must...

Avon: Tell him? Tell him what, Inga?

Nij Blake: ( Tearfully. ) Avon, don't do this to her!

Inga: Must... must... tell...

Avon: I think she wants to tell us, Blake.

Inga: Looking... for you. Know... you're... still alive. ( Grabs Blake's arm. ) They're... trying... to... bring you back... to them...

Nij Blake: I don't understand.

Inga: Say nothing...! Only hear... Nij... ( Gasps. ) I... came after... you... warn you... they want you... back.

Avon: Who? Who wants him?

Inga: Fe-... Fe-...

Soolin: The Federation?

Inga: ( Nodding. ) Servalan... knows.

( Inga's life starts to ebb. )

Hailee: Servalan? What? What does she know? Inga?

Nij Blake: Leave her alone, all of you!

Inga: Chaes-... Chaes-...

Nij Blake: Chaesla? What about her, Inga? ( Desperately. ) Inga!

Inga: She's y-... your... she's... ( Swallows. ) Kam-... Kam-...

Hailee: Kam-what? Tell us.

Inga: Kamm-...e-... le-... ooon...

Soolin: ( Quietly baffled. ) Chameleon?

( Inga suddenly lets out a choked gasp. She goes limp. )

Nij Blake: Inga? ( More urgently. ) Inga?!

( Blake hugs Inga to himself, crying quietly. Hailee puts her hands on his shoulders gently. )


( A while has passed. Most of the crew are outside the cabin, waiting unhappily for Blake to say his last goodbyes to Inga. Avon hands a bracelet to Chaesla. )

Avon: ( To Chaesla. ) Put this on. You're coming with us this time.

Chaesla: Good. I wanted to go last time, and there's nothing left for me here now.

( Chaesla puts on the bracelet, examining it in slight perplexity. )

Avon: That's not the reason. Inga wasn't able to tell us what we wanted to know, but she mentioned you as she died. That means you may be able to help us with it. I can't imagine how, but I don't think she would have wasted a breath when she had so few left.

Vila: Nothing left for you, Chaesla? What about your brother?

Soolin: ( To Chaesla. ) Brother?

Chaesla: ( Evasively. ) Never mind him.

Soolin: You've got a brother? We can take him too...

Chaesla: No! I said never mind him.

Hailee: ( To Vila. ) How come you know about him anyway?

Vila: Well, he was the prisoner in that cell... what's his name again?

Chaesla: ( Uncomfortably. ) Alekhs.

Vila: I still don't know where he got to after I freed him...

Chaesla: He came and released me... then he went. ( Bitterly. ) He won't come with us. We've always hated each other, we're hardly ever in the same room...

Soolin: That's interesting.

Chaesla: What is?

Soolin: Well, it's just that last time we met, you were eager to leave with us. You made no mention of your brother then. Now he's just saved your life and you still want to leave him behind...

Chaesla: Maybe I don't want to mention him.

Avon: Leave it for now. It's Chaesla's family we are discussing, let Chaesla make the choice. For now, Blake's family is the priority.

( Blake emerges from the cabin. He closes the door behind him. )

Nij Blake: ( Weakly. ) Step back, everyone.

( Everybody moves away from the cabin. )

Nij Blake: ( Into bracelet. ) Okay, Orac, activate the incendiary charge now.

( There is the dull sound of a rush of flame. The cabin shakes violently and begins to disintegrate as fire rushes through the inside, gradually bursting its way through the roof and shattering the walls inwards. )

Nij Blake: ( Lowering head in grief. ) Goodbye, Inga...

Avon: ( Into bracelet. ) Bring us up, Orac.

( The crew dematerialise. )




Okay folks, let me start by saying that the series is about to go up a gear. The stories from this point will become more closely coherent and inter-dependent than at any stage previously. They are also going to be more complex, and very few of them are going to be for the faint-of-heart. If you don't like plots that are particularly knotty or drawn-out, or just plain bloody, I honestly recommend that you stop reading the series from hereabouts. It won't be as depressing (or stupid) as season four of Blake's 7 was, if only because it won't seem as pointless, but the crew are in for some traumatic times between now and the series' conclusion.

This pattern of the macabre starts in this very episode with the return to the planet Craeus, and the reintroduction of Chaesla Lerga from Zealots, who finally joins the Liberator crew. I had originally planned for her to do so near the end of season one, you may remember, but couldn't come up with a plausible reason for Avon accepting her in the fraught conditions of the time. The circumstances are now far more conducive for her to join, and she does so carrying with her a secret even more dreadful than the one Blake is trying to uncover about himself. Furthermore, the two secrets are connected in a way that neither Blake nor Chaesla, who are essentially strangers to each other, could ever have imagined.

The death of Inga, which I'm sure many of you saw coming, has triggered a hidden side effect of this very secret that Blake is striving to learn. What is this secret though? You may be able to guess a few things from his deranged behaviour toward the end of the story, but you'll find out exactly what's what late in the next episode (no peeking now).

The scenes of torture and cruelty in the story could simply be seen as the products of a sick mind, be it mine or the characters' - I'll leave that to the readers to decide. But I've always been one of the ones who believe that child abuse is not something we can solve by turning a blind eye to it, and in some parts of the world, children are treated even worse than the way Ariadne treats the stishes here. Alarming but no less true. If it offends your sensibilities to read it, that's tough. At least it gave you something to think about, and hey, both Ariadne and Shivan got their comeuppance in the end. You can feel better for that.



Nico Mody-Nikoloff:

I wasn't too disturbed by the torture scenes, and glad to see that Ariadne got hers. I'm very much looking forward to finding out about Nij Blake, and what Chaesla alias the Kameleon is. I love a mystery.

The resolution of the Nij Blake and Chaesla Lerga mysteries is right ahead. Chaesla's secret is particularly unpleasant, so I hope you've got a strong stomach.

I enjoyed [Avon and Vila's] dialogue too, plus Hailee's own particular style of put-down. She's a great character.


Jane Walton:

It was certainly an involved episode and it'll be interesting to follow the mysteries to their conclusions.

Somehow I can't see Vila enjoying his job of keeping the guards subdued. He never likes to hurt people. He does it when it's necessary but he prefers to leave the rough stuff to other crew members. Okay, he's been through a lot of pain and suffering over the last however-many years but his gentle nature has usually shone through.

Vila is indeed gentler that that, and in fact he's as surprised as the audience that he finds he's enjoying himself. But don't confuse it with blood lust. He's just enjoying the fact that he's got an easy job - an easier one than he expected it to be as well. And he's not doing the soldiers any real harm putting them to sleep for fifteen minutes at a time. If he was vindictive he'd kick 'em and punch 'em while they were asleep as well.


Brian McLennan:

This is a massive improvement on Last Spectre of Auron, without actually being very much - it seems entirely to serve the overall plot and has no storyline in its own right.

Possibly, but that's not really a problem. I tend to find that the longer plots in this series work better than the one-off stories anyway.

I hope Chaesla turns out a bit more interesting than predecessors like Farin and Stella. I also hope this big secret about her is worth the overblown build-up you've given it.

I'm tempted to make the next episode deliberately boring just to irritate you!

One thing... please don't make this thing about her and Nij into another of those wretched "Long-lost brother and sister" stories.

Oh puh-leeeeeez, give me some credit! That sort of thing went stale with Return of the Jedi! Let me make this prefectly clear, she is not Blake's sister.

Yes, I found Inga's death eminently predictable, and the general nature of Shivan's society even more disturbing than before. I'm glad he and Ariadne bought it.

They deserved it.

Hailee was absolutely brilliant again... I think I'm in love...!

>Ahem!< I find it weird enough listening to people who fall in love with figments of their imagination. I find it scary listening to people who fall in love with figments of someone else's imagination - especially when the someone else is me, and I've never even met the people falling in love. Nurse, the screens!!!

...and it was quite touching to read her conversations with Blake. Beneath all the spikiness she's got a really nice side to her, which reminds me a little of Mags' wisdom in Blake's Progress.

Good point. Must discuss that with Jane some time. Mind you, it's very clear that there are huge differences between the two characters. Hailee's a lot younger for a start.

Where's Jaimee got to?

Still where he was when we last saw him presumably. He wasn't going to get up and walk away from that one in a hurry.


My replies are in ORANGE ITALICS


Season Two Scripts