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

{B7 S5 E1}

[Opening shot of the interior of a small spacecraft and the profile of a young, dark-haired man who is intently watching something out of the flight-deck window. View pans round to show what he is witnessing. Through a vast, green-tinged haze, pieces of debris can be seen flocking to join with a large mass of misshapen metal. There is a rusty looking ooze on most of the particles, which vanishes on entering the chemical cloud.

Then the scene changes to show a forested area.]

ORAC: [V.O] It is not easy to trace one line through the pattern of infinity, but in this case I have. Blake is on Gauda Prime.

[ A rough looking man is sitting beside a campfire. He hears a twig crack and moves away to lean against a nearby tree.]

BLAKE: Whoever you are, I'll share the food. So long as you stop skulking about out there. You're not exactly stealthy are you, I've heard quieter troop transporters!

ARLEN: [V.O] You're looking in the wrong direction.

BLAKE: I know but at least you're out in the open now, aren't you?

[Arlen bounds into the clearing, pointing a gun at Blake.]

ARLEN: If this is a trap, you won't live to see it sprung.

BLAKE: Where did you get that gun?

ARLEN: I won it in a lottery. What do you care?

BLAKE: I don't, so long as it wasn't issued to you.

ARLEN: It's Federation.

BLAKE: That's what I mean.

ARLEN: Do I look like one of theirs?

BLAKE: [walking back to campfire] I can't really tell anymore. You hungry?


BLAKE: So am I.

[Shot of Scorpio in space, cut to interior. The crew are all on the flight deck discussing Orac's information.]

VILA: I can't see Blake doing anything like that.

ORAC: My interpretation of the data leaves little room for error.

VILA: Hunting people for money? Not him.


AVON: Why ask me?

DAYNA: Because you and Vila know him. We don't. Could he be a bounty hunter, do you think?

AVON: Does it matter?

TARRANT: Well, it might. There's still a price on our heads from the old days.

[Cut back to the unidentified spacecraft. The mans face is filled with awe and his mouth is open slightly in wonderment. View shifts to window. The green cloud is rapidly dispersing to reveal a familiar shape... the Liberator! Eerie music plays as the ship 'returns from the dead'. Cut back to Scorpio, flight deck.]

SLAVE: I beg to advise you, Master, that we are approaching the planet Gauda Prime. And Scorpio is under attack!

[An explosion rocks the flight deck. Cut to shot of gunships pursuing and firing on Scorpio.]

AVON: Burnout on drive two. Overall power loss is thirty-two percent.

TARRANT: Alignment on three and four is drifting.

AVON: This won't hold it for long.

TARRANT: Have we shaken any of them off?

SOOLIN: [looking at monitor] Not exactly.

VILA: Not remotely. There's four more coming on zero two three.

DAYNA: And two more on the reciprocal bearing.

SOOLIN: They'll have us in strike range in twenty-five seconds.

TARRANT: We're running out of options.

[Gauda Prime appears on the main view screen.]

AVON: Powerdive the atmosphere. Fake it. Make it look as though we're out of control.

TARRANT: I may not have to fake that.

AVON: Do it!

TARRANT: All right everybody, stand by for a rather sudden visit to Gauda Prime.

[Everyone tenses as the ship begins its descent. Cut back to the Liberator. The small ship has docked with it. Scene cuts to interior. The young man is entering the flight deck, alone and with his gun readied in his left hand. He pauses just inside the doorway and waits expectantly, his eyes searching the room. A large purple/grey blob wavers into existence and the man tilts his head slightly to one side as though listening to something. Suddenly he shakes his head in disgust, raises his weapon and fires into the blob. It vanishes instantly. The man lowers his gun and calls loudly "Zen!". Scene cuts back to the Scorpio. The ship is in trouble and is falling swiftly towards the planet. On the surface of Gauda Prime; Vila, Dayna and Soolin materialize and start to run. On the Scorpio; Avon begins to lift Orac.]

AVON: Orac, on my order I want you to operate the teleport.

ORAC: Very well but the previous coordinates can only be matched approximately.

AVON: [picking up Orac] Come on, Tarrant.

TARRANT: I can't.

AVON: What?!

TARRANT: If I leave the controls for a second, she'll flip over and break up.

AVON: Slave, take over the flight controls.

SLAVE: I am most humbly sorry Master but I can find no flight controls.

TARRANT: It dropped below his tolerance a couple of minutes ago. It's only a computer Avon, it takes talent to fly a dead ship. Look, there's nothing you can do. You're not a good enough pilot.

AVON: I can see that.

TARRANT: So get the hell out of here will you?! There's no point in both of us dying.

AVON: [moving to the teleport area with Orac] Are you ready Orac?

ORAC: Of course I am.

AVON: Then do it! [dematerializing] Goodbye, Tarrant.

[Tarrant glances up as he allows his solitary fate to finally register.

On board the Liberator; The young man is working on a bunch of loose wires behind one of the flight consoles. Sparks suddenly fly and he yelps in pain and pulls out his burnt hand dropping the metal tool he was using. It lands with a clatter and he curses.]

MAN: Damn. I thought I had it that time. Status report on energy banks please Zen.

ZEN: Banks one to three now stand at full capacity. Four has reached forty percent capacity. All remaining banks are empty.

MAN: All right, thank you Zen. Concentrate on recharging the banks, we'll worry about the weapons at a later date. All I need now is to get back to GP as fast as I can.

[He breaks off to study the panel before him.]

ZEN: Maximum velocity cannot be achieved at present power levels.

MAN: [glancing up in confusion] No. Oh, sorry Zen, I didn't mean... Forget it, I was just thinking aloud. Blake received information that the Federation was coming to make an inspection on the base. He thinks it's a routine visit but he wants me to be on hand, just in case of trouble. [He glances back at the panel and sighs] Whatever speed you can manage will be fine.

[Surface of Gauda Prime. Night has fallen and the forest is gloomy. Avon is standing in the doorway of a ramshackle building, watching as a couple of bounty hunters prepare to club the sleeping figures of Dayna and Soolin.]

AVON: I wouldn't do that if I were you.

[He shoots one of the men. The second one fires at him but misses and Avon shoots him too. The women wake up in a panic.]

DAYNA: What happened? Avon?

AVON: The fire was stupid. Putting Vila on guard was suicidal. What's the matter, is staying alive too complicated for you?

SOOLIN: It's beginning to look that way. How did you get here?

AVON: I teleported and I walked, just like you did.

SOOLIN: [to Dayna, who is crouched on the floor examining Vila] Is he dead?

DAYNA: No more than usual. He'll recover. What about them?

SOOLIN: [checking the bounty hunters] They're dead all right.

[Avon goes out to return with Orac as Vila begins to revive.]

VILA:[moans] What hit me?

DAYNA: Don't worry Vila, they went for your least vulnerable spot.

VILA: Oh... my head.

DAYNA: Exactly. [to Avon] So, who are they?

AVON: Bounty hunters. I did warn you there were a lot of them about.

DAYNA: You didn't say the woods were full of them.

SOOLIN: Do you know how they found us?

AVON: They have heat tracers in their flyer. At night the equipment is sensitive enough to pick up normal body heat within a radius of two miles. [indicating their lighted stove] You can imagine what they made of that!

ORAC: Their inboard computer almost rejected the data as too gross to be correct.

SOOLIN: Did you find out what they were doing in this area Orac?

ORAC: They came to investigate my distress signals, naturally.

DAYNA: Naturally. You wouldn't have set us up by any chance, would you Avon?

SOOLIN: Now that is an unattractive idea. I really could be quite annoyed if I thought we'd been the bait in a trap you'd laid for them, Avon.

VILA: Where's Tarrant?

AVON: I had no idea it was you and it shouldn't have been. As a matter of interest, you've been walking in the wrong direction if you want to get out of this forest.

VILA: I asked where Tarrant was.

AVON: Still, that's no longer a problem. [he nudges one of the dead bounty hunters with his foot] We just inherited a flyer.

VILA: Avon, if you're here and Orac's here, how did Tarrant get off the ship?

[Avon gives Vila a grim stare and remains silent. Cut to interior of grounded Scorpio, Tarrant is lying amongst the wreckage. Blake is standing nearby. A flyer can be heard as the sound of gunshots fades. Blake fires through an opening and there is the sound of a crash followed by an explosion. He smiles and turns back to Tarrant to pass him a small flask he has removed from one of his pockets. Blake then bends to pick up and examine a stray teleport bracelet. Tarrant takes a drink from the flask and coughs.]

BLAKE: You feeling better?

TARRANT: A little.

BLAKE: [trying on the bracelet] Whose ship is this?

TARRANT: Why? You thinking of making an offer for it?

BLAKE: [discarding the bracelet] Want to tell me your name then?

TARRANT: Not particularly.

BLAKE: I did just save your life.

TARRANT: You just saved YOUR life. It was you they wanted.

BLAKE: Actually... [fishing out a small pouch]... it was these they wanted. [He tosses the pouch to Tarrant] They had some quaint idea I was going to pay for a consignment of arms in advance. [Tarrant opens the pouch and pours out a handful of gems] I had some quaint idea they were trying to cheat me.

TARRANT: [replacing the gems] Yes well, it's difficult to tell who you can trust these days but as tests go, isn't THAT... [he indicates Blake's gun which is lying beside him] and THIS... [he holds up the pouch of gems] a bit obvious? [he tosses the pouch back to Blake who shrugs as he catches it.]

BLAKE: Maybe. It's getting light. Shall we go?

[Blake extends his hand to pull Tarrant to his feet. Cut to a shot of the Liberator moving very slowly and awkwardly through space. Back at G.P; a small group of Federation ships are arriving in the atmosphere. Two remain in orbit whilst the large troop-carrier continues downwards on a landing approach. Cut to the exterior of the base on Gauda Prime, then view switches to the interior. An office room. Tarrant is standing moodily whilst Blake is talking to a third man.]

DEVA: Who is he?

BLAKE: His name is Tarrant. [to Tarrant] Your flight computer mentioned it whilst you were unconscious.

DEVA: Tarrant...

BLAKE: No, I wouldn't run it through the computer just yet, Deva. You see, this one has a very high Federation price on his head.

DEVA: Are you sure?

TARRANT: Oh, give the man credit for knowing his trade, dirty though it is.

BLAKE: He also has several associates with Federation prices, and one of them is particularly valuable.

TARRANT: And all of them are particularly dead.

BLAKE: [sarcastically] In which case, the flyer that was following us was merely a coincidence.

[Scene cuts to exterior of base. A flyer is parked in the background. Avon and the others are in the foreground, about to enter the base but Orac is nowhere to be seen. Action cuts back to Deva's office. Arlen enters, Blake turns to look. Tarrant suddenly kicks the gun out of Blake's hand, shoves him into Arlen and bolts out of the room.]

ARLEN: Do you want him killed?!

BLAKE: No, of course not! When he knows as much about this as you do now, he'll join us, like you did.

ARLEN: He passed the test then?

BLAKE: I'm satisfied.

DEVA: These stupid games you insist on playing, Blake, will get someone killed eventually.

[Main tracking gallery of the GP base. Tarrant enters at a run.]

WOMAN AT DESK: Hey you. Wait a minute!

[Tarrant chokes her unconscious and is attacked by a technician who has heard her shout and hurried in. The alarm goes off as Avon, Soolin, Dayna and Vila enter the room. Soolin shoots the technician and they all gather round Tarrant.]

AVON: I'm glad you made it.

TARRANT: So am I. Avon, I think he's here.

[Meanwhile, the woman Tarrant dealt with has revived. She partially rises and tries to call for assistance.]

WOMAN: [into intercom] Security personnel to main tracking gallery. Security personnel to main tracking...

[Avon shoots her as Blake and Arlen enter. He then brings the rifle to bear on Blake who is unarmed, rather than Arlen who holds a gun.]

TARRANT: Is it him?

VILA: It's him.

TARRANT: He sold us Avon. All of us, even you.

[Avon lowers the rifle and approaches Blake uncertainly.]

AVON: Is it true?

BLAKE: Avon, it's me, Blake. [He starts to move forwards.]

AVON: Stand still! Have you betrayed us? Have YOU betrayed ME?!

BLAKE: Tarrant doesn't understand.

AVON: Neither do I Blake.

BLAKE: I set all this up.

AVON: Yes.

BLAKE: [starting to move forwards again] Avon, I was waiting for YOU!

[Avon brings the gun up and fires. Blake is hit but he keeps coming. Avon fires again and then a third time. Blake finally stops moving but is still standing. Avon swings the gun up to point it in his face. Blake grabs Avon's arms as his knees begin to buckle.]

BLAKE: Avon... [He collapses to fall at Avon's feet.]

[View switches to show Liberator flying through space. Cut to flight deck]

ZEN: Information. Liberator will be within range of Gauda Prime in two minutes. Federation ships have been detected in orbit above the planet.

MAN: Arriving or leaving?

ZEN: Ships are stationary.

MAN: Guard ships! The others are probably already on the surface. Zen, are there any messages being transmitted from the planet on coded band Sierra 5 Beta 7?

ZEN: Negative. There are no transmissions from that source.

MAN: [to himself] Why isn't he sending? We agreed... [his voice tails off and he begins to look worried] Something's wrong.

[He rushes to check one of the consoles then appears to recover his composure.]

MAN: Zen let me know as soon as we're in teleport range. [to himself] I'll have to operate the beam on random pick up. At least I know he'll be wearing his bracelet, he never takes the damn thing off! [softly] I just hope he's not already in trouble.

[Cut back to main tracking gallery on GP. Deva rushes in shouting.]

DEVA: Blake! They've found us! The base is under... [he stops cold at the sight of Blake] Arlen, what happened?!

ARLEN: HE happened. [She indicates Avon, then suddenly shoots Deva.] Be so kind as to drop your guns, all of you.

[Three guns hit the floor but Avon is still staring at Blake's lifeless body and doesn't seem to hear her. An explosion is heard in the distance.]

ARLEN: You and this nest of rebels are now prisoners of the Federation. Your friend Blake said he couldn't tell anymore who was Federation and who wasn't. He was right. He couldn't.

TARRANT: [smiling patronizingly] You're a Federation agent?

ARLEN: I'm a Federation officer.

VILA: Oh now look, I've never been against the Federation. [He crosses over to stand by her] I mean, I've only ever been along for the ride. I'm completely harmless and armless.

[Dayna goes for her gun. Arlen shoots her full in the chest. Dayna is thrown backwards into Tarrant's arms. He lays her down gently. Vila whacks Arlen and she slumps to the floor unconscious. He picks up her gun.]

VILA: [to Arlen] Sorry.

[Shots and explosions are heard nearby. Vila is suddenly shot from behind by a Federation Trooper. Soolin shoots one of them but is then gunned down by another Trooper. Tarrant shoots him and begins to run towards Avon.]


[He is shot down. Avon looks up as more Troopers rush into the room. They form a large circle around him, their guns at the ready. He looks back down at Blake and then straddles the body. As he lifts his head again, the alarm stops and there is a tense silence. Avon slowly raises the rifle, his finger on the trigger. He smiles grimly. A white glow outlines his body just as his shot rings out. He vanishes as the Troopers instinctively begin to fire.]

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

[Liberator teleport bay; a host of shapes materialize. Soolin, Vila and Dayna are lying on the floor. Avon is standing astride Blake's body. His gun is still raised but his grin has died, to be replaced by a look of wild confusion. He stares slowly around, his expression becoming steadily more bewildered. Suddenly a figure appears in the entranceway. Avon blinks rapidly in horror and disbelief before he blacks out and tumbles to the floor.]

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .

[Back on GP; chaos reigns. Several guards are lying dead or wounded and the rest are milling about with blank expressions as they wait for guidance. Arlen begins to stir. A Trooper rushes to assist and she climbs shakily to her feet.]

ARLEN: [woozily] Is it over?

TROOPER: I'm not sure marm.

ARLEN: Is the operation complete, idiot, do we have them?!

TROOPER: I'm... sorry marm... we don't know how it happened.

[She looks about her, at the guards on the floor and the bloodstained gaps left by the fugitives.]

ARLEN: Gone! How?! It's not possible. What happened?

TROOPER: They de-materialized. We don't know where to, we registered no activity on the orbital scans. There were no ships in the area, except ours.

[Arlen glares around the room and spots Tarrant. He is unconscious and bleeding heavily but is still alive.]

ARLEN: [smiling cruelly] Well, I have one of you anyway. Perhaps you can be ... persuaded... to hand over the others. [turning to one of the guards who is approaching] Give the rebel emergency treatment and place him in a survival capsule. [He nods and begins to move towards Tarrant] Wait. One more thing, if he dies... so do you.

[The guard salutes and then hurries off.]

ARLEN: [quietly, to herself] I can't afford for this mission to fail, Sleer is relying on me.

[On board the Liberator. The young, dark-haired man is kneeling beside Avon with an empty container in his hand. Avon's eyelids begin to flutter and his fingers clench spasmodically as he regains consciousness.]

MAN: Take it easy, don't fight the drug. In a minute you should be able to stand.

AVON: [through clenched teeth] No. Not possible. All dead. We are all dead.

MAN: Come on Avon, I need your help.

AVON: [shuddering but opening his eyes.] Not him! No, you are not HIM. This is real. It is here. I am here. It's not possible. [He closes his eyes again and groans.]

MAN: Avon! Please! The others may be dying. I need your help.

[He shakes Avon's shoulder and the reaction is swift and immediate. Avon shoots out his hand and grips the young man's arm as his eyes open rapidly and his face becomes alert. The man gasps in pain but makes no move and Avon releases him and begins to sit up with a confused expression. He stares at the bodies in the teleport bay and then rises unsteadily to his feet and steps towards Blake.]

MAN: [quietly] He's already dead and so is she. [He nods towards Dayna.] The other two are alive but until we get them to a medi-unit scanner, I can't tell how badly wounded they are.

AVON: [Glancing at Vila and Soolin] We're not dead... not all of us.

MAN: Not yet! Avon, you'll have to help me carry them and if you can tell me where the medi-unit actually is, that would be really appreciated. I haven't had time to explore yet and I doubt if these two can wait while I do.

[Close up of Soolin who is deathly pale. Scene changes back to GP base. Mopping up operations are being conducted. Arlen crosses the area and turns down a corridor then into a side room. Tarrant is lying on a desk inside what looks like a glass coffin. An intercom buzzes.]

ARLEN: [into com] Go ahead. [she listens to the response] Yes, of course it is. Put me through at once you fool!

[She shakes her head in exasperation and then seats herself at the console as the screen begins to flicker. The face of commissioner Sleer comes slowly into focus.]

ARLEN: Commissioner, I apologize for the delay.

SLEER: [smiling sweetly] Not at all, I quite understand. These things take time... I trust all went according to our plan?

ARLEN: There were problems. We lost a lot of men.

SLEER: The fugitives have been captured... or eliminated?

ARLEN: Neither. We have one of them and when he is fit to talk, we will have the rest.

SLEER: One of them... which one?

ARLEN: Del Tarrant, commissioner.

SLEER: Tarrant! He is of no use to me! You promised to deliver Blake and Avon. [she smiles. A sudden, evil smile.] But then, I never keep my promises either Arlen.

[Arlen's face crumples and she shakes her head in terror.]

SLEER: Yes, you do remember our little arrangement don't you Arlen? The reward for your success, the prize for your triumph? I hope you made a touching farewell to them... your parents died last night. [She makes an apologetic face]

I regret that I left it just too late to intervene on their behalf. Remiss of me I know, however it seems that my faith in you was misplaced from the beginning... we will not speak again.

[She abruptly terminates the connection and Arlen collapses back heavily in the chair. A guard enters the room and before she can do more than turn, he raises his gun and shoots her in the chest. Arlen drops to the floor and he delivers a mocking salute before leaving the room. Scene cuts back to the Liberator, medi-unit. Vila and Soolin are lying unconscious on trolleys. The young man is standing between them busily connecting wires to pads attached to their foreheads. Avon is slumped dazed in a nearby chair.]

MAN: I don't like the look of these readings. I think she's in trauma. [turns to face Avon] We may need a professional.

[Avon stares at him vacantly then returns to staring at his upturned hands.]

MAN: [Despondently] We may need more than one kind of professional... Zen, give me a detailed scan and prognosis for this patient please.

[Lights flash on and off in sequence down both sides of Soolin's trolley.]

ZEN: Internal injuries to right section of torso. Severe nerve damage within the zone has resulted in extensive system shock. Patient is unstable and requires a large degree of reconstructive surgery.

MAN: Any advice?

ZEN: Recommendation is that she be taken to a suitable facility for specialist attention.

MAN: And in the meantime?

ZEN: Patient must be sealed in a medi-capsule to prevent further degeneration.

MAN: Yes, I was afraid of that... now all I have to do is find one.

[He walks over to Avon who shows no reaction at all. Suddenly irritated, the man kicks his chair, which causes Avon to startle and finally look up at him.]

MAN: Snap out of it Avon! I expected more of you than this. What the hell happened down there?!

AVON: It was all a trap... he betrayed me... I betrayed him... it was not... [calming suddenly]... It was not the way I planned.

MAN: Planned what? Betrayed who Avon?

AVON: It was not supposed to happen that way.

MAN: Well, perhaps we'll discuss it later. Avon, I need a medi-capsule. You have to help me or Soolin will die.

AVON: Soolin is alive?

MAN: Don't flake out on me now Avon! Concentrate, please! You helped me bring Soolin and Vila to the medi-bay... don't you remember?

AVON: I remember. Vila, is he dead?

MAN: No, not exactly, he's unconscious.

AVON: [dryly] Probably fainted when he thought he'd been shot.

MAN: Actually, that could be close to what happened. He has a minor wound, as though the shot went wide and just grazed his skin after burning through his clothing. Maybe the shock made him overbalance and he knocked himself out when he hit the floor. He does have rather a large lump on his head! I'll give him a sedative, he'll be in less pain after he's slept for a while. [He applies a white disc to Vila's forehead] Soolin wasn't so lucky and there's not much we can do for her, except to keep her stable till we can get help.

AVON: This IS the Liberator, isn't it? I never thought to see this ship again... outside of my nightmares. [he shudders]... Storage bay across the corridor. The capsules are part of the fixtures.

[The young man exits hurriedly. Scene cuts back to GP. There is a body on the floor, the boots can just be seen. The camera pans upwards to show a medi-capsule lying on a desk. It then pans round to reveal that the body in it is now that of Federation Officer Arlen. A Federation guard enters the room with a man in silver and white clothing who appears to be a medic. They cross to the capsule and begin to open it. Scene cuts back to the Liberator. Soolin is now installed in a medi-capsule and the young man seals the lid. He then exits the room and crosses the corridor to the medi-bay.]

MAN: She'll be fine if we can get her to a treatment centre within the next few days. That gives us just enough time to go back to the planet and fetch the others.

AVON: Others? [slowly] Orac... I left Orac there.

MAN: Your computer is down there? I assumed it was on board Scorpio.

AVON: Scorpio is down there too.

MAN: Why didn't you use the teleporter? Why choose to land on GP?

AVON: Crash-land. We had no choice. [He looks up thoughtfully] Tarrant, he didn't teleport here. Where is Tarrant?

MAN: He must be still in the base. Don't worry, if he's alive we'll find him when we've collected Mags and the others.

AVON: Who are you? You seem to know a lot about us. Perhaps more than is healthy for you.

MAN: Threats? Well, at least your mental state is improving, for a while I was worried you were going to flip out on me.

AVON: Your concern has been noted... as has the fact that you didn't answer my question.

MAN: I have a question for you first. [he hesitates before continuing] When you arrived in the teleport bay you reacted badly to my presence, as though you mistook me for somebody... I'd like to know who.

[Avon's face turns pale and his expression becomes glazed as he remembers the recent events.]

AVON: I watched him die. I always thought our deaths would be linked in some way. Ironic really, I saved his life so many times and then in the end... [his voice falters and he pauses to steady himself] The guards had surrounded me, there was nowhere left to run to. I had to finish it HE would have understood that.

All I had to do was fire and it would be over, the fleeing, the fighting, the constant battle to survive, all of it. Perhaps I was even expecting those things to flash before my eyes. Then I felt the shift of the teleport beam. I saw a dead ship full of bodies... and I saw Blake walk in.

MAN: You thought I was Roj. That must have been a shock considering you'd just seen him die. No wonder you blacked out! Actually, you were half right... in answer to your earlier question, my name is Nial Blake. I am the son of Roj Blake.

AVON: He never had a son. [dangerously] Try again.

NIAL: Not the Blake you knew, not exactly. It's a bit complicated. It can wait but my friends may not be in a similar position. I know you don't trust me Avon but I need your help and like it or not, you need mine.

AVON: I'm listening.

NIAL: You said Scorpio crashed, so without the Liberator you have no way of returning for Orac.

AVON: ... and you own the Liberator?

NIAL: No but neither do you. I was sent by Roj Blake to fetch this ship. It was supposed to be our way off Gauda Prime and a new start for us.


NIAL: Blake, myself, the rest of our group... and the crew of the Scorpio. [His tone softens] He was waiting for you Avon.

[Avon's face whitens immediately as the words trigger his memory.]

BLAKE: [V.O] Avon, I was waiting for you.

[He puts his head in his hands and begins to whisper brokenly.]

AVON: You lied, you never trusted me. Why didn't you send for us?

NIAL: Avon! What's wrong?!

[He tries to touch Avon's shoulder but Avon staggers back from him with a hunted expression and then runs from the room. Nial lets him go with a worried frown.

Cut back to GP, console room. The medic is clearing away his instruments. He hands a small, black disc to the guard.]

MEDIC: This should bring her round immediately but wait till I'm out of sight first, eh? Arlen and I are not on good terms after what happened last festival week. Too much booze makes strange bedfellows, get my drift?!

GUARD: You'll have to tell me that tale some time mate! I'll buy you a beer when we get back to barracks, ok?

MEDIC: Oh I'll make sure you do mate! See you on the ship.

[He leaves and the guard removes a white disc from Arlen's forehead to replace it with the black one. Almost instantly, she begins to revive.]

GUARD: Easy friend. You've been through a rough ride.

ARLEN: Raff?

GUARD: Yup, it's me pal. You were lucky.

ARLEN: What happened?

RAFF: I saw that rat Artiger leaving here. Knew he'd been up to no good by the ugly grin on his bootlicking face.

ARLEN: He's working for Sleer.

RAFF: Aint we all?

ARLEN: Not anymore.

RAFF: You wanna fill me in? Seems like you been keeping a lot to yourself lately pal and it aint like you.

ARLEN: [weakly] Later Raff.

RAFF: If it weren't for me, you'd have no later'.

ARLEN: [she smiles] I know. Thanks, I won't forget it. Arlen pays her debts.

RAFF: Don't I know it?! About the rebel...

[Arlen looks at the capsule she is lying in with sudden recognition.]

ARLEN: Tarrant! Is he...

RAFF: Fraid so. Couldn't leave you to bleed to death now could I? After all we've been through. Well, you get to a stage where you have to make friendship a priority. Even after what you said earlier.

ARLEN: ... "if he dies, so do you."

RAFF: You were just talkin' big in front of the Troopers again, weren't you kid?

ARLEN: Forget it. My priorities have been... [she pats the padded bandage strapped across her chest]... redirected.

RAFF: I'm sure glad about that! [Looking down at Tarrants body] No offense mate, rest in peace eh? You wouldn't have enjoyed a trial and public execution anyhow, they're over-rated. Consider yourself lucky. You got off lightly.

[Camera lingers on Tarrant for a couple of seconds and then scene switches to Avon on the Liberator flight deck. His face is pale and drawn as he stares at the crew seats as though trying to find ghosts in them.]

AVON: [softly to himself] Destroyed.

NIAL: [entering the room] It was. I'll explain everything later, don't worry about it. I've moved Blake and Dayna to one of the storage rooms. Not suitable accommodation, I know but it'll have to do for now. I need you in the teleport section. Come on, we have work to do.

[He exits. Still seeming confused, Avon follows automatically. Cut to the teleport section. Voices can be heard indistinctly. Nial walks in with Avon a step behind.]

NIAL: ... and you're sure that's where you left Orac?

AVON: I would hardly forget where I left something so valuable.

NIAL: I guess not.

AVON: Reluctant to leave? Don't you trust me?

NIAL: [grinning wickedly] I guess not.

AVON: [returning the grin] Very wise. At least we understand each other. You can rest assured, I will not leave without Orac... on that, you have my word.

NIAL: That will have to do, for now. I will not leave without my friends and I need you to operate the teleport... until I have Orac.

[Avon raises his eyebrows at the subtle threat and gestures towards the teleport area. Whilst Nial is gathering a handful of bracelets, he sets the coordinates and begins to press the buttons. Nial enters the teleporter and Avon throws the switches. Cut to surface of GP, somewhere at the rear of the Fed base. Nial materializes and darts undercover. All is quiet. He peers out at the building then raises his communicator.]

NIAL: All clear. I think I can get in without problems. I'll be in touch when I need you.

[He advances cautiously towards the building and listens outside the door for a few seconds before gently opening it. Nothing happens and he steps inside. The corridor is empty. He hurries along it and down a short flight of stairs into another corridor. Then pauses to listen at a second door before entering. The room appears to be a seldom used, storage area. It is dusty and untidy. Nial walks quickly to a tall, metallic cupboard and opens it. It is empty. He raps sharply on the back of it in a pre-arranged pattern and after a brief pause, it slides open to reveal a thin man standing at the top of a narrow flight of stairs. Nial is hustled inside and the door to the secret room slides shut behind him. The scene changes to show the interior of an underground bunker. The people in it look up as Nial reaches the foot of the stairs.]

YOUNG WOMAN: Nial, you're here at last! What's going on up there?

SHORT, STOCKY MAN: We've had no word from Blake since yesterday.

WOMAN: The Troopers have arrived haven't they? We heard shots.

NIAL: Yes but there's something else...

RED HAIRED MAN: I told you we should've made our move! If anything's gone wrong Blake'll be furious. He's spent ages building up this group and half of you couldn't fight your way out of a sack!

MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN: Steady on Lyam. Give Nial a chance to talk and we might finally find out what's happening. Nial?

NIAL: I'm sorry everyone. I'm not sure yet what did happen but Blake is... he's... dead.

WOMAN: Are you sure? Did you actually see him?

[Nial nods but can't bring himself to speak.]

TALL MAN: [softly] Keep calm everyone, we may not have much time. Nial, [he turns] what about Deva?

NIAL: I don't know but... I'm not hopeful. The base is crawling with Fed Troopers. I came to take you out but I have only four spare teleport bracelets. I wasn't sure how many of you had survived, if any.

WOMAN: We were lucky, most of our group went back to the other base. Roj warned us to stay out of sight for a while. [Quietly] Perhaps he suspected something.

It would be so like him to keep it to himself... [loud thuds are heard above the room and she raises her voice slightly] We'd better decide which of us will leave first or we may not get out at all. Nial, they are your responsibility now, choose quickly.

[Nial turns a sickly colour but nods and tries not to sound nervous.]

NIAL: Tam, Phasia, Oren and you Mags. No, don't argue, you are worth too much to this group to risk leaving behind.

[He distributes the bracelets and they begin to put them on whilst Nial turns to the others]

NIAL: I'll be back as soon as I can, don't worry. [into comm] Avon, five to come up... [the thuds grow louder]... and hurry, time is getting short!

[They de-materialize as a crashing sound is heard and the remaining rebels turn towards the stairs in panic. Cut to the Liberator. Avon is at the controls and a bemused looking Vila is in the doorway of the teleport bay. The rebels materialize and Nial immediately shoos them out of the way as he grabs another two bracelets.]

AVON: Where is Orac?

NIAL: It'll have to wait. I don't have time to explain, just put me back down on the coordinates I came in on. Hurry!

[Avon scowls but does as he is bid. Nial returns to the bunker just in time to witness the slaughter of the rebels by a troop of Federation guards. His sudden appearance causes a lull in the firing and he takes the chance to drop behind an overturned table. The guards advance as he frantically presses his communicator button.]

NIAL: Avon! Teleport now!

[The guards begin to fire at the table and the sweat shines on his face as Nial stares at his murdered friends. Suddenly he is outlined in white and teleported back to the ship. He shudders with relief and then looks up to see Avon glaring at him.]

AVON: We had a deal. I dislike people who try to cheat me.

VILA: [To himself, whilst clutching his head in pain] I died and went to Hell, didn't I?

NIAL: I never said I would fetch Orac first. People are my priority, whether you like it or not.

VILA: It's not how I thought it'd be. It's full of outlaws and it looks like the Liberator.

AVON: More rebels without a care. Am I supposed to be grateful for another chance to join the fight?

VILA: I knew HE'D be here. After all I've done, can't I rest in peace?!

NIAL: I'm not asking you to fight... though Blake would have. All I want now is to salvage what's left of his work. Then we can all make our own decisions.

VILA: [Groaning in agony] I've decided, I'm giving up booze. The hangovers are a lot worse down here.

AVON: Decisions?! HE manipulated everything with his usual efficiency. [Growing quieter] I thought I had decided to locate him. I was a fool. He was waiting for me... he knew I would come in the end. His arrogance cost us both. Now I'll never be free of him.

VILA: [Suddenly perking up] Did someone mention Blake? Is he here too?

AVON: [Swiftly] Be quiet Vila! You're neither dead nor hungover, though I'm sure you'll manage to achieve one of those conditions before long. If you'd rather it wasn't the former, I advise you to keep out of my way.

[He barges past and leaves the teleport bay, to the obvious consternation of Nial. Scene cuts back to GP, a small office room. Arlen is sitting on the edge of a desk and Raff is lounging in a chair.]

ARLEN: ... and that was all routine work.

RAFF: So get to the juicy stuff! What made Sleer choose you anyway?

ARLEN: She found out about my parents.


ARLEN: She contacted me personally and offered to intervene. I told her the charges were all false. They had to be. There was never any proof. They would never harbour fugitives, everyone knew that. She said she could get a stay of execution... if I helped her.

RAFF: Why not officially? She could get the jurisdiction surely?

ARLEN: Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. She wanted those rebels pretty badly. I think it was personal.

RAFF: What made her so sure they'd be here?

ARLEN: I didn't ask. She had a false identity set up for me in the central computer. All I had to do was wait for the signal and begin the charade.

RAFF: Seems her info was reliable anyhow. I'd kill to know the source!

ARLEN: [Thoughtfully] So would I.

RAFF: So Artiger was one of hers? I never did like that scumbag.

ARLEN: Sent to liaise' with us. I was ordered not to reveal he was anything but an ordinary Trooper.

RAFF: There's some orders that need obeying and then there's others...

ARLEN: I am a Federation Officer Raff. All orders have to be obeyed.

RAFF: Oh, yeah, look pal, I just meant well, I'm on your side. You know that. You don't have to play by the book with me. Anyway, you told me you were working for the Pacification Police.

ARLEN: I know. I wasn't ordered not to do that. [she grins] I think it was implied though. I didn't want you to come crashing in and blow my cover.

RAFF: So you told us you were on a separate mission and we were running a routine inspection trip for Sleer.

ARLEN: I was supposed to tell you I was on leave. The inspection would have been routine on behalf of the Terran Federation, they didn't know about the rebel base.

RAFF: [ In a thoughtful tone] So, no one excepting yourself should've know Sleer was involved... You reported to her immediately after the incident, yeah?

ARLEN: As soon as we had Tarrant safely sealed up.

RAFF: That wouldn't have taken long. No, what I'm thinking mate, is that Artiger couldn't have managed to liaise' with his boss first, could he?

ARLEN: I doubt it.

RAFF: [Quietly] So... when did he get his order to shoot you then?

[Comprehension sinks in and Arlen's expression becomes murderous. Cut back to the Liberator, teleport bay. Nial is becoming exasperated with Vila. The rebels are nowhere to be seen.]

NIAL: I know it's been a traumatic day for you Vila but you've got to start pulling yourself together!

VILA: If I could just have a drink it might...

NIAL: No! I need you to stay sober, for now. [he relents] Later, I promise... but just for the moment, I have to ask you to humour me. I know it sounds crazy but I have to go back to the base. I have to at least look for Deva and Tarrant. I have to know that I did all I could do... all that Blake would ask me to do.

[At the mention of Blake, Vila seems to become more alert.]

VILA: Yes. You can count on me. I didn't kill him.

NIAL: [puzzled] No, of course not. Anyway, you understand what to do, don't you? I'll hunt for the others and once I know whether they're alive or not, I'll fetch Orac and then we can make some plans. [hesitantly] You will stay by the teleport won't you?

VILA: You can count on me.

NIAL: You already said that.

VILA: Did I? Well it must be true then.

NIAL: I hope so. [He walks into the teleport area] I've set the coordinates, put me down Vila.

[He dematerializes and Vila sits back away from the controls with a self-satisfied expression on his face. Cut to flight deck where the rebels are loitering restlessly.]

PHASIA: I wish we knew what Blake had planned. How will we continue without him? What do we have left now?

OREN: We still have an ideal and the same intent that we always had. Blake was only one man. The weight of our hopes rests on far more than one man's shoulders. I will miss him but I'll look back with admiration and forward with a resolve to prove his faith in us.

TAM: Well said my friend. I'll miss him too. It's okay to be scared Phasia but we need to stay calm and give our support to Nial now. He needs us more than Blake ever did.

PHASIA: Mags, you were close to him. Did Blake ever talk about what we should do if... if he... well, if Nial ever had to take over?

MAGS: [smiling] Not in those exact words but I think he always wanted Nial to become our champion. He was certainly coaching him for something more than the tasks he was usually allotted. Roj kept things pretty much to himself, even with me. [Her eyes twinkle as she smiles fondly at a memory before continuing] All we can do is wait. Maybe Deva managed to escape the shooting. He may know more.

OREN: In the meantime, we should spare a while to say our farewells to Lyam and Kitlein. Not the first of our friends to die for their dreams but still no less important than any other life that has been sacrificed to this cause. The day that we expend such lives without a thought is the day that we cease to be human. I pray never to see that day come.

[They bow their heads in silent agreement and each is soon lost in their own thoughts. The scene shifts to an empty storage room. Avon is standing in the doorway. He seems agitated. Swiftly he crosses to a control panel on the wall.]

AVON: Zen?

ZEN: [via the comm on the panel] Please state your requirements.

AVON: Do you know who I am?

ZEN: Voice pattern indicates that you are Kerr Avon. What is your command?

AVON: No. It's not possible. The ship could rebuild, it's the only logical explanation but the memory store... It has to be a fake.

ZEN: Sentence does not compute. Do you require confirmation of your identity?

AVON: [coldly] I know who I am. What I don't know is who he is... yet.

ZEN: Statement must be clarified before information can be given.

AVON: He knows too much and it is obvious he wishes to reveal as little as possible. I think I shall have to play this one very cagily.

ZEN: Information. An alarm signal has been intercepted, origin confirmed as Federation base, Gauda Prime. Hostile ships now on route. Caution is advised.

AVON: [smiling darkly] Thankyou Zen, that sounds like practical advice. Perhaps I'll take it.

[He exits. View of flight deck, rebels are listening to Zen with startled expressions.]

ZEN: ... on route. Caution is advised.

PHASIA: Nial! Do you think they've caught him? What if he's...

MAGS: [interrupting speedily] It may be nothing to do with him. There has just been a lot of confusion down there. Maybe they're finally calling for back up.

OREN: What are we supposed to do now? More waiting? I've spent most of my life waiting! First, to grow up then to be free, now I wait to throw my life away in the cause of that freedom I'll probably never achieve and wishing I'd never grown up!

[Tam sighs in sympathy and claps him on the shoulder.]

TAM: We all wait for something my friend. Me, I look forward to a time when I can stop running and perhaps have a chance to savour some of the riches of life before I die.

PHASIA: [wistfully] I always wanted a home and a family of my own to care for.

MAGS: I didn't realize you felt that way Phasia. You've never spoken of anything but war until now. Maybe that's part of our problem. We're not just fighting the Federation. We are trying so hard to keep ourselves focussed on the battle that we're fighting our own humanity.

TAM: Always promising ourselves that Tomorrow' we will have time to care.

OREN: Does tomorrow ever come?

MAGS: It will do for somebody if not for us. WE must continue to fight for it. Now, does anyone know how to operate a ship like this one?

AVON: There are no ships like this one. It is unique and it is mine.

[He has entered unnoticed and the rebels startle at his voice.]

OREN: You are Avon, yes?

AVON: I don't believe we've been introduced.

OREN: I'm Oren. This is Tam, Phasia and Mags. [He indicates each in turn] We saw you when we came aboard. Nial told us you were one of Blake's friends, from his early days as an outlaw.

AVON: [appearing disturbed] Blake's friend? I never really thought of him in that context.

[The rebels look at each other nervously]

PHASIA: You said this was YOUR ship? I thought Nial was fetching it for Blake. He said it had been "resting in peace" for a long time.

AVON: Rusting in pieces would be a more precise description. Fetching it for Blake?... [suspiciously] He thought he could control the Liberator once more... or perhaps he thought to use it as bait.

[His expression is deadly and an uncomfortable silence descends. It is broken by a bleep from Zen.]

ZEN: Hostile ships now registering on short-range scanners. Instruction is required.

AVON: Take evasive action and then plot me the safest course out of this system.

TAM: Wait! Avon, Nial is still down there. He got all of us out safely, can we do any less for him?

AVON: Nial? Nial Blake. [He appears to be contemplating something.] There are... things to settle... and he has Orac. Zen, plot a standby course out of here but remain in orbit and keep out of detector range of all traffic to and from the planet.

PHASIA: Thank you.

[Avon ignores her and leaves the room with a purposeful stride.]

MAGS: I think we should all be very cautious on board this ship. Whatever happened down there, it seems to have had an extreme effect on Avon and Vila. I have a nasty feeling that Nial may be heading for a lot of trouble.

PHASIA: If he isn't already in it.

[Cut to the exterior of the GP base. Alarm bells are ringing and people are wandering about. Everyone seems to be pushing and shouting and trying to shift the blame. A detachment of Troopers shove their way through with a line of prisoners. As they reach their squad ship, one of the prisoners tries to make a run for it. He is caught and knocked unconscious by a guard before being dragged aboard the vessel.

The crowd disperses rapidly as the ship fires up its engine. Cut to interior of base, a small office room. Arlen is alone at the desk listening in on a transmission.]

COMM: Rebel prisoners loaded and launch sequence initiated.

[A few seconds pass in silence. Then the voice continues.]

COMM: Launch complete. Destination programmed. Arrival time, speed Time Distort six, nine hundred hours. Report on routine inspection code TA4GP40. Assigned squad Alpha four. Officer in charge, Rafford Brubaker, Major second level.

[Arlen smiles at the name of her friend as the voice pauses again.]

COMM: Report begins... Squadship made planetfall within projected ETA. No suspicious activity observed on surface. Troop proceeded to HQ. On arrival, reports were received of category one political criminals within the facility. Attempts were made to contain the rebel faction. These resulted in heavy losses to both sides and the apprehension of four wanted revolutionaries. Details as follows; one- Wolston Bex, prisoner code TA4P145. Two- Bla... [The transmission suddenly cuts off]

[Arlen leaps to her feet and punches the comm buttons violently but there is now only a static buzz. She steps back in agitation and paces up and down the room before hitting the comm again in desperation. Suddenly it crackles into life once more.]

COMM: Squad carrier LX9 has been destroyed! Repeat, LX9 destroyed by unidentified hostiles. All Federation pursuit ships within range are to re-route immediately to planet Gauda Prime. Repeat... all available ships are to re-route to Gauda Prime. This is a code one emergency. Hostile agency must be captured or eliminated.

[Arlen shakes her head in shock.]

ARLEN: Raff. Why? Was that part of your plan commissioner? Did we all have to die? No more... I will do no more killing on your behalf. I am through being used. Only Arlen counts now and I'm going to make sure you learn that Sleer. You and all the other scum who've crossed me.

[Her face twists into a grimace of pain and anger as she clenches her fist and whispers grimly.]

ARLEN: Arlen pays her debts.

[End credits.]

I loved what you did with Arlen. I liked her in Blake (she has presence and an interesting face), and I was so disappointed that she turned out to be a Fed. I'm glad we'll see more of her in your series, and that she has a background to give her both motivation and sympathy. I also really liked the scenes with the rebels from Blake's base. Will they be members of the new crew? That makes 9--rather a large one. I assume Tarrant *is* dead?
I'm looking forward to more.
I liked Arlen as a character because she kept referring to herself in the third person and it suggested to me that she had a peculiar psyche which might be worth playing about with! Watch out for more from her as she tries to track down Sleer.

Some of the new rebels will be joining the crew, some will remain floating characters to be mentioned/re-introduced as needed.

Yes Tarrant is dead. I never liked or trusted him and I doubt he had the good fortune necessary to survive a spaceship crash AND an attempt to shoot him.

Lastly, thanks a lot for your swift feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed the episode!
The scenes with that name a nod toward Neil Blissett  BTW...and Avon were very good. Avon's confusion over his unexpected survival is still there, but his reaction to it is far less wild than it was when he first met Kyben in Blake's Legacy, and therefore more in character. Martin argues that Avon's behaviour at the start of B/L is typical of season four Avon, whereas his behaviour at the start of B/P might be more typical in previous seasons, all of which is sustainable, but I don't agree with it.
Yes the name Nial was a kind of tribute to Neil Blissett because it's all his fault... er, I mean, it was Neil who inspired me to try and write my own sequel. My personal opinion on Avon's state of mind at the start of this series is as follows; During series 3 and 4 he was being pushed gradually towards the edge of his sanity and was becoming a little unhinged, more than a little at times. I feel that killing Blake would have taken him over the edge and in that situation people seem to go in one of two basic directions, either they descend into total insanity or they go into a sort of  'systems shutdown' and close themselves off from their actions. I think that Avon would choose the latter and then would revert to type by becoming even more insular than he was at the start of series 1.
I also like the way you've set up Arlen to play a big role in the future.
As I told Nico, I liked Arlen as a character. Plus I wanted to use her to set up a few incidents. She'll be making a couple of 'guest' appearances before I've finished with her.
However, for every good thing, there's a bad thing...
I can't stand some of these new characters you've introduced. Oren's dialogue is so cheesy! I've read better junk mail! Tam's not a whole lot better, and Phasia seems so whimsical. Mags was doing okay until that moribund rallying call of WE must continue to fight for it. I know it's probably deliberate, I mean they're freedom fighters, they're gonna talk heroic bollox every so often, but please don't lay it on so thick! Or at least give it a little more style or imagination. Some of the lines in that "Where-do-we-go-from-here?" scene on the flight deck were right out of George Lucas' worst script work. It's just not Blake's 7! It all seemed contrived and mistimed anyway, especially as they dropped into all these deep-and-meaningfuls just after they'd heard that enemy ships were heading their way.
Actually I'm glad you think the freedom fighters are cheesy because they're supposed to be. Mean as it sounds, they are there to be sneered at. I like to laugh derisively at them and shout 'Get real' as they stride around proclaiming about peace/love/harmony etc. On a more practical note... B7 was all about the fight for freedom and it was always full of self-righteous speech-makers putting across their own opinions on why life under the Federation was so unjust. I agree that Phasia is whimsical but again, she is supposed to be. She has a lot of growing up to do and some very hard lessons to learn. If everyone was tough/cynical/sarcastic etc etc there would be no one to pick on would there? Ever heard the expression "Only the good die young"?
The other problem was the opening sequence. I understand from chat-room discussions with Martin that he thought you spent too much of the story going over old ground, repeating scenes from Blake. He's banged the tack right on the hat. There's no harm in giving glimpses of what happened before but you've taken up about a quarter of this episode with a 'story so far' thing. It's way too much! I found myself just skimming through in a mad hurry, looking for something new to read. Worse, the more old material there is, the more scant the new material becomes, leaving a feeling that we've only got half an episode.
I accept your point and I even partially agree with it however...

My view on the return of B7 is that (in real-time) G.P happened a long time ago and any series that was written now would have to appeal to new fans and not just those of us who remember it so fondly from the first time round. I think that to do this there has to be a sort of recap of  Blake. True, I didn't want it to be such an extensive recap but trying to leave more of it out spoilt the continuity. A better approach might have been to kick off with a feature length episode but that was never done in the originals so I opted not to do it.

I'm pleased that you weren't skimming the NEW material in order to read the OLD, then I would have been hurt!
Over the piece, it's not a bad start, but it's a bit like season three of Blake's 7. When it's good, it's as good as it ever gets. But when it's not good, it's not good at all.
There's promise though, so I'm looking forward to the next one.
Thank you. It's nice to know that you're prepared to read onwards!
I don't consider episode 1 as one of my favourites so perhaps you'll enjoy some of the others a bit more (or less!).
Jane's replies are in blue italics.