[Opens with a view of the Liberator in orbit above Gauda
Prime. Cut to Flight deck. Two women and a man are seated in the pit area. Another man is standing nearby. They are all listening
intently to a Federation transmission being relayed by Zen.]
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. 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.]
PHASIA: What happened?!
ZEN: Transmission has been terminated.
TAM: What caused it Zen?
ZEN: No information.
PHASIA: You heard it! They were going to say Blake. They've caught him! We have to do something.
ZEN: Information. A further transmission is being received. Readings indicate it is not from the original source.
MAGS: Can we hear it please Zen?
ZEN: Message being relayed to audio channel.
VOICE: 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. Repeat...squadcarrier LX9 has been
TAM: Enough Zen! Thankyou.
[Phasia has turned ghostly pale and the others don't look much
OREN: He may not have been on it. We never heard them say it, not for certain.
TAM: Oren's right. We can't assume anything at the moment. I think we ought to find Avon. He's the only one who knows exactly
where Nial was heading. If we have to start searching, we're going to need his help.
to Phasia] Concentrate on your dreams, don't dwell on the nightmares.
[Phasia nods and tries to appear calm as they all leave the
room. Cut to teleport bay. Avon and Vila are arguing loudly.]
AVON: ...and I say you are a fool! You understand nothing that doesn't come in a bottle.
VILA: I know what I heard AND what I saw.
Do you? You'd better be very careful about what you think you saw or heard. Thieves can die as easily as crusaders.
VILA: You murdering...
[The teleport chimes and they both stop to listen.]
Vila, can you hear me? I'm ready to teleport.
[Vila and Avon continue to try and stare each other out for
several seconds, then Avon drops his eyes and gestures towards the control desk. Vila moves across to the panel.]
louder] Vila! Hurry. I've got Orac. I need to come up now.
[Vila throws the switch and watches Nial materialize. He is
carrying an unmistakable 'box of flashing lights'.]
NIAL: I was going to surprise you but I couldn't make this thing work.
ORAC: It is beyond the bounds of reasonable behaviour to request teleport transfer to a ship which is no longer in existence.
to himself] I should have known I couldn't get away from him either.
NIAL: I tried to explain about the Liberator but he just kept interrupting.
AVON: Nial Blake, meet Orac. It is the most powerful computer in the known worlds and possibly the most infuriating.
ORAC: Nial Blake? You are related to the one known as Roj Blake? Why did you not state this originally? [He makes a whirring
noise] There, I have analysed the structure. Your voice patterns have genetic similarities. The information is acceptable.
If you wish to converse with me further, I must insist that you include all data relevant to your statements. It is detrimental
to my circuits to waste time investigating facts which are already known.
Avon] I believe you mean 'probably' not 'possibly'.
[Suddenly the group of rebels enter the area. Phasia rushes
across and flings her arms round Nial with a delighted expression.]
PHASIA: Nial! You're safe!
away, embarrassed] Well, yes. Things were a bit hectic down there but I had no real problems.
MAGS: You didn't hear the transmissions? Avon? Vila?
We were having too much fun talking over old times.
[Avon delivers him a warning glare and he shuts up.]
MAGS: The Feds took a group of prisoners on board a squad carrier. We only heard one name and part of another...
PHASIA: ...which sounded like Blake...
MAGS: ...and the next thing we knew, it was blown apart.
at Phasia] You thought I was on the ship?
[She nods and bites her bottom lip as her face colours.]
NIAL: I'm sorry. I had no idea you'd been so worried. I only went into the outer section of the building. That's where I
saw Deva's body, tagged and waiting to be shipped. It wasn't much of a shock to find him like that. I never really expected
that he would have survived, not when Blake didn't. [He pauses then turns to Avon and Vila.] I also found Tarrant...in
the same place. His body was in pretty bad shape, it looked like he'd been beaten or tortured.
VILA: Or dragged through a plane backwards.
NIAL: Is that supposed to be a joke?
AVON: Of sorts. Tarrant crash-landed with the Scorpio. He was already badly wounded before he was shot.
NIAL: I see, yes, that would fit in with his appearance. Anyway, after I'd made sure there wasn't anyone left to rescue,
I went outside to collect Orac and then came back. No one challenged me and I was never in any danger.
OREN: Some of our people were though. The troopers took four prisoners and we don't know who they were...except for Bex
PHASIA: Whom none of us liked.
TAM: That doesn't matter now Fas, he was still one of us and he gave his best.
VILA: So who blew up the ship then?
[They all turn to look at him.]
MAGS: It wasn't you? I wondered...well, this is a very powerful ship and it seems to be invisible to the Federation. I thought
you might have decided to strike a blow against them, for the deaths of your friends.
WE were not on the flight deck.
OREN: We have no knowledge of this vessel! We did nothing.
NIAL: Well somebody did. Perhaps we ought to see if Zen has any more information on the attack. Come on.
[He exits swiftly, followed by his friends. Vila moves as if
to join them but Avon intercepts him.]
AVON: Still eager to be led?
VILA: What else is there to do around here?
AVON: It doesn't bother you that the man appears out of nowhere with the Liberator and claims to be the son of Blake?
VILA: It wouldn't bother me if he claimed to be the Son of God! I'd prefer anyone to another day with you as leader.
[Avon smiles coldly and gestures that he is free to leave. He
AVON: You won after all Blake. Even dead they would rather follow you. Ironic, isn't it? The Liberator is mine now. All I
have to do is take control, free from your influence and the mindless fools who hold me back. [He grins but his eyes look
haunted as he whispers] Redemption.
[Switch to view of Liberator moving away from Gauda Prime. Nial
is watching on the main screen as it quickly recedes.]
MAGS: I feel a lot safer now we're on the move.
TAM: I'd feel safer if we knew who blew up that ship.
NIAL: So would I. Zen, did you pick up anything that would explain what happened to that ship?
ZEN: Cause of explosion was external. Instruments registered a concentrated beam of energy prior to the destruction of squadcarrier
ZEN: Unable to compute.
TAM: Why not? It must have originated somewhere. If you could track the beam to it's conclusion, why not back to the source?
Unable to compute.
NIAL: Unable or unwilling?
[Zen remains silent and Nial scowls in annoyance.]
NIAL: Blake did warn me about this. He said Zen seemed to find it necessary to withhold information from time to time. Something
to do with the initial programming he supposed.
PHASIA: This wasn't always Blake's ship then?
NIAL: No. It was built by an alien race. Blake and the others gained control of it by accident. He talked to me in detail
about the first time he saw the ship and told me what to expect when I came aboard.
OREN: I had heard many stories about this wondrous ship yet I still found the reality to far surpass my expectations.
So did I.
TAM: A computer with a mind of it's own which was designed by aliens may not be the most reliable of allies Nial. Are you
sure we can trust Zen?
NIAL: Blake seemed to think so. That's good enough for me.
Even Roj sometimes made mistakes. Learn to have faith in your own judgement Nial. Don't be so quick to rely on that of others.
[He appears stung by her words and turns his back on the group
to stride across to Zen.]
NIAL: How long till we reach our destination Zen?
ZEN: Estimated arrival time, spacestation FX12, twenty one hundred hours.
PHASIA: I thought we were headed for the other base, to pick up everyone else.
NIAL: Sorry, I should've explained earlier. Soolin is in a critical state. She needs surgery as soon as possible or she'll
die. Our first priority is to get her to an expert. The nearest one is on that spacestation.
MAGS: Isn't that a Federation facility?
NIAL: Yes but it's the only suitable place we can reach within the time limit.
TAM: How long has she got?
NIAL: I don't know...a couple of days, maybe less.
OREN: She deserves a chance. I say we have to try. Even the saving of one life is always a worthwhile cause.
VILA: Not if it risks mine!
[He has remained silent till now and the others turn to stare
at him in astonishment.]
MAGS: She was one of your crew Vila, surely you don't want her to die?
VILA: No. I always liked Soolin, I mean I do like Soolin...look, what I mean is, I only just got out of one Federation base
alive and now you want me to go to another. It's crazy! You'll kill us all. You're as mad as Avon.
Oh you haven't seen me mad yet. I assure you, it's not pleasant. If it weren't for me you'd be dead already. You owe me, don't
you ever forget that.
[Everyone looks at him in shock and he turns on his heel and
strides from the room. There is a moment of stunned silence. Finally Phasia speaks.]
PHASIA: I never thought Nial could be like that.
MAGS: Stress. We all behave a little oddly when we feel the weight of the universe pressing down on us. Give him time to
adjust. He'll be fine, I'm sure.
OREN: Perhaps you don't know him as well as you thought Phasia. Still, whom do we ever truly know as well as we think we
[They look nervously at each other and then at Vila who is still
staring in the direction that Nial took. Cut to a storage room. Nial is gazing down at Soolin, unconscious in a medi-capsule
attached to one of the walls.]
NIAL: I'm too young for this responsibility. I should be still on Jevron, growing and learning to be what I am. Not here,
living it! [He begins to pace.] Am I wrong? Should I put one life above so many others? Blake, what would you do if
you were here?
the doorway] Exactly what you are doing.
NIAL: Avon! I didn't realise you were there. You might as well come in, I could use the company. You really think that Blake
would have made the same choice? To try to save Soolin, even at the risk of losing everyone else?
AVON: Blake was always fond of suicide missions.
NIAL: I'd prefer to think of it as a mercy mission.
AVON: As you wish. The terminology doesn't really interest me, my concern is your use of this ship. The Liberator is too
important to risk losing to the Federation.
I accept your point, so what do you suggest? No doubt you have something worked out.
AVON: I would hate to disappoint you.
NIAL: So don't.
Very well. You have a ship, a small planet-hopper, unless I'm mistaken.
NIAL: And I'm sure that rarely happens...yes I do, go on.
AVON: Once we are in range of FX12, Soolin and yourself must transfer to your ship and complete the journey alone. The Liberator
will stand off in deep space until such time as you are free to return...or not.
NIAL: Nice try but how do I know you won't just fly off and leave us?
AVON: You don't. Neither do you have any choice. I will not let you endanger this ship. You do it my way...or she dies here.
NIAL: You can't mean that! She's supposed to be a friend of yours. Don't you care?
AVON: Sentiment is dangerous. Let it get hold of you and you are dead...I will not lose control again.
NIAL: Of this ship, or yourself?
You'd better get prepared, she hasn't much time.
NIAL: All right but this isn't finished Avon. We have things to discuss. I will be back. You can count on it. [Avon turns
to leave] One more thing...how did you know about FX12?
Orac looked it up. [He leaves.]
So you don't care? Only enough to find out the location of the nearest medical facility. You are either a very confused man
Avon, or a terrible liar.
[Inside the planet-hopper, next to a hatch, Soolin is lying
on a trolley with some kind of respirator over her face. Nial is talking with Mags.]
NIAL: So what's my story?
MAGS: The best we could come up with is that she's a civilian who got caught in the crossfire when the rebels were being
taken on GP.
NIAL: What was the worst?! It'll never work, they'll be suspicious immediately.
MAGS: I know but you'll have to convince them somehow...or let her go now.
No one will blame you Nial, the whole thing is just too risky.
You're a known fugitive. She's an infamous outlaw. The wound is recent and was obviously made by a Federation blaster. The
trouble on GP has been widely broadcast. FX12 is a Federation base. It all adds up to a very dangerous situation.
NIAL: Thanks for the reassurance.
Nial, you don't have to do this. Roj wouldn't ask you to.
NIAL: No, he wouldn't ask...he'd assume I'd already accepted.
I know. Good luck.
[She pats him on the shoulder and then steps out through the
hatch. He closes it and fastens the seals. He then pushes Soolin through a doorway into the main body of the ship and closes
that door behind them both with a final-sounding clang.]
[Interior of control room on FX12. Small planet-hopper can be
seen through the main viewing window. It manoeuvres in close and clamps to a docking bay.]
TECHNICIAN: [Into a small microphone] Civilian ship Reverence has been authorised to dock, bay two. Time
of arrival, twenty one thirty eight. [He leans back to speak into an intercom.] Leuwan, get off your lazy backside
and take a couple of men down to docking bay two. There's a civvy requesting medical aid for his sister. I need you to escort
them to Reims. He's offered his services, as usual.
LEUWAN: Is that you Tarney? You scuzzball! I thought you'd been demoted...I was.
TARNEY: I know but your cousin isn't married to the boss. Anyway, look sharp and don't get lost on your way back this time
LEUWAN: Nice to know who your friends are. See you around pal. [Threateningly] I hope.
[Docking bay two. Nial is loitering impatiently next to his
ship as three Federation guards saunter lazily across.]
LEUWAN: Well, come on, we haven't got all day! Do you want to see the Doc or not?
[Nial glowers but holds his tongue and follows the man. The
other guards wander slowly along behind, chatting together whilst Nial struggles to push the trolley on his own. Eventually
they reach a lift and all cram into it to go up several floors. Nial exits the lift with the trolley and Leuwan leans out
of it to point to a set of bright yellow, double doors at the end of the corridor.]
LEUWAN: Straight through there. Reims is waiting for you. [He sneers nastily] Thick as Snarkle-hide you civvies, deserve
all you get. Well, don't say I never warned ya!
NIAL: Warned me about what?
[The lift doors slam shut. Nial sighs in exasperation then shoves
the trolley down the corridor and through the doors. He is met by an ageing man wearing a long red tunic.]
REIMS: Aha, you must be Zoren.
NIAL: Yes and this is my sister, Yuni.
REIMS: Yes, yes, I see. Poor child, we must help her. Bring her through here to my Lab.
NIAL: Don't you mean surgery?
REIMS: What? Oh, yes of course I do, how silly of me.
protectively in front of Soolin] You're not a surgeon are you? What exactly do you intend to do with her?
REIMS: Ah...no, you're right, I'm not a surgeon...sorry. They threw me out. I've had a lot of, um, accidents in the past.
Now I'm only supposed to mix medicines.
NIAL: You're a chemist?!
REIMS: Oh no, I've done all my training. I almost qualified. I should be a surgeon. I could be a surgeon...if certain people
would forgive and forget.
NIAL: Like who?
REIMS: The stationmaster, his sister, her husband, their daughter...
NIAL: Stop! I get the picture. You haven't had much success.
REIMS: Not yet but I keep trying.
NIAL: Not on her you don't.
REIMS: But the poor little thing will probably die if you don't let me operate.
Thankyou for your observations Doctor. Now if you don't mind, we're leaving to seek a second opinion.
[He makes a move to leave but the man bars his way.]
REIMS: No, you don't understand. They only let you in here because I offered to help. I'm the only one who operates on ordinary
people. No one else will give you a second glance, never mind an opinion. Self-centred, inbred, bureaucratic lot they are.
It's not worth their while to waste time on civilians, they only perform to impress the bigwigs. You'd have to be famous to
merit attention from any of them!
[Nial swallows nervously but Reims is busy examining Soolin
and doesn't notice.]
REIMS: It's complicated but I can do it, I'm sure I can. Well, at least I'm prepared to try. Can't say fairer than that my
NIAL: Go ahead then...but I'm warning you. If she dies because of anything you've done, you'll wish you'd stuck to mixing
REIMS: A real challenge at last! I won't let you down Zoren. I promise I'll treat her as though she were my own sister.
NIAL: I hope that's not what you told the stationmaster.
[Looking worried] I did actually. [He laughs] Joke! Relax boy, too much stress is a killer you know. [He
wheels Soolin off towards the Lab, still chuckling.]
[Shot of exterior of FX12. An official flag is flying. It bears
the Federation insignia and the Terran emblem, a stylised blue and green planet encircled by a gold crown. Cut to Laboratory.
The back of Reims head is visible above a dividing screen. Nial is waiting anxiously on the near side next to a table containing
various odd looking instruments.]
REIMS: Pass me the neuroscope would you Zor? That thing with the blue handle...that's the one, thanks. I can call you Zor
REIMS: You don't mind if I call you Zor do you Zoren?
NIAL: Oh, no not at all...I'm just a bit distracted...worried about my sister, you know.
REIMS: [With his back to Nial] Oh yes, understand perfectly. Won't be long now. Talking sometimes helps, keeps me
relaxed, stops me panicking and um...
NIAL: I'll talk then...er, how long have you been on FX12?
REIMS: Almost four years now, give or take a bit of planet leave. It's not too bad but it gets a little claustrophobic, stuck
out here on one of these things.
NIAL: I can imagine.
REIMS: So, what do you do...to earn an honest living I mean?
NIAL: A little of this, a little of that...I'm just an errand boy really.
REIMS: And your sister?
NIAL: Yuni? She works in administration.
REIMS: Poor kid, probably never even seen a gun till she got shot. Typical rebels, never care what trouble they cause. [Sighing]
Always the civvies who get caught in the middle.
That's one way of looking at it.
REIMS: When you've patched up as many innocent civilians as I have, that's the only way of looking at it.
[Nial seems uncomfortable as Reims turns to face him but brightens
as the medic gives him a beaming grin.]
REIMS: There, all done. I'd like to say she's as good as new but, well...
NIAL: You're too modest?
REIMS: No, unfortunately that's not quite accurate enough.
NIAL: What's wrong with her? Is it serious?
REIMS: Depends...she was lucky really, the shot missed all of her internal organs. It could have been a lot worse but then,
maybe it was...Was she right-handed?
to consider] Yes. Is that a problem?
REIMS: Could be...if she was in admin. Her muscles and tendons on her right side were all severed. Actually, most of them
were burnt away. I've reconstructed as best I can but with that and the nerve damage...she might find it difficult to use
her right arm.
[Nial seems about to speak but Reims waves him to silence.]
REIMS: Oh eventually it'll loosen up but her reactions will never be as swift and she may find her job gets too taxing; continuous
computer work, repetitive strain, etc. Good thing she wasn't a Trooper...I treated a guard once with wounds like these. He
got himself killed when he returned to the field because he simply wasn't quick enough on the trigger anymore. [He shakes
his head sadly] They brought him back to me in pieces...what could I do with that? What could anyone have done except
let him die?
[Nial clears his throat loudly to bring Reims back to the present.]
REIMS: Sorry, wrong patient. Anyway, this one's still sedated...which is lucky really, poor girl. [Moving to an intercom.]
You must excuse me, I have a call to make.
NIAL: Then we won't take up any more of your time. Thank you Dr Reims and if I can find a way to repay you I will, I promise.
REIMS: Oh you've already paid me handsomely my boy! The more success I have, the closer I get to becoming a fully qualified
surgeon. It's an unfair world you know. When a pilot makes a mistake, he gets fixed up by someone like myself, dressed down
by his superiors and then given a new plane. When a medic makes a mistake, often someone dies. People find it hard to forgive
that sort of thing. Now, where was I? Oh yes, I must call security and get them to come and collect you.
NIAL: Don't trouble yourself, I can remember the way back to the docking bay.
REIMS: I'm sure you can Nial but it's not as simple as that.
You know who I am.
REIMS: Of course I do, this station has long been a prime target for people such as yourself. We have weekly bulletins on
who's who in the world of political fugitives. Countless strategy meetings, you know the sort of thing...'don't open the door
to strangers', 'always check ID' and 'hand over any wanted criminals posing as civilians who happen to call on you'!
NIAL: So why bother to operate?
REIMS: I'm a surgeon at heart, if not in truth. I couldn't push my principles aside and let Soolin die...not even after all
the harm she's done.
[He places one hand on the intercom and the other, gently, on
REIMS: Silly waste of resources really. They'll probably execute you both.
NIAL: Wait! I could help you...[He moves slowly towards Reims, surreptitiously picking up a heavy medical instrument,
which he holds below the level of the screen dividing him from the others.]...with resources. There must be something
you need, something tied up in bureaucratic red tape. Just name it, whatever you want. Maybe I could get you an extra supply
of restricted drugs, or more funding for your work.
REIMS: You and your friends supply me with enough work. Look Nial, you seem like a nice young man, can't you understand the
damage that people like you do to society? If you're not happy with something, change it don't destroy it!
NIAL: But the Federation is...
quickly] ...as bad as the rebels? Not quite kid! I admit, FX12 is a depraved nest of vermin but most of the Federation
is made up of ordinary folk trying their best to keep law and order. [He turns towards the intercom]
NIAL: That's a rosy view of Federated life you have there Reims. [He swiftly raises the instrument and hits the medic
across the side of his head. Reims drops to the ground unconscious.] Sorry I have to reinforce it. We criminals can be
a vicious lot.
[He walks round the screen to push the trolley out of the Lab
but his attention suddenly falls on Reim's computer. There is a small, square mat on the worksurface next to it.]
NIAL: I wonder...
[He lifts the mat, looks on the reverse and grins.]
[On board the Liberator. Teleport bay. Avon is busy unscrewing
panels and examining wires. The intercom chimes.]
NIAL: Liberator, this is Reverence. We will be in position at the agreed co-ordinates in just under eight minutes. Make sure
you are there to greet us. Out.
[Avon pauses then replaces the panels. He exits, twirling the
screwdriver distractedly in his hand as if pondering something. Cut to flight deck, it is empty. Avon enters.]
AVON: Zen, execute pre-programmed course for rendezvous with the Reverence.
AVON: I've been carrying out some maintenance work in the teleport area. I need to know if the computers have registered
any problems in that sector within the last twenty-four hours.
ZEN: Negative. No faults have been detected since the teleport sector came on-line following initial start up programs.
AVON: Good. I also need a supply of Aquitar. Is there any on board the ship?
ZEN: There is Aquitar only within the teleport bracelets. There are nine such devices on board. They are located at the
Zen but I'll need more than that. [He scowls thoughtfully.]
[Cut to exterior view of Liberator. A small planet-hopper approaches
and docks. Cut to recreation room. Mags, Tam and Vila are chatting amiably. Avon enters with Nial.]
TAM: Welcome back! It all went smoothly then?
NIAL: Not quite but I coped.
Sit down, have a drink, tell us a tale!
NIAL: More of your home brew Mags? Have you forgotten what it did to Trix?!
MAGS: That was the old batch. This is the improved version.
VILA: Everyone should have a hobby, that's what I say...what did happen to Trissh?
NIAL: All her teeth fell out.
MAGS: No, he's joking. It was only her front teeth...and some of her hair.
[Vila turns a sickly green and the rebels laugh heartily. Even
Avon manages a smile.]
TAM: Relax Vila. They're both kidding. It's customary within our group to make fun of Mags and her 'moonshine'. That's
an ancient term for...
VILA: Illegal whisky, I know. I've got qualifications in booze recognition.
MAGS: So have I.
VILA: Finally, my kind of woman! Have you ever considered marriage?
MAGS: Only five times, so far but I'm prepared to make it an even six.
[Vila gulps and Tam changes the subject.]
TAM: [To Nial] How is the young lady? Were they able to help her?
NIAL: Soolin is going to be fine, I hope. We'll have to wait for the sedative to wear off before we can really see how she's
AVON: Your simple and idealistic plan worked then?
NIAL: I think you already know the answer to that. You were right Avon. Is that what you wanted to hear? You knew we'd be
AVON: It was a safe bet.
VILA: What happened, did you have to force them to operate on her?
NIAL: Actually I didn't realise we'd been rumbled until after the surgery was completed. Dr Reims was a very conscientious
man...I hope he's as good at treating head wounds. Anyway, whilst he was napping, I took the liberty of rifling through his
AVON: YOU hacked into a Federation system?
NIAL: He'd made a note of his password on the underside of the mat. [He tuts] When will people learn not to do that?!
MAGS: Did you find out anything useful?
Pour me a shot of that booze and I might tell you.
[Space station FX12, military section. The man on duty is helping
himself to a mug of hot liquid as the comm channel bleeps. He arches his back stiffly as he answers.]
MAN: Defence section. Captain Mavrin.
AUDIO: Captain this is Dr Reims calling a code two alert.
MAVRIN: [Eagerly] Who was it?
AUDIO: Soolin and Nial Blake.
MAVRIN: How long since?
AUDIO: I'm not sure. The ungrateful boy hit me over the head before they left. I've just woken up.
MAVRIN: I'll check the computers. Good work Reims. Out.
[He punches in a code sequence then depresses the comm button
again. View switches to the flight deck of a patrol ship staffed by mutoids.]
AUDIO: This is Captain Mavrin authorising a code two search.
MUTOID: Voiceprint identified. What are your orders Captain Mavrin?
AUDIO: Destroy that ship and its occupants.
MUTOID: Command accepted. Target and bearing confirmation required.
AUDIO: I'm transferring relevant data to your computer now. Docking log indicates they have only a twelve-minute advantage.
Speed was holding at standard by five but expect it to have increased once they were out of range. It's likely they also altered
course at that point so maintain full scan until their trail becomes constant.
MUTOID: Yes Captain. Transfer complete. Are there further instructions Sir?
AUDIO: Get moving!
MUTOID: Yes Sir.
[The ship hurtles away from FX12. Switch to Liberator moving
steadily through space, unaware of the pursuit. Recreation room; only Nial, Vila and Avon remain.]
VILA: No wonder the Federation weren't interested in you and Soolin, not if they were in the middle of a Presidential inspection,
they'd be too busy polishing their boots!
AVON: We have only his word for that.
NIAL: You think I made it all up? [Tiredly] I suppose I'm an undercover agent and I walked in there and asked them
to fix Soolin so I could gain your trust, right?
AVON: Orac confirmed your identity but that does not prove your allegiance. [Pausing] The name of the Presidential
ship is one of the most closely guarded Federation secrets. No one outside their top rank holds that information.
NIAL: [He shrugs] The ship visiting FX12 was listed as "Aurora's Pride". My previous group came across some facts
about the Terran President once, nothing we could use at the time but we did learn that he has a daughter. She's called Aurora.
VILA: That makes sense then, naming his ship after her. Quite nice when you think about it.
AVON: It's stupid sentimentality and highly dangerous.
VILA: Oh come on, what could be dangerous about a name?
AVON: Remember Bayban the Butcher?
VILA: [Shivering] Frequently...but "Aurora's Pride" hardly leaves me quaking!
NIAL: He means dangerous because the connection is too obvious and therefore he thinks it's wrong, don't you Avon?
Everything is obvious when you know the answer.
NIAL: True but the point is that most people don't know anything about the man. Did you even know he had a daughter?
AVON: I never asked.
NIAL: You've met him?!
VILA: Course he hasn't. He's just being his usual irritating self, aren't you Avon?
AVON: If you say so.
[Avon wanders away to stand by the window. Nial frowns in annoyance.]
NIAL: Avon, if you have seen the man, at least tell us that much.
AVON: I can't.
NIAL: Why do you always have to be so damned mysterious about everything?
AVON: I said can't, not won't. I may have seen him, I'm not sure. Slave picked up a Terran transmission full of pomp and
propaganda. A presidential message to the people of Earth from their beloved leader. There was something familiar about his
voice but I could never remember where I'd heard it before.
NIAL: Perhaps if you heard it again it might trigger your memory. Do you have a recording of the transmission?
AVON: I doubt if any of Slaves circuits survived when the ship crashed.
VILA: Tarrant did so Slave must have.
AVON: Another illogical assumption that you are so fond of making. Keep it up and you'll be telling me next that Scorpio
NIAL: Zen rebooted himself...and fixed the Liberator.
AVON: Slave was just a computer, Zen is far more than that.
NIAL: Still, it may be worth going to take a look, see what we can salvage.
AVON: We were lucky to get away with our lives. Going back would be suicide.
[Nial glances at their unenthusiastic faces and sighs.]
NIAL: You're right it was a crazy idea. Pour me another drink would you Vila?
AVON: Before you get conveniently drunk, I require a few more answers.
VILA: Sounds ominous. You know, it has been a while since I've slept...[He yawns exaggeratedly]...maybe I'll turn
AVON: Perhaps the most sensible thing you've said all day. Congratulations.
[Vila departs scornfully. Avon seats himself opposite Nial and
pours two glasses of the alcohol. He hands one to Nial but leaves his own untouched on the table. Nial deliberately places
his own glass back down, then gives a resigned shrug.]
NIAL: Okay Avon, what do you want to know first?
[FX12, Military section. Capt Mavrin is pacing. He leaps to
the console as it chimes.]
AUDIO: Target has been lost. Readings indicate that it was taken aboard a larger vessel.
MAVRIN: That has to be the Liberator! The sightings were correct. You'll never catch up with them now they're in that ship.
Can you track it?
AUDIO: Emissions have confirmed a direct line route.
MAVRIN: Plot an intercept course and relay to the nearest flotilla.
AUDIO: Instruction understood. Relay completed.
MAVRIN: Excellent. That'll teach them not to mess with the Federation.
[He grins triumphantly as he leans back in his chair. View switches
to a fleet of five Federation ships moving slowly through space. The stars begin to blur as they increase speed and change
direction. Cut to Liberator recreation room.]
sudden realisation] Then your father was the clone that Servalan used to get hold of IMIPAK.
NIAL: IMIPAK, that's a word I'm sick of hearing.
AVON: I was marked by that weapon, where is it?
NIAL: Don't worry...IMIPAK will never kill anyone again.
AVON: Are you certain of that?
NIAL: Absolutely. My mother destroyed it the day my father died...[Staring into the distance]...believe me, IMIPAK
is now just a bad memory. [Calmly] Anything else you'd care to discuss?
AVON: You still haven't explained why you came to find Blake.
NIAL: I'm not sure I can. I never really explained it to myself. [He frowns] From a practical point of view though,
I needed someone with experience to show me the best way to destroy the Federation and everything it stands for.
AVON: And Blake was the obvious choice. How did you find him?
NIAL: I didn't, he found me.
NIAL: Not really. I'd become involved with resistance groups. Word gets around. He was intrigued by my name and one day he
just turned up. The rest, as they say, is history.
AVON: If it is, it's unrecorded.
[Nial gives him an irritated glance and finally picks up his
glass of alcohol.]
NIAL: Are there more questions, or have I your permission to get roaring drunk now?
AVON: Not yet. There is a problem with one aspect of your story.
NIAL: Which one?
AVON: The veracity.
Everything I've told you is the truth.
AVON: Then there seems to be a lot missing. I was there. I spoke to your parents when they contacted the ship to tell us
we were free from the immediate threat of IMIPAK.
NIAL: Your point is...?
AVON: They never mentioned they had a teenage son.
NIAL: Probably because they hadn't. They'd only just met.
AVON: Life on Jevron must be hard. You certainly don't look your age.
[Nial scowls into the distance and grinds his teeth.]
NIAL: No I don't. [Bitterly] I was only two years old when my father was murdered. I didn't understand what was happening.
It was violent and bloody and I stood and watched it all. Someone found me there and fetched my mother. She reacted badly.
I watched that too. My father's body was cremated in the town square and even then, I watched. When it was over, my mother
took me to see an old friend, an ex-clonemaster. He accelerated my growth and raised my development levels by more than twenty
years. In the space of just a few hours, I stopped being a child and became a man.
AVON: It takes more than age to make a man.
NIAL: I've already discovered that thankyou.
AVON: Just supposing that you ARE telling the truth...now that Blake is gone, do you still intend to destroy the Federation?
NIAL: If I can. [He pauses] I was hoping you might agree to help me. You don't have to decide right away. Think about
it for a couple of days, while we tie up all the loose ends.
AVON: Blake...and Dayna.
[Nial looks at him sympathetically and is about to speak when
there is a sudden loud explosion and the ship rocks violently. The men are thrown back in their seats and the bottle of alcohol
shatters as it hits the floor at their feet.]
NIAL: What the hell was that?!
[Avon ignores him and heads for the door. Together they rush
to the flight deck. Vila is already there trying to comfort Phasia who looks shaken.]
NIAL: What happened?
ZEN: Liberator is under attack from a flotilla of Federation pursuit ships.
PHASIA: I tried to take over but the computer wouldn't let me.
[Avon hurries to his console. Another missile explodes close
by and jolts the ship again.]
AVON: Put up the radiation flare shield Zen!
ZEN: Confirmed. Lead vessel is now within range. One plasma bolt launched. Trajectory indicates that it will pass the Liberator
AVON: Vila, clear the boosters and return fire.
[The plasma bolt whooshes past noisily as Vila operates the
buttons. Action cuts to space. A beam from the Liberator slices through the wing of the lead ship. It triggers a series of
explosions that quickly destroy both it and a second ship that failed to pull clear in time.]
NIAL: Two for the price of one. Good shooting Vila.
AVON: [Coldly] We still have three more to deal with.
PHASIA: They're splitting up to surround us. Look!
[The men turn to watch the main screen. The flotilla is separating
and beginning to spread out as it advances. Nial frowns in concentration.]
NIAL: Can we outrun them Zen?
ZEN: The Federation vessels are in Liberator's immediate flight path. A clear exit route would require the ship to be turned
by a margin not less then sixty degrees.
AVON: During which time we would be wide open to attack.
PHASIA: Hurry Nial, they're closing in!
[He tears his eyes from the screen and rushes to the pilot position.]
NIAL: Strap yourselves in everyone. Vila, stand by to fire.
AVON: What are you going to do?
NIAL: Challenge them to a game called 'wounded duck'.
VILA: I've never heard of it!
NIAL: Hopefully neither have they.
[Cut to exterior; the Liberator advances suddenly on one of
the fleet. Responding quickly it rolls away, seconds before a beam splits the space it was formally occupying. Immediately
it returns fire and the bolt clips an under-section of the Liberator. There is a burst of flame and the huge ship begins to
fall towards a nearby planet. Eagerly the flotilla regroups to follow it down. Cut back to flight deck.]
PHASIA: It worked! Quickly Vila, shoot them.
NIAL: Not yet! Wait till they get inside the gravity-well...nearly...now Vila!
[Vila fires three times in rapid succession. One shot misses
but in the confusion the pilot banks his ship wrongly and crashes into his damaged companions. The three vessels are sent
spinning downwards to explode against the planet. Nial grits his teeth as the gravity drag affects the Liberator's controls.]
NIAL: Zen, give me full power reverse thrust!
[They wait in tense silence as the ship strains to break free.
Finally the shuddering stops and Nial sighs in relief and releases the controls.]
NIAL: Switch to automatics then give me a damage report Zen.
ZEN: Confirmed. [He bleeps twice] Missile impact has caused partial destruction of the primary orbital scanner.
It is imperative that the item be replaced. Repair is inadvisable.
AVON: I doubt we carry a spare.
NIAL: Then we'll have to patch it up as best we can. [He shrugs] We'll work on it whilst we travel. Zen, resume course
AVON & VILA: Goma?
PHASIA: [Helpfully] It's the location of our base.
NIAL: Goma is an isolated planet on the edge of this sector; small, barren and worthless to most people.
AVON: An obvious place to hide rebels then.
NIAL: It may be obvious but it's also virtually impregnable. One side of the planet is largely composed of rock, riddled
with caves and tunnels. The magnetic ore in the rock makes it impossible to use conventional detection equipment and Troopers
sent to search manually have a habit of disappearing, so now the Feds stay away.
AVON: Until they decide to blow it up.
NIAL: Why waste time and money? They've never proved there's anyone there to blow up. To get back to the point though the
other side of the planet is swampland. Unexplored uncharted and inaccessible, except on foot. After we'd lost several members
of our group in quicksand lakes, we realised why the planet had been passed over by the Federation.
AVON: It holds nothing of value to them.
NIAL: Not yet...[smiling]...I thought we'd use it as our burial ground. [Pausing] Star orbit burials are great
but we can't risk anyone getting their hands on the bodies. Blake could easily become a token for both sides to fight over.
I'm sure you wouldn't want to see him used like that.
[Avon remains silent and Nial takes it as agreement and continues.]
NIAL: We discovered there's an element in the quicksand that warps scanner readings. In theory you could sink a spaceship
in one of those oceans and it would show up on scans simply as a rock formation, or nothing at all. You could hide almost
AVON: Anything you never wanted to see again. I imagine most things would be virtually impossible to retrieve from quicksand.
In theory...it sounds ideal.
NIAL: I'm glad you approve, after all they were your friends.
[Avon turns away uncomfortably. Cut to medi-bay; Soolin is standing
but with obvious difficulty. She leans heavily against the side of the examination trolley but forces herself to readiness
as she hears footsteps approach. The door opens to admit a young woman.]
PHASIA: [Anxiously] Oh, the attack disturbed you. Are you all right?
SOOLIN: I'm fine...where am I?
PHASIA: The medi-bay of the Liberator.
SOOLIN: The Liberator? They said it was destroyed.
PHASIA: It was but then it was rebuilt. I don't really understand it myself. I'm sure Nial will explain it though, if you ask
PHASIA: Nial Blake, our leader. Well he is now that Blake is dead, Roj Blake I mean.
SOOLIN: Blake? Avon! Where's Avon, is he alive? The others...Dayna, Tarrant, Vila...where are my friends?
PHASIA: Avon and Vila are safe, they're aboard the ship. Tarrant and Dayna...they didn't make it. I'm so sorry, it's hard to
lose people you care about. I know, I've lost too many friends already thanks to the Federation.
SOOLIN: What happened? [Quietly] I remember the base on GP...Federation Troopers everywhere...I thought we were going
PHASIA: Nial saved you, with the teleport thing. He was on his way back to pick up Blake and the rest of us. He saved us all.
You'll like him, he went to a lot of trouble to get you fixed up.
SOOLIN: I feel...different...what happened to me?
PHASIA: You needed some surgery but I'm not sure what was actually wrong, you'll have to ask Nial.
SOOLIN: Yes...I will...sorry, I don't know your name.
SOOLIN: That's pretty...I'm Soolin.
PHASIA: I know, you're a celebrity. I really looked forward to meeting you. It's a shame it couldn't have been under nicer
circumstances. [Soolin shifts her weight and gasps in pain.] Maybe you'd better lie down and rest for a while. If you
like, I'll tell you some details about our group and about Blake's plan for us all to work together. Later, if you feel up
to it, I'd like to hear about some of your adventures. Of course, most of what you've been up to over the last few
years is legendary but it'd be nice to hear it from your perspective. Oh, I mean, if you don't mind?
SOOLIN: I don't mind...[wincing as she alters position]...as long as you go first.
[They both smile and Phasia fetches herself a chair.]
[View of a drab looking mustard and grey planet. The Liberator
moves into orbit and stops. Cut to flight deck.]
ZEN: Liberator is now in stationary orbit two thousand spacials above the planet Goma.
Nial] What now? If we can't land in the swamps how do you propose to conduct this burial, drop them from a shuttle?
Of course not Avon. I propose we take them in as close as we can in the Rev and then lower them gradually into the sand via
the cargo hold.
VILA: What's the Rev?
NIAL: My ship, Reverence. I usually call it "The Rev". I dislike its full name.
AVON: If you do not care for the name, why choose it?
NIAL: It was a joke, no maybe joke is the wrong word. It was more an act of bitterness. My mother always used to say, "Life
must have reverence". It was something she picked up from my father and it drove me mad. In the end though, after she died,
I thought about it a lot. Finally I sold everything and bought the cheapest ship I could find. It seemed fitting somehow that
now all I had was my life and "Reverence".
VILA: That's a really touching story, brings a lump to my throat. Don't you think that's touching Avon?
AVON: Another sentimental name for a heap of metal? Very touching.
VILA: Just ignore him, he probably never had a mother.
[Avon gives him a withering look and then turns back to view
the planet once more.]
AVON: You'd better start assembling everyone. I want this over with as quickly as possible...then we can resume our lives.
Come on Vila, you can help me round them all up. [Vila groans] The exercise will do you good. [Vila groans even
louder but complies. They exit.]
[Inside the cargo hold of the Reverence. On wooden pallets on
the floor are the bodies of Blake and Dayna. They are encased in spacesuits but their faces can be clearly seen. An intercom
crackles. Nial moves to answer it.]
TAM: [On comm] We're in position. I can't take it any lower or we won't have enough space to get back out. It's
time to get on with the goodbyes. Be strong my friend.
comm] I'll leave the comm open so you can hear the ceremony. I'm sorry we can't put the ship on autopilot but this close
to the ground it's just too risky, there's no room for error. Thanks for volunteering Tam.
[He switches the com to open channel and turns to address the
NIAL: I think it's best if all present say a few words. Avon, I thought you or Vila might like to begin, as you've known
them the longest.
[Avon raises his eyebrows at Vila who indicates that he should
I've seen many deaths during the years following my escape from life on a Federation penal colony. Each has taught me a new
fact about myself, some pleasant, some not. Each has given me new cause for regret however regret is a part of life and without
it we would have no cause. We fight now so we do not regret later and I will continue to fight. For Blake, Tarrant and Dayna
the battle is over, they lost...I will not.
[He steps away. Vila sighs and approaches the bodies.]
VILA: I'm not too good at this sort of thing but you knew that anyway...[He pauses]...I always liked you Dayna, even
though you picked on me a lot and I'm sorry you're dead, life is unfair. At least you'll be with your father and sister now,
I mean if there is an afterlife, which I'm not totally sure about and if you all go to the same place, which I hope you do.
Oh what I mean is, I'll miss you. It just won't be the same without you.
[He turns his head slightly to look at the other still face.]
VILA: Blake, I don't know what to say. All these years I thought you were dead and then I found out you weren't and
now you are. [Avon rolls his eyes upwards.] Anyway, I guess it really is goodbye this time, at least I hope it is.
No, I mean I wish it wasn't but I can't take much more of this...is he, isn't he dead business. It's too confusing! I'm babbling,
I know, I always do when I'm nervous and death makes me nervous...almost as nervous as life. Isn't it someone else's turn
[Nial gestures Soolin forward.]
I never knew you so I have nothing to say to you except that I hope you rest in peace. [She turns her head and smiles down
at her ex crewmate.] Dayna, my friend, we shared so much of our lives, our past and our hopes for the future. It's hard
to believe that you're dead. I never had a sister, it's been a long time since I even had a family and I'd like to think that
you knew how much our friendship meant to me. I'll miss your warmth and your sense of humour for a very long time. Sleep peacefully
Dayna, no doubt I'll be seeing you again soon but for now, goodbye. [Closing her eyes briefly] And goodbye Tarrant,
I will miss you too.
[She steps aside and Phasia walks forward to speak.]
PHASIA: I only knew Blake for a short time but I respected him, as a leader and as a friend. He meant a lot to me and I mourn
him as I do every friend who died on Gauda Prime...and also Dayna and Tarrant. I never knew them but they were fellow outlaws
and they deserved better than to die at the hands of the Federation.
[Her last two words are venomous and Nial steps in hurriedly.]
NIAL: Oren and Mags already said their farewells privately so they offered to continue with the repairs to the Liberator.
They also asked me to pass on their sympathies to you who were present at the deaths.
[Avon, Vila and Soolin acknowledge him with brief nods and he
NIAL: Dayna Mellanby. I knew her by reputation only but it was a reputation that earned my respect and admiration. A bold
fighter and a brave woman, she would have been an asset to our team as I'm sure she was to the lives of her friends.
[He pauses and bows his head in silence for a moment before
he speaks again.]
NIAL: Roj Blake. A true leader and a dedicated man. He spent the majority of his life striving for an ideal and his name
became a rallying cry to freedom fighters across the universe. He was a friend and a mentor to every one of us yet in the
end he became much more than that. He was, to me, almost a second father and he was perhaps the enemy most feared by the Federation
[There is a chorus of muted agreement from most of the participants
and Nial acknowledges it by continuing in a more determined tone.]
NIAL: He leaves a loss that can not be filled and a place that can not be taken, yet I will do my best to continue his dream...Goodbye
Blake. Goodbye Dayna.
[He pauses briefly in reverence then raises his head]
NIAL: And finally, to every life lost in the cause of Freedom I make this promise...your sacrifice will never be forgotten
and the peace we achieve will one day be celebrated in your name.
[The others echo his final words. Then together they take up
the ropes fastened to the pallets and begin to lower the bodies from the open hatch in the floor. View changes to show the
exterior of the Rev as it hovers above an ocean of quicksand. The bodies move slowly downwards and as they touch the surface,
the ropes are released. The figures sink rapidly and soon the quicksand is smooth once more and no trace of the burial is
[Shot of the other side of the planet Goma. The Reverence is
now grounded, on a narrow strip of flatland between the swamp and the rocks. Nial, Avon and Vila are standing at the edge
of the swampland.]
VILA: I'm glad that's over.
NIAL: Me too. I never enjoy funerals, especially when I have to direct them.
AVON: As long as it is 'over'.
NIAL: Trust me, they'll never find him in there.
VILA: Unless the Federation comes up with a cheap way of clearing quicksand.
NIAL: I can't see that happening this millennium.
VILA: Of course by then they'll probably have a way of reviving the dead too.
NIAL: Well then, Blake can dig me up to follow him again.
VILA: As long as he doesn't come looking for me!
Now that is an unpleasant thought.
[He stares out across the swamp, it is unnaturally silent. Suddenly