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 E2}

[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.]

VOICE: 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 better.]

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.

MAGS: [Softly 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.

AVON: [Dangerously] 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.]

NIAL: [Whispering] 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.]

NIAL: [Whispering 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.

VILA: [Miserably 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.

NIAL: [To 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!

NIAL: [Stepping 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?

VILA: [Sarcastically] 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.

NIAL: [Looking 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 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 Wolston.

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.

AVON: [Pointedly] 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 does so.]

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 LX9.

NIAL: Source?

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? Zen?

ZEN: [Stubbornly] 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.

NIAL: [Smiling] 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.

MAGS: [Gently] 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.

NIAL: [Dangerously] 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 do?

[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?

AVON: [From 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.

NIAL: [Guardedly] 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.

AVON: [Smiles] 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?

AVON: [Coldly] 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 did you know about FX12?

AVON: [Pausing] Orac looked it up. [He leaves.]

NIAL: [Softly] 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.

MAGS: [Gently] 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.

MAGS: [Sighing] 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 eh?

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.

NIAL: [Moving protectively in front of Soolin] You're not a surgeon are you? What exactly do you intend to do with her?

REIMS:, 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.

NIAL: [Sarcastically] 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 boy.

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 cough medicine.

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.

REIMS: [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 can't I?

NIAL: Sorry?

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, 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 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.

NIAL: [Quietly] 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?

NIAL: [Pausing 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.

NIAL: [Coldly] 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 Soolins forehead.]

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...

REIMS: [Interrupting quickly] 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.

ZEN: Confirmed.

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 following positions...

AVON: Thankyou 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.

VILA: [Drunkenly] 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.

VILA: [Sobering quickly] Really?!

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 doing.

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 recognised.

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 computer.

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?

NIAL: [Infuriatingly] 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?

AVON: [Shrugs] 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 is flyable.

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 in now.

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.]

MAVRIN: Report!

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.]

AVON: [In 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.

AVON: Convenient.

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.

NIAL: [Angrily] 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 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 without contact.

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 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 for Goma.

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 anything there.

AVON: Anything you never wanted to see again. I imagine most things would be virtually impossible to retrieve from quicksand. In 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 him.


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 to die.

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.

PHASIA: Phasia.

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] 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.

AVON: [To Nial] What now? If we can't land in the swamps how do you propose to conduct this burial, drop them from a shuttle?

NIAL: [Snappily] 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.

NIAL: Right. 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.

NIAL: [Into 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 group.]

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 go first.]

AVON: [Unenthusiastically] 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 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 yet?

[Nial gestures Soolin forward.]

SOOLIN: Blake, 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 continues.]

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 itself.

[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 left.]


[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!

AVON: [Quietly] Now that is an unpleasant thought.

[He stares out across the swamp, it is unnaturally silent. Suddenly he shudders.]

[End credits.]


You do the characters very well, esp Avon and Vila--Vila's farewells to Dayna and Blake were very him. I'd like to know more about how Nial Blake handled his extremely accelerated growth from small child to adult though.

Surely he has severe emotional development issues, or did the clonemaster have some way of dealing with those, as I assume was done with the Blake clone?

Thank you, I enjoy writing for Avon and Vila. Avon gets all the scathing put downs and Vila gets all the comedy lines, perfect duo.

You've asked a very pertinent question about Nial but unfortunately I can't answer it without giving away too much! More details are revealed by him in various succeeding episodes though and by the end of the series you'll have a far clearer picture of exactly what was done to him and its effects.

Nial does mention part of the treatment in a conversation with Avon during the next episode. This will explain what the clonemaster did by way of emotional development but again, he chooses not to tell the complete story. (It would be too long and boring anyway if he rattled on about all his woes at once!)
Reverence comes and goes a bit. A lot of the scenes in it are good as standalone material, but there's a kind of dizzy feeling reading them together as a continuous episode. I can't quite get the hang of what the story's supposed to be because there all kinds of things happening in it that don't really seem to relate to each other.
Yes, ok, I admit there's a lot of stuff happening and it's crammed into too small a space! Mainly this is due to the fact that I wanted to start all sorts of new characters/storylines and I was too impatient to do it a bit at a time. I have tried not to sandwich so much into future episodes, honestly!
I liked Reims, and Blake's rescue attempt for Soolin. Clever stuff, frequently funny, always fun. Wasn't so sure about the funeral scene. Quite well handled, but a bit too long.
Glad you liked Reims, I thought he was an interesting man. I've tried to go for a 'lighter approach' with my series and use humour whenever possible as I feel the originals were always amusing alongside their more serious aspects and that this is one of the things that set them aside from other Sci-Fi programs.
You think the funeral is too long... you should have read the first version! I have made as many amendments to that section as I can stand to, after all, didn't Blake deserve a decent send-off? Well, maybe not, but Dayna did.
Vila's open hostility toward Avon is refreshingly direct, while Nial Blake's developing quite well. We get plenty of idea of the uncertainty he feels at taking over from his 'father', but he's less of an adolescent oaf about it.

Thank you immensely for the last comment... I actually find Nial Blake quite difficult to write for as I've never been a boy so I don't understand him as completely as most of my characters. Also I don't know anyone remotely like him so he's quite an enigma to me. Then again, he doesn't seem all that sure of who he is either so maybe that helps!

The title of my series relates not just to the developments aboard the ship but to how Nial grows and changes as a person during the course of my scripts. I hope he is making progress but along the way there are times when he plumbs some rather unsavory depths. To be fair, he does earn my respect on occasion too. I've aimed at illustrating all his faults and virtues in an attempt to round-out his character... it just remains to be seen if this comes across to everyone but I hope so.
Please do something about Oren and Tam's dialogue! I know it's intentional, but you should try to consider the sensibilities of your audience more often; no-one wants to read dialogue that makes them cringe, because it's embarrassing and soon gets very boring. You're trying to write drama, not a comedy, so deliberately writing bad dialogue is unwise in these quantities. If the only purpose of a character being there is to say stupid things, he will get very boring very quickly, so you should give them some decent lines every once in a while.

You'll be pleased to read that neither Tam nor Oren are going to be there much longer... in the meantime, I know I said that they were supposed to be mocked for their lofty ideals but not continually. I'd like to believe that they mean what they say. Oren is a prince, in every sense of the word, he was brought up to be polite and noble and personally I think he's nice. I know a few men like him... not in their speech I hasten to add... and I'd be happy to work with any of them to achieve 'universal peace', if the cynic within me didn't accept that it's an impossible dream!

Just because you haven't a sentimental bone in your body doesn't mean the rest of us have to be tough all the time. A little heart-felt idealism can be a touching thing... but I'll try not to do it as often, ok?
The scenes where Nial explains his personal history to Avon don't feel right at all. I know I'll sound a bit like you-know-who when I say this, but speeches don't work in these situations. Better to reveal the information more slowly over time, or before you got to this stage of the story to begin with.
I accept there is a valid argument here but it does come down to method and my series is not the same as 'you-know-who's'. I can't really explain much without giving away details that will spoil future episodes but bear with me on this and you'll see why Nial reveals what he does when he does. One point I can make is are definitely as trusting as Martin. Who says that Nial is telling the truth? * Even if he is, anyone who tells you a large chunk of personal info when you've only just met usually has a great deal more hidden away that they are trying to divert your attention from. Avon understands that. He isn't satisfied with what he has heard but then Avon rarely takes things at face value.
I'll close with a petty terminology quibble over Phasia's chat with Soolin. Liberator doesn't have a medi-bay. It has a medical unit!
Top marks! Unfortunately, I don't care. Medi-bay sounds nicer so I've asked them to refer to it as that... it's called poetic license and my crew do as I say, or live to regret it when the glycolene ballast tank needs cleaning!
* Just thought I should point out that I have never said that I believed him - Martin's footnote.
Jane's replies are in blue italics.