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 E5}

[Liberator flight deck. Mags and Avon are present.]

MAGS: What if they don't make it in eighteen days?

AVON: Then that's the last we'll see of them.

MAGS: You'd just abandon them?

AVON: If we have had no contact from them, we will have to assume they have been captured. The safety of the Liberator is my priority. I will not risk this ship for anyone's sake.

MAGS: I'm beginning to realise that.

AVON: We have eighteen days to prepare and test the new weapon, after that, who knows.

[Mags turns to leave as comm buzzes. She stops and presses a button on the console.]

MAGS: Go ahead.

GARUS: [over comm] Mags, we have a problem. Is Avon still there?

[Avon walks to the console and presses the button.]

AVON: What is it Garus?

GARUS: [V.O] The missile guidance system seems to have burnt out.

AVON: That's improbable, check the hyper-links.

GARUS: [V.O] I already did. Nothing's showing as a malfunction but I'm not getting any response on the system and without that....

AVON: ...the missiles are virtually useless.

MAGS: Surely we can still fire them.

AVON: Just point and shoot? I'm afraid it's a bit more sophisticated than that. Without a guidance control, travelling at standard by eighteen becomes hazardous. The control system doesn't simply lock on to a target but also prevents the missile from colliding with stray matter which could cause a premature explosion.

MAGS: That could be nasty if you happened to be too close.

VILA: [Entering the room] Not just nasty but fatal too! I say we dump the lot and let Morgon fight his own battles.

MAGS: What's wrong Vila, don't you want to be a famous revolutionary?

VILA: I already am. What I need now is to be invisible.

AVON: [dryly] That would be nice. [into comm] Garus, have Zen run a scan on the components and isolate the fault. Report to the flight deck when you have the information.

GARUS: [V.O] Okay, you're the boss.

[Avon crosses to Orac on the table in the pit area and picks up the key. Mags and Vila move across and sit down.]

VILA: So why are we bothering with Warlord Morgon? We don't need anyone now we've got our new high-speed missile.

MAGS: Alliances are always useful things to make Vila.

VILA: None of our previous ones have been much use!

AVON: Ah but this one is different. Morgon came to us, he knows our value to his rebellion. He is also offering an interesting inducement.

VILA: Money?

AVON: The secret of his people's immunity to pylene 50.

MAGS: Maybe it's inherent?

AVON: It would be of little use to us if it were.

VILA: Then what is it?

AVON: That is what we are going to find out. [he inserts Orac's key] Orac, is there any further information on Phenox.

ORAC: There is no new information since your last request now please refrain from these untimely interruptions. I have much to do and you have tied up my programs for far too long with your insignificant problems.

VILA: Insignificant to you, you heap of nuts and bolts. [to Avon] Can't you reprogram it to be more like Zen... or Slave, yes, now there was a good computer. Always polite, helpful, showed respect for its superiors...

AVON: Shut up Vila.

[Garus enters the flight deck and crosses to the pit]

GARUS: Zen has the report Avon, it doesn't sound very promising.

AVON: [To Zen] Report on malfunction of missile guidance systems.

ZEN: Primary component of system has been destroyed. Repair is not possible. Replacement must be obtained.

MAGS: What is the component?

ZEN: Cyanomorphic-hexatope crystal.

MAGS: Sounds lovely. What does it do?

ZEN: The crystal acts as a catalyst. The missiles are unable to navigate at maximum speed without its support.

VILA: Then there must be crystals in the weapons or they couldn't travel at that speed. We can dismantle one, no problem.

ZEN: Assumption is incorrect. The projectiles contain no crystals. Launch speed and acceleration combine to achieve the velocity of the weapon, which is then controlled by onboard computer links to the navigation system.

GARUS: So what happened to the crystal, Zen?

ZEN: Information not available. Reports indicate a fault line and subsequent pressure crack. Possible causes number twenty-eight; one: flawed stock, two: negligent mining procedures, three:

MAGS: All right Zen, we understand. We'll just have to find a new whatever it was' crystal.

AVON: Orac. Where can we obtain the necessary component?

ORAC: Cyanomorphic-hexatope crystals or cyan stones' as they are more commonly referred to, are extremely rare, one of the most elusive minerals in this galaxy.

GARUS: And I bet they cost a fortune. We aren't exactly rolling in riches...[he grins] least, I'm not.

VILA: Me neither but I could steal one.

ORAC: Will you kindly not interrupt! As I was saying, they are extremely rare. So rare as to be unobtainable.

[Everyone gasps in shock at Orac's blunt statement.]

GARUS: You're joking!

AVON: Define unobtainable.

ORAC: Unable to acquire. Not reachable.

VILA: Damn machine. I often wish you'd been unobtainable.

MAGS: So there's no hope of fixing the new missiles.

AVON: [thoughtfully] Un-reachable, not non-existent. Orac, where is the nearest suitable cyan stone'?

ORAC: There is only one reference in my databanks but it is within this sector.

GARUS: Well that's something. Even if we can't get it, at least we can say we were close.

ORAC: The crystal is on a Federation affiliated planet known as Bartoc 4. It was colonised approximately three hundred years ago and given over to rule by a religious group, the members of which have remained devotedly loyal to their leaders and the Federation. The cyan stone' forms the basis of their cult and is held to be sacred. Considering this information, I have predicted security to be impassable and probability of acquiring the crystal, too low to be acceptable.

MAGS: I wonder how they got hold of one in the first place.

GARUS: Reverence will be out of range by now, it's too late to ask.

AVON: That's not important. What we need to find out is how to get hold of the one on Bartoc 4.[he begins to pace the room]

GARUS: I'm open to suggestions.

MAGS: [Grinning] We know but that won't help.

VILA: [to Avon] You've got a plan already, haven't you?

AVON: [turning to face the others] It's something Vila said earlier...

VILA: Me?!

[The others look at him incredulously]

AVON: ....about being invisible.

VILA: You've invented a personal cloaking-device?!

AVON: Even for me that would be an out-standing achievement. No, I didn't mean it literally. Bartoc 4 is a Federated planet, we are high profile Federation outlaws, the two are hardly compatible. What we need is a new face, someone unknown who can blend in with the natives and gain access to the crystal without alerting suspicion.

MAGS: Use an outsider? Isn't that a bit risky?

AVON: You would prefer to go yourself?

GARUS: Why can't Vila use his magic touch to break in and steal the stone?

VILA: Hey, wait a minute, I'm not walking into a Federation-loving loony complex to steal their most sacred treasure! If Orac says it's impossible, then I agree.

ORAC: I did not say impossible! The odds of your success are calculated at 23 to 1.

MAGS: That's not very favourable, I wonder what mine would have been?

ORAC: 29 to 1.

MAGS: [Laughing] Thanks Orac. I guess I shouldn't have asked.

GARUS: So where are we going to find an honest civilian' who's prepared to help a gang of wanted criminals to steal a crystal?

AVON: WE aren't. Zen, maintain stationary orbit, all defence systems on-line. Orac, I have a job for you.


[Shot of the Liberator approaching and then stopping above a small, grey and blue planet. Cut to teleport section. Vila, Mags and Avon are entering the area. Vila is pulling on a jacket whilst he grumbles under his breath.]

VILA: I still say Mags would do better on her own.

AVON: And I say that a couple' will attract less attention. It is a busy market town on a highly commercial neutral planet. A woman on her own asking questions might be suspected of being a black-market trader and we can't afford to raise too many suspicions.

VILA: I don't like it. I've been involved in a lot of crimes while I've been hanging around with you but I draw the line at kidnapping.

AVON: You say that about everything.

VILA: This time I mean it.

AVON: You usually do, but you'll do it anyway.

MAGS: Don't worry Vila, I won't let it come to that. I can be very persuasive when I have to be. Avon, are you sure that Orac got his information right?

AVON: As sure as I can be. Get ready to teleport, you have three hours. We can't risk remaining in stationary orbit for longer than that, we are close to a Federation supply route.

VILA: [as he moves into the teleport bay] What happens if you have to run?

AVON: I'll let you know.

[He moves the levers and they dematerialise. Cut to surface of planet. It is early afternoon in a densely populated area. Vila and Mags materialise in an alley to the consternation of a drunk who is emerging from the back door of an inn whose sign proclaims it as "The Falling Star". The man shakes his head in bewilderment and stumbles away.]

VILA: He had the right idea. Let's go and have a drink while we wait. I'm buying, what'll you have Mags? Just name it.

MAGS: A glass of Valerian sherry would be nice. [Vila starts to move towards the pub] Wait Vila, I was only thinking aloud. You know we've got a job to do. [He moans] I hope you're not going to keep complaining about it all day.

VILA: [in a wounded tone] That hurts. It's not my fault we're here. And I don't see why Garus couldn't have come instead.

MAGS: [Wryly] I don't think you and he would've made a convincing couple. Anyway Cray's keeping an eye on Avon...Nial didn't want him to be left alone on the Liberator. [Grinning suddenly] Come on, the quicker we get started the quicker we can get back and relax with a couple of drinks!

[She moves away, out of the alley and into the crowd. Vila hurries to catch up]

VILA: Hey, wait for me! If there's one thing I hate more than having to go, it's being left behind!

[Flight deck of the Liberator. Garus is standing at the pilot console and Avon is checking details at another console.]

GARUS: It all seems quiet enough, no patrols in the area. Zen, can you maintain a standard orbit and notify us of any ships which register on the short range scan please? [Avon looks up quizzically] It's a popular Trade World'. There's bound to be a lot of traffic but as long as it's not Federation, we can just check and log it, no problem. Provided we don't stay in orbit long enough to raise suspicions that is!

AVON: If Orac is right, we shouldn't have to wait too long before the others get back with our guest'.

[He puts a sarcastic emphasis on the last word. Garus looks up curiously.]

GARUS: Just time enough to fill me in on the details then.

AVON: Why not. [He pauses] Orac had some very interesting information on the rulers of Bartoc 4. It seems that their religion has an excessive amount of guidelines and dictates.

GARUS: They always do. Takes all the fun out of life when you have so many rules.

AVON: [wryly] Quite. The main hierarchy of the religion is made up of a few high priests and a rather unconventional collection of priestesses.

GARUS: Unconventional, sounds interesting, in what way?

AVON: They must conform to a strict set of rules in order to enter the priesthood.

GARUS: So do members of most religious groups, I don't see the significance.

AVON: The difference is in the rules, these are not behavioural but physical. Orac, repeat the criteria.

[Orac makes a disgruntled whirring noise]

ORAC: It is a gross misuse of my functions to reiterate data. [he pauses but Avon remains silent] Oh very well, the priestesses must comply with the following standards; Age - between 21 and 28, Height - between 1.57m and 1.77m, Weight - average for individual height, Hair - blonde, Eyes - brown, Intelligence - medium to low grade.

GARUS: Beauty but no brains. That's a shame, I like intelligent women. Though I do like unintelligent women too. Come to think of it, I like all women.

AVON: [Unimpressed] So I've heard.

GARUS: It shouldn't be too difficult to find a match anyway. There must be millions of women in the galaxy who fit that description. I've met dozens of them.

AVON: Yes, I imagine you have, however, for our purposes I had to stipulate one or two extra requirements. Ideally we needed someone within this sector, if we are to rendezvous with Reverence in time, we will have to work fast but most importantly, we needed someone with no close ties. A person who could disappear without causing concern which might draw attention to our presence.

GARUS: So who did you pick Orac?

ORAC: The data was extensive but with my superior programming I was able to obtain the location of a suitable subject and predict a possible time and place for contact to be initiated.

AVON: Which Mags and Vila are attempting now.

ORAC: [In a piqued tone] Precisely. Do you require me to continue?

AVON: Yes.

ORAC: [sulkily] The subject is named as Jain Rhys and is an adequate physical match as requested. A native of the Earth colony Zahn. Father registered as an Historian, mother as ex-farm-worker. No siblings.

Accepted on the planet Cellastra under emigrate status' four standard years ago following the reported death of both parents in an accident, type unspecified. No surviving relatives listed.

Current employment status shows that subject is a Research grade technician with supply company "Phenomenal Space-craft Developments", which holds a neutral classification. Travel visa checks confirm that subject works on an orbit basis and is frequently off-planet for extended periods. Same-sector clearance only, no long haul flights logged. Visa on standby for imminent departure, no destination given and no duration limits set.

Intelligence rating unlisted, however, employment information indicates a medium to high grade.

All stated specifications have been met.

GARUS: Wonderful, so all we have to do now is wait.


[Cut to shot of Cellastra's surface. It is noisy and crowded. There is a juggler in a bright costume performing for a group of amazed children. They applaud as he adds more and more balls before finishing by catching them all in a hat he has plucked from the head of one of the children. Vila and Mags can be seen at the edge of the crowd. They appear to be admiring jewellery on a stall. In reality, they are keeping a close eye on a pair of tall metal gates, which lead through a high wall into a factory complex.]

MAGS: [in a harsh whisper] Vila, what are you doing! We don't want to get arrested.

[Vila returns to the trader a jewel encrusted brooch, which has somehow found its way into his pocket]

VILA: I think you dropped this. [the man mumbles in disbelief] No, no, don't thank me, only doing what any upright citizen would. [over his shoulder as he wanders away] You know it's amazing how many dishonest people there are out there. [quietly, as he brings out a second brooch and several rings from his other pocket] Quite amazing.

MAGS: I've spotted her. Over there, come on!

[She tugs his arm and sets off at a fast pace through the crowd, following a slim, blonde lady who has just come out through the factory gates. She is unaware of their presence and is preoccupied with avoiding the bustling crowd as she heads towards the travel terminus, just visible in the distance. Suddenly Mags crashes into her and she is thrown heavily against the wall of a nearby building, landing awkwardly and in obvious pain.]

MAGS: Oh! I'm so sorry dear. I wasn't looking where I was going. Are you hurt?

JAIN: Just bruised, it's ok, I'll be fine. [She turns to leave]

MAGS: I feel awful. Let me help you.

[She takes Jain's arm and leads her to a chair outside an eating place.]

MAGS: [motioning for Vila to join them] My husband and I were doing some sightseeing but the town is frantic and we seem to have got lost.

JAIN: Perhaps I can point you in the right direction before I leave. I don't want to sound rude but I am in a hurry, I have to be on a flight in four hours.

VILA: Anywhere interesting?

JAIN: No, it's just work. [to Mags] Look, thankyou for your concern but I am fine and I really must be going. Where is it you need to be?

[Mags has suddenly begun to cough and seems to be having trouble breathing.]

JAIN: Are you all right? [to Vila] Is she ill?

[Mags starts to mutter something about tablets.]

VILA: [with sudden insight] Tablets. We need to get back to the Inn!

JAIN: Where are you staying?

VILA: "The Falling Star".

JAIN: Really? That's not usually a tourist choice. It has an outstanding reputation for trouble. [suspiciously] Are you sure that.....

[Mags begins another bout of coughing. It sounds severe and by the time she stops, Jain has apparently resigned herself to helping them.]

JAIN: [to Mags] Can you manage to walk now? It isn't actually too far from here, if you know the short cuts.

[She takes Mags' arm to support her and they begin to move away from the market place. Several people have turned to watch them and Vila smiles nervously at them as they leave. The trio walk along the crowded street and then turn down a quieter one. Mags continues to have occasional coughing fits, which seem to coincide neatly with every time Jain is about to speak. Finally they turn down a deserted alleyway at the back of the Inn.]

JAIN: The entrance is just around the corner. Will you be all right now?

MAGS: Perfectly, thank you. [She appears to have made a miraculous recovery]

JAIN: I knew it! You were too persistent to be just tourists.

[She looks from Mags to Vila as though assessing them, sighs and begins to remove a small amount of coins from a pocket in her outer garment.]

JAIN: I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed...I never carry much money. [Calmly to Mags] Wouldn't it have been easier to train as a pickpocket?

MAGS: [indicating Vila] Apparently, he did.

VILA: It's true. I studied with the best in the business. [staring proudly at his hands] These hands have never known an honest days work.

MAGS: [smiling] That's probably true.

[By now Jain is very confused and is unsure of how to react to the couple']

JAIN: Who are you? What do you want from me?

MAGS: We'd like to discuss a business proposition with you.

JAIN: You're from a rival spacecraft company?! I've heard wild stories about a few of our opponents but I never believed half of them and I wouldn't even repeat most of them!

VILA: Oh, we're not in the industry, we're more like....independents.

MAGS: [with a warning glance at Vila] Look, we don't mean you any harm, the truth is we have a problem and we need your help. Will you hear us out?

JAIN: [guardedly] Ok, go ahead, I'll listen but I'm not agreeing to anything without hearing all the facts first.

MAGS: That's fair enough. I may as well start by telling you that we are not Federated citizens.

[Mags is watching for Jain's reaction. She doesn't appear to be in support of the Federation and Mags continues in a more relaxed voice.]

MAGS: We have a ship nearby with a damaged system that we must repair. We've located a part but we need someone to fetch it for us. Hopefully, it shouldn't take longer than seven to ten days and we will pay you for your time and trouble. So, do we have a deal?

JAIN: No. It sounds to me as though a few facts are missing. Why can't you fetch the part yourself?

VILA: We're too well known. [Mags is frantically signalling him to be quiet but he isn't looking at her.] I'm a very valuable asset - you're talking to a celebrity.

JAIN: You're wanted criminals?! I can't be seen with you.

[She is beginning to panic and makes a move to leave but Mags steps in front of her holding a teleport bracelet and a gun.]

MAGS: [Sighing deeply] I am sorry about this but we really do need your help. Please put the bracelet on.

JAIN: Why? [Suspiciously] I don't recognise the design but it looks like some type of communicator.

MAGS: It is. You can discuss our proposal with the rest of the group and then if your answer is still no, we will leave peaceably. I promise. [smiling suddenly] We're not monsters you know.

[Glancing at the gun, reluctantly Jain puts on the bracelet]

JAIN: Well, how does it work?

MAGS: Like this. [she presses the comm button] Avon, we're ready to leave.

[Almost instantly they materialise in the teleport bay. Avon is at the controls. Mags takes the bracelet from Jain as she looks round in amazement.]

JAIN: What happened?

MAGS: [Quietly] We teleported you back to the ship.

AVON: You took enough time. Losing your touch Vila?

VILA: [As he empties his pockets of various items which used to belong to members of the crowd.] Not at all. I'm a natural.

[The others look mildly disgusted at his kleptomania. Avon leaves the room and Mags signals for Jain to follow, as does she. Scene switches to Liberator flight deck. Garus is standing in front of the main screen watching a blip at the edge as it gradually approaches the centre symbol which represents the Liberator. He turns to face them as the others enter, minus Vila who is presumably still in the teleport section.]

GARUS: Avon, I'm not happy about that ship. It's coming in on a direct flight line. It must have us on its long-range scanners.

AVON: Federation?

GARUS: Zen's not sure. It could be a new Fed design or just a curious freighter.

AVON: Zen, execute an evasion course, standard by six, try not to raise their suspicions. We'll let them think we were leaving anyway.

ZEN: Confirmed.

[Everyone watches silently as the centre symbol moves slowly to the opposite edge from the blip', which continues to follow for a second and then re-routes towards the planet symbol shown at the top of the screen. The tension in the room dissipates and all eyes turn to Jain who is examining one of the flight consoles in wonderment.]

GARUS: [In a charming fashion] I'm Cray Garus, no doubt you've heard of me. This is Avon...Mags and Vila you've already met. Welcome to the Liberator!

JAIN: I thought the Liberator had been destroyed years ago.

VILA: It was. We rebuilt it.

[Avon raises his eyebrows at the inaccuracy of the statement but says nothing.]

JAIN: Then you're Blake's people.

AVON: Not anymore.

JAIN: [pausing briefly] No, that's right. He disappeared after the galactic war..[looking at Avon] ...and you took over.

MAGS: We follow a man called Nial Blake now.

GARUS: We work as a team usually, share and share alike.

JAIN: [looking at Avon who has remained conspicuously silent] Really? [sotto voce] And I'm a Tarzian Warg strangler.

[Avon seems to hear the comment and grins crookedly. The others remain oblivious.]

JAIN: I still don't understand why you need me. I'm only a Researcher with P.S.D, I don't put the nuts and bolts together. If THIS ship is damaged, surely you need an expert, or a mechanic!

AVON: No, we need a priestess.

JAIN: Divine intervention? You must be in trouble.

AVON: Orac, I need you to transfer all relevant data to Zen for replay on the main screen. [to Jain, indicating the pit area] If you care to sit down, I'll explain but it may take some time. Zen, set course for Bartoc 4, standard by eight then display transferred data.

ZEN: Course and speed confirmed. Arrival Bartoc 4 in eighty-two hours. Data replay begins.

[The main screen clears to show a shot of a clay coloured, barren looking planet. Garus, Mags and Avon join Jain who is already seated in the pit.]

ZEN: Bartoc 4 - a minor planet in the third sector of the.....


[cut to shots of Liberator flying through space then back to interior - some sort of recreation room. Vila and Mags are playing a board game. The board is octagonal and black. There are strange symbols marked on it in contrasting colours. The playing pieces resemble stylised figures in two sets; one gold, one silver. A third set, of bronze ones, can be seen in a box on the floor. Mags is obviously winning.]

MAGS: I thought you said you were a galactic master at this.

VILA: [distractedly] Anyone can have an off day'.

MAGS: It's not like you to be so miserable Vila, what's wrong?

VILA: Everything. I just don't like it. The whole thing is too risky.

MAGS: You're not taking any risks, none of us are.

VILA: That's what I mean. Doesn't it bother you that we're sending a weak, defenceless woman into a Federation run den of lunatics?

MAGS: Ah, now I understand. Suddenly your attack of conscience is beginning to make sense.

VILA: I'm just concerned, from a moral viewpoint.

MAGS: I didn't think you had any morals Vila! [He frowns] Don't sulk, I've been around the galaxy a couple of times, you can't fool me. If it was some "weak, defenceless" man we were sending, you'd be handing him a bracelet and wishing him luck faster than you could open your next bottle of booze!

[Vila tries to look indignant but fails as Mags is grinning too infectiously. He grins back and picking up a game piece, hops it round the board and removes most of her pieces.]

VILA: What did I tell you? Galactic master class!

MAGS: Well I'll be damned! I've never seen that move before.

[Mags stares incredulously at the board then shrugs and begins to stack the pieces to one side.]

MAGS: Re-match?

VILA: Why don't we put a wager on it this time? Make it more interesting.

MAGS: Do I look stupid?!

[She glances up and spots Jain standing uncertainly in the open doorway. Her jacket is folded over her arm and she is now seen to be wearing a pale cream blouse loosely belted over fawn coloured leggings and matching ankle boots. She appears somehow very fragile and out of place.]

MAGS: Come in. Do you play "Survivors"?

JAIN: [with a grateful smile] No but it looks interesting. Perhaps I could learn?

MAGS: Vila claims to be the champion around here, perhaps he could teach you.

VILA: [stammering] Anything. Anytime, I mean anytime. But not now! I have to go. Avon asked me to check the erm...connections in the erm...very important job...bye.

[He leaves hurriedly and both women laugh. Jain sits down opposite Mags and her expression becomes more serious.]

JAIN: Can I ask you some questions?

MAGS: Go ahead but I can't promise to have all the answers.

JAIN: That was actually one of the things I wanted to talk to you about, your promise.

MAGS: [quietly] We need that crystal and to get it we need you. I had no choice, sometimes there is no choice. We each do what we have to in order to survive in this world. [she pauses] If it's any consolation, I didn't lie to you, I just left out a few things.

JAIN: Like the teleporter.

MAGS: Would you have agreed to talk with us if I'd told you we would be on board the Liberator at the time?

JAIN: Probably not.

MAGS: So I had no choice but you do. I meant what I said. You've heard all the facts now and if you decide not to help us, I won't stand in your way a second time.

JAIN: [smiling] Actually, I believe you. It's not that simple though is it?

MAGS: In what way?

JAIN: Well, Avon didn't make it sound like an option, in fact I got the impression he thinks my co-operation is a certainty.

MAGS: I have a feeling that people don't say "no" to him often enough.

JAIN: Yes, I got that impression too.

MAGS: [Thoughtfully] You seem to form quick impressions.

JAIN: Sorry, I'm just curious. If I'm going to risk my freedom to help you, I'd like to know what sort of people you are.

MAGS: I can't argue with that. After all, we do know all about you.

[Jain smiles uncomfortably and hastens to divert the conversation.]

JAIN: Earlier you mentioned Nial Blake but I haven't met him yet. Is he on board?

MAGS: No, he's on a separate mission in his own ship. Our other crew members are with him, you'll probably not get to meet them. With any luck we should have got you back to Cellastra before it's time for us to rendezvous with them.

JAIN: I hope you're not relying on luck!

MAGS: Not this time! Don't worry about it, Avon is busy working out all the details. I'm sure he'll come up with a foolproof plan.

JAIN: The sort that only a fool would go along with?

MAGS: Something like that. [They both smile] Maybe now would be a good time to get your costume ready. Come on. It won't take long and then I'll give you a guided tour of the ship if you like. Your company works in design as well as supply doesn't it? I think one of my ships was a P.S.D model.

JAIN: Really? What type?

[They leave the room deep in discussion about spacecraft specifications. The scene cuts to the interior of an untidy room containing several crates. There is also a large machine standing against one wall.

It features a small screen, an instrument panel, a closed hatch {couple of metres square with markings on} and a tall glass-fronted cubicle. There are voices outside and the door opens inwards.]

MAGS: Here we are, storeroom 10. Wait till you see this machine! It was built by my first husband. He was an inventor.

JAIN: What happened to him?

MAGS: He was killed in a riot, on Earth.

JAIN: [quietly] I'm sorry.

MAGS: [just as quietly] So am I. He was a brilliant man. It was such a waste. The riots achieved nothing in the end...except to turn me into an outlaw. [She smiles grimly] I decided that the rebels needed some guidance.

JAIN: Don't we all.

MAGS: Now and then.

[Mags crosses to the crates and begins to rummage in one. She pulls out a bolt of fine, sky-blue cloth.]

MAGS: Perfect. Now all we have to do is program in the details and complete the scan.

[She carries the material to the machine and loads it into the hatch. She then removes a plastic card from her pocket and inserts it into a slot on the instrument panel. There is a metallic sounding chime and she types in her request. A series of lights flash and an image of a blue garment appears on the screen.]

MAGS: Okay, just step into the cubicle and the machine will scan you. You won't feel a thing and it'll take your exact set of measurements in seconds.

JAIN: Exact measurements? Won't my clothing affect the readings?

MAGS: No, it uses some sort of advanced thermal imaging system. The computer can tell exactly what's you and what's not.

[Jain appears unconvinced but steps into the cubicle. As soon as the door closes, she is illuminated by an indigo beam of light which travels down her body from head to toe. Mags presses a button and then motions for her to come out. They both watch the machine expectantly. After less than a minute, a buzzer sounds and the hatch clicks open. Mags removes the material and holds it up. It is now a completed costume.]

MAGS: [Proudly] What do you think? You can make clothes to any design, if you've got the necessary fabrics.

JAIN: That's amazing and so quick. My mother was a farmer's daughter and she believed in hard work and discipline. She made us do all our own mending and clothing alterations when we were growing up and to this day, I hate sowing. You should market that machine, it would make you rich.

MAGS: It's only a prototype and the plans were lost in the fire.

JAIN: Fire?

MAGS: They thought we were working for the Federation. The rioters burnt our home. I was lucky, I escaped through a window. Fen was in the basement...he never had a chance. [She pauses for a long time as though replaying it all in her mind.]

I hid out at his laboratory until things had calmed down, then I went back to the house, just in case. [Shaking her head] ...he never had a chance.

[Staring at her expression, Jain winces as though in pain.]

MAGS: Are you all right?

JAIN: Oh it's nothing, just a headache, stress I expect. I'd better go and try the outfit on, is there a spare cabin I can use?

MAGS: No problem, there's plenty of those. I'm beginning to think this ship was designed to hold an army! I haven't actually had time to explore it all yet but I can show you some of the best bits. I'll give you the guided tour when you feel better.

JAIN: Thankyou. [They exit together.]


[Another shot of the Liberator flying through space! Cut to flight deck. Garus is at a console and Vila is standing next to Mags who is leaning on the edge of the pit area. He has obviously been telling her a joke.]

VILA: ....and the mutoid said "Do you require instructions Commander?"!

[Garus laughs but Mags looks bored.]

MAGS: I've heard worse on cargo freighters.

GARUS: Hey Vila, did you hear the one about the Fed Trooper who....

AVON: [entering the room and interrupting him] I'm glad to see you are all hard at work. Vila, the teleport controls need to be recalibrated, Orac will instruct you. Garus, get some rest you're on next watch. [They look disgruntled but leave] Mags, a moment of your time.

[She watches him curiously as he walks towards her.]

MAGS: Is there a problem?

AVON: I'd like your opinion of our guest'.

MAGS: She seems nice enough. Why not ask Vila? He seems to be quite taken with her. See what he thinks.

AVON: [dryly] I'd like a more objective opinion.

MAGS: [Smiling] Okay...It's odd, I'm certain she's not Federation but...

AVON: But...?

MAGS: I'm not sure. She's hiding something.

AVON: How do you know that?

MAGS: Women's intuition?

AVON: I'd prefer a more rational explanation.

MAGS: I thought you might. Well...there was something, earlier, in the storeroom. She said us' instead of me' when she referred to her childhood. It didn't really hit me at the time but she was listed as an only child wasn't she?

AVON: [darkly] Yes. [He begins to leave the room]

MAGS: Avon, wait. Where are you going?

AVON: Take the watch Mags. [He exits.]

MAGS: [Without enthusiasm] Thanks.

[Inside a very plain cabin; Jain is sitting on the bed next to a crumpled, blue dress. She is gazing out of a small, hexagonal window at a green planet, which is just coming into view but she seems lost in her own thoughts. There is a knock at the door and she startles then moves to press the door release button.]

VILA: Hello. Mags told me you were here and that you'd missed the grand tour so I've come to offer my expertise.

JAIN: That's very nice of you.

VILA: I'm a very nice person.

JAIN: [laughs] Yes, you are. I'd love to take your guided tour, thankyou.

[Vila looks delighted and takes her arm as they move down the corridor and he begins to point to various doors.]


[Shot of the Liberator passing the green planet. As it recedes, a small ship moves out from it's orbit and makes a slow approach to the Liberator. Cut to Vila and Jain who are standing in a large room with a pit area similar to the one on the flight deck. There is a drinks-bar against the left-hand wall of the room.]

VILA: ...and finally on this deck, my favourite, the recreation room. It used to be a bar room but we ran out of alcohol. I can't understand how.

JAIN: [smiling to herself] Nor me.

VILA: How do you do that?

JAIN: I just turn the corners of my mouth up.

VILA: No, I mean, how do you always seem to know what I'm thinking? [He pauses but before she can speak he starts again.] I knew you reminded me of Cally! It's in your eyes! You're a Telepath. You are, aren't you? I'm always right. Well, nearly always. Well, sometimes anyway, occasionally.

JAIN: No, I'm not a Telepath.

VILA: I knew're not?

JAIN: No.....I'm an Empath.

VILA: I knew it......what's an Empath?

JAIN: I don't read minds but I do pick up emotions and that's almost the same thing. The way someone is feeling is usually a reliable guide to what they are thinking.

VILA: You read people?

JAIN: Not exactly. It's not so much a conscious thing, more an instinctive one. It's like being tuned in to a certain wavelength and receiving signals. Especially if the emotion is directed at me, then I can feel it without even having to think about it and I can pinpoint where it is emanating from.

VILA: That must be a very entertaining talent. [voyeuristically] Imagine, always knowing what everyone in the room is feeling.

JAIN: [in a cool tone] It doesn't work like that.

VILA: Shame. Why not?

JAIN: Well, think of it like this; If you walked into a crowded room you couldn't look at or talk to everyone at once, that would be impossible. Instead, you would have to move about and concentrate on each person as an individual to get a true impression of him or her. However, if someone in the room called out to you, your brain would automatically respond and enable your ears to hear them above the rest of the noise because you are so attuned to the sound of your own name. Understand?

VILA: Certainly. [ pause] Almost. [pause] No.

JAIN: Ok, I'll try again. How do you know when....

[Suddenly there is the sound of an explosion and the ship rocks violently. Vila hits the wall with a loud groan. Jain gets up from the floor and touches his arm in concern.]

JAIN: Where are you hurt?

VILA: [moaning] All over. What happened?

JAIN: I don't know, we'd better get to the flight deck and find out. You'll have to lead the way, these corridors all look the same to me.

[She takes his arm and he limps out of the room with her support. Flight deck; Mags and Garus are moving frantically between consoles whilst shouting instructions to Zen. The main screen shows a single ship of strange design. It is suddenly hit by a green beam of light and it flashes for a second before being vaporised.]

GARUS: Got him! You're missing all the fun Vila...[glancing at Jain]...or maybe you weren't. What have you been doing? And where's Avon?

VILA: Sightseeing and I don't know. He came to the teleport bay and told me to complete the recalibrations later, he needed Orac, then he left.

GARUS: You didn't happen to ask what he was up to?

VILA: No and I didn't happen to try to stop him either. Will someone just tell me what is going on?

MAGS: Pirates, we think.

GARUS: Single ship, small armament, clapped out drive unit from the look of it. They never cleared standard by three! Super tactics though, they must have used that last planet as cover, to mask the ships radiation trail. Zen only picked it up as it made its first attack run and fired a laser cannon.

JAIN: It hit the ship?

MAGS: [Nodding] Direct hit. Fortunately for us, we'd put the force wall up by then and it did no damage.

GARUS: Their second shot went wide. [He shrugs] We returned fire. It wasn't much of a battle.

[Jain stares in awe at the now empty main screen]

JAIN: That is impressive. This ship certainly deserves to be the legend it is.

GARUS: And what about the crew?

JAIN: [apologetically] Oh yes, the crew too of course.

GARUS: Well, some of us at least. Any more activity in the area Zen?

ZEN: Negative. Scans show no unidentified objects within Liberators vicinity.

GARUS: Activate cloaking device as we pass within range of all planets and asteroids would you? You can deactivate it as soon as scans have shown the area clear of hostiles.

ZEN: Instruction confirmed.

GARUS: It's a pity that it's such a drain on power or we could have remained permanently invisible. Still, that wouldn't be much fun would it?

VILA: At least we'd be safe from pirates.

MAGS: I thought you'd be in favour of piracy Vila.

VILA: I may be a thief but I was never a pirate.

JAIN: There's a difference?

VILA: What I do requires tremendous skill. I steal with style. They just throw their weight around and then take what they want.

GARUS: We all have to make an honest living buddy.

VILA: Let's discuss it over a drink. I'm in desperate need of a relaxant, that laser blast must have broken every bone in my body.

[The others look at him in utter disbelief.]

VILA: [defensively] I'm a fast healer but I could use some of your homebrew, just for the pain. Any chance Mags?

MAGS: Sorry Vila, I haven't had time to mix any more yet.

[They all move into the pit and sit down as Vila manages to stagger to a seat.]

MAGS: Actually I could use some myself, that was a really intense shockwave! My teeth are still buzzing. I'm glad I was holding onto something when it hit.

GARUS: I wonder if Avon was. He should've been here by now. Maybe he's in trouble.

AVON: Perhaps. [He has entered the room silently by the side furthest from the pit and is carrying a gun.] I've been having a few words with Orac.

[Jain turns to look at him and he points the gun at her.]

AVON: Who exactly are you?

JAIN: It's a long story and it's none of your concern.

AVON: Wrong on both counts. I suspect it will be a short story and it concerns me greatly that I haven't heard it.

[They stare at each other in silence for what seems like ages as the rest of the crew look at one another in confusion. Finally, Jain lowers her eyes and the tension drops.]

GARUS: What does he mean, who are you?

[Jain shakes her head and looks miserable.]

AVON: On my orders, Orac requested her file from Zahn, listed as her planet of origin. [pause] They have no record of her.

JAIN: You don't need to know.

AVON: Yes. I do.

JAIN: [looks at the gun and then sighs] Alright but you don't need the gun. I'm unarmed, not at all dangerous...[she glances at the others in the pit with her]...and completely surrounded!

[Avon smiles and lowers the gun but keeps hold of it.]

AVON: Start talking, I'll decide if you're dangerous or not.

[Jain grits her teeth and then stares fixedly at the floor as she begins her tale.]

JAIN: My name is not Jain Rhys, it is Jain Elysian and I was born on Tekla. My father is an Historian and my mother is from a farming family. I have one brother. [her voice softens] Daryth, my elder by five years. I haven't seen any of them for over eight years.

VILA: What happened?

JAIN: I was eighteen. I'd just finished my higher education studies, was engaged to a childhood friend and about to join my father as his assistant researcher, at the main planetary education complex and then...I tore my world apart. I wanted adventure, excitement, I felt I should travel before I settled down.

GARUS: Sounds good to me, where's the problem?

MAGS: [Gently] You got cold feet.

JAIN: Something like that. I signed up to work on the Dardeeni'. [The others look blank.] It's a pleasure-cruiser.

[The others look shocked, except for Vila and he seems ecstatic.]

VILA: I always wanted to be able to afford a cruise. Do you know what the entertainments are like on board those ships?! I've heard they have the most beautiful girls in the galaxy.

[He stops at a warning glare from Mags.]

MAGS: [to Jain] Ignore him. Go on.

JAIN: I signed on as entertainment staff, to train as a dancer but I didn't know what sort until it was too late. The contract was legally binding and the terms severe.

AVON: So why sign it?

JAIN: The wages they offered were fair and the contract was only binding until enough wages had been earned to buy it out, approximately two years service calculated on their figures. It promised a way to travel, see other planets, meet different people, it was very tempting.

AVON: Obviously.

JAIN: It was also very devious. The contract stated that food and board were supplied', not included'. [She frowns] To pay for your keep you had a choice; you could have your wages cut to almost a quarter of the stated figure or you could go hungry and do extra work to pay for your passage. No one ever lasted long on two jobs and galley scraps. Inevitably you ended up facing a contract of between six and eight years.

VILA: Couldn't you complain?

JAIN: Who to? The pleasure-cruisers are backed by a face-less corporation. They are the galaxy-wide playground of the rich and famous. No one cares what goes on behind the glamour and we weren't exactly encouraged to tell them.

[Scene changes to show an enormous, multi-deck space cruiser, aesthetic in design. Cut to shot of interior. Everywhere is bright and luxurious, noisy and heavily populated. Casino type music is playing and the tinkling sound of gambling machines can be heard. The atmosphere is one of tasteless wealth. Passengers in richly ornamented clothing and over stated headdresses chat animatedly as they stroll the corridors.

Through a wide archway, a busy room can be seen with a stage at the far end. Upon this can be dimly seen, a troupe of female dancers at work.

One of them begins to remove a flowing cape from her shoulders and the crowd starts to get raucous. The scene changes dramatically to show a set of grey and dismal looking corridors. These are being traversed by a group of young girls who appear tired and worn. The sound of weeping can be heard from behind various doors as they pass. One of the girls turns her head to listen and a dim corridor spotlight outlines a set of vivid bruises on her face and neck. The scene cuts back to the Liberator flight deck.]

JAIN: ....not the nicest place to work.

GARUS: Was it really as bad as that! Why didn't you leave?

JAIN: I did.

MAGS: They don't sound like the sort of employers who would just let you go.

AVON: They probably didn't.

JAIN: No, they didn't. I escaped.

AVON: [suspiciously] Just like that.

JAIN: No, not just like that'. It was almost impossible for staff to leave the cruiser. The only way off was by arrangement with the management and that was only for staff who had either finished their sentence or had their contract bought out by a benevolent' passenger.

[Vila opens his mouth to speak.]

JAIN: Yes Vila, before you ask, they were sold into slavery. Sometimes by choice. Some even left to wed their creditors.

MAGS: So what happened to you?

JAIN: I met a young man who had just completed his training and was about to become an agriculturalist on a small planet in the seventh sector. I know quite a lot about both the history and the application of farming from my parents, Shonap and I became close. He offered to buy out my contract in exchange for a partnership.

MAGS: [Smiling] Work or marriage?

JAIN: Either, or both, whichever I chose.

GARUS: Don't tell me, I enjoy a good romantic accepted the dashing young man and lived happily ever after until he died tragically in an accident. Then you swore never to love again.

JAIN: Not even close. He was a good friend and he needed finances more than he needed a partner, I turned him down. Later, I talked it over with my cabin-mate, Adiehl. She was a year younger than me and was like the sister I'd always wanted. We discussed everything together. I've missed her so much.... [her voice falters. She swallows and continues] Adiehl was devastated by my reaction. She couldn't understand why I'd chosen to stay. The next day she made her own choice. Perhaps she hoped I'd leave if she did. One of the other girls came running to find me and I made it to the garbage room in time to see Adiehl leave, via the waste disposal chute, straight out into open space.

[Vila gulps as though he is going to be sick and Jain glances at him in concern.]

JAIN: No, it's not a pleasant way to die and it's even worse to watch. The garbage bay had a transparent hull. [angrily] I suppose they needed to see where they were dumping the things they'd wasted and despoiled.

[She shakes her head in frustration but then forces herself to calm down.]

JAIN: I made my choice the same day. I chose to survive. I persuaded Shonap to help me sneak aboard a shuttle that was leaving the next morning for a commerce planet called Skilos. He stayed on the Dardeeni, I didn't want to involve him any more than I had to. From Skilos, I managed to get a ride on a holiday ship that was travelling to a large tourist port. Then I simply worked my passage on a number of different freighters before finally settling on Cellastra.

MAGS: Didn't the management try to find you?

JAIN: [pause] I was...lucky. There was a murder on the Dardeeni the day that Adiehl died. I doubt if my disappearance was even noticed for at least a few days. I hoped it wouldn't be a priority after that.

GARUS: The Dardeeni! It did sound familiar, I remember it now. It lost a lot of its customers and most of its favoured reputation when councillor Garaveg was found aboard with his throat slit. As far as I know, they never closed the enquiry. He did seem to have a lot of well-connected friends back on Earth, for all the good it did him. [Cheerfully philosophical] Still, that's politics.

[Avon is watching Jain who has gone very pale but is staying silent.]

AVON: [thoughtfully] They never caught the murderer.

GARUS: Not as far as I heard.

[Avon smiles enigmatically and Jain looks across at him but still says nothing.]

VILA: Imagine escaping from a pleasure-cruiser, I've spent most of my life trying to get on one! I met a thief once, nice chap, said he'd been on a cruiser. He said the dancing girls were very accommodating. He said they'd visit the passenger's cabins for private entertainment, for a fee.

[Jain stands up and glares at Vila in disgust.]

JAIN: Not ALL of them! [she leaves the room]

VILA: No, of course not all of them. They must have over three thousand passengers on those cruisers!

MAGS: Vila! Sometimes you can be so tactless.

VILA: What?

GARUS: I think she meant not all the girls', Vila.

VILA: Oh? [in sudden realisation] Oh. You think I've offended her?

GARUS: No more than you usually do I'm sure my friend. You're not exactly a Prince Charming like myself are you?!

[He laughs and claps him on the back but Vila continues to look distressed.]

VILA: I didn't mean to upset her. It was meant to be a professional compliment. Some of the nicest women I've met were in the personal entertainments industry. How was I supposed to know that she wasn't?!

MAGS: You could have tried asking. [She turns to Avon] Do you believe her story?

AVON: [distractedly] Most of it is easily checked.

MAGS: What is it Avon? If you suspect something don't keep the rest of us in suspense.

AVON: You heard the same as I did. If you need answers you should ask Orac. I intend to.

GARUS: Well I intend to catch up on my beauty sleep before we reach Bartoc 4, everything else can wait. [He exits]

[Vila looks from Mags to Avon and back.]

VILA: Perhaps Cray has the right idea, though if he suggested it, it's probably a lot more dangerous than it sounds.

[He glances at the others again but they ignore him and he shrugs then leaves.]

MAGS: Avon...[He stares at her impassively]...never mind, it can wait. Your turn on watch I think. We'll talk later. [She leaves]

AVON: Zen, estimated flight time remaining on present course.

ZEN: Destination will be attained in fifty-three hours at current speed.

[Avon breaks into a satisfied grin and finally puts down the gun.]

AVON: By then, I will have my answers.

[End Credits]


Everyone's dialogue was very much in character, esp the banter between Vila and Avon. You get their style of speech down extremely well; I can just hear them as I read; not just spot on but often very funny too.

Of course I already knew the story, with a few changes in cast, from Neil's site. I like Jain a lot, and although she's an empath, she's an individual quite different from Cally. You manage to tell us a lot about her, not just her background story, but her character too. She seems, like Mags, a very real person.

I'm glad you liked the episode, it was the first one I ever wrote so it means a lot to me. Jain is very different from Cally but obviously with her talent being a mental/emotional one, there are bound to be some similarities and comparisons to be made. I'd like to think she has Cally's gentle nature but without her sense of righteous idealism.

However, just as I did when I read the earlier version, I thought Vila's complete and utter crassness *after* hearing Jain's story quite out-of-character. Yes, he's thoughtless and generally speaks before thinking, but he's also quite a sympathetic person. He'd already heard most of Jain's story  -  and been appalled at some of it  -  by the time he says:

VILA: Imagine escaping from a pleasure-cruiser, I've spent most of my life trying to get on one! I met a thief once, nice chap, said he'd been on a cruiser. He said the dancing girls were very accommodating. He said they'd visit the passenger's cabins for private entertainment, for a fee.

I could well believe him saying this *before* Jain tells her story, but not after. He's just not that thick surely, especially given that he likes Jain. Then despite all the dirty looks everyone gives him, he compounds his idiocy:

JAIN: Not ALL of them! [she leaves the room]

VILA: No, of course not all of them. They must have over three thousand passengers on those cruisers!

Yes, it's funny but out-of-character - at this point. I could believe it if the exchange took place near the beginning of Jain's story.

Sorry but I stand by the words and placement on this for the following reason;

Vila often offends people by not thinking before he speaks. Look at what he said about Servalan in front of Dayna during Deathwatch - "Her idea of chivalry is never to shoot a blind man in the back." True he apologised immediately but nevertheless it was a very thoughtless remark. If he could forget Dayna's presense/situation so easily I've no doubt he could overlook Jain's feelings when his memories of what he'd been told of Pleasure cruisers made him get carried away.

His second comment on 'not all of them etc' was due to his differing moral viewpoint. Everyone else, Jain included, thinks of prostitution as demeaning, degrading and to be avoided at all costs. Vila thinks it's a respectable job, exactly as he sees his thieving. To him it is perfectly acceptable that she should have sold herself to pass the time/make extra money whatever. It doesn't make her any less likeable as far as he's concerned, in fact it probably makes him respect her more because he thinks she's a professional and 'not just a pretty face.' He assumed that her reaction was actually because he'd offended her professional pride so he tried to make amends by stating that he didn't expect her to keep the entire ship entertained! I don't think it ever occurred to Vila that she wasn't a prostitute or that she'd be upset at being thought of as one. I'm sure he apologised later, once he realised that he'd hurt her feelings.

That makes a lot of sense, but does the reader know all this? Perhaps he could say so?

Fair point, I'll make a couple of additions to the script when I get the chance.

This is my only objection. I do look forward to seeing how you're going to use Jain. She has a lot of potential.

Yep she does but she won't be sticking around long enough to use much of it, not now anyway. It wasn't the right time for her to join the crew, she has to want to and unfortunately at the moment, she doesn't. However, she will be returning to the ship during series 6. (Next series.)


Jane's replies are in blue italics.