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Script for Assassin by Rod Beacham

(c) 1981 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a complete dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Format (c) 1992 by Frances Teagle, Micky DuPree and Amanda Rothman.

Dramatis Personae:

Kerr Avon Paul Darrow Vila Restal Michael Keating Servalan Jacqueline Pearce Del Tarrant Steven Pacey Dayna Mellanby Josette Simon Soolin Glynis Barber Orac Peter Tuddenham Verlis Betty Marsden Nebrox Richard Hurndall Piri Caroline Holdaway Cancer John Wyman Benos Peter Attard Tok Adam Blackwood Servalan's Captain Mark Barratt

[Scorpio in space - cut to flight deck]

AVON [Approaching Vila's console] I don't know what this is about, Vila, but for your sake I hope it is important. VILA It's important, all right. You all quite comfortable? AVON Vila! VILA Then, ladies and gentlemen, for your edification and delight, the voice you all know and love... AVON Vila! [Vila switches on recorder]

SERVALAN [VO] Utilizer to Cancer, Utilizer to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. AVON Servalan! SOOLIN Are you sure? VILA I called you at once. TARRANT Well now you've had your moment of glory, do you think we could hear what the lady has to say? VILA Oh, right. [switches on again]

SERVALAN [VO] Utilizer to Cancer, Utilizer to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. Utilizer to Cancer, Utilizer to Cancer. Domo the ninth, five subjects. Utilizer to Cancer... [cut off] TARRANT Is that it? VILA That's it, just the same message over and over again. DAYNA Well it doesn't mean anything. Utilizer, Cancer, five subjects - it's gibberish. TARRANT Domo the ninth? VILA Son of Domo the Eighth, presumably. DAYNA The ninth must be a date. SOOLIN Domo is a planet. TARRANT I can't say I've ever heard of it. SOOLIN It's a hostile planet near the edge of the sixth quadrant. About ten years ago it was colonised by a group of space pirates. They use it as a base to attack any undefended ships, loot them and auction the passengers off as slaves. VILA Auction! You're joking. DAYNA All right, so Domo is a planet, the ninth is a date, but who or what is Cancer? SOOLIN I don't know. TARRANT He knows, though, [looking at Avon] don't you? You know about Cancer. AVON Yes, I know about him. TARRANT So who is he? AVON I've no idea. No, I mean it. I don't know who he is, how old he is, what he looks like, or where he comes from, but I do know what he does. TARRANT And what's that? AVON He kills people - for a great deal of money.

[Federation cruiser in space - cut to control room]

SERVALAN The communications net is functioning perfectly. All right, Captain, we can get under way now. CAPTAIN Back to headquarters, Commissioner?

SERVALAN No. I want you to lay in a course for the planet Domo. CAPTAIN That's not a very healthy place to visit, ma'am.

SERVALAN I have a robust constitution, Captain.

[Scorpio flight deck]

DAYNA A hired assassin with Servalan as his utilizer - why? AVON I don't want to seem paranoid, but the tape said five subjects. You may use your fingers, if you like, Vila. DAYNA Well I suppose it makes sense. Why break her neck chasing us around the galaxy when she can pay a professional to do it for her? TARRANT Yes, but so what? Why should he find us any easier than she can? [To Avon] He's good, is he, this Cancer? AVON You can imagine how much it hurts me to use the word infallible. TARRANT Oh, come on. Nobody's infallible. AVON All right, then he's not infallible. It's just that up to now, he has never failed. TARRANT Do you know, I really think you're frightened. AVON Orac, have you been listening to all this? ORAC With interest. AVON What do you think? ORAC I think you're quite right. A degree of apprehension is not inappropriate. [Avon smiles slightly.] TARRANT He means what do you think we should do? ORAC I would have thought that was self-evident. You must find this Cancer before he finds you. AVON That's a splendid theory. Have you any idea how we should set about putting it into practice? ORAC You have a time and a place. SOOLIN Domo, the ninth.

[Later - Scorpio on the move. Cut to flight deck]

SOOLIN Avon, if no one has ever seen the man's face, how will we know him? AVON Perhaps we won't have to. If we're right and Servalan is going to be on Domo to give him our names and some form of down payment, perhaps we can handle this some other way. SOOLIN What other way? AVON Servalan has lived altogether too long. Cancer is a professional. With his paymistress dead, he will pack up his toys and go home.

[Scorpio approaching planet. Cut to surface - desert conditions. Avon and Vila teleport]

AVON [Leading the way up hill] Come on!

[They reach the top of the slope and cautiously look over. A group of pirates are disporting themselves. Benos quarrels with one over a game]

BENOS Look, when I say I win, I win. Right? [Knocks him down and kicks him - cut back to Avon and Vila] VILA Friendly looking lot aren't they? Are you sure you can manage them on your own? [Avon hands his gun to Vila] AVON Perhaps you'd better come with me. VILA Oh - well, if you like - but it's bad luck to change your plans, you know. I mean, once you've started. AVON [smiles] My hero. Just keep your head down and try not to panic. All right? VILA Good luck! [Avon slides down into a dry gully and walks along it towards the pirates] BENOS Well, well, well. What's this, a mirage? AVON [Feigning timid relief] Thank goodness! I'm so glad to see you. My space shuttle crash-landed back there. All my friends were killed. I've been walking all day. I wonder, can you please help me? BENOS Well - what sort of help were you thinking of? AVON Well, you know; food, water. BENOS Well, I think we can manage that, don't you lads? Food, water, nice dry sleeping quarters. AVON Thank you. It'll just be for tonight. BENOS Oh no, no, no, this'll be board and lodging for a lifetime. AVON I'm sorry, I don't understand. BENOS He talks very pretty, doesn't he, lads? That should be worth another thirty vems. Mind you, you're a bit skinny though, aren't you? [pawing Avon's face] I said, you're a bit on the skinny side, aren't you? [Avon knocks him down, then floors another pirate.] VILA [Watching from cover] Avon, don't make too good a job of it or we'll never get anywhere. [Avon runs away, followed by the group. He is intercepted by another and brought down with a tackle. He kicks the next pursuer away, but the others throw themselves upon him. Vila winces and slips away.] BENOS So, you're a fighter as well as a talker, are you? You'll probably fetch the best price of the day. Take him away lads. [sees Avon's bracelet on the ground] Just a minute, what's this then, eh? [puts it on] AVON It's nothing, it's of no value. BENOS Oh really? Then you won't be needing it, will you? [holds it up] It suits me, don't you think so? Right, take him to the cells.

[Scorpio flight deck]

DAYNA Tarrant, come here. TARRANT What is it? [screen shows a black ship leaving Domo] DAYNA What d'you think? TARRANT Hard to tell. Could be a pirate, could be anything. DAYNA Well, if it was a pirate, I'd have thought he would... VILA [VO] Tarrant, come in Tarrant. TARRANT About time. Vila, what's happening? VILA Mission accomplished. TARRANT Any sign of Servalan. VILA Look, just get me up will you? It's a bit uncivilized down here. TARRANT All right. Stop quivering. [Vila teleports] SOOLIN So it all went according to plan, did it? VILA Oh yes, wonderful. First they beat him to a pulp, then they dragged him off. TARRANT [Slight grin] It was his idea. SOOLIN He'll be all right. He's got his bracelet, he can get away any time. DAYNA Ah - they did leave the bracelet on him, Vila? VILA Er - yes, of course they did... I think.

[A cell - an old man is sitting on the bed. Avon is thrown in]

NEBROX Are you all right? AVON Well I have been better. [looks around] For one thing, the accommodation leaves a lot to be desired. NEBROX Well, one consolation for you, you won't be here long. The auction - they only hold them once every three months. You've arrived on the very day. AVON Well, I suppose you could call that a consolation. NEBROX And another thing. A fine, well-set-up young fellow like you, you won't have any trouble in finding a buyer. Whereas an old wreck like me, with no special skills... AVON I shouldn't think that bothers you too much. NEBROX Yes, but they only - they only put you up twice. Then they decide you're not worth your keep, and ... [makes the cut-throat gesture] This - this will be my second time. AVON Oh - I'm sorry. I wish you luck. NEBROX Thank you. My name is Nebrox, by the way. AVON Tell me, Nebrox, have you noticed any unusual activity on this planet during the last twenty-four hours? NEBROX [Sharply] Why? AVON Idle curiosity. NEBROX I thought so! You're no ordinary prisoner. I knew it the moment you came in. What are you up to? [ingratiatingly] You can tell me, I'm not an informer, I swear it. Have - have you got a way of getting out of here? AVON Well I did have, until some lout took a fancy to it. NEBROX Which lout? AVON A charmer called Benos. Do you know him? NEBROX Oh yes. AVON He took a bracelet of mine. Without it, I'm as stuck here as you are. NEBROX Maybe - maybe I could get it back for you. AVON How? NEBROX If I do, you've got to take me with you. AVON I'll think about that. NEBROX No, I mean it, you've got to promise. AVON All right. I promise. [sound of footsteps] NEBROX Shhh.

[Outdoor slave market - Servalan is sitting with the slavetrader Verlis, a middle-aged woman wearing an elaborate silver headdress]

SERVALAN It doesn't look as though you've attracted many customers for this particular sale, though. VERLIS Oh my dear, every one of those men is an agent for at least fifty potential clients. [Laughs] They inspect the merchandize and then report back to the client. [Camera pans across a row of exotically-dressed agents sitting on camp chairs] The client prefers it that way. He can sit safely and snugly at home and enjoy all the excitement of doing something illegal without taking any of the risks.

SERVALAN You mean they put in their bids by communicator? VERLIS Yes, sometimes the agents nearly have a stroke trying to keep track of the bids. You watch them, especially when it comes to the entertainers. The nouveau riche, my dear, they nearly fall over themselves bidding for them. Nothing they like more than to impress their noble friends by having tame singers and dancers on tap. [She and Servalan laugh.]

SERVALAN You're obviously fulfilling a deeply felt need, Verlis. VERLIS Oh, yes, I am, yes I am. I am a public servant. You didn't do so badly, you know. With a specimen like yours, you got a bargain.

SERVALAN It was a fair price.

[Cell - Avon is inspecting a bowl of mush]

AVON What is this exactly? NEBROX [Eating his] It's mangon. It's a sort of stew made from fungus. It takes some getting used to, but it's really very nourishing. [Hopefully] If you don't want it, I... AVON Oh you have it. [hands it to him] Eat it and good health. You were going to tell me about any unusual activity you'd noticed over the last few days. NEBROX Yes, well, yesterday morning when we were out exercising, a ship arrived. Federation, it looked like, but it couldn't have been, could it? Seemed to be a woman in charge. AVON What was she like, the woman? NEBROX Well, I didn't really get much of a look at her. She was tall, dark, obviously important and powerful. Why? Do you know her? AVON Oh, yes. I think we may have met. NEBROX Well then, this morning, another ship arrived, a black ship. But nobody got out of it, and no one was allowed near it, except this woman. She went on board, stayed for about an hour, and then she came back here, went into one of the slave huts, and she made a purchase. AVON What? NEBROX Yes. You see, a party of traveling entertainers was brought in about two months ago. She bought one and they went back to the ship. AVON Why would she do that? NEBROX I don't know. I don't even know which one it was. I only know that she took one of them back to the black ship and then she came back here alone. AVON What about the ship. Is it still there? NEBROX Uh, no. No, it took off just before you came in. I - I saw it from the window. AVON [Disgusted] That's wonderful. [Sound of footsteps outside] NEBROX They're coming to get us. The auction is starting. AVON Whatever your plan is to get my bracelet back, now might be a good time to put it into practice. NEBROX Mmmm? AVON You haven't got a plan, have you? [Suspiciously] Or perhaps you have. NEBROX I'll think of something, I promise. You can trust me, really you can.

[Slave market - Servalan and Verlis eating and drinking together]

BENOS [In background] Go on, move. Move!

SERVALAN Verlis! That man. BENOS Stand there! VERLIS Which man? [Benos brings Avon and Nebrox forward and removes Avon's shackles]

SERVALAN The young one. I want him. VERLIS I'm sorry, Commissioner. I can break the rules in private, not in public.

SERVALAN I want him! You can name your price. VERLIS You'll have to bid for him like anyone else. BENOS One moment, gentlemen. A late addition. Perhaps you'd like to send back a few details to your clients, especially the ladies. Now I know he looks soft, and he talks soft, too, but you can tell the ladies he's strong enough to work all day and still have plenty of energy left over for any little chores you might have for him in the evenings. [laughter] Now, what am I bid? TOK Valeria of Prim bids a hundred vems. BENOS One hundred! That's very good, but you're going to have to do better than that. Any advance? TOK Natratof of Gourimpest bids a hundred and fifty. BENOS A hundred and fifty. TOK Valeria bids two hundred. BENOS Two hundred! TOK Natratof bids two hundred and fifty. BENOS Two hundred and fifty. Any advance on two-fifty? Three hundred? Three-fifty? Four hundred? Four-fifty? [agents signal bids] TOK Natratof bids five hundred. BENOS Five hundred? He's worth all that for his lovely manners alone. Now will anybody bid me more than five hundred?

SERVALAN I will [pause] I bid seven hundred vems. NEBROX You don't want him Lady! Take me [rushes forward and kneels in front of her] take me, Lady. I'm strong, I won't let you down. BENOS Silly old fool. [hauls him to his feet] NEBROX Oh no, take me please. Please, you must - you must. BENOS What are you babbling about? [shoves him away. As Nebrox sits up he shows Avon that he has stolen the bracelet] BENOS I'm sorry about that interruption, gentlemen. Now Madam, where were we?

SERVALAN I bid seven hundred vems. BENOS Seven hundred vems, that's right. Now, any advance on seven hundred? TOK Natratof bids eight hundred vems.

SERVALAN Nine hundred. TOK One thousand.

SERVALAN Two thousand. BENOS Two thousand vems. It's with you, Agent Tok. Well? TOK No further bid, but my client wishes to protest at the irregularity of these proceedings.

[Scorpio flight deck]

AVON [VO] Scorpio, come in Scorpio. TARRANT Avon, what's happening? AVON [VO] Never mind what's happening. Just get me up as quickly as you can. [Cut to Domo] NEBROX You promised! You promised! [Back to Scorpio] AVON [VO] Cancel that. Someone get down here with a spare gun and an extra bracelet. TARRANT Dammit, Avon, make up your mind. DAYNA I'll go.

[Slave market]

BENOS Hey, what are you two up to? [rushes over to Avon and Nebrox. Avon knocks him over and floors another guard] AVON [Into bracelet] Now might be a good time. [To Nebrox] All right, come on, if you're coming. [As they fight their way clear, the other slaves get up and run away]

SERVALAN Avon. [Avon is forced onto his knees in front of her] AVON Servalan.

SERVALAN I think, if you don't mind, I would prefer my slave to address me as `mistress'. [Dayna teleports down, gun in hand, and aims at the guards, who back away from Avon.] DAYNA [Seeing Servalan] You!! [aims at Servalan, but is attacked by a pirate. She clubs him with the gun, then tosses it to Avon] Avon! Here. [As she draws her own gun, Benos charges her and knocks it from her hand. She somersaults away] AVON [Softly] Benos. [Benos looks round and Avon shoots him. Dayna grabs her gun, they race over to Nebrox] Put this on. Quickly! DAYNA Take us up *now*. [They teleport - Verlis drops her drink in astonishment]

[Scorpio flight deck]

DAYNA I almost had her. [Raging] I almost had her!! AVON Almost is never good enough. TARRANT Servalan? DAYNA Servalan. SOOLIN But what about Cancer? AVON Cancer came and went, in a black ship. TARRANT We saw it. AVON You saw it? When? TARRANT Not long ago. A black ship lifted out of orbit. AVON Do you think you can plot its exact course? SOOLIN Avon, there's no possible reason to assume he'd still be holding that course. AVON No, but we can try a sweep in the general area. That is, unless someone has a better suggestion. VILA You want to introduce us to your friend?

[Later]

DAYNA Avon, look at that. [stationary black ship shows up on screen] AVON Close scan. What's he playing at? [camera zeros in on crab logo] VILA Who cares. I never was much for games. TARRANT Do you think it's a trap? AVON Probably. But it's just possible that he's having trouble with his power systems, in which case, to coin a phrase, he is at our mercy.

[Cancer's ship - cut to interior - mostly black. Avon and Tarrant teleport in and look around]

TARRANT So far, so good. [They search the corridors] TARRANT Emergency lighting. Maybe the main systems *are* out. AVON Maybe you ought to send in your visiting card. TARRANT Well, if it's a trap, he knows we're here. What should we do? Split up? AVON No. Let's cover each other every step of the way.

[They move cautiously forward to the flight deck door. it slides open slowly - cut to interior. A dummy dressed in black is seated at the controls. Pan round to a man with curly blonde hair and a darker beard. He is wearing black with the crab logo on his chest. Pan round to a woman nearby. She is a small fluffy blonde in blue and she is obviously terrified. Cut to Avon and Tarrant outside the open door]

AVON Well, we have to start somewhere. [they rush in and fire at the dummy]

"CANCER": [Appearing behind them] Gentlemen, please put down your weapons [they drop them] It's a pleasure to welcome you aboard my ship. Please remain perfectly still. AVON Only a man. "CANCER": I'm sure you're as disappointed with your performance as I am, Avon. AVON Well, I've learned to live with disappointment. "CANCER": Never mind, you won't have to live with it any longer. [As he moves forward, Piri strikes him on the wrist and he drops the gun. He lifts her up and throws her away] PIRI <Shrieks> AVON Don't worry, I'll cover you. [Tarrant charges to the rescue as Avon picks up a gun. Piri watches the fight in horror as Tarrant gets the worst of it. Avon stands by calmly until he gets the chance to shove the gun in Cancer's face] AVON As I was saying, we all have to learn to live with disappointment.

[Scorpio]

NEBROX I do hope they're all right. AVON [VO] Cancer to Scorpio, Cancer to Scorpio. Are you there, Vila? VILA Where else would I be? DAYNA Are you all right? AVON [VO] Fine. We're both fine. I think our friend Cancer has a bit of a headache, though. VILA You've got him! NEBROX Oh, he really is *so* very clever. [Wails from Piri] SOOLIN Avon, what *is* that terrible noise?

[Cut to black ship control room]

AVON It's a little difficult to explain. Perhaps you'd better come and see for yourself. PIRI I'm sorry. I'll be all right in a minute. You must think me very silly. TARRANT Anyone's entitled to a few tears after what you've been through. PIRI I just didn't know what to do. TARRANT Listen, you saved both our lives. AVON And we're very grateful. Now if you could answer a few questions... TARRANT Leave her alone for a minute. PIRI No, it's all right, really. What is it that you want to know? AVON Anything you can tell us about *him*. PIRI But I never saw him before today. This woman came and bought me from the slave compound and gave me to him. He said - he said that he wanted me to help him to celebrate after he'd finished a job that he had to do. AVON That's all he said? PIRI Yes. That's what frightened me more than anything. Ever since we left Domo, he hasn't said a single word to me, just stared at me sometimes. Except when a message came through from that woman, then he said `So the prey has come looking for the hunter. How Interesting.' He stopped the ship and waited for you. AVON Did he say anything about meeting the woman again, for payment after the job was finished? PIRI No, nothing at all. I'm sorry I can't be of more help to you. TARRANT Look, do you think she could have a rest now? AVON I don't see why not.

[Soolin, Vila and Nebrox teleport aboard]

SOOLIN You have been busy. TARRANT Ah, [making introductions] this is Soolin. PIRI Oh, hello. SOOLIN Hello. VILA <coughs> TARRANT Ah yes, and the gentleman with the cough is Vila. PIRI Hello Vila. VILA Nice to meet you. NEBROX And I'm Nebrox. PIRI Hello. SOOLIN And this, presumably, is Cancer. VILA Doesn't look so terrifying, does he? SOOLIN So what are we going to do with him? AVON What do you think? VILA You're going to kill an unarmed prisoner? SOOLIN When did you get religion? VILA I'm a thief, not a butcher! AVON Just at the moment, we need him alive, for purely rational considerations. [to Cancer] Presumably, you have some sort of arrangement with Sleer, for reporting mission accomplished. A signal perhaps, or the time and place for a rendezvous. You wouldn't care to share that information with us? "CANCER": I've never killed for personal pleasure before, but in your case I shall make an exception. [Piri reacts with terror and runs into Nebrox's arms] AVON All right, this is what we'll do. Tarrant, Soolin, and I will stay here to wait for a message from Sleer, or the lady in person. Vila, you return to Scorpio and Dayna. Take Piri with you. PIRI Oh, can't I stay here? I just feel much safer somehow. SOOLIN What? After our friend's little goodwill message? TARRANT I'll lock him in the hold and check his ropes personally. She'll be quite safe.

[Scorpio - Dayna is listening to the communicator]

AVON [VO] I'm setting a trap, not holding a convention for liberated slaves. [Cut back to black ship] You could be in my way, Nebrox. On the other hand, you could be useful. NEBROX Thank you Avon. If I stay with you, after you've done what you want, couldn't you possibly take me home? I - I don't want to appear ungrateful. I know you already repaid me for saving your life, amply repaid me.

[External shot of Scorpio leaving black ship behind - Cut to Cancer's control room]

TARRANT Have you always been an entertainer? PIRI Ever since I was a child. My mother was a dancer. My father was manager for the troupe. TARRANT Ah. Are you a good dancer? PIRI Oh. I don't know. Well, I suppose I must be to have lasted so long in the business. It's very competitive, you know. TARRANT Oh I can imagine. SOOLIN [Sitting apart with Avon] Our little friend seems to be making a big impression on Tarrant. PIRI Your friend's very clever, isn't he? TARRANT Who, Avon? PIRI Yes. Isn't he? Well, you all seem to do what he says. TARRANT Oh, no, we don't. I mean, if we think he's right, we go along with it, if we don't, we don't. We're all free agents. PIRI Oh. I don't really like clever people anyway. They frighten me rather. Like - like that other one. TARRANT Look, do you want me to go and take a look at him? PIRI I'm really stupid, aren't I? TARRANT No, of course not, but you must promise to wait here until I get back. PIRI Oh I won't move. Promise. [Tarrant leaves]

[The hold - Cancer is tied up with thick ropes - Tarrant enters]

"CANCER": Don't worry, I haven't flown away. TARRANT I just wanted to be sure you are comfortable. "CANCER": Quite comfortable, for the moment, thank you. TARRANT Be sure to let us know if there's anything you want. "CANCER": You could give that little bitch a message for me. You can tell her I'll be saving her to the last. [Tarrant leaves]

[Control room]

AVON Come on, woman, come on! TARRANT This is crazy. You don't know when she'll get in touch, you don't know what arrangements they made. AVON You would prefer trying to beat it out of Cancer, I presume? TARRANT It's better than sitting around waiting for something that may never happen. AVON Cancer is not a fool. He knows that once he talks, we will have no further use for him. Whatever you do, I imagine he would find it preferable to suicide. NEBROX By the way, what's become of our little friend? SOOLIN She's found Cancer's cabin and made herself cozy for the duration. NEBROX Ah. SOOLIN Why? Do you fancy a little chat about the good old days on the chain gang? NEBROX Oh it's terrible to think of a poor little thing like that being a slave, don't you think? SOOLIN No more terrible than to think of you as one. NEBROX Oh no, no, I'm an old man. She's merely a helpless little child. SOOLIN Well, I expect a little suffering will have helped to make her a better artist. [smiles]

[A cabin. Nebrox enters]

NEBROX Oh there you are. PIRI Hello. NEBROX You're looking a bit bored. PIRI Yes, I am rather. How long do you think we're going to have to hang about like this? NEBROX Well, that's hard to say. Until this woman turns up, I suppose. Or until they get tired of waiting. PIRI Who is this wretched woman anyway? NEBROX Well, I don't know really. I only saw her once, on Domo. She looked rather formidable. PIRI Is she attractive? NEBROX Attractive? Well, yes, yes, in a hard sort of way. Now look, we must think of it this way. At least we're safe. And it's better than sitting around waiting for them to bring in the mangon. Don't you think? PIRI [Puzzled] What? Oh, yes, I suppose so. I'm sorry, I just can't stop thinking about that awful man at the end of the corridor. NEBROX Everything is going to be all right. We're all here to look after you. [Piri sobs] Would you - would you like me to go and take a look at him? PIRI Oh, would you? That would be awfully sweet of you. NEBROX Anything to bring the colour back to those pretty cheeks. [exits]

[Door to the hold - Nebrox looks through the glass panel. The door opens and he goes in and looks around]

NEBROX <shrieks>

[Control Room]

AVON I can outwait Servalan any day. And I'm prepared to do it now.

[Piri rushes in, gasping incoherently]

TARRANT Piri, what is it? What is it? That's happened? PIRI The hold, in the hold! AVON Let's go. [Avon and Soolin run out - cut to somewhere else, Cancer looks around, then conceals himself.]

[Hold - Nebrox is lying on the floor]

SOOLIN He's dead, I take it? AVON Oh he's dead all right. Question is, how did he die? SOOLIN I should imagine friend Cancer would be a master of unarmed combat. Few seconds pressure at a vital point. AVON Possibly. What do you make of this? SOOLIN What? AVON A red patch on his hand. Hardly a vital point. SOOLIN What does it matter how the poor old man died? The question is `where the hell is Cancer?' AVON Well we know where he isn't. He isn't on the flight deck, he isn't in his cabin and he isn't in here. SOOLIN Shall we search the rest of the ship? AVON Oh I imagine he would just love that, wouldn't you?

[Corridor - Cancer steals by]

[Control Room]

AVON It seems we underestimated Cancer. Somehow he managed to get free. TARRANT [With his arm round weeping Piri] I tied those ropes myself. AVON Nevertheless... And Nebrox opened the door. TARRANT Nebrox couldn't have opened the door. There's only one key and I've got it. AVON So Cancer is a magician into the bargain. The point is that he's loose somewhere on this ship - his ship, and we haven't the vaguest idea how to set about looking for him. TARRANT So how do you suggest we go about it? AVON I suggest we don't even try. I suggest we barricade ourselves in here and fly this ship back to our base. Once we are safely disembarked, Cancer can give himself up, he can or starve, whichever suits him best. TARRANT That's the nearest thing you've had to a good idea since this business started. AVON Well let's put it into practice, shall we? TARRANT Come on. [moves Piri to a wall seat] Just relax, everything's going to be all right. SOOLIN I've double-locked the hatch. He'd have to be a magician to get in now.

[They sit down at controls]

AVON Check sequence. TARRANT Ready. AVON Main power feed one and two. TARRANT Check - nothing. AVON Again. TARRANT Nothing. There's no response at all. AVON Try the auxiliaries. TARRANT Nothing there either. SOOLIN But there must be. The life support systems are working perfectly. TARRANT There's no response from any of the flight systems. AVON Like I said, this is *his* ship. TARRANT We've got to get the others back [tries communicator panel] The communicator's dead. It's stone dead. SOOLIN I wish you could have found a less vivid way of putting that. PIRI [Hysterically] He's going to kill us. He's going to kill all of us. SOOLIN [exasperated, gives her a shake] Oh stop it! PIRI You heard what he said, you saw the way he looked at me. He's going to kill all of you, one by one, and then come for ME! SOOLIN [Slaps Piri's face] TARRANT You enjoyed that, didn't you? SOOLIN There are two classic ways of dealing with an hysterical woman. You didn't really expect me to kiss her, did you? TARRANT Of course, you know what this is about, don't you? It's simple female jealousy. SOOLIN Oh, terrific. If two men don't like each other that's a rational judgement. If it's two women what else could it be but jealousy? TARRANT If you could see the way you're behaving. PIRI No, she's right, I deserved it. I'm sorry, sorry for being so silly. It won't happen again. TARRANT Right, that's it. AVON What does that mean? TARRANT If I'm going to die, I'd rather do it with a gun in my hand than sit around here shivering like an old woman. AVON Don't be a fool, that's exactly what he want. TARRANT After the hash you've made of this business, you're in no position to call anyone a fool. Anyway, if that's what he wants, let him have it. AVON All right, you've made your impression. You can sit down now. TARRANT What does that mean? AVON She knows that you are very brave. Now sit down. TARRANT [Temper rising] Avon, you're beginning to get on my nerves. AVON Oh really? TARRANT You botched this mission from the start. AVON You would have handled it differently. TARRANT Well, it certainly doesn't speak highly of your much vaunted brains. AVON Nevertheless, your little friend seems to prefer them to your equally vaunted brawn. TARRANT What was that supposed to mean? AVON Nothing. TARRANT I said what did you mean? AVON I meant nothing. Now sit down and stop behaving like a fool. TARRANT Avon, you're pushing your luck. SOOLIN Stop it, you two. You're playing into Cancer's hands. He wants to split us up. PIRI Don't fight over me, please! AVON [Rounding on her] Just you remember, you're only a passenger on this ship. Your unnecessary emotion only clouds the issue. SOOLIN Avon! Tarrant! AVON What is it? SOOLIN See for yourself [they look] He's shut down life support. [Red emergency lighting come on]

[Hold - Piri kneels by Nebrox's body]

AVON Presumably, wherever he is, he has some kind of breathing apparatus. SOOLIN How long can we last on the air we have now? TARRANT Not more than two hours. That means we have two hours to find him and undo whatever it is that he has done. AVON It looks as if you are going to get your way after all. [To Piri] You stay here. PIRI Don't - don't leave me alone, please. TARRANT She's right, we can't leave her here. What if he doubles round behind us? SOOLIN We can't cart her around with us, that would reduce our chances of survival to nil. TARRANT So why don't you stay with her? AVON And reduce our chances of finding Cancer by a third. Out of the question. SOOLIN Why don't we lock her in here? TARRANT He got out of the hold, he can get into it. SOOLIN Then just hope we can get to him before he gets to her. It's our only chance. PIRI Oh no, please. AVON She's right, it's the only way. Let's go. PIRI [Clutching Soolin] Oh no, no. I know you don't like me, but please don't leave me alone. SOOLIN Look, you'll be perfectly all right, it's a self-locking door and I've got the key. PIRI [Looking at Nebrox's corpse] Soolin please, don't leave me with him. I can't bear to look at him. SOOLIN Let's go. You can be sure he won't hurt you. [goes out and shuts the door] PIRI Soolin! Please, please!

[Corridor]

SOOLIN She'll be all right. [Piri's sobs can be heard] TARRANT She'd better be. SOOLIN Well, do we stick together, or what? AVON Given the time factor, it might be better if we split up.

[Hold]

PIRI Don't leave me. Please, don't leave me.

[Shots of Tarrant, Soolin and Avon searching, intercut with Cancer prowling. Soolin enters a store full of containers and looks around]

SOOLIN This is ridiculous. I must think. [holsters her gun and sits on a hamper]

[Shot of Tarrant - back to Soolin, a black-gloved hand puts a large electronic `spider' with big fangs on the ground. It moves forward. Shot of Avon searching corridors then Cancer stalking him. Back to Soolin, now sitting on floor, spider approaching her hand. Back to Avon, then Cancer standing by bulkhead. Avon passes by and is stunned by a weapon in a black-clad hand (Cancer's). Back to Soolin, shot of spider approaching her hand and preparing to bite.]

SOOLIN Of course! That's it! [jumps up and runs out, the spider stops and deactivates]

[Corridor - Soolin runs into Tarrant]

SOOLIN Tarrant! TARRANT What d'you think you're playing at. I might have blown your head off. SOOLIN Come on, let's get to the hold. TARRANT Why? SOOLIN Come on, quickly.

[Hold - empty]

TARRANT Well, I hope you're satisfied. SOOLIN I'm satisfied. TARRANT If anything's happened to her... I thought we'd decided he can't walk through walls. SOOLIN The door appears to be open. TARRANT Yes, and you've got the key. SOOLIN I had the key. I haven't got it anymore.

[Red-lit control room - Avon's face swims into focus as he comes round. He realizes he is strapped to a couch. He looks round and sees Cancer sitting rigidly nearby. Close-up of Piri, dressed in black, with her hair drawn up tightly into a top-knot. She looks far from fluffy now]

PIRI You're quite right, he's completely dead. *I* killed him. Pity, in a way. He was a fairly impressive specimen. AVON You killed Cancer? PIRI Oh Avon! And you are supposed to be the clever one. I *am* Cancer.

[Hold]

SOOLIN She took the key away from me when she was begging me not to leave her with Nebrox. TARRANT I don't believe it. SOOLIN In much the same way I imagine that she got it from you earlier. And when she'd done what she had to do, she put the key back in your pocket, when you were comforting her after she found the body. TARRANT I don't .... But then who is Cancer?

[Control room]

PIRI An actor, a professional entertainer. Purchased for me on Domo by our mutual friend Sleer. I thought he put up rather a convincing performance, didn't you? AVON I'm glad to see that you suitably rewarded him. PIRI He really believed that we were going off together when it was all finished. He was getting to be a nuisance, so I simply cleared him out of the way a little earlier than I'd intended. AVON How very tidy-minded of you. What about Nebrox, was he a nuisance too? PIRI He was becoming one. AVON Why didn't you let our "friend" finish off Tarrant and me when we first came aboard this ship? PIRI Oh no, that would never have done. My contract was for all five of you. I had to get you to trust me so that you'd take me back to your base, and I could simply pick you off one by one. Besides, that would have spoilt our fun. AVON Our fun? PIRI Oh yes. Utilizer, are you hearing all this?

SERVALAN [VO] Every word. I only wish I could see you as well. Congratulations Cancer, you are a credit to our sex. PIRI Would you like to have a few words with our friend, before he goes?

SERVALAN [VO] Oh yes. I couldn't let him go without saying goodbye. Avon. You're not sulking, I hope. AVON Mmm. I'm full of admiration for your brilliance. This was all a setup from the beginning, I take it.

[Federation ship flight deck]

SERVALAN Oh, yes. And you cooperated beautifully. Incidentally, the whole ship is bugged. It has been fun listening to all your little plans and squabbles. But I'm surprised at you, Avon. I would have thought you were the last person to be taken in by a pretty face.

[Control room]

AVON I take it this ship is under your control as well.

SERVALAN [VO] Oh, yes. How else could life support have been cut off when Cancer was with you all the time? And of course I can control the flight systems and communications. [Cut to Federation ship] Well, I'd love to stay chatting with you, as you can imagine, but I must let Cancer get on with her business. [Back to Cancer's ship] PIRI You're too clever, Avon, you and Soolin. With the pair of you gone, dear sweet Tarrant will escort me back to base and I shall simply pick up where I left off. AVON With the pair of us gone? PIRI Oh yes, I should imagine that blonde bitch is probably dead already. In fact, I'm sure of it. [Shot of the spider transforming into Piri's brooch. She shows it to Avon] Pretty, isn't it? I am disappointed in you, Avon. Cancer, the sign of the crab. It's been staring you in the face right from the very beginning. Fortunately, it has an inexhaustible supply ... of venom. Him, Nebrox, Soolin, and still more than enough left over for you. [she puts it on his chest, in transforms again and creeps slowly towards his face] Oh I wish that I could tell you that it's a painless death, but I'm afraid it's very much the reverse. On the other hand, I can assure you that it's quick. A pity Avon. I was looking forward to a real duel between the two of us, but a man's just a man, when all's said and done. Goodbye Avon. [Tarrant and Soolin rush in] TARRANT Hold it! [Piri turns to face him, Soolin rushes to Avon and flicks the spider off with her gun. It lands on Piri's arm and bites her] PIRI Arghhh.... [she writhes noisily on the floor for a few moments then dies in mid-yell. The spider drops off and Tarrant splatters it with his gun]

SERVALAN [VO] Cancer? Are you there? What's happening? AVON I'm sorry, Servalan, but I'm afraid your friend is feeling the pinch.

[Federation ship - Servalan is listening]

SERVALAN Avon. AVON [VO] She just had a fatal argument with her own little pet. Better luck next time.

SERVALAN I shouldn't start gloating just yet, if I were you. AVON [VO] You lost, Servalan.

SERVALAN Captain. CAPTAIN Yes Commissioner?

[Control Room]

AVON She's left the communication channels open. SOOLIN Scorpio, Scorpio, come in Scorpio. DAYNA [VO] Yes, what is it? AVON Reverse course immediately. Come back here, maximum speed. DAYNA [VO through lots of static] I can heardly hear you. VILA [VO] Say again Avon.

[Federation ship]

AVON [VO] Turn round and come back. The second you are in teleport range, get us out of here. [Servalan switches off communicator channel]

SERVALAN Prime all weapons systems and get this ship moving. CAPTAIN Yes, Commissioner.

[Shot of Federation ship turning]

SERVALAN [VO] How long will it take us to reach attach range? [Shots of Scorpio and Federation ship] CAPTAIN [VO] We're at full speed, Commissioner.

[Control Room]

AVON Any signal from Scorpio? SOOLIN Impossible to tell, none of the long-range instruments are functioning. TARRANT They probably didn't hear you. AVON Servalan did.

SERVALAN [VO] Avon, I've switched on your communicator again, just in case you want to say goodbye to your friends. AVON I don't think I'll bother just at the moment, thank you.

SERVALAN I'm sure you'll wish you hadn't said that. You have one minute. AVON Well, I don't want to seem pessimistic, but under the circumstances ... [they look at each other]

[Federation ship in space - cut to control room]

SERVALAN Prepare to fire. CAPTAIN On target ma'am.

SERVALAN Fire!!

[Ship fires a plasma bolt - black ship explodes]

SERVALAN Well! May I congratulate you on a job well done, Captain. CAPTAIN [Handing her a glass of wine] You don't seem altogether happy.

SERVALAN Oh, I'm happy enough. It's just that a universe without Avon and Tarrant will take a certain amount of getting used to.

[Scorpio flight deck - Dayna carries a tray of drinks]

DAYNA Feeling any better now? [she serves Tarrant and Avon, reclining on the loungers, then goes over to Soolin and hands her one] TARRANT I still think you left it to the last minute on purpose. DAYNA [Laughing] We weren't even sure we heard you properly. VILA But it seemed like a good idea to assume that we had. AVON It *was* a good idea. DAYNA Well, aren't you going to tell us what happened? Vila's very worried. He wants to know what became of that sweet little girl. SOOLIN Vila, all sweet things have one thing in common: a tendency to make you sick.

Script Index

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