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Script for Countdown by Terry Nation

directed by Vere Lorrimer

(c) 1979 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a partial dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Format (c) 1993 by Susan Clerc and Micky DuPree.

Dramatis Personae:

Roj Blake Gareth Thomas Jenna Stannis Sally Knyvette Kerr Avon Paul Darrow Cally Jan Chappell Vila Restal Michael Keating Del Grant Tom Chadbon Provine Paul Shelley Cauder James Kerry Ralli Lindy Alexander Selson Robert Arnold Tronos Geoffrey Snell Vetnor Sidney Kean Arrian Nigel Gregory

Walk-ons: Derek Suthern Peter Caton Tony Snell Robert Smythe Ray Knight Len Gilbey Ernie Goodyear Peter Roy Toby Byrne NOTE _________ indicates an indecipherable word or phrase.

[Albian. Federation guards in black and rebels in green uniforms fight at a building entrance amid explosions, gun fire, and smoke]

[Federation control room, Albian. Tronos sits at a console to the left of the main door. Selson and Provine stand at another console to the right until Selson crosses the room to look into the corridor]

TRONOS Selson.

SELSON Sir.

TRONOS [Points to the screen on his console] That's the third staircase, isn't it?

SELSON Yes, sir [The console screen displays a metal staircase] They're getting closer every minute, sir.

TRONOS I can see that. [Selson crosses to Provine at the other console]

PROVINE Where are they now?

SELSON They're just about [Points to a spot on a grid] here, sir.

[Federation guards running in a corridor, pursued by rebels. Explosions, gun fire, smoke, debris, hand to hand combat. One guard manages to reach an intercom on the wall]

[Control room. The communicator chimes. Tronos and Selson pick up communicators]

TRONOS [Into communicator] Control. Mm. Right. [Gives Selson a data card which he takes over to Provine]

SELSON The Albians have broken though into the outer gallery, sir. The field commander reports that despite severe losses, our men are putting up a courageous defense.

PROVINE Yes, spare me the propaganda, Selson. Can he hold them?

SELSON He's concentrating what's left of his force to make a stand at level three, sir.

PROVINE If they beat him at level three, there's little margin left.

SELSON He'll hold them, sir.

PROVINE I'd like a little more reassurance than your blind patriotism, Selson. Put the status report on the computer and run a probability program.

SELSON Sir.

[More guards and rebels fighting in corridors amid explosions and debris]

[Provine in the corridor outside control room. He hears explosions, dirt falls from the ceiling, he returns to control room]

PROVINE [Enters] They're dropping bombs down the air shafts now.

SELSON Computer analysis indicates a ninety-three percent probability that the Albians will overwhelm our defenses and take control of the entire complex.

PROVINE On the evidence of that projection, we have no alternative. We must activate.

SELSON Sir?!

PROVINE Tronos, lock the door.

TRONOS Sir?

PROVINE Lock the door!

SELSON Is there nothing else we can do, sir? It means the death of millions. [He brings a box to Provine at the console]

PROVINE The Albians have always known the penalty for insurrection. Now they must pay the cost. [He has inserted two tubes into the console]

SELSON But sir, there's still a seven percent possibility we can contain the situation. Couldn't we wait a little longer, sir?

PROVINE No! Now, then, Tronos, you know what to do.

TRONOS I give you four minutes to reach the launch area, then I activate. I then follow without delay.

PROVINE Right. We'll see you at the ship. Four minutes. [Provine and Selson exit through a door in the wall, opposite the door to the corridor, into an escape tunnel]

[Selson and Provine in the escape tunnel]

[Guards and rebels in a corridor]

[Tronos in the control room. Dirt falls from the ceiling]

[Guards in a corridor pursued by rebels]

[Selson and Provine in the escape tunnel. Explosion]

PROVINE Selson! [Selson is down, apparently pinned by falling rock]

SELSON It's no good, sir. There's no way through; it's blocked. You must try and get back, sir -- you must try and get back and stop... ahhh...[Dies]

[Rebels in the corridor outside the control room, beating on the door]

[Scene cuts between the control room and corridor. Tronos mouths a countdown as he looks at his watch. He crosses the room. In the corridor, a rebel throws a grenade. In the control room, the door bursts open, Tronos dives for his gun, spins, and is shot]

GRANT ____________ [Grant, Cauder, and Ralli enter and move around the room. Tronos crawls up the console and reaches for a button]

CAUDER Del, stop him! [Tronos activates the device and collapses, presumably dead]

GRANT It's started. [The device ticks and displays a digital countdown -- 999, 998, 997]

CAUDER I always thought they were bluffing. I never thought that when it actually came to it they'd REALLY activate!

GRANT You'd better believe it, Cauder. Believe it and do something fast. [Countdown 994, 993] That thing is ticking away the lives of everybody on this planet. I'd say we have less than an hour.

CAUDER Ralli, get Vetnor up here -- I want to know exactly what we're up against. And then put out a general call for anybody who can give help.

RALLI Right away.

GRANT [Takes Ralli by the hand] And when you've done that, get this place cleaned up, get a casualty report, and get some Federation prisoners for questioning.

RALLI And while I'm doing all that, what are you going to do?

GRANT [Patting her hand] Worry, that's what I'm going to do -- worry.

RALLI You've got good cause [Exits]

GRANT Sorry, Cauder. I won you a battle, but I lost you a war.

CAUDER Let's get communications started.

[Exterior of Liberator]

[Teleport section. Avon enters. Blake and Vila are standing together, Jenna passes by in background]

AVON I've got the read-out you wanted on Albian.

BLAKE Good.

AVON Nothing very special. Temperate climate in the equatorial zone, but both polar regions are uninhabitable. Temperatures remaining close to absolute zero.

VILA Sounds bracing.

BLAKE Population?

AVON Approximately six million. It was colonized in the last century of the Old Calendar. At first they resisted political affiliation, but then they joined the Federation, and they have remained unswervingly loyal.

VILA Then they're not likely to welcome us with open arms.

BLAKE I hope we're not going to be there long enough to sample their hospitality. This is a fast hit and run.

AVON What are we after?

BLAKE A Federation officer called Provine. His service record shows he's served with Central Control. I hope he might be able to tell us quite a lot about where they've moved it to.

CALLY [Enters and puts data card on console. Jenna, seated at console, picks it up] There's something coming in from Albian.

BLAKE What is it?

CALLY Well, it's a very weak signal but as far as I can make out there's been some fighting. The main text is just a general call for technical assistance and it's repeated over and over again.

JENNA Could be some sort of uprising.

BLAKE [To Jenna] Get a locator fix on the signal.

CALLY It's already pinpointed.

BLAKE Well done. Alright, Avon, get kitted up. You too, Vila.

VILA Good, terrific -- I'm really looking forward to this. Danger, excitement, sudden death -- I can't wait.

BLAKE What's the matter with you, don't you ever give up?

JENNA That's it, Blake -- navigation plot completed. We're locked into stationary orbit within teleport range of planet Albian.

BLAKE [To Vila] Get your gear.

[Exterior of Liberator in orbit]

[Control room]

VETNOR [Straightens up from inspecting the device] I don't know, just don't know. Some of the circuitry's fairly basic, that I understand ...the rest --

CAUDER Oh, come on, Vetnor, there must be something you can do! This is life and death, it must be stopped!

VETNOR There is one thing...might just work. Might, I can't be sure. If I'm wrong --

GRANT We won't be here to worry, will we?

CAUDER Could it detonate?

VETNOR I don't know, there's always that risk.

GRANT Everything we've done so far has been risk. We're getting very close to nothing to lose. We've got to chance it.

CAUDER [To Vetnor] What is it you want to do?

VETNOR There's a main rotonoid link. If I cut through its primary impulse vein, it might break the circuit. Then again --

CAUDER It might not. We'll chance it. [Vetnor reaches into the console and drops a tool, Grant and Cauder exchange looks. Vetnor pulls out some wires and cuts them. There is small explosion and the ticking that marks the countdown stops]

CAUDER We've stopped it! [Countdown holds at 722...then starts ticking 721, 720]

GRANT It hiccoughed, that's all.

VETNOR Sorry. I don't know what else to try.

CAUDER That's alright, Vetnor -- you did what you could. We'll think of something else. [Ralli enters]

GRANT We've just taken another step towards oblivion.

CAUDER What do you want, Ralli?

RALLI We've got some prisoners. You said you wanted to question.

CAUDER Yes, I do! Is Space Major Provine amongst them?

RALLI Well if he is he hasn't been identified yet. I've got men checking the prisoners' identity papers. [Provine is listening to them from the escape tunnel]

GRANT [O.O.V.] What about the dead -- are you checking them, too?

RALLI [O.O.V.] Yes, of course.

CAUDER [O.O.V.] Well, I hope for all our sakes' he has survived. If he has, we have to find him -- he's the only one who knows the complete system.

GRANT [O.O.V.] How will we know him if we find him?

CAUDER [O.O.V.] By his identity papers and his uniform. As far as I know, none of our people have seen him.

GRANT Come on, let's get the questioning started.

CAUDER Ralli, you go through those files. Find the plans for that thing. [Grant and Cauder leave]

RALLI Alright, Vetnor.

VETNOR I'm sorry I couldn't do the job. It needs tools I haven't got.

RALLI Well, you'd better go and help look for prisoners.

VETNOR Right. [Leaves]

[In the tunnel, Provine hides his identity card under a rock]

[Exterior shot of Liberator in orbit]

[Teleport section. Blake hands over a plastic sheet to Jenna and Cally, who sit at the console]

BLAKE Can you correlate the locator fix to this. [Jenna moves some levers and a light dot moves on the grid]

JENNA How about this?

BLAKE But that puts it right in the middle of the Federation defense complex.

CALLY Well, we can put you one half co-ordinate point to the fix. That will put you down in the outer limits of the complex.

BLAKE That'll do. Let's go. Come on, Vila.

VOILA You're quite sure you need me?

BLAKE Certain.

AVON Doesn't it make you feel good to be wanted?

VILA I've been a wanted man all my life. What I need now is to be unwanted.

BLAKE Come on. Put us down, Jenna.

JENNA Good luck. [They teleport]

[In the complex grounds. Federation corpses are lying about]

AVON It must have been quite a fight. These men are from the Federation Space Assault Force. They're crack troops.

BLAKE It's quiet enough now. The battle seems to be over.

VILA Just one thing we don't know: who won?

AVON Let's find out. [He starts to move off]

BLAKE Not that way. Let's look at some of the other levels first.

VILA Why?

BLAKE I'd rather not meet anyone until we get the geography of this place sorted out. Men fresh from a battle tend to be a little trigger happy. [There are sounds of guns firing in the background. He moves off]

VILA Trigger happy?

AVON It would be stupid to be shot up by our own allies. [Follows Blake]

VILA Not only stupid, painful.

[Blake, Avon, and Vila in a corridor. Blake tries a door]

BLAKE It's locked.

VILA Allow me. [He opens it] You see -- the old magic's still there.

AVON [To Blake] The old ego, too. [They enter the room and Avon turns on the lights]

VILA It's a rocket launch pad!

BLAKE [To Avon] What do you make of it?

AVON I'm not sure.

BLAKE [Follows Avon to side of rocket] Vila, take a look around.

AVON [Apparently reading from far side of rocket] This is the specification. It's fast but short-range. It has a life-support capability of about a hundred space hours.

BLAKE But the nearest habitable planet to Albian is over five hundred space hours away.

AVON Then it would probably have to rendez-vous with a mother ship.

BLAKE Or come back to Albian. I don't see the point in having a rocket like that here.

AVON Just in case of emergencies, perhaps.

BLAKE Come on, let's go. There's nothing else for us here.

VILA Blake, look!

BLAKE What is it?

VILA There's a sliding section in the roof -- they're launch doors [He opens and closes them using a control panel on the far wall]

BLAKE Why don't you do that again, maybe they didn't hear you. [Blake and Avon leave]

VILA Wait for me!

[Control room. Ralli is checking the files. Provine opens the escape tunnel door and watches her, then emerges from the tunnel, knocks her out, puts her into the tunnel, and closes the door. Countdown 587, 586, 585. Provine checks it and leaves the control room]

[Blake, Avon, and Vila walking in a corridor, weapons drawn]

CAUDER Stand where you are! Lower your guns.

BLAKE [He continues to be noticeably on guard] Easy now, we're not Federation.

CAUDER Don't move. Now who are you?

BLAKE I'm Blake. This is Avon and Vila.

CAUDER Blake? [He lowers his gun] You mean the Blake who's been giving the Federation so much trouble?

BLAKE We've certainly been trying and from what we see here, you've been doing the same thing.

CAUDER How did you get here?

BLAKE Our ship has teleport capability. We came down from the rocket level.

CAUDER Rockets? Where?

BLAKE Two levels up.

CAUDER [To Arrian and another who have been standing O.O.V.] You two: find that rocket and stay with it. If Provine's alive it'll be his escape route [They leave and Blake finally relaxes] My name's Cauder. I'm glad to see you, Blake, all three of you. We have a desperate problem.

BLAKE Can we help?

CAUDER If you can't, every living being on this planet will be dead within hours. Come with me. [Blake and Avon follow him]

VILA Oh dear.

[Provine hides in a corridor as Arrian and the other rebel pass by]

[Control room. Avon has been looking at the device]

AVON This is a solium radiation device.

BLAKE Solium?

CAUDER You know about it?

AVON Enough to know that it's deadly. Once in fission it creates intense radiation. It destroys living tissue instantly.

CAUDER That's right, and the Federation made us understand exactly its effects, left us in no doubt if we mounted any major rebellion they wouldn't hesitate to use it.

VILA But to blow up the whole planet, destroy everything's that's here -- that's stupid.

AVON But they don't blow it up, that's the point. Solium itself produces a very small explosion and the radiation fall-out decays rapidly. They could wipe out a whole population and still leave the buildings and the installations intact. In less than a day there is no trace of any radiation.

BLAKE See what you can do with it. Typical Federation policy: things are more important than people. [He and Cauder sit at a table]

CAUDER The Federation was bleeding us dry. They levied impossible demands on our economy, gave us no voice in our own government. We were little better than slaves on our own planet.

BLAKE It's a familiar pattern. Go on.

CAUDER So we decided to cede from the Federation. Oh, we tried to do it legally, went through all the normal diplomatic patterns, through all the interplanetary laws, but none of it did any good. They declared a state of emergency and placed Albian under martial law.

BLAKE But policing a planet of this size must tie down a fairly considerable Federation force.

CAUDER No. They had less than a hundred troops here.

BLAKE What?

CAUDER They had an easier way to ensure our loyalty. Simple and terrifying. They installed THAT. [Gestures. Shot of Avon working on the device]

BLAKE Yes, must've been like living with a gun against your heads.

CAUDER That's right. And that is why we were finally driven to act. We knew the enormity of the risk but we had to take it. Somehow, I thought when it came to it, they wouldn't detonate, I thought they were bluffing. I was wrong. Now unless we can deactivate that, millions will pay for my mistake.

AVON I can dismantle the solium device, but first of all I have to find it. This isn't it.

CAUDER What?

AVON It is a subetheric transmitter that activates remotely. The bomb itself could be anything up to ten thousand miles from here, hidden anywhere on the planet. [Countdown 503, 502, 501, 500]

[Rebel in the rocket silo. Hears noise in hall and goes to investigate. Provine kills him O.O.V., then enters the room and unsuccessfully tries to open the launch doors]

ARRIAN You're not going anywhere -- Major Provine. The launch doors won't open; I've smashed the relays. Don't move! Just throw your gun down, carefully. There [Gestures to middle of floor] where I can see it. [Provine complies] Good. Now, we're going back to the control room and you're going to deactivate this device.

PROVINE I can't do that.

ARRIAN I think we can find ways of convincing you.

PROVINE I didn't say I wouldn't, I said I can't. Once the device is activated it can't be stopped.

ARRIAN I don't believe that.

PROVINE But it's true. It's out of our control now. Neither I nor anybody else can do anything about it. Now. You listen to me. You can give yourself a chance. You don't have to die here with the rest of them.

ARRIAN What do you mean?

PROVINE Help me repair the relay. It's a Stadler link, isn't it? Well, there must be a spare in the technical stores, mustn't there?

ARRIAN Maybe.

PROVINE Help me find it and we can get the launch doors open. Once we get this ship into orbit, we'll be safe. We can stay out in space until the radiation decays and then return in perfect safety.

ARRIAN Return to what?

PROVINE This planet is important to the Federation. They'll bring in settlers, repopulate it. You could play an important part in that. You could have power, position. Help me now and you won't find the Federation ungrateful.

ARRIAN And my family, my friends?

PROVINE I'm afraid there's nothing you can do to help them now. Be sensible; to stay here and die with them achieves nothing.

ARRIAN You think I could live, knowing I'd helped a man who'd murdered an entire world? No, Provine, you're not going anywhere. You're going to stay here and die with the rest of us. Now move.

PROVINE No, wait.

ARRIAN Now move!

PROVINE You're a fool. [He moves to the door and reaches for the panel, hesitates]

ARRIAN The door. [Provine touches the lowest portion of the panel and the rocket exhausts flare. He retrieves his gun and kills the Arrian after a brief struggle. Provine then begins to leave, goes back for the damaged relay circuit, begins to leave again, looks from his uniform to Arrian's, then begins undressing them both]

[Control room]

BLAKE If there is any information on the location of the device --

CAUDER But there must be!

BLAKE Then the obvious place is the safe. Vila, can you crack it?

VILA It's a tough one, but I've got the combination.

CAUDER You have?

VILA Yes, but the buttons are sensitized to respond only to certain fingerprints. I've got to bypass all that before I can go to work on the combination mechanisms. [Goes back to safe]

BLAKE If anyone can crack it, he can. Breaking into a Federation stronghold must've taken some doing. How many men did you have?

CAUDER About a hundred and fifty. They came from resistance groups all over the planet.

BLAKE But you planned the organization.

CAUDER Initially, but it didn't take me long to realize I'd need a professional dealer.

BLAKE You mean you hired a mercenary?

CAUDER Yes. He organized the revolution on the planet Arcos, others before that. He has a very good record.

BLAKE Hmph.

CAUDER I made contact. He agreed to help, but demanded a very substantial sum.

AVON Mercenaries generally do.

CAUDER No, I think the price was to satisfy his ego, to prove he's the best in his field.

BLAKE He's certainly very good at his job to get your men in here. Where is he?

CAUDER He should be back. I'll fetch him.

BLAKE Oh, what's his name?

CAUDER [On his way out] Grant. Del Grant. [O.O.V., Avon? drops something]

BLAKE What's the matter?

AVON Nothing. It's not important. I was a little surprised, that's all.

BLAKE Why? Do you know him?

AVON I once knew somebody called Del Grant, but it was a long time ago. I doubt that this is the same man.

BLAKE You don't seem very eager to find out. Why?

AVON There are matters that remain to be settled between us.

BLAKE Like what?

AVON I told you: it's not important.

BLAKE If it is not important, then why did his name have such a strong effect upon you?

AVON Because the Del Grant that I knew said that if we ever met again, he would kill me.

VILA I've done it! I think I've done it. [He joins them, a box in his hand] I've isolated the identification sensors. It's straight combination now. Watch this -- it should open like a dream [He does something with the box and the safe explodes]

BLAKE [Coughs] More like a nightmare. [He and Vila pull data cards from the safe] They're all in code [Avon takes one]

VILA So are these.

AVON Give me a little time, I can decode it.

BLAKE Time is what we don't have. [Into bracelet] Liberator, this is Blake, do you read me?

CALLY [V.O., on bracelet] We hear you.

BLAKE Stand by to teleport, Vila's coming up. [To Vila] I want all that stuff run through Orac, I want the cipher broken, and a full read-out.

VILA Right.

BLAKE Ready?

VILA Yes.

BLAKE [Into bracelet] Take him up. [Vila teleports]

[Teleport section. Vila materializes]

CALLY What's happening down there?

VILA I'll tell you later, no time now.

JENNA Well, what's all the rush?

VILA There's a bomb timed to detonate in under half an hour. We don't even know where it is. Give me a linkup with Orac.

[Control room]

AVON We have now used up more than half the time we have available.

BLAKE Hm.

CAUDER [Enters with Grant] Blake, this is Grant.

GRANT Good to meet you. [They shake hands]

BLAKE And you. We've been hearing about your strikes against the Federation.

GRANT You've been hitting them pretty hard, too. You keep it up, you'll put us out of business.

BLAKE [Laughs] That I wouldn't mind.

GRANT If it meant breaking the Federation, nor would I. [Sees Avon]

AVON Hello, Del. It's been a long time.

GRANT I heard you were dead.

AVON I heard the same about you. Wishful thinking perhaps.

GRANT I'm glad the stories were wrong. I felt cheated. We have some things to settle.

BLAKE You two can talk about the old days some other time. Right now we have a problem that's just a little more pressing.

CAUDER What's the countdown?

BLAKE Four two five.

CAUDER It's getting closer.

BLAKE Vila's using Liberator's computers to try and decipher the code. It could just give us the location.

AVON I have found the circuit plans [Holds up plans. Grant joins him]

GRANT Yes, that's the detonator. A nasty one, tricky to disarm.

AVON You would have to take out the secondary circuit first, go in under here [Points to plans]

GRANT Hmm. Might work. Still, not easy. [The tunnel door opens and Ralli falls into the room]

BLAKE Cauder!

CAUDER Ralli! [They gather around her] Ralli, what happened?

RALLI Oh. I don't know. Someone came up behind me and just hit me.

BLAKE [To Grant] That's an escape tunnel. Come on. [They leave]

CAUDER You'll be all right, Ralli.

[In the tunnel, Blake and Grant find Selson's body]

BLAKE He's not long dead.

GRANT Get his papers. Where do you think this leads?

BLAKE Probably comes out by the rocket silo.

GRANT Hmm. Must've been trying to get to the rocket when the roof caved in. [Blake has retrieved Selson's papers and handed them to Grant]

BLAKE Who is he?

GRANT Selson, sergeant, security forces.

BLAKE Hmm. Have you searched all the Federation dead and wounded?

GRANT Most of them.

BLAKE Any senior officers?

GRANT No.

BLAKE He's got to be here somewhere.

GRANT Who has?

BLAKE I came down to question a man called Provine, a Space Major. I think that he can help us with the whereabouts of Federation's Central Control.

GRANT There's no Space Major amongst the prisoners.

BLAKE Let me try this on you. The complex is under attack, your men have already penetrated the outer defenses. Provine decides to evacuate, he activates the device, starts down the escape tunnel towards the rocket silo. An explosion brings down the roof, and kills this one.

GRANT Maybe the other one, too. He could be buried further in.

BLAKE No, somebody survived. He waited his chance, went back to the room. When the girl came in and was alone --

GRANT He moved out and hit her. It makes sense.

BLAKE THAT was Provine.

GRANT If you're right, he could be still wandering around here somewhere.

BLAKE Yes, come on.

[Corridor. A rebel and Provine, now in rebel uniform, pass each other]

[Control room]

RALLI I tell you I saw nothing. The only thing I remember is a man in uniform. I just got a glimpse as I blacked out.

BLAKE He's got to be found.

CAUDER I'll organize a search party.

BLAKE [To Ralli] Come on, you need some rest.

AVON That last day, when it was all over, did they hurt her? [Blake passes by with Ralli in background]

GRANT They kept her under interrogation for nearly a week. They tried everything but she never broke. If she had spoken, told them what they wanted to know, she'd be alive now.

AVON She should have told them. [Unseen by Avon and Grant, Blake listens and watches them from a distance]

GRANT She held on because she believed in you. She didn't know that you'd run out and leave her to face it alone.

AVON That was not the way it was.

GRANT I know exactly how it was. She died under Federation torture. But it was you who killed her. [Blake's bracelet chimes and Avon and Grant turn toward him. Blake speaks into his bracelet while looking at the two of them]

BLAKE Blake. Go ahead, Jenna.

[Teleport section]

JENNA [Into console] That's it, we got it, Blake, the exact position of the installation. I'm sending Vila down now.

CALLY [Into console] Blake, co-ordinates are one eleven seven nine, intersect four forty-one.

JENNA Stand by, Vila.

[Vila teleports and materializes in corridor, enters control room]

BLAKE Coordinate one eleven seven nine, intersect four four one.

CAUDER Are you sure?

BLAKE Orac doesn't make mistakes.

CAUDER Then we're finished.

AVON What do you mean?

CAUDER Well, look at that. [Indicates a small screen which displays a tundra] It's the polar cap, right in the center of the ice zone.

BLAKE Then we'll have to get to it.

CAUDER But it's four thousand miles away. It can't be done.

AVON It can if we use the teleport.

BLAKE We can teleport right down to the location.

AVON We'll need special equipment, thermal clothing.

BLAKE We'll do it. [Starts to call the ship]

AVON Wait. Disarming a device is not your field. You finish what we came here for: find Provine.

GRANT [To Avon] I'll come with you.

AVON No.

GRANT I can help.

BLAKE Look, I don't know exactly what it is between you, but there's enough danger without letting personal grudges interfere.

GRANT That's something we can settle in our own time. Cauder, what matters now is that I can give this man backup. I've worked with timing devices. I know the mechanisms.

BLAKE All right, it's your decision, Avon. Do you want him?

AVON Give him a bracelet.

BLAKE Vila. [To Avon] Just one thing: if that countdown goes below fifty and the device is still primed you will be teleported out. Vila and I will do the same.

AVON Understood.

BLAKE [Into bracelet] Jenna, Cally, prepare thermal equipment. Stand by to teleport, Avon's coming up. [To Grant] One more thing: if anything happens to Avon, I will come looking for you. [Grant puts on bracelet and stands by Avon] Ready?

AVON [Into bracelet] Jenna, take us out of here.

[Teleport section. Avon and Grant materialize]

JENNA Is everything all right?

AVON Not exactly. I'll tell you about it some other time. This is Del Grant, this is Jenna. [Cally enters with suits] Cally, get me those co-ordinates. [To Grant] Put on one of those, you're going to need it. Jenna, I need some high-temperature lances. [She leaves]

[Escape tunnel]

CAUDER Any luck?

BLAKE He's alive. I know it. He's here somewhere.

CAUDER If he is, my men will find him.

BLAKE It's a very large area to search.

CAUDER Yes. What would he do? Where would he go?

[Provine in a corridor]

VETNOR Where are you going, soldier?

PROVINE Circuit maintenance, sir.

VETNOR Has this area been checked?

PROVINE I've been right through it, sir. Nothing.

VETNOR All right, come with me, we're searching the next level.

PROVINE Right, sir.

[Teleport section. Avon and Grant are suited up]

AVON You adjust the temperature with this [Points to knob on suit] You all set?

GRANT Well, uh... [Looks at gun. Avon gives him one]

[Shot of polar region]

[Avon and Grant materialize in polar installation]

AVON All right?

GRANT Yeah.

AVON Look for the lights.

GRANT Here they are. [Switches on lights]

AVON Good. [Indicates grates in the wall] Heaters.

GRANT I see them. [Moves to switches on other wall]

AVON That's better. Now all we have to do is find the device.

GRANT Right. [They search]

GRANT There's nothing here.

AVON Well, keep looking. [More searching] Grant.

GRANT Yeah?

AVON There's a relay cable here. I'm going to follow it. [Grant joins him by the wall] The cable goes down under here so it must be under this section. [He lifts a panel and touches the surface] Solid ice. Get the axe. [Grant hands him the axe and he chips at the ice] It's no good -- we're not going to get into this way.

GRANT If we stand here talking, we certainly won't.

AVON Get a space heater started. I'll put a lance into it.

GRANT There's mercury in that detonator. You burn your way in, you could trigger it.

AVON I know, but we don't have time to wait for it to thaw. Get started.

[Control room]

BLAKE The rocket. That's the key to it.

CAUDER Yes. I have men posted at the silo.

BLAKE He may try and get in some other way. Through the launch doors, perhaps. I think I'll take a look.

CAUDER Well, you better take somebody with you. There might be Federation guards on the loose. Ralli, find somebody.

RALLI Right.

BLAKE [Into bracelet] Blake. Any news from Avon?

JENNA [V.O.] They're down safely, that's all we've heard.

BLAKE [Into bracelet] Call me if they come through with anything.

JENNA [V.O] Confirmed.

RALLI Whenever you're ready.

BLAKE Thank you. Cauder, if there's still no news from Avon when that countdown goes below fifty, I'm pulling out.

CAUDER I understand. To stay with us would be a stupid gesture.

BLAKE I can take some of you off with me.

CAUDER No, not for me. I'll stay here till the end. Ralli can go if she likes.

RALLI No, I'll stay.

BLAKE All right, think about it. There's still time. [Leaves, taps the rebel guard on the shoulder to go with him]

[Polar installation. Avon and Grant are wearing visors. Avon is apparently inserting the lance into the ice -- lights and smoke]

GRANT Careful, you'll trigger it. [Avon looks at him and Grant moves off. Avon goes back to work]

AVON Done it. Get that table under the light. [Grant does, and also pulls some dangling chains out of the way. There's a rumbling noise] What's happening?

GRANT [Looks at the ceiling] The main roof beam's cracked...resting on the ice. If it melts any more, it'll cave in.

AVON Give me a hand. [They lift the device onto the table. Countdown 202, 201, 200]

GRANT Well, while it's ticking we're all right.

AVON We're going to have to take out the relays to get at the activator. Get the cutters. [Avon reaches into the device. Grant fetches cutters from tool box. Water is dripping freely from the roof. Grant gives Avon the cutters] Which one is it first? Left, right, or center?

GRANT Center first.

AVON Cutters. [Grant passes him the cutters. Avon cuts the center wire] Which next?

GRANT Right next. No, no, wait! I'm opposite you now. Left is the next in sequence. Your left.

AVON You don't get another guess.

GRANT Left. [Avon cuts the left wire] Next bit's straightforward. Do you want me to do it?

AVON Go ahead.

GRANT Hadn't we better turn the heaters off?

AVON It depends which you prefer: being crushed or frozen to death?

[Control room]

RALLI These are some more Federation personnel files. Any use to you?

VILA Yes, I'll check them. No. No. No. [He looks at the cards and places them on the table. The last one shows a picture of Provine]

RALLI That's Provine! That's his service record. [She picks up the card] That's the man I got to go with Blake!

VILA Which way did they go?

RALLI The rocket silo. [Vila runs to door, then back]

VILA I've forgotten how to get there!

RALLI The junctions of corridor eleven A, fifty-one B.

VILA Eleven A, fifty-one B [Runs out]

[Vila stops in a corridor]

VILA Five A, eleven one B...

[Blake and Provine walking in a corridor]

[Polar installation. Avon and Grant are working on the device]

GRANT It's getting cold again.

AVON You turned the heaters off. [Lifts top from device. Grant pulls out a cannister] Don't let it tilt, keep it level.

GRANT I must be getting old.

AVON Waste any more time and you won't get any older. Give me the extractor. Now.

GRANT [Hands him the extractor] There's one thing I never understood. Why did you leave her alone?

AVON I had arranged to buy some exit visas, but I had to go right across the city to collect them. It was safer for Anna to stay out of sight. Separator.

GRANT [Hands him the separator] What happened then?

AVON There were patrols out everywhere looking for us. I was late at the rendezvous. And then the man from whom I was buying the visas increased the price. He wanted ten times what we had agreed. He said he could get even more if he turned me in and collected the Federation reward.

GRANT You should have killed him.

AVON I did. Link clamp.

GRANT [Hands him the link clamp] So you got the visas. Why didn't you go back for her?

AVON Killing the dealer wasn't quite so straightforward. He was expecting something and fired first. I started back but I was losing a lot of blood. Somewhere along the way I passed out. I was lucky. Some people found me and got me under cover.

GRANT You could have got a message to her, told her to get out.

AVON I was unconscious for more than thirty hours. I need to hold this flap back. Get your hand in here. [Grant complies. He and Avon are standing chest to chest] That's good. You can get at the main now.

GRANT You used the visa and got out of the city. You left her there.

AVON That's right. But that was a week later. Anna was already dead.

GRANT You're lying. You left the city the same day, before the Federation found Anna. You could have got her out.

AVON No. She came looking for me, the patrols found her. It was only after we got word that she was dead that I left.

GRANT You expect me to believe that?

AVON Not particularly. But it happens to be the truth. If there had ever been a time when I could have given my own life to save her, I would have done it. The only grain of consolation that I have is that Anna knew that.

GRANT She died because of you, that's all that matters. There's nothing changed between us.

AVON I didn't really expect that it would be. That's the primary isolated. My fingers are cramping. [Countdown 150, 149,148, 147, 146]

GRANT Did you see the read-out?

AVON I did.

GRANT We're running it fine. There's a long way to go. [Looks over at Avon] I said "there's a long way to go."

AVON I heard.

[Vila running back and forth in a corridor]

[Blake and Provine turn a corner into another corridor and spot the rebel Provine killed earlier]

BLAKE That's one of the men Cauder sent to guard the rocket silo. Now where is the other one? [Enters silo with Provine behind him. Blake sees Arrian's body behind the rocket and bends down to check it. When he straightens up, Provine shoots at him and he dodges behind the rocket. Provine runs into the corridor looking for Blake, then re-enters the room. Blake grabs him at the doorway, they struggle]

[Vila outside the rocket silo. A gun fires inside the room and Provine backs out, collapsing against the far wall]

VILA Blake! [Blake comes out of the room] That's Provine. We found his picture on his service record.

BLAKE He's dying. [Grabs Provine's shirt front] Provine! Provine! The computer complex, Control, where have the Federation moved it to?

PROVINE Go to hell.

BLAKE You may still have a chance if I can get you to our surgical unit. Now where is Control, Provine?

PROVINE Star One. It's called Star One now. Docholli. Cybersurgeon. Only Docholli knows.

BLAKE Where is Docholli? Where is Docholli?! [Provine dies] See you in hell. [Blake and Vila leave]

[Polar installation]

GRANT [Lifts a component of the device -- three tubes standing upright in a round base] Sixty-three. Can we do it?

AVON It's still possible.

GRANT Blake said he'd pull us out at fifty. We won't do it in that time.

AVON Are you willing to chance it?

GRANT That's what these people are paying me for.

AVON Then give me your bracelet [Grant complies and Avon removes his own] Now he can't pull us out, can he? [Pitches bracelets aside] Right.

GRANT This isn't familiar to me.

AVON It's a new mark, but the principle is the same. There are three detonators, each activated by a plunger. If we enlarge these holes and then insert a rod, we can arrest the downward travel of each plunger.

GRANT A laser lance would be faster.

AVON It's too risky on this kind of material [Debris, ice, water fall from ceiling. Avon drills two holes in one of the tubes] I'm through. Give me a rod. [Grant does]

GRANT Will it be strong enough to hold it?

AVON It'll do [Inserts rod] All right, release the trigger.

GRANT Ready?

AVON Let it go. [The plunger drops and stops at the rod. Avon smiles]

GRANT One down, two to go.

[Control room. Blake and Vila enter. Scene cuts between control room and teleport section]

CAUDER Blake!

BLAKE What's the countdown?

CAUDER Fifty-three.

BLAKE [Into bracelet] Liberator, this is Blake. Do you read me?

JENNA [V.O., over bracelet] We hear you.

BLAKE Any news from Avon?

JENNA There's been no word at all.

BLAKE [V.O., over console] All right. Teleport them up. We just dropped under the safety margin I gave him.

JENNA We can't.

BLAKE [V.O., over console] What do you mean?

JENNA We can't make teleport contact.

BLAKE They must have taken their bracelets off. [Into bracelet] All right, remain on standby. We'll stay down here a little longer.

[Polar installation. Water is falling like rain from the ceiling. Grant shelters under a plank. Avon inserts another rod in another tube, then joins Grant]

AVON Two down, only one to go.

GRANT What's the countdown?

AVON Forty-one. I've left it for you. Look out! [Some of the ceiling collapses. One of them grabs the detonator. Grant is trapped by a beam] Grant!

[Control room]

VILA Thirty-nine, thirty-eight, thirty-seven... Blake.

CAUDER Blake, go! Leave us.

VILA Blake! [He lifts his wrist to call the ship, but Blake stops him]

[Polar installation. Avon ties a chain to the beam and starts to lift it off Grant]

AVON You all right?

GRANT It's no use, Avon. You don't have the time.

AVON [Stops hauling on chain] Hell, it's jammed.

GRANT Face it, Avon; we've lost the game. Find your bracelet and tell them to teleport you out.

AVON We're not done yet. I think I can still get at it. I'm going to have to crawl in over you.

GRANT I've told you you haven't got time, get out!

[Teleport section. Cally is tapping her fingers on the console]

JENNA Cally, stop that, will you, please?

CALLY I'm sorry.

[Polar installation]

GRANT What's the countdown?

AVON Twenty-five.

GRANT It's no use, Avon. It was a good try. Get out. You haven't got time. Nobody's going to blame you. [Avon drills holes] If the positions were reversed, if it were you under this beam, I might have left you, the way things are between us. Why are you helping me? [More drilling] There's one thing we've forgotten.

AVON What?

GRANT The last of the rods. I was holding it when the roof collapsed. [Countdown 12, 11. Avon spies the rod. Countdown 7, 6. Avon inserts the rod. Countdown 4, 3, 2, 1. The last plunger drops onto the rod]

GRANT You did it.

AVON [Laughs] Yes, I did, didn't I?

GRANT Why did you help me?

AVON Perhaps because Anna was your sister.

[Exterior shot of Liberator]

[Teleport section]

GRANT Goodbye, Jenna.

JENNA Goodbye.

GRANT Goodbye Cally, goodbye Vila. And thank you.

VILA Any time.

GRANT I'll remember that.

VILA Oh, will you?

BLAKE All right, Jenna, take us on manual. Get us out of here.

JENNA Right. [She, Cally, and Vila leave]

BLAKE Avon. [To Grant] You're welcome to come with us if you want to.

GRANT Thanks, but no. They still need me down on Albian. Besides, I've got a pretty hefty fee to collect.

BLAKE You've earned it. Ready?

GRANT Yeah. [Looks at Avon. Offers his hand. Avon looks at it a second, then shakes hands, and gives a slight nod]

BLAKE Good luck. [Teleports Grant]

[Exterior shot of Liberator leaving orbit]

[Teleport section]

BLAKE Are you going to tell me about Anna?

AVON You wouldn't understand.

BLAKE Wouldn't I?

AVON I doubt it. [Turns and leaves]

[Blake smiles] Script Index

Back to B7 Top

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