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Script for Killer by Robert Holmes

(c) 1979 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Format (c) 1992 by Frances Teagle and Micky DuPree.

NOTE: An attempt has been made to indicate the complex cutting between laboratories, offices and corridors via close circuit monitor screens and intercoms.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Roj Blake Kerr Avon Jenna Stannis Vila Restal Cally Zen Orac Dr. Bellfriar Gambrill Tynus Tak Second Pathologist Wiler Dr. Bax

[Liberator teleport room] AVON Do you know where we want to be? CALLY Yes. AVON Let me see you locate it [she demonstrates] All right, make it quick. [Avon and Vila teleport. They materialize in marshland Q-Base dome is in the distance] VILA So that's it. AVON Uhuh. VILA Not like home. How are we going to get inside? AVON We'll find a way. Come on. [They set off towards dome]

[Liberator's control room] CALLY [Entering] They're down. JENNA What? CALLY Avon and Vila, they're a mile from the Q-Base. BLAKE Just a minute. [concentrating on detector] CALLY What is it? JENNA We've picked somthing up. BLAKE We think. JENNA I'll swear it's moving. BLAKE Zen, give us optimum range on the aft scanners. ZEN Confirmed. [screen shows long distance moving object] JENNA There it is, look, the spectro says it's ferrous. BLAKE Could still be a meteor a long way off. Clear vision. ZEN Confirmed. CALLY It's certainly not a meteor. [space craft shown on screen] BLAKE Incredible! JENNA Well, what is it? BLAKE Probably the oldest ship you'll ever see, Wanderer class, the first Earth ships to reach deep space. JENNA So how old? BLAKE Six, seven hundred years. Close vision. [close-up of spacecraft] JENNA It's hardly moving. BLAKE They were slow, Jenna, infraluminal. Question is, how did it get here? JENNA Well, what do you mean? BLAKE Well, even travelling at maximum speed it would take - what - three thousand years for one of those things to get this far out. CALLY It must have been lifted here. BLAKE And then set adrift? Why? JENNA I think we should take a look. CALLY No. JENNA Oh Cally, there can hardly be any danger. CALLY I detect life. BLAKE Human life? CALLY Yes. Oh I don't know, there is something. I'm confused.

[Surface - Avon and Vila crouch in grass as rocket is launched] [Liberator control room] ZEN Attention! Sensors indicate a surface launch. JENNA A missile? BLAKE No, it can't be. They can't have spotted Liberator. We've got the blind down. [launch appears on screen] JENNA There it is, look, just leaving the ionosphere. BLAKE They're sending up a salvager from Fosforon. JENNA Well, they'll get a surprise. Seven centuries. It just doesn't seen possible. BLAKE It isn't, and that is what is worrying me. [Cally puts her hand to her head in confusion] JENNA Are you all right Cally? CALLY They're ready. They're watching. BLAKE Who? What are you talking about? Cally, what are you picking up? CALLY I don't know, but Blake, there is something malignant on that ship.

[Surface - Avon and Vila reconnoitre perimeter, ending up in front of sewer outlet] AVON We can get inside through here. VILA Must we? [Avon cuts through grill]

[Tynus's outer office - he is sketching caged grasshoppers] [Tak enters] TYNUS Have you checked with Section Six? TAK Yes sir, there is something there. They're watching it sir, but it won't come nearer than two hundred thousand miles. TYNUS It will now Tak, Dr Bellfriar sent out a recovery team. TAK It's only a piece of junk. It's too small to be anything important. TYNUS Dr Bellfriar hasn't much to do, he should take up a hobby. Make sure he gets ground transportation and course co-ordination will you please? That's all. TAK What will Dr Bellfriar do with it, sir? TYNUS He'll bring it back to his laboratories and analyse it. Then he'll analyse what he's analysed. I could never understand why a scientist of his eminence should choose to bury himself here.

[Avon and Vila climb out of sewer, run across open ground, enter a building and get into a lift] AVON This is where he'll be. VILA How do you know? AVON He's the base commander, this the command centre, it has a certain logic wouldn't you say? VILA Well - he might be on holiday. [They exit lift] AVON [At a rack of protective capes] Put this on. VILA What do you call this, then?

[Liberator control room] BLAKE Orac, I want to tap Central Spacecraft Registry. Can you do that? ORAC Tap? What is that? BLAKE Obtain information from the records. ORAC That is possible, but it will take time. BLAKE I want the histories of every Wanderer Class One spacecraft ever registered. ORAC Very well. This information will be relayed as obtained through the auxiliary monitor. JENNA Still worried? It's not our concern, you know. BLAKE I don't like mysteries. Zen, range the aft scanners on that ship again. [Ship appears on screen] That salvager will be making hull contact within the hour. I think they should be warned. JENNA What about? BLAKE There's life aboard. JENNA Blake, that is a Federation base down there. The salvagers are manned by Federation personnel. BLAKE They're human. JENNA I need proof of that. BLAKE Cally is not often wrong.

[Tynus's office. Avon kicks the door in. He and Vila rush in.] TYNUS What do you men want? [Vila closes the door.] AVON Hello Tynus. TYNUS Kerr Avon. [He shakes Avon's hand.] How the devil did you get here? AVON Something called a teleport system. It beats shuttles. TYNUS Come into my quarters. It's safer there. Did anyone see you? AVON Well if they did, they didn't look twice. [They enter inner room, Avon goes to wash basin] AVON Do you mind? VILA We've just been through a pipe. TYNUS Are you sure no-one saw you? AVON We didn't hear any alarms. That, by the way, is Vila. TYNUS Yes, yes, one of your colleagues from the Liberator. AVON I see they're keeping you in touch. TYNUS Well, amongst other things Q-Base is also a radio link station. Fosforon may be a hole in the middle of nowhere, but we still get Federation gossip. AVON That's why we're here. TYNUS I don't understand. What do you mean? AVON Tynus, you really didn't think that I dropped in to talk over old times? TYNUS No. AVON Blake sent us. The Federation have started transmitting A-line messages using a new pulse code. We need to break that code. TYNUS That's impossible. AVON Not impossible, Tynus. Remember, we trained together. TYNUS That code is unbreakable without a TP crystal tuned into that pulse. AVON Exactly. That's what we've come for. TYNUS No, I can't do it. AVON You can. And you will. TYNUS It's more than my life's worth, Avon. AVON We need that crystal, Tynus. You must have a spare. They always supply two. TYNUS It's not that easy. I'm only the commander technician here. Federation Security is in charge of all sensitive stores. AVON I see. All right, the TP crystal is part of the A-line converter, is that right? TYNUS Yes. AVON Then it will have to break down. You can arrange a little malfunction there, then apply for the replacement crystal, we'll take the old one. We don't mind second-hand goods, do we Vila? VILA No, we're not fussy. TYNUS I don't think you know what you're asking. AVON I know exactly what I'm asking. [Bleeper sounds] TYNUS I'm wanted. AVON What's your answer? TYNUS I'll have to think about it. I must go. [exits] VILA I hope you can trust him. AVON I told you, he's a friend of mine. VILA Yes, I always knew you had a friend. I used to say to people "I bet Avon's got a friend, somewhere in the galaxy". AVON And you were right. That must be a novel experience for you.

[Tynus's office] TYNUS Where did this originate? TAK We don't know sir, the same message came in on all channels simultaneously. TYNUS Couldn't you trace the source? [writes a note] TAK We're trying sir, but the signal was so powerful that it knocked everything out, even the land lines. TYNUS Well, get this message to Dr. Bellfriar. I think it's intended for his department. [Follows Tak out of the door] Before you do that, make sure this message is A-lined to Federation Headquarters Command. TAK Right sir.

[Inner room] VILA All the home comforts. [Pours himself a drink] AVON Leave that stuff alone. VILA You live your way, I'll live mine. Mm, must be all of two days old. [Tynus enters, Avon points his blaster at him] TYNUS Nervous? AVON Just careful. TYNUS We've just received this odd message. I think it's from your friends on the Liberator. AVON [Reads from paper] "Advise your recovery team to proceed with utmost caution, derelict spacecraft may contain hostile life." What does it mean? TYNUS A few hours ago our detectors picked up some space debris. We send a ship to investigate. AVON Well, I suppose it could be from Blake. He has these generous impulses. TYNUS By the way, why don't our detectors pick up the Liberator? VILA Anti-detection screen, one of Avon's gadgets. We're expecting it to break down any time. AVON Let's get back to the TP crystal, that's what we're here for. TYNUS You know you're asking me to commit suicide. AVON Is there something wrong with your memory, Tynus? You owe me, remember? TYNUS Not enough to put my head on the block. AVON [To Vila] We were in a fraud together. When I was arrested, I kept my mouth shut. [To Tynus] If I hadn't, old friend, you would be sweating out the rest of your life on a convict planet, and that could still happen if I were to let the authorities know. TYNUS So that's the way it is? AVON Well, let's just say I did you a favour and now I'm collecting. VILA Nice. When Avon holds out the hand of friendship, watch his other hand. That's the one with the hammer.

[Dr. Bellfriar walks down corridor and enters his laboratory] GAMBRILL Ah sir, this came about the recovery team. [gives him note]

BELLFRIAR "Derelict spacecraft may contain hostile life" This a joke? GAMBRILL That's the message.

BELLFRIAR Who sent it? GAMBRILL Nobody seems to know.

BELLFRIAR What's Tynus doing? GAMBRILL Painting, I imagine. That's how he spends most of his time.

BELLFRIAR Oh, the man's space-happy, of course. This base is full of psychotics. GAMBRILL Do you think the signal is a hoax?

BELLFRIAR No, this message was sent before anyone could have known what that recovery team would find and it does say quite categorically "derelict spacecraft". GAMBRILL You're going to take it seriously then?

BELLFRIAR Well, I think it would be wise, Gambrill. Somebody out there seems to know more than we do. How's the recovery going? GAMBRILL In approach orbit, should be docking in about twenty minutes.

BELLFRIAR Good. Alert the station. We want full quarantine around the landing bay, the whole operation to be remote videoed. Everything we practised. GAMBRILL All right sir. [into intercom] Chief medic instruction, all personnel. Landing alert, routine one, full quarantine restrictions at the landing bay. [to Bellfriar] If there's anything in this message sir, I suppose this could be a little piece of history.

BELLFRIAR A high point in your scientific career, Gambrill. Just think of it, in less than twenty minutes you could be shaking hands with an exomorph. GAMBRILL Not if it's hostile sir, I've got my pension to think about.

[Tynus's office] TYNUS No! No, I can't do it. Apart from anything else, it's practically impossible technically. AVON It isn't and you know it. The crystal runs the spectrum from bands L to Y up to thirty thousand megahertz. All you have to do is mess up the feedback from the converter and the effect will show a fault on the crystal. TYNUS I see you haven't forgotten your stuff. AVON I don't see any problem. TYNUS The problem is getting to the converter. I can't do it. I'm the commander, if I were to be seen to get my hands dirty, people would remember. AVON Is there any time that the section is unattended? TYNUS No, it's manned all the time, three operators night and day. The only chance I can see... AVON Yes? TYNUS No, no I can't do it. AVON Would you rather the convict planet, Tynus? TYNUS Fire is the greatest hazard here, oxygen-rich atmosphere. If I started a small electrical fire near the section, the men on duty would run to their fire-drill positions. AVON Good. TYNUS That would leave the converter unattended for about ten minutes, long enough to give you the change to get a malfunction organised. AVON What will you be doing? TYNUS Directing the fire-fighting. AVON I shall need to look the job over first. TYNUS That can be arranged. VILA Avon, this whole thing is stretching out. Blake won't want to wait. AVON Blake will have to wait. How long before we get our hands on the crystal, Tynus? TYNUS An hour to check the course of the fire, make sure the malfunction is working. Then, of course, I'd better get Security to release the spare crystal, oh, I'd say ten hours at least.

[On Liberator} BLAKE Ten hours? CALLY [Over intercom] That is what Avon has reported. BLAKE That's a long time. CALLY Shall I call them back? BLAKE No. Without that crystal we'll never break the Federation pulse code. We need to read their messages if we're to stay ahead of Servalan. JENNA Sticking around here's no way to stay ahead. BLAKE Why? Zen's got the scanners at maximum range, the first sign of trouble, we pull out. JENNA If they come at us from behind Fosforon, they're going to be on us before we know it. BLAKE Well there's no chance of that, unless they already have our position plotted. JENNA Optimist! [Screen lights up] What's that? BLAKE We're tracking that Wanderer. I might go down there. JENNA To Fosforon? BLAKE As I said before, I don't like mysteries. Listen, Orac has done his stuff, the histories of every Wanderer Class One ever built. Orac, repeat the information you've just given me. ORAC The only ship not accounted for is K-Forty-Seven. That went missing seven hundred years ago in the vicinity of Sixty-One Cygnii. The names of the crew were Kemp, Wardin, and Tober. Furthermore... BLAKE [Disconnects] Thank you, Orac. JENNA Only three? BLAKE Well, those old ships couldn't take any more. Living in them was like living in a pickle barrel for thirty years. JENNA I don't know how they stood it. BLAKE Some of them didn't. Mind you, hibernation pills helped. BLAKE Does Sixty-One Cygnii mean anything to you? JENNA That's the Darkling Zone, isn't it? BLAKE Well, that's the poetic name for it, yes. No, it's the only region near Earth that's never been charted. JENNA Yes, I remember. A lot of ships have disappeared there. They think it's a centre of meteor storms. BLAKE That theory's running a little thin just now. If K-Forty- Seven hit the centre of a meteor storm, why would it suddenly reappear thousands of light years away? JENNA So what's your theory? BLAKE I'm not launching any theories till I've tested the water. I'm going to teleport down. JENNA What about Avon and Vila? BLAKE They've got enough to do. JENNA Yes, but what about Federation Security? BLAKE Well, at the first sign of trouble, I'll come back up. JENNA Look Blake, they know all about the teleport system. The first time they get your bracelet... BLAKE Jenna, I have been down before. I'm sorry. I will be very careful. JENNA All right.

[Corridor of landing area, a recovery team of four in protective suiting is waiting] INTERCOM Remote recovery unit Red Zero, approach on Site 5, boarding teams stand by. [shot of landing spacecraft] Approach complete, boarding team proceed. [team moves through door] [Blake teleports into corridor, fumes billow through door, making him cough]

[Laboratory] GAMBRILL Quarantine instructions have been carried out, boarding party are about to enter.

BELLFRIAR Good. Gambrill, who's that fool in the evacuation tunnel? GAMBRILL I don't know sir.

BELLFRIAR Well get him out of it! [monitor screen shows Blake in corridor, enveloped in fumes] GAMBRILL Come out of there you idiot. Come on, there's an access port right in front of you.

BELLFRIAR Find out who it is. GAMBRILL Hurry man! [to Bellfriar] Yes sir. [exits]

BELLFRIAR Vision Control, get me vision link to the boarding party.

[In corridor] GAMBRILL What the hell do you think you're doing, don't you know enough to steer clear of the exhaust vents during a landing? You could have got yourself killed in there. BLAKE I thought the ship was down. GAMBRILL The engines aren't vented yet. You're not one of our men. BLAKE No, I'm looking for whoever's in charge. I've got some information concerning that ship you salvaged. GAMBRILL Information? What kind of information? Who are you? BLAKE Don't ask questions, just take me to whoever's in charge.

[Laboratory - Bellfriar at desk in front of monitor screen] VOICE 1 Nothing here, power deck's clear. VOICE 2 Watch yourselves! Some of these fittings break off in your hands. VOICE 1 Must be stinking centuries. VOICE 2 Going up. Nothing in the forward compartment. VOICE 1 Bring the second spot over, will you. Watch it! [monitor screen shows interior of spacecraft] VOICE 2 Can't see a damn thing in this dust. Where are we? VOICE 1 Looks like the control room. My God! We've found a body here sir. Human, I think. Things aren't too clear. He's in a compression suit. [monitor screen shows head of corpse]

BELLFRIAR Any sign of life anywhere? VOICE 1 Nothing sir. We've been over the whole ship now.

BELLFRIAR All right. Put the remains in an anti-contamination bag. Bring them down to Dr. Wiler, will you?

GAMBRILL [Arriving with Blake] This is the one I've just fished out of the evacuation tunnel, sir.

BELLFRIAR Well? GAMBRILL Well, you said this base was full of psychotics, you wait till you hear this one.

BELLFRIAR What exactly is that supposed to mean? BLAKE I told him I teleported here. He didn't believe me.

BELLFRIAR Well, Gambrill's like that, I'm afraid. Lacks faith. BLAKE Defined as the capacity to believe what you know isn't true? Read this. [hands him note]

BELLFRIAR What is it? BLAKE The service history of that ship you've got in the landing bay. I sent you a warning about it earlier.

BELLFRIAR Where did this come from? BLAKE Central Registry.

BELLFRIAR Seven hundred years old? BLAKE Mm hm.

BELLFRIAR And just who are you? BLAKE Well, according to the Federation, I'm a political criminal. You may have heard of me. My name is Blake.

BELLFRIAR Yes, but then we're absentminded scientists, you see. In fact, we've forgotten your name already. Haven't we, Gambrill? GAMBRILL Whose name, sir? INTERCOM Dr. Bellfriar, they're now bring out the body. BLAKE Body? GAMBRILL I'll get down there now. [exits - monitor screen shows recovery team carrying bodybag]

BELLFRIAR That body doesn't look seven hundred years old. What made you think there was hostile life in that ship? BLAKE One of my crew comes from Auron.

BELLFRIAR A telepath? BLAKE Yes, she sensed something malignant out there. Not necessarily human. I think you'd better be very very careful, Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIAR We're always very very careful.

[Tynus, Avon and Vila wearing protective goggles enter the A-line room and look around. Avon deliberately knocks something off the front desk and gets down on floor to recover it, covertly inspecting circuitry. The technician stands up to see him] TYNUS Lacomb, message! [technician sits down, Avon returns object to desk and they leave room]

[Back in Tynus's room] TYNUS How do you feel? VILA Thirsty. TYNUS Do you think you can handle that? AVON Maybe. It's a new model, since my time. TYNUS No, it's just the way the converter's packaged. The circuitry's the same. AVON I shall need more than ten minutes. TYNUS That's all the time you've got, Avon, and I can't even guarantee that. AVON [Grabs Tynus by the shoulder] Tynus, you will give us all the time we need.

[Mortuary - body laid out on slab, pathologist is preparing to start autopsy. Gambrill enters viewing gallery and switches on monitor screen. Two technicians join him] GAMBRILL There's nothing to see yet. [Technicians sit down, pathologist continues preparations]

[Laboratory - Bellfriar and Blake are watching screen]

BELLFRIAR Oh come on Wiler! He's a good man this, but he's slow, like all pathologists. BLAKE What's happened?

BELLFRIAR Well, it's standard drill with a space death. The autopsy's carried out in a sealed mortuary in case there are any alien micro-organisms around. Are you all set, Dr. Wiler? WILER I'll tell you when I'm ready, sir.

BELLFRIAR Thank you, Dr. Wiler. [to Blake] Do you want to watch this? BLAKE Mm.

BELLFRIAR So you really do teleport, do you? BLAKE Over short distances, yes.

BELLFRIAR Well of course, the theory's as old as physics, but I didn't know it had been cracked yet. BLAKE Liberator's a very advanced ship. Of course, you have to know the surface conditions, otherwise teleporting's a bit like a jump in the dark. You're quite liable to surface in a fission reactor.

BELLFRIAR Not a mistake you could learn by, really. WILER All ready, Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIAR Thank you Dr. Wiler, go ahead.

[Mortuary - Wiler starts examination] WILER Second Pathologist Wiler, Q Base. Autopsy report coded one four niner niner zero six. The clinical presentation is of a well-nourished male Caucasian, aged between oh, thirty-five and forty-five. There are no surface wounds or lesions that would indicate death by violence. I am now examining the clothing on the torso and upper section of the body. It's extremely old, it disintegrates when touched. Ah, there is a neck chain with a metal disc, which I now examine. The disc is embossed with a number, six figures, possibly a service number. And a name: Wardin. W-A-R-D-I-N.

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR Are you ... are you quite sure about that, Dr. Wiler? WILER [over intercom] It's slightly corroded sir, but it's perfectly clear. BLAKE Kemp, Wardin, Tober, missing in the constellation of 61 Cygnii, seven hundred years ago. WILER May I continue?

BELLFRIAR Sorry.

[Mortuary] WILER There is an old surgical scar extending from behind the left ear in the region of the supra mastoid crest, up over the cranium. [on screen in viewing gallery] The eyeballs are soft and the tissue of the upper extremities is also soft, and there is extensive maceration of the skin over the neck.

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR That's a degree of biolysis you get after one or two weeks, not after hundreds of years.

[Mortuary] WILER I now raise the left arm of the cadaver to examine the hand, the fingers are dehydrated and mummified and the nails are loose.

[Laboratory] BLAKE Suppose the body's been frozen.

BELLFRIAR What, cryogenically stored? BLAKE Yes.

BELLFRIAR Who on earth'd want to do a thing like that? BLAKE I've no idea, but it's a possible explanation, isn't it?

[Mortuary] WILER Before proceeding to examine the internal organs, I now, in accordance with the law. check the EEG reading to verify that life is extinct. Which it is.

[Seen from viewing gallery] WILER I shall now mark the tissue and blood samples for laboratory analysis. GAMBRILL My God! Look! [EEG screen blips wildly]

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR Wiler! You've got brain life.

[Mortuary] WILER That's quite impossible Dr. Bellfriar, may I suggest that you adjust your monitor. [noise of something falling over corpse grabs him by the throat, Gambrill kicks door in, technicians drag corpse away. Gambrill runs to outside intercom] GAMBRILL Dr. Bellfriar! Dr. Wiler's neck's broken.

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR I'm coming down. BLAKE Dr. Bellfriar! Look at the screen.

BELLFRIAR What? BLAKE The EEG screen. [it shows a flat line, cut to corpse lying on floor]

[Tynus's room. Avon is doing calculations at desk.] VILA Give us a smile. [tapping on insect cage] show us a leg. I wonder if these make good pets. AVON Vila! VILA What? AVON You're a fool. VILA Nerves getting a little frayed? AVON There are a quarter of a million volts running through that converter. I make one false move, I'll be so crisped up what's left of me won't fit into a sandwich. VILA I'm a vegetarian. Thanks for the offer, though. What did Cally say about Blake being here? AVON Something to do with that derelict spacecraft. As long as he doesn't mess up our job, I don't care what he does. VILA You don't have a lot of time for Blake, do you? AVON I could never stand heroes. VILA A quarter of a million volts and you're putting your hand in? AVON Ah, but that is self-interest. We need that crystal. Blake takes risks to help other people. Sometimes people he doesn't even know. One day that great big bleeding heart of his will get us all killed. VILA Unless somebody ditches him first.

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR Poor devil! His cervical vertebrae had been crushed as if they'd been in a vice. No ordinary human being could exert that sort of pressure. BLAKE It wasn't an ordinary human being.

BELLFRIAR It was the body of one. BLAKE I think it had been adapted.

BELLFRIAR What? BLAKE Well, when Cally detected life on that ship, at first she thought it was human, then she changed her mind and thought it was alien. I think she was picking up emmanations from a cybernetic implant.

BELLFRIAR Virology's my field, I'm afraid. I'm not following you. BLAKE Wiler noticed a surgical scar on the head, didn't he? Now suppose some control device had been linked into the nervous system, that would explain the electrical activity in the brain.

BELLFRIAR Yes, but it stopped and went dead, didn't it? BLAKE Well, perhaps its task had been done, the job it was programmed for.

BELLFRIAR Killing Wyler? It doesn't make sense, why kill him? BLAKE That, I wish I knew.

BELLFRIAR Oh well, I suppose now we've got have an autopsy on Wyler, as if we hadn't got enough to do. And what about the postmortem on Wardin? GAMBRILL [entering] I'm afraid we've got more trouble sir.

BELLFRIAR What is it? GAMBRILL The two technicians who went in to rescue Wiler, they've been taken ill.

BELLFRIAR They have? What's the matter with them? GAMBRILL They just started to act strangely, vague, wandering about, then they went into convulsions. They're in the sick bay now.

BELLFRIAR That could be a space contamination, you'd better get me the sick bay at once. GAMBRILL [into intercom] Biolab, get me Dr. Bax. BAX [on intercom] Yes Doctor?

BELLFRIAR Dr. Bax, those two boys you've just admitted, I want them isolated. BAX [on monitor screen] Too late, I'm afraid.

BELLFRIAR What? BAX They died within minutes of admission. Poisoned, I'd say.

BELLFRIAR Poison? BAX There's nothing else that fast. We've taken swabs, I'm running tests now. I'll let you have the results as soon as we get them. GAMBRILL Twelve to fifteen minutes.

BELLFRIAR Well, if it's a poison, it must be diapedesistic, something they got on their skins when they were bailing Wiler out.

BELLFRIAR Good God. BLAKE What about the four who went into the spaceship?

BELLFRIAR They're all right, I checked. BAX [re-appearing on monitor] Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIAR Yes? BAX Three of my men are showing signs of infection.

BELLFRIAR Good God! Well that knocks your poison theory on the head, doesn't it? BAX Maybe. I'm putting this whole sick bay into isolation as of now.

BELLFRIAR Do you want any help Dr. Bax? BAX It's a medical problem. I think we can handle it.

BELLFRIAR Very well. If there's anything you want, let me know. GAMBRILL I'll check in gnotobiotics, there might be more cases.

BELLFRIAR Gambrill, I want this whole section sealed off from the rest of the base. Absolute isolation from now on, prophylaxis of contacts, sterilization screens in every department. GAMBRILL Right sir. [exits]

BELLFRIAR Well, now might be a good time for you to leave. BLAKE No, I'm getting curious. [Bellfriar contacts Tynus on monitor] TYNUS Yes, Doctor?

BELLFRIAR Commander Tynus, we have an infection alert. It's nothing to worry about, but the landing zone is quarantined until further notice.

[Tynus's office] TYNUS What's happened?

BELLFRIAR We've had a few casualties. There seems to be a link with that spaceship we landed. That's all I know at the moment, we're working on it. TYNUS I understand. Good luck. [to Avon] That could help us. AVON How? TYNUS Only our section to handle the fire. Bellfriar's team's out of action. VILA You sure there's going to be a fire? TYNUS The thermal pack I planted should be going off any minute now. [cut to series of explosions in corridors - Vila and Avon put on capes and goggles] It's up to you now.

[Scenes of firefighting] AVON Come on. [they run down corridor and enter A-line room] Watch the door. VILA Avon! AVON What? VILA Why are we stringing along with Tynus? Look, we've come this far. Forget about setting up the malfunction. Grab the crystal and let's get back to the Liberator. AVON Use your head. If we take the crystal now, how long do you think it will take the Federation to figure out who's got it? Five seconds? They will merely issue a new pulse code and we'll be back where we started. Now get back to the door.

[More scenes of firefighting - a guard collapses from smoke inhalation]

VILA Nearly ten minutes Avon, get a move on. AVON All right, I think I've done it. VILA Hurry up.

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR Embalming fluid, as near as dammit. BLAKE Mm? What?

BELLFRIAR The blood sample Wiler took, these are the lab results coming through. GAMBRILL [Entering laboratory] We've got eight cases in gnotobiotics and several more in the main lab.

BELLFRIAR Well, have you traced the contacts? GAMBRILL That's the point sir, there doesn't seem to have been any.

BELLFRIAR But there must have been, somebody's lying. GAMBRILL I don't think so sir.

BELLFRIAR Well then, it must have spread from the sick bay. [presses keys] Dr. Bax... oh, come on man. [Bax appears on screen, he is dead, covered with blisters] GAMBRILL My God!

BELLFRIAR Nothing we know could do that. BLAKE How's it spreading, through the air? GAMBRILL Not necessarily. BLAKE It must be airborne. That would explain why the four that went into the spaceship were not infected, they had their own air systems.

BELLFRIAR Well, if it's a virus, its biotic potential must be incredible. I mean, to kill its host as quickly as that, it must multiply a thousand times faster than anything we know. GAMBRILL It seems to attach the nervous system, destroying the memory.

BELLFRIAR The memory? BLAKE What, just the memory? GAMBRILL No, no, that's the first thing; then the motor centre. Then there's a rapid rise in temperature and fulminating blisters all over the body, then the heart packs up.

BELLFRIAR Are the viral filters all activated? GAMBRILL We should be getting the first test results through any minute now.

BELLFRIAR Well, nothing we can do then, is there? Just sit here and sweat it out. GAMBRILL That won't be so easy sir. The men are on the edge of panic, you can smell it.

BELLFRIAR Yes, well we can't move towards an antiserum until we've identified the organism and typed its morphology. GAMBRILL There might not be that much time sir. BLAKE I presume the station is air-conditioned.

BELLFRIAR Yes, why? BLAKE Shut it down. If you stop the air circulating you might at least slow the spread of infection.

BELLFRIAR That's a good idea. [to Gambrill] Well go on man, get a move on. GAMBRILL Right sir. [exits]

BELLFRIAR Well, we're really going to have to sweat it out.

[Tynus's office - he is crumbling up charred material] TYNUS Have you fixed the converter? AVON I reckon so. VILA You did a good job with that fire. TYNUS Yes, it went better than I planned. It almost got out of control. VILA What's that? TYNUS All that's left of the incendiary mechanism, I don't want that found. VILA It wouldn't be recognised. TYNUS Maybe not, but there's no point in taking any chances. [drops pieces on table] Get rid of it. I'd better make my report to Security. Wait in my quarters will you, and I'll bring you back a food package. AVON Make it a big one. [Vila collects charred remains on a sheet of paper and slides them into bin, then looks at paper, spreads some ash on it and blows it off. He takes it into inner room] VILA Avon, come here! AVON What's the matter? VILA That old friend of yours should go a long way in the service, the further the better. Listen to this. [reading] "Servalan, Federation HQ, Urgent. Liberator in orbit, Fosforon. Detaining ten hours. Make speed. Tynus, Q-Base." [Avon crumples the paper.]

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR Well, I've worked in virology for twenty years. I've never come across anything like this before. If it does turn out to be a virus, it's going to make us change all our ideas. BLAKE Do you want to hear a theory?

BELLFRIAR At the moment, I'd listen to anybody. BLAKE My idea that Wardin was adapted. "Why kill Wiler?" you asked, why go to such lengths to kill one man?

BELLFRIAR I remember. BLAKE Wiler was killed to release the virus, to make people go into the sealed-off mortuary to help him.

BELLFRIAR What, do you mean it was a deliberate plan? That's a bit far-fetched isn't it Blake? BLAKE Have you ever heard of Lord Jeffrey Ashley?

BELLFRIAR Who? BLAKE Mm, pre space age, planet Earth. He was the commander of a British garrison in America, having trouble with hostile natives, redskins. Ashley ordered blankets from smallpox victims to be baled up and sent to the hostile tribes.

BELLFRIAR Germ warfare. BLAKE Uhuh.

BELLFRIAR You mean we've picked up a bale of blankets, do you? BLAKE Seems to make sense.

BELLFRIAR Sent from where? BLAKE May I look at your star chart? [gets it out] Here. Sixty-one Cygnii. You notice the area's not charted. I think there's an alien civilization, highly advanced, deeply distrustful of mankind, avoiding all contact, so that if our ships go too near, they simply vanish. I think K-47 was returned to us, baited with a skilfully preserved human being and loaded with a virus biologically engineered to destroy the human species. It's a trap we fell into with both feet.

BELLFRIAR Well you could be right, but the virus is an unreliable weapon. BLAKE This one seems effective enough. [bleeper] GAMBRILL [on intercom] Dr. Bellfriar, Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIAR Yes Gambrill? GAMBRILL I can't see us finding a vaccine sir. We've tried everything, but there's no way of processing these results.

BELLFRIAR What about the online console? GAMBRILL Dead, sir. Probably the fire. BLAKE You mean you haven't got a computer here?

BELLFRIAR Well, there are several of them on the base but they're not in the quarantine area. I can't get at them. BLAKE All right, give the tapes to me. Tell me what you want to know and I'll get the answer for you.

BELLFRIAR How? BLAKE On board the Liberator, I have the most advanced computer ever designed. The way the infection's spreading here, you'll all be dead before you're half way to getting the answer.

BELLFRIAR All right Blake. These data blocks contain lab tests on about five thousand micro-organisms. I need them scanned for known characteristics and the stranger, the paratype organism, picked out. BLAKE It shouldn't take Orac too long. Keep your receptor open, I'll set up a communications link.

BELLFRIAR All right. BLAKE Good luck. Cally, this is Blake, bring me up. [teleports]

[In corridor - men running in panic] GAMBRILL Where do you think... where d'you think you're going. Get back to your post. Tak! get back to your post! TAK I'm getting out while I've got a chance. GAMBRILL Orders are that nobody leaves this section. TAK To hell with orders! I'm not staying here to die. GAMBRILL Listen Cal... [staggers as Tak punches him] [into intercom] Dr. Bellfriar, Gambrill here. I'm in the observation room area. There's total panic down here. It's not just the technicians, the medics as well, they're all getting out, breaking quarantine.

BELLFRIAR Damn fools! They'll spread the infection right through the base. GAMBRILL I tried to stop them. They're mad with fear, they wouldn't listen.

BELLFRIAR Tell the guards on the main entrance, nobody leaves. They can shoot if necessary. GAMBRILL God! [staggers about] God! Tell the guards... [collapses and dies]

[Tynus's room] VILA I wonder what plans he has for you? AVON What? VILA Tynus. He hopes to get a medal for catching us, but he won't want you picked up, not with what you've got on him. I think you're going to have an accident, Avon. AVON We shall see who has the accident. VILA A man who sketches insects must have an eye for detail. He's probably worked out an ingenious solution. TYNUS [Entering with food packages] I've got one for each of you. Hydrolyzed protein. VILA Thanks. TYNUS I've got to put it in the oven first. AVON Don't bother. VILA Lost our appetites suddenly. AVON It's all this hanging about. When do we get the crystal Tynus. TYNUS As soon as the fault in the A-line shows up, then I can send to Security for a replacement crystal, but it all takes time. Relax, [bleeper sounds] you've nothing to worry about. [goes into outer office] VILA And if you believe that, you'll believe anything. TYNUS [In office, speaking into intercom] Plague?! [Vila and Avon open door and listen] VOICE Yes sir, it seems so. The men are falling like flies. The rest are cutting out, getting off the base. It's reached the security section, they're dying. TYNUS [Into monitor] Bellfriar, we've an epidemic here. What're you doing about it?

BELLFRIAR [Over intercom] There's nothing I can do. It's a new virus, we've got no defence against it. TYNUS That's ridiculous, you're the medical section. My men are dying, you must do something.

BELLFRIAR All I can advise you is to turn off your air pumps and order your people to stay at their posts. The less they move around, the better their chances. TYNUS But I thought you were supposed to be the greatest living authority on viruses, Bellfriar.

BELLFRIAR Apparently not. TYNUS I'm going to see that the Federation Medical Council hears of this.

BELLFRIAR I don't think that's going to matter to me, Tynus, or to any of us. [Tynus goes out into corridor]

VILA [In inner room] That does it! Let's go! AVON Not so fast. We came for that crystal. VILA Forget the crystal, they're dying like flies out there. Didn't you hear? AVON So there will be a lot of panic and confusion. Tynus will have his hands full. If we destroy the converter, destroy it completely, it will look like a result of the fire. When they come to rebuild it, they will not suspect that we have taken the crystal. VILA Well, you may be right. AVON Let's go. [exit]

[Laboratory] BLAKE [Over intercom] I've got that result for you.

BELLFRIAR Good man. BLAKE According to our scan, the paratype organism is number nine-two-six in your batch of samples.

BELLFRIAR Now we're getting somewhere. Nine-two-six. [goes to microscope]

[Liberator] BLAKE Dr. Bellfriar, anything else I can do to help? JENNA Obviously not. BLAKE I hope we got that through to him in time.

[A-line room] AVON Keep an eye on the corridor. INTERCOM Attention! All personnel are instructed to remain at their posts. The situation is under control. VILA Under control? You know this could be another Casarus. AVON What? VILA You remember the Casarus swamp fever, killed millions. AVON Well there aren't millions here, so don't worry about it. VILA Well I'm here, and I do worry about it. I don't like bugs. You can't hear them, you can't see them and you can't feel them, then suddenly you're dead. AVON We'll be out of here in a few minutes. Get back to the corridor. [exit Vila]

[Tynus enters his office, looks around for Vila and Avon and takes a gun from under desk]

BELLFRIAR [In laboratory] Beautiful! And so simple.

[Doorway of A-line room] AVON Detonator. [takes it from Vila and goes inside]

[Tak crawls by. Vila is hit on head by Tynus] TYNUS I thought I'd find you here. AVON I got tired of waiting. TYNUS Raise your hands. Carefully. [Avon does so.] Come round here. [Vila groans.] AVON So you're going to kill me? TYNUS It's nothing personal. AVON [Smiles] I shall try not to hold it against you. TYNUS You know too much about me. AVON I should have turned you in when I had the chance. [Vila groans again and comes in the door. Tynus starts to turn, Avon jumps him. They struggle. Vila draws his gun but wavers. Avon slugs Tynus, who falls on the machinery and is electrocuted.] AVON Thanks for your help. VILA Never come between friends, that's my motto. AVON All right Cally, get us out of here fast! [They teleport. There is an explosion]

[Liberator] BLAKE Well done. AVON I can't say that it was a pleasure. Now are we going to stand here and look at it, or are we going to move? BLAKE Why? VILA Tynus tried to trap us. He sent a message to Servalan. AVON There'll be a Federation fleet here at any time.

[Bleeper] CALLY There's a transmission from Fosforon. BLAKE Jenna. [she throws switches] Go ahead.

BELLFRIAR [In laboratory] Blake, I think I've found the answer. Too late, I'm afraid, for anybody here, but it's absolutely vital that you record the following information. BLAKE [On Liberator] Jenna. [she switches on recorder] you are being recorded doctor, go ahead.

[Laboratory]

BELLFRIAR Everyone who's been into deep space has had the Terran ague, or the three-day sweats as it's commonly known as. It's a sort of a mild infection, it slightly alters the body's nucleic structure, it seems to be a metabolic reaction to space travel. Well this new virus, Paratype 926, attacks those altered cells and acts as a catalyst, they burst and, well the effects are literally a series of explosions that race through the body's neural cell structure. The virus is easily cultured in human tissue or in nucleic acid solution. Now, here is the formula for the antiserum... BLAKE [On Liberator] Dr. Bellfriar, are you saying that this virus is only effective against human beings who've been in deep space?

BELLFRIAR [In Laboratory] Precisely. It fits your theory. But I don't think that the virus was designed to destroy man, merely to confine him to his own planet. Now here is the formula. BLAKE Go ahead.

BELLFRIAR H-N, H-N-O ... oh, My God! BLAKE Dr. Bellfriar! Dr. Bellfriar!!

BELLFRIAR I've forgotten how to read. [looks at his hands, covered in blisters. He groans and covers his face] BLAKE [On Liberator] Transmission ends. VILA Fosforon ends. CALLY It's no joke Vila. BLAKE Cally, Jenna, get the ship moving. I'm going to put out a plague warning. AVON Are you crazy? BLAKE I've got to warn all traffic to stay away from Fosforon until that virus burns itself out. AVON Listen, Blake, Servalan is on her way here. She lands on Fosforon, she gets the plague, she's off our backs for good. You cannot put out a warning. BLAKE Suppose some of them don't die. Suppose some of them get off in a ship. That plague goes out to all the galaxies, millions will die because of it. THAT is the one responsibility that I will not take. Zen, I want to put a plague warning transmitter into orbit round Fosforon, then set a course for the constellation Sauros, speed standard by ten. ZEN Confirmed. [Liberator turns] BLAKE There has to be a warning Jenna. There has to be. [Liberator gets under way]

Script Index

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