By Russ Massey

The first scene in which Cally is involved might well be before that in which she gives Roj the benefit of her boot-shod kick in the ribs. After Blake announces his intention to build a fire we see Avon and Vila scatter in a long shot from high above. Such a shot is usually a convention to indicate that the group are under distant observation without their knowledge. Is this Cally already watching them? Later dialogue indicates that she's unaware of the teleport, so she must have arrived at that very moment.

A few minutes later (Blake has a fire going, but Avon and Vila are out collecting additional wood) Cally makes her move to attack Blake. She approaches from his rear, making enough noise to alert him but not in time for him to avoid her kick, which sends him sprawling down a scree slope away from the fire and from Vila's toolbox. This is a mere few seconds after Blake has used his bracelet to communicate, and Cally must have seen that action.

Why did she attack in the way she did? Why not simply blow Blake's head off from a distance? Instead she risked a stealthy approach over loose rocks against an armed man (the Liberator handguns might be unfamiliar in type, but are evidently a holstered sidearm) who has companions within communication range. We learn later that she is on a suicide mission to kill as many Federation personnel as she can before dying, so what stopped her bypassing Blake to get to her target, or killing him from a distance and moving on?

The only reason I can come up with for her taking the risks she does is that she is uncertain of their identity and desperately hoping that Blake might be an ally. Blake is not wearing a Federation uniform, is beyond the normal patrol radius of the complex (by his own estimation) and acting in a strange manner seemingly designed to attract attention. If Cally was desperately lonely, half-crazed with fear and already hardened to taking suicidal risks then she might decide to confront this stranger in preference to killing/ignoring him.

Her attack is proficient enough. Blake is surprised and sent sprawling. Cally scrambles after and keeps him covered, avoiding the obvious attempt to lunge at her from the ground. Her first communication is a telepathic demand for identity: 'Who are you?' She repeats it three times in the face of Blake's silence, and even when Blake attacks her she refrains from violence against him. This is quite extraordinary self-control given the circumstances. She very definitely does not want to kill this man, despite her threat to blow his head off if he tries anything else. 'What are you doing here?' To me it seems obvious that she is hoping to hear a particular answer. She wants to be told that Blake is on her side - that she is no longer alone on an alien planet and shortly about to die.

Blake distracts her with a look behind her and then disarms her. I know that this a standard action cliché anyway, but it shouldn't have worked against someone concentrating on what they were doing. It can certainly be seen as an indication that Cally's mental state, although on the surface icily calm, is not all that it should be.

She curses Blake with her '...alone and silent' line. Bitter at her failure she swings from hope to despair. If Blake's not her saviour than he's the devil. He's Fed security and she'll die before she tells him anything. Blake's attempts to convince her otherwise are ignored. Blake reaches her psychologically in the only way he can. He returns her (temporarily) disabled weapon and turns his back on her, abandoning her as if she doesn't matter. Cally has time to think things through while re-enabling her rifle. She asks for proof that Blake is who he says he is. Note that Blake gives her none. He merely says that blowing up the complex should be all the proof she needs. Cally does another hope/despair flip-flop and transfers all her need for allies onto him.

When Vila startles her she doesn't shoot. Avon approaches, claiming to have had her in his sights all the time (unlikely give the relative positions of the slops and his appearance, but there you go). Cally is smiling in genuine amusement, either at Avon's claim, in recognition at her own vulnerability or in response to Avon's jokes at Vila's expense. The third option seems most likely to me. Cally had just gone out on a limb in her attempt to find help and anything would seem funny in the aftermath of tension and the backwash of adrenaline.

In the conversation that follows Cally seems almost to be boasting about her people when she explains their telepathy and quickness. She might be an exile, but she still has an evident pride in her origin and the accomplishments of the Auronar. She says that if Avon had engaged her she would not have died alone. Idle banter? Under- estimation of Avon? Actually it's not likely at this point that Avon would be all that accurate with a Liberator handgun. Since he was a good 20m from the action my money would have been on Cally's long arm.

When Blake asks what happened to the resistance she becomes defensive. 'We were getting stronger'. She says this as if she were being criticised and needs to justify the actions of her dead comrades. She claims that they were destroyed because they were running rings around Fed security, and the destruction of one of their complexes was the last straw. There is obviously some survivor guilt at work here. Cally needs to feel that her comrades didn't die for nothing and wants to show that they hurt the Feds. But she lived when they all died and this has made her self-destructive, hence the intent to kill until killed in a raid. She seems to show both surprise and contempt at Vila's evident worry about being killed. Is this a reaction to her own surprised desire not to die, or just the professional's disdain of the amateur?

What does Cally think of the group at this point? She has obviously accepted Blake as the leader. She telepaths to him alone when she agrees to guide them into the complex. It's not too surprising when you look at the dialogue. Blake is the one pressing all the right emotional buttons, stressing how he'll blow up the complex and has a means of escape. Avon comes over as a bit of a braggart and someone who specialises in black humour and put-downs. Vila is cautious and pessimistic - an obvious non-warrior type. Whatever she thinks of them as individuals (and she smiles at Avon's jokes on a couple of occasions) she joins them.

When the group prepares to open the security door leading to the generator Cally observes them all very intently (instead of keeping a look out as she is supposed to be doing). She must realise at this point that Blake's group haven't known each other well or long. Vila's skills come as a surprise, and the fact that a discussion takes place at all shows that Blake is more of an improviser than a planner. She still knows nothing about the teleport at this stage, but at no point does she query Blake's escape plans. This either shows an uncommon degree of trust on short notice, or she is still thinking of the mission as suicidal and has fatalistic assumed that they'll all die.

When locked in the generator room she rather surprisingly acts as Avon's assistant, passing him the tools he needs for the sabotage. Why isn't Vila doing this? Are Cally's 'communications' skills more applicable to the situation than Vila's security knowledge? Is it because her nerves are steadier? Is this early evidence of a fascination with Avon and his work?

Blake now provided her with a teleport bracelet, but still without telling her what it is. What would have happened if the group had been pinned down before reaching the generator? It seems a bit remiss of Blake not to have given Cally a bracelet straight away unless he was unsure about her until that point. As the guards break in and as the teleport activates we see Cally calmly facing the door with her weapon levelled. She seems fully prepared to die at that point.

She exhibits little apparent curiosity on reaching the Liberator. Granted there is another crisis to deal with, but I like to think that she has mentally prepared herself to die and takes a while (off screen) to return to her normal mental state.

On the Flight Deck her glance flickers around all the crew as if she is evaluating them before Blake makes the offer to return her to Auron. There is a slight hesitation before her reply, and she responds with a slight surprise that he'd even mention such a thing, as if Blake should be aware that her failure prevents return. Is this an act? Has she decided to angle to become a member of the crew, or is her story genuine? We know that it is later at least partly contradicted. I think it likely that Cally has become emotionally dependent on Blake, the man who has redeemed the loss of her companions and given her own life meaning again. Okay, perhaps I'm reading too much into too little here, but it's certainly psychotically justifiable.

Her last shot is in response to Jenna's comment as to the wisdom of bringing aliens aboard. She shows no reaction. It's probably the first time Jenna has spoken in her presence, and she probably realises it won't do any good to make an issue of anything until she's more familiar with the interpersonal dynamics of the group. Either that or it went completely over her head :)

Whew! That was a bit longer than I expected, especially since Cally only appears half way through the episode. Any comments welcome.

Russ Massey

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Last changed on 07th of April 2000