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A Dismal Performance - B7 in The Weakest Link

By Marian de Haan
(Transmitted on Terran Federation Channel One, one year prior to The Way Back:)

PRESENTER: And now it's time for The Weakest Link, the longest running vizcast quiz of the Galaxy, presented by Ann Crusher. Watch and shiver!

[Shot of nine people sitting on couches and sipping drinks from large glasses. A curly haired man is talking earnestly with a large, plain looking man and a very thin woman with dark curly hair. A young man with flashing teeth is chatting with a short-haired, black girl. Two blond women, one with long straight hair and the other with shoulder-length curls, are entertained by a small man of non-descript appearance and shifty manner, who is showing them a card-trick. A dark-haired man with an arrogant face sits pointedly ignoring the others.]

PRESENTER: [Voice over]: Here are today's nine players, preparing for the show where just one of them will bring home the prize money of up to ten thousand Credits. The rest will leave with nothing, as their team mates vote them The Weakest Link.

[Close-up of quiz-master Ann, a lady of stern appearance with short red hair and a forbidding stare.]

ANN: Welcome to The Weakest Link. Any of the nine people in the studio here today could win up to ten thousand Credits. They don't know each other, however, if they want the prize money, they'll have to work as a team. But, eight of them will leave with nothing as round by round we lose the player voted The Weakest Link. Let's meet the team.

[The nine players now stand on the podium in a semicircle. In front of each is a console with the contestant's name on it and a blank space beneath the name. Ann, her slim figure dressed in black, stands just outside the half circle, facing them.]

CONTESTANT ONE: My name's Tarrant. I'm 22 years old, a student at the Federation Space Academy where I've come top of my class three times in a row.

CONTESTANT TWO: I'm Cally, a 29 year old communication specialist from Auron.

CONTESTANT THREE: I'm Gan, I'm 35 and I work as a paramedic at the Second Level Hospital.

CONTESTANT FOUR: My name's Soolin, I'm a 21 year old bodyguard from Gauda Prime.

CONTESTANT FIVE: My name's Blake. I'm 32 years old, a resident of London Dome and I work as an engineer.

CONTESTANT SIX: I'm Jenna, I'm in my twenties and I'm a free-lance pilot.

CONTESTANT SEVEN: My name's Avon. I'm a top line computer consultant currently engaged in a government project here in London Dome and my age is nobody's business!

CONTESTANT EIGHT: My name's Dayna. I'm 19 and I'm doing a course in Weapon Design at Belhangria University.

CONTESTANT NINE: I'm Vila. I'm a 30 year old self-employed security systems specialist.

ANN: Now the rules. In each round the aim is to answer enough questions correctly to reach your thousand Credit target within the time limit.

[On the left of the screen a Credit scoreboard appears with an empty score box at the bottom and above that, from bottom to top, the numbers: 20, 50, 100, 200, 300, 450, 600, 800 and 1000.]

ANN: The fastest way is to create a chain of nine correct answers.

[On the scoreboard the numbers 20, 50, 100, 200 and 300 are consecutively highlighted.]

ANN: Get your question wrong and you break the chain and lose all the money in that chain.

[On the scoreboard the number 20 is again highlighted.]

ANN: But, if you say "Bank!" before the question is asked, the money is safe. However, you start a new chain from scratch. Remember that at the end of the round, only money that has been banked can be taken forward. In round one there are three minutes on the clock. We'll start with the person whose name is first alphabetically. That's you, Avon. Let's play The Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Avon, what is the shortest distance between two points?

AVON: [Looks utterly bored.] A straight line.

[On the scoreboard the light jumps from 20 to 50. It will continue to jump one place further up at each correct answer.]

ANN: Correct. Dayna, which popular group was top of the charts with "Why should I care?"?

DAYNA: Hearts of Stone.

ANN: Correct. Vila, who won this year's Ladies Galaxy Tennis Championship?

VILA: Venetia Lambrusco.

ANN: Correct-

VILA: Best legs in the field!

ANN: [Deals Vila a withering look before turning to the other side of the semicircle.] Tarrant, what is sixteen multiplied by ten?

TARRANT: Uh... [Counts on fingers.] Sixty.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 200 to 20.]

ANN: A hundred and sixty. Cally, what would you use a loom for?

CALLY: [Seems to go into a trance for a few seconds. This will happen every time she gets a question.] Weaving.

ANN: Correct. Gan, after what metal was the Pre-Atomic country Argentina named?

GAN: Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Silver. Soolin, finish this saying: No good deed goes...

SOOLIN: Unpunished.

ANN: Correct. Blake, in geology what name is given to the molten rock beneath the Earth's crust?

BLAKE: Magma.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, which planet is nearer to Earth, Cephlon or Aristo?

JENNA: Cephlon.

ANN: Correct. Avon, what are the most durable power cells available?

AVON: Do you mean regarding to shell or capacity of charge?

ANN: Charge, of course! Don't try to be clever with me!

AVON: [Haughtily:] Flutonic power cells.

ANN: Correct. Dayna, in sport, who won the Earth-to-Caspar space rally?

DAYNA: Speedy Atlan.

ANN: Correct. Vila, do chimpanzees have tails?

VILA: No.

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, what is the ionised region of the upper atmosphere called?

TARRANT: Ionosphere.

ANN: Correct. Cally, what is an android?

CALLY: A robot that looks like a human.

ANN: A robot in human shape, but I'll accept your answer. Gan, in what form does a gravitational vortex appear?

[Tension all around, as the light on the scoreboard has reached the top, which means that if Gan gets the question right the team will have reached its 1000 Credit target in this round.]

GAN: A ball?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 1000 to 20. The other candidates look furious at Gan.]

ANN: A spiral. Soolin, is the temperature in a tundra generally cold or warm?

SOOLIN: Cold.

ANN: Correct. Blake, what drug is considered to be the greatest threat to mankind?

BLAKE: Shadow.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, do neutrons have a negative charge or no charge at all?

JENNA: No charge at all.

ANN: Correct. Avon-

AVON: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 100 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In music, which group won the 247 Galaxy-vision song-festival?

AVON: [Taps the side of his console as if in thought.] The Stardust Blizzards.

ANN: Correct. Dayna, name one of the two months in which the Zodiac sign Scorpio falls.

DAYNA: November.

ANN: Correct. Vila, which bubonic illness was responsible for wiping out a quarter of the Pre-Atomic population?

VILA: Oh uh, plague?

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, what is the colloquial name for Space City Liquor?

TARRANT: Head-basher.

ANN: Correct. Cally, in what year did president Sarkoff of Lindor lose the elections?

CALLY: 45.

ANN: 245. Correct. Gan, did penguins live on the North or South pole?

GAN: North.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 450 to 20.]

ANN: South. Soolin, which food generally contains more Vitamin C, fruits or vegetables?

SOOLIN: Fruits.

ANN: Correct. Blake, in literature, who wrote "The Andromedan Tales?"

BLAKE: Stella Una.

ANN: Correct. Jenna...

JENNA: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 150 appears in the score box.]

ANN: What planet would you be on if you were paying in Zoks?

JENNA: Zerok.

ANN: Correct. Avon-

AVON: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 170 appears in the score box.]

ANN: What T is the name of a huge ocean wave?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Tsunami.

ANN: Correct. Dayna, in fashion, what is a Rocker?

DAYNA: A collar?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: A dress leaving one shoulder bare. Vila, what is the hardest known substance in the galaxy?

VILA: Diamonds.

[Music indicates end of round.]

ANN: Round's over. The correct answer is feldon. And in this first round, team, you had eight correct answers in a row. If you'd banked sensibly, you could have reached your 1000 Credit target. As it is, you only managed to put a dismal 170 Credits into the kitty! Who is letting you down? Who is too stupid to be here? Time to vote off the Weakest Link.

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names on their consoles.]

PRESENTER: [Voice Over:] The strongest link is Avon, who not only got all of his questions right but also banked the most money. The Weakest Link is Gan, but how will the votes go, so early in the game?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

[One for one the contestants name their choice while at the same time the name mentioned appears below their own on their console.]

TARRANT: Gan.

CALLY: Gan.

GAN: Tarrant.

SOOLIN: Gan.

BLAKE: Gan.

JENNA: Gan.

AVON: Gan.

DAYNA: Gan.

VILA: Gan.

ANN: Well, nothing ambiguous here. Tarrant, numbers aren't your specialist subject, are they? Don't they teach arithmetic at the FSA?

TARRANT: We use calculators.

ANN: And you think that a good excuse for not having to use your head?

TARRANT: It leaves me free to use my head for other things.

ANN: Perhaps we'd better not ask what other things that might be. Why Gan?

TARRANT: He got all of his questions wrong.

ANN: Well, that's one calculation you did get right. Soolin, how is it going for you?

SOOLIN: Pretty well, I got all my questions right.

ANN: Why Gan?

SOOLIN: Because he got his questions wrong and he didn't bank.

ANN: Two good reasons. Avon, you're not happy to be here?

AVON: It's a total waste of my time and abilities.

ANN: Then why burden us with your presence?

AVON: I was appointed to represent the department - one of the drawbacks of having an above-average intelligence.

ANN: You certainly seem to have an above-average self-esteem. Why Gan?

AVON: He lost us 800 Credits and he's far too dim to be of any use.

ANN: Well, it certainly looks that way. Gan, the team wants to be rid of you. You were the worst player and with eight votes you are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

[GAN leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Gan.]

GAN: I can't blame them, really. I mean, I was the weakest link. I think Tarrant will be voted off next, because for a bright lad he isn't performing all that well. I mean, that sum was dead easy! I'd like Blake to win, he seems a nice guy.

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round two. We take ten seconds off the clock. We start with the strongest link from the last round, that's Avon. Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Avon, in music, name the composer of the Kairos Symphonies.

AVON: [Taps his console again.] Aranea Brian.

ANN: Correct. Dayna, what is the name of the manner in which the United Planets of Teal and the Vandor Confederacy settle their disputes?

DAYNA: Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: The Teal-Vandor Convention. Vila, what R is the condensation of clouds?

VILA: Uh? [Looks panicked. Avon is tapping his console in a bored manner. Vila's eyes fall on his own console, he looks startled, then his face lights up.] Rain?

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, name the crystals, formed by deposits seeping down into thick ice sheets, that are used in heavy duty lasers.

TARRANT: Ice crystals.

ANN: Correct. Cally, name the Auron mythical god who often features in children's tales.

CALLY: The Thaarn.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, how many millimetres are there in four metres?

SOOLIN: Four thousand.

ANN: Correct. Blake, what C is an ancient place for religious gatherings?

BLAKE: A church.

ANN: Correct. Jenna-

JENNA: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 300 appears in the score box.]

ANN: Finish the title of Justin Og's best-seller "Fingers in my..."

JENNA: Hair.

ANN: Correct. Avon, in food, is claret a red or white wine?

AVON: Red.

ANN: Correct. Dayna, if you eat three quarters of a box of 24 chocolates, how many are left?

DAYNA: Eight?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 100 to 20.]

ANN: Six. Vila, what ancient musical instrument is also the name of a star constellation?

VILA: Eh? [Stares at his console while Avon taps his own.] A lyre?

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, in sport, name the former captain of the Space Command rugby team who had to lay down his position because of wounds received on active duty.

TARRANT: Space Commander Travis.

ANN: Correct. Cally, in the human body, where would you find the larynx?

CALLY: In the throat.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 400 appears in the score box.]

ANN: What caused the Casarus Swamp Fever?

SOOLIN: The Casarus swamp fly.

ANN: Correct. Blake, from which musical do the songs "Merrily Flies The Old Tub" and "Oh, It's Fun To Be On The Way" originate?

BLAKE: Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: "A One Way Ticket To Cygnus Alpha". Jenna, in fashion, what is the name for pointed high heels on shoes or boots?

JENNA: Stiletto heels.

ANN: Correct. Avon-

AVON: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 420 appears in the score box.]

ANN: What D is a fight between two contestants?

AVON: A duel.

ANN: Correct. Dayna, in the animal kingdom, polar, brown and grizzly were all types of...?

DAYNA: Dogs?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Bears. Vila, in science, how many poles does a magnet have?

VILA: Two.

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, what V is a conical hill through which gasses and molten lava are discharged?

TARRANT: Vortex?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Volcano. Cally, who wrote the Federation anthem?

CALLY: Pass.

ANN: MacGonagal. Soolin, which letter represents the Roman numeral for 1000?

SOOLIN: Pass.

ANN: The M. Blake, name the place where the annual meeting of the governors of the Federation is held.

BLAKE: [Gnaws his thumb for a few seconds.] Atlay.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, give the local name for the settlements on the planet Goth.

JENNA: Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: The tents of Goth. Avon, in science, the theory of molecular reduction deals with what possibility?

AVON: An atomic implosion.

ANN: A stabilised atomic implosion. I cannot accept your answer. Dayna, name the planet colonised by members of the "Back to Native American Nature" movement.

DAYNA: Sarran.

ANN: Correct. Vila, how many days are there in the month of June?

VILA: Thirty-one.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Thirty. Tarrant, which of the three-

[Music indicates end of round.]

ANN: Time's up, I cannot complete the question. And in that round, team, you did slightly better, having banked 420 Credits. But who isn't up to the pace? One of you is about to leave. Let's vote off the Weakest Link.

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names.]

PRESENTER: [Voice Over:] The strongest link is Jenna, who got only one question wrong and banked the most money. The Weakest Link is Dayna, but will the votes follow the facts?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

TARRANT: Dayna.

CALLY: Dayna.

SOOLIN: Dayna.

BLAKE: Dayna.

JENNA: Dayna.

AVON: Dayna.

DAYNA: Blake.

VILA: Tarrant.

ANN: Blake, you don't like musicals?

BLAKE: They're not my speciality, no.

ANN: That wasn't what I asked. Don't you like musicals?

BLAKE: I've got little time to listen to music.

ANN: You seem to have little time to listen to questions. I asked: don't you like musicals?

BLAKE: Obviously not.

ANN: Thank you for answering. Why Dayna?

BLAKE: She had an unfortunate round. Also, she's quite young, so she probably has had less time to acquire general knowledge than the other members of the team.

ANN: So you CAN answer a straight question. Cally, why Dayna?

CALLY: She got three of her questions wrong.

ANN: She did. Vila, did you miss Dayna getting three of her questions wrong?

VILA: No, but she's standing right beside me.

ANN: Oh, I see, so you voted for Tarrant because he's standing the farthest away from you?

VILA: That's right.

ANN: Well, I'm sure your team-mates will be interested to learn that you won't vote for the weakest link but for the one who's standing at the other end. Jenna, you're a pilot, aren't you?

JENNA: That's right.

ANN: Never been to Goth?

JENNA: No.

ANN: Why Dayna? You want to get rid of the women on the team?

JENNA: The aim of the game is to get rid of the weakest link, which I think she is.

ANN: Dayna, tell us again what you're studying at Belhangria.

DAYNA: Weapon design.

ANN: A course in general knowledge wouldn't come amiss either. Nor would a course in maths. Dayna, you were the worst player and with six votes you are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

[DAYNA leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Dayna.]

DAYNA: I think I was very unlucky with the questions. It was unfair to give me a question about Earth animals! And like Tarrant said, we use calculators for our sums. I'd like to see Blake voted off next. I mean, a man who's never heard of "A One Way Ticket To Cygnus Alpha" must be pretty dim, mustn't he?

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round three. You have a total of 590 Credits in the kitty out of the 2000 you could have won. Seven of you left. We take another ten seconds off the clock. We start with the strongest link from the last round, that's you, Jenna. Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Jenna, what is another name for psycho-strategists?

JENNA: Puppeteers.

ANN: Correct. Avon, was the planet Albian colonised during the Old or the New Calendar?

AVON: [Taps his console.] The Old Calendar.

ANN: Correct. Vila, what insect caused the Pre-Atomic disease malaria?

VILA: [Looks at Avon, who's casually tapping his console, then at his own console.] Mosquito.

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, was the ancient measurement of a pint more or less than a litre?

TARRANT: More.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 200 to 20.]

ANN: Less. Cally, what would you star sign be if you were born in the first half of June?

CALLY: Pass.

ANN: Gemini. Soolin, from which planet does the caratuli fruit originate?

SOOLIN: Overon.

ANN: Correct. Blake, what is the study of plants called?

BLAKE: Botany.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, in sports how many disciplines are there in a triathlon?

JENNA: Three.

ANN: Correct. Avon, Siamese, British Blue and Maine Coons are all types of ...?

AVON: Felines.

ANN: Cats. I'll accept felines. Vila, how-

VILA: [Catches Avon's mouthed command:] Oh, bank!

[The scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 200 appears in the score box.]

ANN: How many esses are there in the word scissors?

VILA: [Studies his console while Avon is tapping his own.] Four.

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, is a goldfinch a bird or a fish?

TARRANT: A fish.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: A bird. Cally, who is the Federation's greatest living authority on viruses, Ensor, Bellfriar or Egrorian?

CALLY: Bellfriar.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, what is the largest river of South America?

SOOLIN: Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: The Amazon. Blake, what was the name of the song with which the Lace Boys hit the charts in 249?

BLAKE: Pass.

ANN: "Get Ready". Jenna, who was the first president of the New Calendar?

JENNA: Sulisano.

ANN: Melissimo Sulisano, correct. Avon, in human biology, what is the name of the long thin bone of the lower leg?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Fibula.

ANN: Correct. Vila, Caroba and Orinda are members of which band?

VILA: The Space Girls.

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, what is Central Control?

AVON: [Hisses at Vila through Ann's question.] Fool, you should have banked!

TARRANT: Our main computer complex.

ANN: Correct.

VILA: [Hisses at Avon.] I knew he'd get it right!

ANN: Cally, ...

AVON: [Hisses at Vila.] No, you didn't!

CALLY: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 400 appears in the score box.]

VILA: Well, I was right anyway.

ANN: In biology, how many kidneys are there normally in a human body?

CALLY: Two.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, which word can mean a young plant or to fire a gun?

SOOLIN: Shoot.

ANN: Correct. Blake, the first Earth ships to reach deep space were of the what class?

BLAKE: Wanderer class.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, according to legend, what shape was King Arthur's table?

JENNA: Oval?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 200 to 20.]

ANN: Round. Avon, what is the nearest galaxy to our own?

AVON: Andromeda.

ANN: Correct. Vila, what is the thirteenth letter of the Terran Alphabet?

VILA: Uh? [Starts counting on his fingers, then stares at his console while Avon is gently tapping his own.] The M.

ANN: Correct. Tarrant, what F is the name used for a former living thing preserved in rock?

TARRANT: Follicle.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 100 to 20.]

ANN: Fossil. Cally, in medicine, which part of the human body does the disease glaucoma affect?

[Music indicates end of round.]

CALLY: The eye.

SOOLIN: Bank!

ANN: Time's up, your answer was correct but you were out of time and so was the banking. And in this round, team, you only managed to bank 400 Credits. Time to ditch the dumb-head, get rid of the dead wood. One of you is about to leave. Time to vote off the Weakest Link.

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names.]

PRESENTER: [Voice Over:] The strongest link is Vila, who got all his questions right and banked 200 Credits for the team. The weakest link is Tarrant, the only player to get three questions wrong. But will the others have noticed that?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

TARRANT: Blake.

CALLY: Tarrant.

SOOLIN: Tarrant.

BLAKE: Tarrant.

JENNA: Tarrant.

AVON: Tarrant.

VILA: Tarrant.

ANN: Vila, are you still voting for Tarrant because he's the farthest away from you?

VILA: No, I think he was the weakest link this time.

ANN: I see. Soolin, geography is no speciality of yours?

SOOLIN: Earth geography not, no.

ANN: Well, that shows! Why Tarrant?

SOOLIN: He got the most questions wrong. That makes him the weakest link.

ANN: Irrefutable logic. Tarrant, that's an interesting choice. Blake only got one question wrong.

TARRANT: He doesn't know anything about music! I would have got the Lace Boys question right.

ANN: Oh, that must be a consolation to your team-mates! You haven't made much of an impression here, have you, Tarrant? Apparently they don't teach you maths at the FSA, they don't teach you about measurements, they don't teach you anything about natural history.

TARRANT: They teach how to fly spacecraft.

ANN: Well, that seems to be too limited for a general knowledge quiz. Tarrant, you are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

[TARRANT leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Tarrant.]

TARRANT: It's clear they've voted me off because they fear me. I had a bad round this time, but I would have become too much of a danger to them later on. Vila is a coward for voting for me in the previous round! He deserves to go off next. And I'll be waiting for him round the corner!

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round four. You've got 990 Credits in the kitty out of a possible 3000 you could have won. Six of you left and we take another ten seconds off the clock. You only have two-and-a-half minutes now. We start with the strongest link of the last round, that's - Vila? [Looks at Vila as if she can't believe it.] Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! [Deals Vila a particularly intimidating look.] Vila, in literature, was the author Terry Boucher male or female?

VILA: [Stares at Ann as if paralysed by her gaze.] Female?

ANN: Male. Cally, what is a young owl called?

[In this round Cally's "trances" seem to last even longer than in the previous rounds.]

CALLY: Owlet.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, in what year was Gauda Prime designated an open planet?

SOOLIN: 38.

ANN: 238, correct. Blake-

BLAKE: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 50 appears in the score box.]

ANN: Name one of the current High Councillors.

BLAKE: Chesku.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, what kind of animal is a kestrel?

JENNA: Pass

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: A bird. Avon, in human biology, what is the mandible?

AVON: [Taps his console lazily.] The lower jaw.

ANN: Correct. Vila, how many moons did Galileo observe around Jupiter?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon is tapping his own.] Four.

ANN: Correct. Cally, in history did the Greek or Roman civilisation come first?

CALLY: Roman.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 100 to 20.]

ANN: Greek. Soolin, who became Captain of the Terran First Cricket Team in 250?

SOOLIN: Jarvik.

ANN: Jarriere. Blake, finish this title of the classic film: In the Winds of...?

BLAKE: Opposition.

ANN: Opportunity. Jenna, if two fifths of 20 exam candidates fail, how many do pass?

JENNA: Twelve.

ANN: Correct. Avon, what is an equestrian?

AVON: [Taps his console languidly.] A horse rider.

ANN: Correct. Vila, how many legs does a spider have?

VILA: That's an easy one - eight.

ANN: Just the answer will do, Vila. But you're correct. Cally, in what Old Calendar century was the wrist watch invented?

CALLY: The twenty-third?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 200 to 20.]

ANN: The twentieth. Soolin, on what continent can you find the former Sahara Desert?

SOOLIN: Australia?

ANN: Africa. Blake, with what era of Pre-Atomic Earth history would you associate the Feudal Society?

BLAKE: The Middle Ages.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, in the periodic table, for what do the letters AU stand?

JENNA: Gold.

ANN: Correct. Avon, what is seven times nine?

AVON: 63.

ANN: Correct.

AVON: [Hisses at Vila.] Bank!

ANN: Vila-

VILA: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 150 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In cooking, what C is the name for a thin pancake?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon is tapping his own. Frowns.] Creep?

ANN: Crepe.

AVON: [Hisses at Vila.] Idiot!

ANN: Cally, what mineral is gathered during the Harvest of Kairos?

CALLY: [Takes her time to think.] Pass.

ANN: Kairopan. Soolin, finish this saying: as subtle as a...?

SOOLIN: Tarzian Warg Strangler.

ANN: Correct. Blake, in Galactic Monopoly, how many turns may a player miss while on a penal colony?

BLAKE: That would be...

[While Blake is still thinking, the music indicating the end of the round sounds.]

ANN: Time's up. The answer is: two. [Stares sternly at the remaining team members.] That was a dismal performance! You only managed to scrape together a pathetic 150 Credits. Who is holding you up? Who can't you afford to tow along any longer? Time to vote off the Weakest Link!

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names.]

PRESENTER: [Voice Over:] The strongest link for the second time is Avon, the only one who got all his questions right. The Weakest Link is Cally, the only one to get three questions wrong. But will the other players have picked up on that?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

CALLY: Vila.

SOOLIN: Cally.

BLAKE: Soolin.

JENNA: Cally.

AVON: Cally.

VILA: Blake.

ANN: Vila, just for your information - Blake isn't the one standing farthest from you.

VILA: I know, but I think he's the weakest link.

ANN: Another mistake, as he only got one question wrong. Blake, you thought Soolin was the weakest link?

BLAKE: I seem to remember all the women getting questions wrong, but Soolin stayed in my mind because she left me with nothing to bank.

ANN: Well, you could do with some memory improvement therapy. Soolin, why Cally?

SOOLIN: Because I remember her getting three questions wrong.

ANN: Nothing wrong with your memory there. Jenna, why Cally?

JENNA: She not only got three questions wrong but lost us a lot of time and money.

ANN: She did. Avon, have you got enough of Cally?

AVON: She's slow and didn't bank when she had the chance.

ANN: Cally, you know nothing about wildlife, nothing about history, nothing about inventions.

CALLY: Not about Earth wildlife and history and inventions. I'm not from Earth.

ANN: Oh, you mean we can only ask you questions about Auron? Well, maybe you should contain yourself in future with taking part in general knowledge quizzes on Auron. Cally, with three votes you are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

[CALLY leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Cally.]

CALLY: I think it's unfair to blame me for not knowing any Earth subjects. But that's the game. My people have a saying: "There are no wrong answers, just incorrect questions". The next one to be voted off should be Vila, because he's such a coward. I think Blake will win, because he seems the most determined.

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round five. Up to now you've won 1140 Credits out of a possible 4000. Five of you left. We take another ten seconds off the clock. We'll start with the strongest link from the last round, that's you, Avon. Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Avon, in nature, the Death Cap is a type of what?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Mushroom.

ANN: Correct. Vila, which is the tallest mountain range on Earth?

VILA: Uh... [Looks at Avon who is tapping his console, then at his own console.] The Himalayas.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, in science, matter is classified in solids, liquids and...?

SOOLIN: Gasses.

ANN: Correct. Blake, what is the nationality of the playwright Guin Pen?

BLAKE: Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 200 to 20.]

ANN: Destinian. Jenna, at the last Galactic Games, Master Hunda won three gold medals in which sport?

JENNA: Swimming.

ANN: Correct. Avon, name the famous Pre-Atomic bridge that spanned the Bay of California.

AVON: [Taps his console.] Golden Game.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: The Golden Gate bridge.

[AVON looks furiously at his console.]

ANN: Vila, name the latest hit of the Helotrix Belles.

VILA: Dingelingeling.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, what P is the first performance of a show?

SOOLIN: Premiere.

ANN: Correct. Blake, in the animal kingdom, what was the gecko?

BLAKE: A toad?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 100 to 20.]

ANN: A lizard. Jenna, what is the imaginary line dividing a planet's Northern and Southern hemisphere called?

JENNA: Equator.

ANN: Correct. Avon, in art, who was the initiator of the Cyberpaint school?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Arty Faulkner.

ANN: Correct. Vila-

VILA: What? [Catches Avon's whisper.] O, bank!

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 50 appears in the score box.]

ANN: What G is another word for the intestines?

VILA: Hey? [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] O, guts.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, in music, what is the name of the leader of the Space Girls?

SOOLIN: Caroba.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Limadoll. Blake, in history, what was the name of the ancient allegedly unsinkable ship that sank on its maiden voyage?

BLAKE: Gigantic.

ANN: Titanic. Jenna, in nature, do male or female mosquitoes transmit disease?

JENNA: [Looks as if she hasn't got a clue and is plainly gambling.] Female.

ANN: Correct. Avon, when will the next Galactic Games be held?

AVON: [Taps his console. Frowns. Taps again. Looks murderous.] Pass.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: 254. Vila-

VILA: Bank.

ANN: What was the name of the controversial painting chosen by the president for his new residence's stateroom?

VILA: The Lace Lady.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, in which sector would you find the planet Obsidian?

SOOLIN: Seventh?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Sixth. Blake, where does the hamster carry its food?

BLAKE: In its cheeks.

ANN: Its cheek pouches. I'll accept cheeks. Jenna, in history, what came first, the Stone Age or the Bronze Age?

JENNA: Bronze age.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: The Stone Age. Avon, complete this quote: The report of my death...

AVON: Has been exaggerated.

ANN: Was an exaggeration. I cannot accept your answer. Vila, which planet is renowned for its advanced transplantation techniques?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Chenga.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 70 appears in the score box.]

ANN: How many-

[Music indicates end of round.]

ANN: Time's up, I can't complete the question. You banked just in time. And in that round, team, you went from bad to worse! After having got rid of so many allegedly weaker links, you banked a shameful, miserable, dismal 70 Credits! Who is too dim to be here? Who has to be ditched without compunction? Time to vote off the Weakest Link.

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names.]

PRESENTER: [Voice over:] The strongest link for the second time is Vila, who got all of his questions right and banked the most money. The Weakest Link is Avon, who got three questions wrong and lost the team the most money. But will the other players have picked up on that?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

SOOLIN: Blake.

BLAKE: Avon.

JENNA: Avon.

AVON: Blake.

VILA: Soolin.

ANN: We have a tie, Blake and Avon, each got two votes. Avon, you were rubbish, weren't you?

AVON: Not my best round.

ANN: You thought the Bay of California was spanned by the Golden Game Bridge?

AVON: Only one letter wrong. Besides, history isn't my field.

ANN: O, you think I should ask you only questions within your field, do you?

AVON: [Flashes her a sudden smile.] It would help.

ANN: [Looks Not Amused.] Why Blake?

AVON: Because he got three questions wrong.

ANN: So did you.

AVON: Well now, obviously I'm not going to vote for myself. And his overall performance is weaker than mine.

ANN: Thank you for reminding us. Soolin, how are you doing?

SOOLIN: All right.

ANN: You got half of your questions wrong and you call that all right?

SOOLIN: I wasn't the weakest link.

ANN: You thought Blake was?

SOOLIN: No, I think Avon did as badly here but I think he will be more able than Blake to earn us money in future rounds.

ANN: Well, there's certainly scope for improvement in that field! Jenna, why Avon?

JENNA: Because he lost us the most Credits in that round.

ANN: That's a valid argument. Blake, not an impressive round for you, was it?

BLAKE: I'm not beaten yet!

ANN: That remains to be seen. Vila, let me remind you that there's no point in banking when there's nothing to bank.

VILA: I got confused.

ANN: You seem confused by the performance of your team-mates too. Did it escape you that your fellow men each got one more question wrong than Soolin?

VILA: She got the Limadoll question wrong. I knew that one.

ANN: You mean you don't mind the others getting questions wrong when you don't know the answer either?

VILA: Yes. No. I mean...

ANN: Vila, listen carefully! I don't want you to get confused over this. When there's a tie, the strongest link has the deciding vote. How improbable that seems, Vila, you were the strongest link in this round. So, would you rather get rid of Blake, or Avon?

VILA: Blake.

ANN: Why?

VILA: Well, he's standing further away, for one thing. And I think Avon will be more useful.

ANN: Blake, you weren't the worst player in that round but there's nothing fair in this game. Vila wants to get rid of you because he fears to ditch the one standing near to him. You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

[BLAKE leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Blake.]

BLAKE: It feels wrong to be voted off for one bad round. That's what you get when you leave the choice to a Delta. They're simply not trained for the task of making important decisions. But never mind, I'll come back and win next time!

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round six. You have 1210 Credits in the kitty out of a possible 5000 you could have won. You've got rid of the paramedic, the student, the FSA cadet, the communications specialist from Auron and the engineer. Only four of you left now. We'll take another ten seconds off the clock. We'll start with the strongest link of the last round, that's you, Vila. Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Vila, in the animal kingdom, is a baboon classed as an ape?

VILA: Yes.

ANN: No. Soolin, in the human body, one of the roles of the lungs is to remove excess what from the body?

SOOLIN: Pass.

ANN: Carbon dioxide. Jenna, name the investigation into the scandal that forced the former Supreme Commander to resign.

JENNA: The Rontane-Bercol Enquiry.

ANN: Correct. Avon, does the inner core of the Earth rotate faster or slower than the crust?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Slower.

ANN: Correct. Vila, is a laser cannon an indoor or outdoor weapon?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Outdoor.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 100 appears in the score box.]

ANN: Define Murphy's Law.

SOOLIN: Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, in which sector can you find the Altern System?

JENNA: The Eighth.

ANN: Correct. Avon, which word is used to describe animals with backbones?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Vertebrae.

ANN: Correct. Vila, if you buy something for 54 Credits and you sell it for 73 Credits, how much profit would you make?

VILA: Uh? 19 Credits.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 300 appears in the score box.] ANN: What form of mineral is dynamon?

SOOLIN: A crystal.

ANN: Correct. Jenna, in history, in which part of Europe was Cyrillic script used?

JENNA: Scandinavia?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Russia. Avon, what penal colony was first established, Calcos or Cygnus Alpha?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Cygnus Alpha.

ANN: Correct. Vila, in spacecraft design, what is the function of the inertial guidance glycolene ballast channels?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] To control the anti-grav gyroscope systems.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 350 appears in the score box.]

ANN: What is the official name for the star sign of the crab?

SOOLIN: Scorpio.

ANN: Cancer. Jenna, what do Feldon crystals do?

JENNA: Uh... [Thinks hard.] Pass.

ANN: They concentrate energy. Avon, in computer technology, what is the name of a person who gains unauthorised access to computer data?

AVON: A hacker.

ANN: Correct. Vila, which planet is the richest known source of atmospheric vita particles?

VILA: Del Ten.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 400 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In the human eye, which cells enable us to see colours: cones or rods?

SOOLIN: Rods.

ANN: Cones. Jenna, what crime would you associate with Amagons?

JENNA: Smuggling.

ANN: Correct. Avon-

AVON: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 420 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In spacecraft design, what is the function of the Ison crystal?

AVON: To provide outside vision.

ANN: Correct.

VILA: [Catches Avon's mouthed command.] Bank!

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 440 appears in the score box.]

ANN: Vila, in the animal kingdom were bats the only mammals that could achieve true flight?

[Music indicates end of round.]

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Yes.

ANN: Time's up. That was the correct answer but you were out of time. And again you didn't bank even half the amount you could have won. Only 440 Credits to add to the total. Who is costing you money? Who you now seriously need to get rid of? It's time to vote off the Weakest Link!

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names.]

PRESENTER: [Voice Over:] The strongest link for the third time is Avon, the only one who got all his questions right. With three wrong answers, Soolin is the weakest link, although she did bank the most money for the team. But how will the voting go?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

SOOLIN: Jenna.

JENNA: Soolin.

AVON: Jenna.

VILA: Soolin.

ANN: Again we have a tie, Jenna and Soolin, two votes each. Soolin, how were you doing?

SOOLIN: Badly.

ANN: Yes, you were a disaster! Why Jenna?

SOOLIN: I can't vote for myself and she was the weakest player after me.

ANN: Quite. Avon, why Jenna?

AVON: I know Soolin got one more question wrong but she banked us a lot of money. And Jenna lost us precious time by thinking so long over the Feldon question before deciding to pass.

ANN: You wouldn't be trying to get rid of the stronger opposition, would you, Avon?

AVON: [Gives her an insincere smile.] Absolutely not!

ANN: [Gives him a sceptical stare, then turns to Vila.] Vila, you're still keeping up your policy of voting for the one standing the farthest away from you?

VILA: I thought Soolin got the most questions wrong.

ANN: You thought correctly. Jenna, do you have enough of Soolin?

JENNA: She was the weakest player.

ANN: Right. Avon, as the strongest player you have the deciding vote. You can change your mind if you wish. Bearing in mind that Soolin was the weakest player, do you want to get rid of Jenna or Soolin?

AVON: I'll stick with my original choice.

ANN: Why?

AVON: Because Soolin's good at banking at the right moment.

ANN: Jenna, Avon has decided he wants to be rid of you. You weren't the worst player, but you are the Weakest Link. Goodbye!

[JENNA leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Jenna.]

JENNA: I knew Avon wasn't to be trusted. He's voted me off because I was the strongest player left. Vila's very erratic and in my opinion he's been extremely lucky to get this far. Soolin's general knowledge is quite good but, being an Extra-Terran, she's weak on Earth subjects and that's a real disadvantage here. Still, I'd like to see her beat those guys. But life being what it is, I expect that Avon will win.

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round seven. You've banked 1650 Credits so far, out of the 6000 you could have won. You're down to three players. We'll take another ten seconds off the clock, you now have only two minutes. We'll start with the strongest link of the last round, that's you, Avon. Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

[In this round the questioning and answering goes very fast.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Avon, in which Old Calendar Century were the first successful human organ transplants carried out?

AVON: [Taps his console. Frowns in irritation.] The twenty-second?

ANN: The twentieth. Vila, in sports, on a dartboard what is the highest score that can be achieved with a single dart?

VILA: Sixty.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, in astrology, how many signs of the zodiac are there?

SOOLIN: Twelve.

ANN: Correct. Avon, in chemistry, what H is the gas whose atom is comprised of one proton and one electron?

AVON: Hydrogen.

ANN: Correct. Vila, what was the name given to animal skin used to write on in ancient times?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Parchment? [Sounds as if he isn't certain of the pronunciation.]

ANN: Correct. Soolin, in food, soy sauce is produced from what beans?

SOOLIN: Soya beans.

ANN: Correct. Avon, in nature, what F is a common evergreen tree?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Fir.

ANN: Correct. Vila, name the title of the commander of the Galactic Eight Fleet.

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Fleet Warden General.

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank!

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 600 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In science, at room temperature and standard pressure, is chlorine a solid, liquid or gas?

SOOLIN: Liquid?

ANN: A gas. Avon, which is a penal colony for four grade offenders, Exbar or Cygnus Alpha?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Exbar.

ANN: Correct. Vila, which lizard can change colours to hide itself from predators?

VILA: Huh? [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] A gammellon?

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 50 to 20.]

ANN: Chameleon. Soolin, in the human body, what M is the name given to the means in which the brain stores information?

SOOLIN: Memory.

ANN: Correct. Avon, a moggy is an ancient slang word for which domesticated pet?

AVON: [Taps his console.] A cat.

ANN: Correct. Vila, in maths, what is the lowest prime number with double digits?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Eleven.

ANN: Correct. Soolin, if you buy 16 oranges, 9 apples and 4 peaches, how many pieces of fruit do you have?

SOOLIN: Twenty-nine.

ANN: Correct. Avon, what bands of the spectrum does a TP crystal run through?

AVON: L to Y.

ANN: Correct. Vila-

VILA: Bank!

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 900 appears in the score box.]

ANN: The primary colours of light are red, blue and...?

VILA: Yellow.

ANN: Green. Soolin, What is the science that deals with suspending the ageing and decay by way of very low temperatures?

SOOLIN: Cryology.

ANN: Cryogenics. Avon, what is the name used for a device for coding and decoding messages?

AVON: A cipher machine.

ANN: Correct. Vila, what name was given to the lost artificial planet that was constructed 400 years ago and positioned near Mars?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Terminal?

ANN: Correct. Soolin-

SOOLIN: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 950 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In nature, what fruit is produced by the oak tree?

SOOLIN: Pass.

ANN: Acorns. Avon, under what name is the Federation's Intelligence Agency better known?

AVON: Central Security.

[High tension as the round enters its last ten seconds.]

ANN: Correct. Vila, in maths, can the denominator of a fraction ever be zero?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] No.

ANN: Correct. Soo-

SOOLIN: Bank!

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 1000 appears in the score box.]

[Triumphant music.]

ANN: Well, team, you managed to reach your 1000 Credit target - with two seconds to spare. The money will be put in the kitty with the rest of the credits, to take forward to the next round. And in round eight, you'll get the chance to treble what you bank. That means that in the next round, potentially there's 3000 Credits to be won. But, one of you won't be in the next round. Time to vote off the Weakest Link.

* * * * * * * * *

[Music while the contestants type in the names.]

PRESENTER: [Voice Over:] In an exhilarating round, Avon was the strongest link for the fourth time. Having got three questions wrong, Soolin was again the weakest player. But, like in the previous round, she did bank the most money. Will that save her, at this crucial stage of the game?

ANN: Voting over. Time to reveal who you think is the Weakest Link.

SOOLIN: Avon.

AVON: Soolin.

VILA: Soolin.

ANN: Vila, you are consistent in your voting, aren't you? Going for the one farthest away from you in every round.

VILA: She got more wrong than Avon.

ANN: She even got more wrong than you! Avon, is this a conspiracy of the guys to get rid of the only woman left?

AVON: Of course not! Soolin was clearly the weakest link.

ANN: She was so in the previous round. Then you saved her. She's banked even more money in this round.

AVON: Yes, but now her usefulness has ended.

ANN: You mean you fear her more in the final than Vila?

AVON: [Produces one of *those* smiles.] Exactly.

ANN: Soolin, you do have a talent for banking. But it hasn't saved you. You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye.

[SOOLIN leaves the platform.]

[Close up of Soolin.]

SOOLIN: I voted for Avon in the hope that Vila would do so too. Getting rid of the strongest link would have given us both a fair chance. But regrettably Vila wasn't up to strategic voting. As for who will win tonight, my money's on Avon. He had one bad round but he has been the strongest player overall. Vila will come to regret his decision not to vote him off when he had the chance!

* * * * * * * * *

ANN: Round eight. You have put 2650 Credits in the kitty. Two of you left and in this round you only have 90 seconds. But everything you bank in this round will be trebled and added to the rest to make up the final prize money. So, 3000 Credits is at stake. We'll start with the strongest link from the last round, that's you, Avon.. Let's play the Weakest Link.

[Rousing music.]

ANN: The first question is for twenty Credits. Start the clock! Avon, what G is the study of a planet's origin and structure and its rocks and minerals?

AVON: [Taps his console.] Geology.

ANN: Correct. Vila, in maths, what is 25 multiplied by 6?

VILA: Uh, 150.

ANN: Correct. Avon, in poetry, what is the name of two rhyming lines?

AVON: [Taps his console.] A couplet.

ANN: Correct. Vila, in what Century of the Old Calendar did Francis Drake complete his circumnavigation of the Earth?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Fifteenth.

[The light on the scoreboard drops from 200 to 20.]

ANN: Sixteenth.

AVON: [Hisses to Vila:] Idiot!

ANN: Avon, how many minutes are there ...

AVON: [Hisses to Vila through Ann's question:] 1580 means *sixteenth* Century!

ANN: ... in a third of an hour?

AVON: Sorry, could you repeat the question?

VILA: [Mumbles:] Who's costing us time now!?

ANN: How many minutes are there in a third of an hour?

AVON: Twenty.

ANN: Correct. Vila, what is the opposite of an introvert?

VILA: Extrovert.

ANN: Correct. Avon, what was the colloquial name for the tax that brought down the last Old Calendar government?

AVON: The Strangle Tax.

ANN: Correct. Vila, what T is the name of a holding cell for prisoners awaiting shipment to a penal colony?

VILA: Transit cell.

ANN: Correct. Avon, what Old Calendar achievement was the only man-made construction that could be seen from space?

AVON: [Taps his console.] The Chinese Wall.

ANN: Correct. Vila, a pointer is a breed of which animal?

VILA: Uh... [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] A dog.

ANN: Correct. Avon-

AVON: Bank.

[The light on the scoreboard drops back to 20 while the number 450 appears in the score box.]

ANN: In geography, what is the name of the ancient waterway dug to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

AVON: [Taps his console.] The Panama canal. [Stresses the middle syllable.]

ANN: [Stresses the right syllable.] The Panama canal, correct. Vila, what is the science and history of mankind's flight called?

VILA: [Looks at his console while Avon taps his own.] Aero- Aeronautics.

[Music indicates end of round.]

AVON: Bank!

ANN: Time's up. That was the correct answer but you banked out of time. Your total in this round is 450 Credits, we'll treble that and add it to the winnings of the previous rounds. That means prize money today is 4000 Credits. But of course, only one of you can take the money away. So now, you'll be playing against each other head to head. I'll ask alternate questions, best of five. Whoever answers the most correctly wins, it's as simple as that. If there's a tie after five, we'll go for Sudden Death until there is a winner. So, Avon and Vila, for 4000 Credits, let's play the Weakest Link.

* * * * * * * * *

[Rousing music.]

ANN: Avon, as the strongest link in the last round, you have the choice of who goes first.

AVON: I'll go first.

[A new scoreboard appears bearing the names of Avon and Vila and after each the numbers 1-5.]

ANN: Avon, in science, what is the name for theoretical particles that travel faster than light?

AVON: Tachyons.

[The number 1 after Avon's name is highlighted.]

ANN: Correct. Vila, was the Old Calendar country of Peru situated on the East or the West coast of South America?

VILA: [Looks at his console, then at Avon until the truth dawns.] Uh, Uh... [Visibly gambling:] West.

[The number 1 after Vila's name is highlighted.]

ANN: Correct.

[Vila looks relieved, Avon annoyed.]

ANN: Avon, in commerce, what do the letters RDC stand for?

AVON: The Robot Development Cartel.

[The number 2 after Avon's name is highlighted.]

ANN: Correct. Vila, what colour is a penguin's back?

VILA: [Grins broadly when realising he knows the answer.] Black.

[The number 2 after Vila's name is highlighted.]

ANN: Correct.

[Avon's face displays thunder.]

ANN: You're still equal. Avon, what is the scientific word for an energy refractor?

AVON: A neutrotope.

[The number 3 after Avon's name is highlighted.]

ANN: Correct. Vila, what B is the nickname of the infamous pirate Bayban?

VILA: Bastard?

[The number 3 after Vila's name is crossed out. Avon smiles.]

ANN: Butcher or Berserker. Avon, you are in the lead. According to the old saying, what killed the cat?

AVON: [Taps his console. Frowns. Taps again. Snarls:] Pass!

[The number 4 after Avon's name is crossed out. Vila grins.]

ANN: Curiosity. Vila, what C is a number of fixed stars grouped within the outline of an imaginary figure as viewed from Earth?

VILA: [Fidgets nervously while thinking hard.] Oh, uh... uh...

[Avon produces a he'll-never-be-able-to-work-that-one-out smile.]

VILA: Constellation!

[The number 4 after Vila's name is highlighted.]

[Avon looks murderous.]

ANN: Correct. You're level again. Avon, in global meteorology, which Earth pole has on average the least sunlight per year?

AVON: [Taps his console.] South.

[The number 5 after Avon's name is highlighted.]

ANN: Correct. Vila, you have to answer this question correctly to stay in the game. In human biology, what S is the column of 26 vertebrae running down the back of the body?

VILA: [Frowns in thought, then his face lights up at the simplicity of the answer.] It's the spine, isn't it?

[The number 5 after Vila's name is highlighted.]

ANN: That was the correct answer. And after five questions, we have a tie. So now we go into a Sudden Death situation. The questions will continue in pairs. Avon, if you answer your question correctly, then Vila will have to answer his correctly or he loses. And, Avon, if you've got your question wrong, then Vila will have to answer his correctly to win. So, Avon and Vila, let's play Sudden Death!

[Rousing music.]

ANN: Avon, what do ruminant animals do?

AVON: [Taps his console. Frowns.] Chew the cud. [Sounds unsure as if to believe what he's saying.]

ANN: That is the correct answer. Vila, in the animal kingdom, what kind of creature is a lamprey?

VILA: [Fidgets while thinking desperately.] A monkey?

[Avon grins triumphantly.]

ANN: The correct answer is: a fish.

[Triumphant music.]

ANN: That means, Avon, that you are today's strongest link and you go away with 4000 Credits. Vila, you leave with nothing! Join us again tomorrow for the Weakest Link. Goodbye!

[Close up of Vila.]

VILA: [Aside:] Go away with nothing? That's what she thinks. [Produces a wad of banknotes.] I emptied the safe before the show started. Any four-year-old could have tackled that lock! [Into the camera:] Well, I wasn't expecting to win. I never win. But it was nice to have come so far. I'm not surprised that Avon won. [Grins meaningfully.] I mean, him having all the advantages. [Aside again:] Mister Snooty Arrogance will get a bit of a disappointment when they find the prize money gone, all of the ten thousand Credits! I'm off to Space City - always wanted to visit that satellite of sin!

[Close up of Avon.]

AVON: [Into the camera:] It was a foregone conclusion that I would win. Of course, with that lot there wasn't any chance of reaching the prize money target. [Aside:] And if I ever find out who it was that thought fit to send me on a quiz show to entertain the rabble, that person is going to find some strange things happening to his computer programs! Still, it was interesting to meet that reformed rebel Blake in the flesh - he must be one of the few success cases of the Brain Drain Section! That Auron seemed discouragingly human. The pilot could provide an escape route for emergencies, it might be worth my while to take up acquaintance with her. But she'll probably hold my voting her off against me. The Delta served a useful purpose - too dumb to see I would ditch him at the right moment. He should have voted me off when he had the chance! I'm glad I didn't follow my original plan and pick the student. You'd expect someone who designs weapons to have a criminal mind, but it would have been too much of a gamble. Now I wonder if that FSA boy realises that he's going to find himself before a court martial? They're not keen on having their cadets fail before the eyes of the masses. If he's got any sense he starts running fast and far right now! [Into the camera again:] It's clear that the best man won. [Produces a sickly-sweet smile.] And what I'm going to do with the money is entirely my own affair!

* * * * * * * * *

MEMO

CLASSIFICATION: Triple A.

FROM: Central Security, Earth Investigation Section

TO: Chief of Operations Co-ordination

SUBJECT: Operation The Weakest Link.

Operation The Weakest Link can be considered a success in the sense that it has confirmed the suspicion that Kerr Avon is capable of advanced computer hacking. Regrettably our experts were unable to catch him at it - and thus gather the necessary proof - but the circumstantial evidence leaves no doubt that he was tapping into the quiz computer to get the answers he did not know.

Although we ensured that, in the getting together before the commencement of the show, he got ample chance for tampering with his console, he did not take up that opportunity. Therefore he must have carried some device on his body, enabling him to tap into Crusher's computer and relay the correct answers to his console. Indications for this are:

1) He tapped the side of his console every time he got a question he wasn't expected to know the answer to.

2) He failed to answer the questions about the year of the next Galactic Games, the first human organ transplants and the cat's curiosity. These answers were deliberately not entered into the computer.

3) The Golden Game bridge was a deliberate typing error, which he swallowed like a lamb.

>From round two he also directed the correct answers to Vila's console, providing more proof of his skill. It's clear that Vila worked out pretty fast who was helping him - something not beyond the deduction powers of a clever Delta. Apparently though, he failed to anticipate that Avon would drop him in the final round.

Although the other contestants, except for Blake, were picked at random, some interesting facts have come to light about them. The Delta, Vila Restal, was already known as an incurable kleptomaniac. It was an oversight of his Probation Officer not to warn the studio to keep an eye on their safe during his visit. That officer may count himself lucky that the money was regained so quickly, though my advice would be to sack him.

Shortly after the end of the show, Vila was found lying unconscious outside the studio back entrance. The stolen ten thousand credits were still on his person. According to Vila's statement, he was attacked by Del Tarrant, that worthy FSA cadet who managed to display such an impressive amount of ignorance. Apparently Tarrant had taken offence at Vila for voting for him in the second round. Vila has been taken into custody and will be charged with the theft.

Del Tarrant has not been seen since. Space Command has put him on the deserter list. Going by their track record, it seems unlikely that they'll be able to catch him. They've put a classification on the case but the rumours are that he took a pursuit ship with him.

Apparently the Customs are suspecting the pilot, Jenna Stannis, of smuggling. They were planning to pull her in for questioning after the show but she managed to elude them by sneaking out of the studio via a back door.

The young student, Dayna, has not been back to Belhangria. It is suspected that she left the studio together with the pilot and got a lift on her spacecraft. We're still trying to find out Dayna's real identity, apparently her papers for entering the university were false.

The Auron woman has also disappeared. Although we have no grounds to suspect her of any subversive activities, one may ask what an Auron is doing on Earth. She entered on a valid tourist visa, but it can't be ruled out that she was recruited by the resistance movement to help them set up a communications system.

Soolin the bodyguard is still in the Dome. We've learned that a search warrant for her has gone out on Gauda Prime - they want to speak with her in connection with some unlawful killings there - but, as we have no extradition treaty with that planet, I suggest we ignore the warrant. Our esteemed Banking Cartel Supremo has engaged her to accompany him on his upcoming fact finding mission to Freedom City. We know the Supremo's reason behind his preference for taking young and pretty women with him on his travels. This Soolin seems to be rather trigger-happy; it wouldn't be to our disadvantage if her gun went off with fatal consequences when her employer starts harassing her.

Blake's conditioning seems to hold, which must mean that the Brain Drain Team finally got their act together. In these circumstances I see no reason for concern regarding Blake's future conduct.

Which leaves Olag Gan, who seems to be just what he claims, a simple paramedic without subversive political views or criminal tendencies. However, as every citizen has to be presumed guilty until proven innocent, it might do no harm to put him to the test. I suggest we send some guards to rough up his woman, and see how he reacts to that.

As for Avon, we've not come any further with establishing his political affinities. Although he must have recognised Blake, he did not approach him. (As he did not socialise with any of the other contestants either, this can be attributed to his character as well as to caution.)

The fact that Kerr Avon dared to cheat right under Crusher's eyes is proof of his audacity. If he HAS rebel sympathies, this will make him a dangerous adversary. With your permission, I will personally take on his case.

Bartholomew.

P.S. The substance in the drinks of the contestants will ensure that in due course they'll forget all about their appearance on the show. If any of them will ever meet again, they'll regard each other as total strangers.


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Marian de Haan

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