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Novelisation/commentary of 'Pressure Point'

By David Dixon
Page 4 of 6

They reappear inside the Church in what is the only display of 'site to site' teleporting in the entire series I think. I always wondered why they didn't utilise this snazzy element of the technology more often! Inside the Church, Avon and vila materialise, and Veron screams, with Doc Gan attending her concerns and coming to her aid post haste. After a brief comforting spiel, where Veron is filled in about the teleport technology by none other than Gan, the crew gets down to business. Avon and vila give their assessments of their chances of entering Control as ' It is not going to be easy. There is a way' and ' Not a chance, it's absolutely impossible' respectively. No prizes for guessing whose opinion Blake would choose to lean towards: the one that leads him gloriously to the Control computers, naturally, and it wouldn't matter if it was Avon, vila or a nearby arachnid that offered that possibility tactically. Avon wastes no time in honing in on the obvious. ' Where are Kasabi and her people?' he asks suddenly. Blake finally briefs him. ' They were wiped out in an ambush. This is Kasabi's daughter. Veron was the only survivor'. Avon offers his gentlemanly condolences and quickly turns to Blake. ' I knew you were lying!' Blake remains stony faced and certain, ' Yes, well unless you can come up with some good reasons why not, we're going ahead as planned'

vila gives him one: ' Certain death - would you accept that as a good reason?' Avon answers vila for Blake ' From somebody else, maybe' ' All right, but if we all get killed, don't say I didn't warn you!' vila replies. Aside from the recognition of Blake's manipulation and determination to continue now the chances of succeeding have dropped off the register, it goes unsaid that the team are still willing to follow Blake into a potential death-trap. Perhaps Avon's curiosity at overcoming a mechanised defence system have tweaked, and of course vila can whinge all he likes but will still inevitably follow, as will Gan, minus the cowardice.

They begin to plan out their journey across the field of explosions into the bunker. ' One thing is in our favour, there do not seem to be any security forces within the zone' Avon begins, pointing at a map. ' They don't need them. The defence system is totally automated. It is more efficient than any brigade of troops' . They decide to teleport across the field of flames directly to the blockhouse entrance, hoping that the security camera will be on a five-minute break no doubt. Gan's ears prick up, seeing Veron visibly upset and heading for the door. ' You all right, Veron?' 'Do you mind if I go up for some air? I still feel a bit faint' ' Well, don't go too far. You mustn't take any chances' Gan the father figure speaks. Meanwhile, Blake and company appear to be oblivious to anything except victory over Control. ' Why don't we teleport right down to the control computer chamber?' vila asks. ' Too deep. Teleport won't necessarily reliably transmit through that level of density. Anyway, we need an exact locater fix' Blake answers, signalling a weak point in his previous claims that the teleport is their saviour, their ultimate advantage. As they continue to speculate whether or not they can teleport directly to the blockhouse, or whether vila can actually get this presumably well protected door lock to surrender, Gan notices there is a projectile being thrown into the Church by person(s) unknown: 'Down!' he screams, before the four of them succumb to a cylinder emitting a quick acting gas, lulling them into immediate unconsciousness. Veron enters and removes their teleport bracelets, leaving them as prisoners on this Godforsaken planet called Earth. Goodbye, major teleport advantage.

Inside the security station, Servalan is still riding the back of Travis, with the lizards of Ensor's caves obviously at the forefront of her nightmares to this very day. ' Capturing the girl was the only luck you've had so far' she advises. So why has Kasabi's faithful rebel daughter become so loyal to the killers of her mother? ' That single event has given me total control of the situation' Travis counters, sure that he has the upper hand, after so many Wile E Coyote stumbles in the past. Servalan teases him about gambling everything on Veron's co-operation. ' That was no gamble. She will do precisely as she was instructed. She has no choice.'. This begs the question, why didn't the frog masked Fed troops simply storm the Church after Blake et al were rendered unconscious? Maybe Travis has another fate worse than a simple capture planned for our heroes. 'You've gambled everything on her cooperation' Servalan correctly points out, although she may have compounded the problem by killing the traitor's mother. Finally Servalan indicates the crumpled heap that was once the remarkable woman Kasabi, 'Get rid of that' she orders her mutoid servants, as if she is talking about a sack of debris.

Inside the church, Blake is the first to climb to his feet. 'Sono gas' he says, as the others regain their composure. Vila asks who threw it in, and Blake seems certain 'Veron. It had to be'. Fatherly Gan doubts it was her, and practical Avon doesn't want to hold a summit on probable causes while their lives are on the line. Even Blake finally agrees that they are in danger and must retreat, but the door is barred, refusing to budge even after Gan attempts to tank-ram it into submission. Blake turns to summon Cally by speaking to his naked wrist, finally realising that they have been stolen and that this must now be far, far less than an uneven chance, yet they now have no option to pull out.

The security station sees Veron standing earnestly next to a victorious Travis, who holds the teleport bracelets. 'With no teleport to snatch them away, they're mine' to accentuate his point, he tosses the bracelets away. Two tactical mishaps are glaringly obvious at this point. Strap the bracelets onto four highly trained crack Fed troopers, even Travis himself, and create some background interference of some kind, then have a male voice scream 'teleport!' or 'bring us up!'-Worth a try surely? Secondly, the Church in which our heroes are trapped could be stormed by mutoids, who could either shoot Blake and the others on sight, or have them brought to Servalan in the same manner Kasabi was earlier, gaining access to the Liberator that way and of course interrogating and killing the rebels swiftly and efficiently.

The 'suspension of disbelief' side of me says that Travis and Servalan want to subject Blake and his crew to some unknown massive humiliation first, before taking up the sensible option(s) just detailed.

Servalan addresses the child of her nemesis Kasabi: 'They believed your story'

'It wasn't difficult. It was close to the truth. The only lies were that I escaped the ambush, and that my mother was dead' Veron replies dispassionately. This kid is in for one Hell of a shock when the business end of Servalan the snake reveals her real hand. After Veron confirms that she has the freedom fighters well and truly bolted in, Travis turns to her, still high on the fact he has Blake cornered without his bracelet, 'Good. You did well. You can be proud of yourself' 'I disgust myself. I betrayed four men, men who represent the only cause worth fighting for. That's what I did. And now I want my side of the bargain!'

Servalan displays false shock: 'Bargain? Travis, did you make a bargain with this traitress?' Veron only wants the comforting arms of her mother and is stupid enough to have put her faith in the two greatest monsters the Federation has to offer in order to be reunited with Kasabi and ludicrously allowed to walk off into the sunset as mother and daughter. Travis is quick to shatter Veron's delusion: 'Don't concern yourself with your mother. She died one hour ago' he karate chops the distraught girl into unconsciousness and exits the station to execute all matters Blake, while you can practically see the scales on Servalan's reptilian form, as she gloats over her prize 'Kasabi's daughter' she finally says, grinning. Truly a chilling and despondent 'Blake's Seven' moment.

Gan is bludgeoning the Church door repeatedly, and finally allows it to budge slightly, before it is rammed open. He apologises for being 'a bit out of condition', but the important thing is that the group is free to roam across the wastelands of Earth now, albeit earthbound without wings.

Meanwhile on board the Liberator, Cally and Jenna are finally clued into something being a little wrong with their ideal attack on Control, unable to raise Blake and the others. Presumably, Servalanor some Federation scientist or computer genius would be picking up these repeated hails from Liberator, yet I get the distinct impression the bracelets are lying on the floor of the Security station with Servalan too absorbed in her ideas of turning Veron into a prized mutoid to even think of the bracelets. Given the ease in which Servalan herself was able to massacre the Kasabi army, and the very poor track record Travis has of overpowering Blake ('Seek Locate', 'Duel','Project Avalon', 'Orac', 'Weapon', I would have thought that the supreme commander herself and her most trusted, proven force would have gone to fetch Blake and perhaps blast him into four corners of the church, but no.

S


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David Dixon

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