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Novelisation/commentary of 'Pressure Point'

By David Dixon
Page 2 of 6

'You really think you can do it without us' Gan asks, practically tripping over himself to slip on his teleport bracelet there and then. The answer in Blake's mind is of course 'I don't think so...especially without Avon', yet his fanaticism is escalating here and of course he will do it with or without his temperamental computer genius. Then Blake mentions that he has contacted a 'resistance leader', andthe Kasabi scouting party disaster and of course the small matter of Travis and Servalan mentioning Blake's name and waiting for him practically on the doorstep of Control sends our T.Vs red alert signal sounding as the scene ends.

We now see Kasabi in military greens as a battle hardened matriarchal rebel leader, reminiscent of Avalon and a polar opposite of another strong female leader, Servalan. A pity such strength could not fit between the egos of Blake and Avon aboard Liberator. Avon in particular I think would probably come to blows with this old bird if he had to live all over her. She speaks to a waif like girl about meeting up with Blake at the 'rendezvous point', and her army advances, all on the cosy view-screen of the Supreme Commander and her lap dog, everything going to plan, with no sign of Carnell the puppeteer! Someone has been doing their research. Perhaps becoming a little less aesthetically pleasing and rougher around the edges has made this Travis less of a coyote with not an Acme product in sight! (we'll have to wait and see).

Servalan is cool yet clearly very pleased: 'Kasabi. At last.' 'Worth an eighteen-day wait, Supreme Commander?' Travis responds self satisfactorily. Servalan ventures into the back story of Kasabi, once an academy instructor, part of Federation society who taught 'treason' (read: freedom). She was reported by none other than cadet Servalan herself, who has since rued the day the 'fools' at Federation security allowed Kasabi to escape and become a crawling-through-the-leaves, Earthbound nuisance to the Federation. 'Kasabi is mine ' Servalan asserts, giving us the impression that this is her Blake, the one that got away, the one that possibly made her life quite unpleasant back in cadet school during those treason classes. A look of vengeful empathy passes between Travis and his Supreme Commander, possibly one of the finer moments of recognition the two ever share.

Back on Liberator, an unseen conference has taken place, presumably with Cally and Gan nudging Jenna a little and vila a lot into agreeing to follow Blake in this extremely risky venture. The man Blake needs the most is not seen as the sequence begins.

Jenna expresses the crews major concern that death is not in their logbook: 'None of us is prepared to commit suicide. We don't intend to die making some heroic gesture.', followed by vila, 'We want your word that if the mission looks impossible, then we'll pull out.' And finally Cally, whose suicidal lone Auron warrior-isms from 'Time Squad' seem to be dissipating somewhat 'We need a chance of survival.' [This is however not at odds with her previous fervour towards the mission, considering she must have at least known there was a small army led by Kasabi on the ground thus ensuring 'an even chance' as Blake himself puts it.] Blake agrees that the mission will be aborted on these conditions and the crew believe him (do we?). And this leaves Avon where?

Blake goes and sits by Avon. He tells the computer genius he needs to use about their crews' decision to help him. Avon smiles, 'I thought they would. Not very bright, but loyal.' After a little cat and mousing, frustrating Blake no end, Avon agrees, stating the obvious 'Frankly, I don't see how you can do it without me. Your strongest enemies are going tobe the defence computers. I am the only one qualified to tackle them.' This is the same egocentric Avon we saw in 'Space Fall', 'Mission To Destiny' and 'Time Squad' to name but a few, toying with Blake, singing out his talents, but ultimately following him just as the others do, albeit for far more complex, some argue self serving reasons.

Indeed when prodded about his reasons for falling in line with the rest, Avon indeed cites selfish reasons, explaining that if the Federation become weak, then Blake is the 'logical choice' to run as leader of the resistance on Earth and/or the Outer planets and 'With you running the campaign on Earth, somebody has to take charge of all this.' As Blake laughs at the thought of handing over the Liberator so prematurely, Avon possibly has visions of Jenna, Cally and Gan joining a more organised resistance away from Liberator. And vila either being coaxed to leave, become Avon's little puppy dog on board with mutual greed as their bond, or perhaps even vila being called for in the homicidal manner he eventually has to endure in 'Orbit'!

This sequence concludes with Zen miraculously guiding the most wanted ship in the galaxy to within visual range of planet Earth. Avon built his detector shield in the next episode, not at this point. The blinds are firmly up and Liberator is visible to all and sundry..

Servalan, still draped in her grotesque grandeur of white adornment, is still observing Kasabi and her band of merry commandos, this time in person with mutoids flanking the group. She orders their surrender and when they bumble about in terror without a hint of rebellious zeal they are massacred. A sorry lot indeed but not deserved of mutoid execution. 'The Way Back', 'Space Fall' and 'Project Avalon' have taught us that this is Federation peace negotiation. 'Get the child' Servalan orders her mindless vampire before gloating over the motionless body of her Blake, Kasabi.

Servalan practically purrs as she hovers over the unconscious body of her ex-teacher Kasabi, slumped on a particularly uncomfortable Federation chair in the security station (where is this station by the way? In the Zone, out of the zone? It looks like a house the famous five would want to eat a jolly good picnic not with the vampires and maniacs etc. Travis and his Supreme Commander bicker about the trigger happy nature of the latter and her vampires saying she might have ruined everything, but Servalan states quite passionately that her and Kasabi have 'unfinished business'. To this, the black hole calls the kettle black by saying 'This is no time for personal vendettas, Supreme Commander', as he drools waiting for Blake to arrive.

And now the true horror of 'our' Servalan begins to emerge. She politely addresses her prisoner 'Are you feeling better?' and when there is a slight pause, 'Oh, don't waste time, Kasabi. You have so little of it left.', gloating all the while. 'Time spent with you was always wasted, Servalan.' Aaaah, not one to be intimidated by impending painful death---even Avalon looked so young and terrified in her horizontal helplessness when captive, being the hardened interplanetary rebel rouser she supposedly was. Yet here, we sense that Kasabi knows Servalan better than the average captive. After she expresses disgust at the murder of her people and feigns ignorance of Blake's whereabouts or even his very existence, she even manages to physically push Servalan to the floor!

'Have you forgotten that I knew you as a cadet? You were a credit to your background: spoilt, idle, vicious!' and then to Travis: 'My confidential assessment listed her as unfit for command. But I forgot how well-connected she was.' Servalan looks every bit the disgraced student that strikes me as being the reason she has this very personal score to settle with Kasabi: past humiliation, given absolute Hell by an instructor at such polar opposites with her ideologically, and a tough woman too. Not in line with the lackies that have showered her with what she wanted to hear throughout the rest of her life. Not even Blake or Avon (yet) have spat directly into her psyche in this superior fashion. A little meaningless power play with Travis follows, with the latter trying to extract information on Blake out of an unwilling participant, while Servalan is still apparently in shock. Kasabi bolts for the door and is restrained by mutoids. Her spirit may be flying free but her body isn't going anywhere.

Back on Liberator vila and Avon are already expressing doubt as to continue the mission, having failed to intercept a coded signal from the rebels currentlygetting their blood sucked dry by mutoids, with Blake and particularly Gan arguing that they should wait another hour. This is typical of Gan, who could be a distant relative of Del Tarrant's if he possessed the cavalier elegance as well as the unwavering bravery. Finally they agree to wait the hour out.

Inside the security station, a clearly drug affected Kasabi is slumped back in her seat with Travis becoming increasingly frustrated as the tough old bird resists the foolproof Federation truth inducer, even managing the obligatory 'spit in the face of evil', disappointingly not a grand lingering grot that cannot be delicately wiped off by Travis, dignity more or less intact. ' She's stronger than she looks. She's still resisting the drug' he says to Servalan, ' Double the dose.' She responds, ignoring Travis's concerns that this amount might kill her, the latter's concern presumably coming from a concern not for the life of Kasabi, but for the retrieval of the information on Blake (remember Travis is the man who gloatingly turned a young man into a chemical cabbage in 'Project Avalon'; I thought this to be a good example drawn from the multitude of monstrous deeds he has committed due to it being more of a personalised atrocity). Servalan is sure she willtalk first before dying, then turns to address her nemesis woman to woman: ' Very soon now, you are going to die. Do you understand me?' ' Always understood you. You're vicious, greedy, sick.' Kasabi replies, perhaps reciting the original character profile written for her by Mr Nation himself.

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David Dixon

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