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Novelisation/commentary of 'Pressure Point'

By David Dixon
Page 3 of 6

The two interrogators soon discover the homing beacon they had retrieved along with their unco-operative guest and discuss the importance of extracting the exact right sequence from Kasabi herself, lest Blake get thewrong impression and flee the safe outskirts of Earth into flotilla ridden space. Travis gently prods the now drug addled zombie for the code and the sequence it is to be transmitted and finally gets it. After all as Avalon herself said the Federation technology can make people tell the truth every time, and also it can re-program a mind as strong as Blake's after all.....

Confusing is Travis attempting to stop Servalan from giving Kasabi her fatal overdose of the nasty truth drug. As already said he was overjoyed to test his space virus on an innocent man in 'Project Avalon' as well as murder en-masse all of the rebels and the informer who had helped him in the same episode, not forgetting the notorious massacre of civilians that had occurred on the planetAuros, and his brutal treatment of Blake's comrades. Yet here he seems concerned about Kasabi. Could he admire her strength? Or perhaps it is anon-military scenario and not blurred into the Blake quest, so his humanity attempts to peak through, as it doeswhen he expresses some regret over surgeon Marriot's death in 'Deliverance'? It's a grey area. As is Kasabi's skin as she begins to stiffen from the drug. ' Servalan. I'm sorry.' She mumbles, ' Sorry?' Servalan responds, genuinely surprised. ' I should have tried. In the beginning, I should have tried to help you.' Kasabi punctuates this verbal bashing by her own death. Bravo! Avon and Blake never got a chance to memorably disturb Servalan at the moment of their death. It's better to live on your feet than to die on your knees as they say.

Back on Liberator, just as the hour of waiting for the signal elapses, it is delivered by the expert claws of a mutoid presumably, and Blake asks to be put down, not at the rendezvous point, but a mile away, so he can scout around.

'What's the matter, Blake? Don't you trust your friends?' Avon taunts, or warns.

Blake stares blank faced at him and replies 'Of course. I trust them the same way I trust you.'. Now is this more in line with Blake in 'Star One' who says 'For what it's worth Avon, I've always trusted you, from the very beginning', or his comment in 'Horizon': 'Avon might run'. You be the judge. The line has always intrigued me, especially as distrust leads to disaster for Blake by the end of the series!

Blake is teleported down to a wooded area, and Gan is very soon put down beside him after the all clear is given. Robin Hood and Little John in Sherwood forest? Blake orders the commencement of 'the second countdown' and soon wanders into a Church with Gan, who immediately asks what 'this place' is.

'A Church' Blake responds, beginning another Alpha Grade history lesson, ' 'Place of religious assembly. The Federation had them all destroyed at the beginning of the New Calendar.' This, coupled with Blake's knowledge of American Indians and early space travel actually make him quite the history expert compared with fellow alpha Grade citizen Servalan, whose appalling lack of evolution is seen in 'Terminal' where she believes humans are evolving into apes and not theother way around. Blake's casual reference to the Federations systematic destruction of Christianity cites yet another major despicable act by the regime, which is so widespread and repressive I remember it chilling me to the bone when I first saw it.

Blake finds fresh blood, and they very quickly discover the waif like girl who had earlier spoken to Kasabi lying helplessly in a lower section of the building. Immediately the girl screams 'No!' drawing a gun, as Blake and Gan draw theirs, yet the girl has very little fight in her as she collapses to the floor once more. Blake and Gan identify her as probably one of Kasabi's people and discover a wound, which Gan treats gently with one of Liberators wonder pads (I had forgotten that Gan was the crews medical man before Cally took over later-another unsung quality often overlooked by those that write off Gan as a Lenny from 'Mice and Men' in their character evaluations).

I think the following conversation is best reproduced verbatim as it typifies Blake so vividly. It involves his report of the situation to the crew, bearing in mind there is clearly trouble well and truly a-brewin' in the rendezvous department.

Cally on Liberator: 'Come in, Blake.'

Blake's voice: 'Liberator, we're at the rendezvous point. Everything's all right.'

Avon: 'You have made contact with Kasabi?'

Blake: ' Not directly.'

Avon: ' Then everything is not all right.'

Blake: ' It will be. I'll get back to you.' (cuts communication).

This is so typical of many, many conversations between Blake the 'crusader' and Avon the cynic. The reality is more to Avon's summing up: Everything is not all right.

A wounded little girl is the only representation of the resistance movement Blake has rendezvoused with. A neat omission of fact on Blake's part.

Avon proceeds to vocalise his doubts further to the rest of the crew, pointing out quite rightly that no contact with Kasabi has occurred (and of course we all know that she is serving as a footstool for Servalan at this very moment). He concludes by stating ' I have a feeling that we are not being careful enough.'

I echo Avon's earlier slow hand clap.

Back in the Church, Gan is showing his Mother Theresa side again, cradling the child we now find out is actually Kasabi's daughter Veron, offering her some medicine and reassuring her. He has missed his calling. The big guy would have made a great galactic medico if only he wasn't so easily distracted. 'Where is your mother?' Blake asks, concerned. 'She's...she's dead' Veron replies. ' We were ambushed, we didn't have a chance. My mother was hit, everyone else was killed. I, I started to run but they came after me, so I hid.' She begins sobbing and buries her head in Blake's shoulder. Blake calms her down, and is genuinely concerned, although his questioning certainly follows his sympathy with minimum delay. He presses for detail. 'They searched the area. One of them came right up to where I was hiding. I was so frightened. They searched for a long time and then I, I stayed hidden for awhile, and then I came here as we planned. I gave the signal'. Anything less than an even chance? Pull out time me thinks. No back-up army, rebel leader dead AND the Federation aware of an attack.

Blake seems to now be re-writing the criteria of an even chance: 'We still have the element of surprise. Even more so now with Kasabi's force wiped out, security aren't going to expect another assault so soon'. Gan counters ' You're guessing, Blake, guessing and hoping!' ' It is a calculated risk. Remember, we've got one foolproof factor: the teleport. Even if they do attack, we can still get out. We will have failed, but at least we'll be alive'. Since when has their teleport been foolproof? Every episode is an illustration of what can go wrong with those bloody bracelets! Gan is less than impressed, but Blake has decided to continue as planned without a group vote.

He orders Avon and vila to come down to Earth as it were, asking Avon to run through their itinerary of heroism first: ' We teleport directly into the Forbidden Zone, we make an analysis of the defence systems, and then we teleport directly to your location'

'No more than five minutes in the zone. Get out sooner if you sense something's wrong.'

Avon has his own internal alarm system bleeping away : ' I've already got that feeling, Blake. What about Kasabi?' Blake answers Avon's concerns typically: 'Cally, if you don't get their signal, transfer them after five minutes anyway' vila's internal alarm is as always bleeping louder than anyone's and he has to get reassurance from Avon, who is still in the dark himself. ' He didn't answer your question' vila correctly points out. Avon responds 'He will', to reassure himself more than to put at ease his 'little man' comrade with the fear in his eyes. ' I don't want to go' vila pleads. ' You surprise me' Avon answers, ready for another token whine that never fails to amuse him.

' I don't feel well. I'm going to be a big handicap'

' I'm used to that'

Here, vila is deferring to Avon as a leader who is more on his wavelength(ie: sceptical) yet has the necessary courage to push him onwards as well. I always thought Avon and vila were more in tune as shipmates than Blake and vila, who never quite stick in this unique comedic and/or 'criminal' fashion. Jenna stops rolling her eyes long enough to wish Avon luck before teleporting the talented pair of thieves down to the surface.

They appear just outside the incredible exploding field in which we saw the two dopey scouts scatter themselves over a wide area in scene one. The security camera swerves to pick them up. Avon gestures to a blockhouse entry, ' THAT will be the only access point. We have to get into there before we can try for the main vault. But before that, we have to cross the zone.' He points out that the two of them will have been spotted by Federation security devices at this early point-if this isn't chilling enough, their stroll through the Forbidden Zone ends after two tentative steps, when Avon stops vila frying in the daisies by halting him and revealing the wires of death below the grass. He recognises it, being the all 'round Alpha computer genius that he is: ' High intensity radiation grid. The rays from these could burn you up in seconds' . While vila recoils from the prospect of becoming a white-hot coat hanger, Avon displays 'Spock'-like curiosity: ' It has to be activated somehow. Let's find out. Walk anywhere here, and you set the whole thing into operation' He cuts the cable, and it regenerates almost immediately. ' Total self-repair in eight seconds. How far would yousay it is to that blockhouse?' ' Fifty yards, maybe more. Are you sure we're safe here?' vila answers, as smoke and flames begin to build up near the wires to answer his question in an instant. Lucky for them, they are safely teleported from the area before it is disintegrated by a series of explosions.

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David Dixon

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