Sevencyclopaedia - O


(A-13: ORAC) by Murray Smith

A tapering shaft of stone, square or rectangular in cross-section, finished with a pyramidal apex. It originated on Earth in ancient Egypt, its shape being derived from the ancient Beben stone in the temple of the sun god at Heliopolis, sacred as early as the 1st Dynasty (3100-2890 BC). This connection with the sun led to obelisks being particularly associated with temples, and small ones were sometimes erected outside private tombs.

Obelisks took on commemorative overtones, and became very popular with other cultures outside Egypt, being copied by the Canaanites and Assyrians. The Romans removed many obelisks, using them for many purposes. In the nineteenth century AD, obelisks were re-erected in many major cities around the world, including London, Paris, and New York; and a new one was erected in Washington DC as a monument to George Washington.

In 'Orac', Servalan, Travis, Blake, and Cally saw an obelisk on Aristo, by the ruins of an old city; but only Blake said anything about it, and that was only a remark identifying it. No indication was given of that obelisk's origin or porpose; so perhaps Ensor either erected it, as a memory of what he had left behind, or one of the early civilizations of Aristo did. If the latter was the case, Aristo very probably developed the obelisk independently of Earth.

See also ARISTO.



A planet in the 6th Sector. Said by Servalan to have real strategic value, since it could control command and supply routes through much of the sector. Its most prominent feature appeared to be a large, active volcano, which Vila called "the only active one in the entire place", probably but not necessarily referring to the whole planet. The Federation had investigated the planet, submitting a report designated "10 sub 5 date code 303", to which Vila said "That's a long time ago". No further invasion or colonisation took place, and no-one aboard the Liberator could think of another investigated planet that had not later been developed. Obsidian had not been officially accorded neutral status. Lots of battles took place in its vicinity during the Intergalactic War, including three major ones, but no wreckage was detected on the surface. A rumour of Blake being there after the War was untrue, and implicitly planted by Servalan to lure the crew to Obsidian.

The planet was inhabited by the Pyroans, who lived near the volcano under the leadership of First Citizen Hower. He had been present on the planet when the Federation surveyed the planet. The whole planet was contaminated by fallout from a nuclear device (origin unspecified) buried in the volcano, and Hower mentioned Servalan by name as having been warned of it.



One of the labourers created by Justin, presumably from one of the deserters he was supplied with as experimental material. Og was the most advanced animal he had created, and the most intelligent. He could understand simple speech, although unable to talk himself. He feared and hated Justin, who had performed several painful brain grafts on Og, but all that was needed to "complete" him was some painless psycho-instruction. Og was responsible for throwing Dayna over a low cliff when she tried to lure him back to the laboratory for food. He was captured alive by Servalan's mutoids, one of whom eventually shot him, albeit accidentally.



Avon told Blake that Albian was first settled in the last century of the Old Calendar. Quite when the Old Calendar gave way to the New is difficult to determine - see FEDERATION, NEW CALENDAR.


(D-13: BLAKE)

Planet on which the penal code had been suspended. In Gauda Prime's case, this allowed mining companies to dispossess the original agricultural settlers without encountering any legal difficulties. Settlers who refused to make way for the miners were simply disposed of, as happened with Soolin's family.


(40 episodes from A-13: ORAC)

Device invented by Ensor after he fled into hiding. Servalan agreed to buy Orac for 100 million credits, telling Travis it was worth "ten times that much". She also said that there had been rumours about Orac "for years". Orac was more than just a computer, Ensor describing it as "a brain", and it could draw information from any computer containing a Tarial cell. It had in its construction acquired many of the mannerisms of its creator, and could be difficult to deal with. Some technical details were revealed over the course of various episodes:

Orac was seen to extract useful information in Horizon (from which Cally learnt of Movo's death), Gambit (allowing Avon and Vila to win 5 million credits on the Big Wheel and force the Klute to offer a draw against Vila at speed chess), Traitor (where Colonel Quute told the General that "whatever it is" could learn about military traffic and vital strategic details, and in Games (where it admitted difficulty in accessing Belkov's Gambit computer). Its predictive capabilities seemed to appear only in Redemption, in StarDrive, where it referred to Federation pursuit ship design falling behind its predicted degree of development, and again in Headhunter, where it predicted terminal prospects for "organic humanoid life" until Muller's android was destroyed.

The extent of Orac's ability to control other computers was ambiguous. It could certainly, if it wished, assume command of Zen and the Liberator's computer systems, and caused the destruction of another DSV. If it could have done the same with all computers, it would have been a powerful tool indeed, crippling attacking pursuit ships and other craft that threatened the Liberator. This was never seen to happen, and so presumably was beyond its limits. In Hostage it decoded the message sent by Travis to Blake from Exbar, but the crew still needed to acquire new decoding equipment for most Federation transmissions (in Killer, for example).

In Animals
Orac was taken over by the Darkness in Shadow, prompting Avon to fit a small disruption charge that would detonate if Orac's energy levels deviated from their norms, and again in Headhunter, where it came under the influence of Muller's android. It was also affected by the electrical interference above Virn. On both of these occasions, the disruption charge installed in Shadow failed to detonate. The charge may have been deactivated by the damage Orac suffered on Terminal, but it seems more likely that the android and the sand did not communicate through the telepathic wavebands and the charge was specifically set to explode if the communication channels were tampered with.

Orac suffered damage in Rescue, during the explosions arranged by Servalan (Avon went back underground to retrieve Orac) and needed to be repaired by Dorian. Further damage was sustained in Warlord, when it was hit by a girder brought down by the explosives planted by Finn.

In Shadow, Hanna was electrocuted as she attempted to remove Orac's key. It is therefore possible to attribute Orac with a body count, albeit a very small one and arising from control by a malevolent outside agency.

Orac's "key" (referred to by Vila in Ultraworld as an "activator") played a vital role in some episodes. The key could not be removed in Shadow until Cally did so by telekinesis. In Voice from the Past Blake took the key to prevent Avon allowing Orac to interfere with Ven Glynd's telepathic control box. In Terminal Avon took the key down to the surface with him, preventing the rest of the crew from using Orac (and hence possibly preventing the Liberator's destruction.

Orac was a negotiable commodity from time to time. Belkov demanded Orac as part of a deal with Servalan. In Orbit Egrorian offered his tachyon funnel in exchange for Orac; Avon supplied him with a facsimile. This replica, built by Avon as a contingency measure, was fitted with only a short-range communications relay, suggesting it was completed in a hurry.

Most of the time Orac remained on board the Liberator (and later Xenon base or Scorpio), but was taken down to the surface of UP-Gambit, Sarran (placed in a life capsule with Avon), Obsidian (by Mori), Terminal (taken down by Vila on the pretence that it was "a sculpture"), Malodar (in Egrorian's shuttle), and Gauda Prime. It was also taken across to Belkov's Orbiter.

Orac was frequently critical of the crew's indifference to "the more fascinating aspects of the universe" and bordered on the contemptuous at times. In a rare admission of defeat, it reluctantly conceded that it perceived Sopron as a highly sophisticated computer with a marginally greater capacity for reasoning. Vila in particular held a low opinion of Orac, calling it "a rat in a box" in Shadow and "Trooper Orac" in Traitor. Dayna in Rumours of Death summed up Orac as "too useful to destroy".

The last time Orac was seen was in the flier acquired by the crew as they made their way to Blake's headquarters. The crew were next seen in the tracking gallery of this installation, and Orac was not with them.





Part of the Liberator's flight systems. Activated by Gan.


(D-8: GAMES)

Ship belonging to Belkov, and references to it suggest that it was the ship's actual name, rather than its model. It supposedly contained Belkov's non-existent store of feldon crystals. Avon, Vila, Tarrant and Soolin defeated the defence systems, including a launch-and-flight simulator and a fingerprint lock, but were forced to leave when completing the final game sequence locked the feldon panels onto the black hole of Cygnus XL.



Mentioned by Blake as present on Asteroid P-K118 and described by him as "standard".


(B-2: SHADOW) Possible slang term for the Terra Nostra, used by Jenna.



Mark III Galaxy Class cruiser found circling on a two minute cycle in empty space by Blake. The original crew were Dr Kendall, Grovane, Sonheim, Pasco, Levett, Dortmunn, Rafford, Mandrian and Sara, and it was carrying the vital neutrotope to Destiny. Blake observed that the ship was fitted with communicators, as if not all ships were. The ship was sabotaged by Sara, who destroyed the flight deck, including the ison crystal, and later sabotaged the filtration plant. The ship was fitted with life rockets, which had a limited range. Dortmunn was supposed to have fled the ship with launching of life rocket-2, but this was simply a ruse concocted by Sara.

Flight Deck of the Ortega
Blake rigged an explosive charge to the entry hatch, causing the ship's destruction when unspecified persons arrived to collect the stolen neutrotope from Sara.


(C-11: MOLOCH)

Name given by early pioneers to the empty region of space beyond Kalkos. There were no stars there, at least not for the distance Liberator could travel in 159 years flight under modular time shift. It was also known as the Big Zero.


(various episodes)

Various references were made to the Outer Planets and the Outer Worlds: they are here treated together under the same heading.

In The Way Back Blake believed his brother and sister were living on one of the Outer Planets, and Bran Foster later told Blake of former dissidents being taken to the Outer Planets. He also referred to settlers in the Outer Worlds demanding greater autonomy. Varon told Blake that Dev Tarrant usually worked in the Outer Worlds.

In Seek-Locate-Destroy Bercol and Rontane referred to the "Controllers of the Outer Planets" being openly critical of the Administration's defence system. This suggests that the Outer Planets were annexed to the Federation but not fully integrated into it. Galaxy Class cruisers were of Outer Planets manufacture, although production had ceased some 50 years prior to Blake's encounter with the Ortega.

Servalan called Sarran "a remote outer planet". The President of the Federation was, amongst other things, Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds, as related by Tarrant in Rumours of Death. The Ultra noted that after deserting, Tarrant ran contraband in the Outer Planets.

The Outer Worlds and Outer Planets may thus be synonymous, each referring to a frontier region under some degree of Federation control.



An essential component of the teleport system on Liberator, damaged when the force wall collapsed and thus presumably located on the exterior of the hull.





People on Earth who lived outside the domed city (or cities, if there was more than one such). Blake recognised many of the people at Foster's meeting as Outsiders by the primitive way they were dressed and commented that it was illegal to have contact with them.

In Pressure Point Servalan, watching Arle and Berg on her monitor screen, described them as Outsiders.

Arle and Berg



A possible source of treatment for Gan's malfunctioning limiter, but ruled out on the grounds that the planet only had "third level technology". It was 350 hours away from the Liberator's position at that time.

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