Script for City at the Edge of the World

by Chris Boucher

Copyright 1979 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a complete dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Format copyright 1992 by Patricia Evans and Micky DuPree.

Dramatis Personae

Kerr AvonPaul Darrow
CallyJan Chappell
Vila RestalMichael Keating
Del TarrantSteven Pacey
Dayna MellanbyJosette Simon
OracPeter Tuddenham
KerrilCarol Hawkins
BaybanColin Baker
NorlValentine Dyall
ShermJohn J. Carney

Male Voice (uncredited)Valentine Dyall

[Liberator teleport facility]

TARRANTCome on, Vila, you don't mean that.
VILAI know what I mean, and what I mean is no.

TARRANTAt least think about it. [pushes Vila] Think about it.
VILAAll right. [pauses] I've thought about it. No.

TARRANTI can't make you go, of course.
VILAThat's right, you can't.

TARRANTBut I can toss you off this ship.

TARRANTYou're no use to me.
VILAI don't have to be any use to you. I was here first. I was with Blake. I've more right on this ship than you have.

TARRANT"Right"? No one survives as long as you have, Vila, without learning the facts of life.
VILAThe facts of life are that I --

TARRANT[interrupting] -- are that I can dump you any time. The others wouldn't stop me. And you couldn't, could you? Now I suggest you reconsider your decision. But don't take too long. I'm not a patient man.
VILAAll my life, for as long as I can remember, there's been people like you.

TARRANTAnd I thought I was unique.
VILAYou're not even unusual, Tarrant. I'll need my equipment.

TARRANTI'll get it for you.
VILAYou stay here. Check the teleport coordinates. At least you can't bully a machine into doing what you want. [Vila leaves as Cally enters, carrying a device]

CALLYWhat's wrong with Vila?

TARRANTI scared him a little.
CALLYThat must have been difficult.

TARRANTI had no choice, Cally. We've got to have those crystals for the weaponry system.
CALLYSo we do a swap, they give us the crystals, we give them Vila.

TARRANTThey only want his help.
CALLYThen why are they insisting that he goes down alone?

TARRANTI don't know, maybe outsiders make them nervous.
CALLYDid you? [Avon enters]

TARRANTMe? Who could be nervous of me?
CALLYOnly Vila, it seems.

TARRANTWe've no reason to think they'll harm him.
AVONAnd less reason to care? [to Cally] Have you got the locator? [Cally gives him the device]

TARRANTWhat locator? They stipulated no surveillance devices.
AVONSo you said.

TARRANTI gave them my word.
AVONYou didn't give them mine.

TARRANTNow you tell me.
AVONAre you seriously suggesting we send him down there without a tracer?

TARRANTNo, I'm seriously suggesting we try and make sure they don't detect it.
AVONThey won't. [to Orac] Well.
ORAC'Well' is not a question.
AVONIs it working?
ORACThe tracer is between the index and second finger of your left hand.
AVON[holds up small disc] Thank you, Orac.
VILA[entering] Let's get on with it, then.
AVONNo last minute protests, no sudden illnesses?
VILALook, I have to go down, he made that very clear. But I don't have to take any rubbish about it from you, all right?
AVONAll right. Take this. [offers Vila the disc]
VILAWhat is it? Slow-acting poison?
CALLYIt's a tracer. Orac can locate it and tell us exactly where yo u are at any time.
VILAI'm not swallowing that.
AVONIt's perfectly harmless. It dissolves eventually.
VILAYour hands clean?
AVONJust take it. [Vila takes the disc] Orac, have you found us a name for this place yet?
ORACNo definite records exist. I have however found an obscure archeological treatise which suggests the ancestors of the present inhabitants may have called their planet Kezarn.
VILAWonderful. I'm going to die on a planet that hasn't even got a name any more.

VILADoes it make any difference?

TARRANTThey're simple, completely unaggressive people, Vila. You'll be quite safe.
VILAI've only got your word for that.

TARRANTTrust me.
VILAYeah.... Put me down. [Vila is teleported]

AVONI don't know how you persuaded him to go, Tarrant.

TARRANTI appealed to his better nature.
AVONHe hasn't got one. Leave him alone in future.

AVONDo you want me to threaten you?

TARRANTWhy not? I haven't had a good laugh in ages.
AVONSensible. You could die laughing.
CALLYWhy are you suddenly so protective towards Vila?
AVONHe's irritating, but he's useful. We can easily replace a pilot, but a talented thief is rare.

TARRANTI'd agree with that. So?
AVONSo frighten him too much, he's no use to anyone.

TARRANTHe wasn't that frightened.
CALLYHe was terrified. So terrified he might just get himself killed because it's easier than going on.

TARRANTI'll take that risk.
CALLYIt isn't yours to take. [Dayna enters]

TARRANTLook, without those crystals, the main blasters are useless. Do you like being helpless, Cally?
CALLYI don't know. I've never tried it.
VILA[V.O.] Liberator. Come in Liberator.
AVONYes, Vila?
VILA[V.O.] The crystals are here. You can come and get them now.
AVONWell done, Vila.
DAYNACally. [gives Cally a gun] Killing range is only two hundred, so aim for the whites of their eyes.

TARRANTNo point in mentioning you're supposed to be unarmed?
CALLYPut me down. [Cally is teleported to the planet] Down and safe. There's no one here.

TARRANT[V.O.] Are you sure, Cally?
CALLYUnless they're hiding. But why should they hide?

TARRANT[V.O.] I don't know. Maybe outsiders --
CALLY-- make them nervous? Yes, you said. I'm beginning to wonder how you managed to negotiate with them at all.

TARRANT[V.O.] Any sign of the box of crystals?
CALLYNot yet.

TARRANT[V.O.] Keep looking.

[Vila is walking with two natives, and sees buildings far away]

VILAIs that where we're going? It's miles away. I mean why couldn't I have teleported closer in? [pause] Hey? They say too much walking's bad for you, you know. Makes you go deaf. Look what it's done for you. Listen, sooner or later one of you's going to have to speak to me. Well, speak to me one of you! All right, that's it. No speak, no walk. My feet hurt and I didn't want to come anyway. [sits] 'Course, I'm totally lost, you realize that. Yes, of course you realize that. I don't suppose you'd consider taking me back to where you met me. No, of course you wouldn't. All right, you've talked me into it. [gets up and walks]

[Cally approaches a box]

CALLYThere's a box here. And Vila's teleport bracelet.
AVON[V.O.] Cally, it's Avon. Don't touch the box. I don't share Tarrant's faith in simple, unaggressive people.
CALLYYes, I know. [Cally moves away, shoots a rock face; rocks fall on the box, which explodes. Cally teleports up.]

VILAWhat was that? Sounded like an explosion. Was it an explosion? Do you know what it was? Do you care what it was? Do I care what it was? Why am I talking to myself like this? I wonder what it was though.

[teleport facility]

DAYNAThey boobytrapped the box. Simple enough to do.
CALLYThey're a simple people, according to Tarrant.
AVONAnd completely unaggressive. A slight exaggeration perhaps.

TARRANTI don't understand it. I was sure we could trust them. I'd have staked my life on it.
CALLYYou did stake Vila's.

TARRANTDid I really? I'd forgotten.
CALLYNow he hasn't even got a bracelet.

TARRANTAnd that's my fault?
DAYNASo we haven't got Vila and we haven't got the crystals. What's our next brilliant move?
AVONWe persuade his simple unaggressive friends to part with either or both.

TARRANTWE don't; I do. Only this time I'll negotiate with a gun in my hand.
AVONOrac, can you give me a precise fix on that tracer?
ORACOf course I can.
AVONWhere is it then?
ORACUnder the box which is ten centimetres from your right hand.
AVON[lifts device and finds the disc] The stupid idiot.
CALLYHe palmed it.
DAYNAThat's not stupid, it's suicidal. Why would he do that?

TARRANTBecause he was scared witless. He didn't trust anyone. You were right. I'm sorry, Cally.
CALLYYou're the only one who's met these people. where do you think they've taken him?
DAYNAWhat about that city?

TARRANTNo, they said it was a ruin. No one could remember when it was built or even who built it. No one ever goes there. So they say.
AVONWe could wish for more reliable informants. Anything else?

TARRANTThere's a name, something unpronounceable, in what they told me was a fragment of the old tongue.
AVONA translatable fragment?

TARRANTApparently it means "The City at the Edge of the World".

[Vila is walking down a corridor]

VILAThe place is deserted. There's nobody here. The whole place is -- [looks around, notices he is alone] deserted. Hello? [echoes] Anybody there? [echoes] Come on, stop dawdling, will you. If this is meant to be a joke, it's not funny! [echo of "not funny"] [crackling explosion; Vila cowers on the ground]
VILAI'll get you for this, Tarrant. I'll tear your arm off and beat you to death with the wet end. I'll get you for this!
KERRIL[points a gun at Vila] Have you finished? If talking got it done, you'd be a real killer, wouldn't you?
VILAWhere did you come from?
KERRILHere and there. Mostly there. On your feet, killer. I said, on your feet. Pick up your box and let's go, little man.
VILAThe name's Vila, and you can relax your gun arm, I'm not looking for trouble.
KERRILWhat's the matter, killer, lost your nerve?
VILAThat's right. Pity I didn't lose my sense of smell as well.
KERRILWhat's that supposed to mean?
VILAYou should try taking a bath sometime, you smell terrible.
KERRILFor someone who's lost his nerve, you take risks, little man.
VILAYou didn't go to all this trouble just to kill me.
KERRIL[gestures with gun] There.
VILAA mouthwash would be a good idea too.
KERRILMove. [another crackle] Move.

[a room; Norl watches Bayban and Sherm silently]

BAYBANYou bubble-brained idiot. You stupid son of a slimecrawler.
SHERMIt wasn't my fault, Captain.
BAYBAN"It wasn't my fault, Captain." Of course it was your fault. "Oh, blow a hole in it, Captain." Blow a hole in it. Look at it. [shot of door] It's not even dented. [touches his head] It's the only thing that isn't.
SHERMWell, it could have been worse.
BAYBANNot for you it couldn't, Sherm.
SHERMWell I did my best.
BAYBANI know you did your best, Sherm. [points gun at Sherm] That's why I can do without you.
SHERMPlease, Captain.
BAYBANOh, stop sniveling, Sherm. You know I can't stand snivelers.
SHERMIt was his fault. He coulda told us how to open it. He's been lyin' all along. He was laughin' behind your back. I saw him.
BAYBANWhat? Is that true, old man? No one laughs at Bayban. Take him out and shoot him. [Kerril and Vila enter]
KERRILBayban, if you must kill somebody, kill him. [indicates Sherm] [Sherm draws gun, Kerril shoots him]
VILAThen again, you don't smell that bad.
BAYBANWhat took you so long? You must be Vila. It's an honour, sir.
VILAThe honour's mine.
BAYBANThat's what I meant.
SHERM[to Kerril] You better sleep with both eyes open from now on.
KERRILYou should get together with Killer here, you make a good pair.
BAYBANI may have to get rid of Kerril. Be a pity, she's the best gun hand I ever had, but, uh, she's got no team spirit, you know. And you can't run an outfit like mine without team spirit.
VILAWhat outfit is it exactly, if you don't mind me asking?
BAYBANOh, I do mind you asking. I mind very much.
VILAI can understand that. Uh, I'm sorry I mentioned it, I - I was just making conversation. I've, um, brought my tools here. What exactly is it you want me to do, just name it, I'm your man.
BAYBANYou don't know who I am.
VILAAbsolutely not, no idea. You needn't worry about it, I won't ask any questions.
BAYBANSmall-time thief and failed revolutionary, and you don't know who I am?
VILAAh. Well, if you put it like that, of course I know who you are. You're -- you're, ah --
VILABayban, yes.
BAYBANBayban the Beserker. Bayban the Butcher.
VILABayban the Butcher . . . you're Bayban the Butcher! Oh, no.
BAYBANThat's better.
VILAYou're top of the Federation's Most Wanted list -- after Blake.
BAYBANWhat do you mean, "after Blake"? I was working my way up that list before he crept out of his creche. WORKING my way up. I didn't take any political shortcuts.
VILAI know, I know. You have a reputation for straightforward mayhem that's second to none. I've been an admirer of yours for, um, well, for as long as I can remember. Well maybe not that long, I mean, uh, you're not that old, are you? But, uh, then again, you did start very young, didn't you? I think I feel sick.
KERRILSo you should, little man. [leaves]
BAYBANVila, I like a man who shows respect. You'll enjoy working for me.
VILAWill I? Oh, yes, I will. Of course I will.
BAYBANGood. Well you can start by opening that door.
VILA[examines door] What's behind it?
SHERMYou don't need to know that.
VILAI decide what I need to know.
BAYBANI make the decisions 'round here.
VILAThe captain makes the decisions 'round here.
SHERMWhy, you -- [menaces Vila]
BAYBANSherm! Vila, come here and sit down. Now I went to a lot of trouble to get you here, and that is all the trouble I intend to have. Now you will open that door, or I will open you from there to there. [indicates Vila's neck with knife] Right?
VILA[Rushing] But I still need to know what's in there! The key to any security system is how it's designed! That depends on why it was designed! I have to know what whoever designed it was trying to protect! [Kerril re-enters, puts down a bowl of food]
BAYBAN[to Norl] Tell him.
NORLWe have told you.
BAYBANTell HIM. Sherm, contact the stockade. Have the men kill two more hostages.
NORLNo, wait.
NORLIt contains this world and the next.
SHERMSame old stuff.
KERRILHe's done as he was told.
SHERMTwo more corpses'll keep him in line.
KERRILNo! You can push people too far.
SHERMYou should remember that.
KERRILI said people, not garbage.
BAYBANKerril -- Sherm -- out. [Kerril and Sherm leave]
VILAThis world and the next? That could mean anything.
BAYBANNot anything, everything. There's nothing on this planet, Vila. No precious metals, no gems, no wealth of any kind. And why? Because it's all in there [indicates door]. This world.
VILAAnd the next?
BAYBANReligious mumbo jumbo to keep the locals out. We had to kill six of them before they'd even tell us it was there. And six more to make sure they didn't know how to open it.
VILABut what about the crystals you swapped for me? They're valuable, where did they come from?
BAYBANThey didn't.
VILAThe crystals in that box. There weren't any crystals in that box, were there? So Tarrant did a deal with you without even seeing the merchandise.
BAYBANOh, not with me; with them. Tarrant didn't even know I was here. But he did see a sample [shows Vila a crystal]. I've had it for years. Lucky piece. Not so lucky for him though.
VILAWonderful. Me, he calls stupid.
BAYBANNot any more. Smile. You outlived him.
BAYBANWell we couldn't let them go back empty handed, could we? So we gave him a bomb to play with.
VILAA bomb?
BAYBANYes. Bang. You're dead. You know the sort of thing.
BAYBANWhat do you say?
VILACan I ask you if you've tried to blast this?
BAYBANBlast it? We blasted it, burned it, drilled it, cut it. How long do you need?
VILAI don't know.
BAYBANYou've got an hour. [to entering soldier] You -- out! Leave my man in peace. [to Norl] And you. [Norl leaves] [to Vila] My mother --
BAYBANOh yes. I had a mother. Wonderful woman. Truly evil person. She had a saying. "Baybe," she used to say. She called me Bayb e. "Baybe," she used to say, "treat every hour as though it's your last." [puts food into Vila's mouth] I'll be back in an hour, Vila. [slaps Vila on the back and leaves, laughing]
VILATarrant, I hope you're satisfied.

[teleport facility]

TARRANTI still don't see the logic.

TARRANTI know the ground. I made the contacts.
CALLYThey didn't take you to their village or even that city.
DAYNAThey deliberately kept you away from anything even vaguely strategic.
AVONWhich makes your local knowledge very local indeed.

TARRANTThat's not the point.
AVONNo, the point is that Vila won't trust you, whereas he will trust Cally and me.

TARRANTCally, yes, but why you?
AVONBecause he knows what I think of him.

TARRANTYou despise him.
AVONRight. But at least I'm consistent about it. I know his value to us, just as he knows mine. If we need any help, I'll let you know.

TARRANTFeel free.
CALLYJust be ready.
DAYNAWe will, don't worry.
AVONPut us down. [Avon and Cally teleport]

TARRANTThanks for your support, Dayna.
DAYNAWell, they were right. If Vila saw you, who knows what he might do. Run away, give the alarm --

TARRANTI doubt that.
DAYNASo do I. I think he'd try and kill you. [Smiles] That's what I'd do.

[Avon and Cally are on the planet]

CALLYSeems quiet enough.
AVONThe village should be in that direction.
CALLYIf Zen got it right.
AVONIt's a pity we're not all as reliable as Zen.
CALLYBut I thought you were.

[in the room. Vila examines the door while Kerril comes up behind him]

VILAThat block isn't really a block at all. He was clever. He could turn out to be the best I've come up against.
KERRILWho could?
VILAThe designer. My opponent. You see, there are two basic approaches to security. Physical: locks and booby traps, things designed to physically stop you getting in. Then there is the psychological approach.
VILALike you put up a fence with a notice which says that the area is impregnated with swamp fever and you'll get galloping knee- rot if you try to go inside.
KERRILSo which is this?
VILAI'm working on it. [examines door with instrument] Zero zero t wo. That is beautiful.
VILAAn indestructible block. A combination of both the psychological and the physical, one reinforcing the other. Elegant, my friend, simply elegant.
KERRILSo what is it?
VILAEh? Oh, it's just a simple forcefield.
KERRILI was right about you, another Sherm, all mouth. This is a solid block, little man.
VILAIt's a forcefield. Set to refract light so that it appears solid. Well naturally it feels solid, all forcefields do. Looks solid, feels solid, so everybody treats it as solid. They bash, blast, and burn it, and like all forcefields, whatever energy you push into it, it chucks right back at you. For all energy input, there has to be an equal and opposite energy output. Result -- an indestructible block. The harder you hit it, the stronger it gets. [sets up instrument] There.
KERRILWhat's that supposed to be?
VILAA low energy probe.
VILAThe energy threshold of this forcefield is zero zero two. Anything more that zero zero two gets chucked back at you, right? This will push a probe into the field very slowly. Maximum energy zero zero one. When the probe reaches the door, the field will collapse. Bye-bye block.
KERRILI'll believe it when I see it.
VILAIt'll take about forty-five minutes.
KERRILHow did you know I was here?
KERRILWhen I first came in -- how did you know I was here?
VILAI heard you.
KERRILNo, you didn't.
KERRILFor a thief, you lie badly.

[Avon and Cally see a lone native woman]

CALLYLet me do it. I won't scare her so much.
AVONAll right, but be careful. Remember how they fooled Tarrant. And Cally -- don't get between her and me. [Cally approaches woman, who looks up. Cally sees a soldier]
CALLYAvon! [Avon shoots soldier]
AVONSeems we're not the only strangers on this planet.
CALLYThat could explain a lot.
AVONThe woman is still with us. Is she trying to bluff her way out?
CALLYI don't think so. She just doesn't care about us. It was the same when she first saw me. Polite disinterest. We're not important to her.
AVONSo let's find out what is important to her.

[in the room]

VILA[to Norl] What were you looking so pleased about? Bayban isn't going to share whatever's in there, you know.
NORLThat's true. Bayban will not share it.
VILAWhere does that corridor lead? Can we get out that way? Now look, I'm not the only one in trouble here, you know. I wouldn't give a scoop of slime for you and your friends once I get that open. Bayban's insane, you realize that. Once he gets his hands on the loot, he won't need any of us. He'll kill us all. How many men have you got that can fight? [Norl turns away] You better listen to me. I'll tell him you were in here. I'll tell him it's all a plot. You're just using him to get that open. [Norl turns back towards Vila] Yes. You know how he'd react to that, don't you? You don't mean that really is what's going on? That'd make you crazier than him.
SHERM[looking in] Crazier than who?
SHERMWhat? [menaces Vila]
VILABaybe would not be pleased.
VILAThat's what his mother called him, didn't you know?
SHERMWhat're you doing here, Norl? This man was to be left alone. Now get out and do as you're told. [Norl leaves] [to Vila] You've twenty-five minutes left.
VILAWho told you that?
SHERMCaptain Bayban.
VILAI didn't think you could've worked it out for yourself. Joke! Just a joke.
SHERMIn twenty-five minutes from now you're going to need a sense of humor. [leaves]
VILAMaybe you should lend me yours.

[Avon and Cally watch the village]

AVONThey're changing the guard over. Let's find out where the rest are.

[Kerril, wearing native dress, watches Vila]

KERRILYou said forty-five minutes, little man.
VILAAny time now. [turns around, sees Kerril]
KERRILWhat are you staring at?
VILAI'm not staring.
KERRILWe've been on the move a lot.
KERRILIt's the first chance I've had to, well, get cleaned up.
VILARight. I know the problem. It's difficult when you're, uh, moving all the time.
KERRILAnything wrong with it?
VILANot from where I stand. [door vanishes with an electric crash] And there's nothing much wrong with that either!
KERRILYou did it!
VILAOf course! For a little man I'm a wonderful mover, wouldn't you say? Come on! [they go through the doorway]
KERRIL[whispering] Which way do we go?
VILAI don't know. [door reappears]
KERRILWe're shut in. Vila, we're shut in!
VILADon't worry. My man knows we're here.
KERRILYour man?
VILAThe designer. He knows we're here, and he knows we're not stupid because if we were, we wouldn't have got this far.
VILASo if he wanted to stop us, there's only one way left to him.
KERRILAccording to the locals, this lot is thousands of years old. You sound as though you're expecting to meet this character.
VILAHe may be dead, but he's still trying to outthink me. Keep behind me. Step where I step, and don't touch anything. Right?
KERRILRight. What are you expecting him to do?
VILAI'm expecting him to try and kill us.
VILACome on. [they brush against something hanging. Kerril screams] It's all right, it's all right.
VILAI hope so.

[Avon and Cally approach three of Bayban's men]

AVONGrenade! [throws object among men, who take cover. Avon and Cally come up behind them] Don't move. It must have been a dud. Sorry about that.
CALLYAll we want is information.
AVONWe've lost a friend of ours. We think you can tell us where to find him.
CALLYThat's what we think.
AVON[pointing gun at soldier] What do you think?

[in room]

SHERMAll the guards are in place captain, he can't have got away.
BAYBANHe must have done.
SHERMWell I don't see how, 'cause we've searched every tunnel we can find.
BAYBANTake the rest of the men and search the whole city. I want him found, and I want him found now.
SHERM[to soldier] Go!
BAYBAN[to Norl] You. When you were in here, what was he doing? What exactly was he doing?
NORLHe had not opened the door. And he was afraid. He said that you were going to kill him. He was looking for a way to escape.
BAYBAN[to Sherm] Get two men down to the landing site. Get the laser cannon out of the ship, and set it up in here.
SHERMThe laser cannon? That could blow away half the city, captain.
BAYBANDo it. [Sherm leaves] [to Norl] I will have it open. I will h ave that door open.

KERRILAnother door? Is this it? Well?
VILAI think it's time to go back.
KERRILIs it boobytrapped?
KERRILWell, then.
VILAYou don't understand.
KERRILThat's right, I don't.
VILAI know this man. If he was going to stop us, he would have done it already. The fact that he hasn't means that he wants us here. Don't you see? We're being used. That's what Norl was hiding.
KERRILYou really are a little man, aren't you?
VILALeave it, Kerril. Whatever's in there, we don't need it.
KERRILWell try telling that to Bayban.
VILAI'm going back. Are you coming?
VILAI think you should.
VILAAll right. [Vila walks away. Kerril touches the door, and it opens]
KERRIL[whispering] Vila. Vila. [Kerril advances and screams, Vila returns, she has disappeared]
VILA[whispering] Kerril. Kerril! All right, my friend. But you didn't fool me. [Vila advances and is teleported to where Kerril is]
KERRILVila. Thanks.
VILAFor what?
KERRILFollowing me.
VILAWell. I always did have a weakness for nice legs.
KERRILI'm sorry.
VILAIt's not what I expected.
KERRIL[sees corpse] Oh!
VILAUgh. He's lost a lot of weight, hasn't he?
KERRILOh, there's another one.
VILAIt's all right, it's all right.
KERRILI thought I was alone.
VILAYou come and sit down. [they hear a replay of their last exchange]
VILA[recorded] It's all right. it's all right.
KERRIL[recorded] I thought I was alone.
VILA[recorded] You come and sit down.

VOICEThe translator unit has identified your language as Terran, and is translating my words into a form which I hope you will understand. I regret that we cannot meet in person, but by the time you hear this, I shall have been dead for over three thousand years, an almost unimaginable time. As unimaginable in its way as the journey in which you have now become involved. If you'll please be comfortable, I will try to explain what has happened to you.
VILAIt's all right. That's my man. I just want to see what he's done to us.
VOICE... it is called Kezarn.
VOICEAnd my people will have forgotten that by the time you hear my voice. As I record this, our society is at the height of its powers, but economic expansion and social development are reaching their limits. A collapse to barbarism and a new dark age cannot be long delayed. We had despaired, but now we have found a solution. We have developed a system for the instantaneous transmission of matter over any distance between two terminals. Enter one terminal and step out of the other wherever it happens to be. The starship in which you now sit contains one terminal. The vault which you so ably penetrated contains the other. You've stepped off the planet Kezarn and onto a starship, which is now at least three thousand light years away.
VILAOne small step for man. So how do we get back?
VOICEThe ship is programmed to find us a planet on which we can begin a new life. It must be a planet in a system with other planets which we can also colonize. This time there must be no limit to our expansion.
VILAWe seem to be trapped. I think he's killed us.
VOICEThe vault on Kezarn will protect that terminal during the generations of barbarism when my people will forget even who they are. All that will remain to them is a race memory which we have genetically engineered. Once in every thirty-five generations, they will gather near the city at the edge of the world, and one will be found who can enter the vault. My people will know peace only if he returns. He will return only if the ship has reached its destination. My friend, if the ship is still in flight, you will not return to Kezarn.
VILAI knew it.
VOICEThe air which came with you into this cabin will soon run out, and you will die.
VILAWonderful. Thanks a lot, friend.
VOICEI suggest you make peace with whatever gods you recognize, as I will try to make peace with mine. I bid you farewell. And I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
VILANot a chance. I'd like to think he suffocated after making that recording, but I doubt it.
KERRILSorry, Vila, it's all my fault.
VILANo, you were right. Bayban would never have let me out without finishing the job.
KERRILHow long do you think the air will last?
VILAWell, if we don't move around too much ...
KERRILIt hardly seems worth trying to stay alive a few minutes longer. [removes gunbelt]
VILANow, look, if you're thinking of shooting yourself or something, forget it. I don't believe in suicide. It stunts your growth.
KERRILActually, it wasn't what I was thinking of. [embraces Vila]

[teleport facility]

TARRANTHe's in worse trouble than we thought. Bayban's as bad as you can find.
AVONI've heard of him.

TARRANTI've met him. He's the type that gives crime a bad name.
AVONRight. That should put us down just inside the city.
DAYNAAre you sure those three guards can't give the alarm?
AVONNot unless they can do it in their sleep.
DAYNAYou should have killed them.
CALLYThey could sleep through a war.

TARRANTThat's good, because if it is Bayban down there, a war is what we'll have.
AVONOrac, are you ready to maintain teleport function?
ORACOf course I am.
AVONThen put us down, and stand by for further instructions.
ORACVery well. Stand by. I'm waiting.
AVONSo are we.
ORACTeleporting now. [they teleport]

[Bayban addresses his men in the room]

BAYBANCretins. You are all cretins. I am surrounded by cretins. Vila and Kerril will be found and brought here to me. If Vila and Kerril are not found and brought here to me, you [to Sherm] will be the first to die. Now go and kick some life into the others. While you've still got legs to kick with! [soldiers run out]

[Avon, Cally, Tarrant, and Dayna are in a corridor]


TARRANTDayna. [they split into pairs]

[Bayban's men bring in laser cannon]

BAYBANGood. Good. Connect it up. Hurry.

SHERMTry there. [spots Dayna] Over here!

DAYNAI think they saw me.

TARRANTHow many?
DAYNAThree? [Tarrant leaves. Sound of gunshots. Tarrant reurns]

TARRANTThree. Not very friendly, are they?

SHERMRight. Keep them pinned down, I'll go and get some more men.

[Dayna holds a device]

TARRANTWhat's that?
DAYNASomething I've been toying with.

DAYNAI hope so.

TARRANTMake sure you point it in the right direction. [device tracks down men, explodes]

BAYBANNeevish, find out what that was. Move. [grabs cannon away from other soldier] You too.

TARRANTGaudy, but effective.

AVONI think war was just declared.

BAYBAN[to Norl] You. Give me a hand with this. Come on.

[Vila and Kerril wake up]

VILAWe're still alive. Kerril. Kerril, we're still alive! We should be dead by now.
KERRILAre you bragging or complaining?
VILAThe air's as fresh as ever. Do you know what that means?
KERRILWe're going to die of exhaustion.
VILA[goes to entry point] Here. [walks to opposite wall] The door should be here! They walk out of the transmitter, straight out onto the planet.
KERRILWhat are you talking about?
VILAHe hid the door, right?
KERRILTo make sure none of his victims did anything rash like attacking the weakest point of the ship!
VILAIt's here, I know it's here.
KERRILIf you say so.
VILAHow would he hide it?
KERRILAnother one of those force fields?
VILARight. Set to refract light at the same frequency as the wall.
KERRILSo it's invisible.
VILAYes. Now supposing the ship has already landed, but the forcefield has malfunctioned. Supposing the door is already open, but the field hasn't switched off.
KERRILWhy should we suppose that?
VILA'Cause the air's still fresh. Air will bleed through a force field.
KERRILCan we get through it?
VILAIf the energy threshold isn't too low, and the field too thick. This one tried, but the air ran out on him. Ship was still in flight. [takes probe from skeleton]
KERRILCan I do anything?
VILAKeep the sweat out of my eyes.
VILANo, don't do that, your legs are bad for my concentration.
KERRILOh, you! [electric crackle, Vila rolls back, howling in pain]
KERRILVila. Are you all right?
VILADischarged straight through me. [they see the outside of the planet through the doorway]
VILAKerril. [they go towards the open door]

[Avon and Cally shoot down two men]

AVONGet their guns.

[Avon and Cally enter; Bayban points cannon at them]

BAYBANDrop the guns. Do it. [they drop soldiers' guns] Good. I hate to rush an execution.
AVONYou can't use that in here.
BAYBANStand still. Both of you. You think I'm a complete amateur?
CALLYA laser cannon isn't very professional.
AVONYou'll blow away half the city.
CALLYAll the city.
AVONEnergy feedback, heat reflection -- you would go with it.
CALLYIt's an open ground weapon. You should know that.
BAYBANI do know that.
CALLYYou'd have to be insane to use it, then.
BAYBANWell maybe that's it. Maybe I am insane.
SHERM[entering] Captain. Captain! They're wiping us out. We've only seven men left! [Avon attacks Sherm. Cally overcomes Bayban. Sherm wins and grabs Cally]
BAYBANFinish her. [Sherm pushes Cally down in corridor, she shoots him] [Avon defeats Bayban]
AVON[points gun at Bayban] Bloodthirsty little maniac, aren't you? Where's Vila?
BAYBANI don't know what you're talking about. [Tarrant and Dayna enter]

TARRANTHello, Bayban. I heard a rumor you were dead. Funny, that turns out to be true.
BAYBANDo I know you?

TARRANTThat's the trouble with celebrities. They never remember the little people.
AVONWhere is Vila?
AVONHow would you like me to let some fresh air into that rancid little brain of yours?
BAYBANGo ahead. You'd be famous. The man who killed Bayban.
CALLY[points gun at Bayban] I'd quite like to be famous, too. How about the woman that killed Bayban?
DAYNAOr better still, the girl who killed Bayban.
BAYBANI don't know where he is.
CALLYYou can do better than that.
BAYBANHe disappeared.
NORL[entering] Only from your sight. We are awaiting his return.
BAYBANYou mean he got it open? He's been in there all the time?
AVONDayna, take our guest outside and watch him. [Dayna takes Bayban away at gunpoint]

[outside the ship, on the new planet. Kerril is throwing crystals into a pond]

VILAYou know, Kerril, I really like it here.
KERRILI wonder what planet it is.
VILAWe'll probably never know.
KERRILPerhaps we should give it a name.
VILAIf you like.
KERRILHow about... Homeworld. Vilaworld?
VILAHomeworld. Vilaworld. Yes, Vilaworld.
KERRILHomeworld. [she throws crystals into pool]
VILAStop. Where did you get this?
KERRILThey're all over the place, look.
KERRILWhat is it?
VILAThese are what got me into this in the first place. You've no idea how much they're worth. [he picks up some]
KERRIL[disappointed] We're going back.
VILAWhen you're ready, there's no hurry.
KERRIL[angry] Well come on, we've wasted enough time. [walks back to ship]
VILADid I say something wrong? Kerril! What's the matter? What did I say to upset you? [follows her into the ship] Kerril.
VILAHomeworld. You wanted to call it Homeworld. All right, then we'll call it Homeworld, it's a good enough name.
KERRILAre you playing games with me?
KERRILYes. Games. If you think what happened in here gives you the right to treat me like some sort of --
VILATreat you like some sort o' what? I haven't treated you like any sort of anything. We're out there in the sunshine, when all of a sudden for no good reason at all you throw a tantrum and go off in all directions.
KERRILFor no good reason at all?
VILAAll right then, give me a good reason. I'm a reasonable man. I'll accept a good reason. I'll accept a bad reason. I'll accept any damn reason at all, just tell me what the hell it is I'm meant to have done.
KERRILYou really don't know, do you?
VILAIsn't that what I just said?
VILAOh, please. Can't we stop fighting now? Of all the things I en joy doing, quarreling with you comes five hundred and seventy-fourth on my list.
KERRILI'm sorry. Shall we go?
VILAThat list.
KERRILThings you enjoy doing?
VILAYou wouldn't be interested in what comes top of it, would you?
KERRILYou! [hits Vila playfully]

[in the room]

CALLY[to Norl] Why is it getting darker all the time? [to Tarrant] How long are we going to wait?

TARRANTAs long as it takes.
CALLYFeeling guilty?

TARRANTYes, a little.
AVONThere are no lighting systems that I can find. I suggest we leave here while there's enough light to see where we're going.

NORLYour friend is right. It is time to leave this place. [electric effect as door disappears]
VILA[comes through door] Hello.

TARRANTNow that is what I call an entrance.
CALLYVila, we thought we'd lost you.
AVONBut every silver lining has a cloud.
VILAI'd say you got that wrong, except I know you didn't.

TARRANTWelcome back, Vila.
VILA[Eyes him] Thanks. Oh, This is Kerril.

TARRANTAnd welcome back Kerril. [sound of shot]
AVONWhat the hell is that? [to Dayna, who enters] What happened?
DAYNABayban got away from me.

TARRANTHe'll be making for his ship.
NORLNo! Let him go. He has no men left.
CALLYBut there are still men guarding your people.
NORLThey will have been dealt with. My people are coming. They are summoned to enter the city. [bell rings, city lights up]
VILAThat's what this is all about! This isn't a city, it's a travel terminus. And it's announcing that it's open for business. [people enter city and pass through doorway]
NORLThe need which grew in us until it blotted out all other needs is now satisfied. My people are gone, and now I too must go.
VILAHow much of it did you know beforehand, Norl?
NORLOnly that the door to the next world must be opened by a clever man.
VILAYou tried to get Bayban to do it.
NORLHe came to our world at the right time, but he was not the right man. Although we realized quite soon that he could not open the door, yet we knew that he could find someone who could. So, we encouraged him in that.
DAYNABy convincing him that the vault contained something of great value which you didn't want him to have.
NORLIt was no more than the truth. But it became more than the truth because some of us died before we told him. Vila, you're a clever man, and brave. My people thank you. And now, I must join my people.
KERRILWait. May I come with you, Norl?
NORLYou too are brave, and have helped my people. You are welcome. You are both welcome to come with us.
KERRIL[to Vila] Well?

TARRANTVila, we'll wait on the ship. [Tosses him a bracelet.] Let us know what you decide.
AVONBring us up, Orac. [they teleport]
KERRILAre you coming with me?
VILAI can't.
KERRILWhy not? It's a chance to be free. You saw that place, it's beautiful.
VILABut there's nothing there worth stealing. {Kerril sighs] No, listen. You know why I neutralize security systems, open safes, and break into vaults? It's because I can and most people can't.
KERRILTo satisfy your ego.
VILANo, not really. It's just that, it's what makes me, me. Kerril, a thief isn't what I am, it's WHO I am.
KERRILForget it.
VILAYou wouldn't like what was left of me.
KERRILWhat makes you think I like you at all?
VILABecause you can't like someone without them liking you back. And I like you, Kerril, more than anyone. Anyone I've ever known.
KERRILThe difference is, I love you.
BAYBANVery touching.
KERRILBayban. [Vila and Bayban point guns at each other]
BAYBANYou didn't think I'd leave a fortune behind, did you?
KERRILThere's nothing for you here, Bayban.
BAYBANI should have killed you a long time ago, Kerril.
VILA[to Kerril] Go quickly.
KERRILVila, he'll kill you.
VILA[to Norl] Take her quickly. Get her out of here. Go. Go! [Norl and Kerril go through doorway, door reappears]
BAYBANNo! [grabs laser cannon]
VILADon't do that. It's a forcefield! [to bracelet] get me out of here. [Vila teleports]
BAYBANNO! [shoots door, city explodes] [teleport facility]
CALLYShe escaped safely then?
VILAOh yes. To a new life, and all that.
CALLYGood. We can all get back to business then. [exits]
AVONNot quite. We still have to find those crystals for the weaponry systems. [Vila puts crystals on table]
VILAThat enough?
AVONYes. I'm impressed.
VILAWonderful. That makes it all worthwhile.
AVONWelcome back, Vila. [exits]

TARRANTVila, I'm sorry for what I said to you. I didn't mean it. It wasn't true.
VILATo tell you the truth, I don't really care. It's not important any more.

TARRANT[to Dayna] What's the matter with him?
DAYNAIf I thought that was a serious question, I'd be very worried about you. [they exit]
VILAI think I've just made the biggest mistake of my life.
ORACIn the light of your previous record, that seems unlikely. Heh. I would predict that there are far greater mistakes waiting to be made by someone with your obvious talent for them.
VILAShut up, Orac. [Pulls key] Still, it's a comforting thought. Let's hope they've all got good legs.

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