Script for Countdown

by Terry Nation

directed by Vere Lorrimer

(c) 1979 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a partial dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Format (c) 1993 by Susan Clerc and Micky DuPree.

Dramatis Personae:

Roj BlakeGareth Thomas
Jenna StannisSally Knyvette
Kerr AvonPaul Darrow
CallyJan Chappell
Vila RestalMichael Keating
Del GrantTom Chadbon
ProvinePaul Shelley
CauderJames Kerry
RalliLindy Alexander
SelsonRobert Arnold
TronosGeoffrey Snell
VetnorSidney Kean
ArrianNigel Gregory

Derek SuthernPeter Caton
Tony SnellRobert Smythe
Ray KnightLen Gilbey
Ernie GoodyearPeter Roy
Toby Byrne

NOTE_________ indicates an indecipherable word or phrase.

[Albian. Federation guards in black and rebels in green uniforms fight at a building entrance amid explosions, gun fire, and smoke]

[Federation control room, Albian. Tronos sits at a console to the left of the main door. Selson and Provine stand at another console to the right until Selson crosses the room to look into the corridor]



TRONOS[Points to the screen on his console] That's the third staircase, isn't it?

SELSONYes, sir [The console screen displays a metal staircase] They're getting closer every minute, sir.

TRONOSI can see that. [Selson crosses to Provine at the other console]

PROVINEWhere are they now?

SELSONThey're just about [Points to a spot on a grid] here, sir.

[Federation guards running in a corridor, pursued by rebels. Explosions, gun fire, smoke, debris, hand to hand combat. One guard manages to reach an intercom on the wall]

[Control room. The communicator chimes. Tronos and Selson pick up communicators]

TRONOS[Into communicator] Control. Mm. Right. [Gives Selson a data card which he takes over to Provine]

SELSONThe Albians have broken though into the outer gallery, sir. The field commander reports that despite severe losses, our men are putting up a courageous defense.

PROVINEYes, spare me the propaganda, Selson. Can he hold them?

SELSONHe's concentrating what's left of his force to make a stand at level three, sir.

PROVINEIf they beat him at level three, there's little margin left.

SELSONHe'll hold them, sir.

PROVINEI'd like a little more reassurance than your blind patriotism, Selson. Put the status report on the computer and run a probability program.


[More guards and rebels fighting in corridors amid explosions and debris]

[Provine in the corridor outside control room. He hears explosions, dirt falls from the ceiling, he returns to control room]

PROVINE[Enters] They're dropping bombs down the air shafts now.

SELSONComputer analysis indicates a ninety-three percent probability that the Albians will overwhelm our defenses and take control of the entire complex.

PROVINEOn the evidence of that projection, we have no alternative. We must activate.


PROVINETronos, lock the door.


PROVINELock the door!

SELSONIs there nothing else we can do, sir? It means the death of millions. [He brings a box to Provine at the console]

PROVINEThe Albians have always known the penalty for insurrection. Now they must pay the cost. [He has inserted two tubes into the console]

SELSONBut sir, there's still a seven percent possibility we can contain the situation. Couldn't we wait a little longer, sir?

PROVINENo! Now, then, Tronos, you know what to do.

TRONOSI give you four minutes to reach the launch area, then I activate. I then follow without delay.

PROVINERight. We'll see you at the ship. Four minutes. [Provine and Selson exit through a door in the wall, opposite the door to the corridor, into an escape tunnel]

[Selson and Provine in the escape tunnel]

[Guards and rebels in a corridor]

[Tronos in the control room. Dirt falls from the ceiling]

[Guards in a corridor pursued by rebels]

[Selson and Provine in the escape tunnel. Explosion]

PROVINESelson! [Selson is down, apparently pinned by falling rock]

SELSONIt's no good, sir. There's no way through; it's blocked. You must try and get back, sir -- you must try and get back and stop... ahhh...[Dies]

[Rebels in the corridor outside the control room, beating on the door]

[Scene cuts between the control room and corridor. Tronos mouths a countdown as he looks at his watch. He crosses the room. In the corridor, a rebel throws a grenade. In the control room, the door bursts open, Tronos dives for his gun, spins, and is shot]

GRANT____________ [Grant, Cauder, and Ralli enter and move around the room. Tronos crawls up the console and reaches for a button]

CAUDERDel, stop him! [Tronos activates the device and collapses, presumably dead]

GRANTIt's started. [The device ticks and displays a digital countdown -- 999, 998, 997]

CAUDERI always thought they were bluffing. I never thought that when it actually came to it they'd REALLY activate!

GRANTYou'd better believe it, Cauder. Believe it and do something fast. [Countdown 994, 993] That thing is ticking away the lives of everybody on this planet. I'd say we have less than an hour.

CAUDERRalli, get Vetnor up here -- I want to know exactly what we're up against. And then put out a general call for anybody who can give help.

RALLIRight away.

GRANT[Takes Ralli by the hand] And when you've done that, get this place cleaned up, get a casualty report, and get some Federation prisoners for questioning.

RALLIAnd while I'm doing all that, what are you going to do?

GRANT[Patting her hand] Worry, that's what I'm going to do -- worry.

RALLIYou've got good cause [Exits]

GRANTSorry, Cauder. I won you a battle, but I lost you a war.

CAUDERLet's get communications started.

[Exterior of Liberator]

[Teleport section. Avon enters. Blake and Vila are standing together, Jenna passes by in background]

AVONI've got the read-out you wanted on Albian.


AVONNothing very special. Temperate climate in the equatorial zone, but both polar regions are uninhabitable. Temperatures remaining close to absolute zero.

VILASounds bracing.


AVONApproximately six million. It was colonized in the last century of the Old Calendar. At first they resisted political affiliation, but then they joined the Federation, and they have remained unswervingly loyal.

VILAThen they're not likely to welcome us with open arms.

BLAKEI hope we're not going to be there long enough to sample their hospitality. This is a fast hit and run.

AVONWhat are we after?

BLAKEA Federation officer called Provine. His service record shows he's served with Central Control. I hope he might be able to tell us quite a lot about where they've moved it to.

CALLY[Enters and puts data card on console. Jenna, seated at console, picks it up] There's something coming in from Albian.

BLAKEWhat is it?

CALLYWell, it's a very weak signal but as far as I can make out there's been some fighting. The main text is just a general call for technical assistance and it's repeated over and over again.

JENNACould be some sort of uprising.

BLAKE[To Jenna] Get a locator fix on the signal.

CALLYIt's already pinpointed.

BLAKEWell done. Alright, Avon, get kitted up. You too, Vila.

VILAGood, terrific -- I'm really looking forward to this. Danger, excitement, sudden death -- I can't wait.

BLAKEWhat's the matter with you, don't you ever give up?

JENNAThat's it, Blake -- navigation plot completed. We're locked into stationary orbit within teleport range of planet Albian.

BLAKE[To Vila] Get your gear.

[Exterior of Liberator in orbit]

[Control room]

VETNOR[Straightens up from inspecting the device] I don't know, just don't know. Some of the circuitry's fairly basic, that I understand ...the rest --

CAUDEROh, come on, Vetnor, there must be something you can do! This is life and death, it must be stopped!

VETNORThere is one thing...might just work. Might, I can't be sure. If I'm wrong --

GRANTWe won't be here to worry, will we?

CAUDERCould it detonate?

VETNORI don't know, there's always that risk.

GRANTEverything we've done so far has been risk. We're getting very close to nothing to lose. We've got to chance it.

CAUDER[To Vetnor] What is it you want to do?

VETNORThere's a main rotonoid link. If I cut through its primary impulse vein, it might break the circuit. Then again --

CAUDERIt might not. We'll chance it. [Vetnor reaches into the console and drops a tool, Grant and Cauder exchange looks. Vetnor pulls out some wires and cuts them. There is small explosion and the ticking that marks the countdown stops]

CAUDERWe've stopped it! [Countdown holds at 722...then starts ticking 721, 720]

GRANTIt hiccoughed, that's all.

VETNORSorry. I don't know what else to try.

CAUDERThat's alright, Vetnor -- you did what you could. We'll think of something else. [Ralli enters]

GRANTWe've just taken another step towards oblivion.

CAUDERWhat do you want, Ralli?

RALLIWe've got some prisoners. You said you wanted to question.

CAUDERYes, I do! Is Space Major Provine amongst them?

RALLIWell if he is he hasn't been identified yet. I've got men checking the prisoners' identity papers. [Provine is listening to them from the escape tunnel]

GRANT[O.O.V.] What about the dead -- are you checking them, too?

RALLI[O.O.V.] Yes, of course.

CAUDER[O.O.V.] Well, I hope for all our sakes' he has survived. If he has, we have to find him -- he's the only one who knows the complete system.

GRANT[O.O.V.] How will we know him if we find him?

CAUDER[O.O.V.] By his identity papers and his uniform. As far as I know, none of our people have seen him.

GRANTCome on, let's get the questioning started.

CAUDERRalli, you go through those files. Find the plans for that thing. [Grant and Cauder leave]

RALLIAlright, Vetnor.

VETNORI'm sorry I couldn't do the job. It needs tools I haven't got.

RALLIWell, you'd better go and help look for prisoners.

VETNORRight. [Leaves]

[In the tunnel, Provine hides his identity card under a rock]

[Exterior shot of Liberator in orbit]

[Teleport section. Blake hands over a plastic sheet to Jenna and Cally, who sit at the console]

BLAKECan you correlate the locator fix to this. [Jenna moves some levers and a light dot moves on the grid]

JENNAHow about this?

BLAKEBut that puts it right in the middle of the Federation defense complex.

CALLYWell, we can put you one half co-ordinate point to the fix. That will put you down in the outer limits of the complex.

BLAKEThat'll do. Let's go. Come on, Vila.

VOILAYou're quite sure you need me?


AVONDoesn't it make you feel good to be wanted?

VILAI've been a wanted man all my life. What I need now is to be unwanted.

BLAKECome on. Put us down, Jenna.

JENNAGood luck. [They teleport]

[In the complex grounds. Federation corpses are lying about]

AVONIt must have been quite a fight. These men are from the Federation Space Assault Force. They're crack troops.

BLAKEIt's quiet enough now. The battle seems to be over.

VILAJust one thing we don't know: who won?

AVONLet's find out. [He starts to move off]

BLAKENot that way. Let's look at some of the other levels first.


BLAKEI'd rather not meet anyone until we get the geography of this place sorted out. Men fresh from a battle tend to be a little trigger happy. [There are sounds of guns firing in the background. He moves off]

VILATrigger happy?

AVONIt would be stupid to be shot up by our own allies. [Follows Blake]

VILANot only stupid, painful.

[Blake, Avon, and Vila in a corridor. Blake tries a door]

BLAKEIt's locked.

VILAAllow me. [He opens it] You see -- the old magic's still there.

AVON[To Blake] The old ego, too. [They enter the room and Avon turns on the lights]

VILAIt's a rocket launch pad!

BLAKE[To Avon] What do you make of it?

AVONI'm not sure.

BLAKE[Follows Avon to side of rocket] Vila, take a look around.

AVON[Apparently reading from far side of rocket] This is the specification. It's fast but short-range. It has a life-support capability of about a hundred space hours.

BLAKEBut the nearest habitable planet to Albian is over five hundred space hours away.

AVONThen it would probably have to rendez-vous with a mother ship.

BLAKEOr come back to Albian. I don't see the point in having a rocket like that here.

AVONJust in case of emergencies, perhaps.

BLAKECome on, let's go. There's nothing else for us here.

VILABlake, look!

BLAKEWhat is it?

VILAThere's a sliding section in the roof -- they're launch doors [He opens and closes them using a control panel on the far wall]

BLAKEWhy don't you do that again, maybe they didn't hear you. [Blake and Avon leave]

VILAWait for me!

[Control room. Ralli is checking the files. Provine opens the escape tunnel door and watches her, then emerges from the tunnel, knocks her out, puts her into the tunnel, and closes the door. Countdown 587, 586, 585. Provine checks it and leaves the control room]

[Blake, Avon, and Vila walking in a corridor, weapons drawn]

CAUDERStand where you are! Lower your guns.

BLAKE[He continues to be noticeably on guard] Easy now, we're not Federation.

CAUDERDon't move. Now who are you?

BLAKEI'm Blake. This is Avon and Vila.

CAUDERBlake? [He lowers his gun] You mean the Blake who's been giving the Federation so much trouble?

BLAKEWe've certainly been trying and from what we see here, you've been doing the same thing.

CAUDERHow did you get here?

BLAKEOur ship has teleport capability. We came down from the rocket level.

CAUDERRockets? Where?

BLAKETwo levels up.

CAUDER[To Arrian and another who have been standing O.O.V.] You two: find that rocket and stay with it. If Provine's alive it'll be his escape route [They leave and Blake finally relaxes] My name's Cauder. I'm glad to see you, Blake, all three of you. We have a desperate problem.

BLAKECan we help?

CAUDERIf you can't, every living being on this planet will be dead within hours. Come with me. [Blake and Avon follow him]

VILAOh dear.

[Provine hides in a corridor as Arrian and the other rebel pass by]

[Control room. Avon has been looking at the device]

AVONThis is a solium radiation device.


CAUDERYou know about it?

AVONEnough to know that it's deadly. Once in fission it creates intense radiation. It destroys living tissue instantly.

CAUDERThat's right, and the Federation made us understand exactly its effects, left us in no doubt if we mounted any major rebellion they wouldn't hesitate to use it.

VILABut to blow up the whole planet, destroy everything's that's here -- that's stupid.

AVONBut they don't blow it up, that's the point. Solium itself produces a very small explosion and the radiation fall-out decays rapidly. They could wipe out a whole population and still leave the buildings and the installations intact. In less than a day there is no trace of any radiation.

BLAKESee what you can do with it. Typical Federation policy: things are more important than people. [He and Cauder sit at a table]

CAUDERThe Federation was bleeding us dry. They levied impossible demands on our economy, gave us no voice in our own government. We were little better than slaves on our own planet.

BLAKEIt's a familiar pattern. Go on.

CAUDERSo we decided to cede from the Federation. Oh, we tried to do it legally, went through all the normal diplomatic patterns, through all the interplanetary laws, but none of it did any good. They declared a state of emergency and placed Albian under martial law.

BLAKEBut policing a planet of this size must tie down a fairly considerable Federation force.

CAUDERNo. They had less than a hundred troops here.


CAUDERThey had an easier way to ensure our loyalty. Simple and terrifying. They installed THAT. [Gestures. Shot of Avon working on the device]

BLAKEYes, must've been like living with a gun against your heads.

CAUDERThat's right. And that is why we were finally driven to act. We knew the enormity of the risk but we had to take it. Somehow, I thought when it came to it, they wouldn't detonate, I thought they were bluffing. I was wrong. Now unless we can deactivate that, millions will pay for my mistake.

AVONI can dismantle the solium device, but first of all I have to find it. This isn't it.


AVONIt is a subetheric transmitter that activates remotely. The bomb itself could be anything up to ten thousand miles from here, hidden anywhere on the planet. [Countdown 503, 502, 501, 500]

[Rebel in the rocket silo. Hears noise in hall and goes to investigate. Provine kills him O.O.V., then enters the room and unsuccessfully tries to open the launch doors]

ARRIANYou're not going anywhere -- Major Provine. The launch doors won't open; I've smashed the relays. Don't move! Just throw your gun down, carefully. There [Gestures to middle of floor] where I can see it. [Provine complies] Good. Now, we're going back to the control room and you're going to deactivate this device.

PROVINEI can't do that.

ARRIANI think we can find ways of convincing you.

PROVINEI didn't say I wouldn't, I said I can't. Once the device is activated it can't be stopped.

ARRIANI don't believe that.

PROVINEBut it's true. It's out of our control now. Neither I nor anybody else can do anything about it. Now. You listen to me. You can give yourself a chance. You don't have to die here with the rest of them.

ARRIANWhat do you mean?

PROVINEHelp me repair the relay. It's a Stadler link, isn't it? Well, there must be a spare in the technical stores, mustn't there?


PROVINEHelp me find it and we can get the launch doors open. Once we get this ship into orbit, we'll be safe. We can stay out in space until the radiation decays and then return in perfect safety.

ARRIANReturn to what?

PROVINEThis planet is important to the Federation. They'll bring in settlers, repopulate it. You could play an important part in that. You could have power, position. Help me now and you won't find the Federation ungrateful.

ARRIANAnd my family, my friends?

PROVINEI'm afraid there's nothing you can do to help them now. Be sensible; to stay here and die with them achieves nothing.

ARRIANYou think I could live, knowing I'd helped a man who'd murdered an entire world? No, Provine, you're not going anywhere. You're going to stay here and die with the rest of us. Now move.

PROVINENo, wait.

ARRIANNow move!

PROVINEYou're a fool. [He moves to the door and reaches for the panel, hesitates]

ARRIANThe door. [Provine touches the lowest portion of the panel and the rocket exhausts flare. He retrieves his gun and kills the Arrian after a brief struggle. Provine then begins to leave, goes back for the damaged relay circuit, begins to leave again, looks from his uniform to Arrian's, then begins undressing them both]

[Control room]

BLAKEIf there is any information on the location of the device --

CAUDERBut there must be!

BLAKEThen the obvious place is the safe. Vila, can you crack it?

VILAIt's a tough one, but I've got the combination.

CAUDERYou have?

VILAYes, but the buttons are sensitized to respond only to certain fingerprints. I've got to bypass all that before I can go to work on the combination mechanisms. [Goes back to safe]

BLAKEIf anyone can crack it, he can. Breaking into a Federation stronghold must've taken some doing. How many men did you have?

CAUDERAbout a hundred and fifty. They came from resistance groups all over the planet.

BLAKEBut you planned the organization.

CAUDERInitially, but it didn't take me long to realize I'd need a professional dealer.

BLAKEYou mean you hired a mercenary?

CAUDERYes. He organized the revolution on the planet Arcos, others before that. He has a very good record.


CAUDERI made contact. He agreed to help, but demanded a very substantial sum.

AVONMercenaries generally do.

CAUDERNo, I think the price was to satisfy his ego, to prove he's the best in his field.

BLAKEHe's certainly very good at his job to get your men in here. Where is he?

CAUDERHe should be back. I'll fetch him.

BLAKEOh, what's his name?

CAUDER[On his way out] Grant. Del Grant. [O.O.V., Avon? drops something]

BLAKEWhat's the matter?

AVONNothing. It's not important. I was a little surprised, that's all.

BLAKEWhy? Do you know him?

AVONI once knew somebody called Del Grant, but it was a long time ago. I doubt that this is the same man.

BLAKEYou don't seem very eager to find out. Why?

AVONThere are matters that remain to be settled between us.

BLAKELike what?

AVONI told you: it's not important.

BLAKEIf it is not important, then why did his name have such a strong effect upon you?

AVONBecause the Del Grant that I knew said that if we ever met again, he would kill me.

VILAI've done it! I think I've done it. [He joins them, a box in his hand] I've isolated the identification sensors. It's straight combination now. Watch this -- it should open like a dream [He does something with the box and the safe explodes]

BLAKE[Coughs] More like a nightmare. [He and Vila pull data cards from the safe] They're all in code [Avon takes one]

VILASo are these.

AVONGive me a little time, I can decode it.

BLAKETime is what we don't have. [Into bracelet] Liberator, this is Blake, do you read me?

CALLY[V.O., on bracelet] We hear you.

BLAKEStand by to teleport, Vila's coming up. [To Vila] I want all that stuff run through Orac, I want the cipher broken, and a full read-out.




BLAKE[Into bracelet] Take him up. [Vila teleports]

[Teleport section. Vila materializes]

CALLYWhat's happening down there?

VILAI'll tell you later, no time now.

JENNAWell, what's all the rush?

VILAThere's a bomb timed to detonate in under half an hour. We don't even know where it is. Give me a linkup with Orac.

[Control room]

AVONWe have now used up more than half the time we have available.


CAUDER[Enters with Grant] Blake, this is Grant.

GRANTGood to meet you. [They shake hands]

BLAKEAnd you. We've been hearing about your strikes against the Federation.

GRANTYou've been hitting them pretty hard, too. You keep it up, you'll put us out of business.

BLAKE[Laughs] That I wouldn't mind.

GRANTIf it meant breaking the Federation, nor would I. [Sees Avon]

AVONHello, Del. It's been a long time.

GRANTI heard you were dead.

AVONI heard the same about you. Wishful thinking perhaps.

GRANTI'm glad the stories were wrong. I felt cheated. We have some things to settle.

BLAKEYou two can talk about the old days some other time. Right now we have a problem that's just a little more pressing.

CAUDERWhat's the countdown?

BLAKEFour two five.

CAUDERIt's getting closer.

BLAKEVila's using Liberator's computers to try and decipher the code. It could just give us the location.

AVONI have found the circuit plans [Holds up plans. Grant joins him]

GRANTYes, that's the detonator. A nasty one, tricky to disarm.

AVONYou would have to take out the secondary circuit first, go in under here [Points to plans]

GRANTHmm. Might work. Still, not easy. [The tunnel door opens and Ralli falls into the room]


CAUDERRalli! [They gather around her] Ralli, what happened?

RALLIOh. I don't know. Someone came up behind me and just hit me.

BLAKE[To Grant] That's an escape tunnel. Come on. [They leave]

CAUDERYou'll be all right, Ralli.

[In the tunnel, Blake and Grant find Selson's body]

BLAKEHe's not long dead.

GRANTGet his papers. Where do you think this leads?

BLAKEProbably comes out by the rocket silo.

GRANTHmm. Must've been trying to get to the rocket when the roof caved in. [Blake has retrieved Selson's papers and handed them to Grant]

BLAKEWho is he?

GRANTSelson, sergeant, security forces.

BLAKEHmm. Have you searched all the Federation dead and wounded?

GRANTMost of them.

BLAKEAny senior officers?


BLAKEHe's got to be here somewhere.

GRANTWho has?

BLAKEI came down to question a man called Provine, a Space Major. I think that he can help us with the whereabouts of Federation's Central Control.

GRANTThere's no Space Major amongst the prisoners.

BLAKELet me try this on you. The complex is under attack, your men have already penetrated the outer defenses. Provine decides to evacuate, he activates the device, starts down the escape tunnel towards the rocket silo. An explosion brings down the roof, and kills this one.

GRANTMaybe the other one, too. He could be buried further in.

BLAKENo, somebody survived. He waited his chance, went back to the room. When the girl came in and was alone --

GRANTHe moved out and hit her. It makes sense.

BLAKETHAT was Provine.

GRANTIf you're right, he could be still wandering around here somewhere.

BLAKEYes, come on.

[Corridor. A rebel and Provine, now in rebel uniform, pass each other]

[Control room]

RALLII tell you I saw nothing. The only thing I remember is a man in uniform. I just got a glimpse as I blacked out.

BLAKEHe's got to be found.

CAUDERI'll organize a search party.

BLAKE[To Ralli] Come on, you need some rest.

AVONThat last day, when it was all over, did they hurt her? [Blake passes by with Ralli in background]

GRANTThey kept her under interrogation for nearly a week. They tried everything but she never broke. If she had spoken, told them what they wanted to know, she'd be alive now.

AVONShe should have told them. [Unseen by Avon and Grant, Blake listens and watches them from a distance]

GRANTShe held on because she believed in you. She didn't know that you'd run out and leave her to face it alone.

AVONThat was not the way it was.

GRANTI know exactly how it was. She died under Federation torture. But it was you who killed her. [Blake's bracelet chimes and Avon and Grant turn toward him. Blake speaks into his bracelet while looking at the two of them]

BLAKEBlake. Go ahead, Jenna.

[Teleport section]

JENNA[Into console] That's it, we got it, Blake, the exact position of the installation. I'm sending Vila down now.

CALLY[Into console] Blake, co-ordinates are one eleven seven nine, intersect four forty-one.

JENNAStand by, Vila.

[Vila teleports and materializes in corridor, enters control room]

BLAKECoordinate one eleven seven nine, intersect four four one.

CAUDERAre you sure?

BLAKEOrac doesn't make mistakes.

CAUDERThen we're finished.

AVONWhat do you mean?

CAUDERWell, look at that. [Indicates a small screen which displays a tundra] It's the polar cap, right in the center of the ice zone.

BLAKEThen we'll have to get to it.

CAUDERBut it's four thousand miles away. It can't be done.

AVONIt can if we use the teleport.

BLAKEWe can teleport right down to the location.

AVONWe'll need special equipment, thermal clothing.

BLAKEWe'll do it. [Starts to call the ship]

AVONWait. Disarming a device is not your field. You finish what we came here for: find Provine.

GRANT[To Avon] I'll come with you.


GRANTI can help.

BLAKELook, I don't know exactly what it is between you, but there's enough danger without letting personal grudges interfere.

GRANTThat's something we can settle in our own time. Cauder, what matters now is that I can give this man backup. I've worked with timing devices. I know the mechanisms.

BLAKEAll right, it's your decision, Avon. Do you want him?

AVONGive him a bracelet.

BLAKEVila. [To Avon] Just one thing: if that countdown goes below fifty and the device is still primed you will be teleported out. Vila and I will do the same.


BLAKE[Into bracelet] Jenna, Cally, prepare thermal equipment. Stand by to teleport, Avon's coming up. [To Grant] One more thing: if anything happens to Avon, I will come looking for you. [Grant puts on bracelet and stands by Avon] Ready?

AVON[Into bracelet] Jenna, take us out of here.

[Teleport section. Avon and Grant materialize]

JENNAIs everything all right?

AVONNot exactly. I'll tell you about it some other time. This is Del Grant, this is Jenna. [Cally enters with suits] Cally, get me those co-ordinates. [To Grant] Put on one of those, you're going to need it. Jenna, I need some high-temperature lances. [She leaves]

[Escape tunnel]

CAUDERAny luck?

BLAKEHe's alive. I know it. He's here somewhere.

CAUDERIf he is, my men will find him.

BLAKEIt's a very large area to search.

CAUDERYes. What would he do? Where would he go?

[Provine in a corridor]

VETNORWhere are you going, soldier?

PROVINECircuit maintenance, sir.

VETNORHas this area been checked?

PROVINEI've been right through it, sir. Nothing.

VETNORAll right, come with me, we're searching the next level.

PROVINERight, sir.

[Teleport section. Avon and Grant are suited up]

AVONYou adjust the temperature with this [Points to knob on suit] You all set?

GRANTWell, uh... [Looks at gun. Avon gives him one]

[Shot of polar region]

[Avon and Grant materialize in polar installation]

AVONAll right?


AVONLook for the lights.

GRANTHere they are. [Switches on lights]

AVONGood. [Indicates grates in the wall] Heaters.

GRANTI see them. [Moves to switches on other wall]

AVONThat's better. Now all we have to do is find the device.

GRANTRight. [They search]

GRANTThere's nothing here.

AVONWell, keep looking. [More searching] Grant.


AVONThere's a relay cable here. I'm going to follow it. [Grant joins him by the wall] The cable goes down under here so it must be under this section. [He lifts a panel and touches the surface] Solid ice. Get the axe. [Grant hands him the axe and he chips at the ice] It's no good -- we're not going to get into this way.

GRANTIf we stand here talking, we certainly won't.

AVONGet a space heater started. I'll put a lance into it.

GRANTThere's mercury in that detonator. You burn your way in, you could trigger it.

AVONI know, but we don't have time to wait for it to thaw. Get started.

[Control room]

BLAKEThe rocket. That's the key to it.

CAUDERYes. I have men posted at the silo.

BLAKEHe may try and get in some other way. Through the launch doors, perhaps. I think I'll take a look.

CAUDERWell, you better take somebody with you. There might be Federation guards on the loose. Ralli, find somebody.


BLAKE[Into bracelet] Blake. Any news from Avon?

JENNA[V.O.] They're down safely, that's all we've heard.

BLAKE[Into bracelet] Call me if they come through with anything.

JENNA[V.O] Confirmed.

RALLIWhenever you're ready.

BLAKEThank you. Cauder, if there's still no news from Avon when that countdown goes below fifty, I'm pulling out.

CAUDERI understand. To stay with us would be a stupid gesture.

BLAKEI can take some of you off with me.

CAUDERNo, not for me. I'll stay here till the end. Ralli can go if she likes.

RALLINo, I'll stay.

BLAKEAll right, think about it. There's still time. [Leaves, taps the rebel guard on the shoulder to go with him]

[Polar installation. Avon and Grant are wearing visors. Avon is apparently inserting the lance into the ice -- lights and smoke]

GRANTCareful, you'll trigger it. [Avon looks at him and Grant moves off. Avon goes back to work]

AVONDone it. Get that table under the light. [Grant does, and also pulls some dangling chains out of the way. There's a rumbling noise] What's happening?

GRANT[Looks at the ceiling] The main roof beam's cracked...resting on the ice. If it melts any more, it'll cave in.

AVONGive me a hand. [They lift the device onto the table. Countdown 202, 201, 200]

GRANTWell, while it's ticking we're all right.

AVONWe're going to have to take out the relays to get at the activator. Get the cutters. [Avon reaches into the device. Grant fetches cutters from tool box. Water is dripping freely from the roof. Grant gives Avon the cutters] Which one is it first? Left, right, or center?

GRANTCenter first.

AVONCutters. [Grant passes him the cutters. Avon cuts the center wire] Which next?

GRANTRight next. No, no, wait! I'm opposite you now. Left is the next in sequence. Your left.

AVONYou don't get another guess.

GRANTLeft. [Avon cuts the left wire] Next bit's straightforward. Do you want me to do it?

AVONGo ahead.

GRANTHadn't we better turn the heaters off?

AVONIt depends which you prefer: being crushed or frozen to death?

[Control room]

RALLIThese are some more Federation personnel files. Any use to you?

VILAYes, I'll check them. No. No. No. [He looks at the cards and places them on the table. The last one shows a picture of Provine]

RALLIThat's Provine! That's his service record. [She picks up the card] That's the man I got to go with Blake!

VILAWhich way did they go?

RALLIThe rocket silo. [Vila runs to door, then back]

VILAI've forgotten how to get there!

RALLIThe junctions of corridor eleven A, fifty-one B.

VILAEleven A, fifty-one B [Runs out]

[Vila stops in a corridor]

VILAFive A, eleven one B...

[Blake and Provine walking in a corridor]

[Polar installation. Avon and Grant are working on the device]

GRANTIt's getting cold again.

AVONYou turned the heaters off. [Lifts top from device. Grant pulls out a cannister] Don't let it tilt, keep it level.

GRANTI must be getting old.

AVONWaste any more time and you won't get any older. Give me the extractor. Now.

GRANT[Hands him the extractor] There's one thing I never understood. Why did you leave her alone?

AVONI had arranged to buy some exit visas, but I had to go right across the city to collect them. It was safer for Anna to stay out of sight. Separator.

GRANT[Hands him the separator] What happened then?

AVONThere were patrols out everywhere looking for us. I was late at the rendezvous. And then the man from whom I was buying the visas increased the price. He wanted ten times what we had agreed. He said he could get even more if he turned me in and collected the Federation reward.

GRANTYou should have killed him.

AVONI did. Link clamp.

GRANT[Hands him the link clamp] So you got the visas. Why didn't you go back for her?

AVONKilling the dealer wasn't quite so straightforward. He was expecting something and fired first. I started back but I was losing a lot of blood. Somewhere along the way I passed out. I was lucky. Some people found me and got me under cover.

GRANTYou could have got a message to her, told her to get out.

AVONI was unconscious for more than thirty hours. I need to hold this flap back. Get your hand in here. [Grant complies. He and Avon are standing chest to chest] That's good. You can get at the main now.

GRANTYou used the visa and got out of the city. You left her there.

AVONThat's right. But that was a week later. Anna was already dead.

GRANTYou're lying. You left the city the same day, before the Federation found Anna. You could have got her out.

AVONNo. She came looking for me, the patrols found her. It was only after we got word that she was dead that I left.

GRANTYou expect me to believe that?

AVONNot particularly. But it happens to be the truth. If there had ever been a time when I could have given my own life to save her, I would have done it. The only grain of consolation that I have is that Anna knew that.

GRANTShe died because of you, that's all that matters. There's nothing changed between us.

AVONI didn't really expect that it would be. That's the primary isolated. My fingers are cramping. [Countdown 150, 149,148, 147, 146]

GRANTDid you see the read-out?

AVONI did.

GRANTWe're running it fine. There's a long way to go. [Looks over at Avon] I said "there's a long way to go."

AVONI heard.

[Vila running back and forth in a corridor]

[Blake and Provine turn a corner into another corridor and spot the rebel Provine killed earlier]

BLAKEThat's one of the men Cauder sent to guard the rocket silo. Now where is the other one? [Enters silo with Provine behind him. Blake sees Arrian's body behind the rocket and bends down to check it. When he straightens up, Provine shoots at him and he dodges behind the rocket. Provine runs into the corridor looking for Blake, then re-enters the room. Blake grabs him at the doorway, they struggle]

[Vila outside the rocket silo. A gun fires inside the room and Provine backs out, collapsing against the far wall]

VILABlake! [Blake comes out of the room] That's Provine. We found his picture on his service record.

BLAKEHe's dying. [Grabs Provine's shirt front] Provine! Provine! The computer complex, Control, where have the Federation moved it to?

PROVINEGo to hell.

BLAKEYou may still have a chance if I can get you to our surgical unit. Now where is Control, Provine?

PROVINEStar One. It's called Star One now. Docholli. Cybersurgeon. Only Docholli knows.

BLAKEWhere is Docholli? Where is Docholli?! [Provine dies] See you in hell. [Blake and Vila leave]

[Polar installation]

GRANT[Lifts a component of the device -- three tubes standing upright in a round base] Sixty-three. Can we do it?

AVONIt's still possible.

GRANTBlake said he'd pull us out at fifty. We won't do it in that time.

AVONAre you willing to chance it?

GRANTThat's what these people are paying me for.

AVONThen give me your bracelet [Grant complies and Avon removes his own] Now he can't pull us out, can he? [Pitches bracelets aside] Right.

GRANTThis isn't familiar to me.

AVONIt's a new mark, but the principle is the same. There are three detonators, each activated by a plunger. If we enlarge these holes and then insert a rod, we can arrest the downward travel of each plunger.

GRANTA laser lance would be faster.

AVONIt's too risky on this kind of material [Debris, ice, water fall from ceiling. Avon drills two holes in one of the tubes] I'm through. Give me a rod. [Grant does]

GRANTWill it be strong enough to hold it?

AVONIt'll do [Inserts rod] All right, release the trigger.


AVONLet it go. [The plunger drops and stops at the rod. Avon smiles]

GRANTOne down, two to go.

[Control room. Blake and Vila enter. Scene cuts between control room and teleport section]


BLAKEWhat's the countdown?


BLAKE[Into bracelet] Liberator, this is Blake. Do you read me?

JENNA[V.O., over bracelet] We hear you.

BLAKEAny news from Avon?

JENNAThere's been no word at all.

BLAKE[V.O., over console] All right. Teleport them up. We just dropped under the safety margin I gave him.

JENNAWe can't.

BLAKE[V.O., over console] What do you mean?

JENNAWe can't make teleport contact.

BLAKEThey must have taken their bracelets off. [Into bracelet] All right, remain on standby. We'll stay down here a little longer.

[Polar installation. Water is falling like rain from the ceiling. Grant shelters under a plank. Avon inserts another rod in another tube, then joins Grant]

AVONTwo down, only one to go.

GRANTWhat's the countdown?

AVONForty-one. I've left it for you. Look out! [Some of the ceiling collapses. One of them grabs the detonator. Grant is trapped by a beam] Grant!

[Control room]

VILAThirty-nine, thirty-eight, thirty-seven... Blake.

CAUDERBlake, go! Leave us.

VILABlake! [He lifts his wrist to call the ship, but Blake stops him]

[Polar installation. Avon ties a chain to the beam and starts to lift it off Grant]

AVONYou all right?

GRANTIt's no use, Avon. You don't have the time.

AVON[Stops hauling on chain] Hell, it's jammed.

GRANTFace it, Avon; we've lost the game. Find your bracelet and tell them to teleport you out.

AVONWe're not done yet. I think I can still get at it. I'm going to have to crawl in over you.

GRANTI've told you you haven't got time, get out!

[Teleport section. Cally is tapping her fingers on the console]

JENNACally, stop that, will you, please?

CALLYI'm sorry.

[Polar installation]

GRANTWhat's the countdown?


GRANTIt's no use, Avon. It was a good try. Get out. You haven't got time. Nobody's going to blame you. [Avon drills holes] If the positions were reversed, if it were you under this beam, I might have left you, the way things are between us. Why are you helping me? [More drilling] There's one thing we've forgotten.


GRANTThe last of the rods. I was holding it when the roof collapsed. [Countdown 12, 11. Avon spies the rod. Countdown 7, 6. Avon inserts the rod. Countdown 4, 3, 2, 1. The last plunger drops onto the rod]

GRANTYou did it.

AVON[Laughs] Yes, I did, didn't I?

GRANTWhy did you help me?

AVONPerhaps because Anna was your sister.

[Exterior shot of Liberator]

[Teleport section]

GRANTGoodbye, Jenna.


GRANTGoodbye Cally, goodbye Vila. And thank you.

VILAAny time.

GRANTI'll remember that.

VILAOh, will you?

BLAKEAll right, Jenna, take us on manual. Get us out of here.

JENNARight. [She, Cally, and Vila leave]

BLAKEAvon. [To Grant] You're welcome to come with us if you want to.

GRANTThanks, but no. They still need me down on Albian. Besides, I've got a pretty hefty fee to collect.

BLAKEYou've earned it. Ready?

GRANTYeah. [Looks at Avon. Offers his hand. Avon looks at it a second, then shakes hands, and gives a slight nod]

BLAKEGood luck. [Teleports Grant]

[Exterior shot of Liberator leaving orbit]

[Teleport section]

BLAKEAre you going to tell me about Anna?

AVONYou wouldn't understand.

BLAKEWouldn't I?

AVONI doubt it. [Turns and leaves]

[Blake smiles]

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