Script for Death-Watch

by Chris Boucher

(c) 1980 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Format (c) 1993 by Micky DuPree, Kathryn Andersen, Susan Beth Schnitger and Didi Johnson.

Regular Cast
Kerr Avon Paul Darrow
Cally Jan Chappell
Vila Restal Michael Keating
Servalan Jacqueline Pearce
Del Tarrant Steven Pacey
Dayna Mellanby Josette Simon
Zen & Orac Peter Tuddenham
Guest Cast
Deeta Tarrant Steven Pacey
Vinni Mark Elliott
Max Stewart Bevan
Commentator (Darvid) David Sibley
Karla Katherine Iddon
Male voice(viscast director)
Female voice (space liner announcer)
Male voice (space liner captain)
Male voice (Teal Control)

[Space. The liner Teal Star is in motion]
VOICETeal Star, Teal Star. This is Teal Control calling United Planets passenger liner Teal Star, do you copy? (BLEEP)
CAPTAIN[V.O] Teal Control, Teal Control, this is passenger liner Teal Star, we do copy, go ahead. (BLEEP)

[Observation gallery of the Teal Star. Deeta Tarrant is standing alone on a catwalk that spans the room beside a large window viewport showing the space outside the ship.]

VOICETeal Star, this is Teal Control. We have a message for one of your passengers, priority code nine. Please instruct your computer to receive and decode. I repeat, priority code nine. Confirm please. (BLEEP)
CAPTAIN[V.O] Teal Control, this is Teal Star, confirm priority code nine.

[Space. View of the Teal Star]

CAPTAINComputer shows ready, green on all boards, go ahead. (BLEEP)
VOICETeal Star, Teal Control. Message is running. (BLEEP)
CAPTAIN[V.O] Teal Control, message received and decoding. Is that the lot? (BLEEP)
VOICEThat's the lot. Many thanks Teal Star. And good luck. Teal Control out.

[Observation gallery. Deeta walks down the stairs from the catwalk]

FEMALE VOICEThe first-class dining salons on levels one through five are now open. Dinner is now being served in the first-class passenger levels one through five.
KARLA[approaching Deeta] Excuse me? I'm sorry it's very rude of me... but aren't you Deeta Tarrant?
DEETAYes, I am.
KARLAYes, I thought you were. I've seen you on the viscasts of course -- but you look different somehow -- you're taller than I expected.
DEETAI usually stand in a hole.
KARLAOh, forgive me -- I didn't mean to be rude. You must think I'm an awful fool.
DEETAOf course not.
KARLAWell, it was very nice meeting you. [starts past him then stumbles against him. Deeta catches her arm to steady her.] Stupid shoes. Why is fashion never practical?
DEETA[spins about, whips out gun and shoots assassin who falls down from the catwalk, then turns gun on Karla] Tell me.
KARLAI had nothing to do with that! [pause] You surely can't think I was involved.
DEETAJust a coincidence. [holsters gun]
KARLA[losing "silly little me" tone of voice completely] Doesn't seem very likely does it. How did you know?
DEETAThe stumble. A deliberate fall can look accidental, but it never feels right. Balance is instinctive.
KARLAIs he dead?
DEETAYes. How many more are there?
KARLASix hundred and seventy two. You don't really expect a serious answer to that question, do you?
DEETAEventually. What's your name?
DEETAWell, Karla, [turns away from her and goes to the body] your partner here has used up all the available luck. [examines the body of the dead man] There's no easy way out for you.
KARLA[sarcastically] You really think of me as a major threat, don't you?
DEETAWhy did you break the rules? You must know the penalties.
KARLAI can see you don't rate me as a fighter, but do I strike you as a fool as well?
DEETASo, you have an answer for the Summons to Justification. Like what? Surely not a Blood Feud? [rises to face her] I can't have killed someone who's close kin to both of you. Particularly not as your friend here is a citizen of the Vandor Confederacy. As I assume you are. [drops a metal ID card at her feet]
KARLA[picks it up] There will be no Summons to Justification. As First Champion of the United Planets of Teal you're a valid target until you reach the Combat Grounds.
DEETAIn time of war.
KARLAExactly. A formal declaration was delivered to your council an hour ago.
FEMALE VOICE Will passenger Deeta Tarrant go to the Flight Deck, please. Passenger Deeta Tarrant to the Flight Deck, please.
KARLA[speaking over end of previous announcement] And that I imagine will be your notification and call to combat. You'll be transferred to a military cruiser within the hour. A pity. We had hoped you would not be their Champion. Our man is good. [Turns away from him, as if to leave] But you might just be better. [pulls a gun and turns to aim at him]
DEETADon't do it! [whips out his gun and shoots her]
FEMALE VOICE Will Deeta Tarrant report immediately to the Flight Deck, please. [Deeta reholsters gun and exits] Deeta Tarrant to the Flight Deck, please.

[Liberator flight deck]

DAYNACome on, Tarrant, I could've worked it out on my fingers by now. Move any faster, you'll break into a standstill.
TARRANTThe best strategy option is timed at fifty hours.
TARRANTWell, there's only one strike point which covers all escape vectors.
AVONThey'll be long gone before we get anywhere near it.
TARRANTYes, I'm afraid they will.
DAYNAThe electronic warriors strike again. That'll be four of Servalan's ore ships we've let through without a fight.
AVONTo FIGHT them we have to catch them.
DAYNATo CATCH them we have to chase them, or hadn't that occurred to you?
TARRANTYes, well, it's a little more sophisticated than fighting hairy primitives with a bow and arrow, Dayna. [Vila enters carrying Orac. Avon walks over to them.]
DAYNAThe machines are more sophisticated, Tarrant, that's all, but the principle isn't, and the people certainly aren't.
AVON[looks at Vila] You know, she could be right.
VILAThey're smiling, Orac.
ORACI fail to see the relevance of that observation.
VILAShouldn't they be tired and getting on each other's nerves?
ORACThere is a progressive reduction in their conscious attention span and a growing imbalance in the dynamic structure of the group.
VILAIs that yes or no? [Vila sets Orac on the table in the "pit", and all seat themselves about it.]
ORACIt is yes. As a result of this, the efficiency rating of the ship as a complete unit is dropping by one point zero two percent per work period. The error quotient bears a delayed inverse relation--
VILA[Pulls Orac's key] They don't write poetry like that anymore. What this electronic pain is trying to say is--
TARRANT--is that unless we get a break, there's going to be a fatal foul-up.
AVONWhere do you suggest we go, Vila, for this holiday that we all need so badly?
VILAMe? Well, I hadn't really given it any thought.
AVONOh, I see. You got all that information from Orac out of a sense of ... duty?
TARRANTDedication? Selfless devotion to the welfare of his comrades.
VILAWhat's so strange about that?
DAYNAWhere's the party, Vila?
TARRANTOh, come on, Vila. Your sales pitch is a failure. Why not just tell us what it is you want to do?
VILAAfter Orac had told me about the dangerous situation that was developing....
VILA... I did do some checking...
VILA-- and one of the things I discovered was ... that the United Planets of Teal and the Vandor Confederacy are at war!
DAYNAOh, what an interesting piece of news, Vila. There's nothing like someone else's war to take your mind off your own.
TARRANTAre you sure about this?
VILAOrac picked it up during a routine communication sweep.
AVONWhen was the declaration?
VILAA few hours ago. We've plenty of time to get to the combat grounds.
TARRANTZen. [Looks at Avon] Yes?
AVONWhy not?
TARRANT[goes to a control station, passing Cally as she enters] Zen, I want a course for the planet designated as the combat grounds by the Teal-Vandor Convention.
CALLYHave I missed something?
DAYNAI think we both have.
AVON[replaces Orac's key] Orac, I want you to monitor all transmissions from the Teal-Vandor combat grounds and relay any public viscasts to the main screen.
ORACAm I to understand that you wish me to act as a viscast relay?
AVONThat is what you are to understand.
DAYNAIs someone going to tell us what we're to understand?
CALLYYes, what exactly is going on?
VILAYou mean you've never heard of the Teal-Vandor Convention?
ZENCourse is laid in. Acceptance confirmation is now required.
TARRANTAccepted. Run course program. Speed Standard by Four.

[Liberator turning in space]

CALLY[V.O.] If someone doesn't tell Dayna and me what all this is about--
DAYNA[V.O.] --we're going to get very irritated!
VILA[V.O.] Break out the booze, girls. It's fiesta time. Now, Cally, Dayna, let's not be violent. You know how I hate to see a man cry, especially when it's me.

[Liberator flight deck. Orac has been moved to the floor and the central table is covered with drinks and bowls of snacks. Vila is holding a drink and munching during most of this scene.]

DAYNAAnd that's all it is? A fight to the death between two champions, winner takes all.
AVONThat's putting it rather crudely.
CALLYIt's rather a crude idea.
TARRANTLook, two men fight for the honor of independent planetary systems of maybe twenty million people each. It's hardly crude, Cally.
VILAThey don't just step up and beat hell out of each other with big wooden clubs, you know.
TARRANTOr bows and arrows.
VILAOr bows and arrows. There's ... uh ... rules and honor and chivalry and ... all that sort of thing.
CALLY[Rolling her eyes] That makes all the difference, of course.
AVONIt does to us. Outsiders are welcomed as honored guests and accorded the status of neutral observers. As long as we abide by the rules of the Convention, both sides will protect us.
TARRANTFrom all comers, including the Federation.
VILAWhich means we can enjoy the festivities in complete confidence and relaxation. Drink anyone? [He waves his free hand at the table, then gestures at one dish in particular. Dayna picks it up and holds it out to him while he scoops up some of its contents.]
CALLYWhat are these festivities Vila keeps drooling about?
DAYNAThey must be something special. [To Tarrant] I haven't seen you move that positively in weeks.
TARRANTIt'll be a big occasion.
AVONA ritual war is bound to generate a great deal of excitement.
VILABack on Earth they used to say it was the most excitement you can have with your clothes on anywhere in the galaxy. [Tarrant laughs]
DAYNAHow very witty of them.
AVONNo, he's right. The Teal-Vandor Convention was famous on Earth. The ultimate excitement.
CALLYThe "ultimate excitement": watching two men kill each other.
AVONYes. No. On reflection, that would seem to have a somewhat limited appeal [smiles] as ultimate excitements go.
VILAWell, there's obviously more to it than that. I mean, wine, women, and song.
CALLYThat would seem to have an even more limited appeal.
TARRANTOh, I don't know.
ORACI am now picking up a public viscast transmission.
AVONPut it on the main screen.
ORACI must point out that this is a gross misuse and an absurd waste of my capabilities.
AVONPut it on the main screen.
ORACI will do it only under protest.
AVONYou can do it any way you like. Just so long as you put it on the main screen.
VILAAre you sure you can't redesign him as something useful, like a drinks dispenser? Or an empty space. I think he'd look really good as an empty space.

[The main viewscreen shows the public viscast. Shots of white lights swirling against a blue background, presumably meant to be "space" settings.]

DARVID[V.O] ... "space, the final frontier" as it was once called. A weightless, freezing vacuum, here created artificially and maintained by the central computer as one of the hundreds of different environments offered by the combat grounds for the coming battle. [The viewscreen shows shifting scenes of different environments: oceans, rocky shores, tropical beaches, etc.] In giant chambers, exact recreations like these you see are controlled by the combat computer. Environments from other planets, other cultures, other times. The computer will choose which of these environmental chambers will be used for the battle. This choice is what the combat grounds are all about. In the words of the Convention, "Let no man say 'This man chose the ground on which we die.'"

[Darvid stands in front of a combat grounds chamber entrance]

DARVIDThe combatants will each enter the chamber through a door like this. Only the computer will know what awaits them on the other side. Their only clue will lie in this locker, which contains protective clothing and specialized weapons, should the environment behind that door require them. [holds hand against ear for a couple of seconds.] And I've just been told that the combatants are in fact now arriving at the space port, and we are going across to join the thousands of cheering spectators who are waiting to catch a glimpse of the two men on whose skill the outcome of this war depends. [voice changes to ordinary conversational tone] That all right?
VOICE[bored] Fine.
DARVIDOh, that good,eh?
VOICEWell, what do you want me to say? It was your usual delicate mixture of enthusiasm and dignified cliche.
DARVIDI love you too. What's next?
VOICEYou mean you've forgotten? I don't know why we bothered to rehearse.
DARVIDFrom the way you've been juggling those remotes I didn't think you had.
VOICEIf the performer won't move then the camera must.
DARVIDI thought it might confuse you if I moved.
VOICEOh, you've been thinking? Another first. [unintelligible sounds of another voice] What? What d'you mean you've missed them? Oh, wonderful! Congratulations! Crowd scenes we can get anywhere, you idiot! Darvid?
VOICEWe missed them at the spaceport.
DARVIDIt happens.
VOICEOnly to me! They didn't even wave to the crowd. Their seconds bundled them straight into two V.I.P. shuttles and off.
DARVIDWe'll get some good shots of them when they present their credentials to the Arbiters.
VOICEOh, remembered finally have we? Listen, [sarcastic tone] OUR HEROES should arrive in about thirty minutes. You want to wander down and place the remotes for me?
DARVID[mimics the other's tone] "Our heroes"? I suppose you'd change places with them, would you? Step through one of those doors without any idea of what's in there. Without even knowing whether your opponent's been let in first and is all set up and waiting. You'd fancy that would you?
VOICENot a lot. But then I'm not a professional killer.
DARVIDThat's not what the critics say.
VOICEYou want to position those remotes for me, Darvid?
DARVIDAll right, give me voice control.
VOICEYou've got it.
DARVIDFollow me, men. We have one hero and one dead man to meet, and as yet no way to tell which is which. [beckons with one finger, then walks out with three floating remote cameras following]

[Max and Deeta are in a two-seated tube-train]

MAXHow do you feel?
DEETAFine, Max, fine. For the fourth time.
MAXI'm sorry. Right now you are our most important man. I just want to be sure there's nothing bothering you.
DEETAYou're more nervous than I.
MAXAre you nervous?
DEETAThese sub-surface shuttles are a bit claustrophobic, aren't they?
MAXI didn't know you suffered from claustrophobia.
DEETAI don't, Max.
MAXFor a member of the diplomatic corps, I'm not being very diplomatic, am I?
DEETAHave you found out any more about their man?
MAXNot really. He doesn't seem to have a history. He just turned up about the time the border problem was developing. He killed Rakov in a private challenge and was automatically proclaimed First Champion of the Vandor Confederacy.
DEETAAny fights since then?
MAXRakov's son tried to take him. Strictly no contest.
DEETAWhat do you think?
MAXIt's all been according to the rules.
DEETAI don't know, Max. Smells like a set-up. Those two who tried to kill me on the Teal Star: they knew in advance the precise time that Vandor declared war.
MAXWe lodged a protest, but the Arbiters ruled there was no technical violation.
DEETAAny question about them?
MAXYou should know better than to ask that.
DEETAI don't have to be diplomatic, Max. Well?
MAXTheir Arbiter is a High Council member. So is ours. They're both beyond reproach.
DEETAAnd the neutral?
MAXNearly there. You'll be able to judge for yourself in a few minutes.
DEETAMax, in a few hours a man is going to try and kill me. Now, thanks to the skill of the diplomatic corps I know nothing about him.
MAXOh, that's most unfair.
DEETAUnfair? I'm not concerned with fairness or diplomacy or good manners. I'm only concerned that my opponent abides by the rules of the Convention, and my only guarantee of that lies with the Arbiters. Now I want to know everything you know about the neutral arbiter.

[Flight deck. The crew is still watching the public viscast, which is now showing Servalan.]

VILA[V.O.] Servalan! I don't believe it! Servalan is supposed to make sure everyone sticks to the rules?
DARVID[V.O.] And so the three Arbiters await the imminent arrival of the Champions who will identify themselves, and make formal acceptance of the rules of the Convention. This solemn ceremony...
AVON[Speaking over the remainder of Darvid's speech] All this breathless solemnity is beginning to irritate me.
DARVID[V.O.] ...lies at the very heart of our system of representative war.
AVONGive us vision only, Orac. [the commentator's voice is cut off]
VILAI was enjoying that.
TARRANTServalan's a logical choice for them if you think about it. After all, she is president of an empire which borders on both systems.
AVON[pauses as if struck by this] She is indeed. [Rises and crosses to a control station.]
CALLYBut she's not exactly an ideal candidate, though.
VILAHer idea of chivalry is never to shoot a blind man in the back.
DAYNAThat's very true, Vila.
VILAWonderful. And for my next trick, I shall swallow my other foot. I completely forgot about your father.
DAYNAI expect Servalan has, too.
VILAI'm sorry, Dayna.
DAYNAOne of these days it will be my pleasure to remind her.
TARRANTYes, but not one of THESE days. Our prospective hosts get very sweaty about rules violations.
AVONThe rule is no hostile act towards anyone. We are strictly neutral observers. Zen, put the battle and strategy computers on line. Direct visual readout to this position.
TARRANTBattle computers?
AVONJust something I want to check.
VILAThis looks like one of the champions. Let's hear it for the man. [Cally looks at the screen a few seconds then turns to look at Tarrant.] Sound, Orac, give us the sound. [Deeta is formally addressing the Arbiters]
DEETA[on screen] --and defend the United Planets of Teal with my blood. For we are in the right.
VILAI know him, don't I?

SERVALAN[on screen] Will you abide by the Convention?
DEETA[on screen] I will.

SERVALAN[on screen] You are welcome here.
VILAI'm sure I know him.
TARRANTI doubt that. He left Earth a long time ago.
AVONWho is he?
TARRANTHis name is Deeta. He's my brother.

[Actual room where the ceremony is taking place. Deeta faces Servalan across a table on which two guns are lying.]

SERVALANThe ancient weapons of combat. Use your choice with honor. [Deeta takes both guns and checks them over.] They've already been checked. Don't you trust us? I assure you they're exactly the same.
DEETANo two guns are ever exactly the same.

SERVALANYou have a brother, do you not?
DEETAI left Earth a long time ago.

SERVALANHe left more recently. Following your example, perhaps.
DEETAI hope not. [sets down one of the guns] With your permission, madam, I have preparation to make.

SERVALANBy all means. [Deeta bows, then turns and walks to the entrance where his way is blocked by Vinni. He steps to the side but Vinni moves to stay in front of him. They do this twice more.]
VINNIYou're not good enough to get past me, Tarrant.
DEETAYou're going to look pretty silly flat on your back with a face full of footprints.
VINNI[laughs] My name is Vinni. I've come to kill you. [moves aside to allow Deeta to pass] You're a dead man, Tarrant.
DEETAThey're the worst kind. [exits] [Vinni crosses to bow to the Arbiters.]

[Deeta's ready room. Max is waiting when Deeta enters.]

DEETAI've just met their man. I don't like him. [sits in a chair with a control panel attached to the right arm and an electronic, helmet-like device atop the back.]
MAXDid you expect to?
DEETAI don't mean personally. I mean there's something strange about him, something wrong.
MAXHe's a professional killer. That's not exactly the way a normal person would.... [Breaks off as he realizes what he's saying]
DEETAHave you ever thought you might be in the wrong business, Max?
MAXI'm not usually this inept.
DEETAProfessional killers make you nervous.
DEETAYes, well NON-professional killers make me nervous. And Vinni is not a professional. So what the hell is he, Max?
MAXA dead man, obviously. Coming up against a top professional like you, I mean. He has no chance, right?
DEETARakov was a top professional.
MAXYou're better than Rakov.
DEETAYes, well, so is he. [Begins adjusting the control panel, keeps fiddling with the controls throughout the next few lines.] Right, I'm ready to charge up the sensors.
MAXI've a couple of messages for you here. [consults handheld device] The viscast people would like to record an interview--
DEETANo. They can use archive material for the obituary.
MAXDo you want me to tell them that?
DEETAJust tell them no.
MAXDel Tarrant, claims to be your brother. His ship is due in about thirty minutes, wants to see you.
DEETANo. Afterwards, maybe. Is that it?
MAXThat's it.
DEETARight. Time to charge up the sensor net. [Lowers helmet- like electronic rig over his head.]
MAXSomething wrong?
DEETAIt's just the thought of all that stuff they put inside my head ... frightens the hell out of me.
MAXIt's quite safe, Deeta. [Whirring noises as the sensor net is charged. Deeta's eyes fill with sparkling white light for a few seconds]
MAXAll right?
DEETAFine. [raises the helmet, then hands a green disk to Max] Right, let's see if it still works. [Max sticks the disk on his forehead] Ready? [Max nods and closes his eyes. The disk changes to silver sparkles.] What do you see?
MAXA gun.
DEETA[looking at the gun he is holding] How does it feel?
MAXNatural, almost part of me.
DEETA[raising gun and pointing it at Max] And now?
MAXI am pointing the gun at a man sitting in a chair. Is that really how I look?
DEETA[Closes his eyes] And now?
MAXNothing. But I feel ... a little anger, little sadness, some small fear.
DEETA[Eyes fly open] Welcome to my head.
MAX[Opens his] It works.
DEETASo you and millions of other taxpaying citizens can kill or die almost for real. Just pick a champion, join the fun.
MAXYou resent this part of it, don't you?
DEETAYou only have to close your eyes to find out. [Max removes the disk. Deeta smiles] Maybe you are in the right business after all, Max. [holsters the gun]
MAXYou going to get some rest now?
DEETAWell, I'm certainly going to try.
MAX[rises] I'll see you before it starts.
DEETAOh, don't you want to eavesdrop on a dream or two?
MAXNo thanks, Deeta.
DEETAVery sensible, Max. Very sensible. [It seems for a second that Max is going to speak but he changes his mind and exits.]

[Flight deck]

ZENOrbit is now established. All systems are functioning normally. Status is firm.
TARRANTThank you, Zen.
DARVID[on screen] And so everything is ready. The formalities are complete. The Champions are prepared. The Arbiters have activated the combat computer which will control the conditions of battle. Only the computer knows when it will begin and where. [the screen fades to black. A computer display prints up:



VILACome on, then. Let's go mingle with the joyous multitude. [stands]
AVON[to Tarrant] Are you going to see this diplomat?
DAYNADo you want us to wait?
TARRANTNo. I'll find you. [exits]
VILADon't forget Orac. [Avon exits]
CALLYNo need. I'll operate the teleport.
DAYNAAren't you coming with us?
CALLYI don't think so.
VILABut we've come to enjoy ourselves, Cally.
CALLYI know.
VILAWell, how can you enjoy yourself staying here? [Dayna exits]
CALLYWell, maybe it's got something to do with the fact that you won't be.
VILAOh, thank you! [chases Cally out] [On the screen the computer graphic changes. The word 'wait' winks out and is replaced by:


[Max's room. Max is standing watching a screen with the same display.]

TARRANT[materializing behind Max] Are you Max?
MAXOh. Oh, you startled me.
TARRANT[offering his hand] I'm Del Tarrant.
MAX[shakes his hand] I can see you're Deeta's brother.

[gestures to the nearby chairs and both men sit down]

TARRANTHow is Deeta?
MAXHe's resting at the moment. How long is it since you've seen him?
TARRANTOh, seven, maybe eight years.
MAXI expect he's changed a bit.
TARRANTI expect we both have. Why doesn't he want to see me?
MAXOh, he does, but afterwards.
TARRANTThere may not be an afterwards.
MAXOh, he stands a very good chance. He's been our First Champion for nearly four years. He's fought a lot of challenges. No one's come near to beating him.
TARRANTWere all his fights like this?
MAXWell, uh, no, not exactly. [Offers Tarrant a small tray of snacks]
TARRANTNo, thank you.
MAXThese combat grounds are only used for officially declared wars, and we haven't had one of those for twenty years.
TARRANTSo what brought this one on?
MAXBorder incursions, retaliation, escalation: routine enough pattern.
TARRANTOnce every twenty years is routine?
MAXOur border squabbles don't usually lead to war. Actually this one did take us a little by surprise. Our computers missed the trend completely.
TARRANTWhat's at stake? What happens to you if Deeta loses?
MAXThe Convention will require us to surrender two-thirds of our fleet and three of our planets.
TARRANTAnd you're willing to do that?
MAXWell, of course. So are they. You see, Del, for us, this is not a game. We really are at war.

[Flight deck. Cally is alone, holding a drink and using the bookscreen.]

VILA[V.O., over comm] Cally? Are you there, Cally?
CALLYWhat is it, Vila?
VILA[V.O., over comm] Dayna and I are ready to come up.
CALLYSo soon?
VILA[V.O., over comm] There's nothing here. Everyone's gone home. Everything's closed.
CALLYNo joyous multitude?
VILA[V.O., over comm] No joyous anybody. I've seen more life in a prison blanket.
CALLYWhat about Avon?
VILA[V.O., over comm] Gone to visit a sick friend.
CALLYA sick friend?
VILA[V.O., over comm] That's what he said. And let's face it: any friend of Avon's got to be sick, right? Are you going to bring us up, Cally?
CALLYHave a little patience, Vila.
VILA[V.O., over comm] What for? All that ever gets you is older.

[Arbiters' room. Servalan is pacing.]

SERVALANI am not in the habit of waiting for couriers-- [Turns and breaks off as she recognizes Avon]
AVONMadam President.

SERVALANI see the Orac computer has broken our latest security code.
AVONA useful gadget. Worth every penny you ALMOST paid for it.

SERVALANWasteful of you to let me know the code was broken, surely?
AVONI thought you'd see me more readily if you thought I was part of the conspiracy.

SERVALANConspiracy? Oh, Avon. I haven't gone and given myself away again, have I?
AVONI've been doing a little strategic analysis.

AVONSomewhere along the line there is going to be a major violation of the Convention.

SERVALANReally? Well, I'm glad you warned me. Because as Neutral Arbiter such violations are my concern.
AVONThe result will be total war between these two systems. Real war, not children's games like all this. You will let them fight it out for a little while and then your battle fleet will move in to mop up the remnants. For their own good, of course, to prevent further bloodshed and destruction. The civilian populations may even welcome you.

SERVALANWhat form will this major violation take?
AVONDo they know that your battle fleet is massed on their borders?

SERVALANRoutine maneuvers. And a small demonstration of concern for my personal safety, which both sides understand and accept.
AVONThank you.

AVONAnswering my question. [starts to leave]

SERVALANI have nothing to hide.
AVON[Turns back] Is that why you answered?

AVONOh, no, not "naturally," Madam President. You do not NATURALLY answer a question from an enemy who has no NATURAL right to ask it.

SERVALANBut I don't think of YOU as an enemy, Avon. I think of YOU as a future friend.
AVON[puts his arm about Servalan and pulls her against him] Your plan had better be fireproof, Servalan, or I'll see you burn with it. [Kisses her. While continuing to hold Servalan he activates com in bracelet behind her back.] Cally?
CALLY[V.O., over comm] Yes, Avon?
AVONI'm ready to come up now.
CALLY[V.O., over comm] Stand by.

SERVALAN[strokes finger across Avon's lips] Threatening an arbiter is a violation of the Convention, you know.
AVONSo report me. [releases her]

SERVALANI'll overlook it this time. [Avon teleports out] After all, [smiles] it's not a major violation. [seats herself at the table turns on the viewscreen which displays:


then the last line changes to:


Servalan presses a button. The screen changes to:


[Flight deck. Dayna and Vila are watching the view screen. Avon enters]

DAYNAHow was your friend?
AVONSick as ever. Orac, I want you to tap into the records computer down there and get me all the rules relating to the Teal-Vandor Convention.
ORACIt will take a few moments to identify the appropriate data store.
AVONThen I want you to assimilate them and program one of your systems as an analog of a hostile arbiter.
ORACIn what way, "hostile"?
AVONOne who is expecting a violation.
ORACDo you wish me to continue relaying the viscast?
VILAYes, we do. It's not exactly thrilling, but it's all there is.
DAYNAAnd you came a long way to be thrilled, didn't you, Vila?
VILADamn right I did. And I'm going to be thrilled one way or another. [Furtive glances at Dayna] Have a drink, Dayna.
DAYNADo you know your most attractive quality, Vila?
VILA[Eagerly] No. What?
DAYNAYour subtlety. [His face falls.]

[Max's room. He and Tarrant have been watching the same display.]

TARRANTRight, I'll get back to my ship.
MAXIt'll start very soon now.
TARRANTWhen it's over let me know. I'll come back.
MAXAren't you going to share it?
TARRANTI'm sorry?
MAXThe sensor net. You don't know about it? [A line is added to the display: TEAL ARBITER: READY] Both men have had microsensors implanted in the brain. These are connected to a conductive mesh which is actually etched into the bone of the skull. When this mesh gets charged up it becomes a sort of transmitter.
TARRANTTransmitting signals from the microsensors?
MAXRight. The signals are boosted through the combat computer and are picked up by these receivers. [Picks up one of the green disks and hands it to Tarrant] You put it on your forehead. It's activated through the optic nerves. Close your eyes and it feeds the signal directly into the brain, open them and it cuts out.
TARRANTHow effective is it?
MAXWith that, you can see what Deeta sees and feel a lot of what he feels, physically and emotionally. These [picks up and hands Tarrant a blue disk] are a slightly different frequency.
TARRANTKeyed to the other man?
MAXYou choose which one you want to go with.
TARRANTHow many people use these?
MAXOh, almost everyone in the two systems. It's a release that we all share. A catharsis. We all fight the war, but only one MAN actually dies.
TARRANTMy brother.
MAXOr his opponent.
TARRANTSo that's the ultimate excitement. Murder without guilt, death without loss.
MAXWar without destruction. [Another line is added to the display: VANDOR ARBITER: READY] I must go.
TARRANTWish Deeta luck for me.
MAXYes. [exits]
TARRANT[into bracelet] I'm ready to come up, Cally. [grabs a few of each color of disks from the boxes on a table.]

[Deeta's room. He is looking at the viewscreen which displays:


MAX[rushing in] I was afraid I'd miss you.
DEETAIt's all right, Max. There's plenty of time.
MAXHow do you feel?
MAXFor the hundreth time. I'm sorry, I haven't been much help, have I?
DEETAThe Death-Watch is never easy, Max. You did well, I'm grateful to you. [offers his hand and they shake]
MAXWe wish you luck.
DEETAThe people of Teal?
MAXYour brother and I.
DEETAHave the drinks set up, Max. We'll celebrate, eh, the three of us? [exits. Max takes a green disk, sits down and puts it on his forehead.]

[Red door to battle chamber. Vinni presses a panel. The door to his locker opens to reveal it is empty. He draws his gun and stands before the entrance.]

[Arbiters' room. Another line has been added to the display:


The Vandor arbiter affixes a blue disk and activates it by closing his eyes.]

[Black door to battle chamber. Deeta presses his panel, the empty locker opens. He draws his gun, checks it, then reholsters it and moves to wait before the door.]

[Arbiters' room. Another line has been added to the display:


The Teal arbiter dons a green disk and activates it. Servalan simply waits.]

[Flight deck. The viewscreen is showing the same display. Tarrant and Vila each have an activated green disk on their foreheads. Dayna is holding a blue one.]

DAYNAI, I don't want to do this, Avon. I'll be fighting Tarrant's brother.
AVONYou will be judging the MAN who is fighting him.
DAYNABut you can't be objective with something like this.
AVONYou don't have to be. It's your instinct as a fighter that we need.
CALLYAnd Tarrant will be an instinctive judge of his brother's actions.
AVONYou're a natural fighter, Dayna. You will be an instinctive judge of the other man.
DAYNAWell, even if one of them breaks the rules, what can we do about it?
AVONThat is what Orac is going to tell us. [Dayna affixes the disk to her forehead and shuts her eyes.]

[Max's room. He waits with disk activated.]

[Arbiter's room. Servalan smiles. The display changes to read:


[Red door. It opens and Vinni enters the combat ground.]

[Black door. Deeta still waits.]

[Combat grounds, what looks like the bombed or burned out ruins of a large building. Vinni moves about, searching.]

VINNI[holds up hands with his gun pointing off uselessly in the air and shouts] Tarrant! You get one free shot, Tarrant! [pause, then holsters his gun, runs across the main open area of the building into a more enclosed area and climbs up a ladder.]

[Black door. Deeta clenches his fist as he waits.]

[Flight deck. Tarrant mimics Deeta's gesture.]

[Black door. It opens and Deeta enters the combat ground at some distance from Vinni's point of entry. He moves about, scanning and pointing his gun in various directions.]

[Combat grounds. Deeta shoots at Vinni and misses. Vinni fires back, also missing. They move about continuously. Vinni searches for Deeta. Deeta fires again, Vinni fires back twice, then advances again searching in vain for Deeta.]

[Flight deck: through Dayna's mind's eye we see what Vinni is seeing as he scans about. Through Tarrant's mind's eye we see Deeta's hands and gun as he fires at Vinni, who fires back.]

[Combat grounds. Deeta is sheltering in a doorway.]

VINNI[shouting from o.o.s.] Tarrant! Tarrant! We're wasting time, Tarrant. We could die of old age chasing each other around here.
DEETAWhat do you suggest we do? Draw straws?

[Combat grounds. Vinni is standing in the more enclosed area.]

VINNIWe draw guns, Tarrant. Isn't that what you're best at? Only I'm better and I'm going to prove it. Holster your gun -- I'll meet you out in the open, face to face. Fast man wins. What do you say? [Deeta walks up behind him, unnoticed.] Well, have you got the stomach for it? [Deeta aims his gun at Vinni's back then holsters it] What do you say, Tarrant?
DEETAAll right. [Vinni spins around at the sound of his voice.] Let's see if you're as fast with your gun as you are with your mouth. [Vinni grins and leads the way into the larger, open-to- the-sky, area of the building. He turns to face Deeta, who has his hand on his holstered gun. Vinni holds up his empty hands.]
VINNIAfter you, Tarrant. [Deeta starts to draw his gun. Change to slow motion as we see the smoke from Vinni's shot and that Deeta's gun isn't even fully aimed yet. Deeta is blown back by the impact.]

[Intercuts shots as Max and the others react and we see Deeta falling in slow motion. Another shot is heard, possibly meant to be an echo from the first.]

[Flight deck]


[Combat grounds. Deeta falls to the ground, one hand clutching his bloody chest, then his hand slips slowly to the ground.]

[Flight deck. Tarrant grimaces in pain and sorrow.]

[Combat grounds. The skeletal roof of the building against the sky, apparently Deeta's point of view.]

DEETA[V.O.] Stupid. Stupid of me. He's fast. He's really fast, Del. Del, I'm sorry. I'm afraid the eavesdroppers have to listen after all. Didn't want a million people in my head when we met-- [Vinni is approaching] Damn, it hurts. I never should have left you. I missed you, little brother. [Vinni takes aim and fires one last time. The screen goes black.]

[Flight deck]

DAYNATarrant. Tarrant! [shakes him] Tarrant! Tarrant! [she rips his patch off and he gasps] I'm sorry, Tarrant.
TARRANTHe should have killed him when he had the chance. [Smiles a sickly smile] Deeta never was very practical.

[Combat grounds. Vinni stands over Deeta's body]

VINNI[to Deeta] I told you I was faster. [looking up as if to the audience, shouts] Deeta Tarrant is dead! [Walks off a few steps] I claim victory for the Vandor Confederacy of Planets.

[Arbiter's room]

SERVALAN[switches off screen] Well, gentlemen, before we confirm this victory there are some checks I should like carried out, formalities only. But I fear scrupulous fairness is one of my small personal obsessions. I'm sure you'll bear with me.

[Flight deck]

AVONDid they behave as you expected? Come on, we haven't got much time.
TARRANTDeeta didn't break any rules. In fact, he kept an extra one of his own. A costly one.
AVONYou felt nothing abnormal in his behavior?
DAYNAI felt something. At least, I think I did.
DAYNAIt's difficult to pin down. It's as though we were waiting.
VILANot from where I was standing. I couldn't understand how I missed him. And I couldn't believe how fast he pulled that gun.
CALLYAnd yet watching them on the screen, I felt it was Deeta who had the real talent, the real instinct for it.
DAYNAThat's it. There was no instinct. No anticipation. I wai-- HE waited for things to happen and then reacted to them. But when he did react it was so fast it was exhilarating. I began to feel the other man couldn't shoot me because I could move before any shot could reach me.
AVONWell, Orac?
ORACIt is my conclusion that the one called Vinni is not human, but is in fact a highly sophisticated android exquisitely programed as a gunfighter.
TARRANTDeeta was fighting a machine?
AVONAnd when that is revealed, all hell breaks loose.
CALLYHow will they find out?
ORACThere is a little used regulation which allows any of the arbiters to call for a medical examination of the winning combatant.
CALLYWon't it resist?
ORACThe Vinni android will regard itself as human. It will have no reason to resist such an examination.
AVONOrac, how can we destroy the android without violating the Convention?
ORACBy challenge, under the rules of blood feud. Since Vinni has killed his brother, Tarrant has the right of combat. [Avon looks at Tarrant who stands up.]
TARRANTThat sounds promising.
VILAYou wouldn't stand a chance.
TARRANTI'll risk that.
AVONHe could use the new gun. Dayna?
DAYNAIt's ready. [starts to go but Avon stops her]
AVONVila can get it.
DAYNAIt's in the test room, Vila.
VILAWhat did your last slave die of? [He leaves the flight deck. Tarrant moves off to stand alone, with his back to the others.]
AVONDayna, I want you to stop Servalan.
DAYNA[with grim anticipation] My pleasure.
AVONDo everything you have to to prevent that medical examination and delay things until we get there, but do not kill Servalan. Cally. Will you operate the teleport? [Cally exits.] I mean this, Dayna. You kill Servalan now, you blow everything wide open, including us. [Dayna exits. Avon crosses to Tarrant and takes him by the arm.] Tarrant. I presume you have no tedious scruples about cheating and lying?
TARRANTNone at all.
AVONOh, good. [Smiles. They exit]

[Arbiter's room. Two technicians are about to scan Vinni. Dayna enters and shoots the computer they were about to use.]

DAYNAStill! Silent, all of you. [aims her gun at Servalan] Or I'll kill her now. [Vinni starts to move] She's dead, Vinni, not even you could reach your gun in time.

SERVALANDo as she says.
DAYNAThat's right, Servalan. [moves to kneel at her side] Now, I want you to close your eyes.

SERVALANClose my eyes?
DAYNAWe're going to play a little game. [holds her gun beneath Servalan's chin] Close your eyes. [Servalan does so.] I want you to imagine how my father felt, just before you killed him. [Servalan's eyes fly open.]

[Max's room. Max and Tarrant enter]

MAXI understand your feelings, believe me, I do. But Deeta was a professional, he knew the risks--
TARRANTThe challenge has already been made.
MAXHe might not accept it.
TARRANTHe has to accept it, you know that. Will you act for me or not?
MAXThere's still time to withdraw--
TARRANTYes or no?
MAXVinni's the best I've ever seen -- you don't stand a chance against him--
TARRANT[forcefully] Yes or no?
MAXVery well. I'll negotiate the arrangements. [starts to leave]
TARRANTAnd the combat computer, remember, I want it to choose the battle chamber and run the contest.
MAXI see no reason they shouldn't agree to that. [pause] You're a fool, Del.
TARRANT[smiles] It's a family trait, Max.

[Flight deck. Avon, Vila, Dayna and Cally enter, Orac is on the table in the pit.]

VILAAnd they accepted what Dayna did?
AVONThey ruled it as a minor technical violation, banned her from the planet just as I expected.
VILAWell, are you going to tell us why, or are you just going to gloat quietly to yourself? [all seat themselves in the pit.]
AVONThere is a blood feud between Dayna and Servalan. But Dayna did not declare a challenge and she did not kill Servalan, either.
DAYNAA purely temporary oversight on my part. [Avon smiles] [Screen shows: COMBAT COMPUTER: READY]
AVONAny time now.
VILAAre you sure you can reach him, Cally?
CALLYNo, I'm not sure. It's a long way, I warned you of that. But I know Tarrant well now and I know where he is.
VILAWell, why not have a trial run?
CALLYThere's no point, Vila. Either it works at the time or it doesn't.
DAYNAAnd if it doesn't, he's dead.
CALLYYou think I don't know that? [These lines are added to the screen during Vila's next speech:


VILAThey agreed on the conditions. We're on.
AVONGet on with it, Orac, tap into that computer. I want to know which chamber it chooses.

[Screen display changes to continue:


Well? Which is it?

ORACI am checking. Kindly wait.
AVONWe are short of time, Orac.
VILAI'll say we are. It's not hanging about this time. [Screen display: 2. WAIT blinks out and is replaced by:



[Arbiters' room. Screen displays reads:

All three press buttons. The display changes to:


[Display screen:





[Max's room. Max and Tarrant are shaking hands.]

MAXI won't wish you good luck. That's what I wished your brother.
TARRANTThanks for your help, Max. [Removes his transporter bracelet and hands it to Max.]
MAXThere's nothing for you to prove, Del. You just kill that man, any way you can.
TARRANTOh, don't worry. I wasn't planning to be a hero.

[Flight deck. Display screen adds:


AVONCome on, Orac. Come on.

[Red door. Vinni waits]

[Black door. Tarrant turns away from the empty locker as its door closes.]

[Flight deck]

ORACI have the information you required.
CALLY[V.O., telepaths] Tarrant. Tarrant, listen to me. Concentrate.

[Black door]

CALLY[V.O., telepaths] The chamber contains the observation gallery of a deep space liner. Your door will open first, but only by sixty seconds. In that time you must reach the center of the gallery.

[Max's room. The display screen adds:


[Arbiters' room. Display screen:


[Black door. The door is just closing.]

[Red door. The door opens and Vinni enters.]

[The observation gallery. Vinni enters at one end of the catwalk, scans about for Tarrant. When he sees no one he smiles and holsters his gun. He crosses to the other end. After he passes Tarrant moves from where he was hidden beneath the catwalk, and silently boosts himself up onto the catwalk. He lies there on his stomach and uses both hands to brace his gun, aimed at Vinni's back.]

[Max's room]

MAXKill him, Del. Kill him now!

[Flight deck]

VILAWhat's he waiting for?
DAYNAHe can't shoot it in the back!
AVON[matter of fact tone] It's a machine -- pull the trigger.

[Observation gallery]

TARRANTVinni. [Vinni spins at his voice and goes for his gun but Tarrant fires first. Vinni staggers at the shot, starts to bring his gun to bear, but Tarrant fires twice more and Vinni evaporates into a blue haze that dissipates swiftly. Tarrant rises and walks to where Vinni had been.] As ever, Dayna, gaudy, but effective. [exits]

[Deeta's room]

AVONHaving vaporized the evidence, there is no proof now, of course.
MAXHow could they have done it? It's a betrayal of everything -- every civilized -- How could they have done such a thing?
AVONWell, if it's any consolation, I don't think THEY did. Servalan is undoubtedly behind it.
TARRANTShe'll have had some help, of course, but not from the High Council of Vandor itself, or not deliberately.
AVONThere's an arms manufacturing cartel that looks highly promising as a candidate for co-conspirator.
TARRANTYes, particularly since one of its directors happens to be a member of the High Council.
MAXBut there is nothing we can do, short of outright war.
AVONWell, as a matter of fact, our legal advisor [Avon and Tarrant exchange looks], Orac, suggests that as Servalan called for a medical examination that never in fact took place, the result of the contest between Vinni and Deeta is technically void. If you lodge an objection, that contest will have to be fought again.
MAXOf course! I'll get on to it right away.
AVON[rises] Orac has two other suggestions to make. First, you use your veto to get a change of neutral arbiter. Second, you make it clear from the outset that Teal will require a medical examination of both contestants [points in emphasis] BEFORE the fight.
MAXRight. I'll do that. [Grabs Avon's pointing hand and shakes it then turns away to pat Tarrant on the shoulder, leaving Avon to stare down at his hand in disbelief.] I'll be back in a minute. [Exits]
AVONI think we should leave now.
TARRANTMax just said that he'd be back--
AVONOrac had another interesting legal point to make. According to the rules of the Teal-Vandor Convention, YOU are now the new First Champion of Teal.
TARRANTI think we should leave now.
AVON & TARRANT[in perfect unison] Bring us up, Cally.

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