Script for Killer

by Robert Holmes

(c) 1979 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) 1992 by Frances Teagle and Micky DuPree.

NOTE: An attempt has been made to indicate the complex cutting between laboratories, offices and corridors via close circuit monitor screens and intercoms.


Roj Blake
Kerr Avon
Jenna Stannis
Vila Restal
Dr. Bellfriar
Second Pathologist Wiler
Dr. Bax

[Liberator teleport room]
AVONDo you know where we want to be?
AVONLet me see you locate it [she demonstrates] All right, make it quick. [Avon and Vila teleport. They materialize in marshland Q-Base dome is in the distance]
VILASo that's it.
VILANot like home. How are we going to get inside?
AVONWe'll find a way. Come on. [They set off towards dome]

[Liberator's control room]

CALLY[Entering] They're down.
CALLYAvon and Vila, they're a mile from the Q-Base.
BLAKEJust a minute. [concentrating on detector]
CALLYWhat is it?
JENNAWe've picked somthing up.
BLAKEWe think.
JENNAI'll swear it's moving.
BLAKEZen, give us optimum range on the aft scanners.
ZENConfirmed. [screen shows long distance moving object]
JENNAThere it is, look, the spectro says it's ferrous.
BLAKECould still be a meteor a long way off. Clear vision.
CALLYIt's certainly not a meteor. [space craft shown on screen]
JENNAWell, what is it?
BLAKEProbably the oldest ship you'll ever see, Wanderer class, the first Earth ships to reach deep space.
JENNASo how old?
BLAKESix, seven hundred years. Close vision. [close-up of spacecraft]
JENNAIt's hardly moving.
BLAKEThey were slow, Jenna, infraluminal. Question is, how did it get here?
JENNAWell, what do you mean?
BLAKEWell, even travelling at maximum speed it would take - what - three thousand years for one of those things to get this far out.
CALLYIt must have been lifted here.
BLAKEAnd then set adrift? Why?
JENNAI think we should take a look.
JENNAOh Cally, there can hardly be any danger.
CALLYI detect life.
BLAKEHuman life?
CALLYYes. Oh I don't know, there is something. I'm confused.

[Surface - Avon and Vila crouch in grass as rocket is launched] [Liberator control room]

ZENAttention! Sensors indicate a surface launch.
JENNAA missile?
BLAKENo, it can't be. They can't have spotted Liberator. We've got the blind down. [launch appears on screen]
JENNAThere it is, look, just leaving the ionosphere.
BLAKEThey're sending up a salvager from Fosforon.
JENNAWell, they'll get a surprise. Seven centuries. It just doesn't seen possible.
BLAKEIt isn't, and that is what is worrying me. [Cally puts her hand to her head in confusion]
JENNAAre you all right Cally?
CALLYThey're ready. They're watching.
BLAKEWho? What are you talking about? Cally, what are you picking up?
CALLYI don't know, but Blake, there is something malignant on that ship.

[Surface - Avon and Vila reconnoitre perimeter, ending up in front of sewer outlet]

AVONWe can get inside through here.
VILAMust we? [Avon cuts through grill]

[Tynus's outer office - he is sketching caged grasshoppers] [Tak enters]

TYNUSHave you checked with Section Six?
TAKYes sir, there is something there. They're watching it sir, but it won't come nearer than two hundred thousand miles.
TYNUSIt will now Tak, Dr Bellfriar sent out a recovery team.
TAKIt's only a piece of junk. It's too small to be anything important.
TYNUSDr Bellfriar hasn't much to do, he should take up a hobby. Make sure he gets ground transportation and course co-ordination will you please? That's all.
TAKWhat will Dr Bellfriar do with it, sir?
TYNUSHe'll bring it back to his laboratories and analyse it. Then he'll analyse what he's analysed. I could never understand why a scientist of his eminence should choose to bury himself here.

[Avon and Vila climb out of sewer, run across open ground, enter a building and get into a lift]

AVONThis is where he'll be.
VILAHow do you know?
AVONHe's the base commander, this the command centre, it has a certain logic wouldn't you say?
VILAWell - he might be on holiday. [They exit lift]
AVON[At a rack of protective capes] Put this on.
VILAWhat do you call this, then?

[Liberator control room]

BLAKEOrac, I want to tap Central Spacecraft Registry. Can you do that?
ORACTap? What is that?
BLAKEObtain information from the records.
ORACThat is possible, but it will take time.
BLAKEI want the histories of every Wanderer Class One spacecraft ever registered.
ORACVery well. This information will be relayed as obtained through the auxiliary monitor.
JENNAStill worried? It's not our concern, you know.
BLAKEI don't like mysteries. Zen, range the aft scanners on that ship again. [Ship appears on screen] That salvager will be making hull contact within the hour. I think they should be warned.
JENNAWhat about?
BLAKEThere's life aboard.
JENNABlake, that is a Federation base down there. The salvagers are manned by Federation personnel.
BLAKEThey're human.
JENNAI need proof of that.
BLAKECally is not often wrong.

[Tynus's office. Avon kicks the door in. He and Vila rush in.]

TYNUSWhat do you men want? [Vila closes the door.]
AVONHello Tynus.
TYNUSKerr Avon. [He shakes Avon's hand.] How the devil did you get here?
AVONSomething called a teleport system. It beats shuttles.
TYNUSCome into my quarters. It's safer there. Did anyone see you?
AVONWell if they did, they didn't look twice. [They enter inner room, Avon goes to wash basin]
AVONDo you mind?
VILAWe've just been through a pipe.
TYNUSAre you sure no-one saw you?
AVONWe didn't hear any alarms. That, by the way, is Vila.
TYNUSYes, yes, one of your colleagues from the Liberator.
AVONI see they're keeping you in touch.
TYNUSWell, amongst other things Q-Base is also a radio link station. Fosforon may be a hole in the middle of nowhere, but we still get Federation gossip.
AVONThat's why we're here.
TYNUSI don't understand. What do you mean?
AVONTynus, you really didn't think that I dropped in to talk over old times?
AVONBlake sent us. The Federation have started transmitting A-line messages using a new pulse code. We need to break that code.
TYNUSThat's impossible.
AVONNot impossible, Tynus. Remember, we trained together.
TYNUSThat code is unbreakable without a TP crystal tuned into that pulse.
AVONExactly. That's what we've come for.
TYNUSNo, I can't do it.
AVONYou can. And you will.
TYNUSIt's more than my life's worth, Avon.
AVONWe need that crystal, Tynus. You must have a spare. They always supply two.
TYNUSIt's not that easy. I'm only the commander technician here. Federation Security is in charge of all sensitive stores.
AVONI see. All right, the TP crystal is part of the A-line converter, is that right?
AVONThen it will have to break down. You can arrange a little malfunction there, then apply for the replacement crystal, we'll take the old one. We don't mind second-hand goods, do we Vila?
VILANo, we're not fussy.
TYNUSI don't think you know what you're asking.
AVONI know exactly what I'm asking. [Bleeper sounds]
TYNUSI'm wanted.
AVONWhat's your answer?
TYNUSI'll have to think about it. I must go. [exits]
VILAI hope you can trust him.
AVONI told you, he's a friend of mine.
VILAYes, I always knew you had a friend. I used to say to people "I bet Avon's got a friend, somewhere in the galaxy".
AVONAnd you were right. That must be a novel experience for you.

[Tynus's office]

TYNUSWhere did this originate?
TAKWe don't know sir, the same message came in on all channels simultaneously.
TYNUSCouldn't you trace the source? [writes a note]
TAKWe're trying sir, but the signal was so powerful that it knocked everything out, even the land lines.
TYNUSWell, get this message to Dr. Bellfriar. I think it's intended for his department. [Follows Tak out of the door] Before you do that, make sure this message is A-lined to Federation Headquarters Command.
TAKRight sir.

[Inner room]

VILAAll the home comforts. [Pours himself a drink]
AVONLeave that stuff alone.
VILAYou live your way, I'll live mine. Mm, must be all of two days old. [Tynus enters, Avon points his blaster at him]
AVONJust careful.
TYNUSWe've just received this odd message. I think it's from your friends on the Liberator.
AVON[Reads from paper] "Advise your recovery team to proceed with utmost caution, derelict spacecraft may contain hostile life." What does it mean?
TYNUSA few hours ago our detectors picked up some space debris. We send a ship to investigate.
AVONWell, I suppose it could be from Blake. He has these generous impulses.
TYNUSBy the way, why don't our detectors pick up the Liberator?
VILAAnti-detection screen, one of Avon's gadgets. We're expecting it to break down any time.
AVONLet's get back to the TP crystal, that's what we're here for.
TYNUSYou know you're asking me to commit suicide.
AVONIs there something wrong with your memory, Tynus? You owe me, remember?
TYNUSNot enough to put my head on the block.
AVON[To Vila] We were in a fraud together. When I was arrested, I kept my mouth shut. [To Tynus] If I hadn't, old friend, you would be sweating out the rest of your life on a convict planet, and that could still happen if I were to let the authorities know.
TYNUSSo that's the way it is?
AVONWell, let's just say I did you a favour and now I'm collecting.
VILANice. When Avon holds out the hand of friendship, watch his other hand. That's the one with the hammer.

[Dr. Bellfriar walks down corridor and enters his laboratory]

GAMBRILLAh sir, this came about the recovery team. [gives him note]

BELLFRIAR"Derelict spacecraft may contain hostile life" This a joke?
GAMBRILLThat's the message.

BELLFRIARWho sent it?
GAMBRILLNobody seems to know.

BELLFRIARWhat's Tynus doing?
GAMBRILLPainting, I imagine. That's how he spends most of his time.

BELLFRIAROh, the man's space-happy, of course. This base is full of psychotics.
GAMBRILLDo you think the signal is a hoax?

BELLFRIARNo, this message was sent before anyone could have known what that recovery team would find and it does say quite categorically "derelict spacecraft".
GAMBRILLYou're going to take it seriously then?

BELLFRIARWell, I think it would be wise, Gambrill. Somebody out there seems to know more than we do. How's the recovery going?
GAMBRILLIn approach orbit, should be docking in about twenty minutes.

BELLFRIARGood. Alert the station. We want full quarantine around the landing bay, the whole operation to be remote videoed. Everything we practised.
GAMBRILLAll right sir. [into intercom] Chief medic instruction, all personnel. Landing alert, routine one, full quarantine restrictions at the landing bay. [to Bellfriar] If there's anything in this message sir, I suppose this could be a little piece of history.

BELLFRIARA high point in your scientific career, Gambrill. Just think of it, in less than twenty minutes you could be shaking hands with an exomorph.
GAMBRILLNot if it's hostile sir, I've got my pension to think about.

[Tynus's office]

TYNUSNo! No, I can't do it. Apart from anything else, it's practically impossible technically.
AVONIt isn't and you know it. The crystal runs the spectrum from bands L to Y up to thirty thousand megahertz. All you have to do is mess up the feedback from the converter and the effect will show a fault on the crystal.
TYNUSI see you haven't forgotten your stuff.
AVONI don't see any problem.
TYNUSThe problem is getting to the converter. I can't do it. I'm the commander, if I were to be seen to get my hands dirty, people would remember.
AVONIs there any time that the section is unattended?
TYNUSNo, it's manned all the time, three operators night and day. The only chance I can see...
TYNUSNo, no I can't do it.
AVONWould you rather the convict planet, Tynus?
TYNUSFire is the greatest hazard here, oxygen-rich atmosphere. If I started a small electrical fire near the section, the men on duty would run to their fire-drill positions.
TYNUSThat would leave the converter unattended for about ten minutes, long enough to give you the change to get a malfunction organised.
AVONWhat will you be doing?
TYNUSDirecting the fire-fighting.
AVONI shall need to look the job over first.
TYNUSThat can be arranged.
VILAAvon, this whole thing is stretching out. Blake won't want to wait.
AVONBlake will have to wait. How long before we get our hands on the crystal, Tynus?
TYNUSAn hour to check the course of the fire, make sure the malfunction is working. Then, of course, I'd better get Security to release the spare crystal, oh, I'd say ten hours at least.

[On Liberator}

BLAKETen hours?
CALLY[Over intercom] That is what Avon has reported.
BLAKEThat's a long time.
CALLYShall I call them back?
BLAKENo. Without that crystal we'll never break the Federation pulse code. We need to read their messages if we're to stay ahead of Servalan.
JENNASticking around here's no way to stay ahead.
BLAKEWhy? Zen's got the scanners at maximum range, the first sign of trouble, we pull out.
JENNAIf they come at us from behind Fosforon, they're going to be on us before we know it.
BLAKEWell there's no chance of that, unless they already have our position plotted.
JENNAOptimist! [Screen lights up] What's that?
BLAKEWe're tracking that Wanderer. I might go down there.
JENNATo Fosforon?
BLAKEAs I said before, I don't like mysteries. Listen, Orac has done his stuff, the histories of every Wanderer Class One ever built. Orac, repeat the information you've just given me.
ORACThe only ship not accounted for is K-Forty-Seven. That went missing seven hundred years ago in the vicinity of Sixty-One Cygnii. The names of the crew were Kemp, Wardin, and Tober. Furthermore...
BLAKE[Disconnects] Thank you, Orac.
JENNAOnly three?
BLAKEWell, those old ships couldn't take any more. Living in them was like living in a pickle barrel for thirty years.
JENNAI don't know how they stood it.
BLAKESome of them didn't. Mind you, hibernation pills helped.
BLAKEDoes Sixty-One Cygnii mean anything to you?
JENNAThat's the Darkling Zone, isn't it?
BLAKEWell, that's the poetic name for it, yes. No, it's the only region near Earth that's never been charted.
JENNAYes, I remember. A lot of ships have disappeared there. They think it's a centre of meteor storms.
BLAKEThat theory's running a little thin just now. If K-Forty- Seven hit the centre of a meteor storm, why would it suddenly reappear thousands of light years away?
JENNASo what's your theory?
BLAKEI'm not launching any theories till I've tested the water. I'm going to teleport down.
JENNAWhat about Avon and Vila?
BLAKEThey've got enough to do.
JENNAYes, but what about Federation Security?
BLAKEWell, at the first sign of trouble, I'll come back up.
JENNALook Blake, they know all about the teleport system. The first time they get your bracelet...
BLAKEJenna, I have been down before. I'm sorry. I will be very careful.
JENNAAll right.

[Corridor of landing area, a recovery team of four in protective suiting is waiting]

INTERCOMRemote recovery unit Red Zero, approach on Site 5, boarding teams stand by. [shot of landing spacecraft] Approach complete, boarding team proceed. [team moves through door] [Blake teleports into corridor, fumes billow through door, making him cough]


GAMBRILLQuarantine instructions have been carried out, boarding party are about to enter.

BELLFRIARGood. Gambrill, who's that fool in the evacuation tunnel?
GAMBRILLI don't know sir.

BELLFRIARWell get him out of it! [monitor screen shows Blake in corridor, enveloped in fumes]
GAMBRILLCome out of there you idiot. Come on, there's an access port right in front of you.

BELLFRIARFind out who it is.
GAMBRILLHurry man! [to Bellfriar] Yes sir. [exits]

BELLFRIARVision Control, get me vision link to the boarding party.

[In corridor]

GAMBRILLWhat the hell do you think you're doing, don't you know enough to steer clear of the exhaust vents during a landing? You could have got yourself killed in there.
BLAKEI thought the ship was down.
GAMBRILLThe engines aren't vented yet. You're not one of our men.
BLAKENo, I'm looking for whoever's in charge. I've got some information concerning that ship you salvaged.
GAMBRILLInformation? What kind of information? Who are you?
BLAKEDon't ask questions, just take me to whoever's in charge.

[Laboratory - Bellfriar at desk in front of monitor screen]

VOICE 1Nothing here, power deck's clear.
VOICE 2Watch yourselves! Some of these fittings break off in your hands.
VOICE 1Must be stinking centuries.
VOICE 2Going up. Nothing in the forward compartment.
VOICE 1Bring the second spot over, will you. Watch it! [monitor screen shows interior of spacecraft]
VOICE 2Can't see a damn thing in this dust. Where are we?
VOICE 1Looks like the control room. My God! We've found a body here sir. Human, I think. Things aren't too clear. He's in a compression suit. [monitor screen shows head of corpse]

BELLFRIARAny sign of life anywhere?
VOICE 1Nothing sir. We've been over the whole ship now.

BELLFRIARAll right. Put the remains in an anti-contamination bag. Bring them down to Dr. Wiler, will you?

GAMBRILL[Arriving with Blake] This is the one I've just fished out of the evacuation tunnel, sir.

GAMBRILLWell, you said this base was full of psychotics, you wait till you hear this one.

BELLFRIARWhat exactly is that supposed to mean?
BLAKEI told him I teleported here. He didn't believe me.

BELLFRIARWell, Gambrill's like that, I'm afraid. Lacks faith.
BLAKEDefined as the capacity to believe what you know isn't true? Read this. [hands him note]

BELLFRIARWhat is it?
BLAKEThe service history of that ship you've got in the landing bay. I sent you a warning about it earlier.

BELLFRIARWhere did this come from?
BLAKECentral Registry.

BELLFRIARSeven hundred years old?

BELLFRIARAnd just who are you?
BLAKEWell, according to the Federation, I'm a political criminal. You may have heard of me. My name is Blake.

BELLFRIARYes, but then we're absentminded scientists, you see. In fact, we've forgotten your name already. Haven't we, Gambrill?
GAMBRILLWhose name, sir?
INTERCOMDr. Bellfriar, they're now bring out the body.
GAMBRILLI'll get down there now. [exits - monitor screen shows recovery team carrying bodybag]

BELLFRIARThat body doesn't look seven hundred years old. What made you think there was hostile life in that ship?
BLAKEOne of my crew comes from Auron.

BELLFRIARA telepath?
BLAKEYes, she sensed something malignant out there. Not necessarily human. I think you'd better be very very careful, Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIARWe're always very very careful.

[Tynus, Avon and Vila wearing protective goggles enter the A-line room and look around. Avon deliberately knocks something off the front desk and gets down on floor to recover it, covertly inspecting circuitry. The technician stands up to see him]

TYNUSLacomb, message! [technician sits down, Avon returns object to desk and they leave room]

[Back in Tynus's room]

TYNUSHow do you feel?
TYNUSDo you think you can handle that?
AVONMaybe. It's a new model, since my time.
TYNUSNo, it's just the way the converter's packaged. The circuitry's the same.
AVONI shall need more than ten minutes.
TYNUSThat's all the time you've got, Avon, and I can't even guarantee that.
AVON[Grabs Tynus by the shoulder] Tynus, you will give us all the time we need.

[Mortuary - body laid out on slab, pathologist is preparing to start autopsy. Gambrill enters viewing gallery and switches on monitor screen. Two technicians join him]

GAMBRILLThere's nothing to see yet. [Technicians sit down, pathologist continues preparations]

[Laboratory - Bellfriar and Blake are watching screen]

BELLFRIAROh come on Wiler! He's a good man this, but he's slow, like all pathologists.
BLAKEWhat's happened?

BELLFRIARWell, it's standard drill with a space death. The autopsy's carried out in a sealed mortuary in case there are any alien micro-organisms around. Are you all set, Dr. Wiler?
WILERI'll tell you when I'm ready, sir.

BELLFRIARThank you, Dr. Wiler. [to Blake] Do you want to watch this?

BELLFRIARSo you really do teleport, do you?
BLAKEOver short distances, yes.

BELLFRIARWell of course, the theory's as old as physics, but I didn't know it had been cracked yet.
BLAKELiberator's a very advanced ship. Of course, you have to know the surface conditions, otherwise teleporting's a bit like a jump in the dark. You're quite liable to surface in a fission reactor.

BELLFRIARNot a mistake you could learn by, really.
WILERAll ready, Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIARThank you Dr. Wiler, go ahead.

[Mortuary - Wiler starts examination]

WILERSecond Pathologist Wiler, Q Base. Autopsy report coded one four niner niner zero six. The clinical presentation is of a well-nourished male Caucasian, aged between oh, thirty-five and forty-five. There are no surface wounds or lesions that would indicate death by violence. I am now examining the clothing on the torso and upper section of the body. It's extremely old, it disintegrates when touched. Ah, there is a neck chain with a metal disc, which I now examine. The disc is embossed with a number, six figures, possibly a service number. And a name: Wardin. W-A-R-D-I-N.


BELLFRIARAre you ... are you quite sure about that, Dr. Wiler?
WILER[over intercom] It's slightly corroded sir, but it's perfectly clear.
BLAKEKemp, Wardin, Tober, missing in the constellation of 61 Cygnii, seven hundred years ago.
WILERMay I continue?



WILERThere is an old surgical scar extending from behind the left ear in the region of the supra mastoid crest, up over the cranium. [on screen in viewing gallery] The eyeballs are soft and the tissue of the upper extremities is also soft, and there is extensive maceration of the skin over the neck.


BELLFRIARThat's a degree of biolysis you get after one or two weeks, not after hundreds of years.


WILERI now raise the left arm of the cadaver to examine the hand, the fingers are dehydrated and mummified and the nails are loose.


BLAKESuppose the body's been frozen.

BELLFRIARWhat, cryogenically stored?

BELLFRIARWho on earth'd want to do a thing like that?
BLAKEI've no idea, but it's a possible explanation, isn't it?


WILERBefore proceeding to examine the internal organs, I now, in accordance with the law. check the EEG reading to verify that life is extinct. Which it is.

[Seen from viewing gallery]

WILERI shall now mark the tissue and blood samples for laboratory analysis.
GAMBRILLMy God! Look! [EEG screen blips wildly]


BELLFRIARWiler! You've got brain life.


WILERThat's quite impossible Dr. Bellfriar, may I suggest that you adjust your monitor. [noise of something falling over corpse grabs him by the throat, Gambrill kicks door in, technicians drag corpse away. Gambrill runs to outside intercom]
GAMBRILLDr. Bellfriar! Dr. Wiler's neck's broken.


BELLFRIARI'm coming down.
BLAKEDr. Bellfriar! Look at the screen.

BLAKEThe EEG screen. [it shows a flat line, cut to corpse lying on floor]

[Tynus's room. Avon is doing calculations at desk.]

VILAGive us a smile. [tapping on insect cage] show us a leg. I wonder if these make good pets.
AVONYou're a fool.
VILANerves getting a little frayed?
AVONThere are a quarter of a million volts running through that converter. I make one false move, I'll be so crisped up what's left of me won't fit into a sandwich.
VILAI'm a vegetarian. Thanks for the offer, though. What did Cally say about Blake being here?
AVONSomething to do with that derelict spacecraft. As long as he doesn't mess up our job, I don't care what he does.
VILAYou don't have a lot of time for Blake, do you?
AVONI could never stand heroes.
VILAA quarter of a million volts and you're putting your hand in?
AVONAh, but that is self-interest. We need that crystal. Blake takes risks to help other people. Sometimes people he doesn't even know. One day that great big bleeding heart of his will get us all killed.
VILAUnless somebody ditches him first.


BELLFRIARPoor devil! His cervical vertebrae had been crushed as if they'd been in a vice. No ordinary human being could exert that sort of pressure.
BLAKEIt wasn't an ordinary human being.

BELLFRIARIt was the body of one.
BLAKEI think it had been adapted.

BLAKEWell, when Cally detected life on that ship, at first she thought it was human, then she changed her mind and thought it was alien. I think she was picking up emmanations from a cybernetic implant.

BELLFRIARVirology's my field, I'm afraid. I'm not following you.
BLAKEWiler noticed a surgical scar on the head, didn't he? Now suppose some control device had been linked into the nervous system, that would explain the electrical activity in the brain.

BELLFRIARYes, but it stopped and went dead, didn't it?
BLAKEWell, perhaps its task had been done, the job it was programmed for.

BELLFRIARKilling Wyler? It doesn't make sense, why kill him?
BLAKEThat, I wish I knew.

BELLFRIAROh well, I suppose now we've got have an autopsy on Wyler, as if we hadn't got enough to do. And what about the postmortem on Wardin?
GAMBRILL[entering] I'm afraid we've got more trouble sir.

BELLFRIARWhat is it?
GAMBRILLThe two technicians who went in to rescue Wiler, they've been taken ill.

BELLFRIARThey have? What's the matter with them?
GAMBRILLThey just started to act strangely, vague, wandering about, then they went into convulsions. They're in the sick bay now.

BELLFRIARThat could be a space contamination, you'd better get me the sick bay at once.
GAMBRILL[into intercom] Biolab, get me Dr. Bax.
BAX[on intercom] Yes Doctor?

BELLFRIARDr. Bax, those two boys you've just admitted, I want them isolated.
BAX[on monitor screen] Too late, I'm afraid.

BAXThey died within minutes of admission. Poisoned, I'd say.

BAXThere's nothing else that fast. We've taken swabs, I'm running tests now. I'll let you have the results as soon as we get them.
GAMBRILLTwelve to fifteen minutes.

BELLFRIARWell, if it's a poison, it must be diapedesistic, something they got on their skins when they were bailing Wiler out.

BLAKEWhat about the four who went into the spaceship?

BELLFRIARThey're all right, I checked.
BAX[re-appearing on monitor] Dr. Bellfriar.

BAXThree of my men are showing signs of infection.

BELLFRIARGood God! Well that knocks your poison theory on the head, doesn't it?
BAXMaybe. I'm putting this whole sick bay into isolation as of now.

BELLFRIARDo you want any help Dr. Bax?
BAXIt's a medical problem. I think we can handle it.

BELLFRIARVery well. If there's anything you want, let me know.
GAMBRILLI'll check in gnotobiotics, there might be more cases.

BELLFRIARGambrill, I want this whole section sealed off from the rest of the base. Absolute isolation from now on, prophylaxis of contacts, sterilization screens in every department.
GAMBRILLRight sir. [exits]

BELLFRIARWell, now might be a good time for you to leave.
BLAKENo, I'm getting curious. [Bellfriar contacts Tynus on monitor]
TYNUSYes, Doctor?

BELLFRIARCommander Tynus, we have an infection alert. It's nothing to worry about, but the landing zone is quarantined until further notice.

[Tynus's office]

TYNUSWhat's happened?

BELLFRIARWe've had a few casualties. There seems to be a link with that spaceship we landed. That's all I know at the moment, we're working on it.
TYNUSI understand. Good luck. [to Avon] That could help us.
TYNUSOnly our section to handle the fire. Bellfriar's team's out of action.
VILAYou sure there's going to be a fire?
TYNUSThe thermal pack I planted should be going off any minute now. [cut to series of explosions in corridors - Vila and Avon put on capes and goggles] It's up to you now.

[Scenes of firefighting]

AVONCome on. [they run down corridor and enter A-line room] Watch the door.
VILAWhy are we stringing along with Tynus? Look, we've come this far. Forget about setting up the malfunction. Grab the crystal and let's get back to the Liberator.
AVONUse your head. If we take the crystal now, how long do you think it will take the Federation to figure out who's got it? Five seconds? They will merely issue a new pulse code and we'll be back where we started. Now get back to the door.

[More scenes of firefighting - a guard collapses from smoke inhalation]

VILANearly ten minutes Avon, get a move on.
AVONAll right, I think I've done it.
VILAHurry up.


BELLFRIAREmbalming fluid, as near as dammit.
BLAKEMm? What?

BELLFRIARThe blood sample Wiler took, these are the lab results coming through.
GAMBRILL[Entering laboratory] We've got eight cases in gnotobiotics and several more in the main lab.

BELLFRIARWell, have you traced the contacts?
GAMBRILLThat's the point sir, there doesn't seem to have been any.

BELLFRIARBut there must have been, somebody's lying.
GAMBRILLI don't think so sir.

BELLFRIARWell then, it must have spread from the sick bay. [presses keys] Dr. Bax... oh, come on man. [Bax appears on screen, he is dead, covered with blisters]

BELLFRIARNothing we know could do that.
BLAKEHow's it spreading, through the air?
GAMBRILLNot necessarily.
BLAKEIt must be airborne. That would explain why the four that went into the spaceship were not infected, they had their own air systems.

BELLFRIARWell, if it's a virus, its biotic potential must be incredible. I mean, to kill its host as quickly as that, it must multiply a thousand times faster than anything we know.
GAMBRILLIt seems to attach the nervous system, destroying the memory.

BELLFRIARThe memory?
BLAKEWhat, just the memory?
GAMBRILLNo, no, that's the first thing; then the motor centre. Then there's a rapid rise in temperature and fulminating blisters all over the body, then the heart packs up.

BELLFRIARAre the viral filters all activated?
GAMBRILLWe should be getting the first test results through any minute now.

BELLFRIARWell, nothing we can do then, is there? Just sit here and sweat it out.
GAMBRILLThat won't be so easy sir. The men are on the edge of panic, you can smell it.

BELLFRIARYes, well we can't move towards an antiserum until we've identified the organism and typed its morphology.
GAMBRILLThere might not be that much time sir.
BLAKEI presume the station is air-conditioned.

BLAKEShut it down. If you stop the air circulating you might at least slow the spread of infection.

BELLFRIARThat's a good idea. [to Gambrill] Well go on man, get a move on.
GAMBRILLRight sir. [exits]

BELLFRIARWell, we're really going to have to sweat it out.

[Tynus's office - he is crumbling up charred material]

TYNUSHave you fixed the converter?
AVONI reckon so.
VILAYou did a good job with that fire.
TYNUSYes, it went better than I planned. It almost got out of control.
VILAWhat's that?
TYNUSAll that's left of the incendiary mechanism, I don't want that found.
VILAIt wouldn't be recognised.
TYNUSMaybe not, but there's no point in taking any chances. [drops pieces on table] Get rid of it. I'd better make my report to Security. Wait in my quarters will you, and I'll bring you back a food package.
AVONMake it a big one. [Vila collects charred remains on a sheet of paper and slides them into bin, then looks at paper, spreads some ash on it and blows it off. He takes it into inner room]
VILAAvon, come here!
AVONWhat's the matter?
VILAThat old friend of yours should go a long way in the service, the further the better. Listen to this. [reading] "Servalan, Federation HQ, Urgent. Liberator in orbit, Fosforon. Detaining ten hours. Make speed. Tynus, Q-Base." [Avon crumples the paper.]


BELLFRIARWell, I've worked in virology for twenty years. I've never come across anything like this before. If it does turn out to be a virus, it's going to make us change all our ideas.
BLAKEDo you want to hear a theory?

BELLFRIARAt the moment, I'd listen to anybody.
BLAKEMy idea that Wardin was adapted. "Why kill Wiler?" you asked, why go to such lengths to kill one man?

BELLFRIARI remember.
BLAKEWiler was killed to release the virus, to make people go into the sealed-off mortuary to help him.

BELLFRIARWhat, do you mean it was a deliberate plan? That's a bit far-fetched isn't it Blake?
BLAKEHave you ever heard of Lord Jeffrey Ashley?

BLAKEMm, pre space age, planet Earth. He was the commander of a British garrison in America, having trouble with hostile natives, redskins. Ashley ordered blankets from smallpox victims to be baled up and sent to the hostile tribes.

BELLFRIARGerm warfare.

BELLFRIARYou mean we've picked up a bale of blankets, do you?
BLAKESeems to make sense.

BELLFRIARSent from where?
BLAKEMay I look at your star chart? [gets it out] Here. Sixty-one Cygnii. You notice the area's not charted. I think there's an alien civilization, highly advanced, deeply distrustful of mankind, avoiding all contact, so that if our ships go too near, they simply vanish. I think K-47 was returned to us, baited with a skilfully preserved human being and loaded with a virus biologically engineered to destroy the human species. It's a trap we fell into with both feet.

BELLFRIARWell you could be right, but the virus is an unreliable weapon.
BLAKEThis one seems effective enough. [bleeper]
GAMBRILL[on intercom] Dr. Bellfriar, Dr. Bellfriar.

BELLFRIARYes Gambrill?
GAMBRILLI can't see us finding a vaccine sir. We've tried everything, but there's no way of processing these results.

BELLFRIARWhat about the online console?
GAMBRILLDead, sir. Probably the fire.
BLAKEYou mean you haven't got a computer here?

BELLFRIARWell, there are several of them on the base but they're not in the quarantine area. I can't get at them.
BLAKEAll right, give the tapes to me. Tell me what you want to know and I'll get the answer for you.

BLAKEOn board the Liberator, I have the most advanced computer ever designed. The way the infection's spreading here, you'll all be dead before you're half way to getting the answer.

BELLFRIARAll right Blake. These data blocks contain lab tests on about five thousand micro-organisms. I need them scanned for known characteristics and the stranger, the paratype organism, picked out.
BLAKEIt shouldn't take Orac too long. Keep your receptor open, I'll set up a communications link.

BLAKEGood luck. Cally, this is Blake, bring me up. [teleports]

[In corridor - men running in panic]

GAMBRILLWhere do you think... where d'you think you're going. Get back to your post. Tak! get back to your post!
TAKI'm getting out while I've got a chance.
GAMBRILLOrders are that nobody leaves this section.
TAKTo hell with orders! I'm not staying here to die.
GAMBRILLListen Cal... [staggers as Tak punches him] [into intercom] Dr. Bellfriar, Gambrill here. I'm in the observation room area. There's total panic down here. It's not just the technicians, the medics as well, they're all getting out, breaking quarantine.

BELLFRIARDamn fools! They'll spread the infection right through the base.
GAMBRILLI tried to stop them. They're mad with fear, they wouldn't listen.

BELLFRIARTell the guards on the main entrance, nobody leaves. They can shoot if necessary.
GAMBRILLGod! [staggers about] God! Tell the guards... [collapses and dies]

[Tynus's room]

VILAI wonder what plans he has for you?
VILATynus. He hopes to get a medal for catching us, but he won't want you picked up, not with what you've got on him. I think you're going to have an accident, Avon.
AVONWe shall see who has the accident.
VILAA man who sketches insects must have an eye for detail. He's probably worked out an ingenious solution.
TYNUS[Entering with food packages] I've got one for each of you. Hydrolyzed protein.
TYNUSI've got to put it in the oven first.
AVONDon't bother.
VILALost our appetites suddenly.
AVONIt's all this hanging about. When do we get the crystal Tynus.
TYNUSAs soon as the fault in the A-line shows up, then I can send to Security for a replacement crystal, but it all takes time. Relax, [bleeper sounds] you've nothing to worry about. [goes into outer office]
VILAAnd if you believe that, you'll believe anything.
TYNUS[In office, speaking into intercom] Plague?! [Vila and Avon open door and listen]
VOICEYes sir, it seems so. The men are falling like flies. The rest are cutting out, getting off the base. It's reached the security section, they're dying.
TYNUS[Into monitor] Bellfriar, we've an epidemic here. What're you doing about it?

BELLFRIAR[Over intercom] There's nothing I can do. It's a new virus, we've got no defence against it.
TYNUSThat's ridiculous, you're the medical section. My men are dying, you must do something.

BELLFRIARAll I can advise you is to turn off your air pumps and order your people to stay at their posts. The less they move around, the better their chances.
TYNUSBut I thought you were supposed to be the greatest living authority on viruses, Bellfriar.

BELLFRIARApparently not.
TYNUSI'm going to see that the Federation Medical Council hears of this.

BELLFRIARI don't think that's going to matter to me, Tynus, or to any of us. [Tynus goes out into corridor]

VILA[In inner room] That does it! Let's go!
AVONNot so fast. We came for that crystal.
VILAForget the crystal, they're dying like flies out there. Didn't you hear?
AVONSo there will be a lot of panic and confusion. Tynus will have his hands full. If we destroy the converter, destroy it completely, it will look like a result of the fire. When they come to rebuild it, they will not suspect that we have taken the crystal.
VILAWell, you may be right.
AVONLet's go. [exit]


BLAKE[Over intercom] I've got that result for you.

BLAKEAccording to our scan, the paratype organism is number nine-two-six in your batch of samples.

BELLFRIARNow we're getting somewhere. Nine-two-six. [goes to microscope]


BLAKEDr. Bellfriar, anything else I can do to help?
JENNAObviously not.
BLAKEI hope we got that through to him in time.

[A-line room]

AVONKeep an eye on the corridor.
INTERCOMAttention! All personnel are instructed to remain at their posts. The situation is under control.
VILAUnder control? You know this could be another Casarus.
VILAYou remember the Casarus swamp fever, killed millions.
AVONWell there aren't millions here, so don't worry about it.
VILAWell I'm here, and I do worry about it. I don't like bugs. You can't hear them, you can't see them and you can't feel them, then suddenly you're dead.
AVONWe'll be out of here in a few minutes. Get back to the corridor. [exit Vila]

[Tynus enters his office, looks around for Vila and Avon and takes a gun from under desk]

BELLFRIAR[In laboratory] Beautiful! And so simple.

[Doorway of A-line room]

AVONDetonator. [takes it from Vila and goes inside]

[Tak crawls by. Vila is hit on head by Tynus]

TYNUSI thought I'd find you here.
AVONI got tired of waiting.
TYNUSRaise your hands. Carefully. [Avon does so.] Come round here. [Vila groans.]
AVONSo you're going to kill me?
TYNUSIt's nothing personal.
AVON[Smiles] I shall try not to hold it against you.
TYNUSYou know too much about me.
AVONI should have turned you in when I had the chance. [Vila groans again and comes in the door. Tynus starts to turn, Avon jumps him. They struggle. Vila draws his gun but wavers. Avon slugs Tynus, who falls on the machinery and is electrocuted.]
AVONThanks for your help.
VILANever come between friends, that's my motto.
AVONAll right Cally, get us out of here fast! [They teleport. There is an explosion]


BLAKEWell done.
AVONI can't say that it was a pleasure. Now are we going to stand here and look at it, or are we going to move?
VILATynus tried to trap us. He sent a message to Servalan.
AVONThere'll be a Federation fleet here at any time.


CALLYThere's a transmission from Fosforon.
BLAKEJenna. [she throws switches] Go ahead.

BELLFRIAR[In laboratory] Blake, I think I've found the answer. Too late, I'm afraid, for anybody here, but it's absolutely vital that you record the following information.
BLAKE[On Liberator] Jenna. [she switches on recorder] you are being recorded doctor, go ahead.


BELLFRIAREveryone who's been into deep space has had the Terran ague, or the three-day sweats as it's commonly known as. It's a sort of a mild infection, it slightly alters the body's nucleic structure, it seems to be a metabolic reaction to space travel. Well this new virus, Paratype 926, attacks those altered cells and acts as a catalyst, they burst and, well the effects are literally a series of explosions that race through the body's neural cell structure. The virus is easily cultured in human tissue or in nucleic acid solution. Now, here is the formula for the antiserum...
BLAKE[On Liberator] Dr. Bellfriar, are you saying that this virus is only effective against human beings who've been in deep space?

BELLFRIAR[In Laboratory] Precisely. It fits your theory. But I don't think that the virus was designed to destroy man, merely to confine him to his own planet. Now here is the formula.
BLAKEGo ahead.

BELLFRIARH-N, H-N-O ... oh, My God!
BLAKEDr. Bellfriar! Dr. Bellfriar!!

BELLFRIARI've forgotten how to read. [looks at his hands, covered in blisters. He groans and covers his face]
BLAKE[On Liberator] Transmission ends.
VILAFosforon ends.
CALLYIt's no joke Vila.
BLAKECally, Jenna, get the ship moving. I'm going to put out a plague warning.
AVONAre you crazy?
BLAKEI've got to warn all traffic to stay away from Fosforon until that virus burns itself out.
AVONListen, Blake, Servalan is on her way here. She lands on Fosforon, she gets the plague, she's off our backs for good. You cannot put out a warning.
BLAKESuppose some of them don't die. Suppose some of them get off in a ship. That plague goes out to all the galaxies, millions will die because of it. THAT is the one responsibility that I will not take. Zen, I want to put a plague warning transmitter into orbit round Fosforon, then set a course for the constellation Sauros, speed standard by ten.
ZENConfirmed. [Liberator turns]
BLAKEThere has to be a warning Jenna. There has to be. [Liberator gets under way]

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