Script for Stardrive

by Jim Follett

(c) 1981 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 Schnitger, Micky DuPree and David Skerrett.

Dramatis Personae

Kerr Avon
Vila Restal
Del Tarrant
Dayna Mellanby
Dr. Plaxton

[Scorpio flight deck]
TARRANTI have it.
AVONSector eight?
TARRANTSector eight.
SOOLINThat's the asteroid?
AVONThat asteroid is our passport into the Altern system and [shot of irregular, rotating asteroid] out again when we've finished, right under the noses of the Federation.
TARRANTConverging velocity, Standard by One.
DAYNAAvon, what's the mass of that asteroid?
AVONAbout two billion tons, I would say.
TARRANTRange one hundred thousand and closing.
DAYNAWell, then I say the whole scheme's crazy.
VILATwo billion? Training manual rule one: Never play with asteroids. They're what Murphy's Law's all about.
DAYNAMurphy's Law?
SOOLINAnything that can go wrong will go wrong.
AVONThe crews of any Federation patrols will have been taught the same lesson.
TARRANTRange ninety thousand.
SLAVEI, uh, don't wish to speak out of turn but we're on a converging collision course with a large--
AVONWe know.
SLAVEI'm sorry, Master, but as asteroids go--
AVONDon't be sorry, be quiet. [crosses from near Slave to join the others.] If we want to keep this heap of ironmongery operational, we have to visit Altern Five in order to recover selsium ore to make fuel crystals. Hitching a ride into the Altern system on that asteroid is the only way we're going to get past any Federation patrols and within teleport distance of Altern Five. Now if anyone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it.
VILAI wish I'd kept my mouth shut.
TARRANTRange sixty thousand.
SLAVEThirty seconds thrust at maximum power, vectored at three seven zero will match our course and velocity through the Altern system with the asteroid.
TARRANTThrust vector six. Stand by and override monitor.
AVONStanding by.
SOOLINJust how close are you planning to get to that thing, Avon?
AVONFifty yards.
VILAFifty yards!? [Gets up from his station and approaches Avon] Oh, come on, Avon--
AVONNear enough to be in its radar shadow without the risk of being damaged by its spin. Slave, we shall need the precision guidance subsystems on-line for the final approach.
SLAVEYes, Master. Precision guidance on-line and stand by. Main drive thrust condition green for activation on your command.
VILADo we have to go that near? That spin won't just damage us if we overshoot, it'll tear the ship apart.
TARRANT[Joins them] Vila's right. We need a safer stand-off distance --
AVONThe closer we get, the less risk there is of our being detected by a Federation patrol.
SOOLINFive thousand.
DAYNA[Stands up] There won't be anything left of us to detect unless we match velocity and course now.
AVONSit down! Thirty seconds. [Dayna sits down.]
TARRANTWe can't risk leaving it that long. Maximum thrust will wreck the main drive.
VILAHe's right!
AVONWe can't risk a patrol detecting plasma radiation from sustained thrust. There are times when even the most cynical must trust in luck. [They approach the asteroid.] Now! [Tarrant engages main drive. Something blows.]
TARRANTPrecision guidance lost.
AVONSlave, initiate the backup system.
SLAVEI'm very sorry about this, but that WAS the backup system. [They graze the asteroid, sustaining damage, and pandemonium ensues. The next three sets of line are delivered nearly simultaneously.]
VILAIt's coming apart, Avon, I told you--
DAYNA[unintelligible] ... explosion ... [unintelligible]
TARRANTThe flight level redundancy programs are blown, there's nothing left.
AVON[Thumps the deck with his fist, picks himself up] Slave! Damage report!
SLAVEMain drive lost.
AVONWe know that. What about the outer hull?
VILA[Comes up to Avon] Look, Avon, I know I suggested it, but I told you it wouldn't work, not under these conditions --
AVON[Waves him off] Be quiet. [Vila moves away.]
SLAVENo external or internal sensors are functioning in the main drive plasma chamber or the main thrust tube, therefore damage to the ship's stern must be considerable. I'm sorry, Master.
AVONCheck the dark side.
TARRANTChances are we've wrecked the main drive's focusing core.
AVONWe carry a spare.
TARRANTWhat use will that be? The main drive chamber can't be pressurized. How do you carry out a delicate repair operation wearing a spacesuit and gauntlets?
VILAI don't.
DAYNANobody does. It's impossible. It's like using an asteroid as cover to enter the Altern planetary system. Maybe next time you'll listen to reason, if there IS a next time, which seems unlikely.
AVONSlave! What is our life support capability?
SLAVEOne hundred and fifty-five hours, Master.
SOOLINOh! By the time the oxygen runs out, we'll be bored as well as dead.
VILALook, Tarrant, I told him it wouldn't--
AVONBe quiet! Let us check ALL the systems. I would prefer to be sure that dying is the best option we have.

[Shot of Scorpio in space, unmoving.]

[Scorpio flight deck. Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin are moving about, checking the controls. Avon is standing lost in thought.]

VILA[enters] Hello there! Anyone for a party? I'm afraid you'll have to bring your own booze 'cause I've already drunk my own. Anyone got any booze? Huh? [stumbles slightly as he crosses to the station next to Soolin] And how about my cold, calculating Soolin? I'd like to see you unbend [Soolin moves to a different station] just a little before we're all ... all ...
DAYNASometimes, Vila, you can be quite disgusting.
VILANot so, my lovely. I can be disgusting all the time. It's easy. Easy as colliding with an asteroid, eh, Avon? [Avon's head comes up.] You know, they say all your life passes in front of you when you're about to, about to... y'know. It's what's happening to me now. All my past life....
AVONThat's one misfortune we don't have to share.
VILAFourteen I was when I was first sent to a penal colony. Ship was hit in the main drive by a meteoroid, bang! Y'know what they did to repair it? [Avon and Tarrant begin to look at Vila. As he continues they move in, listening to him.] Activated the force wall and generated an atmosphere inside the force wall so the repair team could work in a vacuum without spacesuits, 'cause it wasn't a vacuum any more if you see what I mean. Very clever, those old prison hulk skippers.
AVONSlave, activate force wall. Pressurize it with our air reserve.
SLAVEThat would be most inadvisable, Master. I'm terribly sorry but our force wall generator is in a poor condition.
TARRANTSlave's right. We'd lose the lot.
AVONIt's a great pity we didn't bring Orac.
SLAVEBut I could manage a small force wall, a blister force wall, around the damaged part of the hull.
AVONThen do it!
TARRANTLet's go. [Avon and Tarrant exit.]
VILA[claps] Hurray!
SOOLINOut of the mouths of drunks ...
VILA[all "drunk mannerisms" vanishing instantly] Drunk? Who's drunk?
DAYNAYou are.
VILAShow me how to get drunk on plain water and I won't waste time.
DAYNAWell, then why pretend?
VILABecause, my lovely Dayna and Soolin, no one ever tells someone who's drunk to volunteer. [Dayna and Soolin laugh.] I don't like to work in main drive chambers, especially main drive chambers that are separated from space by one of Slave's force walls.

[Main drive chamber. A jagged hole ripped in the hull leaves it open to space. The door opens, Avon looks at Tarrant then Tarrant gestures for Avon to go first.]

TARRANT[into communicator?] We're in the main drive chamber. It's gonna take about an hour.
SOOLIN[v.o.] Right. We'll stand watch.
TARRANTSee if you can sober up Vila.
SOOLIN[v.o.] We'll try.
TARRANTIt's weird. [Avon and Tarrant look out through the hole in the hull.] Like being in space without a spacesuit. [They don safety glasses. Avon points a large device at the hull. The gash is gradually filled in until the hull looks normal.]
AVONRegeneration will take about twenty minutes, while we deal with the coil.

[Space. Shot of three ships in formation.]

[Scorpio flight deck]

SLAVEI'm very sorry to disturb you, but I think I've detected a patrol. [Soolin puts view of the ship on the forward screen.]
VILAIf they detect us, I have this feeling that the last thing they'll do is surrender.

[Main drive chamber]

SOOLIN[v.o.] Avon, Tarrant! We got company. Three ships, possibly interceptors, range two hundred thousand and closing fast.
AVONHave they detected us?

[Scorpio flight deck]

DAYNAIt doesn't look like it, they're not on an interception course.
AVON[v.o.] What class are they?
SOOLINThat's just it, none of us are sure.
VILABut they're maintaining a standard Federation patrol pattern.

[Main drive chamber]

AVONWe can't leave what we're doing.

[Scorpio flight deck]

AVON[v.o.] Make a recording of them. We'll look at it later.
DAYNARight. Hologram recorder rolling. Slave, keep the recorder sensors zeroed on those ships. [The three ships explode, one by one in quick succession, shaking the Scorpio.]

[Main drive chamber]

AVONSoolin, Dayna what's happening?
SOOLIN[v.o.] The three ships just exploded. [Avon starts rushing to complete the repair.]
TARRANTThey what?
DAYNA[v.o.] I know it sounds crazy but they just blew up by themselves.
AVONWell, it should get us back to base, anyway.
TARRANTSounds good to me. [They exit]

[Scorpio lands at Xenon base]

[Scorpio flight deck. Orac is now present. They watch a replay of the explosion.]

AVONWell, Orac, what do you think?
ORACI think you have brought back a most fascinating recording.
AVONWe are looking for conclusions, not critical acclaim.
ORACTwo conclusions. First, the Federation have reestablished their shipbuilding program ahead of my prediction. Second, the early design of the main drives indicates that they have lost their top designer.
TARRANTOrac, we'd worked that out already. What we want to know is how three ships can suddenly blow up by themselves.
ORACIf that had happened I would want an answer to the same question.
AVONSo what you're trying to tell us, Orac, is that those ships did NOT blow up by themselves.
ORACI am not TRYING to tell you anything. I am simply not interested in attempting to compensate for your amazing lack of observation.
AVON[grimaces slightly] All right, Dayna, play the recording again. This time at half speed. [They watch the explosions again, more slowly.]
VILASo what's that supposed to tell us?
AVONThat recording told Orac something. If we want to know what it is, we have to check every frame.
DAYNA[Disbelieving laugh] What, at ten thousand frames per second? It'll take us hours.
SOOLINSo let's at least patch through a link to the crewroom.
DAYNAAnd do it in comfort.
AVONA waste of time and effort. We will do it here, and we will do it now.
VILAAll of us?
AVONWe'll take it in shifts. You may as well start, [pause] Dayna.
DAYNAThanks a lot.

[Scorpio flight deck. Shot of Dayna, alone, watching screen.]

[Scorpio flight deck. Shot of Soolin, alone, watching screen. She straightens suddenly and adjusts the controls.]

SOOLIN[into communicator] Avon, I've found something.

[Scorpio flight deck. The others have joined Soolin.]

SOOLINLook, there, at the bottom of the screen. [Several frames showing a crossing space chopper.]
AVONFrom it's movement across the frames it's possible to calculate its velocity.
TARRANTAbout Standard by twelve at a guess.
VILAIn real time? That's not possible.
ORACStandard by twelve decimal six, to be precise.
DAYNAWell, as Vila says, nothing can travel at that speed in real time. It is impossible.
ORACNothing COULD and it WAS impossible. It is necessary for your statement to be rephrased, using the past tense.
SOOLINSo whatever it is, it fired three bolts at those ships before it passed in front of our sensors.
VILAAnd at Standard by twelve, they never knew what hit them.
SOOLINJust as well it left us alone. So what is it?
TARRANTSingle-seater space chopper. They were a teenagers' craze two centuries back, until the Federation outlawed them.
DAYNA[snorts] Not surprising if they could do Standard by twelve.
AVONThey couldn't. Which means that that one has been fitted with a new form of main drive unit.
ORACWhich also means that the photonic space drive has been finally perfected by Dr. Plaxton.
TARRANTBut Orac, Dr. Plaxton was head of the Federation Space Drive Research Center.
ORACAt the time of the Federation's collapse, the doctor was developing a new space drive system that used light to exert thrust instead of plasma: the photonic drive or the Stardrive machine, as it's known.
AVONWas the prototype small enough to be fitted into a space chopper?
VILAHey, just think. If we can get hold of one of those drives and swap it for the clapped out unit on our ship--
AVONThat will be our immediate objective. Where is Dr. Plaxton now?
ORACPresumably with the owners of that space chopper. It's all a matter of observation.
AVONBring that thing into close-up. [Shots of the space chopper, getting larger and larger.] Closer. Concentrate on the pilot. I want a close-up of his helmet. [Shot of helmet revealing red silhouette of a rat.]
VILAIt's a Space Rat!
SOOLINFriends of yours?
VILAFriends? Space Rats? There's no such thing as a friend of a Space Rat -- they even hate each other.
TARRANTWhat else do you know about them?
VILAThey're maniacs, psychopaths! All they live for is sex and violence, booze and speed. And the fellows are just as bad. We had a couple in the penal colony once. They were always trying to frighten me.
DAYNA[Laughing] And they never succeeded, of course. What were they imprisoned for?
VILABreaking into transport museums. When the Federation banned all leisure transport, they went in for stealing anything on wheels or could fly. They were speed crazy, and I do mean crazy.
AVONSpeed is the key. Find the Space Rats and we find Dr. Plaxton. That's exactly what we're going to do.
VILANow look, I've tangled with just about every ugly in the book since I got involved with you lot, but I draw the line at Space Rats.
VILAWell, they have no respect for life. They're based on an ancient Earth sect of unbelievable viciousness.
AVONOrac, where can we find these Space Rats?
ORACTheir last known base was Caspar, an Earth-type planet in Sector Five.
AVONSector Five?
SOOLINWe'll never make it with the state the ship's in.
DAYNAWhat are our chances, Orac?
ORACOne hundred percent better than your chances of getting anywhere else if you don't obtain a new space drive for the ship within three months.
DAYNAThank you, Orac, that's a great help.
TARRANTIt'll take time to get the ship ready.
AVONBetter get on with it then.
SOOLINI'll get the lights on for a start.
VILACan't we think about this?
AVONAs much as you like, once we're underway. Slave, set a course for Caspar in sector five.

[Shot of reddish planet, seen from space.]

[Scorpio flight deck]

TARRANTSynchronous orbit around Caspar established and locked.
VILASupposing they come at us with one of their space chopper?
AVONThere's no point in worrying about that.
VILANo? After what happened to those Federation ships?
AVONBecause we won't know anything about it. Try again, Soolin.
SOOLIN[into communicator] Caspar, Caspar, this is civilian freighter Scorpio calling Caspar. We are not hostile, repeat, not hostile. We wish to negotiate an alliance against the Federation. Caspar, Caspar, this is Scorpio. Do you copy?
VILAYou're wasting your time. They won't have radio. The only technology they're interested in is on wheels or flies or goes bang. You know what they're up to right now?
VILARight now they're trying to make up their minds which piece of nastiness they're going to send up to zap us with.
DAYNAOh, surely they won't risk an attack without finding out first what it is they are going to attack.
VILAOh, that's the logical way of thinking. But those psychopaths down there are Space Rats. Their philosophy is simple: if it moves, zap it.
AVONAs you know so much about their philosophy, you would seem to be the ideal person to teleport down to talk to them.
VILAMe? But I've just told you what they're like.
TARRANTGet permission for us to land Scorpio.
AVONDayna will go down with you, just to keep an eye on you.
DAYNA[Nods] Yes, all right.
VILAYou don't seriously expect us to talk to them?
AVONJust check the place out. Make sure we're right.
TARRANTScorpio's in no condition to make unnecessary landings, Vila. [lifts Vila out of his seat.]
AVONSoolin, set teleport coordinates.
VILA[He and Dayna don guns.] And set them properly. Not in the middle of a lake or something.
SOOLINThe state the final guidance is in you'll be lucky not to end up in space on a reciprocal coordinate.

[Sand pit on Caspar]

DAYNA[materializes alone and looks about] Vila? Vila!
VILA[calling from rocks higher in the pit.] Dayna, I'm stuck! [Tries vainly to pull his arm from where it is wedged in a crack.] Oh. Oh. [Dayna climbs up to join him.] I'm stuck.
DAYNASo am I, Vila. With you. [Pulls him free.]
VILAOh, my back, my back. Oh--
DAYNAShut up! Be quiet! [Sound of engines approaching] What is it?
VILAHow should I know? [Two Space Rats approach on three-wheeled ATV's.]
DAYNAWhat are they?
VILATHEY are the Space Rats.
DAYNAWhat are they riding?
VILAOh, I dunno. If it moves on wheels, they steal it, and if it doesn't move on wheels, they zap it. They don't like complications. [The Space Rats stop the ATV's and get off. They look around for a while, using binoculars, then remount the ATV's. Vila draws his gun and fumbles it, repeatedly trying to catch it, but the gun finally slips from his grasps and falls down the hillside. Its clatter is covered as the Space Rats restart their ATV's and drive off. Dayna and Vila climb down and Vila recovers his gun.]
VILASeems like luck is on our side today.
DAYNAThink so? [indicates security camera pointed in their direction.]

[Lounge in Space Rat quarters. Some of the Space Rats are watching Dayna and Vila on a large view screen.]

VILA[on screen] That's one of the most ancient closed circuit television cameras I've ever seen. Chances are, it hasn't been working for years.

[Scorpio flight deck]

TARRANTDescent from orbit begins in forty-five seconds and counting.
SOOLINYou never intended to wait for Vila and Dayna to report back, did you? You're just using them.
AVONVila and Dayna are useful diversions.
SOOLINIF they get caught.
TARRANTWhich is fairly likely.
SOOLINI wouldn't count too heavily on that. Dayna's sharp and she handles a gun quite well, considering her sheltered upbringing.
TARRANTTune the detectors to the radio spectrum and you'll discover about fifty radiation sources dotted around that area, caused by leakages from badly maintained TV surveillance cameras.
AVONThat is in addition to the radiation from the cliff face itself, which is at a level you would expect from a high energy research laboratory OR a test chamber for a new space drive.
SOOLINSo. You've let Dayna and Vila walk into a trap.
AVON[flatly] We need the space drive.

[Research lab. Two Space Rats are lolling off to the side.]

PLAXTONParticle driver control?
NAPIERParticle driver right.
PLAXTONWell you'd better double check. I'm going to take the drive up to twenty-five percent today.
NAPIERIn here, Doctor?
PLAXTONDon't argue with me, Napier.
NAPIER[fiddles with controls for a few seconds] Particle driver satisfactory, Doctor.
PLAXTONUh-huh. Place the photon shield in position. [The two Space Rats begin to roll an upright panel across the lab.] Stop! How many times do I have to tell you, you wear gloves in here. [holds gloves out to them]
BOMBERNo worry. We're only moving a flagging shield, isn't it?
PLAXTONI don't care. I am not going to have three thousand hours of work put at risk by a couple of freaks who never take a bath.
BOMBER[waves off gloves] Don't need a bath -- sweats regular.
PLAXTON[drops gloves on the table] Out!
BOMBERNow look--
PLAXTONGo on, get out.
NAPIERI'll do it. [to the Rats] You'd better go. [The Rats exit] They'll complain to Atlan.
PLAXTONWhat the hell do I care? How I ever came to be mixed up with a bunch of psychopathic killers--
NAPIER'Twas your decision, Dr. Plaxton, and one you were happy enough to make at the time, as I recall.
PLAXTONIt was three years ago, Napier.
NAPIEREverything's ready for the test. Do you fetch him or shall I?
PLAXTONI'll go. [exits]

[Sand pit. Dayna and Vila run to some rocks. Dayna looks about with binoculars.]

VILAWe've made a mistake. There's nothing here.
DAYNAThey must hope that everybody thinks as you do, including the Federation.
VILAEh? [Dayna gives him the binoculars. Using them, he spots two doors.] Concealed entrances.
VILAWell, at least we've got the advantage of surprise.

[Rim across the sand pit. A Space Rat is watching them through binoculars. He exits.]

[Space Rat lounge. The Rats are eating lizard-like animals and drinking and cuddling. The viewscreen shows Dayna and Vila.]

PLAXTON[enters] Atlan, I'm ready to begin the test on the Mark Two drive. Now.
ATLANBrigg, watch that. [indicates viewscreen] Bomber. [no reaction] Bomber! [grabs hold of the lizard Bomber was gnawing on.] Two gooks outside. Fetch, but don't bend, I might want to talk with them. [keeps the lizard as Bomber leaves. Notices that Plaxton is still there.] Well? What are you doing hanging around? [Holds the lizard out to her, mockingly] Do you wish to join us? [Plaxton looks revolted and exits. Atlan bites off a mouthful of lizard.]

[Sand pit. Dayna and Vila hurry to the entrances. Dayna open one and they enter. Just after the door closes behind them a Space Rat rides by on an ATV.]

[Underground hangar]

DAYNAVila. This place is like some kind of underground maze.
VILAWe seem to have hit on some sort of a hangar. This is not a good place to be, Dayna.
DAYNA[indicates large object draped with a covering] See what's under there.
DAYNAJust do it! I'll cover for you. And very quickly. We haven't much time. [Vila pulls back the drape and Dayna does the same with another.] This is a spacechopper.
VILASo's this.
DAYNAI think we've seen enough. We'll report back to the ship and then get out of here. [into bracelet] Avon!
AVON[v.o.] Go ahead, Dayna.
DAYNAOrac was right. This is where the new space drives come from. We've found two space choppers and we think the main workshop is in the west cliff. We're now ready for teleport.
AVON[v.o.] Teleport is out of commission.
VILA[grabs her wrist and speaks into her bracelet] What do you mean "out of commission"?!

[Sand pit]

AVONNot working, Vila. Keep your heads down. We'll be in touch. Out. [He moves off. They cross the sand pit, with Avon repeatedly moving ahead, looking about, then waving the others on to join him.]
TARRANT[indicating security camera] There's another one. [They duck behind a rock as the camera pans towards them.] Well, that's useful. Saves having to find a marker for the grenade. [Holds out grenade as Avon adjusts the controls on another device.] Right. It's primed. [Tosses grenade near camera. They wait until the camera isn't pointed in their direction.]
AVONCome on! [moves off]

[Underground hangar]

DAYNAYou've got to find somewhere safe to wait.
VILAWell, perhaps we could hide under here. [Pulls the drape off a Space Chopper, then picks up a small device from its cockpit.] Wonder what this thing does?
BOMBER[pointing gun at them] Tell you what this does -- gook. It goes bang. And you go splat.

[Sand pit. Avon and the others watch as Bomber marches Vila and Dayna over to and into the other entrance.]

AVONWe'll be attacking by the time Vila tells them we're still on the ship.

[Entrance to Space Rat area. Dayna notices the labeled door control, then Bomber shoves her along in.]

[Research lab. There is a loud hum and a glowing column of light is rising from the star drive.]

ATLANMore. More. [pounds on the table] Come on, more!
PLAXTONThere's no point in overloading the Mark Two prototype.
ATLANDoctor Plaxton-- [crosses to her, kicking a chair aside. To Napier] Out of my way, idiot! [to Plaxton] Without my Space Rats scouring a dozen worlds for your raw materials there would be no Mark One or Mark Two.
PLAXTONAnd without my brains you would have no--
ATLAN[grabs a fistful of hair at the nape of her neck] Which I might decide I can now do without. So, let's see what it can do, eh? [Reaches towards the controls. Plaxton blocks his hands. He grabs her around the neck and kisses her violently. He lets her go and leers maniacally at Napier.] Now, more.

[Space Rat lounge. Vila is shoved in, stumbles and falls. Dayna attacks Bomber. They fight, and Dayna gets the worst of it.]

[Sand pit. Avon, Soolin and Tarrant hurry along.]

[Space Rat lounge]

VILAWhat's the noise?
BOMBERNothing to the noise you gooks will soon be making.

[Sand pit. Avon, Tarrant and Soolin are still moving along. They reach door, Tarrant opens it and they all enter.]

[Research lab. The light column is much taller now, and the noise is louder.]

ATLANWhat is it now?
PLAXTONSeventy-five percent. We must close down now. Atlan, the shield's melting. [Atlan nods. Plaxton turns the drive off.]
ATLANWhat was the simulated speed?
ATLANFifteen! Fifteen! TD FIFTEEN in real time! My Space Rats will be knocking out Federation heavy cruisers next.
PLAXTONIf they've any left.
ATLANOh yes, they have, but not for long. How soon can this be fitted to our space choppers?
PLAXTONNapier. [Napier exits.]
PLAXTONWhat's wrong with the Mark One? It gives your space choppers TD twelve.
ATLANNot as good as fifteen. No Space Rat likes to put up with second best.
PLAXTONSpeed and violence. That's all you Space Rats think about.
ATLANAs you well know, I am not a Space Rat. But so long as I give them what they want, they accept me as their leader.
PLAXTONMindless destruction of Federation ships. It's mindless -- you don't have a plan.
ATLANMaybe the Space Rats haven't got a plan, Dr. Plaxton. But WE could have: total control over all the space trade routes.
PLAXTONI want no part of that. All I want to do is to develop my space drive.
ATLANFine! So how soon can this be fitted to our space choppers?
PLAXTONIt can't.
ATLANWhy not?
PLAXTONBecause this is the only one.
ATLANSo build more! [pounds table] We've provided you with enough raw material to build five hundred!
PLAXTONI am a scientist, not a production engineer. And the other reason why this can't be fitted to your space choppers is quite simply it won't fit!
ATLANWhy not?!
PLAXTONBecause the only way to increase the power was to increase the size of the photon generator chambers. This drive was intended to be installed in a real spacecraft, not in toys driven by a bunch of murderous psychopaths.
ATLANOur agreement--
PLAXTONOUR agreement was that you provide me with the resources to continue with my work. Well, that's exactly what I have done.
ATLAN[grabs her, holds a gun to her head] You will start modification work on the Space Drive NOW, Dr. Plaxton. If you refuse, I will tell the Space Rats that you are depriving them of speed, and I will let them deal with YOU in their own fashion.

[Underground hangar. Avon, Soolin and Tarrant enter and look about.]

AVONIf the readings are anything like accurate, this should be-- [consults handheld scanner] connecting wall. You'd better get on with it. [Tarrant uses a beam-type weapon on the wall.]

[Space Rat lounge]

ATLAN[entering] Hey, Bomber, Johns! We're going to the hills for some hunting. [Sees Dayna and Vila] What's this?
BOMBERThe gooks.
ATLAN[looks them over] Don't look like Federation to me.
DAYNA[struggling in vain] We're not.
ATLANOk, bend them. [Bomber starts to take them away.]
VILAWhat does that mean?
ATLANYou'll find out.

[Underground hangar. Tarrant is still using the weapon.]

TARRANTTalk amongst yourselves. This could take some time.

[Space Rat lounge]

DAYNAWait! [struggling] Wait! Before you kill us, you might let us see Dr. Plaxton.
ATLANStop! [gestures to Bomber to bring them over] You know Dr. Plaxton?
DAYNAOf course we do.
VILAOld friend.
ATLANFrom where, gook?
VILAOh, uh, [Atlan grabs the front of his tunic] way back.
DAYNAWe were students of the doctor once.
ATLANStudying what?
DAYNASpace drives, the photonic drive in particular.
ATLAN[to Vila] You, too, gook? [Vila nods] Clever student? [Vila nods harder] In that case, we had better take you both to see the Doctor.
DAYNAThank you.

[Underground hangar. Tarrant is still beaming the wall.]

[Research lab]

ATLAN[enters] Bomber! [Bomber ushers in Dayna and Tarrant.]
DAYNADr. Plaxton, how marvelous to see you again. [hurries over to her, shakes her hand.] Do you remember us, Dayna and Vila, your best students. [Vila shakes her hand.] We thought we'd never see you again after you left the academy.
PLAXTON[to Atlan] Is this some sort of trick? I've never seen these people before in my life.
DAYNA[laughs] Your memory hasn't improved. Do you remember the time when you, you lost your ground car and reported it to the police as having been stolen? [moves over to the space drive] Oh, and this must be your new photonic--
PLAXTONI don't know you.
DAYNA--space drive. Why it doesn't look anything like as sophisticated as the prototype you were working on at the academy, but that's only to be expected having to work under these conditions.
PLAXTONI, I do not know these people.
ATLANDO not or WILL not?

[Underground hangar. Tarrant is still beaming the wall.]

[Research lab]

ATLAN[to Dayna and Vila] Could you two work on the development of the photonic drive?
DAYNAOf course.
PLAXTONThis is my project.
ATLANNot for much longer it seems.
PLAXTONHow dare you take away my authority on this project, it--
ATLANI will do a lot more than that, Dr. Plaxton, if you prove to be of no further use to me. [Vila draws Dayna's attention to the patch of wall which is starting to glow.]
DAYNAI'm sure we'll be able to help you, Atlan, but first we'd better see if this thing is up to standard. [goes over to drive again] How do I start it?
PLAXTONLeave it alone.
DAYNAWe have to see how it performs.
ATLAN[to Plaxton] Start it up. [The wall is glowing more brightly and the sound of the beamer is getting clearer.]
VILAWe need more power.
VILAUh, well, if, if we're to make a proper assessment. [An opening appears in the wall.]
ATLANWell, what do you think of it?
AVON[Enters through hole] Very nice. [Points gun at Atlan] It will be even nicer if you stand absolutely still.
SOOLIN[enters through hole, points her gun at Atlan] Hold it!
AVON[to Vila, indicating the drive] Is this it?
AVONWe'll take it with us. [As Tarrant enters, Atlan trips him, grabs Soolin and uses her as a shield as he backs towards the door. He shoves her away and runs off.]
DAYNAThe door control. [Runs after Atlan.]
AVONTarrant, give Vila a hand.

[Entry to Space Rat lounge. Dayna works the door control.]

[Space Rat lounge.]

ATLAN[entering] Space Rats! We are under attack! [Gets guns from chest, tosses one to Bomber] Follow me! [Dayna tosses a gas grenade into the room and leaves as the door starts to close.] The door! [He and Bomber try to force it open.]

[Research lab]

DAYNA[enters] I've done it.
PLAXTONWhoever you are, take me with you. I'm dead if I stay here.
AVONWe take you and your photonic drive. Let's go. [Tarrant and Vila pick up the drive. All exit]

[Space Rat lounge. Atlan uses his gun on the door.]

[At outside door. They all emerge.]

AVONLet's go. Over there. [Two Rats on ATV's approach, Soolin shoots them. A Space Rat fires at them from the rim. Avon shoots him. A Space Rat drives towards them in an eight-wheeled open wagon. Avon shoots the driver.] We'll cover you. [indicating wagon] Take that.

[Research lab]

ATLAN[enters, sees that it is empty] Bomber! [exits]

[Road from sand pit. They ride off in eight wheeled open cart. Three Space Rats on ATVs pursue them. When they pass the security camera Avon detonates the grenade. There are three explosions, blowing the Rats off their ATVs. Avon tosses the controller away. They continue driving along until a Space Rat shoots out one of their tires from a hillside.]

AVON[indicating Scorpio nearby] There it is! [Everyone runs towards the ship.]

[Scorpio flight deck]

AVON[to Plaxton, indicating a seat] There. [To Tarrant and Vila] Secure that and let's get the hell out of here.
VILA[to Tarrant] Put it on the back of the counter. [They do so, and hurry to their seats.]
AVONEmergency lift station. Check functions. Dayna?
AVONAll right, go! [Scorpio lifts off] Slave, activate all sensory systems. Set course three nine zero at maximum drive. We'll give you a navigational program once we are clear of this planetary system.
SLAVEAt once, Master.

[Space. View of three ships in formation.]

[Scorpio flight deck]

SLAVEI'm sorry to have to report, Master, that three Federation ships are approaching on an intercept course of zero three zero zero seven.
AVONDayna, put them on the rear screen. [They turn around to look.]
DAYNARange: two hundred thousand.
SLAVETheir signals traffic indicates they think we're from Caspar.
AVONThe state our main drive is in we will be within their cannon range within an hour.
PLAXTONWhat's the matter with your main drive?
TARRANTIt's a museum piece.
PLAXTONStandard fiber optic control connections?
AVONVery standard.
PLAXTONThen why not let me install this now? [Indicates the Stardrive] One burst from this and we'd put a lot of distance between us and those ships.
AVONHow long will it take?
PLAXTONFifty minutes.
DAYNAIf it's to be done, it'll have to be done in forty-five.
PLAXTONAll right. You can pressurize your main drive tube so I can work in there?
AVONYes. Come with me. [Hands her goggles, picks up the drive.]
PLAXTONFine. [they exit]
DAYNAForty-four minutes, fifty-five seconds, and counting.

[Main drive chamber. Plaxton is working on the drive connections.]

DAYNA[V.O., over intercom] Two minutes, ten seconds.
PLAXTONJust the main ignition controls now.

[Scorpio flight deck]

AVONOne minute precisely, Doctor.

[Main drive chamber. Plaxton is still working.]

PLAXTONTwo more connections. Not long now.

[Scorpio flight deck]

TARRANTThey're in range!
AVONTime is up, Doctor.
PLAXTON[V.O., over intercom] Almost done.
VILAPlasma bolt fired.
SOOLINThirty seconds to impact.
PLAXTON[V.O.] One more connection to-- [Her voice is cut off as Avon pushes some buttons.]
TARRANT[To Avon] What are you doing?
AVONPrograming in the main circuit drive.
DAYNAYou can't do that. That main drive will fire as soon as she makes the final connection.
SOOLINFifteen seconds.
AVONWe can outrun that bolt. She's dead either way.

[Main drive chamber. Plaxton stares at the approaching ships.]

[Scorpio flight deck]

SOOLINTen seconds and counting. Nine, eight, seven, six--

[Main drive chamber. Plaxton makes the final connection and screams. Scorpio puts on a burst of speed and races away.]

[Scorpio flight deck]

AVONGood enough. [To Vila] At least now we can outrun the opposition. That should make you happy.
DAYNAWhat about Dr. Plaxton?
Script Index

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