Stardrive
Original Airdate: October 19, 1981

[Scorpio approaching a planet]

[Flight deck]

TARRANT: I have it.
AVON: Sector Eight?
TARRANT: Sector Eight.
SOOLIN: That's the asteroid?
AVON: That asteroid is our passport into the Altern system and...
(on the viewscreen there is an irregularly-shaped rock rotating in space)
AVON [OC]: ...out again when we've finished, right under the noses of the Federation.
TARRANT: Converging velocity, standard by one.
DAYNA: Avon, what's the mass of that asteroid?
AVON: About two billion tons, I would say.
TARRANT: Range one hundred thousand and closing.
DAYNA: Well, then I say the whole scheme's crazy.
AVON: Why?
VILA: Two billion? Training manual rule one. Never play with asteroids. They're what Murphy's Law's all about.
DAYNA: Murphy's Law?
SOOLIN: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
AVON: The crews of any Federation patrols will have been taught the same lesson.
TARRANT: Range ninety thousand.
(the asteroid is now nearly filling the viewscreen)
SLAVE [OC]: I, er, don't wish to speak out of turn but we're on a converging collision course with a large...
AVON: We know.
SLAVE: I'm sorry, Master, but as asteroids go...
AVON: Don't be sorry, ...be quiet. ...If we want to keep this heap of ironmongery operational, we have to visit Altern V 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 V. Now if anyone has a better idea, I'd like to hear it.
VILA: I wish I'd kept my mouth shut.
TARRANT: Range sixty thousand.

[Scorpio approaching the asteroid]

[Flight deck]

SLAVE: Thirty seconds thrust at maximum power, vectored at three-seven-zero will match our course and velocity through the Altern system with the asteroid.
TARRANT: Thrust vector six. Stand by and override monitor.
AVON: Standing by.
SOOLIN: Just how close are you planning to get to that thing, Avon?
AVON: Fifty yards!
VILA: Fifty yards!? ...Oh, come on, Avon...
AVON: Near 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.
SLAVE: Yes, Master. Precision guidance on-line and stand by. Main drive thrust condition green for activation on your command.
VILA: Do we have to go that near? That spin won't just damage us if we overshoot, it'll tear the ship apart.
TARRANT: ...Vila's right. We need a safer standoff distance...
AVON: The closer we get, the less risk there is of our being detected by a Federation patrol!
TARRANT: Range?
SOOLIN: Five thousand.
DAYNA: ...There won't be anything left of us to detect unless we match velocity and course now.
AVON: (to Dayna) Sit down! ...Thirty seconds.
TARRANT: We can't risk leaving it that long. Maximum thrust will wreck the main drive.
VILA: He's right!
AVON: We can't risk a patrol detecting plasma radiation from sustained thrust. There are times when even the most cynical must trust in luck!

[Scorpio close to the asteroid]

[Flight deck]

AVON: Now!
(Tarrant engages the main drive. There are explosions)
TARRANT: Precision guidance lost.
AVON: Slave, initiate the backup system.
SLAVE: I'm very sorry about this, but that was the backup system.

[Scorpio impacts the asteroid]

[Flight deck]

(they are thrown about the flight deck. Smoke billows from the consoles)
VILA: It's coming apart, Avon, I told you...
DAYNA: ...explosion...

[Scorpio breaking lumps off the asteroid]

[Flight deck]

TARRANT: The flight level redundancy programs are blown, there's nothing left.

[Scorpio moves past the asteroid]

[Flight deck]

AVON: Slave, damage report!
SLAVE: Main drive lost.
AVON: We know that. What about the outer hull?
VILA: Look, Avon, I know I suggested it, but I told you it wouldn't work, not under these conditions...
AVON: Be quiet.
SLAVE: No 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.
SOOLIN: He's sorry!
AVON: Check the dark side.
TARRANT: Chances are we've wrecked the main drive's focusing core.
AVON: We carry a spare.
TARRANT: What use will that be? The main drive chamber can't be pressurised. How do you carry out a delicate repair operation wearing a spacesuit and gauntlets?
VILA: I don't.
DAYNA: Nobody 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.

[Asteroid receding in space]

[Flight deck]

AVON: Slave! What is our life support capability?
SLAVE: One hundred and fifty-five hours, Master.
SOOLIN: Oh! By the time the oxygen runs out, we'll be bored as well as dead.
VILA: Look, Tarrant, I told him it wouldn't...
AVON: Be quiet! Let us check all the systems. I would prefer to be sure that dying is the best option we have.

[Scorpio stationary in space]

[Flight deck]

(Vila comes in carrying a wine carafe)
VILA: 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? ...And how about my ...cold, ...calculating Soolin? I'd like to see you unbend...
(Soolin moves to a another station)
VILA: ...just a little before we're all ...all...
DAYNA: Sometimes, Vila, you can be quite disgusting.
VILA: Not so, my lovely. I can be disgusting all the time. It's easy. Easy as colliding with an asteroid, eh, ...Avon? ...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...
AVON: That's one misfortune we don't have to share.
VILA: Fourteen 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? ...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.
AVON: Slave, activate force wall. Pressurise it with our air reserve.
SLAVE: That would be most inadvisable, Master.
(there is a whirring sound and the lights dim)
SLAVE: I'm terribly sorry but our force wall generator is in a poor condition.
TARRANT: Slave's right. We'd lose the lot.
AVON: It's a great pity we didn't bring Orac.
SLAVE: But I could manage a small force wall, a blister force wall, around the damaged part of the hull.
AVON: Then do it!
TARRANT: Let's go.
VILA: Hurray!
SOOLIN: Out of the mouths of drunks...
VILA: Drunk? Who's drunk?
DAYNA: You are.
VILA: Show me how to get drunk on plain water and I won't waste time.
DAYNA: Well, then why pretend?
VILA: Because, my lovely Dayna ...and Soolin, no one ever tells someone who's drunk to volunteer.
DAYNA/SOOLIN: Ha, ha, ha...
VILA: 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]

TARRANT: (into communicator) We're in the main drive chamber. It's gonna take about an hour.
SOOLIN: (on communicator) Right. We'll stand watch.
TARRANT: See if you can sober up Vila.
SOOLIN: We'll try.
(Avon and Tarrant look out through the hole in the hull)
TARRANT: It's weird. Like being in space without a spacesuit.
(they put on safety glasses and Avon points a large radiating instrument at the hole. The hull is restored)
AVON: Regeneration will take about twenty minutes, ...while we deal with the coil.

[Three spaceships in flight]

[Flight deck]

SLAVE: I'm very sorry to disturb you, but I think I've detected a patrol.
(Soolin brings the three ships up on the viewscreen)
VILA: If they detect us, I have this feeling that the last thing they'll do is surrender.

[Main drive chamber]

SOOLIN: (on communicator) Avon, Tarrant, we got company! Three ships, possibly interceptors, range two hundred thousand and closing fast.
AVON: (into communicator) Have they detected us?

[Flight deck]

DAYNA: (into communicator) It doesn't look like it, they're not on an interception course.
AVON: (on communicator) What class are they?
SOOLIN: (into communicator) That's just it, none of us are sure.
VILA: (to Dayna and Soolin) But they're maintaining a standard Federation patrol pattern.

[Main drive chamber]

AVON: (to Tarrant) We can't leave what we're doing.

[Flight deck]

AVON: (on communicator) Make a recording of them. We'll look at it later.
DAYNA: (into communicator) Right. Hologram recorder rolling.
(the three ships are on a console monitor)
DAYNA: Slave, keep the recorder sensors zeroed on those ships.
(the three ships explode one after the other)

[Main drive chamber]

(the explosions rock Scorpio)
AVON: (into communicator) Soolin, Dayna what's happening?
SOOLIN: (on communicator) The three ships just exploded.
TARRANT: They what?
DAYNA: I know it sounds crazy but they just blew up by themselves.
(Avon hands Tarrant a component which he replaces in a small unit between the two main drive units)
AVON: Well, it should get us back to base, anyway.
TARRANT: Sounds good to me.

[Scorpio in flight]

(Scorpio arrives at Xenon, lands and goes down to the silo)

[Flight deck]

(they watch the three ships exploding on the viewscreen)
AVON [OC]: Well, Orac, what do you think?
ORAC: I think you have brought back a most fascinating recording.
AVON: We are looking for conclusions, not critical acclaim.
ORAC: Two conclusions. First, the Federation have re-established their shipbuilding program ahead of my prediction. Second, the early design of the main drives indicates that they have lost their top designer.
TARRANT: Orac, we'd worked that out already. What we want to know is how three ships can suddenly blow up by themselves.
ORAC: If that had happened I would want an answer to the same question.
AVON: So what you're trying to tell us, Orac, is that those ships did not blow up by themselves.
ORAC: I am not trying to tell you anything. I am simply not interested in attempting to compensate for your amazing lack of observation.
AVON: All right, Dayna, play the recording again. This time at half speed.
(they watch the explosions again)
VILA: So what's that supposed to tell us?
AVON: That recording told Orac something. If we want to know what it is, we have to check every frame.
DAYNA: Ha! What, at ten thousand frames per second? It'll take us hours.
AVON: So?
SOOLIN: So let's at least patch through a link to the crew room.
DAYNA: And do it in comfort.
AVON: A waste of time and effort. We will do it here, and we will do it now.
VILA: All of us?!
AVON: We'll take it in shifts. You may as well start ...Dayna.
DAYNA: Thanks a lot.
(Dayna is followed by Soolin checking the recording)
SOOLIN: (into communicator) Avon, I've found something.
(the others rejoin Soolin)
SOOLIN: Look, there, at the bottom of the screen.
(a small object crosses the path of the three ships as they explode. A close-up shows a small space vehicle)
AVON: From it's movement across the frames it's possible to calculate its velocity.
TARRANT: About standard by twelve at a guess.
VILA: In real time? That's not possible.
ORAC: Standard by twelve decimal six, to be precise.
DAYNA: Well, as Vila says, nothing can travel at that speed in real time. It is impossible.
ORAC: Nothing could and it was impossible. It is necessary for your statement to be rephrased using the past tense.
SOOLIN: So whatever it is, it fired three bolts at those ships before it passed in front of our sensors.
VILA: And at standard by twelve, they never knew what hit them.
SOOLIN: Just as well it left us alone. So what is it?
TARRANT: Single-seater space chopper. They were a teenagers' craze two centuries back, ...until the Federation outlawed them.
DAYNA: Not surprising if they could do standard by twelve.
AVON: They couldn't. Which means that that one has been fitted with a new form of main drive unit.
ORAC: Which also means that the photonic spacedrive has been finally perfected by Doctor Plaxton.
VILA: Who?
TARRANT: But Orac, Doctor Plaxton was head of the Federation Space Drive Research Centre.
ORAC: At the time of the Federation's collapse, the doctor was developing a new spacedrive system that used light to exert thrust instead of plasma. The photonic drive or the Stardrive machine, as it's known.
AVON: Was the prototype small enough to be fitted into a space chopper?
ORAC: Certainly.
VILA: Hey, just think, if we can get hold of one of those drives and swap it for the clapped out unit on our ship...
AVON: That will be our immediate objective. Where is Doctor Plaxton now?
ORAC: Presumably with the owners of that space chopper. It's all a matter of observation.
AVON: Bring that thing into close-up.
(the views of the space chopper get progressively closer)
AVON: Closer. Concentrate on the pilot. I want a close-up of his helmet.
(the red helmet has a green rat motif on it)
VILA: It's a Space Rat!
SOOLIN: Friends of yours?
VILA: Friends? Space Rats? There's no such thing as a friend of a Space Rat, ...they even hate each other.
TARRANT: What else do you know about them?
VILA: They'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: And they never succeeded, of course. ...What were they imprisoned for?
VILA: Breaking 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.
AVON: Speed is the key. Find the Space Rats and we find Doctor Plaxton. That's exactly what we're going to do.
VILA: Now 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.
TARRANT: Well, go on.
VILA: Well, they have no respect for life. They're based on an ancient Earth sect of unbelievable viciousness.
AVON: Orac, where can we find these Space Rats?
ORAC: Their last known base was Caspar, an Earth-type planet in Sector Five.
AVON: Sector Five?
SOOLIN: We'll never make it with the state the ship's in.
DAYNA: What are our chances, Orac?
ORAC: One hundred percent better than your chances of getting anywhere else if you don't obtain a new spacedrive for the ship within three months.
DAYNA: Thank you, Orac, that's a great help.
TARRANT: It'll take time to get the ship ready.
AVON: Better get on with it then.
SOOLIN: I'll get the lights on for a start.
VILA: Can't we think about this?
AVON: As much as you like, once we're underway. Slave, set a course for Caspar in Sector Five.

[Scorpio in orbit]

[Flight deck]

TARRANT: Synchronous orbit around Caspar established and locked.
VILA: Supposing they come at us with one of their space choppers?
AVON: There's no point in worrying about that.
VILA: No? After what happened to those Federation ships!
AVON: Because 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?
VILA: You'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?
DAYNA: What?
VILA: Right now they're trying to make up their minds which piece of nastiness they're going to send up to zap us with.
DAYNA: Oh, surely they won't risk an attack without finding out first what it is they are going to attack.
VILA: Oh, that's the logical way of thinking. But those psychopaths down there are Space Rats. Their philosophy is simple, if it moves, zap it.
AVON: As you know so much about their philosophy, you would seem to be the ideal person to teleport down to talk to them.
VILA: Me? But I've just told you what they're like.
TARRANT: Get permission for us to land Scorpio.
AVON: Dayna will go down with you, ...just to keep an eye on you.
DAYNA: Yes, all right.
VILA: You don't seriously expect us to talk to them?
AVON: Just check the place out. Make sure we're right.
TARRANT: Scorpio's in no condition to make unnecessary landings, Vila!
(Tarrant gets Vila out of his seat)
AVON: Soolin, set teleport coordinates.
VILA: And set them properly, not in the middle of a lake or something.
SOOLIN: The state the final guidance is in you'll be lucky not to end up in space on a reciprocal coordinate.
DAYNA: Ready.

[Caspar surface]

(Dayna materialises alone in a disused quarry)
DAYNA: Vila? ...Vila!
VILA [OC]: Dayna!
(he is in a cleft in the quarry rim)
VILA: I'm stuck!
(he tries vainly to pull his arm free)
VILA: Oh. Oh.
(Dayna climbs up to him)
VILA: I'm stuck.
DAYNA: So am I, Vila, ...with you.
(she pulls him free)
VILA: Oh, my back, my back. Oh...
DAYNA: Shut up! Be quiet!
(they hear engines revving)
DAYNA [OC]: What is it?
VILA [OC]: How should I know?
DAYNA: What are they?
VILA: They ...are the Space Rats.
DAYNA: What are they riding?
(two Space Rats are riding motor-tricycles down on the quarry floor)
VILA: Oh, I don't know. 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 pull up and get off. One scans with binoculars. They remount, restart the engines and move off. Vila draws his gun, juggles with it and drops it down into the quarry, undetected by the Space Rats. They climb down and he recovers his gun)
VILA: Seems like luck is on our side today.
DAYNA: Think so?
(there is a security camera pointing at them)

[Space Rat lounge]

(some Space Rats watch Vila and Dayna on a viewscreen)
VILA: (on viewscreen) That's one of the most ancient closed circuit television cameras I've ever seen. ...Chances are, it hasn't been working for years.

[Flight deck]

TARRANT: Descent from orbit begins in forty-five seconds and ...counting.
AVON: Check.
SOOLIN: You never intended to wait for Vila and Dayna to report back, did you? You're just using them.
AVON: Vila and Dayna are useful diversions.
SOOLIN [OC]: If they get caught.
TARRANT: Which is fairly likely.
SOOLIN: I wouldn't count too heavily on that. Dayna's sharp and she handles a gun quite well, ...considering her sheltered upbringing.
TARRANT: Tune 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.
AVON: That 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 spacedrive.
SOOLIN: So ...you've let Dayna and Vila walk into a trap.
AVON: ...We need the spacedrive.

[Research laboratory]

(two Space Rats are present)
PLAXTON: Particle driver control?
NAPIER: Particle driver right.
PLAXTON: Well you'd better double check. I'm going to take the drive up to twenty-five percent today.
NAPIER: In here, Doctor?
PLAXTON: Don't argue with me, Napier.
NAPIER: ...Particle driver satisfactory, Doctor.
PLAXTON: Er huh. Place the photon shield in position.
(he two Space Rats lazily roll the shield across the laboratory)
PLAXTON: Stop! How many times do I have to tell you, you wear gloves in here.
(she picks up the gloves and holds them out)
BOMBER: No worry. We're only moving a flagging shield, isn't it?
PLAXTON: I 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: Don't need a bath ...sweats regular.
PLAXTON: Out!
(she throws down the gloves)
BOMBER: Now look...
PLAXTON: Go on, get out.
NAPIER: I'll do it. (to the Rats) You'd better go. ...They'll complain to Atlan.
PLAXTON: What the hell do I care? ...How I ever came to be mixed up with a bunch of psychopathic killers...
NAPIER: 'Twas your decision, Doctor Plaxton, and one you were happy enough to make at the time, as I recall.
PLAXTON: It was three years ago, Napier.
NAPIER: ...Everything's ready for the test. ...Do you fetch him ...or shall I?
PLAXTON: ...I'll go.

[Caspar surface]

(Dayna and Vila run along the floor of the quarry. They stop and Dayna scans round with binoculars. They climb to a rim and she scans again)
VILA: We've made a mistake. ...There's nothing here.
DAYNA: They must hope that everybody thinks as you do, ...including the Federation.
VILA: Eh?
(Dayna gives him the binoculars. He scans round and finds two doors in the side of the quarry)
VILA: Concealed entrances.
DAYNA: Right.
VILA: Well, ...at least we've got the advantage of surprise.
(on a higher rim a Space Rat is watching them through binoculars. He leaves)

[Space Rat lounge]

(Space Rats are lolling around on cushions eating animals and drinking. Plaxton comes in)
PLAXTON: Atlan, I'm ready to begin the test on the mark two-drive. ...Now.
ATLAN: Brigg, watch that.
(he indicates the viewscreen)
ATLAN: Bomber. ...Bomber! ...Two gooks outside. Fetch, ...but don't bend, I might want to talk with them. (to Plaxton) Well? What are you doing hanging around? ...Do you wish to join us? Ha, ha, ha.
(he holds out the lizard that Bomber had been eating. She leaves

[Caspar surface]

(Dayna and Vila run up to the entrances. Having looked at the right-hand one Dayna opens the left-hand one and they enter. The doors close. Three Space Rats come up on tricycles and get off)

[Underground hangar]

DAYNA: Vila. This place is like some kind of underground maze.
VILA: We seem to have hit on some sort of a hangar. This is not a good place to be, Dayna.
(Dayna points to a large object with a cover over it)
DAYNA: See what's under there.
VILA: Why?
DAYNA: Just do it! I'll cover for you. And very quickly, we haven't much time.
(Vila pulls back the cover. Dayna has done the same with another)
DAYNA: This is a space chopper.
VILA: So's this.
DAYNA: I think we've seen enough. We'll report back to the ship and then get out of here. (into bracelet) Avon!
AVON: (on communicator) Go ahead, Dayna.
DAYNA: Orac was right. This is where the new spacedrives 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: Teleport is out of commission.
DAYNA: What?!
VILA: (into Dayna's bracelet) What do you mean 'out of commission'?!

[Caspar surface]

(Avon, Tarrant and Soolin are crouching, guns drawn)
AVON: (into bracelet) Not working, Vila. Keep your heads down. We'll be in touch. Out.
(they move off cautiously across the floor of the quarry with Avon taking the lead. Tarrant spots a security camera)
TARRANT: There's another one. ...Well, that's useful. Saves having to find a marker for the grenade.
(he pulls out grenade and Avon adjusts a handheld control)
TARRANT: Right. It's primed.
(he throws the grenade towards the camera. They wait for the camera to point away)
AVON: Come on!

[Underground hangar]

DAYNA: We've got to find somewhere safe to wait.
VILA: Well, perhaps we could hide under here.
(he pulls the cover back off a space chopper and picks up a small box)
VILA: Wonder what this thing does?
BOMBER: Tell you what this does ...gook. ...It goes bang. ...And you go splat.
(Bomber has come in and is pointing a gun at them)

[Caspar surface]

(Avon, Tarrant and Soolin come up behind some rocks to see Bomber bringing Vila and Dayna out of the left-hand entrance and into the other one)
AVON: We'll be attacking by the time Vila tells them we're still on the ship.

[Entrance hallway]

(Dayna sees a notice saying 'DOOR CONTROL'. Bomber moves them along)

[Research laboratory]

(the Stardrive is running)
ATLAN: More. ...More. ...Come on, more!
PLAXTON: There's no point in overloading the mark-two prototype.
ATLAN: Doctor ...Plaxton ...(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!
PLAXTON: And without my brains you would have no...
(Atlan grabs her by the back of the neck)
ATLAN: Which I might decide I can now do without. So ...let's see what it can do, eh?
(as he tries to operate the controls Plaxton blocks him. He grabs her around the neck and kisses her violently. She pushes him away and he leers at Napier)
ATLAN: Now! ...More!
(the Stardrive builds up)

[Space Rat lounge]

(Vila is pushed in onto the cushions. Dayna attacks Bomber but in the end she too lands up on the cushions)

[Caspar surface]

(Avon, Tarrant and Soolin run down to the floor of the quarry and along it)

[Space Rat lounge]

VILA: What's the noise?
BOMBER: Nothing ..to the noise ...you gooks will soon be making.

[Caspar surface]

(Avon, Tarrant and Soolin, again moving cautiously, arrive at the let-hand entrance and they go in)

[Research laboratory]

(the Stardrive has built up even more)
ATLAN: What is it now?
PLAXTON: Seventy-five percent. We must close down now. Atlan, the shield's melting.
(Atlan nods assent)
ATLAN: What was the simulated speed?
PLAXTON: Fifteen.
ATLAN: Fifteen? Fifteen! TD 15 in real time! My Space Rats will be knocking out Federation heavy cruisers next.
PLAXTON: If they've any left.
ATLAN: Oh yes, they have, but not for long. ...How soon can this be fitted to our space choppers?
PLAXTON: Napier.
(Plaxton nods to Napier and he leaves)
ATLAN: Well?
PLAXTON: What's wrong with the mark-one? It gives your space choppers TD 12.
ATLAN: Not as good as fifteen. ...No Space Rat likes to put up with second best.
PLAXTON: Speed and violence, that's all you Space Rats think about.
ATLAN: As 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.
PLAXTON: Mindless destruction of Federation ships. It's mindless. ...You don't have a plan.
ATLAN: Maybe the Space Rats haven't got a plan, Doctor Plaxton. But we could have ...total control over all the space trade routes.
PLAXTON: ...I want no part of that. All I want to do is to develop my spacedrive.
ATLAN: Fine! So how soon can this be fitted to our space choppers?
PLAXTON: It can't.
ATLAN: Why not?
PLAXTON: Because this is the only one.
ATLAN: So build more! ...We've provided you with enough raw material to build five hundred!
PLAXTON: I 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!
ATLAN: Why not?!
PLAXTON: Because 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.
ATLAN: Our agreement...
PLAXTON: Our 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 back the neck and holds a gun to her head)
ATLAN: You will start modification work on the spacedrive now, Doctor 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 come in and look about)
AVON: If the readings are anything like accurate, this should be...
(he consults handheld scanner)
AVON: ...the connecting wall. You'd better get on with it.
(Tarrant uses a pulsing device)

[Space Rat lounge]

(Atlan comes in)
ATLAN: Brigg, Bomber, Johns! We're going to the hills for some hunting.
(he spots Dayna and Vila)
ATLAN: What's this?
BOMBER: The gooks.
ATLAN: Gooks? ...Don't look like Federation to me.
DAYNA: We're not!
ATLAN: Okay, ...bend them.
VILA: What does that mean?
ATLAN: You'll find out.

[Underground hangar]

(Tarrant is still using the pulsing device)
TARRANT: Talk amongst yourselves. This could take some time.

[Space Rat lounge]

DAYNA: Wait! ...Wait! Before you kill us, you might let us see Doctor Plaxton.
ATLAN: Stop! ...You know Doctor Plaxton?
DAYNA: Of course we do.
VILA: Old friend.
ATLAN: From where, gook?
VILA: Oh, er,...way back.
DAYNA: We were students of the doctor ...once.
ATLAN: Studying what?
DAYNA: Spacedrives, ...the photonic drive in particular.
ATLAN: (to Vila) You, too, gook?
(Vila nods)
ATLAN: Clever student? ...In that case, we had better take you both to see the Doctor.
DAYNA: Thank you.

[Underground hangar]

(Tarrant is still using the pulsing device. He is sweating)

[Research laboratory]

(Atlan comes in)
ATLAN: Bomber!
(Bomber brings in Dayna and Tarrant)
DAYNA: Doctor Plaxton, how marvellous to see you again. Do you remember us, Dayna and Vila, your best students. 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: Ha, ha, ha. 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? Oh, and this must be your new photonic...
PLAXTON: I don't know you.
DAYNA: ...spacedrive. 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.
PLAXTON: I... I do not know these people.
ATLAN: Do not or will not?!

[Underground hangar]

(Tarrant is still using the pulsing device. He is still sweating)

[Research laboratory]

ATLAN: (to Dayna and Vila) Could you two work on the development of the photonic drive?
DAYNA: Of course.
PLAXTON: This is my project.
ATLAN: Not for much longer it seems.
PLAXTON: How dare you take away my authority on this project, it...
ATLAN: I will do a lot more than that, Doctor 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)
DAYNA: I'm sure we'll be able to help you, Atlan, but first we'd better see if this thing is up to standard. How do I start it?
PLAXTON: Leave it alone.
DAYNA: We have to see how it performs.
ATLAN: (to Plaxton) Start it up.
(The patch of wall is glowing more brightly and the sound of the pulsing device is getting louder)
VILA [OC]: We need more power.
ATLAN: Why?
VILA: Er, well, if... if we're to make a proper assessment.
(Avon, Tarrant and Soolin are now faintly visible through the patch)
ATLAN: Well, ...what do you think of it?
(Avon comes through a hole where the patch was)
AVON: Very nice.
(training his gun on Atlan)
AVON: It will be even nicer if you stand absolutely still.
SOOLIN [OC]: Hold it!
(she has followed Avon and points her gun at Atlan)
AVON: (to Vila) Is this it?
VILA: Yes.
AVON: We'll take it with us.
(as Tarrant comes through the hole Atlan kicks his leg away. He grabs Soolin and backs towards the door. He pushes her away as he runs out)
DAYNA: The door control!
(she goes out)
AVON: Tarrant, give Vila a hand.
(at the entry to Space Rat lounge Dayna operates the door control)

[Space Rat lounge]

ATLAN: Space Rats! We are under attack!
(he tosses a gun to Bomber)
ATLAN: Follow me!
(Dayna throws a gas grenade into the lounge and runs out as the door starts to close)
ATLAN: The door!
(he and Bomber try to prevent it closing)

[Research laboratory]

(Dayna comes in)
DAYNA: I've done it.
PLAXTON: Whoever you are, take me with you. I'm dead if I stay here.
AVON: We take you and your photonic drive. Let's go.

[Space Rat lounge]

(Atlan and Bomber use their guns on the door)

[Caspar surface]

(they all come out of the left-hand entrance, from which smoke is billowing, with the photonic drive. Paxton is in a hooded cape)
AVON: Let's go. Over there.
(a Space Rat in eight-wheeled wagon comes into sight. Avon shoots him)
AVON: We'll cover you. (indicating wagon) Take that.
(three Space Rats on tricycles appear, Soolin shoots them down and another Space Rat from the rim of the quarry)
TARRANT: (to Soolin) Come on!

[Research laboratory]

(Atlan comes in and sees that the Spacedrive has gone)
ATLAN: Bomber!
(he leaves through the hole as Bomber comes in)

[Caspar surface]

(they ride along in the eight-wheeled wagon. Atlan and Bomber and another Space Rat manage to get out of the smoking entrance. They jump onto tricycles and pursue the wagon. When they pass the grenade near the security camera Avon uses the handheld control he used to prime it. There are three explosions, blowing the three off their tricycles. Avon throws the control away. Further along a Space Rat shoots out one of their tyres from a distance. Avon shoots him down)
AVON: There it is!
(Scorpio is on the ridge. They all run to it)

[Flight deck]

AVON: (to Plaxton) There.
(he indicates a console seat)
AVON: (to Tarrant and Vila) Secure that and let's get the hell out of here.
(indicating the photonic drive)
VILA: (to Tarrant) Put it on the back of the counter.
AVON: Emergency lift station. Check functions. Dayna?
DAYNA: Check!
AVON: Vila?
VILA: Check!
AVON: Soolin?
SOOLIN: Check!
AVON: Tarrant?
TARRANT: Check!
AVON: All right, go!

[Caspar surface]

(Scorpio takes off)

[Flight deck]

AVON: 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.
SLAVE: At once, Master.

[Scorpio leaving orbit]

[Three spaceships in flight]

[Flight deck]

SLAVE: I'm sorry to have to report, Master, that three Federation ships are approaching on an intercept course of zero-three-zero-zero-seven.
AVON: Dayna, put them on the rear screen.
(the three ships can be seen on the viewscreen catching Scorpio up)
DAYNA: Range, two hundred thousand.
SLAVE: Their signals traffic indicates they think we're from Caspar.
AVON: The state our main drive is in we will be within their cannon range within an hour.
PLAXTON: What's the matter with your main drive?
TARRANT: It's a museum piece.
PLAXTON: Standard fibre-optic control connections?
AVON: Very standard.
PLAXTON: Then why not let me install this now?
(indicating the photonic drive)
PLAXTON: One burst from this and we'd put a lot of distance between us and those ships.
AVON: How long will it take?
PLAXTON: Fifty minutes.
DAYNA: If it's to be done, it'll have to be done in forty-five.
PLAXTON: All right. You can pressurise your main drive tube so I can work in there?
(she takes some goggles from him)
AVON: Yes. Come with me.
(he picks up the photonic drive)
PLAXTON: Fine.
(they leave)
DAYNA: Forty-four minutes, fifty-five seconds, and counting.

[Three Federation ships in flight]

[Main drive chamber]

DAYNA: (on communicator) Two minutes, ten seconds.
PLAXTON: Just the main ignition controls now.

[Three Federation ships in flight]

[Scorpio in flight]

[Flight deck]

AVON: (into communicator) One minute precisely, Doctor.

[Main drive chamber]

PLAXTON: (into communicator) Two more connections. ...Not long now.

[Three Federation ships in flight]

[Flight deck]

TARRANT: They're in range!
AVON: (into communicator) Time is up, Doctor.
PLAXTON: (on communicator) Almost done.
VILA: Plasma bolt fired.
SOOLIN: Thirty seconds to impact.
PLAXTON: One more connection to...
(Avon cut her off as he operates some controls)
TARRANT: What are you doing?
AVON: Programming in the main circuit drive.
DAYNA: You can't do that. That main drive will fire as soon as she makes the final connection.
SOOLIN: Fifteen seconds.
AVON: We can outrun that bolt. She's dead either way.

[Main drive chamber]

(as Plaxton goes to make the final connection she sees the three ships through the force wall)

[Flight deck]

SOOLIN: Ten seconds and counting. Nine, ...eight, ...seven, ...six...

[Main drive chamber]

(Plaxton makes the final connection and screams out)

[Scorpio accelerating away]

[Flight deck]

AVON: Good enough. (to Vila) At least now we can outrun the opposition. That should make you happy.
DAYNA: What about Doctor Plaxton?
AVON: Who?

<Back to the episode listing

Blake's Seven and related marks are trademarks of The British Broadcasting Corporation. Copyright 1977, Present. The Blake's Seven web pages on this site are for educational and entertainment purposes only. All other copyrights property of their respective holders.