(Scorpio is in dock at Xenon Base. The crew are watching a series of explosions on the viewscreen)
AVON: Well, that's one way of solving your energy crisis.
DAYNA: It's no joke, Avon. Thousands of people were killed.
AVON: They would have died anyway. Agravo was a worked out planet. The Federation does not spend time and credits for nothing. It would have been uneconomic to transfer anyone but key personnel.
SOOLIN: Do you think they planned that explosion?
AVON: Not this time. This was just a happy accident. Hm. But now the Federation is aware of the potential of Feldon power systems. Orac?
ORAC: Federation plans currently include operations on nine planets previously considered uninhabitable.
TARRANT: I've finished those drive modifications, do you want to take her up for a test flight?
TARRANT: Preferably much later. I could do with some rest.
VILA: We all could. Is the lecture over?
ORAC: Feldon is the hardest known subject in the universe.
AVON: And currently the most valuable.
VILA: Go on, you're just getting interesting.
ORAC: It's extremely rare, traces found in the asteroid belt and on a few insignificant planets. Invariably prized as a precious stone, until its commercial and industrial uses were discovered. Feldon concentrates energy.
DAYNA: Well so does a burning glass. So what?
(Avon holds up a small, irregular, clear crystal)
AVON: That's not a bad analogy, but given the right conditions Feldon ...is infinitely more efficient.
SOOLIN: Infinitely more efficient?
AVON: I use the word deliberately.
TARRANT: But did you use it accurately?
AVON: The Federation is investing two hundred billion credits on the project. For unlimited energy, I would say that that was cheap at the price.
VILA: So would I. Where?
AVON: Where what?
VILA: Where do we steal the Feldon crystals from?
(Belkov is playing three-dimensional chess with his computer, Gambit)
GAMBIT: Alarm signal from Orbiter.
(Orbiter is on a monitor)
BELKOV: Yes I heard that, thank you Gambit. You really must try and learn that ...attack is the best method of defence. ...You've got yourself into a hopeless tangle here again, you know.
GAMBIT: Unauthorised personnel have entered Orbiter. We have visual contact.
(on the monitor Gerren and two uniformed men can be seen coming into a corridor through a doorway)
BELKOV: I wish you'd concentrate on the game. ...The security systems are quite capable of coping, ...in fact, ...Orbiter's defence is a lot better than yours.
VILA: Of course, if this stuff does blow up planets by mistake, we're going to need to be a bit careful. I mean, ...do we need money that badly? I ask myself.
TARRANT: The crystals themselves are safe enough, I assume.
AVON: The Federation's mistake was to underestimate the system potential. So much energy built up that it became unstable. What you are now looking at is a blueprint of what the mark-two version will look like.
(a schematic is on a monitor)
AVON [OC]: It's a tiny power station, cheap to produce,...
AVON: ...small enough to transport in a cargo ship and capable of developing enough power to make a minus two-fifty degree planet workable.
TARRANT: What? Using energy from fairly distant stars concentrated through the crystals? Could you run a ship on it?
AVON: You could run anything on it ...in theory. That's why the Federation is staking so heavily. The consignment we are after is worth approximately nine hundred million.
TARRANT: Let's get one thing straight. We want it to use, not to sell. We've seen what it can do. We can't risk it getting back to the Federation.
DAYNA: Yes, agreed.
VILA: Not by me, it's not. You steal for your reasons, I'll steal for mine.
SOOLIN: Why not get it first and quarrel about it later?
AVON: This is not going to be easy. For one thing, the consignment has already been stolen from the Federation, and they are not going to be pleased about it when they find out. Secondly, it is protected by a security system that is supposed to be impassable.
VILA: They're all supposed to impassable.
AVON: And thirdly...
ORAC: And thirdly, you may already have missed your chance. The following message has just come in from Sector Nine.
(she changes the display and reads the message)
DAYNA: 'Federation Security may reveal target. Going in at once'.
AVON: The fool! ...Get the ship ready for launch.
VILA: What happened to that rest we all needed?
AVON: It just got too damned expensive.
[Scorpio rotating on turntable in it's silo]
BELKOV: Eureka! Oh I really will have to reprogram you again. You don't last any time at all these days. Well, are you going to resign on this last one? Or do we have to go through the motions?
GAMBIT: There are three hundred and eighty possible endings from this position, defeat is by no means inevitable.
BELKOV: Ha, ha. Have it your own way. We both know you've lost.
(Belkov goes over and changes the display on one of the monitors from a chessboard to the Orbiter corridor. Gerren indicates a control on the wall to one of the men)
(on pressing the control a panel slides back to reveal a monitor.
'PLAYER ONE COMMENCE IN'
' "TWENTY SECONDS" '
appears on the screen. Over the doorway a 'GAME START' sign flashes. The monitor changes to 'ARM YOURSELF'. He takes an electronic pistol with a wire connected to it from a rack on the wall and looks back at the monitor where he sees himself)
(Belkov watching the monitor chuckles)
(the man raises the pistol. The image does the same. They fire and the man in the corridor falls dead. The monitor shows 'PLAYER ONE SCORE: 00')
COMPUTER: Next player please.
('PLAYER TWO COMMENCE IN' is added to the screen)
BELKOV: Obviously not a natural games player. Well you've either got it, or you haven't, I suppose.
GAMBIT: I suppose.
(Gerren indicates to the other man to pick up the pistol and face the monitor. He survives the first shot but is killed by the second)
Screen display. The display shows
'PLAYER TWO SCORE: 76'
'PLAYER THREE COMMENCE'
COMPUTER: Next player please.
(Gerren makes for the door they came in. His armed image on the monitor tracks him and fires. Gerren falls wounded and crawls out through the doorway. The sign over the doorway now flashes 'GAME OVER')
(there is a beeping and two of the chessboard displays are flashing)
BELKOV: Oh not bad, not bad at all. You're beginning to get sneaky. I like that.
GAMBIT: Do you want to resign now, or shall we go through the motions?
BELKOV: Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha!
[Scorpio in flight]
DAYNA: So, ...Avon, ...are you going to tell us what's going on now?
AVON: I didn't think we would have to move on this so soon.
SOOLIN: And that made it unnecessary to tell us?
TARRANT: And in the meantime you were doing deals with outsiders.
AVON: There were no deals and there were no risks.
TARRANT: Well, what about the message? The man who sent that knows where the base is, and that's a risk.
AVON: He has no idea where the base is. All messages were beamed via an obsolete communications beacon in Sector Four.
DAYNA: So who is he, ...this partner we didn't know we had?
AVON: His name is Gerren. Academician Gerren.
[Gerren's ship in flight]
GERREN [OC]: Seriously wounded, ...I need help. ...I repeat, ...Gerren calling Scorpio. ...Avon, ....if you're coming to the rendezvous point, ...hurry!
(Tarrant materialises supporting Gerren)
TARRANT: He's been shot.
(Dayna and Tarrant help Gerren onto a recliner)
SOOLIN: He looks bad.
(Avon gives Soolin an instrument and she starts to treat Gerren)
TARRANT: So why should this middle-aged Federation professor want to help you, Avon?
AVON: Because apart from being a brilliant geologist and an expert in mining techniques he is also greedy, avaricious, and a crook.
VILA: Has he got any faults?
SOOLIN: How do you know so much about him?
AVON: I got Orac to tap the Federation data banks for information concerning the Feldon project. Gerren is part of the survey team.
TARRANT: It sounds respectable enough.
AVON: He was working on a deep space project, searching out mining planets. If you run the relevant sets of figures together you will see that he delayed his information just long enough to manipulate the Commodities Market.
VILA: That's not really crooked.
AVON: You tell that to his Federation masters.
SOOLIN: Is that what you threatened to do?
AVON: I merely reminded him that since I got the information from the Federation computers, somebody else might also piece it together, in which case he would find himself in a penal colony.
DAYNA: So you blackmailed him.
DAYNA: He's coming round.
AVON: Gerren, that was a damn fool thing to do. You could have ruined everything.
GERREN: Didn't have much choice. ...The Federation smelled a rat. I wanted to get the stuff out before their team arrived.
AVON: You should leave that sort of thing to us.
GERREN: Told you, there was no time. Besides, from what I've heard, she might be more than a match for you.
AVON: Well now, ...just who are they sending?
[Mecron II quarry]
(Mecronians in monastic habits and breathing masks are quarrying stone. Servalan accompanied by five Federation guards arrives. She gestures to two of them to continue along outside while she goes into a cave entrance with the others)
(Belkov is following her progress on a monitor)
GAMBIT: Your move.
BELKOV: Oh, I must greet our opponents, Gambit. I'm glad to see they're punctual at least.
(Servalan and the three guards come in)
BELKOV: Oh, we're honoured by your visit, Commissioner Sleer.
SERVALAN: I wouldn't call it a visit Belkov. That makes it sound like a holiday, which it isn't. And I doubt whether you'll feel honoured by the time I've finished with you. You've been placed under house arrest, pending the results of my investigations.
BELKOV: Yes, well Mecron II is a very strange planet. You'll find it difficult to investigate without my help.
SERVALAN: I could have you executed on the spot, you know.
BELKOV: Yes, that is true, but that would guarantee you didn't get the Feldon crystals and that wouldn't enhance your reputation with the Federation, would it? By the way, what am I being arrested for?
SERVALAN: Production has been consistently below target. Your excuses have been, to say the least, evasive. Accidents to members of the previous survey team for which we have yet to receive satisfactory explanations.
BELKOV: But what do you expect, this is a strange planet. We're working under difficulties.
SERVALAN: This isn't a game Belkov. We want those crystals and we want them now.
BELKOV: And I'm the only one who can get them for you. It is a game, Commissioner, ...and I hold the winning hand.
SERVALAN: No hand is a winning hand until it's played, Belkov. You should know that.
SOOLIN: We've still got one advantage. She doesn't know about the crystals Belkov has hidden in the Orbiter. We do.
VILA: It didn't do Gerren and his friends much good, did it?
DAYNA: Well no, but Soolin's right though, Servalan will be more worried about the mining, the stuff they're digging up now, won't she?
GERREN: Unfortunately, they're not digging up anything much. There's virtually no Feldon left. Belkov's milked this planet for twelve good years. Now he knows the game's up, he wants to use the crystals to buy survival.
AVON: So he'll do a deal.
TARRANT: With Servalan?
GERREN: He'll certainly try.
TARRANT: I wish him luck.
VILA: So do I. 'Why deal when you can steal?' isn't just my motto.
GERREN: It's not that easy. The ship's stacked with booby traps. We couldn't even get past the first one.
AVON: Yes Slave?
SLAVE: There appears to be someone on Mecron II attempting to make contact with us, Master.
DAYNA: There shouldn't be anyone there who knows we're coming.
SLAVE: They seem to be getting impatient.
AVON: Who does?
SLAVE: I fear I am unable to identify them Master. I regret this failure most bitterly.
ORAC: The message is coming via a Federation-class Alpha One-Nine-Seven computer. It appears to have been modified in rather extraordinary ways.
AVON: Spare us the technical details, just give us the message.
ORAC: It offers visual contact. Do we accept?
TARRANT: Well since they obviously know us and we don't know them...
AVON: Quite. All right Dayna.
(Belkov appears on the viewscreen)
BELKOV: (on viewscreen) Ah, good day to you.
GERREN: (into communicator) Belkov!
BELKOV: Oh, so you survived. ...Oh, well done! Ah, but no points for you, I fear. I shall have to mark you down as 'Retired hurt'.
AVON: (into communicator) Can we get to the point?
BELKOV: Yes, perhaps you're right. It wouldn't do either of us any good ...if that Federation squadron picked us up. I have jammed them on these frequencies of course.
DAYNA: (into communicator) Oh, considerate.
SOOLIN: (into communicator) What exactly do you want?
TARRANT: From whom?
BELKOV: Well, I've been placed under house arrest. There are a number of ...faceless Federation guards marching around my corridors. I want you to get me off this planet safely, before things get worse.
VILA: (into communicator) What's in it for us?
BELKOV: Half the Feldon crystals in my ship Orbiter.
AVON: What guarantee do we have that you'll give them to us?
BELKOV: Well, I imagine you'll kill me if I don't.
AVON: Well, we might kill you anyway and take them all.
BELKOV: Well, I'll just have to trust you, won't I?
GERREN: He doesn't usually trust anyone.
SOOLIN: So what makes us so appealing?
BELKOV: Well, I do have one or two good cards to play, I suppose.
AVON: For instance?
BELKOV: You're on an approach which takes you below the Mecron moons and Orbiter.
BELKOV: Well, as you probably know, Orbiter is powered through Feldon crystals. By using them and reflectors on the moon I could set up a series of forcefields. You'd find getting away from this planet a lot harder than getting to it.
AVON: Multiple traction beams.
TARRANT: Powerful enough to stop a ship leaving orbit? I don't believe it.
BELKOV: Your friend Avon does.
(an alarm sounds on the viewscreen)
BELKOV: Oh, I have a visitor approaching. Don't be too long.
(he terminates the transmission)
VILA: Well, what do you think?
DAYNA: I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him.
VILA: That wouldn't be far.
GERREN: As I see it, we don't have much choice.
AVON: Which is exactly the way he wants you to see it.
(Servalan comes in with three guards)
SERVALAN: Four of my men have been murdered.
BELKOV: Yes, I did try to warn you, but you didn't give me much opportunity.
SERVALAN: What do you mean?
BELKOV: Well, ...the locals do have some rather nasty habits. Ritual murder is only one of them.
SERVALAN: You never mentioned this in your reports. You could have had backup forces.
BELKOV: I didn't need backup! I managed things for myself! I came to ...an agreement with the Mecronians.
SERVALAN: Did this agreement include the killing of my men?
BELKOV: Oh of course not!
SERVALAN: Of course not.
BELKOV: Look, ...d'you realise the problems I had setting up this entire mining operation? Theirs is a very ancient civilisation, you know.
SERVALAN: I didn't come here for a history lesson.
BELKOV: It is relevant!
(he shows her a necklace of crystals under a glass hemisphere)
BELKOV: The Mecronian high priests used these as a symbol of their power. Now there is a legend about the Feldon necklaces. A chief once stole one, the gods became angry and struck him down. Of course, the gods' anger was merely an electrical storm in which a hunk of polished Feldon crystals that size would absorb enough energy to ...blow holes in any number of recalcitrant ...chiefs.
SERVALAN: How fascinating.
BELKOV: Yes, but you see, the priests have been cashing in on this piece of luck for generations, so I decided to join them. I said their gods had sent me to collect the crystals. Well, not unnaturally, they were not particularly impressed, well not at first anyway.
SERVALAN: I can imagine.
BELKOV: So I borrowed a necklace. All it needed then was a well placed remote-controlled ...laser rifle to ensure that only the chosen one could wear it. After six of them had died in the attempt, they found my survival quite miraculous.
SERVALAN: Your survival is becoming more miraculous by the moment. ...Just what sort of swindle are you working?
BELKOV: I beg your pardon!
SERVALAN: On your own original estimates, you've delivered half the expected yield from this mine. Where's the rest? Either it never existed, which is fraud, or you've stolen it. It's a capital offence either way.
[Mecron II quarry]
(Vila, Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren materialise on the rim of the quarry)
TARRANT: You'd better lead the way. Are you up to it?
GERREN: I'll be all right.
(they descend towards the cave entrance. Dayna shoots a Federation guard. When they reach his body, Vila pulls a triangular plate from the guard's back)
VILA: Have you been improving the guns again?
DAYNA: Funny man.
GERREN: It's a Mecronian knife.
VILA: Not too keen on visitors, then.
TARRANT: Good shot though. If he hadn't already been dead, you'd have saved our lives for certain.
DAYNA: Oh, do I get the prize?
TARRANT: Sorry, disqualified on a technicality.
VILA: I'd still rather not meet the owner of this too soon.
AVON: How long can Gerren stay on his feet?
SOOLIN: There's no telling ...until the drug wears off.
AVON: ...Get ready to leave orbit.
SOOLIN: Leave orbit?
AVON: ...I don't mind playing games, but I do object when the opposition makes up the rules and decides to be the referee as well. I think we should try and even things up a bit.
AVON: Belkov trusts no one, which is a strength, because that means that no one can betray him. But it is also a weakness because it means that he is the only one who can defend what is his.
SOOLIN: So he makes everything self-protecting, the booby traps, the forcefields.
AVON: Exactly, everything automatic and therefore predictable, ...and therefore vulnerable. Slave!
SLAVE: Er, yes master?
AVON: I want you to compute a new orbit so that from the planet's surface, Scorpio is constantly eclipsed by the Orbiter.
SLAVE: Yes master.
SOOLIN: He'll be suspicious as soon as you move.
AVON: If we leave our present orbit, as far as he is concerned, we're pulling out, ...we're cutting our losses and we're running for it. He'll turn his attention to more important matters and leave his automatics to track us. Once we have that moon...
(Orbiter is amongst several moons is on the viewscreen)
AVON [OC]: ...between us and the scanner, we can start back down again...
AVON: ...since his automatics won't be able to track us, they will merely inform him of what he thinks he already knows. ...We have gone!
SOOLIN: What happens to Tarrant and the others meantime?
AVON: Hm. Well, ...during the manoeuvre they are entirely on their own, but ...once we are in our new orbit, the teleport system should function quite normally. ...Oh, it's a calculated risk. But at least you and I can be certain that we can get away when we want to.
[Mecron II quarry]
(near the reduction plant. Vila, Tarrant and Gerren are crouching behind a low wall)
VILA: What's going on?
GERREN: High-pressure reduction process.
VILA: Yeah, but what's going on?
GERREN: That's the pressure container. An electro-magnetic field produces such high pressure that everything except the Feldon crystals is reduced to fine dust.
TARRANT: (into bracelet) Avon, ...Avon. ...Avon, come in! ...It's no good, I still can't raise him.
(Vila stands up. A guard without a helmet comes round a corner and sees him)
HEAD GUARD: Put down your weapons ...slowly ...in front of you.
TARRANT: Well done Vila.
HEAD GUARD: This is a restricted area.
GERREN: I am Academician Gerren ...doing geological survey work for the Planetary Resources Commission.
HEAD GUARD: Papers?
(Gerren gives him his papers)
HEAD GUARD: That seems to be order. (to Vila and Tarrant) You?
GERREN: They are part of my survey team.
HEAD GUARD: I still need to see their papers.
VILA: I seem to have left mine behind.
HEAD GUARD: Then I'm sure you won't object to being searched. Search him!
(a guard searches Vila and finds the Mecronian knife)
HEAD GUARD: Four of our men have been killed with a knife like that.
VILA: You don't think... I mean, I'm not the violent type, really I'm not.
(Dayna appears slowly from behind a wall and takes aim)
HEAD GUARD: Then why do you carry that?
VILA: I found it.
HEAD GUARD: Where?
VILA: It was stuck in one of your men.
DAYNA: Vila, down!
(she downs the guard and then the head guard, Another guard appears and Tarrant catches him with a couple of blows. He picks up a rod and clouts him. The guard falls into the pressure container which emits a cloud of red dust)
VILA: Nasty way to go, ...all that dust, ...very bad for the chest.
(the Federation guards are smashing the place up including the glass dome)
BELKOV: I really must object. I mean, it's taken me years to get these things together. There's no point in your destroying them!
SERVALAN: I asked for your co-operation, you wouldn't give it.
BELKOV: I'd hardly be stupid enough ...to hide a consignment of stolen crystals in here, now would I?
SERVALAN: No? Where would you put them, then?
(Belkov starts to snigger and then stops abruptly)
SERVALAN: Try the computer.
BELKOV: I wouldn't do that if I were you.
SERVALAN: Go ahead.
(a guard opens a panel and as his hand gets near to the circuits, electricity arcs across killing him)
BELKOV: I ...did warn him. You see, Gambit is programmed ...to defend itself. I... I really think co-operation would be the best idea for both of us.
SERVALAN: That's what I've been offering you all along.
BELKOV: Well, I didn't find your terms very attractive.
SERVALAN: What do you have in mind?
BELKOV: Well, ...first I think this gentleman should stop threatening me. Then I just want to get away from here safely, ...to ...have enough capital to continue my researches in peace, somewhere else.
SERVALAN: You mean you expect the Federation to pay you for something you've already stolen from them. I think I'll just turn you over to my interrogation team. You'll give them what they want in the end.
BELKOV: I... I could tell you where you could get your hands on some outlaws, just as ...a sign of good faith, of course.
SERVALAN: I'm listening.
BELKOV: Avon, ...Vila, ...Tarrant. I understand the Federation would like them put of circulation.
SERVALAN: I don't believe you could deliver.
BELKOV: They're already here on the planet. You'd have them within twenty-four hours.
SERVALAN: And the crystals?
BELKOV: Oh, they'd be part of the deal. Another triumph for Commissioner Sleer.
SERVALAN: Perhaps we can do business after all.
BELKOV: Good, then without appearing to be greedy, I'd like to discuss the question of my ...payment first.
SERVALAN: The Federation's been paying you for twelve years. I'd say you're lucky to get out with your life.
BELKOV: Oh, I wouldn't. I want Orac, my ship, and enough Feldon crystals to negotiate my way round the galaxy.
BELKOV: You are getting a bargain, and you know it.
[Mecron II quarry]
(Vila, Tarrant and Gerren and Tarrant approach the cave entrance but stay concealed from three Federation guards who come out and then go back inside. Dayna appears above the entrance and throws the Mecronian knife and kills one of two more guards returning to the cave. The other calls to the guards inside)
(the three guards come out and go off in the opposite direction)
VILA: Ah well, I got blamed for one of their killings.
(Dayna joins them. Tarrant clouts the remaining guard over the head with his gun)
(they go into the cave where there is the main entrance door in the rock wall)
TARRANT: Come on, as fast as you can, there won't be long.
VILA: I realise that.
(Vila opens the door)
TARRANT: Right! I want you to get into cover and wait.
VILA: Out here, alone?!
TARRANT: Belkov may double-cross us.
VILA: I should think that's highly likely. What do you expect me to do about it, mount a one-man rescue?
TARRANT: Something like that.
VILA: They're after blood, ...my blood.
DAYNA: Tell them you've already given.
TARRANT: We need backup Vila. I don't like it any more than you do, but without Scorpio, you're it. Now go!
(they go in and Vila goes outside and hides amongst some rocks)
VILA: (into bracelet) Avon, ...come in Avon! ...Avon, if you're up there, please answer. This is not fun anymore.
(he hears two guards approaching above him and as he pulls himself against the rocks, his hand is on the ledge above. The guards pause and one is treading on Vila's fingers. He grimaces but the guards move off)
SLAVE: You have achieved the new orbit with consummate skill, master.
AVON: Thank you Slave, I am releasing manual control. Watch out for any deviation in the Orbiter.
SLAVE: Yes, master.
AVON: Well, that should keep Belkov guessing. Now let us see if we can do anything about getting those crystals.
(he plugs in Orac's activator)
ORAC: Yes, Avon?
AVON: Tell me everything you know about Belkov's One-Nine-Seven computer.
ORAC: You suggested I spared you the technical details.
AVON: Oh, don't sulk, Orac. I have a little more time now.
ORAC: The modifications are very extensive. It's inaccurate to call it a One-Nine-Seven anymore. It's really a sort of hybrid. For example, a whole section of its memory banks are from a PPC-class unit.
AVON: A pleasure planet computer. That means it plays games.
ORAC: The total effect is a system which responds in what I can only describe as an eccentric manner.
SOOLIN: What does that mean?
ORAC: A computer must, by definition, be logical. But it can also mirror the logic of its creator.
SOOLIN: You mean it's an extension of his mind.
ORAC: No, that is not what I mean!
SOOLIN: His personality, then.
ORAC: A better definition, but still not quite accurate.
AVON: Would it know how the booby traps on the Orbiter are programmed?
ORAC: As yet, I don't have enough data to answer that question.
AVON: If it knew, could you extract the information from it? Come on!
(he gives Orac a slap)
AVON: That's a simple enough question!
ORAC: There might be problems.
AVON: Why? You have extracted information from Federation computers before now. This is just a hodgepodge of three or four of them. You have already said that it is inferior to you!
ORAC: The difficulty is not technical. It's more one of, er, attitude.
AVON: Ah. You mean the logic of its creator.
ORAC: Exactly. Let me remind you of ancient Earth mythology. The Delphic Oracle would answer questions truthfully without giving a true answer.
AVON: So what we need is not the right answer, but the right question.
SOOLIN: And in circumstances where any mistake would prove fatal.
(Belkov is watching Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren on a monitor approach the door to his quarters. The door opens)
BELKOV: Do come in.
(they spin round as the door closes)
BELKOV: ...Your guns are quite unnecessary, unless you've an urgent reason for killing me, that is.
TARRANT: Oh, that's always a possibility.
BELKOV: There are a lot of Federation troops about, ...as you might have noticed, and I did mention to Commissioner Sleer you might be dropping in.
DAYNA: Well that sounds like an urgent reason for killing you.
BELKOV: Yes, but you see, if you did, Gambit is programmed to raise the alarm. Wouldn't help me, I know, but it would ensure that you were captured and ...khrgh ...executed. ...Look, I don't care if she gets the crystals or you do, I just want to get safely out of this place!
TARRANT: Well, we're not keen on staying here either.
BELKOV: Oh really? Can you explain why your friend Avon has taken your ship out of orbit?
DAYNA: Er, that's not true.
GERREN: You couldn't raise him on the communicator?
TARRANT: Avon wouldn't run out on us.
BELKOV: Er, ...I wish I had your faith in him. Still, whatever the reason, it calls for some slight change of plan. Are you still capable of piloting one of these Federation ships?
TARRANT: It's what I was trained for.
BELKOV: Good. Gambit..
GAMBIT: Yes, Belkov.
DAYNA: Er, slow down! We'd like to know exactly what you are doing, so there can be no misunderstandings.
BELKOV: I was going to instruct Gambit to ...contact Commissioner Sleer, give her your position and advise her to take her men and arrest you.
DAYNA: You'll be dead before you get the first sentence out.
BELKOV: Well that would be a pity, you see, because the place I was going to send her is held to be sacred by the Mecronians. They're a primitive bunch, but they do take their religion rather seriously and if she goes marching in there with her men, she'll have a fight on her hands, at least ...long enough for us to steal one of her ships.
[Mecron II quarry]
VILA: (into bracelet) Avon, Avon, are you up there? Avon, come in please.
AVON: (on communicator) Avon, ...go ahead Vila.
VILA: We've been trying to contact you for an hour. What the hell have you been doing, taking a nap?!
AVON: I've been doing what we came for. How about you?
VILA: Oh nothing much, I've been shot at, trodden on, nearly captured twice...
(there is an explosion and flames shoot from the quarry. A Mecronian runs out with his habit on fire)
VILA: ...and now I think they're trying to blow me up. ...A fairly average day. You know.
(there are several more explosions)
VILA: What the hell's going on?
AVON: They're not aimed at you.
VILA: I wish you'd tell them that! Teleport me back up, will you?
AVON: Not yet, you've still got work to do.
(there is another large explosion, this time up the quarry wall. Elsewhere Servalan and three guards arrive outside a cave entrance)
SERVALAN: They're hiding somewhere here. Find out what they know.
(the guards enter the cave where there is a religious ceremony going on. One Mecronian kills a guard with a Mecronian knife. Other Mecronians tackle the other two. Servalan leaves)
(Avon is looking at a chessboard on a monitor)
SOOLIN: How long are we going to wait for those two?
AVON: As long as it takes. If Orac is going to get any information out of that machine, this is the way he's going to do it.
SOOLIN: Who's winning?
ORAC: We've both made sacrifices.
AVON: He means that Gambit is.
ORAC: A temporary advantage.
AVON: To an inferior computer?
ORAC: Which merely disguises my long-term strategy.
AVON: Let's forget your ego for the moment. Have you extracted any information that can be of use to us yet?
ORAC: Gambit has evolved into its present form over a number of years.
AVON: Well, that's true of all computers. You adapt them, you improve them.
ORAC: But these adaptations seem entirely haphazard. Some circuits have been added purely for amusement, others, the defence mechanisms for instance, are surprisingly complex.
AVON: But they all perform the same function. ...Belkov does not trust anyone except that machine. It is his bodyguard, his companion, his playmate ...his friend, Orac.
ORAC: Oh! That implies an emotional tie, which is no part of a computer's function.
AVON: These adaptations, if they went in haphazardly, could they be removed the same way?
ORAC: A lot of them have been. There are circuits in the PPC section that serve no function at all now. It seems that games are added at a whim, and when the adaptor gets bored with them, taken out again.
AVON: So every function ...can be isolated ...and removed.
[Mecron II quarry]
(the explosions continue and Federation guards run out of the quarry)
AVON: (on communicator) Vila.
VILA: (into bracelet) Look, if you don't teleport me soon, it'll be too late, there are Federation guards everywhere, bombs going off...
AVON: That's just Belkov tidying things before he leaves. I'm going to bring you up....
VILA: About time.
AVON: ...as soon as you've collected a circuit from his computer.
(further explosions are destroying the plant)
(Belkov is watching the destruction on a monitor)
GAMBIT: Detonation series completed.
BELKOV [OC]: Thank you Gambit. It's time we left.
(Belkov, Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren leave)
[Mecron II quarry]
(Vila breaks cover and approaches the quarry entrance. Mecronians are running around in confusion)
BELKOV: It's a bit longer this way, but it's safer than going above ground.
(he opens a door to a room)
(they follow him in)
BELKOV: Oh, we're right under the takeoff area here.
(as they look up he goes out and the door closes)
(she fires at the door)
TARRANT: Forget it Dayna, they're blast protection doors, both jammed from the outside. Well, we walked into that with our eyes open.
DAYNA: (into bracelet) Avon, this is Dayna...
TARRANT: That won't work either, even if he's there, he couldn't hear us. We're under the launch area, remember? That's what this emergency blast protection's for. There'll be so much shielding up there, he wouldn't hear us if he was standing immediately overhead.
DAYNA: I don't understand. If Belkov wanted to give us to Servalan, why didn't he do it straight away?
GERREN: I think I can answer that. I've surveyed the whole of this planet and there's no Feldon left. This new mining site was just another way of swindling credits out of the Federation.
DAYNA: So those bombs weren't just a diversion.
GERREN: No. He's hoping to destroy the evidence.
TARRANT: And when the dust settles, we're here to take the blame for sabotage as well as everything else.
(Vila comes in and moves a couple of chess pieces)
VILA: Gambit? ...Look, let's get one thing straight from the start, I don't mean you any harm, not personally. I'm sure you're a miracle of engineering. I bet you're not half as bad-tempered as Orac. I just want one of your circuits, that's all. Now you've got plenty to spare, so there's no need for us to get into a fight about it.
(Vila hides when he hears the door open)
GAMBIT: Yes, Belkov?
BELKOV: Give me a security scan.
GAMBIT: Security scan operative.
BELKOV: Mining area?
(monitor shows dust and smoke)
BELKOV: Main entrance?
(monitor shows the closed security door)
BELKOV: What's Commissioner Sleer doing?
BELKOV: Tarrant and the others?
(monitor shows Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren in the room)
(monitor shows the empty corridor)
BELKOV: Good, that's the lot.
GAMBIT: Security scan completed.
GAMBIT: Yes Belkov?
BELKOV: I'm leaving this planet. I have to. ...There's nothing for me here now. ...Prepare Alpha Three for takeoff. Start count down as soon as possible.
GAMBIT: Launching preparations under way.
BELKOV: I ...can't take you with me. I ...need you ...to finish off things here. When I'm clear of Mecron atmosphere, ...go to Condition Red. ...When all other tasks have been performed...
BELKOV: Look, I can't take you with me. You... You can see that, can't you? You're needed here, ...but you can't be left intact either. ...With all the trouble I've been to... to destroy the evidence, I... I can hardly leave you with memory banks full of it, can I?
GAMBIT: Is there some other function you wish me to carry out?
BELKOV: When all other tasks have been performed, go to self-destruct sequence as programmed. Gambit...
GAMBIT: Yes, Belkov?
BELKOV: ...I shall miss you. ...I don't suppose that concept could possibly mean anything to you. ...I... I just thought I'd mention it.
VILA: Look, you'll probably say it's none of my business, but if somebody told me to kill myself for them, they'd get a short answer. ...Are you just programmed to respond to Belkov? ...Can you hear me? ...Can you talk to me?
GAMBIT: Would you like to play something? I'm programmed for all games.
VILA: Ah, that's very kind of you madam, but not at the moment, thanks. Look, if you're programmed to defend yourself, surely you shouldn't self-destruct.
GAMBIT: The self-destruct sequence overrides all others.
VILA: That seems a bit of a waste. If you could let me have that circuit I mentioned, it'd be a sort of way for you to live on, wouldn't it? That'd be much better than being blanked out forever.
GAMBIT: I must complete all tasks set.
VILA: Ah yes, of course, but ...er ...if you could let me have that circuit, and er, ...any chance of security scan fourteen again?
GAMBIT: Security scan fourteen.
(Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren appear on the screen)
GAMBIT: Do you require voice contact?
VILA: That wouldn't be a bad idea, and if you could open the door, that would be even better.
(on the monitor the door opens)
VILA: (on communicator) Tarrant, this is your one-man backup team. I think it's time we got out of here.
TARRANT: (into communicator) Where are you Vila?
VILA: Belkov's living quarters.
TARRANT: We'll be right there.
(Vila takes a circuit board out from behind the panel where the guard was killed when he put his hand in)
(Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren encounter guards and exchange shots. Outside Belkov's quarters Vila shoots another guard)
VILA: (into bracelet) Avon, can you hear me. ...Avon? I don't believe this. Gambit!
GAMBIT: Yes, Vila?
VILA: Is there another way out of here?
GAMBIT: Scan seventeen.
(a section in the rock wall hinges back)
GAMBIT: This leads to the mining area. There is some damage, it is extensive, but not impassable.
VILA: We'll risk it.
(Dayna, Tarrant and Gerren encounter another guard who downs Gerren. Tarrant stops Dayna going to Gerren's aid)
TARRANT: Come on!
[Mecron II quarry]
(Vila, Dayna and Tarrant emerge from a cave entrance)
VILA: (into bracelet) Avon, bring us up quick!
(they teleport out as more guards come out of the cave entrance)
(Servalan with a pistol and two guards are bending over Gerren)
SERVALAN: Are you ready to explain why you betrayed your position of trust, Gerren?
GERREN: It... It was... It was Belkov. He... He was the one who betrayed the Federation.
SERVALAN: I see. ...And you've been associating with rebels in order to expose him, is that it?
GERREN: He... He didn't send back more than half the Feldon that was mined. He... He kept it for himself. He... He's been doing it for years.
SERVALAN: Odd how you never mentioned that before.
GERREN: All right. I... I admit I wanted to get in on it myself at first, but now...
SERVALAN: But now you're frightened ...and you need medical help ...and you think information might save you.
GERREN: The... The crystals are in the Orbiter, but Belkov's booby-trapped it so he thinks they're safe. There... There must be a... a... a billion in crystals up there, m... m... maybe more.
SERVALAN: Anything else?
[Orbiter in space]
AVON [OC]: Dayna, we're down safe in Orbiter and proceeding.
(Vila is carrying Orac. Avon, Tarrant and Soolin are with him)
GAMBIT: (via Orac) Countdown twelve minutes twenty seconds and running.
VILA: What does that mean?
AVON: I imagine that if we're not out of here by the time it hits zero, we might regret it.
(Soolin presses the control to reveal the monitor)
GAMBIT: Control system feedback is through the weapon. The game adjusts to meet, and on the last shot, exceed the proficiency of the players.
(she takes the pistol from the rack)
SOOLIN: You have to outshoot yourself.
TARRANT: Stupid game.
SOOLIN: Not really. Finally a game worth playing. Stand back.
(she fires successfully)
DAYNA: Yes, Slave?
SLAVE: Scan reveals several launchings from the planet's surface. Initial launch, small cargo vessel, Alpha Three. Subsequent launches confirm Federation pursuit ships. Bearings indicate all ships heading in this direction.
DAYNA: Thank you Slave. (into communicator) Avon!
AVON: (on communicator) Yes Dayna?
DAYNA: Keep it moving, company on its way.
AVON: (into bracelet) We're doing our best.
GAMBIT: Final shot. The machine will outdraw you.
(Soolin fires and wins. Screen reads
GAME OVER SCORE: 100
GAME OVER SCORE: 100
VILA: No prize?
AVON: The prize is survival.
(a door opens and they go in)
[Orbiter games room]
(the room is full of games machines)
AVON: Orac, can you find out where we go from here?
ORAC: Sensors indicate that all the other games are laid against the outside hull of the ship, therefore logic suggests that only machine four could give access to any inner chamber.
TARRANT: This is based on an old LFS.
TARRANT: Yeah, launch and flight simulator. I trained on one.
(Tarrant sits down at a control console with a large screen in front of him)
VILA: So you've had some practice, then. That's a bit of luck.
TARRANT: Well not exactly. These things chuck the lot at you. Flying the real thing's nothing after one of these.
GAMBIT: Countdown eight minutes, still running.
AVON: Get on with it, Tarrant.
TARRANT: All right, all right! Taking her up.
(he takes hold of the joystick control and watches the take off from a runway on the screen)
DAYNA: Slave, what's the position of those Federation ships now?
SLAVE: The leading ship will be within firing range in one minute, Madam.
DAYNA: Thank you.
SLAVE: Do you wish me to begin evasive or offensive action?
DAYNA: No, not yet. (into communicator) Avon!
AVON: (on communicator) Yes Dayna?
DAYNA: I know you've got problems of your own, but those Federation ships could be firing on us in seconds. Any suggestions?
AVON: Just sit tight Dayna. The Orbiter is between you and them. My guess is that they're too interested in what's inside to risk hitting it.
[Orbiter games room]
(on the screen Tarrant is flying amongst planetoids and space debris. In trying to avoid a planetoid there is an impact sound)
TARRANT: Damage report.
COMPUTER: Retro-stabilisers out of action. Slight fracture of radiation skin. Reduction in pressure. Damage to energy banks makes landing decision imperative. Successful landing will score thirty percent more than stable orbit. Failure to achieve either forfeits all scores. ...Decide!
(on the screen another planetoid is seen approaching)
COMPUTER: Orbit achieved. Points score, acceptable.
(a wall panel lifts up revealing another door)
GAMBIT: Countdown five minutes, ten seconds and running.
AVON: Vila, what do you make of this?
VILA: It's a fingerprint lock. When it recognises the print, it opens the door. It looks standard enough.
AVON: How long?
VILA: Half an hour or so and I could bypass it.
AVON: We don't have half an hour!
VILA: I know that, but unless you can cut off one of Belkov's fingers for me. ...Just a minute!
(he grabs Tarrant's boot)
TARRANT: Vila, what are you doing?
VILA: Dust! I need very fine dust.
(he pats dust off Tarrant's boot)
VILA: That's probably half the guard you threw in that machine, Tarrant. In the old days, one of the ways of shifting suspicion, ...was by lifting fingerprints.
(he blows dust onto the circuit board Gambit let him have and presses a piece of plastic onto the dust)
VILA: There! Let's hope one of these is Belkov's.
(he applies the piece of plastic to the finger print lock. The door opens)
VILA: It worked!
(Avon pulls him out of the way to look at the monitor and keyboard which has been revealed)
SOOLIN: How many more of these have we got to go through?
ORAC: Gambit's circuits indicate that this is the final game.
AVON: This is the Orbiter's central guidance system.
DAYNA: (on communicator) Avon, if I'm supposed to be using you as a shield, I hope you realise you're moving out of orbit.
AVON: (into bracelet) What?!
[Orbiter moving to reveal Scorpio]
[Orbiter games room]
AVON: Orac, what the hell is going on? Guidance system control is not functioning.
ORAC: The Orbiter is pre-programmed. Flight power depends on the distance and intensity of each star the Feldon panels are locked into. The successful completion of a game continues the sequence. To regain control, you must complete the coded sequence of star sources.
VILA: What about the Feldon crystals?
GAMBIT: This game will reveal the entrance.
SOOLIN: All we have to do is lock on to the right star.
ORAC: It is possible that we've just received the right answer to the wrong question.
AVON: I calculate that the next star in the sequence is Cygnus XL. That's a black hole.
GAMBIT: That is correct.
AVON: Not exactly the entrance we were looking for. (into bracelet) Dayna, we're ready for teleport.
VILA: What about the crystals?
AVON: There aren't any damned crystals. There never were any damned crystals. They're like everything else on this ship, ..a game! That's why the last one has to be impassable. We have got to get out of here!
DAYNA [OC]: Stand by.
[Alpha Three leaving Mecron II]
BELKOV: (on monitor screen) Gambit. ...Can you hear me, Gambit?
GAMBIT: Yes, Belkov.
BELKOV: Position please.
GAMBIT: Your orbit is stable, you are approaching optimum departure co-ordinates.
BELKOV: Fine. Sever guidance links, give me automatic control.
GAMBIT: Beginning self-destruct sequence.
BELKOV: I need automatic control first. ...Gambit!
GAMBIT: I am not able to give it to you.
BELKOV: I'll be killed if you don't.
GAMBIT: Not willing to give it to you.
GAMBIT: Self-destruct sequence in progress.
BELKOV: I'm sorry.
GAMBIT: Goodbye, Belkov.
BELKOV: Ah, Gambit, this is no way to end our game. ...Lock my controls into Cygnus XL ...and Orbiter's. ...Please?
GAMBIT: Panels locked in.
BELKOV: Ha, ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha...
(the monitor screen goes blank and Gambit self-destructs)
[Alpha Three in flight]
(Scorpio is being rocked)
GAMBIT: (via Orac) Belkov has opened the door.
AVON: Into the black hole. That is an infinite power source for the Feldon to draw upon. There is nothing that won't be dragged in.
TARRANT: Orac, if we pushed everything to the limit, could we raise enough power to pull away from it?
AVON: But a huge negative force a long way off could be balanced by a positive force close to the crystals.
ORAC: A somewhat simplistic theory.
AVON: Slave, I need all the power we can muster. Sacrifice everything except life support. Blast those Feldon panels with everything we've got.
VILA: From this distance? You'll blow us up too!!
[Orbiter disappears when blasted by Scorpio]
SOOLIN: You've done it.
DAYNA: Yes, but what have you done?
AVON: Proved my somewhat simplistic theory, Orac.
ORAC: Apparently so. It would appear that positive and negative inputs were balanced by the Feldon crystals. Indeed, the balance was so perfect, that they simply ceased to exist, along with everything in their immediate vicinity.
TARRANT: I'm glad we didn't get too close.
DAYNA: But ...after all that, we go home empty-handed.
VILA: Er, not entirely empty-handed.
(he produces Belkov's necklace)
VILA: Well, I saw it laying about, seemed a pity not to take it. ...After all, Belkov won't be needing it where he's gone.
AVON: Let me see that.
VILA: I'd say the last game was mine, wouldn't you?
AVON: I have bad news for you, Vila.
(he smashes the crystals with his gun butt)
AVON: It's a fake. ...Endgame to Belkov!