Transcript of ĎThe Syndeton Experimentí

Written by Barry Letts, directed by Brian Lighthill.
Transcribed by Nicola Mody

(c) 1998 by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Series created by Terry Nation. This is a dialogue transcript for research purposes and is not for sale under any circumstances. Transcript and format (c) 2002 by Nicola Mody 

DRAMATIS PERSONAE 

Kerr Avon 

Paul Darrow

Vila Restal 

Michael Keating

Del Tarrant 

Steven Pacey

Dayna Mellanby 

Angela Bruce

Soolin 

Paula Wilcox

Orac and Slave 

Peter Tuddenham

Servalan 

Jacqueline Pearce

   

Captain Vledka 

Graham Padden

Madame Gaskia 

Judy Cornwell

Doctor Rossum 

Peter Jeffrey

Others 

Played by members of the cast:

Klissak 

 

Federation sergeant 

 

Spinder 

 

Commander Modnitz 

 

Tour guide

 

Roddil 

 

Robots 

 

 

Set between the TV episodes Stardrive and Animals, after the first radio play The Sevenfold Crown.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

[A restaurant in Blag City; quiet conversation and the clatter of cutlery can be heard in the background]

AVON 

Iíll kill him. Iíll kill the little swine

TARRANT 

How long have we got?

AVON 

If we havenít made the hyper-jump within... [he looks at his watch] ...within 97 minutes, weíll have missed the coordinates, and the journey time will be nearly doubled, and I doubt if the syndeton would last that long.

TARRANT 

Heíll be here. Vilaís no fool.

AVON 

No?

TARRANT 

Well, not when his survivalís at stake.

AVON 

And when heís got a belly-full of boo-juice?

TARRANT 

Maybe heís gone straight back to the ship.

AVON 

By himself? Through the shanties? He wouldnít last ten minutes. I should never have agreed to split up, Tarrant. I tell you, Iím just about at the end of my patience.

TARRANT 

These stores trips are always dicey. Iíve never known you to be so jumpy.

AVON 

I know this place. Iíve known it since I was kicked out of the Academy. If he isnít here in five minutes, I shall go without him.

 

 

 

[Scorpio cargo hold]

SOOLIN 

Oof! Dayna! Come and give us a hand with these carbohydrate blocks, they weigh a ton!

SLAVE 

Forgive me for contradicting you, madam. Each block weighs precisely 116.225 kilos.

SOOLIN 

Thank you, Slave, a very useful piece of information.

SLAVE 

I was merely intending to point out that they should be stored on the right side of the end bunker. We are in danger of losing our trim.

 

[there is a crashing sound as Soolin drops a block into place]

DAYNA 

Arenít they back yet? Iím beginning to get worried.

 

[more crashes and grunts]

DAYNA 

Whew! You werenít kidding!

SOOLIN 

At least weíre safe from the Feds here.

DAYNA 

Yeah.

SLAVE 

Dreadfully sorry, madam, but that is not so. I have been picking up transmissions from Federation security patrols. They are searching the bars for cratch dealers.

SOOLIN 

What? We must warn them. Slave, open a link.

 

 

 

[The restaurant]

AVON 

Thatís it. Iím going.

TARRANT 

Without Vila?

AVON 

And I hope he enjoys a long and happy retirement in Blag City. Weíre well rid of him.

 

[Avonís bracelet chimes]

SOOLIN 

[over bracelet comms] Come in Avon, come in Avon, over.

AVON 

What is it, Soolin?

SOOLIN 

Youíd better get your rollers on. The Feds are in town, Servalanís lot. Out.

 

[she cuts comms]

AVON 

Oh, no. Now weíve got to find him. If he lets on where weíre heading, itís goodbye to the syndeton and goodbye to the stardrive.

TARRANT 

No, you were right the first time. Let him stew in his own juice, weíve got to get out of here.

AVON 

Nothing would give me more pleasure, but once the Feds start their little games, heíll crack like a soft-boiled egg.

 

 

 

[A bar in Blag City]

VILA 

[drunkenly] Syndexia! Thatís where weíre going! Whoops! I was supposed to keep that a se...secret.

KLISSAK 

[laughs] Here, go on. Have a line. Thisís Daddy Lloydís pink, this! [he slaps a packet down on the bar] Síonly hundred credits a hit.

VILA 

No, thanks. Brings me out in pimples, cratch does.

KLISSAK 

Mm-hmm.

VILA 

Iíll have another little drink, though.

KLISSAK 

[drawn-out] Yeah....

VILA 

Secret...yeah. You wonít tell anybody, will you?

KLISSAK 

Youíve got half a bottle left. [he laughs] Eh? Well, what about?

VILA 

What about what?

KLISSAK 

[laughs]

 

 

 

[In the city streets]

AVON 

Itís going to take us half the night at this rate, he could be anywhere. This is madness. How I ever came to be saddled withó

TARRANT 

Get back!

AVON 

What is it?

TARRANT 

I thought I saw...yes, look. Piling out of that transport.

AVON 

Feds.

 

 

 

[The bar]

VILA 

...and Avon said to me...

KLISSAK 

Yeah?

VILA 

ĎVila, old son,í he said, ĎVila, youíre abso...lutely...lutely right...í

KLISSAK 

[chuckles]

VILA 

Ď...as you usually are!í

SERGEANT 

[through megaphone] Everyone!

VILA 

[putting his bottle down] Ooh!

SERGEANT 

Stay where you are!

VILA 

Oh, right. Oh, yeah.

 

[someone disobeys and is machine-gunned down, crying out in pain]

SERGEANT 

Quiet! [they obey; music can be heard] Turn off that noise! [there is silence] Have your IDs ready, and do as youíre told, and no one elseíll get hurt.

 

 

 

[Outside]

TARRANT 

Is he there? Can you see him?

AVON 

No, I...yes! Yes, heís right in the middle of it. What clip have you got in your gun?

TARRANT 

Ah...plasma bullets. Semiautomatic.

AVON 

Give it to me. Take mine, itís on maximum stun.

TARRANT 

Right.

AVON 

Grab us a slider-cab, but donít kill the driver unless you have to. Weíre in enough trouble.

TARRANT 

Youíre going in?

AVON 

What choice have I got?

 

 

 

[The bar]

KLISSAK 

Oh God, what am I gonna to do? Itís the cratch theyíre after.

VILA 

Oh, lighten up, make a joke of it. They love a little joke, these lads.

SPINDER 

ID?

KLISSAK 

Oh, yeah, yeah. [he complies] Sure, here.

SPINDER  

Hmm. Klissak?

KLISSAK 

Yeah, thatís right, Ulaf Klissak, yeah. Itís all there. [he sniffs]

SPINDER 

Hmm. Right, stand up. Hands above your head. [she pats him down] What have we here? One...two... [she extracts bags of cratch from him and puts them on the bar] Sergeant!

KLISSAK 

Look, itísóitís all for my own use, itís...well, itís medicinal like, you know, I get headaches.

SPINDER 

Howíd you think you were going to get away with it? I could smell you a mile away.

VILA 

Díyou know, thatís just what I thought when you and your pals came in.

SERGEANT 

Thereís always a comic. Stand up!

 

[Vila does]

SERGEANT 

íEre, I know you, donít I?

VILA 

Whoís a lucky boy, then?

SERGEANT 

Oh, got it! Spinder, you havenít been doing your homework. This face is slapped on the wall in every station íouse in the Federation. So? Where are your friends then?

AVON 

Over here, sergeant. No! Donít tryó [he shoots; the sergeant cries out] The next burst takes the sergeantís head off. Vila. Over here. Move it. Move it!

VILA 

Oh, yeah, sure.

 

 

 

[Scorpio]

AVON 

[entering] Slave, report.

SLAVE 

No sign of pursuit, master. Twelve minutes to position H.

TARRANT 

Weíve lost them.

AVON 

No thanks to Vila.

SOOLIN 

How is he?

DAYNA 

Heís passed out.

AVON 

For good, I hope. This canít go on.

DAYNA 

Itís the longest heís stayed on the wagon yet.

AVON 

Iím not talking about that drunken cretin, heís beyond hope, or weíre all as bad. Itís the life we liveóchase and be chased. Well, thatís it. Iíve had enough.

DAYNA 

What?

SOOLIN 

Avon, are you all right?

AVON 

Iím very far from all right. I mean what I say. This has got to stop.

TARRANT 

Well, what are you saying? Are you suggesting that we go back to Xenon and settle down?

DAYNA 

I know what he means. Anything must be better than the last couple of hours.

SOOLIN 

Well, Iím not quite ready for my shawl and rocking chair yet, thank you very much.

DAYNA 

We have been running a very long time.

TARRANT 

Yeah, and when the Federation boys arrive?

DAYNA 

We could hole up somewhere.

TARRANT 

So Servalan has won. Youíre ready to let her take over theó

AVON 

[over him] Thatís not what Iím saying at all, Iím saying that we keep playing the game to her rules. We need to fight back, really fight. But on equal terms.

SOOLIN 

So, what are you suggesting?

AVON 

We need a power base. We should be able to negotiate with the Federation from a position of strength, instead of scuttling away, whimpering like a bunch of mutant mongrels from the backstreet gutters of Balaksom.

TARRANT 

Mm, you always had a pretty turn of phrase, Avon. You know what my old nana used to say? ĎFine words butter no parsnips.í

DAYNA 

Parsnips? Whatís a parsnip?

SOOLIN 

Oh, come on, Avon, Tarrantís right. If youíve got something to say, say it.

AVON 

Why is it that Syndexia has become so important in the last few years? And how has Madame Gaskia become one of the most powerful women in the Federation?

TARRANT 

Since syndeton ran out everywhere else, they have the monopoly.

AVON 

Precisely.

DAYNA 

Madame Gaskia? Whoís Madame Gaskia?

SOOLIN 

Sheís the ruler of Syndexia, sheís an absolute dictator.

AVON 

Not for much longer. Sheís in for a little surprise. Itís our turn now. We need something to bargain with. And I know just what that something is going to be. Syndeton.

 

 

 

[Servalanís quarters]

COMPUTER 

[in a synthesised voice] It must be assumed that Doctor Rossum and his team vanished in theó

 

[door bell]

SERVALAN 

Who is it? [the door opens] Ah, Captain Vledka. Youíre just in time.

VLEDKA 

[clicks his heels] Commissioner?

SERVALAN 

First things first. A drink.

VLEDKA 

But madam, Iím on duty.

SERVALAN 

I insist. A royal command...in a manner of speaking.

VLEDKA 

Youíre very kind. A small whisky perhaps?

SERVALAN 

Nonsense. You shall have one of my specials, a plitka martini. Very dry and very strong. [she start to make it] So. Have we persuaded this umóKlissak, was it?óto reveal any more?

VLEDKA 

Iím afraid not. Although the interrogation was very thorough. Syndexia. They were going to Syndexia. Thatís all the fugitive Vila told him.

SERVALAN 

But Klissak told us that hours ago. Nothing else at all?

VLEDKA 

Regrettably, no.

SERVALAN 

Mm. Youíd better bring him in. Iíll question him myself.

VLEDKA 

[reluctantly] Iím afraid that wonít be possible. They let him die under interrogation.

SERVALAN 

How very careless of them. Have you checked the intelligence reports we hold on Syndexia?

VLEDKA 

Er, no, Iím afraid I havenít.

SERVALAN 

Well, I have, and very interesting they turn out to be. There. Try that.

 

[she gives him the martini]

VLEDKA 

Your very good health, madam.

SERVALAN 

Hereís to our betterónoóour closer acquaintance.

VLEDKA 

Ah. [they clink glasses, Vledka drinks, and gasps]

SERVALAN 

Well?

VLEDKA 

[still gasping for breath] Remarkable!

SERVALAN 

I reserve it for special occasions. [Vledka continues to gasp] Now, come and sit at the table, and we can have our dinner while I tell you what I have found out, and what we are going to do about it.

VLEDKA 

But commissioner, itís against regulationsó

SERVALAN 

Now, youíre not going to be tedious about duty and protocol and all the rest of that stuffy nonsense, are you. [she sets out plates] You remember Lieutenant Gotha?

VLEDKA 

Ióah, I think so. A big blond fellow with the Aldebaran accent? I havenít seen him around lately.

SERVALAN 

No. And he had such a promising career. Poor boy.

VLEDKA 

Ah. I was merely going to suggest that we shouldnít lose a moment if weíre going to get to Syndexia first.

SERVALAN 

Ah, I see. No no no, thereís no worry there. At time distort 18, we can get there nearly twice as fast as that old tub of Avonís. Now, come and sit down, [Vledka does] and eat your dinner like a good boy. [Vledka laughs briefly] Iíd guarantee youíve never tasted this before. Itís smoked coelacanth.

VLEDKA 

Ah!

SERVALAN 

Iím glad youíve changed your mind. One gets so, um...so lonely.

 

 

 

[Scorpio]

DAYNA 

Theyíre all three asleep now. God, how I loathe hyper-travel. How much longer?

SOOLIN 

How long is a piece of string? Answer: compared with what? Well, thereís nothing to measure distance against, or speed. Itíll take as long as it seems to take.

DAYNA 

Oh, thank you, Professor Soolin. Thatís sorted that out.

SOOLIN 

Well, itís like the way syndeton is used up. You couldnít call it fuel, but it...it just seems to burn away when weíre in hyper-drive.

DAYNA 

How does it work, this syndeton?

SOOLIN 

Donít ask me, I only work here.

DAYNA 

Perhaps I should try asking Orac.

SOOLIN 

Oooh, you could regret that! [she laughs]

DAYNA 

[inserting Oracís key] Orac! Please tell me how syndeton works.

ORAC 

A meaningless question. Syndeton is neither a sentient being, nor a mechanical artefact. It is an elemental isotope, atomic weight 279ó

SOOLIN 

[laughs] Youíll have to be more specific. Please, dear Orac, explain to us the function of syndeton when used in hyperspace travel.

ORAC 

Ah, now I understand. Syndeton is one of the rare group of elements which exists simultaneously in the space-time continuum of our universe and in the void of hyperspace, which has been described, in an unfortunately jocular manner, as the nothing that did not exist in the no-time before the so-called big bang.

DAYNA 

That doesnít make sense.

ORAC 

Quite right. When activated by an electromagnetic oscillation of appropriate frequency and amplitude, syndeton will provide a bridge between normal space and hyperspace. You would be better able to grasp the concept if I run through the mathematics. You are familiar with Boolean algebra, Iím sure?

DAYNA 

No no, please donít bother!

ORAC 

It is no bother, I assure you. Now, using an elementary application of propositionaló

 

[Dayna removes Oracís key]

SOOLIN 

I warned you!

DAYNA 

Well, I think I got the point. Syndeton is a bridge.

 

 

 

[Servalanís quarters; she and Vledka are eating]

SERVALAN 

Yes, a bridge. And a bridge which is going to carry me to heights of power undreamed of. If it has given our good friend Madame Gaskia a world, it shall give me a galaxy. This time, thanks to Avon and his motley crew, I shall be invulnerable.

VLEDKA 

This time?

SERVALAN 

Help yourself to wine.

VLEDKA 

Oh, thank you. [he fills a glass]

SERVALAN 

You see, Doctor Rossum discoveredó

VLEDKA 

Doctor Rossum? Whoís Doctor Rossum?

SERVALAN 

Ah. Doctor Rossum is the key to everything. He ran the syndeton research centre on Syndexia, you see. And he found that syndeton can also be a bridge between two brains, between two minds.

VLEDKA 

Like telepathy?

SERVALAN 

Oh, far more than that, If a single molecule of syndeton in the centre of a nanochip were to be implanted in your brain, tuned to the frequency structure of my brainóthe fingerprint, the neurologists call itóyou would be completely in my power. Youíd hear my thoughtsówhen I wanted you toóand youíd obey my every wish. Now, wouldnít that be fun? Mousse or fruit salad?

VLEDKA 

Ah, mousse, I think.

SERVALAN 

An excellent choice. Iíll join you.

VLEDKA 

[after drinking] And thatís how Madame Gaskia became the leader?

SERVALAN 

Once she had a dozen of the local...

 

 

 

[Scorpio]

VILA 

[belches loudly]

AVON 

Do you mind, Vila?

VILA 

[sounding unwell] Beg pardon, Iím sure.

TARRANT 

Wouldnít you be better off in bed? You look dreadful.

VILA 

You should see what I look like from the inside.

AVON 

If weíre going to have a council of war, we need him here, moreís the pity.

VILA 

Yeah, well, Iíve said Iím sorry. Sorry sorry sorry. What more can I do?

AVON 

For a start, you could go and sit at the back. The fumes are overpowering.

VILA 

Pardon me for living. [he gets up]

SOOLIN 

Ooh, thanks, Vila!

TARRANT 

So. Thereís this woman, Madame Gaskia. She became the leader by the slaughter of everyone who stood in her way. Is that right?

AVON 

Quite right. Though how she managed to persuade her followers to carry out the massacre, I have no idea. The promise of power, I suppose. It usually works.

TARRANT 

And no doubt by now sheíll have an elite guard of kamikaze warriors whoíll obey her slightest whim and defend her to the death. So, let me get this straight, Avon: youíre suggesting that the five of us should invade and take her planet away from her. Is that the rough idea?

AVON 

So you have been listening. Youíre absolutely right. Thatís the plan, with one small amendment: itís not an invasion, itís a takeover, a coup. If we control Gaskia, we control the planet.

VILA 

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

DAYNA 

Weíd never get near her.

SOOLIN 

Daynaís right. Itís a ludicrous idea. How are you proposing that we do get to her?

AVON 

Easy. Once she hears my name, sheíll dig out the red carpet. When she was much younger, she ran a nightclub in Blag Cityóthe Purple Nightingale.

THE WOMEN 

Oh?

AVON 

I knew her well...very well.

TARRANT 

Ah, so we add to the game plan the betrayal of an old friend. Hmm, that figures.

 

 

 

[Servalanís quarters]

VLEDKA 

[sounding slightly drunk] ...and the shuttle is to stand by for Commissioner Sleer from first light. Tell Commander Modnitz to have both ships on full alert to leave for Syndexia as soon as possible after we join him.

TROOPER 

[over comms] Very good, sir.

SERVALAN 

First light? Iíve no intention of getting up so early? Have you?

VLEDKA 

Itíll do them good.

SERVALAN 

Which ship is coming with us?

VLEDKA 

Titan. If you remember, she was modified to carry extra troops.

SERVALAN 

Ahh. I feel so safe in your hands. Now switch that thing off. We donít want to be interrupted, do we?

 

[Vledka turns off the comms]

SERVALAN 

And turn off the light.

 

[Vledka turns off the light]

SERVALAN 

[enjoying herself and Vledka, who reciprocates] Mmm. Mmmmm. Mmmm.

 

 

 

[Scorpio]

AVON 

Tarrant, if you have a better idea, letís hear it.

SOOLIN 

No, Avon, Tarrantís right, itís full of holes. For example, the first thing that we have to do is to get hold of some syndeton. Without that, weíve no hope of escape if things go wrong.

AVON 

This isnít going to be one of your petty heists. Weíve enough credits left from the Perelman job to buy what we need legitimately.

DAYNA 

Leaving us with nothing.

AVON 

You want to save up for your old age?

DAYNA 

No, butó

SOOLIN 

[at the same time] And if they recognise us?

AVON 

This isnít Federation territory. And weíll keep Vila locked up.

VILA 

[from the back] I heard that!

AVON 

Happy?

SOOLIN 

[quietly] Yes, all right.

AVON 

And if youíre still worried about the stain on my honour, Tarrant, I should point out that you donít know the whole story.

TARRANT 

[sarcastically] Oh, do tell us!

AVON 

In a fit of pique, Gaskia betrayed me to the FedSec boys. There was quite a price on my head, even in those days. I only just escaped with my life. But she doesnít know that I know that.

VILA 

How do you know that she doesnít know that you know?

AVON 

What?

VILA 

And how do you know that she doesnít know that you know that she doesnít know?

AVON 

Youíre feeling better, I take it?

 

 

 

[Gaskiaís palace]

GASKIA 

But this is outrageous! The negotiations were finalised. Why is delivery to be held up? I need those acid cannon, and I need them, like yesterday.

SERVALAN 

Madame Gaskia. Your Excellency. [Gaskia exclaims in disgust] You misunderstand me. There is no reason to suppose any such thing. I merely point out that in my capacity as head of the security commission for this sector, I have the power to recommend a delay should my inspection prove unsatisfactory.

GASKIA 

Itís a matter of the utmost urgency. It was all my people could do to contain the midwinter riot!

SERVALAN 

Precisely my point. If there is so much unrest amongst the miners, might it not be more helpful to you for us to send in the Federation troops?

GASKIA 

Oh, haw haw haw, over my dead body. After seventeen years? I run this planet, not the Federation. [she catches her breath] Now, look. We got off on the wrong foot. Thereís no reason why we canít come to some arrangement.

SERVALAN 

Oh, I quite agree.

 

 

 

[Scorpio]

AVON 

But no guns. Peaceful travellers, traders, whatever, thatís what we are, until the momentó

SLAVE 

Ten seconds to hyper-jump. Ten...nine...eight...

 

[he continues to count during the following]

VILA 

Here we go again. And I didnít have any breakfast.

TARRANT 

Shut up, Vila.

AVON 

Stand by, Orac.

SLAVE 

...three...two...one...zero.

 

[Scorpio leaves hyperspace]

VILA 

[moans with nausea]

TARRANT 

[disgusted] Oh, God.

VILA 

[moans or retches again]

AVON 

Orac, report.

ORAC 

There is no Federation computer operating in the vicinity from which I deduce that it is probable that there is no security guard-ship operating here.

TARRANT 

We must be grateful for small mercies, I sípose.

ORAC 

Unless of course they are keeping total electronic silence, which must always be consideredó

AVON 

Thank you, Orac.

SLAVE 

Forgive me for interrupting you, master, but there is a planetary defence orbiter in visual contact.

AVON 

Show me.

ORBITER 

[over comms] Wanderer class hopper, identify.

AVON 

Space freighter Pompey. Registered number PJX double-five seven double-five two. Visiting to purchase. Request personnel shuttle service.

ORBITER 

Very good. Have your shipís papers standing by, and be prepared to demonstrate your capacity to fund your purchase. [she closes comms]

AVON 

Now remember, Dayna, you and Soolin keep radio silence until youíre safely back with the syndeton. Then stand by to join Tarrant and me as soon as I give the word.

DAYNA 

Right.

AVON 

Tarrant, donít forgetó

TARRANT 

Avon, this isnít the first job Iíve done.

VILA 

And what about me?

AVON 

You stay on board. Just try to keep awake. And sober.

 

 

 

[Gaskiaís palace]

GASKIA 

Well, Iíll be. How do you know about that?

SERVALAN 

Itís my business to know such things. Doctor Rossumís nanochip must be one of the most important developments in the history of personnel control.

GASKIA 

Youíre full of bull, you lot. Personnel control? Power! Thatís what it gives you. And if you think Iím going to pass it on to you, the way theyíre made... [she laughs]

SERVALAN 

[laughing] No, no, no, you mistake me. I know quite well that you would never consider letting me have the secret.

GASKIA 

And youíre quite right.

SERVALAN 

Unless I gave you a very good reason to.

GASKIA 

Well?

SERVALAN 

You like power. Do as I say, and we can share more power than the empress herself ever had.

GASKIA 

Iím listening.

SERVALAN 

I know everything. I know all about Doctor Rossum and his gestalt experiments. I know about Kapeka. What would you say if I told you that I have a way to retrieve his knowledge. If it still exists.

GASKIA 

Any fool who tried to land on Kapeka would die, and die a horrible death.

SERVALAN 

But that fool doesnít have to be you or me. Now, does it?

 

 

 

[Elsewhere in Gaskiaís palace]

GUIDE 

Now if youíll all gather round, this is known as the golden drawing-room. [tourists exclaim in pleasure] On account of the golden leaves surrounding the window bay being, um, golden, as you might say, andó

WOMAN 

Whatís through there?

GUIDE 

Uh, through that door, madam, is the private apartments of her excellency, which is why, no doubt, the powers that be have in their wisdom placed on it a notice inscribed ĎPrivate Apartmentsí. Over here, youíll see the glorious...

TARRANT 

[at the same time] How much longer? Theyíve had time to stock up the whole Federation Fleet.

AVON 

Easy now, easy.

TARRANT 

Iíd swear that guide has got his eye on us.

AVON 

Just try to look as if it were the fulfilment of a lifetimeís ambition to come and gawk at the palace furniture like the rest of these idiots.

 

[Avonís bracelet chimes]

DAYNA 

[over comms] Come in, Avon.

AVON 

Tarrant. In here.

 

[they enter a side room]

DAYNA 

Avon, can you hear me?

AVON 

I hear you.

DAYNA 

Purchase completed. I say again, purchase completed. Weíre back on board.

AVON 

Good. Stand by. Out. [he closes comms]

TARRANT 

[by the door] Shh! [the guide moves away with the group of tourists] Heís gone.

AVON 

And now for her excellency.

TARRANT 

This is too easy.

AVON 

All clear. Come on.

TARRANT 

All right.

 

 

 

[Gaskiaís apartments]

TARRANT 

...anyway, what makes you think sheíll want to be reminded of those days.

AVON 

Keep your voice down.

RODDIL 

Hey! You! Canít you read?

TARRANT 

I said it was too easy.

RODDIL 

When it says Ďprivateí, you know, itís not an invite to come in and sniff round the presidentís intimate purlieu.

AVON 

I wish to see Madame Gaskia.

RODDIL 

Oh, yes? And what makes you think her excellency would want to see the likes of you? íOp it, the pair of yer.

TARRANT 

Come on, letís get out while we still can.

AVON 

Please be so good as to let her know tható

GASKIA 

[entering] Is there anything wrong, Roddil?

RODDIL 

Nothing I canít handle, madam. Now, thenó

AVON 

Gaskia! Donít you recognise me?

RODDIL 

That does it! Out!

AVON 

Remember the Purple Nightingale?

GASKIA 

What did you say? My dear boy! After all these years!

AVON 

Well, Gaskia?

GASKIA 

Avon. Give the old girl a kiss, then.

 

[Avon gives her a brief peck]

GASKIA 

Call that a kiss? Come here.

 

[she kisses him thoroughly and noisily under audible protest]

GASKIA 

Let me look at you. [Avon is still recovering from her assault] Haw haw haw haw haw, you donít look any different. Are you still the cheeky little sod you used to be?

AVON 

[laughs] You certainly havenít changed.

GASKIA 

Hah! Twice the woman I was. Haw haw, tell you what, this calls for a drink. Oh, I canít run to a pint of Blag City boo-juice, but we donít do a bad bottle of bubbly on Syndexia. [she calls out] Double-quick, there!

RODDIL 

At once, excellency.

GASKIA 

And whoís this pretty lad, then?

AVON 

All clear?

TARRANT 

All clear.

GASKIA 

Whatís that?

AVON 

Tarrant. Come and meet my old friend.

TARRANT 

Yes, of course.

GASKIA 

Tarrant. Delightful. Give me your hand. Aye! [she laughs] Strong! But sensitive. [Tarrant laughs politely] Ooh! Youíre quite a dish, you. But then, you knowó

TARRANT 

[grabs her; she squawks] Go ahead, scream. This pretty lad will quite enjoy cutting your throat. Itís quite a while since I killed anybody.

GASKIA 

[half strangled] What do you want?

AVON 

Syndexia. Call it a coup, call yourself a hostage, whatever you like. If you want to live, youíll do as I say.

 

[Gaskia struggles]

TARRANT 

Oh, no you donít. Oh dear, oh dear, is that blood?

AVON 

How long is it since you sold me to the Feds? Eighteen years, nineteen? Well, now itís my turn.

 

[the door opens]

SERVALAN 

I think not.

 

[a door on the other side of the room opens]

GUIDE 

Hands above your head! You! Drop that knife.

 

[Tarrant sighs and does so]

AVON 

Well, well. How did you know?

SERVALAN 

You really should persuade your chatty friend Vila to stay away from the boo-juice. Youíve been followed ever since you landed.

GASKIA 

You never could be trusted. [she slaps Avon]

AVON 

And does that make you feel better?

GASKIA 

A lot. And as for you, my fine gentleman, Iíll showó

AVON 

[opening comms] Dayna, take us up, quick!

TARRANT 

No!

 

 

 

[Scorpio; Avon teleports on board]

AVON 

Slave, stand by for full thrust. Take us clear for hyper-jump at time distort ten. Coordinates for base.

SLAVE 

Very good, master.

DAYNA 

What happened?

AVON 

Servalan was waiting for us. Come on, everybody move.

SOOLIN 

So, whoís doing the chasing now?

DAYNA 

Wait, Tarrant hasnít come up.

AVON 

What?

VILA 

And a big hand to our friendly neighbourhood teleport. Here we go again.

SLAVE 

No sign of malfunction this time, master.

AVON 

Try it again.

SLAVE 

Yes, master. [he does]

AVON 

There must be something wrong.

SLAVE 

Negative, master. All parameters normal.

SOOLIN 

[at the same time] No, look! Hereís his teleport bracelet. He forgot to wear it.

DAYNA 

Because we were all going to the surface by the personnel shuttle.

AVON 

Iím surrounded by cretins. Right, Vila. Youíll take us down and stand by to bring us all back up as soon as I give the word.

VILA 

But youíll never be able to do anything now...

AVON 

[over him] Just do it! Soolin, youíll give the bracelet to him, Dayna and I will cover you. Right, go, Vila, go!

 

 

 

[Gaskiaís palace]

SERVALAN 

Are you sure? He looks dead to me.

GASKIA 

No, no, no. The injector has that effect, heís just out cold. [she slaps Tarrant] Wake up. Weíve not finished yet.

 

[Avon, Dayna, and Soolin teleport in]

AVON 

Stand away from him!

SERVALAN 

[opening comms] Vledka. In here, quick.

DAYNA 

You heard him, stand back!

SOOLIN 

Come on, Tarrant, time to go home.

AVON 

All right, Vila. Bye-bye, Gaskia. It was fun while it lasted.

 

[they teleport out]

VLEDKA 

[entering] What is it, madam?

SERVALAN 

Too late. Mm. All very satisfactory.

GASKIA 

Just finish off Avon. Thatís all I ask. As painfully as possible.

SERVALAN 

Isnít it remarkable how we see eye-to-eye in so many matters. What a pity our collaboration is at an end.

GASKIA 

Whaddaya mean? You said weíd share a...

SERVALAN 

Iím afraid the galaxy isnít big enough for the two of us, my dear. Vledka? [Vledka clicks his heels] Have my instructions been carried out?

VLEDKA 

Yes, commissioner. A text-book operation. The commander and his men are now in complete control.

GASKIA 

What?

SERVALAN 

How many dead?

VLEDKA 

Only three, madam. Apart of course from the list that you gave us. That has been fullyó

GASKIA 

Youíll never get away with this!

SERVALAN 

Take her away. Iíve got work to do.

VLEDKA 

Come along, madam.

GASKIA 

Take your hands off me. Iíll see you in hell for this, you two-faced bitch.

 

[Servalan laughs as Gaskia is taken out]

 

End of Part 1 - on to Part 2, or exit