Thursday, August 2, 2007

B7: Nexus (iii)

[The Liberator is now much closer to the skull.]

[Liberator flight deck.]

VILA: If we want to teleport them, we’ll have to lower the force wall.

BLAKE: [Nods] Yes. And that makes us vulnerable. If whatever is controlling the skull is monitoring us...

SOOLIN: They’ll attack the moment they can.

VILA: Any ideas, Orac?

ORAC: The teleport circuit is undoubtedly the cause of the strange illumination in the Magellanic Cloud – and has been pulsing at three hour intervals.

VILA: But they would have got everyone in the Cloud by now.

BLAKE: Not unless the skull is working on automatic. Some kind of timing mechanism?

ORAC: It would be logical to assume so.

SOOLIN: How long until the next time, Orac?

ORAC: It is due to occur in two hours fifty six minutes.

BLAKE: Plenty of time for us to get the others back and leave the Cloud.

VILA: [bleakly] Assuming nothing else happens.

[The skull’s eye sockets stare out of the screen.]

[The cave. Tarrant is working on the bracelet. Kyben holds the probe just above it, to provide light. There is a faint rumble.]

KYBEN: I hope we’re not stuck inside here the next time the skull opens its mouth.

TARRANT: We won’t be.

KYBEN: So confident.

TARRANT: Have to be, the life we lead. Not too much damage, should be fixable...

[The low howl is heard again.]

TARRANT: It would help if that stopped.

KYBEN: It’s just the breeze, coming through that hole in the wall.

TARRANT: Yes. But... it’s gotten louder.

[Another faint rumble.]

KYBEN: We can hear water dripping. That’s probably it. A river or something, causing the rumbling.

TARRANT: That would cause a continuous noise, though.

[The rattle is heard again. Tarrant and Kyben look at the cave exit. Nothing there. Kyben turns around and cries out, startled.]

TARRANT: What is it?

KYBEN: Nothing. I thought... I thought I saw movement over there.

[Tarrant raises the probe, illuminating the dead body.]

TARRANT: That hasn’t moved at all.

[Kyben is not looking at the body. Tarrant follows her gaze. She is looking at the hole bored into the wall.]

TARRANT: Nothing there, either. I had a look inside, Kyben. It’s a tiny passage, too narrow for anyone to get through.

[Tarrant angles the torch.]

TARRANT: See? Nothing there. If it was, it would have blocked that air flow.

KYBEN: Wait. Shh.


KYBEN: Shhh.


KYBEN: Can you hear that?

TARRANT: Something. Like stone, moving scraping...

KYBEN: More important, we CAN hear it. That howling has stopped.

[Tarrant tenses.]

TARRANT: But the breeze is still blowing through that hole.

[Another rattle, louder, from the cave exit this time.]

TARRANT: There's something at the other end of that tunnel!

[Kyben moves over to the exit and peers into the gloom.]

KYBEN: I can’t see anything.

TARRANT: I saw something moving.

KYBEN: No, we’re being silly. Think logically. Who else could be down here?

TARRANT: The crew of those ships.

KYBEN: If they are here, they're probably skeletons by now. There's no food here, no fresh water, no light, and none of them would have teleport to escape. And if they did, they wouldn't be here, would they?

TARRANT: Skeletons...

KYBEN: What?

TARRANT: That's what it reminded me of – what I saw... something very skinny, bony...

KYBEN: [Soothingly] There's all sorts of things can happen in these situations. Paranoia, panic attacks, hallucinations. The dark plays tricks with your eyes...

TARRANT: [Irritated] I am not prone to imagining things, Kyben. Or panic - you're thinking about Vila! And you heard the noise as well. Nothing human makes a noise like that!

KYBEN: [Calmly] Is there anything there now?

[Tarrant looks into the tunnel. We see the POV of something watching the two of them through the hole scorched into the rock behind the dead alien.]


[He picks up the bracelet and starts to work on it again.]

TARRANT: Still, if we can just get the emergency frequency working again, that will be enough for...

[A sudden, vicious hissing noise. Tarrant and Kyben whirl around. The noise fades to silence.]

KYBEN: I really... REALLY... think we should get out of here.

TARRANT: I think you’re right.

[The hissing starts again. The probe flickers, plunging them into darkness.]

[Liberator flight deck. Blake stands at the pit console, clearly having been speaking for some time.]

BLAKE: [Into comm] ...please respond. Kyben? Tarrant? Respond please? [Sighs] Right. There’s nothing else for it. Orac, I want you work out the most likely position on the planet they could be teleported to and give me the coordinates.

ORAC: Oh, very well.

BLAKE: I’m going to get kitted up.

SOOLIN: If you need a suit to survive what’s down there, there’s not much chance the others are still alive.

BLAKE: I’m aware of that, Soolin.

SOOLIN: Just making sure you’re not getting your hopes up.

[Blake scowls, then leaves. Vila is still looking at the skull on the scanner.]

VILA: It’s not comfortable here, is it?

SOOLIN: We didn’t come here for comfort.

VILA: No, but it’s something else. It’s not right.

SOOLIN: Vila, you’re not helping.

VILA: Can’t you feel it though? There’s something wrong here. Very wrong. Like we’re standing at the edge of a precipice...

SOOLIN: It’s unsettling enough without you trying to scare me.

VILA: Unsettling. That’s it. That’s the word. Unsettled.

SOOLIN: Why don’t you go and set the coordinates on the teleport?

VILA: Fine. But don’t pretend you don’t feel exactly the same way.

[Vila leaves. Soolin glances up at the main screen, frowns, and switches it off.]

[Cave. The laserson probe is flickering, briefly illuminating the cave around them as Tarrant works feverishly on the braclet. The hissing can be heard.]

KYBEN: Some kind of reptile do you think? [No reply] It’s getting closer, whatever it is!

[Tarrant ignores her and manages to make an LED illuminate in the bracelet circuits.]

[Liberator teleport room. Blake has donned a space suit and is connecting the helmet to the air supply before he dons it. Vila is at the console. Suddenly there is a shrill noise.]

VILA: That’s the emergency pulse!

BLAKE: Vila, lock the coordinates on. [into comm] Soolin, lower the force wall!

SOOLIN: [VO] Deactivating!

[Blake discards his helmet and grabs two more bracelets from the trolley. Vila adjusts the controls frantically. The locator fix spins drunkenly, as if unable to find what it’s looking for.]

BLAKE: Hurry it up, Vila! Hurry up!

VILA: What do you think I’m doing?! One wrong move and you could end up in solid rock.

[Vila presses some more controls. The light on the screen is hovering in a circle, unsteadily.]

[Cave. The hissing is joined by the rattling. Tarrant jabs the bracelet again.]

TARRANT: Why aren’t they answering?! Bring us up!

KYBEN: Maybe they aren’t on the Liberator either?

TARRANT: Orac should have done it! Come on!

[The rattle booms around them. Tarrant looks up at the cave exit. Something is moving.]

[Liberator teleport room. The locator fix goes still. Vila slams down the control and Blake teleports.]

[Cave. Kyben and Tarrant are staring at the cave mouth. The hissing fades to silence. A breeze wafts through the chamber and they both gag and retch.]

TARRANT: What’s that smell?

KYBEN: It’s like something rotting... [Coughs] It’s getting worse!

BLAKE: Are you all right?

[Both Tarrant and Kyben are startled as they realize Blake is standing by the dead body, gun in hand.]

KYBEN: Blake!

TARRANT: Quickly, we have got to get out of here!

BLAKE: What is it? What’s wrong?

[Tarrant snatches the spare bracelets and hands one to Kyben.]

TARRANT: We’ve got to go! [into comm] Vila! Teleport us now!

BLAKE: Tarrant...

[All three dematerialize. The cave is lost in darkness. Another rattle.]

[Liberator teleport room. Blake, Kyben and Tarrant reappear in the teleport bay.]

BLAKE: Tarrant, what’s wrong?

TARRANT: We’ve got to get out of here. Vila’s right. We’ve got to get out of this cloud as fast as we can!

BLAKE: Hold it! What happened down there?

KYBEN: Didn’t you hear that noise?

BLAKE: What noise?

TARRANT: Oh, don’t you start!

VILA: You all right, Tarrant? You look terrible...

TARRANT: Damn it we have got to go!

[Tarrant storms off.]

BLAKE: I’ve never seen him like that before.

VILA: I’ve never seen him like that ever. I don’t know what was down there, but it must have been bad.

KYBEN: [Nods] It was.

[The Liberator orbits the giant skull.]

- the end. for now.

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