Wednesday, August 1, 2007

B7: Retribution (vii)


KREEL: You’re bluffing, Blake!

BLAKE: [VO] Am I? Ask them about Jain.


VILA: He’s doing it. My god. He’s going to kill us. Actually going to kill us!

[Liberator flight deck]

TARRANT: Zen! Abort the missiles!

ZEN: Modification of missiles means the abort function is no longer available.

[The missiles slice through the atmosphere]

[Liberator flight deck]

SOOLIN: Blake, what have you done?

BLAKE: What I have to!

[Warehouse. Banks and Kreel exchange worried looks, but Kreel is still firm.]

KREEL: I don’t believe you!

[Liberator flight deck]

BLAKE: You won’t have long to find out. Zen? Time to impact?

ZEN: Twenty three seconds. Twenty two. Twenty-one.

[Warehouse. Zen’s countdown can be heard clearly.]

BLAKE: [VO] Goodbye, Kreel.

[The bracelet bleeps]

KREEL: Blake? ... BLAKE!



[The duo sprint for the exit. Kyben moves to follow, but can’t leave Vila, who is now unconscious. She snatches up the uncoded bracelet.]

KYBEN: Blake!

[The missiles split up as they head towards the ground.]


BLAKE: [VO] Kyben? Has he run yet?

KYBEN: I think so!

[Liberator flight deck]

BLAKE: Prepare for teleport!

[Blake looks up at Soolin and Tarrant, who run from the room]

[Outside the warehouse, Kreel and Banks run down the alleyway. In the distance, their ship is visible]

[Inside the warehouse, Kyben and Vila teleport out, leaving the corpses alone.]

[One missile skewers Kreel’s pursuit ship and it is gutted in an explosion, before a second fireball consumes the craft.]

[In the alleyway, the blast of heat and light floors Kreel and Banks.]

[The other missile causes a massive explosion on the other side of the city.]

[As the shockwaves disperse, Kreel and Banks cling to the ground of the alleyway. Another explosion behind them. Debris fall down on their heads.]

[Liberator teleport room. Kyben is supporting Vila with Tarrant’s help.]

KYBEN: We’ve got to get him to the medical unit, quickly.

[Blake takes up Kyben’s role supporting Vila as she stumbles away.]

BLAKE: Fine. Gan’s bringing the Sevener on board the Liberator, then we can be on our way.

TARRANT: What the hell did you think you were doing, Blake?

BLAKE: I said if I found another way, I’d take it. I said we had a locator fix on Kreel’s position and I fired the missiles. I never said I was aiming them at the locator fix. Vila and Kyben weren’t in any real danger, from the missiles, anyway. Serrus is still in one piece – even most of the central city is intact.

TARRANT: Why didn’t you tell us?

BLAKE: Oddly enough, you didn’t give me a chance. Besides, your reactions convinced Kreel. If you lot refuse to trust me, I can at least make that something useful. [Sighs] I saved the Alliance, the planet and these two. Are any of you satisfied yet?

SOOLIN: Not quite. We should have words with Boorva.

[The Liberator turns on its axis and accelerates away from Serrus.]

[Serrus. Banks and Kreel stand at the end of the alleyway, both grubby and singed but otherwise unharmed. The wreckage of their ship is still burning.]

BANKS: Is this something else I shouldn’t mention, sir?

KREEL: Shut up, Banks.

[Liberator is in orbit over Tarl.]

BOORVA: [VO] But I understood these missiles were all-powerful...

[Cathedral. Blake, Soolin and Tarrant stand before Boorva.]

BOORVA: ...surely two of them should have flattened the entire continent!

TARRANT: That’s what I’d like explained, too.

BLAKE: Simple. I removed the warheads from several of the missiles. I had Zen target two of them to destroy Kreel’s ship and the planet hopper. Anyone on Serrus isn’t going anywhere now.

SOOLIN: But the missiles would be useless!

BLAKE: At the speed they were going, the kinetic energy did the job of the warhead. Both ships are gone, so
Serrus is no longer a threat, and we didn’t slaughter innocents, so we’re happy.

BOORVA: Those monsters are not innocents.

SOOLIN: They’re wild animals, Boorva. Until they develop their own civilization again, they should be left alone. Kyben was right. And this way we’re both satisfied.

BLAKE: Well, not both satisfied. Your plan didn’t work out exactly as you expected.

BOORVA: What plan would that be?

SOOLIN: I worked it out. You could have struck Serrus on your own. Certainly you could have found out what we did with a simple reconnaissance mission. Instead you called us in to do it for you. And if we had destroyed Serrus, you would have demonstrated that the Alliance has access to the most powerful weapons there are.

TARRANT: But you decided to go one better. Offer us all retirement here, so we’d allow you continued access to the Liberator. Or maybe you’d just hand us over to the Federation, and get them to forget about the border systems for the meantime.

BOORVA: The other planets have given me full authority to do whatever is necessary to protect the Alliance. And you have done that. I win in any eventuality. Because, unlike you Blake, I am no dictator. The Federation is destroying itself. If the President dies, the Federation will go on. If I die, however, the Alliance ends. They are all dependant on me, and the beauty is, they don’t even notice. I am like oxygen. Or electricity.

[Soolin draws her Scorpio handgun.]

SOOLIN: Oxygen can run out. As can electricity.

TARRANT: Lord Boorva, I reject your offer to live on Tarl.

BOORVA: It’s your loss, Tarrant.

TARRANT: I don’t think so. [into bracelet] Teleport, please, Orac.

BLAKE: Bring me up as well. I think Soolin can take care of this.

[Blake and Tarrant teleport. Soolin trains her gun on Boorva.]

SOOLIN: I can pull the trigger before you call for help.

BOORVA: Go ahead, then.

[Boorva unfolds his arms and opens them wide. Soolin doesn’t fire.]

BOORVA: I’m safe. No one in the border systems would even consider an assassination attempt on me, any more than they would kill themselves. I am indispensable. That is why I am still alive. Not Mida, not Chalsa, not Lod or even you can kill me. Not without destroying everything you came here to save.

SOOLIN: Who said I was going to kill you?

[She fires her gun, which fires a red laser instead of a plasma bullet. Boorva screams out of view.]

[Liberator moves through space.]

[Blake is at the pilot’s position. Kyben and Soolin stand before the screen as Tarl shrinks into the distance.]

KYBEN: You set fire to his beard?

SOOLIN: And his hair. He won’t be needing it when Tarl’s summer starts, though he won’t be making any personal appearances before the burns heal. Considering what he put us through, he got off rather lightly.

KYBEN: At least we made some kind of moral victory.

SOOLIN: Blake let you in on the plan, then?

BLAKE: I told her about what I did to the missiles. Then I had to adapt the plan.

KYBEN: I guessed something like that.

SOOLIN: [to Blake] So you really would have told us, given the chance?

BLAKE: Yes. There you go, Kyben.

[Blake points to the screen. They are passing Serrus.]

BLAKE: Kreel’s stuck on that planet for the foreseeable future. And we have at least ten minutes before the Federation arrives. Enough time for us to find him and kill him.

KYBEN: I thought you wanted to do that.

BLAKE: I do. But at the end of the day, it’d probably give him too much satisfaction. He’s yours.

[Kyben looks at the screen. Then she shakes her head.]

KYBEN: Let him go. We’ve got better things to do than worry about revenge.

SOOLIN: You’re not going to forgive him for what he’s done?

KYBEN: Oh, Soolin. I never said that. I might not kill him, but I’m not going to let him get away with what he’s done.

BLAKE: I’ll settle for anything left after you’ve finished with him.

KYBEN: [Smiles] Assuming you don’t get him first.

BLAKE: Naturally. Zen, set a course for the United Planets of Teal, standard by four.

ZEN: Confirmed. Course computed. Speed at standard by four.

[The screen closes and Tarrant enters.]

TARRANT: Sevener’s docked successfully. Are you going to tell us why we’re heading for Teal?

BLAKE: Why not? It’s as good a place as any for us to part company. I assume you still want to?

ORAC: Attention.

SOOLIN: What is it, Orac?

ORAC: I have pre-programmed instructions to carry out in a scenario such as this. Therefore, all the crew members should be present for necessary instructions to be carried out.

BLAKE: Instructions? From whom?

ORAC: Kerr Avon.

KYBEN: But he’s dead. Did he instruct you before that?

ORAC: It is obvious that he did! How could a dead human being instruct me?

KYBEN: I’ll go and get Vila.

[Kyben exits.]

SOOLIN: He should be recovered by now.

BLAKE: I can’t believe he was so reckless. He was lucky to survive.

TARRANT: Like I said. We’ve all lost people. Maybe now Avon’s gone, Vila’s going to stand up for himself from now on.

SOOLIN: If we hadn’t just saved the universe, I’m sure that would be a sign it was about to end.

[Kyben enters with Vila, who is limping and has a regeneration cast around his leg.]

VILA: What’s wrong? Why can’t I just die in peace?

TARRANT: Orac wants to talk to us.

VILA: He can talk to me separately, can’t he? Or are you planning to ditch me in the next crisis?

BLAKE: I didn’t ditch Kyben. She was about to be attacked by the Serrunite leader who was wearing her teleport bracelet.

KYBEN: I did tell him.

VILA: You should have gone back for her, Nij.

BLAKE: I intended to...

ORAC: If I might be allowed to interrupt this truly pointless bickering and recrimination, I do have a task to perform.

[They sit down in the pit.]

BLAKE: Go ahead, Orac.

ORAC: Avon gave me instructions to be carried out in the event of his death and various other facts of no immediate concern. However, the lack of trust and cooperation with the Liberator crew, combined with the imminent disintegration of said crew were predicted. Thus I shall replay a viscast recorded by Avon on the main screen. Please remain silent until the viscast is concluded.

[The crew exchange surprised looks. The screen opens to show Avon sitting at the teleport.]

AVON: If this recording is being replayed by Orac, then I am now dead. I have just seen the rest of you off in Sevener to collect the guidance crystal we need for the missiles – a malfunction so perfect I am wondering if it might be some kind of trap. In either case, if you are watching this it means you survived the trip to Bartoc 4, if not succeeded in getting the crystal. The reason you have used Sevener is that for my mission I need the Liberator, I need Zen and I need Orac. It is a dangerous mission with a fifty per cent chance of survival. Equal odds to live or die. I do not intend this to be a suicide mission, but I’m not so stupid as to miss the dangers.

[We pan across the crew’s faces as they watch.]

AVON: The Federation boasts the finest interrogation techniques known. If any of you are captured, you will tell them everything. It’s a fact. They will make you talk and you will not be able to stop them. Normally, this would be an acceptable risk, and so I would ensure you all knew what I am attempting to do. But not this time. If the Federation so much as suspects what I am doing, the consequences will be catastrophic. I use the word with precision. Catastrophic. That is why I have made Blake give me his word that he will not allow any of you to know what my mission is... [Smiles] Was. I trust Blake will keep his word, as I keep mine. However, I can imagine his sudden reticence may, when coupled with his total lack of subtlety, lead to friction on the crew. Tarrant, you I’m sure can be relied upon to complain. Perhaps Blake will already have convinced you of the reasons for his silence. But if not, I am leaving this message in case I am not alive to do so in person.

[Avon pauses, thinking.]

AVON: Vila, you and I were there at the very beginning. Tarrant and Soolin, we have been together for several years. I was designated the leader of this group and with a few notable mistakes, I believe I was a good one. Certainly good enough to command loyalty from the three of you. It is because of that loyalty I make one final order – stay with the Liberator, trust Blake, and if necessary obey without question. Because by doing so, we might actually win this once and for all. I won’t be there to see it, of course. But after seven years living on the run, with all the others dead... even Servalan at the end. Perhaps it is time. If this message is playing, I trust that Blake will have at least confirmed if I succeeded in my mission. And perhaps, that will be enough. I may never see any of you ever again, and that will certainly be one compensation. For what it’s worth, I hope you survive what is to come. And I trust you Vila, and you, Soolin, and you Tarrant, not to let me down. [Beat] Good luck.

[On the screen, Avon gets to his feet and moves out of sight. The screen shuts down. Silence.]

TARRANT: Well. That’s it then. I’m going to remove the cloaking device from Sevener and reinstall it into the Liberator.

[Tarrant rises.]

SOOLIN: I’ll help you carry it.

TARRANT: Thanks.

[Tarrant and Soolin leave.]

KYBEN: Vila ought to get back to the medical unit.

VILA: All right. I’m coming.

[Kyben helps him up.]

BLAKE: Do you need any help?

KYBEN: I’ll manage.

[Kyben and Vila head for the exit.]

BLAKE: Vila? I hope you feel better soon.

VILA: [Nods] Thanks, Blake.

[They leave. Blake sits alone in the pit for a moment. He smiles to himself and closes his eyes.]

[The Liberator flies off into the distance.]

The End

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