[Dome Corridor. A large '3' stencil is on the wall. The rebels are arriving. Suddenly three troopers round the corner and open fire. One rebel falls, but the others return fire. The surviving trooper lets off another salvo, then turns and runs. He is shot in the back and falls at the feet of a newly arrived squad of troopers.]
[The troopers open fire on the rebels as they dive for cover. Several fall dead as Veron returns fire.]
[Residence One, President's office. The Deputy is still behind the desk working. The Aide stands before him, close to panic.]
DEPUTY: Calm down and make a proper report!
AIDE: Supreme Commander, the rebels are attacking City Complex One.
DEPUTY: [Stunned] What?! What about that security patrol sent outside the city?
AIDE: Yes, there were looking for a missing technician for the Council Building. Apparently, he's teamed up with the resistance group lead by Veron Kasarbi.
DEPUTY: I don't care who's teamed up with, what happened to the patrol?
AIDE: Well, er, they lost contact once they entered the underground tunnel network.
DEPUTY: That's to be expect - that network is ancient, there are no communications relays!
AIDE: [Anxious] I know, sir!
[Dome level 3. The last few troopers are retreating as a rebel hurls a grenade at the ground by their feet. The explosion hurls them down the passageway, and as the noise and smoke clear, the rebels move forwards. They have hardly lost anyone in comparison to the troopers, who are now all dead.]
[Residence One, President's Office. As before.]
DEPUTY: When was the patrol sent out?
AIDE: Eighty three minutes ago, sir.
DEPUTY: And this... "attack"?
AIDE: Seventeen minutes ago, sir.
DEPUTY: So, clearly the resistance have killed the team and used their passes to get into the city. Armed intruders should have been detected immediately. What's their status?
DEPUTY: What have the rebels done?
AIDE: Well, the Security office detected them and security teams have been dispatched.
DEPUTY: And have they wiped out the rebels?
AIDE: Not exactly.
DEPUTY: WHAT EXACTLY?!
AIDE: [Nerve finally snapping] THE REBELS WIPED THE FLOOR WITH THEM! [Calmer] Sir. The rebels' advance has not been stopped, and the internal guard squads are suffering heavy losses. Total losses as far as we can make out.
DEPUTY: Do you want to explain to me how highly trained security teams are losing to a band of rebels armed with stolen guns?
AIDE: It's happening all over the Federation, sir! President Anders was informed of it. The troopers are trained to stay alive in a combat situation, but now those that live to fight another day know they'll just be executed for treason!
DEPUTY: Then why aren't they doing their jobs properly!
AIDE: Because life isn't like that, sir! The fact is, the troopers know dying in battle is better than being court martialed, for their family's sake if nothing else. The rebels don't have that restraint. The same problem is occuring throughout the inner and outer worlds, no one is prepared to put up with the restraints, not even the Gamma grades! The Federation's falling apart from the inside out and we can't stop it!
[A squad of troopers moves cautiously down a corridor. There is the constand sound of gunfire, explosions and screams. They pass a heap of rebel bodies. Veron lies sprawled atop them, staring at the ceiling, gun still in her hand. The section leader waves at the others to keep moving. Suddenly Veron sits bolt upright and fires. Taking by surprise, the Section Leader is killed and flung against the troopers. Rebels appear at either end of the corridor and open fire. Veron ducks to avoid the crossfire and the rest of the squad is wiped out.]
[Residence One, President's Office.]
DEPUTY: I said, CALM DOWN!
AIDE: Sir, whether or not I remain calm will not change the facts.
DEPUTY: [Draws gun] Your little nervous breakdown could be counted as sedition, even treason!
AIDE: You're going to shoot me? [Hysterical] Have you LISTENED to a word I've said?!
DEPUTY: I've listened long enough! Now, answer the question or I'll ventilate your lungs!
[The Aide sobers slightly.]
DEPUTY: When did the security office detect the rebels? Where were they?
AIDE: Level two, moving up. Sir.
DEPUTY: Level two?! That means that by now, at the very least, they control ALL the sub levels!
AIDE: I know, sir.
DEPUTY: [Thinking] The rebels don't have the resources to pull off a coup like this. They don't have the weapons, the ammunition... how can they do it? Do the reports tell of what they're fighting with?
AIDE: [Confused] Troopers, sir.
DEPUTY: What weapons they're using, you asinine cretin! WEAPONS?
AIDE: Sir. They seem to be using the advanced multi-mode rifles.
DEPUTY: Those? But, the dome security teams haven't recieved those guns yet, have they?
AIDE: No, sir. None of them have.
DEPUTY: So how do the rebels get hold of the most advanced weaponary in Federation armories?
AIDE: [Almost in tears] I don't know, sir.
[Dome City Complex One is silhouetted against the sunset.]
[Corridor. '12' is stencilled on the wall. Veron and three other rebels are moving down the corridor, effortlessly gunning down a retreating squad. An outsider arrives.]
[Veron nods and moves back from the front line to join the outsider in shelter.]
VERON: Fen, what's happening on the south side?
OUTSIDER: The next two levels are all ours.
VERON: Organize the others, get our people to move round behind those troops in front of us now, get them in the crossfire. Like what we did earlier, but on a bigger scale.
OUTSIDER: You really think the city will fall in a couple of hours?
VERON: We've got a third of it in thirty minutes, I'd say we've got a chance. 70 per cent of security are dead.
OUTSIDER: Reinforcements will be on their way.
VERON: Once we get control of the dome, we'll be able to hold them off.
OUTSIDER: But for how long?
VERON: [Firmly] Long enough.
[Liberator flies through space.]
[Liberator Flight Deck. Vila, Blake and Soolin stand around Orac. Tarrant is at the controls.]
ORAC: ...all incoming communications confirm that City Complex One in West Europ Zone is now deemed under rebel control. The first fifteen floors have been taken, and all civilian grades are now either staying in their homes or attempting to evacuate with the main security force. Since it is now clear that the rebels have superior fire power, the Internal Security Commander insists that a tactical withdrawal will be necessary to prevent further loss of life until reinforcements arrive.
BLAKE: What is the probability of Veron successfully taking the Dome?
ORAC: A clear 94 per cent probability that the Dome will remain under complete rebel control for the next nineteen hours without major incident. It appears that word is spreading the rebels possess far more powerful weaponary than has been so far displayed, thus a counter strike will not be made until this fact is confirmed.
SOOLIN: Quantum Force's arsenal came in handy.
VILA: I did wonder why we dropped off the survivors but not the guns...
BLAKE: [Sarcastic] Yes, because allowing the Federation more technology based on clip-guns would have been the sensible move, wouldn't it? I'm just glad you understood enough of the situation to teleport those crates to the arranged point.
VILA: You think I was going to let them land INSIDE the city? Where is the faith in my technical abilities?
BLAKE: Missing in action.
SOOLIN: Even if the City falls, it's one city. There are half a dozen of them on Earth alone. We haven't exactly toppled the Federation.
BLAKE: Not yet, Soolin, but soon. The Federation can cope with a lot of things, but not necessarily all at once.
TARRANT: So the plan relies on the Administration collapsing under the weight of too many crisises.
BLAKE: [Knowing look] I never said that.
ORAC: Do you require further misuse of my abilities to relay such obvious information or may I be allowed to return to my own work?
VILA: What actually is your own work?
ORAC: That information is hardly of any relevence to you, and even if it were I doubt any of you could understand it.
BLAKE: [Frowns] Where's Kyben?
[Liberator cabin. Kyben sits in a chair, facing Anders, a gun in her hand.]
KYBEN: I thought you'd like to know.
ANDERS: I'm touched. I don't suppose some food would be out of the question?
[Kyben looks at the untouched plate.]
KYBEN: I'm afraid that's all the menu provides.
ANDERS: Vila said he'd poisoned it.
KYBEN: And you believed him?
ANDERS: Why should I doubt the word of a convicted criminal?
[Kyben aims the gun at his head.]
KYBEN: You're taking this very calmly.
ANDERS: Panic is never good for a President's image.
KYBEN: The Federation is dying, Anders.
ANDERS: Is it?
KYBEN: Pylene 50 doesn't work because we told everyone the antitoxin. You don't have your missiles because we stole them. You don't have mutoids because we destroyed the factories. You don't have any shipyards to build pursuit ships and you don't have any raw materials because we took them away too. Now the rebels are taking Earth and your troopers are going to let them. Because they would rather be killed in battle then put up with what you did to me.
[Rolls eyes] That was the idea, Kyben. It's called a psychological deterrent.
KYBEN: That will make you lose.
ANDERS: Will it? Even if I could be sure you're telling the truth, the rebels have attacked ONE city on Earth. It has little to no strategic value. The Earth itself is more of historical importance than being the core of the Federation. Most of the functions are carried out from Space Command Headquarters. Let Veron and her little army do its worst, Kyben. It won't be enough. It will never be enough.
KYBEN: So if we blew up that city dome, it wouldn't matter?
ANDERS: Not to me.
KYBEN: And every city dome on Earth? And the Earth itself? Every colony, every city, everything? Just what do we have to do before it matters?
ANDERS: [Smiles] You could surrender?
KYBEN: The Federation was established at the beginning of the New Calendar for one reason. What was it?
[She presses the gun against Anders' forehead.]
KYBEN: What. Was. It?
ANDERS: To protect and serve its people.
KYBEN: From Strength?
ANDERS: To Unity.
KYBEN: So the Federation exists to make the lives of its people the best they can be. So perhaps you can tell me, President Anders, in deep and graphic detail, just why that involves drugging everyone who isn't an Alpha Grade? Turning criminals into Mutoids? Murdering innocent people? Just where, exactly, in the foundation of the empire does it state what YOU ordered done to my family is acceptable.
ANDERS: In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. But you seem to be the exception that proves the rule.
KYBEN: [Smiles] I really don't like eye humor.
[Security office. Veron fires at a console and the alarm finally cuts out. She sighs in relief. Two other rebels are working at the various displays.]
VERON: What is it?
REBEL: Trouble. The reinforcements are on their way.
[The screen shows moving displays.]
REBEL: Federation troop transporter.
VERON: On the final approach.
REBEL: They'll be landing in two minutes. What do we do, Veron?
[Veron stares at the screen in what could be disbelief. Then she grins.]
VERON: We prepare a welcoming commitee.
[Liberator cabin. Anders is no longer so composed.]
ANDERS: You're not stupid, Kyben. So... the Federation is corrupt. The idealistic dreams of the forefathers, the liberty and justice following the Atomic Age, died long ago. It's all true.
KYBEN: So, tell me, why shouldn't I kill you for what happened to me? Do you have a reason?
ANDERS: As I'm sure many people will have told you, Kyben, your family, your life, your woes mean nothing. You and all the civilians, all the rebels, all the troopers, they're nothing compared to the Federation. You are just fodder to keep the empire going.
KYBEN: You're not giving me good reason NOT to kill you.
ANDERS: Blake wants me alive.
KYBEN: You'd be surprised at how little that matters to me. You think he could do anything worse to me than the Federation has already done?
ANDERS: Probably not. What do you want me to say, Kyben? The Federation exists because it creates order. The side effect is a mildly rewarding life for the common rabble. Those that aren't sacrificed for that order to be maintained. The price has only become high because of Blake and the others unbalancing that order. Do you realize how many lives you could save by surrendering? All those soldiers, their families, their friends... safe. You and your family were to be sacrificed for the greater good.
KYBEN: Do you really believe that?
ANDERS: The question is not whether I believe it, but whether you do, Kyben. You came here wanting facts. Fact - self-interest is the only way anyone can survive in the Federation. Fact - the actions of those on this ship have ended millions of life and threatened even more. Fact - you can end it all.
KYBEN: [Regretful] But, you see, Mister President, I don't CARE about the millions. Not any more. Now I'm just like you, only out for number one. All I have is gone. All there is, is you, me, and this gun.
[Still sounding lost, she aims the gun at him. Anders starts to look worried.]
KYBEN: We've killed so, so many people. So many lives ended by us. I let Blake kill twelve members of the high council. Does that balance out my husband, my daughter... my son? Maybe I deserve to lose everything.
[Outside the city the Federation troop transport moves through the sky. We pull back until the transport is framed in the cross hairs of a rebel anti-aircraft weapon.]
[Liberator cabin. As before.]
ANDERS: [Scared] Kyben, you swore an oath.
KYBEN: SO DID YOU! I watched your inauguration, when you and your army retook the Earth! You swore to defend your people and you FAILED! You didn't even try! And thanks the new legislation in effect throughout the Milky Way Galaxy, that failure counts as TREASON! [whispers] Do you know what the Federation does to those who commit treason, Mister President? Do you?
ANDERS: Blake! BLAKE! TARRANT!
[Kyben fires the gun. There is an explosion just left to Anders' head. He cries out.]
KYBEN: [Calm] Shut up.
[Kyben fires again. Anders dives out of the way, bleeding from his forehead, terrified.]
KYBEN: [Calm] Shut... up.
[Anders stares at her, breathing raggedly with fear.]
[Security office. The rebel pulls the trigger and the transport is blown out of the sky.]
[Liberator cabin. Anders is perspiring. Kyben aims her gun at his left eye.]
KYBEN: Federation torturers like to go for the eyes first. It's standard practice after the hands. People can live without their hands. But their eyes... you'd be surprised at what medicine still can't fix.
ANDERS: Kyben, please...
KYBEN: [Not listening] These guns are interesting, aren't they? They don't fire laser beams or bullets. Just bursts of ultrasonic energy. Noise. They vibrate people to death. Shatter their bones, turn the flesh to jelly, scramble the internal organs. What do you think would happen to you if I fired right now?
ANDERS: Kyben, please, I can't bring your family back. But I'll do anything, anything I can...
KYBEN: It's not connected to a power pack. Very low charge. I doubt it would even knock you unconscious. But I'm fairly certain it would destroy your optic nerve. And a large part of your face.
KYBEN: You can be just like me. These patches stop stinging after the first few months...
ANDERS: ANYTHING! I'M BEGGING YOU!
KYBEN: [Sighs] You have nothing I want.
SOOLIN: Kyben. Don't.
[Kyben doesn't take her eye from Anders. Soolin stands in the doorway.]
KYBEN: Soolin... go away.
SOOLIN: I'm asking you.
KYBEN: You hunted down and murdered seven people for your family. I'm just going to murder the one.
SOOLIN: You're better than that.
KYBEN: No. That's the problem. [Smiles] I'm not.
[She places both hands on the gun and reaches for the trigger. Anders swallows, terrified. A shot rings out. Kyben closes her eye, slowly toppling over to reveal Soolin holding a smoking clipgun. She looks down at Kyben's body, grimacing. Anders is hyperventilating.]
ANDERS: Th-thank you... thank you, Soolin, thank you, th--
[Without taking her eyes off Kyben, Soolin raises the clipgun and fires. Anders is slammed against the bed and goes limp. Soolin crouches down and strokes Kyben's unmarked cheek.]
[The Liberator flies through space.]
- to be concluded...