[Tracking gallery. The Captain is, with some difficulty, bandaging his injured hand. A trooper stands at Klyn’s console.]
Trooper: The Commissioner’s ship is heading back to the frontier, sir. The gunships won’t be able to catch up with them.
Captain: Forget it. Log the incident and prepare a full-scale Federation alert.
[Finishing his bandage, the Captain turns his attention to Ravelo, who is lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood. Alive, but in agony.]
Captain: Convince me you’re worth giving you medical attention.
Ravelo: [feverish] How do I do that?
Captain: Tell me everything.
Ravelo: All right. I’ll do it.
Ravelo: I’ll tell you the biggest secret I know.
[The Captain aims his rifle at Ravelo with his good hand.]
Captain: It better be good.
Ravelo: It is. Listen. Gauda Prime was mined out years ago. There’s no money left to be made here – so why do the Federation want to end the Open Planet policy, eh? Think about it. Why? Why would they do that?
Captain: Tell me.
Ravelo: Because Blake wanted it. Imagine it – a whole planet full of criminals, just like the ones he teamed up with on the Liberator. The bounty hunters would get rid of the worst and leave just the proper rebels behind. And at the end of it, he’d have an army.
Captain: But Blake’s dead. The plan failed!
Ravelo: Not quite. See, once law was restored, the Federation would take GP over. It would join the empire again. Blake and his army smuggled inside, right under their noses. Not just the bounty hunters. The towns and the ports. This planet belongs to the rebellion, Captain. The whole world. Billions of resisters officially classed as loyal Federation citizens. The first planet Blake freed, the first of many.
Captain: It’s not going to happen. Not now you’ve told me.
Ravelo: I just wanted to remind myself I’m on the winning side. And I just told you because I know you can’t do anything about it.
Captain: Can’t I? I can tell the entire Federation now. And you can’t stop me killing you.
[The Captain presses the gun barrel against Ravelo’s cheek.]
Ravelo: Yeah. [calm and loud] But there will be companions for my death.
[There is a shrill beeping noise from all around. The Captain whirls, trying to identify the source of the noise. Ravelo sighs and closes his eyes as a blinding white glare suddenly fills the tracking gallery in less than a second.]
[A massive mushroom clouds rises out of the heart of the pine forests.]
[Flight deck. As before.]
Orac: I bring to your attention that there has been a massive detonation on the surface of Gauda Prime. The Decima base silo has been totally annihilated.
Servalan: Covering our tracks completely?
Orac: It would appear so.
Gamren: [aghast] But Ravelo...
Zanto: [sighs] He wouldn’t have felt a thing, Gamren.
Gamren: How can you know?!
Zanto: Scientific fact. By the time his nervous system could have reacted to pain... well, by that time he wouldn’t have had a nervous system left. [awkward] I probably could have phrased that better.
Vila: Yes! You could!
Avon: He died where and when of his own choosing. Not everyone has such a luxury.
Vila: Especially when you’re around.
Avon: Quite. And how does it feel, Vila, to already be one soldier down?
Vila: He wasn’t a soldier, he was my friend!
Avon: Yes. That made all the difference in the end.
Vila: [fuming] Lora. Do me a favor. Find the cabin furthest away from everywhere else, take this ray of cancerous sunshine there and lock him inside.
Lora: Yes, um... Mr. Restal. Sir.
[She waves her gun at Avon.]
Avon: [arched eyebrow] You trust a random Federation thug over me, Vila?
Vila: Says a lot, doesn’t it? Out.
[Avon leaves obediently. Lora has to run to keep up with him.]
Gamren: I could use some rest as well.
[Zanto stops her.]
Zanto: Ravelo didn’t die for nothing, Gamren. He’s made damn sure that the Federation don’t know just what’s going on down on GP. Blake’d have been proud of him.
Gamren: Great. What are we? Martyrs Anonymous?
[She leaves. Zanto sighs.]
Vila: You really believe any of that?
Zanto: Yes. I do, actually. But there’s the trouble – the Federation may not know who runs GP, but they can still find out if they look hard enough. And they will, now one of their missions has disappeared after a Commissioner has visited.
Vila: Wonderful. Just when things can’t get any worse... [rubs eyes] Well, then, Mr. Psychostrategist. Got a plan?
Zanto: [smirks] Yes, actually.
[He turns to face Servalan, who is sitting at her desk.]
Zanto: Well, Servalan. Time to pay for the kindness we’ve shown you.
[Servalan arches an eyebrow.]
[An office. Councilor Meston slumps down in a chair at a desk with a built-in communications monitor. The screen shows Servalan’s face.]
Meston: What is it, Commissioner? You’ve been trying to contact me all day apparently – so I assume you have news of the greatest importance for me?
Servalan: You assume correctly, Councilor.
[The image zooms out enough to show she has Orac beside her.]
Meston: [frowns] What is that? Is it...
Servalan: Orac, Councilor Meston? Yes. The ultimate computer and the key to power untold. Prized from the cold, dead hands of its previous owners on Scorpio, whose corpses are rotting on Gauda Prime as we speak.
Meston: [amazed] They’re dead? Avon, Tarrant and the others?
Servalan: [chuckles] Dead. Gone. Extinguished for ever.
[Meston is impressed, despite himself.]
Meston: You, of course, have sufficient proof of their demise.
Servalan: Why should I need any? I no longer report you to or the fools at the High Council.
Meston: [less impressed] I know that success is a very rare thing for you, Sleer, but don’t let it go to your head.
Servalan: Oh, Meston. Such an acid tongue. Is it, perhaps, caused by the cravings for exobriddian you foolishly sampled on your last trip to Earth? One taste is all it takes...
[Meston’s eyes widen.]
Meston: [coldly] What are you talking about?
Servalan: I know about your filthy little secret, Meston. Indeed, all your secrets. Your hidden bank accounts, your mistress on Zeigler 4, precisely what you did to that secretary who spurned your advances. My dear Councilor – even I was shocked!
Meston: Very amusing, Sleer. That is the genuine Orac, you’ve proved that.
Servalan: But why stop there? Why simply settle for blackmailing a fool like you at Federation Security when I could control the entire supreme council – the Federation itself, in fact?
[She lets her words sink in.]
Servalan: I do hope you’re recording this message, Meston.
Meston: All incoming transmissions are logged and stored.
Servalan: Then I strongly recommend you send a copy to everyone at the Ministerial Communiqué Nexus. And believe me, I’ll check that. I wish it made public to the entire empire – every world, every city, every drone in every factory is to see it.
Meston: That hardly sounds wise.
Servalan: Wise? Meston, please! Absolutely no one can touch me now. Orac’s powers are mine – forever. In a very real sense, it’s been Orac rather than the rebels I’ve been pursuing all these years. And at last I have fulfilled my greatest wish. And it wasn’t even in the least bit anticlimactic. This is a whole new beginning, ex-Councilor Meston. And I savor every – luscious – moment. [mock innocent] I think it will cause a stir.
[Meston keeps his cool – but he is frightened. Servalan knows it.]
Servalan: Citizens of the Terran Federation! The regime which rules the known galaxy dies tonight – and a new power structure will take its place. It gives me inordinate pleasure to inform you that I am Servalan, former president and supreme commander of this empire. My enemies conspired to depose me, removing from power the finest leader the state has ever seen! These power-mad conspirators, these malcontents and social outcasts have since allowed Roj Blake and his cadre to wage a ruthless terrorist war upon ordinary Federation citizens – providing them a smokescreen while they seized control.
[Slowly zoom in on the screen.]
Servalan: These maladjusted individuals who control the Federation pose a far greater danger than the likes of Blake and I intend to see a great many heads quite literally roll. I invite all civil administrators to check the files of their so-called leaders and see for themselves the incriminating evidence that is there for all to see. The difficult and dangerous task is at an end and I expect the full support of the Federation people in overthrowing their rulers and restoring me to my rightful position of authority.
[She leans forward.]
Servalan: The Federation needs what I offer – I will end this rot that is ruining the empire. To those who betrayed my trust I say only this: expect me on Earth soon.
[Meston now looks out and out horrified.]
[Flight deck. Servalan sits at her console. Vila and Zanto stand on either side, out of range of the camera. Orac buzzes away.]
Servalan: Cut transmission, Orac.
[The screen goes blank.]
Servalan: As requested, gentlemen. The greatest distraction you could ask for. No one will have any further interest in Blake or Gauda Prime, not now they have a true enemy to focus their attention upon.
Orac: The conclusion is logical. Despite all the efforts of the administration, the Federation is the most unstable it has ever been and your transmission, if replayed as per your instructions, has a sixty-one percent chance of generating such tensions severe enough to destroy the Federation as a galacto-graphical entity.
Servalan: To be replaced by something Blake would have approved of?
Orac: Not all changes are attainable or practical.
Servalan: I’ve heard it said. But I’m nothing if not pragmatic. I’m far happier ruling a reformed Federation than remaining a minion of the current one. [to the others] After all, someone is needed to seize the reigns of power and promote Blake’s cause, are they not?
Zanto: But not you, Servalan.
[Servalan rises, smirking.]
Servalan: Oh no? And why, pray tell, not?
[She turns to address the others as Vila casually draws his clipgun and fires. The sound echoes like a thunderclap. In slow-motion, Servalan’s mouth forms an O of surprise and she doubles over in agony. She falls back against the console and then slowly slides to the floor. Vila looks down at her sadly.]
Vila: No more tricks, Servalan. No more empty promises. It’s all over. You shouldn’t feel any pain. Small consolation, I grant you...
[Servalan glares at him, her strength ebbing away.]
Servalan: [sighing] You... of all people... you...
Vila: Every time Avon spared your life, it cost us all a little more. I know it’s wrong. And I know this doesn’t make you pay for your crimes. You might even win the argument this way, I don’t know. But you killed Cally. And her people. And Dayna’s family. And you drove Avon mad until he could murder an unarmed friend. You’ve had enough reprieves.
[Her eyes are glazing over, but her expression turns cunning.]
Servalan: [amused] Oh Vila... such a fool... even now...
[Vila frowns. Servalan loses consciousness and goes limp.]
Vila: [disgusted] I need a drink. Get rid of the body. Chuck it in the escape pod, throw it into the sun, just... get it away from me.
[He turns and heads off the flight deck. Zanto watches him leave.]
Zanto: [gently] It had to be done, Vila.
Vila: Yeah. Knowing that suddenly makes it all worthwhile.
[He leaves. Zanto sighs and looks down at Servalan’s lifeless body.]
Zanto: Yes. It does, doesn’t it?
[Space. The two ships sail through the void. A small escape capsule, identical to the one the pilot used, detaches from Servalan’s cruiser and drifts away.]
[Cabin. Avon lies on the bed as he did in the cell on Gauda Prime. The door opens to reveal Vila, still holding the gun.]
Avon: A little late for social calls.
Vila: Just shows I’m in charge of my own destiny for once.
Avon: And what wonderful things you’ve done with it, Vila.
Vila: Servalan’d probably agree with you. If she wasn’t dead.
Avon: [neutral] You killed her, I suppose.
Vila: Once she recorded her victory speech to scare the living hell out of the Federation. They’re going to be too busy looking over their shoulders to check she hasn’t stabbed them in the back to bother us. For a while anyway.
Avon: And we are free of Commissioner Sleer.
Avon: So you executed her in cold blood?
Vila: I’m sick of living in a universe where she gets to survive and other people don’t. At least I can tell myself I made it up to Dayna. Did what she never got a chance to.
Avon: Yes, this precious sense of honor is definitely satisfied. Disposing of one psychopath will no doubt put the whole of creation to rights. Nothing can stop us now.
[Vila sits opposite Avon. His gun is pointed, but not aimed, at Avon.]
Vila: Bringing us neatly to you.
Avon: [understanding] Ah. Servalan’s dead and I, no doubt, am next on your list?
Vila: You’re a loose end that needs sorting out, Avon. Or am I wrong?
Avon: Oh, no, but you’re right! And this is how it ends... with the little Delta-grad thief with a personal vendetta. [mock sad] How the mighty do fall.
[Vila stretches out an arm, aiming the gun right between Avon’s eyes.]
Vila: I could give you this gun, Avon. Let you kill yourself.
Avon: You seriously think that’s what I intend to do?
Vila: Yeah. Yeah, I do as it happens. You want to escape, Avon. You want to hide somewhere safe – but there’s nowhere left. No bolt-holes deep enough. No frontier planets distant enough. You’ve tried everything – except death.
Avon: Death is not an escape, Vila. It is a total rejection.
Vila: [knowing] And that doesn’t appeal to you?
[A beat. Avon grins his scary grin.]
Avon: Give me the gun and find out.
[A beat. Vila turns the gun away, aiming at the ceiling.]
Vila: No. [rises] You get to live, Avon. Enough people have died already.
Avon: Oh, very merciful Vila. Shall we toast this new understanding with some more of your radioactive whiskey?
[He picks up an empty tumbler to emphasize his point.]
Vila: No. Let’s sleep on it instead.
[Vila heads for the exit.]
Avon: One last thing before you go.
[Vila stops in the doorway. He doesn’t turn around.]
Avon: What makes you think you aren’t doing exactly what I want? That I haven’t fooled you into sparing my life for my own and immeasurably devious ends?
Vila: What makes you think you changed my mind?
Avon: I’m still alive.
Vila: You’re getting a second chance.
Avon: [triumphant] Why?
[Vila turns and looks Avon straight in the eye.]
Vila: Because it’s what Blake would have done.
[Avon is silent. Vila turns and leaves the door closes. Avon sits silently for a moment. Then he crushes the tumbler in his hand, shattering the glass. His face almost but not quite loses the impassive mask.]
[The two ships hurtle off into the night.]
END OF EPISODE