The whole crew takes a deep breath, even Zen, and…
INT: CARGO BAY/SHUTTLE BAY/ROOM USED IN ‘TIME SQUAD’
Callie fiddles around with a panel.
We zoom in and see that she’s placed a bomb in there.
Possession. Character depth. Sneak reading of season 2 scripts showing erosion of the Callie character.
Callie turns around and does a sneaky face.
INT: LIBERATOR CORRIDOR
A cameraman [or woman] dollies up to Vila, who asks if his outfit looks futuristic.
‘Callie, you okay?’
Callie gets a close up of her face and is told to act like she doesn’t know what a Vila is. She does it. Then knocks Vila out.
Jenna tells Blake to wake up and get to the Bridge. Or he’s already on the bridge, sleeping on the couch, I can’t remember, I only watched this once and didn’t have the willpower to go back and check.
‘What is it, Jenna?’
‘We’re getting a signal from a nearby star system.’
‘It’s asking us to come.’
‘They say they have a copy of ‘The Cherry Orchard’ but no decent actors to perform it…no, wait, there’s more…they’ve never had any decent actors in the history of their civilisation so, theoretically, the first semi-competent actor who turns up would be considered the greatest of all time.’
‘Tell them we’ll be right there.’
‘What about your fight against the Federation?’
‘Delay an episode.’
‘What about your Portuguese study?’
‘I’ll do some on the way.’
‘How long until we get there, Jenna?’
‘About ten minutes, give or take.’
‘Thank you, Jenna.’
‘Sorry…I know I keep using your name…it’s just, I can’t remember your job title.’
‘Don’t be silly, you just press buttons.’
‘What do you do?’
‘Based on what credentials?’
Jenna looks at Blake, noting his winged outfit and half-crunched, half-flowing perm.
‘No one else can do what I do.’
EXT: NEW FOREST, SOMEWHERE NEAR SOUTHAMPTON
Dozens of flaky ewoks surround a quarantine tube/alien lab and demand a seat at the table.
The recently de-thawed cousin of Gary Numan pops out of the lab and asks for a written list of their demands.
One ewok steps forward and says ‘healthc-…’
RDCGN murders him with a Klingon pain stick before he can finish his line. The other flaky ewoks go nuts and start throwing stones at the lab. They know what the producers know, that extras only get paid by line, and technically the murdered ewok never got his line out, and if they’ll do that to him, they’ll do it to all of them.
RDCGN strolls back inside and tells what looks like a shit in a tank that the natives are getting restless and maybe they should just give them some free cash.
‘It might save on repair costs later.’
‘This lab is seriously flimsy…one well-thrown stone could bring it all down.’
‘How about some moisturiser then?’
‘Really, their skin looks terrible, like Jeremy Irons post-Gobi. Worse even. You can see bits of it about to fall off.’
‘Bring me Blake.’
‘Him? He won’t come.’
‘Or he might come, but he won’t stay.’
‘Then activate the web.’
‘It’ll look cheap.’
RDCGN nods then frowns. ‘Will any of that be in the final cut? I mean, what we just said?’
A woman who is just killing time until ‘Don’t Knock Twice’ appears next to RDCGN and asks if he has also been asked to report to Gareth Thomas’ dressing room.
‘Did he tell you to bring a Catherine the Great costume?’
She looks puzzled.
‘It’s normal on BBC productions.’
‘Oh. I wasn’t sure. I’m Polish.’
The two of them walk off-screen as we switch back to the ewoks, who are throwing stones and whacking the lab with sticks. From the side, the director tells them to be careful, the set is fragile, and, note from the producer: talking in ewok noises doesn’t count as payable dialogue.
INT: LIBERATOR BRIDGE
Callie runs onto the bridge, waves a gun around, asks Jenna if she’s trying to invite death then backs blindly into Gan. ‘Thanks, Cal, you’ve given me purpose.’
He takes the gun and pushes her to the floor.
‘I thought you were a prop.’
‘No, I’m Gan. Gan the Van.’
‘Were you here last episode?’
‘Ya, in and out.’
‘I don’t remember…don’t remember anything…’
Jenna leans in and slaps her.
‘Thatcher!’ screams Callie. ‘Number one dog! Trap setter!’
Jenna slaps her again.
‘Okay, I remember.’
Blake and the others gather round for the explanation.
‘I think I was possessed by the lost people of my race. The auronons [sic]. They wanted to stop talking completely and do everything via telepathy, but my people said no, so they left.’
‘Why did your people reject this approach?’
‘Movies would be shit. Music, too.’
‘But I thought these auronon were a myth, but now that one of them has possessed me I’m pretty sure they’re not.’
‘It’s the only possible explanation.’
‘Err…’ says Avon, looking for a way in.
‘Great,’ says Blake, carrying on, ‘now, what do the auronon want?’
‘They want you to come and give them some power cells. Apparently, all their batteries are running out and they’ve only got those little AA ones spare.’
‘What should we do, leader?’ asks Jenna, smirking.
‘Send them a message. Quote: need more details. Sex. Gender. Age. Availability. Confidence level. Intelligence level. Malleability level. Anything else?’
‘Planet location?’ asks Jenna.
‘No need. They’ve already got our co-ordinates from Callie and are pulling our ship towards their planet.’
‘God, space is small,’ says Gan, surprised by his own voice.
‘I knew we shouldn’t have let an illegal on board…’ says Jenna, mouthing ‘sorry’ to Callie as she says it.
‘Jenna, you disgraceful human being. Callie is a vital member of this team, despite her runway chest.’
‘Avon’s words, not mine,’ says Blake, realising his mistake yet secretly affirming to himself inside that it wasn’t really a mistake. Men are men, tits are tits. You can’t pretend Misato whats-her-face from EVA wouldn’t be an upgrade on either of them, especially if she’s speaks Japanese and you don’t need to pretend to listen to her shit.
‘Sorry, Blake, your games won’t work this time…’ says Avon, bluntly.
‘I’m taking over this ship. Hands up who wants a leader who doesn’t try to fuck them? Or question their tits?’
Jenna and Callie raise their hands, while Vila and Gan stare at each other, confused.
‘Hands up who wants a leader who tells it like it is and doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’d fuck at least two of you if only you’d keep your mouths shut?’ responds Blake.
No one puts up their hand, except Avon, who half puts it up then quickly drops it and mutters ‘automatic.’
‘Is this in the script?’ asks Vila, checking his notes.
‘Scripts are ethereal,’ says Blake. ‘Except Hamlet. And Lear. And Clue. Can’t mess with those.’
‘So you’re saying change and improv are valid?’ asks Jenna.
Blake squints, realising that there’s a trap somewhere and he’s probably just wandered into it. ‘Yes?’
‘It’s agreed then,’ says Avon. ‘One and half seasons ahead of schedule, leadership is mine. First order of duty. Relieve Blake of all duties and responsibilities.’
‘It’s agreed then,’ says Blake, ‘due to popular demand, I remain leader due to being based on Zapata.’
‘Sim. Vila and Gan voted for me, that’s three. You, Jenna and Callie, that’s two and a half. Therefore I win. Now, let’s see if we can’t get out of this trap we’re in.’
Blake points to the screen. A web is forming around the ship. I would use ‘somehow’ but can’t really be bothered. There’s a web. It’s tensile strength is ridiculous.
‘I challenge your calculations on the ship leadership. It wasn’t clear that Gan and Vila voted for you. Just like a pair of Christians encountering the ontological argument, they were confused, they didn’t know what was happening.’
‘Avon, give it a rest…’
‘I also challenge your reasoning,’ says Jenna.
‘Me too,’ says Callie.
‘What’s a Christian?’ asks Vila, looking at Gan, who shrugs.
‘People, people, lend me your ears, your arms, your eyeballs etc etc…’ Blake looks at the screen, at the web enveloping the whole ship. ‘I’m going to pretend this isn’t happening. The vote thing. Wait, correction. I’m going to pretend that I never let you know that I’m pretending this isn’t happening.’
‘We won’t follow you anymore, Blake…’ says Avon.
‘The web has us trapped. I think the only way out of this is for me to beam down to the planet and have a chat.’
‘We won’t be here when you get back…’
‘Avon, you wait for my signal then beam down with the power cells. Callie, you watch Jenna. Jenna, watch Callie. Vila, prepare a vocab test for my Portuguese, but only words similar to English words, you know, like parque or espectaculo. Gan, amuse yourself on the couch.’
Avon folds his arms and gestures at the others to do the same. Blake walks over to the two women, moves his hands towards their waists then stops, letting them hover. He thinks about winking, but doesn’t.
‘Jenna, Callie…’ he pauses, looking at their necks. ‘Start working on a plan to attack the Federation. We’ll highlight it next ep.’
‘Motherfucker…’ mutters Avon.
Jenna and Callie look at each other in disbelief. Gan shouts, ‘can I help?’ from the couch, but no one responds.
‘Now, to the transporter room. Me, I mean. And you, Avon.’
‘Shouldn’t we try and shoot our way out of the web first?’
‘Nah, it’ll just regenerate.’
‘But shouldn’t we at least…’
‘Fine.’ Blake smacks a button the console and a laser shoots out of the ship. It breaks a hole in the web.
‘It worked!’ shouts Vila.
Blake looks at the screen, baffled.
A hand appears in space and chucks some more webbing in front of the camera.
‘Oh, it regenerated.’
‘Just like I prophesised,’ says Blake. ‘Now, let’s get on with this. There’s a Polish girl down there and I’m feeling strangely confident.’
Blake runs off, leaving everyone else hanging on the bridge. Avon walks over to the couch, pours a drink and tells Jenna and Callie they’re fools.
‘Shh, we’re formulating a plan for next episode.’
‘Waste of time.’
‘A good plan.’
‘I’ve read the next seven eps and there’s no room for your good plan. It’s all Blake, me and the guest stars.’
‘That can’t be true…’ says Callie.
‘If it were, what would be the point of hiring us?’ adds Jenna.
‘Decoration?’ offers Vila.
‘Cronyism?’ says Gan.
‘Well…’ said Jenna, glancing at Callie for confirmation, ‘if we did give you our support, Avon…what would you change?’
‘My haircut. My action scenes. My sociopathy.’
‘What about us?’
‘I’d also meet up with Servelan now and then, sleep with her, chide her, fight Travis, sleep with Travis, sleep with Servelan while thinking of Travis, foil their plans, allow leeway for new plans, sleep with Travis again, lurk, play Stanley in Streetcar, simmer, visit the south of England…’
Jenna and Callie look at each other and nod. Then go back to making their own plan.
‘Avon, where are you?’ shouts Blake on the radio system.
‘Are you? Well, get back here fast. I’m down here with a shit monster claiming to be related to Callie’s people. The Polish girl has already hooked up with one of the ewoks. The silver man isn’t interested. Or interesting. Keeps talking about himself. Nothing else going on here. Can you beam me back up?’
‘What about the power cells?’
‘Skip that. It looks like the ewoks are gonna trash this place anyway.’
‘I don’t need to come down?’
‘Err…no. Yes. Wait a sec.’ There’s silence for a moment then ‘…no, come down. Bring the power cells.’
‘Too hard to explain. Something about mandatory set usage. Can’t leave before 7. Doesn’t matter, just get down here.’
‘Will it be dangerous?’
‘If you find Nog from DS9 scary, maybe.’
EXT: FOREST NEAR ALIEN LAB
Avon beams down and bumps into Blake who fills him in on what’s happened. ‘The Polish girl is back in play, but she’s taking this script pretty seriously so I have to wait until the ep is done before pouncing. So, let’s get the power cells to the shit monster, reprimand him for planning to murder the ewoks, hang back while everyone gets killed, drag the Polish girl up to the ship, turn off the lights, shift Gan then settle down to things on the couch.’
‘What are these weird inflatable balls around the lab?’
‘Alien plant life?’
‘Where’s the Polish girl?’
The Polish girl and the silver man [can’t remember the initials, can’t be bothered scrolling back up] appear and lead them to the lab. Inside, Blake calls the shit monster a twat and tells him he’ll never give him the power cells cos he respects the ewoks too much.
‘But they’re animals…’
‘So’s half of Middlesbrough.’
The shit monster frowns. ‘Maybe we should annihilate Middlesbrough too?’
‘I said ‘maybe’. I wasn’t endorsing it. I don’t even know who Middlesbrough is. But those ewoks…they’re brainless…and there’s about ten of them. Not exactly the Sumerian Civilisation. Would anyone really miss them after we’ve cleared up all their corpses?’
‘I don’t have time for this. Ewoks, start trashing.’
The ewoks run in and murder the Polish girl and the man. Murder them so efficiently that they turn into skeletons. Blake and Avon sneak out, with Blake hanging back to wait for the Polish girl to get out of the dressing room. She doesn’t come out. He lights a cigarette and waits longer. She still doesn’t appear. After an hour, he goes back in and finds a note. It’s blank.
‘She couldn’t find a pen,’ says one of the ewoks, smoking a rollie.
‘Where did she go?’
‘Nic Roeg’s house.’
‘Fuck. Did she say anything?’
‘Yeah. You’re too sweaty.’
‘I hate this forest,’ mumbles Blake, walking out.
‘You’ll be back,’ says the ewok, blowing out smoke.
INT: LIBERATOR BRIDGE
Avon is slumped over the arm of the couch, muttering something about Season 3 and the quest for Servelan’s knickers.
Gan and Vila are playing Uno.
Blake saunters in and says ‘time for the wrap up, people, where are the ladies?’
‘I’ll be right back…’
Before Blake can get too far, Gan shouts that the sauna door is locked and there are no windows.
‘No problem, let me put on my coal costume…’
Blake disappears and returns ten minutes later, deflated. He sits on the couch, rubs Avon’s thigh and moans that there aren’t the same perks as there were ten years earlier.
‘Are you really gonna use Jenna and Callie’s plan?’
‘Their plan to attack the Federation?’
‘I don’t know. What did they come up with?’
‘I think plan A is to wait until Servelan dies then shoot a laser at Earth. Plan B is to put on a disguise, meet Servelan at a bar, date her, marry her and gradually try to influence her into not being full on fascist.’
‘Not very Zapata. Anything else?’
‘They did say something about a plan C…not sure exactly, I think it was related to black holes and the ergosphere…’
‘Put the Federation in a Black Hole. Not bad. Not bad.’
‘So you’re actually gonna use them?’
‘If they promise to install windows in the sauna, sure.’
‘I thought you said you were going to tone down the sleaze…’
‘Actually, I said I was a changed man but it would take time to phase out the sleaze so…I figure I have at least one and half seasons before I reach total new age man.’
‘And by new age I mean the 80’s.’
Avon lifts up his head and asks if anyone wants to itch his feet. Everyone stays as they are.
‘Did we get out of that web yet?’
‘Prop department ran out, nowhere else had any. Which means we’re free to start attacking the Federation and getting to the core of the series.’
‘I can’t wait to continue sitting on the couch,’ says Vila.
‘Zen, get us out of this shit heap of an ep.’
‘Isn’t that Jenna’s job?’
‘Probably, but she’s got Callie’s arm up her muff…potentially…probably…so it falls to Zen. Zen?’
‘Where am I?’
Zen’s light-squares flash in a pattern the same shape as the map of Ghana. He speaks several alien languages before returning to English.
‘Zen, are you broke?’
‘I was just working on legislation to bring back the oathing system…and then I was gonna go and finalise the purchase of some more ruby mines in Tsavo Park…then blankness…and now…this…’
‘Zen, stop monologuing and start driving.’
‘Am I a good zen or a bad zen?’
‘Jesus, Avon, did you not fix this thing?’
‘It is beyond my know-how,’ says Avon, disinterested.
Blake stands up and whacks some buttons. Zen beeps a few times then switches off. Satisfied, Blake returns to the couch.
‘How are we gonna move now?’ asks Vila.
‘Ah, we’ll get there.’
‘Fair enough.’ Vila notices his notes resting on his lap. ‘Ah, I nearly forgot. Your Portuguese test.’
‘Muito bem. First word, go.’
Blake thinks for a second then says ‘Portuguese to English.’
Vila nods, looks further down the list. ‘Ir.’
‘Don’t tell me the answer. And I said words similar to English ones.’
‘Stop trying to trip me up.’
‘Understood.’ Vila looks for another word. ‘Okay. What about normalmente.’
‘Almost. It’s normally.’
‘Same thing. Next.’
‘Don’t tell me the answer.’
Blake pours a drink and tries to look over at Vila’s notes, but the only thing he can see is ‘estomago’.
The cameraman gets a signal from the director and stops filming. The crew and cast pack up and leave, all except Blake and Vila who continue with the test. Time passes. Eyeballs adjust to the dark. Blake finally gives up and says ‘ask me how to say ‘I don’t know’, I know that one…’
‘How do you say ‘I don’t know’?’
‘I don’t know if that’s correct.’
‘It is, trust me.’
‘Aren’t we going?’
‘It’s almost 3 in the-…’