Writer- Nicola Cuti
Screenplay- Kevin McCorry
"Moonbase Alpha status report, 2688 days after leaving Earth
Helena Russell recording. Alpha is nearing the last planet to
in the Epsilon Rudea system, the fifth in distance from the white
star. We have launched a aerial reconnaissance ship piloted by
and Omira Tal..."
Eagle One's majestic form lowered
into the atmosphere of the brown-green
planet. From his chair in the pilot section, Bill Fraser beheld
glimpses of the surface of this alien world. What he saw reminded
films he had once seen in a high school history class back on
showing the devastated cities of Germany immediately following
invasion of 1945. Though he was looking at a planet galaxies
away from his
own, the scenes were eerily and grimly familiar. He and Omira
sombre and perplexed glances. "Camera transmitting, Commander,"
over the ship's communication link to Alpha.
The contingent in Command Centre gasped almost in unison at the
before them, that of a past planetary Armageddon. On the Big
Screen was a
once-magnificent city speaking of an obviously advanced culture.
shaped architecture was much different from that of Earth or
planet Alpha had encountered, and encroaching vegetation had
innermost buildings, in places rising to heights reaching the
top of the
tallest structures. Many structures were slanted or utterly toppled,
messes of debris on what obviously were once streets. Crumbling
pillars were left where whole buildings once stood. Bizarre,
of the Earthly tank were scattered about, themselves largely
debris, ashes, and creeping vines. Under some of the debris were
dismembered remains what appeared to be robots, humanoid in form,
featureless, with big, protruding eyes staring eternally into
Commander Koenig, dressed in his dark blue, unzipped jacket,
alternately observed the devastation on the screen and the other
faces in the Centre. Alan Carter, in his grey-green jacket, was
the computer-side entrance, his eyes intently focused on the
image of what
appeared to be the wreckage of some fantastic flying craft analogous
helicopters of Earth. Tony Verdeschi, Maya of Psychon, and Alibe
their usual garb, were seated at their posts, also gazing fixedly
John said, "Bill, give me a reading on environment. Radiation?
Bill promptly responded. "Radiation count high but tolerable
periods. Pollution content is very high also, with excessive
sulphur dioxide and other industrial gasses. Ash and dust levels
Omira added the results of her analysis. "No recorded life
for vegetation and insects."
As Bill continued the Eagle's sweep, all the Alphans had to look
more of the same. Wrecked cities, encroaching plants, decrepit
ashen deserts, wastelands. Tony made the obvious comment. "These
destroyed themselves, and quite some time ago, by the look of
John followed, "We're looking at what could have happened
to the Earth
in 1987 had our leaders not awoken to the consequences of their
"Well," Alan walked over and added, "looks like
this entire solar system
is a wash-out."
Maya made a reading of her own. "We'll be in range of Rudea
V for three
days, which gives us ample time for a boarding."
"Boarding," John echoed. "That's an interesting
idea, but I doubt we'll
find anything salvageable in that hotel."
"I agree, John," said Tony.
Maya turned in her chair and faced the pair. "Well, I disagree.
civilization has something to teach us, even if it is only a
John said, "There's no sign of life down there, and the
unhealthy even in the short term. Will what we learn be worth
Maya stood up and did a circuit around Command Centre as she
technology advances faster than in time of war. That's an unfortunate
of which the Dorcons are a prime example. And from what you've
Earth's technology progressed by leaps and bounds during the
global wars of your twentieth century, and it was only after
the third that
your species found the wisdom needed to accompany the high technology
put it to good use- this Moonbase. Now it would seem these people
fortunate, but they may have come up with some highly advanced
ideas. From that rubble, we may discover a system or principle
which we may
be able to use."
Everybody was nodding. They had already been extremely carious
and how a whole civilization belligerently committed the ultimate
self-destruction. This was something that almost happened on
Earth; so, they
were, in a sense, looking at an alternative version of their
own old world.
Maya's argument gave credence to a mission in which they already
visceral interest. John made the corresponding decision.
"Very well. Alan, prepare Eagle Four. You, Maya, myself,
Security guards will pay a visit to the dead planet."
As Alan said the obligatory "Right away, John" and
departed, Helena, who
had just arrived and was taking her first looks at the pictures
on the Big
Screen, came forward. "John, I'd like to go with you."
"There's nothing much alive down there, Helena, but all
right. We might
need you." Helena looked at Maya as the two ladies smiled
in anticipation of
an interesting adventure and left the Centre together on their
way to their
respective living quarters. Koenig patted Tony on the shoulder
as a non-
verbal cue that he is in temporary command of the Moonbase. Then,
signaled Eagle One. "Bill, return home. I'm leading a team
down there in
Eagle Four for a landing."
With that, John himself left for his quarters to prepare for
embarkation. A shower, a change of tunic, and a quick meal, and
he will be
ready to join his comrades in their descent into a war-ravaged
With John and Alan
in the pilot section, dressed in their respective
dark blue and grey-green jackets, Eagle Four was elevated to
on the rising launching pad. Maya, in her green anorak with red
seated next to the Passenger Module computer. Helena, in her
jacket, had joined the two Security men in the Passenger Module's
seats. Tons of steel trembled as the awesome power of the Eagle's
raised the spacecraft off of Moonbase Alpha and propelled it
coldness of space, passing Bill and Omira's Eagle which was on
its way back
to Alpha, flying gracefully into orbit around Rudea V, to finally
the ivy bed of a graveyard. But even in a graveyard, the dead
are not always
The Eagle landed near the largest of the destroyed cities, in
in which the weeds were almost half as high as the ship itself.
As had been
expected, ground-level radiation was blocking communications
meaning that for the duration of its stay on the planet, the
would be on its own. They drew their weapons off the rack, put
their shoulders, and exited the ship. They were greeted by a
swarm of flies
and grasses so high, they would almost have to hack them down
to clear the way. The air was very dusty and had a faint, sulphurous
So, they took short breaths so as to avoid inhaling lungfuls
of the stuff.
John contemplated returning to the ship and putting on spacesuits
instead to save the precious oxygen supply for times when they
absolutely need it. For a brief period, the air on the planet
was safe to
breathe, however uncomfortably.
John protectively put his hand on Helena's shoulder at the sight
movement at one of the entrances to the buildings on the city
Evans, one of the Security guards, spoke. "It's some sort
A weird flying spheroid with spikes extending from it on all
with what looked like a camera lens on its main body emerged
building, approached and hummed ominously above the Alphan party.
"A warning device of some kind," Maya commented.
"Slowly draw your weapons," John ordered, and the others
moving testingly so as to not trigger some kind of automatic
weaponry on the
hovering object. "That thing knows we're here. Let's hope
its warning falls
on dead ears."
They slinked by and walked around a corner, looking back to check
whether the spheroid had followed them.
"We seem to have given it the slip," Alan said.
They cautiously wandered deeper into the city, examining tank-like
relics and coming upon erect but inactive bipedal robots with
faces and bulging eyes. "I think we've landed in the capital,
Maya said. "And if so, there should be a storehouse of records
John pointed. "The building in the centre seems to be the
standing. Let's check it out."
As they walked closer to the prominent structure, Helena frowned
started looking in various directions around her. "This
may sound silly. I
know that spheroid is nowhere in sight, but I can't shake the
The others started surveying the area around them, and eventually
replied, "It's not silly at all, Helena." He pointed
to an alley on their
right where a diverse array of robots, one of which headless,
one with three
legs and wheels, one with what looked like a wave print-out screen
head panel, were coming out of one of the tank-like vehicles,
approaching in attack formation. Coming down from the sky and
itself above the charging robots was the electronic spheroid
Alphans moved slowly toward the main building, their laser guns
pointed at the still advancing robots. The robot in front raised
cylindrical gun and opened fire. The two Security guards returned
and the other robots promptly joined in. Deadly laser fire was
in both directions as the Alphans engaged the robots in desperate
"Get inside the building!" John shouted. "It's
our only cover!" Helena
and Maya did not have to be told. They were already inside. John
fell back as the two guards in front kept up fire, gradually
well into the main structure as John, Alan, and Maya, in the
form of a
gorilla, slammed the big, heavy, twin stone doors shut. Maya
normal form, and John motioned for the two guards to take up
a position at
two picture windows at the left side of the spacious room.
The room was in remarkably
good shape and practically empty, though
there was at the far back an entrance to another, seemingly bigger
empty hall. Maya and Helena proceeded toward it as John and Alan
with the guards.
Referring to the robots outside, Security guard Evans spoke.
not advancing, sir. They're waiting and gathering. There must
be fifty of
them out there." John and Alan shared the necessary worried
impure air was becoming nauseating, and the radiation factor
paramount in their minds. They were trapped in the building and
stay much longer without their health being adversely affected,
sustained state of sedge would be fatal. They had to return to
within an hour, or else they would be in no condition to make
Maya's call finally broke John out of his doleful reverie.
"Commander, over here!"
She had gone into the adjacent room and found something. John
walked briskly to join her and Helena. Just inside the doorway
was a row of
cobweb-covered robots of a different design from those seen outside.
had faces with metallic humanoid features- brows, noses, mouths,
all looked exactly alike and stood about seven feet tall. "Are
John asked the Psychon.
"They're not what I wanted to show you; they've been deactivated
years." She pointed to where Helena was standing at the
centre of the vast
hall. The hall itself was much like the interrogation room John
had been in
on the penal moon of Entra, with black-and-white checkered patterns
over the walls.
Sitting on a throne in a glass bubble, elevated off the floor
by a huge,
mechanical contraption on top of which the bubble was attached
and a part,
was what appeared to be a stunningly beautiful woman. Her eyes
and she was totally immobile, just like the line of robots at
to this throne room. The "woman" had what looked like
a head-sized helmet
suspended inches above her. She was dressed in a gown and flowing
with large, round earrings and pendants, necklaces, and a gleaming,
headset with antenna-like projections on both sides. Her two
poised on a perfectly balanced pair of rods running the radius
of the bubble
to the inside edges. Below her throne, still inside the bubble,
perfect circle of lights, in which she was centrally situated.
mechanical device below the bubble was multi-shaped on all sides,
cylindrical exception running all the way to a bank of computers
"We've found a survivor," Helena stated.
"She sure looks human, and beautiful!" John regarded
Maya. "Can we
"I don't think she is human, Commander. This doesn't look
to me like a
suspended animation or stasis chamber, but more like a master
terminal. My guess is she's an android, perhaps created in the
form of the
humanoid inhabitants of this former world. A sentinel, a guardian,
oversee the continued function of the equipment. For some reason,
primary power source failed, and the back-up generator never
"Well, whatever she is, we could sure use some help to get
Alan stated emphatically.
"Right. She might know a way of deactivating those robots
going to have to chance a revival of this... sentinel. She might
be our only
chance of making it out of here." John put his arm on Maya's
you revive her?"
"Yes." She held up a book she had retrieved from a
table next to the
computer banks and spoke as she flipped through. "The instructions
written in this book in an alien language, but the accompanying
clear. It's as if they knew her liberator would not be from this
I really have to do is to activate the auxiliary power supply."
"Do it, as fast as you can. We can't last in this environment
Maya's extraordinary intellect
and calculating ability enabled her to
interpret the diagrams and put them into practice in fifteen
Alan, and Helena watched her intensely, periodically putting
over their faces to filter out the dust and odors. She knew that
not want to hear any doubts but felt obligated to give a totally
"The batteries are almost dry, and the generators are rusty.
we'll have enough power to complete the operation."
John looked back into the outer room where the guards were still
stationed at the windows then, as a silent expression of impatience,
and heaved, gazing from one side of the hall to another and back
laboring form of his Psychon Science Officer. Alan turned and
went out to
check up on the guards. Helena and John moved closer to Maya
as she pulled
levers and pressed keys.
"I've fed their computer fragments of our language. She
should be able
Helena looked up at the enthroned android and noticed eye movement.
nudged John. "John, look."
Before John could react, Maya shouted, "Success!",
and the bubble opened
in the front, as a 6 1/2-by-2 foot fragment of the glass disintegrated.
circle of lights on the bottom flickered while the crown above
woman stayed suspended in mid-air. Her eyes slowly opened, and
she took her
hands off the rods and impassively rose. Emotionlessly, she observed
three Alphans on the floor below, stepped out of the bubble and
descended the cumbersome mechanical podium to come to a stop
front of John.
There were almost thirty seconds of silence as John exchanged
with his colleagues and hesitantly chose his first words. But
forestalled. The large, enchanting lips opened, and this alluring,
tall, android sentinel introduced herself.
"I am Zahara." Her expressionless face focused on John
"My name is John Koenig, Commander of Moonbase Alpha, a
from the planet Earth." He raised his hand in the direction
of Maya and
Helena. "These are my companions."
Zahara nodded in recognition, and John continued.
"We came to your planet and found it devastated. Out of
landed and looked around. Then..."
Before John could outline the nature of their problem, shots
coming from the outer hall. "Alan!" John yelled, laser
ready, running over
to the entrance. He nearly collided with Alan, who was carrying
form of the second Security guard, Carson. Carson's purple sleeve
nearly obliterated and a severe laser burn was prominent on his
John looked out to find the window where Carson had been posted
shattered, and the robot belligerents were moving in through
it. The heavy
stone doors were giving way also. Evans, the first guard, was
dear life as shots were being fired from behind. Helena rushed
to the aid of
the stricken Carson, giving him a mild sedative from her medikit.
motioned for Alan and Evans to stand on both inner sides of the
entrance and return fire, holding the attackers off until they
another exit. He hastened to Zahara's side. "Zahara, is
there a rear exit
For the first time, Zahara showed expression, one of empathy
"There is no way out except the way you entered." Before
John and the others
could share defeated looks, Zahara raised her left eyebrow and
"However, do not despair. I will dispatch my android guards."
Maya, her look bleak, said, "They're deactivated, Zahara.
enough power to recharge them."
John threw his arms down and was about to turn away in silent
frustration when Zahara's aspect changed to one of vital determination.
have all the power necessary to revitalize them. My will is now
The pendants on her body glowed with increasing intensity as
approached the formerly motionless robot procession. They stirred,
cobwebs falling to the ground, and the circles on their centre
alive. Alan and Evans moved aside as the robots lined into frontal
formation and went out to the exterior hall to repel the enemy
laser beams from the opposing robots just bounced off Zahara's
they invincibly opened fire. John, Alan, and Evans joined in,
lethal lasers on the retreating aggressors. But the sudden demand
took its toll on the robot defenders, as their rotted batteries
shattering their metal bodies.
However, this temporary turn in the tide of battle gave Zahara
think. "Quickly! I know of another exit to the building
which the soldiers
may be unaware of." She pointed to what appeared to be a
closet at the very
back of the checkered throne room. It was actually an emergency
hallway, at the end of which was a small foyer with a rusty,
door. As they came nearer to it, pinpoints of daylight could
along the jagged ridges.
Evans reached it first and strained to open it. "It's stuck!"
exclaimed. John and Zahara came at a run, with Helena. Maya,
helping the stricken Carson, behind. Evans kicked at the door,
and it gave
way. A tremendous blast of energy hit him from outside, and his
dead body was thrown backwards to land at John's feet.
"Damn!" John shouted.
Zahara said, "It was a robot tank guarding this exit. Your
be useless against it."
Maya peered out at it and asked, "Is there any chance of
"None. But it will not expect you to charge directly at
John, having just come back to his senses after the loss of another
crewman, cued Zahara. "Why should I do that?"
Zahara removed the pendant from around her neck and placed it
hand. "This jewel is magnetic. Attach it to the underside
of the tank, and I
will do the rest. Quickly! I can hear the soldiers coming!"
Glumly, John nodded and headed for the door. Helena grabbed him
arm. She wanted to trust Zahara but had already seen one death
Zahara's uncertain leadership. "John, no. You'll be killed!"
Maya stepped forward. "Let me do it, Commander."
"Maya, this is one time when your abilities won't give you
much of an
edge. As Commander, it's my call."
Zahara said, "Go, now!"
John turned to Helena, placed his hands on her shoulders, and
"We'll all be killed if we don't get out of here now. Zahara
seems to know
what she's doing. I don't think she expected that tank to be
"I only expected the exit to be blocked off by debris. Fortunately,
passable, but you must do as I say!"
"There you have it. Don't worry, Helena, I'll be okay."
She bowed her head and nodded in uneasy agreement. John bent
darted out the door. The tank fired, missing him by a wide margin.
on the ground and in no time was right under the tank. Swiftly,
the gem to the tank's vulnerable underbelly, and it magnetically
Then a thought occurred to John. "She didn't tell me how
much time I had to
get out." Anxiously, John rolled out the back end of the
vehicle and raced
for safety. Before the tank's gun could turn to fire on him,
glowed with an abnormal brilliance, triggering an explosion of
that obliterated the tank.
"John!" Helena cried.
From the other side of the wall of dissipating smoke came John's
"I'm okay. Now let's get outta here, fast."
The Alphans and Zahara fled the exit corridor just as the robot
appeared from behind and commenced fire. They ran down the sidestreet,
looking back to check on any pursuit.
As they left the city and made their way through the high brush
the Eagle, Zahara looked over at John and, with an impressed
"We'll be at your flying machine in a short while. You were
Characteristically modest, John replied, "I only did what
I had to do."
He felt a painful scratchiness in his throat and knew they had
ship not a moment too soon. John opened the main hatch with his
and they all made haste to get aboard. Alan sat Carson on a chair,
Helena tended to the wound with her shipboard equipment. "Get
us off, Alan,"
John ordered. He turned to Zahara. "Make yourself comfortable
in one of
these seats. We'll be launching to go back to our base."
Zahara displayed great charm. "I am indeed thankful for
your act of
"As are we for yours. We look forward to having you as our
Alpha." He glanced over and saw that Maya had something
in her satchel. It
could only have been one thing, and he kept quiet about it as
the engines to raise the Eagle off this forsaken world.
John went into the pilot section and sat down in the co-pilot's
"Zahara is very attractive," Alan said.
John smiled slightly. "For an android." He activated
system. "We should be far enough off the ground to make
contact with Alpha."
The picture was a bit unstable, but Tony appeared on the screen.
How was the trip? Find anything exciting?"
"Oh, yes. The war down there wasn't as over as we thought.
We lost one
Security guard. Evans. Carson was wounded in the arm."
Always saddened to hear of a loss in his department, Tony bowed
and sighed. Koenig continued. "We do, however, have an extra
Tony's features changed to a expression of puzzlement. "Huh?
You mean an
inhabitant of Rudea V?"
"In a manner of speaking. We'll tell you all about it when
we get back."