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 ENDGAME


Writer- Nicola Cuti
Screenplay- Kevin McCorry


"Moonbase Alpha status report, 2688 days after leaving Earth orbit. Dr.
Helena Russell recording. Alpha is nearing the last planet to be encountered
in the Epsilon Rudea system, the fifth in distance from the white dwarf
star. We have launched a aerial reconnaissance ship piloted by Bill Fraser
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 his first
glimpses of the surface of this alien world. What he saw reminded him of
films he had once seen in a high school history class back on Earth, films
showing the devastated cities of Germany immediately following the Allied
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 Tal exchanged
sombre and perplexed glances. "Camera transmitting, Commander," he signaled
over the ship's communication link to Alpha.
The contingent in Command Centre gasped almost in unison at the panorama
before them, that of a past planetary Armageddon. On the Big Screen was a
once-magnificent city speaking of an obviously advanced culture. The multi-
shaped architecture was much different from that of Earth or any other
planet Alpha had encountered, and encroaching vegetation had overtaken the
innermost buildings, in places rising to heights reaching the top of the
tallest structures. Many structures were slanted or utterly toppled, leaving
messes of debris on what obviously were once streets. Crumbling and eroded
pillars were left where whole buildings once stood. Bizarre, alien versions
of the Earthly tank were scattered about, themselves largely covered by
debris, ashes, and creeping vines. Under some of the debris were
dismembered remains what appeared to be robots, humanoid in form, but
featureless, with big, protruding eyes staring eternally into nothingness.
Commander Koenig, dressed in his dark blue, unzipped jacket,
alternately observed the devastation on the screen and the other astonished
faces in the Centre. Alan Carter, in his grey-green jacket, was standing at
the computer-side entrance, his eyes intently focused on the image of what
appeared to be the wreckage of some fantastic flying craft analogous to the
helicopters of Earth. Tony Verdeschi, Maya of Psychon, and Alibe Kurand, in
their usual garb, were seated at their posts, also gazing fixedly at the
grim tableau.
John said, "Bill, give me a reading on environment. Radiation?
Pollutants?"
Bill promptly responded. "Radiation count high but tolerable for short
periods. Pollution content is very high also, with excessive traces of
sulphur dioxide and other industrial gasses. Ash and dust levels
considerable."
Omira added the results of her analysis. "No recorded life forms, save
for vegetation and insects."
As Bill continued the Eagle's sweep, all the Alphans had to look at was
more of the same. Wrecked cities, encroaching plants, decrepit cemeteries,
ashen deserts, wastelands. Tony made the obvious comment. "These people
destroyed themselves, and quite some time ago, by the look of it."
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 folly."
"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. Every
civilization has something to teach us, even if it is only a bad example."
John said, "There's no sign of life down there, and the environment is
unhealthy even in the short term. Will what we learn be worth the effort?"
Maya stood up and did a circuit around Command Centre as she spoke. "No
technology advances faster than in time of war. That's an unfortunate fact
of which the Dorcons are a prime example. And from what you've told me,
Earth's technology progressed by leaps and bounds during the first two
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 and
put it to good use- this Moonbase. Now it would seem these people weren't so
fortunate, but they may have come up with some highly advanced items and
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 about why
and how a whole civilization belligerently committed the ultimate act of
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 had a
visceral interest. John made the corresponding decision.
"Very well. Alan, prepare Eagle Four. You, Maya, myself, and two
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, John
signaled Eagle One. "Bill, return home. I'm leading a team down there in
Eagle Four for a landing."
"Copy, Commander."
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 necropolis.

With John and Alan in the pilot section, dressed in their respective
dark blue and grey-green jackets, Eagle Four was elevated to surface level
on the rising launching pad. Maya, in her green anorak with red stripes, was
seated next to the Passenger Module computer. Helena, in her aqua-blue sport
jacket, had joined the two Security men in the Passenger Module's main
seats. Tons of steel trembled as the awesome power of the Eagle's engines
raised the spacecraft off of Moonbase Alpha and propelled it into the
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 land upon
the ivy bed of a graveyard. But even in a graveyard, the dead are not always
at peace...
The Eagle landed near the largest of the destroyed cities, in a clearing
in which the weeds were almost half as high as the ship itself. As had been
expected, ground-level radiation was blocking communications with Alpha,
meaning that for the duration of its stay on the planet, the landing party
would be on its own. They drew their weapons off the rack, put satchels on
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 with machetes
to clear the way. The air was very dusty and had a faint, sulphurous odor.
So, they took short breaths so as to avoid inhaling lungfuls of the stuff.
John contemplated returning to the ship and putting on spacesuits but opted
instead to save the precious oxygen supply for times when they would
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 of
movement at one of the entrances to the buildings on the city limits.
Evans, one of the Security guards, spoke. "It's some sort of electronic
eye!"
A weird flying spheroid with spikes extending from it on all sides and
with what looked like a camera lens on its main body emerged from the
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 complied,
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 featureless
faces and bulging eyes. "I think we've landed in the capital, Commander,"
Maya said. "And if so, there should be a storehouse of records somewhere."
John pointed. "The building in the centre seems to be the tallest one
standing. Let's check it out."
As they walked closer to the prominent structure, Helena frowned and
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 feeling we're
being watched."
The others started surveying the area around them, and eventually John
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 on its
head panel, were coming out of one of the tank-like vehicles, armed, and
approaching in attack formation. Coming down from the sky and positioning
itself above the charging robots was the electronic spheroid eye. The
Alphans moved slowly toward the main building, their laser guns raised and
pointed at the still advancing robots. The robot in front raised its long,
cylindrical gun and opened fire. The two Security guards returned the fire,
and the other robots promptly joined in. Deadly laser fire was being sprayed
in both directions as the Alphans engaged the robots in desperate combat.
"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 and Alan
fell back as the two guards in front kept up fire, gradually retreating as
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 resumed her
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 and less
empty hall. Maya and Helena proceeded toward it as John and Alan consulted
with the guards.
Referring to the robots outside, Security guard Evans spoke. "They're
not advancing, sir. They're waiting and gathering. There must be fifty of
them out there." John and Alan shared the necessary worried glances. The
impure air was becoming nauseating, and the radiation factor was also
paramount in their minds. They were trapped in the building and could not
stay much longer without their health being adversely affected, and any
sustained state of sedge would be fatal. They had to return to the Eagle
within an hour, or else they would be in no condition to make it back.
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 and Alan
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. They
had faces with metallic humanoid features- brows, noses, mouths, chin. They
all looked exactly alike and stood about seven feet tall. "Are they alive?"
John asked the Psychon.
"They're not what I wanted to show you; they've been deactivated for
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 all
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 were closed,
and she was totally immobile, just like the line of robots at the entrance
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 robes,
with large, round earrings and pendants, necklaces, and a gleaming, pointed
headset with antenna-like projections on both sides. Her two hands were
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, was a
perfect circle of lights, in which she was centrally situated. The
mechanical device below the bubble was multi-shaped on all sides, with a
cylindrical exception running all the way to a bank of computers on the
right wall.
"We've found a survivor," Helena stated.
"She sure looks human, and beautiful!" John regarded Maya. "Can we
revive her?"
"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 computer
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, maybe to
oversee the continued function of the equipment. For some reason, her
primary power source failed, and the back-up generator never kicked in."
"Well, whatever she is, we could sure use some help to get outta here,"
Alan stated emphatically.
"Right. She might know a way of deactivating those robots outside. We're
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 shoulder. "Can
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 are
written in this book in an alien language, but the accompanying diagrams are
clear. It's as if they knew her liberator would not be from this planet. All
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 much
longer."

Maya's extraordinary intellect and calculating ability enabled her to
interpret the diagrams and put them into practice in fifteen minutes. John,
Alan, and Helena watched her intensely, periodically putting their hands
over their faces to filter out the dust and odors. She knew that they did
not want to hear any doubts but felt obligated to give a totally realistic
appraisal.
"The batteries are almost dry, and the generators are rusty. I hope
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, sighed
and heaved, gazing from one side of the hall to another and back at the
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
to speak."
Helena looked up at the enthroned android and noticed eye movement. She
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. The
circle of lights on the bottom flickered while the crown above the android
woman stayed suspended in mid-air. Her eyes slowly opened, and she took her
hands off the rods and impassively rose. Emotionlessly, she observed the
three Alphans on the floor below, stepped out of the bubble and effortlessly
descended the cumbersome mechanical podium to come to a stop directly in
front of John.
There were almost thirty seconds of silence as John exchanged glances
with his colleagues and hesitantly chose his first words. But he was
forestalled. The large, enchanting lips opened, and this alluring, 6-foot-
tall, android sentinel introduced herself.
"I am Zahara." Her expressionless face focused on John awaiting the
standard response.
"My name is John Koenig, Commander of Moonbase Alpha, a wandering colony
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 curiosity, we
landed and looked around. Then..."
Before John could outline the nature of their problem, shots were heard
coming from the outer hall. "Alan!" John yelled, laser ready, running over
to the entrance. He nearly collided with Alan, who was carrying the limp
form of the second Security guard, Carson. Carson's purple sleeve had been
nearly obliterated and a severe laser burn was prominent on his upper arm.
John looked out to find the window where Carson had been posted was
shattered, and the robot belligerents were moving in through it. The heavy
stone doors were giving way also. Evans, the first guard, was running for
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. John
motioned for Alan and Evans to stand on both inner sides of the throne room
entrance and return fire, holding the attackers off until they could find
another exit. He hastened to Zahara's side. "Zahara, is there a rear exit
from here?!"
For the first time, Zahara showed expression, one of empathy and regret.
"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 continued.
"However, do not despair. I will dispatch my android guards."
Maya, her look bleak, said, "They're deactivated, Zahara. There isn't
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. "I
have all the power necessary to revitalize them. My will is now their will."
The pendants on her body glowed with increasing intensity as she
approached the formerly motionless robot procession. They stirred, the
cobwebs falling to the ground, and the circles on their centre chests coming
alive. Alan and Evans moved aside as the robots lined into frontal attack
formation and went out to the exterior hall to repel the enemy forces. The
laser beams from the opposing robots just bounced off Zahara's legions as
they invincibly opened fire. John, Alan, and Evans joined in, training
lethal lasers on the retreating aggressors. But the sudden demand for energy
took its toll on the robot defenders, as their rotted batteries burst,
shattering their metal bodies.
However, this temporary turn in the tide of battle gave Zahara time to
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 exit
hallway, at the end of which was a small foyer with a rusty, warped metal
door. As they came nearer to it, pinpoints of daylight could be spotted
along the jagged ridges.
Evans reached it first and strained to open it. "It's stuck!" he
exclaimed. John and Zahara came at a run, with Helena. Maya, and Alan,
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 charred and
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 weapons will
be useless against it."
Maya peered out at it and asked, "Is there any chance of by-passing it?"
"None. But it will not expect you to charge directly at it."
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 in John's
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 by the
arm. She wanted to trust Zahara but had already seen one death result from
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 said,
"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 out there."
"I only expected the exit to be blocked off by debris. Fortunately, it's
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 low and
darted out the door. The tank fired, missing him by a wide margin. He rolled
on the ground and in no time was right under the tank. Swiftly, he pressed
the gem to the tank's vulnerable underbelly, and it magnetically took hold.
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, Zahara's eyes
glowed with an abnormal brilliance, triggering an explosion of the pendant
that obliterated the tank.
"John!" Helena cried.
From the other side of the wall of dissipating smoke came John's reply.
"I'm okay. Now let's get outta here, fast."
The Alphans and Zahara fled the exit corridor just as the robot soldiers
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 back to
the Eagle, Zahara looked over at John and, with an impressed regard, said,
"We'll be at your flying machine in a short while. You were very brave,
Commander."
Characteristically modest, John replied, "I only did what I had to do."
He felt a painful scratchiness in his throat and knew they had reached the
ship not a moment too soon. John opened the main hatch with his commlock,
and they all made haste to get aboard. Alan sat Carson on a chair, and
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
rescue."
"As are we for yours. We look forward to having you as our guest on
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 Alan ignited
the engines to raise the Eagle off this forsaken world.
John went into the pilot section and sat down in the co-pilot's chair.
"Zahara is very attractive," Alan said.
John smiled slightly. "For an android." He activated the communications
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. "John!
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 his head
and sighed. Koenig continued. "We do, however, have an extra passenger."
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."