by Robert Holmes
Avon is offered the opportunity to gain a weapon with unlimited destructive power called a tachyon funnel, when he is contacted by its inventor, a fugitive scientist called Egrorian. However, Egrorian is overly cautious, instructing Avon to use his shuttle, rather than Scorpio’s teleport system. Avon agrees, and takes Vila with him. When Egrorian states that he wants Orac in return for the tachyon funnel, Avon readily agrees; but when Egrorian’s assistant, the elderly and senile Pinder, calls him ‘ma’am’, Avon suspects that Servalan is somehow involved. Aboard Scorpio, Tarrant learns from Orac that not only is Egrorian power-mad, but his assistant is only twenty-eight; he informs Avon. Servalan has watched the negotiations via hidden camera; hers and Egrorian’s scheme will not only give her Orac and the tachyon funnel, but also Avon’s death. Avon exchanges Orac for the weapon, and Egrorian explains that Pinder’s accelerated aging is due to exposure to Hoffal’s radiation, the effect of magnesium upon neutron radiation. Avon and Vila leave for Scorpio in the shuttle; Avon then removes the real Orac from hiding - the Orac he gave Egrorian was a remote-controlled replica. However, Orac tells Avon that the shuttle is too heavy, and will not be able to achieve orbit, but will instead plummet to the planet surface. Avon and Vila rush to empty the shuttle of excess weight, even jettisoning the tachyon funnel in their attempts. Orac tells Avon that the shuttle is still too heavy, needing seventy kilos more to be jettisoned - and reminds Avon that Vila weighs seventy kilos. Avon takes out his gun and searches for Vila, who has overheard and is now hiding in fear. Avon finds a small cube of reinforced material containing a speck of heavy neutron star material, which Egrorian has deliberately placed on board. Avon manages to jettison the speck, and the shuttle achieves orbit. They return to Scorpio, but Avon has now lost Vila’s trust. After Servalan abandons Egrorian, a jealous Pinder kills both himself and Egrorian by flooding the laboratory with Hoffal’s radiation.
Paul Darrow (Kerr Avon), Michael Keating (Vila Restal), Josette Simon (Dayna Mellanby), Steven Pacey (Del Tarrant), Glynis Barber (Soolin), Peter Tuddenham (Orac / Slave), Jacqueline Pearce (Servalan), John Savident (Egrorian), Larry Noble (Pinder)
Directed by Brian Lighthill
Produced by David Maloney
7th December 1981 @ 7.20 pm - 8.10 pm
*Featuring Kerr Avon, Vila Restal, Dayna Mellanby, Del Tarrant, Soolin, Orac and Slave