Read Blake’s 7: Warship Online

Authors: Peter Anghelides

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Blake’s 7: Warship

Blake’s 7

Warship

Peter Anghelides

BIG FINISH

For June Summerfield

First published in February 2013
by Big Finish Productions Ltd
PO Box 1127, Maidenhead, SL6 3LW
www.bigfinish.com

Blake’s 7 Producer for Big Finish: David Richardson
Executive Producers for Big Finish: Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Editor for B7 Media: Andrew Mark Sewell
Managing Editor: Jason Haigh-Ellery

Production Editor: Xanna Eve Chown
Cover design: Anthony Lamb

Copyright © Peter Anghelides 2013

The right of Peter Anghelides to be identified as the authors of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. The moral right of the authors has been asserted. All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to any persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information retrieval system, without prior permission, in writing, from the publisher. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Blake’s 7 ™ © B7 Enterprises Ltd 2013. All rights reserved.

Blake’s 7 wordmark and logo are trademarks of B7 Enterprises Ltd and are used under license.

Blake’s 7 ™ © B7 Enterprises Ltd 2013.

Blake’s 7 television series pictures © BBC 2013 and used under licence.

Based on the original television series Blake’s 7 created by Terry Nation.

Dramatis Personae

The
Liberator
and crew:

Liberator
:
A powerful spacecraft that far exceeds anything known to Earth technology, it is equipped with neutron blaster weaponry, force wall defences, auto-repair systems, and a teleportation system. The main computer, Zen, is the speech interface to the ship’s systems, and coordinates navigation, battle computers, and information systems. The current crew discovered
Liberator
abandoned and drifting, apparently after a space war, and commandeered the vessel in their fight back against the Federation.

Kerr Avon:
A technical expert, particularly with computers, Avon’s attempt to embezzle millions from the Federation saw him imprisoned and exiled from Earth. He escaped to
Liberator
with Blake and Jenna, where his instinct for self-preservation meant that he became the most unwilling member of Blake’s team –perceived by the others as a man whose cold calculation is primarily self-serving. By the time they reach Star One, he has exacted a promise from Blake that control of the
Liberator
will be handed to Avon after they have completed this mission.

Roj Blake:
Once leader of the Freedom Party and a charismatic opponent of the Terran Federation, Blake was captured in a lethal ambush by Travis. When their attempt to brainwash him failed, the Federation trumped up charges to disgrace Blake and banish him from Earth. En route to the penal colony Cygnus Alpha, Blake escaped from the prison ship
London
, and commandeered the derelict
Liberator
. Since then, he has cajoled or bullied his reluctant outlaw crew in a renewed fight against their enemies – with fatal consequences for both sides. Blake has targeted the Federation’s facilities, rallied its enemies, and tracked down its Central Control system to Star One – where he had a final confrontation with his nemesis, Space Commander Travis.

Cally:
A telepath from the planet Auron, who can communicate her thoughts directly to others. Sole survivor of a guerrilla attack on a Federation facility, Cally has felt unable to return to her isolationist home world. Her mutual distrust of the
Liberator
crew mellowed, and her growing empathy has made her an instinctive medic. Lately, her loyalty to Blake has been sorely tested by his obsessive campaign to destroy Star One, no matter what the cost.

Orac:
A unique supercomputer created by Professor Ensor, and appropriated by the
Liberator
crew after his death. Orac can access anything that contains a Tarial Cell, also invented by the Professor and now a standard component in all modern computers. Orac shares many characteristics with Ensor, including a thirst for knowledge and an ill-tempered intolerance of anything perceived as less intelligent – including the
Liberator
crew.

Vila Restal
: A petty thief, a conjurer, but most of all an expert lockpick who can breach even the most complex security systems. Vila has been in trouble with the Federation since he was a juvenile. He was eventually exiled to Cygnus Alpha, but rescued from there with his friend Gan by Blake and brought aboard
Liberator
. He prefers to be lazy, even if that might look like cowardice, and has a weakness for drink and an eye for pretty women. Vila is smart enough to know that playing the fool can be a good way to stay safe. And safety is something he has thought about since Gan died in Blake’s abortive attack on a Federation facility.

Jenna Stannis:
A smuggler sentenced by the Federation to exile on the penal colony Cygnus Alpha. Jenna assisted Blake’s mutiny aboard the prison ship
London
and commandeered the
Liberator
. The ship’s name was taken from her thoughts when she first came aboard. Jenna’s expertise has made her the
Liberator
‘s principal pilot. Although she has some reservations about their fight against the Federation, Jenna is loyal to Blake.

The Federation:

Servalan:
Supreme Commander of the Federation’s entire military organisation. Servalan is responsible for the brutal repression of all resistance, and has been charged with destroying Blake and his crew – though she wants to capture the
Liberator
for the Federation. In an organisation governed by men, Servalan is a rare, powerful woman who has exploited her seductive charm and amoral ruthlessness to fight her way to the top. She is prepared to use and discard anyone, including Travis. In the panic that ensued when Star One failed, a military coup sees her appointed as President of the Federation.

Travis:
A brutal Federation Space Commander appointed by Servalan to lead the capture of Blake and the
Liberator
. Travis previously encountered Blake on Earth, when he ambushed a group of Freedom Party rebels and slaughtered them after they had surrendered. In the attack, Blake severely wounded Travis – who required a cybernetic eye replacement, and a prosthetic limb which incorporated a laseron destroyer. Frustrated by his repeated failure to capture Blake, and Servalan’s flagrant manipulation, Travis eventually betrayed humanity by helping alien invaders to infiltrate the Star One facility. In a final confrontation, Travis shot Blake with his laseron destroyer. But Avon finished off Travis, who plunged to his death.

CONTENTS

Dramatis Personae

Chapter 1 Fight or Flight Deck

Chapter 2 First Contact

Chapter 3 The Unknown Universe

Chapter 4 Ragtag Army

Chapter 5 Unknown Variables

Chapter 6 Strange Allies

Chapter 7 Taking Sides

Chapter 8 Cold Welcome

Chapter 9 All Mine

Chapter 10 Beneath the Surface

Chapter 11 Going Out With a Bang

Chapter 12 Down and Unsafe

Chapter 13 Facing the Enemy

Chapter 14 Megiddo

Chapter 15 Close Encounter

Chapter 16 Blunt Instrument

Chapter 17 Dropping the Pilot

Chapter 18 Return to Danger

Chapter 19 Suicide Run

Chapter 20 Damage Control

Chapter 21 Breaching the Barrier

Chapter 22 Counter-Attack

Chapter 23 Spoils of War

Chapter 24 Abandon Ship

Chapter 25 The Way Back

Chapter 1

Fight or Flight Deck

Cally hesitated in the corridor. From here, she could listen to the sounds of the ship as its systems powered up. Back on the flight deck, the others were readying
Liberator
for the fight. For the confrontation with an alien battle fleet that loomed on the edge of this galaxy.

Jenna was ordering the battle computers to calculate intercept courses and strike ranges. Vila had put up the radiation flare shields, and was clearing the neutron blasters for firing. And Avon…

He’d sent Blake back to the medical unit, which left Avon in charge. That much was no surprise to Cally, at least. But what had astonished her was that Avon hadn’t used that opportunity to steer the ship away from danger. Instead, he’d made Blake a promise, a commitment to stay and fight. Behind the building thrum of the engines and the ticks of systems coming online, something niggled at the back of Cally’s mind. A mental itch she couldn’t quite scratch.

The others could manage without her for a few minutes. She had to go to the medical unit.

Cally continued down the corridor, determined to talk with Blake.

Blake had told them they could deliver a death blow to the Federation. They would destroy the central command system used to subjugate hundreds of planets, that suppressed entire populations, that controlled every aspect of their lives. That’s why he’d brought the
Liberator
out here, to a nondescript planet circling an uncharted white dwarf star. He wanted to tear down Star One forever.

It seemed their enemy Travis must have had the same idea. But for very different reasons. Travis knew Star One had another purpose. That it controlled a satellite minefield – a barrier between the Federation galaxy and the next. If the
Liberator
crew shut down those satellites, that alien battle fleet would swarm across the barrier and attack humanity. It was to be the former space commander’s insane revenge against his own kind, after the Federation had betrayed him. Travis didn’t care that his reprisal could cost the lives of millions… maybe billions of people. There would be no way back for him.

Was that what was scratching at the back of Cally’s mind? Why she could sense voices whispering in her mind, probing, questioning, worrying? Perhaps it was her own conscience, her own anxiety about their actions. Blake’s actions. And before the battle began, before she joined the others in the fight, she needed to know.

The door slid open, and light from the corridor spilled into the half-light of the medical unit. A figure stirred on the far side of the darkened room.

Blake shielded his eyes awkwardly to work out who it was. ‘Cally?’

She slipped into the room, and the door closed behind her. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the subdued lighting.

Blake half-rose from the bed, but subsided again with a pained groan. ‘You should be on the flight deck.’

‘And you should lie still.’ She moved across to his bed, and checked the readings on his monitors. His heart rate was rising, and the pain indicators had spiked. She adjusted the soma infusion, and eased Blake back down. ‘Do not try to get up. I saw you leave the flight deck, and came to check whether you were all right.’

He grunted a short laugh. ‘I’ve had better days.’

‘But none so lucky. The shot from Travis’s gun missed your heart by a fraction.’ The monitor bleep subsided again, and she nodded with satisfaction. ‘Stay still. Let the machines do their work here. And let the rest of us do ours.’

Blake sighed with exasperation. ‘But the alien fleet…?’

Cally could see from his expression that he felt trapped. No, it was more than that. She sensed it in his mind. That was new, she thought. Unexpected.

‘What about that fleet?’ Blake insisted.

Cally gestured for him to stay calm. ‘Several hundred ships are queuing at the hole in the satellite grid,’ she said. ‘Avon believes we can hold them until the Federation fleet arrives.’

The monitor showed a fresh increase in Blake’s heart rate. ‘That could be hours!’

‘Then we will hold them for hours.’ Again, there was that chattering at the back of her mind, like a half-heard conversation from an adjacent room. ‘You already know that, don’t you, Blake?’

Cally pulled a chair over from the lab table, and sat beside the bed. She absently took Blake’s hand in hers. She wasn’t sure which of them the gesture was intended to comfort.

‘Are you all right, Cally?’

She bit her lip. She had come here because there were things she wanted to know from Blake, not to answer his questions. But there were those voices at the tip of her consciousness again. Sensations. Emotions. Inarticulate to begin with, but slowly becoming more focused, turning into words.

‘There is something odd about this area of space, Blake. I feel as though my telepathic abilities are…’ She struggled to find the right words. ‘They’re enhanced. I can sense other thoughts.’

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