"I go to shape the future of eternity. And I need your help."
After destroying an asteroid on a collision course with the moon, an even larger obstacle appears - an entire planet! On a recon mission, John Koenig encounters an inhabitant who convinces him - on the basis of faith - that the moon and the planet must collide. But no one else supports Koenig's stand.
Main Mission is monitoring an operation to destroy an asteroid on a collision course with Alpha. A fleet of Eagles has been dispatched to place twelve nuclear charges at strategic points around it to create a chain reaction to ensure its destruction. Victor notices that Alan hasn't reported in yet. When Koenig learns that Alan's Eagle is having trouble with its main booster, he pushes the time line back forty seconds in order to give him the time he needs to get the last mine in place.
Alan runs into even more difficulty when the release mechanism jams on his Eagle. He finally manages to release the mine, but it's too late. Much to Victor's dismay, Koenig is forced to delay the blast another ten seconds, to give Alan time to put a little distance between himself and the explosion. Main Mission loses contact with Alan due to the radiation from the blast. Koenig is almost desperate to believe that Alan survived.
Koenig realizes that if they equip an Eagle with a transmitter capable of transmitting on the interstellar frequency band, that they will be able to set up three way communication between Alpha and Eagle 1. He has Paul prepare a rescue Eagle for the job. Paul joins Koenig when he lifts off in search of Alan.
They fly through the radiation cloud trying to raise Alan on the radio. Alan is alive in Eagle one, but unconscious. He wakes to the sound of a woman's voice. She urges him to respond to broadcasts of his friends. Alan manages to speak enough to let Koenig and Paul know that he's alive. When they try to get Alan's coordinates, he is unable to reply. While Paul is trying to compute his location, Koenig hears the same woman's voice giving him the orbital reference that will bring them to Alan.
They find Eagle 1 singed but not too much worse for wear. When they move in to dock, the voice compels Alan to program the docking sequence. Alan has a vision of a woman shrouded in black fabric. She tells him that his own people will take care of him now. When asked who she is, she simply replies "a friend". When the Eagles are docked Koenig boards Eagle 1 to check on Alan. He finds him unconscious. As he alerts Paul to Carters status, Koenig notices a large planet out the cockpit window, and realizes that the Moon is on a collision course with it!
Koenig flies the rescue Eagle back with Eagle 1 still docked, and Paul watching over Alan. After clearing the decontamination procedure and testing negative for radiation, Koenig makes his way to Main Mission. Victor has already begun work on a plan to avoid collision with the planet. He suggests a shockwave, created by nuclear charges moored in space between the planet and the Moon, to alter their trajectories.
Alan wakes in Medical Centre and sees the same veiled form at the foot of his bed. When he gets up to talk to her, she tells him he is safe. He reaches to raise her veil, but finds himself face to face with Dr. Russell. He ignores her, calling for the veiled woman to return. Helena is convinced that he is hallucinating due to radiation sickness. Koenig walks in to find Alan being sedated.
Helena tells John that she believes that Alan has been affected, and that he too must be suspect, having the second most exposure to the radiation cloud. They are interrupted by Paul announcing that the Commander's reconnaissance Eagle is ready for lift off.
Once in space, Koenig checks in with Paul to see how the plans for "Operation Shock Wave" are coming along. He tells Paul once Victor is happy with his computations, to start putting the mines in place. En route to the planet, Koenig's Eagle is intercepted by a large alien space craft. Koenig tries to take evasive action, but the front of the ship opens up, and pulls Koenig's Eagle within.
Main Mission is unable to contact him but on the chance that he is still alive, they decide they can't attack the alien ship. Until they have more information, Paul and Victor decide to continue preparations for "Operation Shock Wave".
Aboard Koenig's Eagle, the cockpit door opens by itself, then as Koenig investigates, the exterior door opens as well. Across from the Eagle is a round door that opens when John stands in front of it. He wipes away the cobwebs inside, and enters the darkened chamber.
The lights come up slowly to reveal he is not alone. The veiled woman that Alan saw is sitting upon a dais at the far end of the room. She lifts her veil and tells Koenig that she has waited a long time to meet him. When asked, she introduces herself as Arra, Queen of Astheria, the planet currently on a collision course with the Moon.
She tells him that the destinies of both their peoples have always been intertwined. She explains that their two planets are to meet for the purpose of mutation. Her people are destined to evolve into a higher form of life. When Koenig asks what he is to do to help, she replies "Nothing".
On Alpha Victor tells Paul that the alien ship has taken up position right where he calculated the mines need to be placed between the planet and the Moon. Paul orders the cargo Eagles to lift off with the mines. Arra senses them approaching and tells Koenig that he must stop them. He tells her that his people simply won't believe him, and asks her to come and explain it to them.
Arra tells him that while he must do nothing, she has much to do, and that she has faith that he will fulfill the role that destiny has set for him. She repeats that she needs his help and then disappears.
Koenig gets back into his Eagle, and exits Arra's ship. He contacts Main Mission, and orders Paul to recall the cargo Eagles, and suspend all operations until he returns. Paul is incredulous, but reluctantly accepts his orders.
When Koenig arrives on Alpha he calls a command conference, tells the others what Arra told him. After Sandra reports that Alpha is definitely on a collision course with Astheria, Paul asks if Koenig really wants to cancel Operation Shockwave. When Koenig replies in the affirmative, Paul is certain that he's gone mad.
Helena sees where this confrontation is going, and intervenes. She tells Paul that there have been two constants in the dangers the Alphans have faced since they left Earth orbit. One: they have survived them all, and two: John Koenig has been in command. She tells him that she sees no reason to start doubting him now.
When Kano sides with Paul saying that Koenig's decision defies logic, Victor follows Helena's lead saying Koenig's choice is not based on logic, but on faith, and that they should continue to have faith in John. Believing the matter settled, John tells Paul to cancel Operation Shockwave and ends the meeting.
Helena and Victor follow Paul out into Main Mission and tell him he will have to take over for John, as Helena feels he is showing the same signs of radiation sickness (hallucination and disorientation) as Alan. They tell Paul that John will be confined to his quarters and sedated, and ask Paul to continue with Operation Shockwave.
As the Moon gets closer to Astheria, with less than seventeen minutes until the time the mines need to be detonated to avoid collision, Arra telepathically gets a message through to Koenig as the sedation begins to wear off. She tells him that his friends have betrayed him. John manages to over power the guards outside his quarters and instructs Computer to lock the door.
Alan is next to be contacted by Arra. She tells him that now she needs his help. He leaves Medical Centre and meets John in the hall. John tells him that he needs his help. With less than three minutes until detonation of the nuclear mines, the tension in Main Mission rises. Alan enters through the Commander's Office, and throws a small trolley to disrupt everyone, while John enters from the front with his stun gun drawn.
Koenig order's computer to lock the doors to Main Mission, but Helena and Dr. Mathias arrive before the doors can close. Helena tries to reason with John. He tells her that she had fooled him, but she couldn't fool Arra. He explains that they must do nothing and let the Moon and Astheria touch if they are to survive. Helena simply can't believe this and moves towards the button that will detonate the mines.
Koenig aims his stun gun at her but Paul pulls her away. Koenig keeps his gun on them trying to let the clock run out. Certain that they are all going to die anyway, Paul decides it is worth the risk to try for the button himself. At the same time, a security guard on the observation balcony decides to jump Koenig. Alan lunges at Paul to stop him from pressing the button, and a brawl ensues. Finally Helena sees an opening, and moves towards the button again, but before she can push it, time has run out. As Astheria continues to loom larger on the main screen, everyone begins to back away, leaving John alone, to see if his faith that Arra will save them is justified.
As the Moon is shaken by the gravitational forces of the planet, so is John's faith in Arra. He grabs Victor shouting "I believed her!" Incredibly, the Moon touches Astheria and it vanishes, transformed, just as Arra had promised it would. Stunned, it takes the Alphans a moment to process what had happened.
Paul gets everyone moving again, and dealing with the fires burning in Main Mission. He gets other key personnel back to their posts to start monitoring their situation, and responding to the damages and injuries caused by their encounter.
Helena finds John and apologizes for not believing him. He tells her she was right, and that if she was taken to a ship and returned with a crazy story like his, he would be a fool not to lock her up. After all, how could they possibly know that two planets on a collision course could not collide but simply touch?
Final shooting script 9th August 1974, updated final shooting script 13th August 1974
Filmed 27th August- 6 September 1974
Edited into the 1982 compilation movie Journey Through The Black Sun
This was Margaret Leighton's final screen performance. Keith Wilson: "She was wonderful, but she didn't understand a word she was saying. She had a lot of nonsense to say and hadn't a clue what it meant. She was really quite worried about it.". Ray Austin: "Margaret's a friend of mine. She knew she was dying. I shot, I think, 15 pages in two days with her, which was unheard of. 'You'd better get this shot, because I'm not going to last long...' she said near the end of shooting. She couldn't move, we had to put her in a wheelchair."
Int. Main Mission Int. Corridor outside Main Mission Int. Command Office Int. Medical Int. Koenig's Quarters Int. Launch Pad Airlock Int. Alpha Corridor Int. Eagle Pilot Section Int. Eagle Passenger Section (8 seats)
Int. Alien Spaceship Antechamber & Chamber
The third episode Martin Bower worked on. He contributed the massive Arra shuttle (designed by Brian Johnson) and the Alphan mines in two scales, and a tiny 14cm Eagle. The shuttle is 1.8m long and was carved from solid wood in ten days. The wings are plywood. The mines were made from plastic picnic dishes bought from Woolworths. In the script the shuttle is described as a wingless vulture, like a Concorde with giant jet intakes.
If the planet is 34 times lunar mass, it is less than half the mass of Earth (about the size of Mars); by diameter it would be a little less than Saturn. In the latter case much of the bulk would be gaseous and the air would not be breathable.
Shockwaves cannot travel through the vacuum of space. Debris and radiation can travel through a vacuum; the former could in turn alter the moon's course with sufficient energy and mass. But then it would make more sense to explode the mines on the Moon (or on the planet). The Moon's course is also altered in The Seance Spectre.
Chronology: Alpha Personnel: 0 fatalities.
Alpha Technology: Orbital satellites are mentioned. This is the only time they are referred to, although a Command Centre panel is Year Two is labelled "Satellites". Unlike Alpha, they are not damaged by the explosion (they may have been shielded by the moon itself).
"Interstellar communications" are referred to. It is not affected by intense radiation. Not all Eagles are equipped with it. "Interstellar strength" communication is also referred to in Space Brain and Death's Other Dominion.
The multi-function hatch is shown; here it arms and detonates the nuclear charges.
Eagles: Eagle 1 (Alan); 4 (Rescue); 10 (bomb, no pod); 11,12,29 (named)
We see the Rescue pod. Unlike previous appearances, the 44 inch Eagle has stripes that don't reach the base of the pod (they do in shots of the 22 inch Eagle).
It is not clear how the mine cable is connected to the Eagle. We see it attached to both a podless Eagle and a normal transporter pod. It is likely Carter's Eagle has a pod because the story required it would dock to Koenig's rescue Eagle later - it would not be possible without a pod.
Planets: Atheria.[N 3]
Aliens: Queen Arra. Humanoid.
Errors: The fires in Main Mission are actually beyond the edge of the desks.
Observations: "This Episode" contains several scenes not in the episode. Among the unused footage is a shot of Sandra knocking over her coffee mug.
A suspenseful story; the themes of faith and destiny are strongly made. Like Black Sun a "mysterious unknown force" saves the Alphans.
The early scenes of Koenig's loyalty to Alan are heavy-handed and overacted. In no other episode is Koenig so committed to Alan.
Helena does not appear until 15 minutes into the episode. The story features the supporting cast (Alan, Paul, Sandra, Kano) more than usual.
In 1979 the TV series Tomorrow People used footage of Arra's shuttle representing a Nasa shuttle (episode War Of The Empires).
The A&E Bonus Disc contains an alternate edited version of one scene, the final section of Arra and Koenig in the Spaceship Chamber. The sequence is almost identical apart from the omission of one line of dialogue. Koenig asks what she is going to do. In this version, she disappears without the line "I go to shape the future of eternity. And I need your help." (it is heard in voice over after Koenig walks away).
Internet Movie Database
- Alan Carter has difficulty releasing the bomb from the grapple on his Eagle Transporter. But it has been revealed in other episodes that the Eagles can jettison their passenger / service modules. The bomb, attached to the undercarriage of the module, would have then fallen away and the Eagle itself would have been freed. Something could have caused the grapple release to malfunction.
- Based on Andrew Kearley's suggestions that, for the most part, there is a gap of two to three months between episodes, and this episode immediately precedes Dragon's Domain.
- Based on order suggested by Andrew Kearley (See Season Navbox for full list, and http://www.eyespider.freeserve.co.uk/space/order.html for Andrew's explanation)
- Note ITC publicity often named it Aestheria. This is wrong.
|Breakaway I Earthbound I Black Sun I Missing Link I Voyager's Return I Matter of Life and Death I Ring Around the Moon I The Last Sunset I Alpha Child I Death's Other Dominion I Force of Life I Guardian of Piri I The Troubled Spirit I The Last Enemy I Collision Course I Dragon's Domain I The Full Circle I Mission of the Darians I End of Eternity I War Games I The Infernal Machine I Another Time, Another Place I Space Brain I The Testament of Arkadia|
|Episodes are listed in the order suggested by Andrew Kearley.|