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The Mark of Archanon

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Summary

A sensational find below the Moon's surface...an imprisoned man and his son. Who are they? How did they get there? How long have they been there? And why?[1]

Prologue

Alan Carter and Andy "Bluey" Johnson are searching for dylanide crystals in a cave below the lunar surface. They discover something unusual in the rock, and investigate. While cutting into the rock they unearth a glass chamber with two bodies sealed within.

Act One

Alan thinks he sees movement, and moves to look closer. He touches the glass and receives a shock the causes him to collapse. Helena comes to treat Alan. Tony and others come to investigate the bodies in the chamber. Close examination reveals that they are alive but in some sort of stasis.

The control unit for the chamber is uncovered, but the resulting cave-in threatens the lives of the Alphans, as well as the two aliens. There is an explosion that deactivates the protective energy field around the chamber. The two aliens are rescued, revived, and brought back to Alpha to recuperate.

Act Two

Helena tries to contact John and Maya, who are caught in a meteor shower while on a survey mission. They manage to get through and apprise them of of their current situation. As they tell John about the alien visitors, the two aliens arrive in Command Center. Pasc explains that Archanon systems break down sedatives more quickly than mans. Maya recognizes the name Archanon as the "Planet of Peace", just before their signal is lost.

Pasc introduces himself and his son Etrec. He explains that they were on a mission to teach other races that evil could be replaced by good, but met with total failure on Earth, saying his crew was infected with the humans' "madness" and, led by his wife Lara, they mutinied against the only two unaffected, Etrec and himself. They were imprisoned in a stasis chamber and left behind. Etrec faints and is brought back to Medical Centre. When Alan goes to check on him, Pasc picks up a pair of scissors and raises them behind Alan, but Etrec intercedes, saving him without his knowledge.

Act Three

Raul and Helena discover a virus in Pasc's sputum. When they compare it against Etrecs, they find that it is dormant in the boy. The power unit and what was left of the stasis chamber have been brought to Techlab 3. Alan and Etrec go there and find Tony trying to figure out how to operate the power unit. Etrec says that Pasc would know how, but when he arrives, he tells Tony that Etrec's confidence in him is somewhat exaggerated. Tony asks if he can at least open it. Pasc does, and they find a transceiver used to locate the Archanon landing party. Helena calls and asks Tony to send Pasc and Etrec to Medical Center.

They leave, but head for the embarkation area. Pasc knocks out the pilot who is on standby to launch in case Koenig and Maya need assistance. Before they can get to the waiting Eagle, a security guard finds them. Pasc says they are lost, so he leads them back to Medical Center. On the way they pass Techlab 3, where Alan discovers a recording on the power unit. Johnson sees them in the hall and calls them in to look at it. Pasc attacks Johnson and Carter, then grabs Etrec and runs. Tony arrives and calls Helena and tells her Pasc assaulted Johnson and Carter. She grabs a medical kit and stungun and heads to Techlab 3 to assist. As she approaches, Pasc grabs her and takes her weapon. Etrec runs to Alan who has recovered. Pasc threatens to kill Helena if they do not clear a path to Eagle 3. Tony complies.

Pasc calls Etrec over to him, but Etrec refuses. Pasc threatens to kill him, but cannot. He takes Helena to the waiting Eagle, while Alan leaves Etrec to calm down in the Rec Center. Tony deactivates the launch pad so that Pasc cannot lift off. Pasc contacts Tony and tells him he will trade Helena for Pasc, but will kill her if the launch pad is not reactivated. Helena tries to pass on a message to Raul but Pasc cuts the transmission short. Raul thinks she wanted to get a sample of Etrec's blood to see if a serum could be developed. Tony asks Alan to get the sample and try to convince him to go with Pasc.

Act Four

Etrec has since become infected with the killing sickness. He moves to attack Alan, but can't. He takes the knife and cuts the mark from his head, offering his blood to Alan. An Archanon ship signals Alpha to warn them of the danger they are in and asks permission to land. Tony agrees, then is called to Medical Center where Etrec has been brought, Alan shows Tony the recording on the power unit, brought at Etrec's request, so that he can see Lyra's message which tells the story of why Pasc and Etrec were left in stasis on the Moon, awaiting a cure for the killing sickness. It is patched through to Pasc in Eagle 3. After watching Lyra's emotional recounting, Pasc wants to know where Etrec is.

Raul tells him he is dying, because he is unable to replace the blood that he has lost. With nothing left to keep him on Alpha, Pasc threatens to kill Helena if the launch pad is not reactivated. Helena convinces Pasc to give Etrec a transfusion of his blood treated with a serum. It works, saving Etrec, and freeing him of the killing sickness. Maurna arrives as Helena learns that Pasc is not recovering. He asks Maurna, a descendant of Lyra, to take Etrec back to Archanon. She tells him she cannot because he has the sickness. Helena explains how they cured him. Lyra informs her that no Archanon can give that amount of blood and survive. Pasc tells Helena it is the final privilege of the killing sickness to kill one's self, and expires. Etrec asks for some time with Pasc.

Epilogue

John returns to find Helena grieving the death of Pasc. He tells her that there was no way she could have known what would happen.[2]

Cast

Background

Shooting script dated 12 April 1976. Amended pages 14 April, pink pages and line amendments 21 April, blue line amendments and pages 26, 27, 28 April. Filmed 4 May-18 May 1976

A "Double-Up Helena" script- while Bain and the other cast were filmed in the studio, Landau and Schell filmed The Rules of Luton on location.

Wrong credits: Raul Newney is credited as "Raul Newey".

Sets

Command Centre/Medical Centre/Living Quarters/Recreation Centre/Techlab 3/Alpha Corridor/Travel Tube/Eagle Pilot Section/Caves

SFX

The Archanon ship was built by Martin Bower between the filming of the two series. A revamped version of the model appears in Space Warp.

Science

The virus (or genetic disease - the episode calls it both) is obviously based on haemophilia, a genetic disease caused by the absence of the gene for making the blood clotting protein Factor VIII. It is a hereditary disease passed only in males, treated by blood transfusions.

In stasis the Archanons are standing. Standing requires muscular effort and brain coordination; humans cannot stand while asleep. Either the Archanons can sleep standing up, or the stasis chamber is designed to keep the occupant upright. [N 1]

The lunar caves are apparently natural. [N 2] It is an incredible coincidence that Moonbase Alpha is built over the former location of an alien base - but a well-developed system of lava tubes would be ideal for any lunar settlement. Evidence of lava tubes on the moon was first discovered in 2010.

The Eagle is in a "meteor storm". Meteors are asteroids burning up in an atmosphere; the correct term is asteroid.

Even in the recording from a thousand years ago the Archanons speak modern English. Either their language resembles English, or there is some form of automatic translation going on,

Continuity

Chronology: 640 days after leaving Earth orbit (Thu 14 Jun 2001)

Alpha Personnel: 1 fatality, Andy Johnson.

Alpha Technology: The laser cutter is called a sonarscope in the script. It is seen again in The Bringers Of Wonder - Part 2 and The Immunity Syndrome.

Tony seems to use his torch as a scanner. It is used normally as a torch in Another Time, Another Place, The Testament Of Arkadia and Catacombs of the Moon.

The Alpha Log Recorder appears.

In the Medical Centre, Helena uses a keyboard from Main Mission. Alongside it is the nuclear detonator from Space Brain (the radiation symbol is clearly visible).

We see the only animals on the moon in this episode: doves.

Eagles: Eagle 1 (Koenig, also stationed above pad- see observations); 3 (rescue)

Maya transformations: None

Planets: None

Aliens: Pasc, Etrec, Lyra and Maurna from Archanon. Humanoid.

Footage: Two shots of Alphans in jumpsuits running down a corridor are reused from The Metamorph

Props: Maurna's costume was reused as Yesta's costume in Dorzak.

Errors:

  1. In the asteroid storm, the Eagle's legs are sometimes bent, sometimes not (for some shots the Eagle was filmed standing vertically so dust could be dropped past it; hence the bent foot pads). It also changes between the second and third Eagle model, with obvious differences in panel details.

Observations:

The football match alluded to is rugby league at Swinton in the UK on 9th November 1963 when Australia beat Britain 50-12.

Was Crom II another planet that Alpha visited? (according to the script it was).

The name Pasc indicates a Passover analogy, with Pasc spilling his blood to redeem his son.

"Cobber? Yeah. That means you're a pal, you know, a real close buddy." The Australian colloquialism is considered archaic and rarely used (the preferred colloquialism is "mate"). Maybe Alan is an old fashioned man at heart!

Emma Porteous's description on her design for Maurna's lilac dress: "Dress in pleated silk - ornamented at bodice with silk flowers - stitched and beaded in gold- hung with long scarlet cords - metal bracelets - hung with long scarlet fringe -".

Notes

  1. The latter explanation could also explain the 'standing' stasis chamber design featured in the Red Dwarf episode 'The End'
  2. These are seen again in Catacombs of the Moon; see more science notes in the entry for that episode.

Sources

  1. http://catacombs.space1999.net/main/epguide/t32tmoa.html
  2. http://moonbase99.space1999.net/archanon.htm


Season 2
The Metamorph I The Exiles I One Moment of Humanity I All That Glisters I The Mark of Archanon I Journey to Where I The Taybor I The Rules of Luton I New Adam New Eve I Brian the Brain I Catacombs of the Moon I The AB Chrysalis I The Beta Cloud I Seed of Destruction I A Matter of Balance I Space Warp I The Bringers of Wonder - Part 1 I The Bringers of Wonder - Part 2 I Dorzak I The Seance Spectre I Devil's Planet I The Lambda Factor I The Immunity Syndrome I The Dorcons
Episodes are listed in the order suggested by Andrew Kearley.
http://www.eyespider.freeserve.co.uk/space/two/index.html

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