"Heed now the Testament of Arkadia. You who are guided here, make us fertile. Help us live again."
Is it the end for the moon, or the beginning of a new life? In far-off outer space are found the origins of life on Earth itself as the moon's random progress comes to a sudden, inexplicable halt.
Commander Koenig writes in his journal about the recent events on the Planet Arkadia, and how they have made the Alphans reevaluate the accident that hurled the Moon into outer space, as well as their purpose in the cosmos. It started when the Moon was inexplicably pulled off course and locked dead in space above the Planet Arkadia.
To add to the mystery, their power was also being drained by an unknown force. They had to go down to the lifeless planet to try to find some answers... before Alpha became unable to support life. As they approached the planet, they could find no traces of civilization or anything capable of causing the problems faced by the Alphans. The planet was desolate, apparently devastated by some sort of holocaust. They set down to find any clues that might help them.
They could feel the almost palpable presence of the death that had visited this planet as they searched. The first clue was discovered by Anna Davis and Luke Ferro. The trees on Arkadia, though lifeless, are of the same varieties found on Earth! The second clue was found by Helena and Victor. The planet was not completely lifeless, but locked in stasis, waiting for the bacteria that would restart the cycle of life and death. But the most startling discovery was to be found in a nearby cave... the remains of the last surviving Arkadians.
On the cave walls was an inscription in what appeared to be Sanskrit, but older. Anna, a trained philologist, attempts to translate the text. "The Testament of Arkadia" told of the destruction of the planet by the Arkadians own hands, and the few people who left taking the seeds of life to begin again in the distant regions of space. And after an indecipherable passage, an entreaty to make the planet fertile and help them live again. But all these discoveries held no answers to what was holding the Moon dead in space and draining Alpha's power. Koenig decided to return to Alpha to begin Operation Exodus, as Alpha would soon be unable to support life. At the same time, Luke and Anna were alone in the cave and they experienced a vision. The Arkadians appeared to them, and something transpired between them without words.
During the trip back to Alpha, Paul reports that the power drain has stopped at 50%. When they returned, Anna went to the Reference Library to finish the translation of the text. At the same time, Koenig learned that they had a greater chance of survival on Alpha with a fifty percent power loss than they would have had on the planet, and decided against Operation Exodus. Luke and Anna asked Koenig if they could have supplies to live on the planet. Koenig told them that Alpha could not survive without them in it's current condition, that it was out of the question. Later, Luke threatened to kill Kano if he didn't give him the combination to the protein stores. He read the combination to Anna who was waiting by the secured area with a stun gun. She stunned the guards and broke in. Luke took Helena hostage to force Koenig to let them have an Eagle and the supplies.
He told Koenig that they would let her go at a designated rendezvous point in space. Alan was to follow in the unarmed survey Eagle to pick her up, and return to Alpha. Koenig agreed, and they take off. Helena tried to reason with Luke and Anna to no avail. They claimed that it was their destiny to bring life back to Arkadia, and if the rest of the Alphans died as a result it was all part of a greater purpose. They released Helena as agreed, and just as Koenig was about to send several armed Eagles to retrieve the stolen supplies, the Moon began to move again, and their power started to return. Koenig radioed Alan to tell him to use full power to get back to Alpha before they got left behind. Luke and Anna watched as the Moon started to move across the Arkadian sky.
When Alan and Helena returned, Helena was distressed that Luke and Anna would be left alone on Arkadia. Koenig responded that it was their choice. But was it really? Writing in his journal, Koenig reflects that the seeds from Earth had been returned to their place of origin. And that for them, the myth of Adam and Eve now has a new significance. And while Luke and Anna have found their new beginning, that they must have faith and believe that for all mankind there is a purpose.
- Belgium (Flemish) - Testament van Arkadia/Testament Of Arcadia
- France/Canada - Le testament de l'Arcadie/The Testament Of The Arcadia
- Italy - Il testamento degli Arkadi/The Testament Of The Arkadians
- Japan - O, God! May New Peace in Space!
- Poland - Testament Arkadii
- Portugal - O Testamento de Arkadia/The Testament of Arkadia
- Spain - Testamento de Arcadia/Testament of Arcadia
- Sweden - Testamentet/The Testament
- South Africa - Testament Van Arkadia/Testament of Arcadia
The idea came out of a discussion between writer Byrne and director Tomblin.
Shooting script 5th February 1975, with new draft 25th February 1975
Filmed 11th February-25th February 1975
Wrong credits: Lisa Harrow is incorrectly credited as "Liza" Harrow.
Sylvia Anderson recorded a DVD commentary for this episode: "We were trying to be kind of grown up. We were really just getting into our stride, in this episode, episode 24. It's probably a little slower than some of the other episodes, but quite profound. I think Johnny Byrne was taking a very interesting concept, and more to the point, which was my particular hobby horse, we learned about the characters. They were real people out there."
- Int. Main Mission
- Int. Command Office
- Int. Gymnasium (revamp Command Office)
- Int. Boarding Tube
- Int. Alpha Corridor
- Int. Travel Tube
- Int. Protein Store corridor
- Int. Reference Library
- Int. Eagle Pilot Section
- Int. Eagle Passenger Section
- Ext. Planet Surface
- Int. Cave
The scene where the crew leave the full sized Eagle is reused from Another Time, Another Place (it was specified in the script)
Arkady/Arcadia is a mountainous area of Southern Greece, poetically portrayed as an idyllic pastoral paradise of shepherds and music. In classical mythology it is the realm of Pan, who used to inspire lonely travellers with terror (hence the word "panic").
Sanskrit is the ancient Indic language of the Vedic, the Indo-European people who moved from the Iranian region to North West India about 1500 BC. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest form and lasted until 200 BC. Classical Sanskrit replaced Vedic Sanskrit and was dominant from about 500 BC to 1000 AD when it split into many modern Indic languages.
Much of the Vedic cultural values have been preserved in the Hindu religion, including the concepts of sacrifice and caste. The Hindu scriptures, the Veda, are in Vedic Sanskrit and date from 1500 BC. Sanskrit had a status similar to Latin in Europe, as a scholarly and scared language; it is still used in Hindu liturgy. It has a highly inflected and complex grammar, and important similarities to other Indo European languages which made Sir William Jones in the 18th century think it was the root language of all modern languages; his discovery led to the scientific study of languages, called philology in the 19th century (and in Space 1999) but now named linguistics.
In the 20th century it was realised that Sanskrit, like Latin and almost all modern languages, is derived from a proto-Indo European tongue. This language was spoken in Eastern Europe or Western Asia, most probably in Anatolia (modern Turkey), about 7000-6000 years ago. This area and time also saw the birth of agriculture, the first settled towns, and was the source of major migrations and invasions.
Note that some languages are not related to proto-Indo European; Basque, Etruscan, and languages in Africa, the Far East and the Americas.
If Arkadia is one million light years from Earth, and the planet died 25000 years ago, the Arkadians should still be travelling (unless they, like the Moon, use space and time warps to move faster than light).
Victor says "Gravity or magnetic forces could affect the speed of an object the size of the Moon". In fact only gravity can.
Without bacteria and microscopic organisms, decomposition of organic matter is reduced to simple mechanical and chemical processes. The petrified trees seen on Arkadia would be plausible. Without the binding of plant roots soils would be stripped back to rock or sand by rain and rivers, although some locations may suffer less erosion and be better preserved. The biggest impact would be on the composition of the atmosphere. The water cycle on land would be altered as forests and grasslands stopped releasing water into the air, causing dramatically drier and warmer climates, probably within a few weeks. The death of ocean plankton would release vast amounts of carbon dioxide, perhaps tripling CO2 within 20 years, which in turn would raise temperatures. Over millions of years, average temperatures could rise to 50 C or more.  (Thanks to Marcus Lindroos).
Alpha Personnel: 2 deserters: Luke Ferro, Anna Davis.
Bergman says there are over 300 people on Alpha. Note by The Metamorph there are just 297.
Alpha Technology: Anna uses a computer translator (a yellow/orange 1970s calculator, the Olivetti Divisumma).
Koenig uses an unseen limpet transmitter on the Eagle (actually the Moonbuggy according to the script). It transmits on "subspace" frequencies. He uses another hyperspace transmitter in The Taybor.
Eagles: Eagle 1 (initial landing party); 2 (unarmed survey); 3 and 5 (pursuit); 4 (Luke and Anna, left on Arkadia)
Aliens: Spirits of the Arkadians.
Props: Koenig and Anna have binoculars that are props from UFO.
The water analyser that Helena uses in Matter Of Life And Death is held by Anna (just prior to the skeletons turning into Arkadians).
This episode contradicts The Full Circle where the Alphans regress into Cro Magnon society, circa 40,000 years ago, 15,000 years before humanity was founded by colonists from Arkadia.
Ferro's voice is dubbed by Oscar nominated dubbing artist Robert Rietty, who also supplied a credited voice in The AB Chrysalis.
Ferro's Eagle is shown from the exterior with the port-side docked to the boarding tube; on the interior set, the starboard is docked. When the Eagle launches it has turned round so the starboard side faces the tube. Observations
How did Arkadia die? The radiation evidence suggests either a nuclear war, or an accident with nuclear power, or it might be some natural catastrophe (a collision with a comet?).
To you who seek us out in the ages to come, we salute you. The desolation you find grieves we few who will soon die. Our civilisation gone. Our world, Arkadia, poisoned, dying. We who caused our own destruction.
No need now to tell of that final holocaust when our world flamed in the inferno of a thousand exploding suns. Arkadia is finished, but she, Arkadia, lives on in the bodies, hearts and minds of the few of us who left before the end, taking the seeds of a new beginning. To seek out and begin again in the distant regions of space. Heed now the testament of Arkadia.
Neither past nor future, the future is the past and the testament of Arkadia the link. You who are guided here, make us fertile, help us live again."
- Barry Morse, Prentis Hancock and Clifton Jones make their final appearances in Space:1999 in this episode.
- Between the start of filming on Breakaway and the completion of The Testament Of Arkadia, filming on Year One took exactly fifteen months. Filming resumed on Year Two ten months later, in January 1976.
- Two distinctive pieces of incidental music from the Chappell Recorded Music Library appear on the soundtrack: "Suite Appassionata - Adagio" by Paul Bonneau & Serge Lancen and "Picture Of Autumn" by Jack Arel & Pierre Dutour.
- ↑ Stage VU
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Testament of Arkadia on Fanderson
- ↑ http://catacombs.space1999.net/main/epguide/t24ttoa.html
- ↑ http://moonbase99.space1999.net/testament.htm
- ↑ New Scientist, "Earth after Life", September 28 2013.
|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.|