of the Burn Up - Part Two
Written by Bruce Stewart
Vera is gently watering her small plot of vegetables when a group
of raggedly dressed children enter the village. Vera asks one
of the boys how they have done. One of them, Paul, replies that
it gets harder every day and shows her a poor collection of foraged
vegetables and fruit. Vera tries to cheer him up and shows him
the small crop of cabbages she has been tending which appear to
be doing quite well. Paul looks up to the sun as it beats down.
Inside the art room, Beth is still laughing at the image of 2957.
She turns the video screen off and says that he'll be here soon.
Simon, still shocked at the revelation of his future self, asks
why he is just known by a number. Beth reveals little in her flippant
answer other than the fact that 2957 is a "Controller".
Liz points out that the other Beth was always angry with her.
This Beth is always laughing! The comments go over the new Beth's
head. She has never heard of the Ice Box and the other Beth and
dismisses the fact that she could ever be a scientist. In a moment
of clarity, Beth tells Liz that when people laugh a lot, then
it is sometimes because if they didn't, they'd probably cry.
Beth heads outside where the village children are preparing the
food they have gathered. On seeing Simon and Liz, Paul lunges
for Simon and gets him into a headlock calling him and Liz "Outsiders".
Beth calmly tells him they are her friends whilst Vera explains
that they wandered into the village and she thought they were
misfits. Paul isn't impressed and continues to hold onto the struggling
Simon. The village can't take anymore misfits, he protests. Beth
manages to talk him into releasing him. In the bushes and unseen
to the group, Controller 2957 watches. He removes a document from
his inside pocket and looks at the legend written on it: "Ministry
of Forward Development Permits & Licensing Section."
He puts it back and moves towards the village. He stops again,
uncertain whether to go on. He turns and leaves.
Later Beth is explaining to Liz about the community as Simon
brings up the rear. She founded the group herself to look after
the children who are called "misfits". They are children
with nowhere to go for whom the authorities have made no provision
when they have re-developed areas of the country or places become
uninhabitable through their mistakes.... like Liverpool! Beth
further reveals the country is now ruled by a "technocracy"
who are supposedly making things bigger and better. As she comes
the end of her diatribe, a rumbling sound fills the air, which
rises to a roar as everyone in the village clutches their ears
and heads for what limited cover they can find. Once the sound
has gone, Simon slowly looks up and sees the face of Controller
2957 staring back at him. Liz asks what the sound was. Beth tells
her it was thunder... she said everything was bigger and better
now! She notices Simon and Controller 2957 staring at each other.
2957 asks Simon who he is? He's never seen him before but for
a moment..... Before either of the two can ask or answer any further
questions, Beth chimes in. 2957 says that he wanted to see her
and acknowledges how dangerous it is to do so. Beth quickly and
with obvious delight introduces him to the community's newest
recruits: Simon and Liz. The Controller is dumbfounded and doesn't
believe it is true. He walks off. Beth joins him. He makes a comment
about the heat and continues to explain to Beth about the fact
that "the overall European plan allows for a temperature
of 100 degrees over the British Isles..." Beth isn't impressed.
2957 is here to help Beth... He says he feels obliged to despite
the risks to him. They are joined by Simon and Liz who watch as
2957 pulls the document out from his jacket pocket and tries to
hand it to Beth. He tells her it's a licence for the community.
If she and the children are discovered, it allows blame for them
to go right back to the Ministry and the central computer as an
administrative error. For the first time, the children see Beth
loose her temper. She tears the licence up and tosses it back
at him. She won't be an administrative error for him, and for
old time's sake! As Simon and Liz start to take the sides of their
respective elders, they all hear the sound of an electronic gun
going off. 2957 says it's hunters. He mustn't be found here. The
community's children rush out of the huts and prepare to defend
the village. Beth says that they'll protect 2957. They don't care
who they protect from the technocrats. As the group disperses,
Simon is left alone with his thoughts.
Later, as dinner is cooking, Beth explains to Liz about the hunters.
All food is created scientifically now and all wildlife is considered
a nuisance. The hunters go out on occasion to keep the bird population
down. As Simon and Controller 2957 talk quietly in the corner,
Paul warns Beth and Liz that the fish he is cooking might be the
last. Pollution from the technocracy is now finding it's way into
the side streams and the fish are dying out.
Just outside the village boundary, Vera is sleeping against a
tree. Unknown to her, a hunter walks past just behind her moving
towards the village.
Inside the hut, Controller 2957 still doesn't believe who Simon
really is and is shocked that he doesn't know anything of "The
Master Plan". He explains that it is the road to technological
efficiency and that ever since the Russians melted their sections
of the polar ice caps, the face of Europe has been changed. It
was a pity about Liverpool though!
Outside, the hunter sees the sleeping Vera. He glances briefly
at her and moves into the village. Vera awakes and sees him. She
lets out a gasp of horror.
Inside the hut, 2957 and Simon continue their conversation. Simon
asks why he has a number and not a name. 2957 tries to make his
excuses to leave. He asks again who Simon is... Their talk is
interrupted by the sound of Vera's scream.
The hunter has raised his weapon but is cut down by a blow from
Paul. Controller 2957 is furious with everyone. Beth accuses the
panicky Controller of only being scared for himself. He quickly
checks a number on the arm of the hunter: 362 Delta. As Beth comforts
a sobbing Vera, he suggests they dump the concussed hunter somewhere
in the jungle. Hopefully, he won't remember a thing. He adds that
he'll put in a computer order for him to be transferred to Scotland
first thing in the morning. As the community children drag the
body away, 2957 moves to Beth. He tells her she's an outsider
now and that it's a different world to when they were young...
better organised... He stops, realising his error in trying to
convince her. Quickly he moves off back into the jungle. Simon
calls after him and follows. Liz joins Beth still clutching Vera.
Controller 2957 is darting through the jungle. He stops to remove
a stone from his shoe. Simon calls from behind him causing him
to jump. As the Controller, bemoans his situation, Simon attempts
to discover more about him. 2957 reveals that he is controller
of a whole sector of geographical reconstruction at the Ministry
of Forward Development. He then questions how people can live
in a place like the jungle... Simon says that he's known Beth
a long time, hasn't he? 2957 tries to evade answering. Simon asks
if telling him his own surname would help... The Controller snaps
a firm "No!" It's more than a controller in his position
could cope with.... and besides, how would he get a permit for
Back at the village, Beth is tending to a still shocked Vera.
Liz says to Beth, that she really likes 2957.... deep down. Beth
quickly dismisses the notion as absurd. How can she like anyone
who's doing what he's doing? She also dismisses his bringing of
the license to her as a sham much to Liz's disappointment. She
says he revealed what he really felt about her just before he
Controller 2957 cannot accept the notion of time travelling.
The Master Plan has nothing to say on the matter so it cannot
exist. Simon admits that the Controller is like him in many ways
but in others.... He shakes his head. 2957 further extols the
virtues of the Master Plan explaining that science is now the
direction of the human race and the future. The norm... The Controller
then tells Simon to meet him here the following morning and he'll
take him by hovercraft to his office in the Ministry.
The following day, Controller 2957 is showing an amazed Simon
the sight of Whitehall in 1990. The city of London is a changed
landscape. Fixtures like the Big Ben clock tower and Nelson's
Column remain but are now surrounded by vast featureless office
blocks and clean (but strangely empty) streets. 2957 introduces
Simon to a woman whom Simon recognises. He says that Simon is
a potential new recruit from the North. The woman jokes and moves
off. Simon says she reminds him of Miss Stebbins (Traynor's secretary
in 1970). 2957 corrects him. She is Alpha 16. He shows Simon into
room 209. Within the office, is a woman who is neither Alpha 16
nor Miss Stebbins but looks just like both of them. Simon is shocked.
She runs off a report about pressure over the Atlantic sea curtain
to 2957 revealing herself to be his secretary in the process.
2957 introduces her to Simon as Alpha 17. The door to the office
opens. It is Alpha 16. She too has a report, which she relays
to 2957. She tells him that it was 100plus in Eastbourne the previous
day. 2957 dismisses it as a freak variation that even the Master
Plan can accommodate. Alpha 16 and Alpha 17 share small talk and
decide to "pop off" for tea. Once they have gone, a
confused Simon reveals that a lot has changed since he first came
to the Ministry... to see Commander Traynor. At the very mention
of Traynor's name, 2957 suddenly warns Simon not to mention him
there. Hastily changing the subject, he gets up from his chair
and walks across to a large video screen set into the wall. 2957
has brought Simon to the Ministry to explain to him about the
Master Plan. He flicks a switch to reveal a map of the British
Isles showing the five main conurbations that the country is now
being divided into: London, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow.
He then shows Simon another map detailing the transport infrastructure
followed by another showing the geographic reconstruction of Britain
(which includes the "filling in" of part of the Irish
Sea!), all part of the European plan. A final map shows the Atlantic
sea curtain (which appears to stretch from Florida to the tip
of Spain). This project will enable the water pumped from the
Northern hemisphere into the Southern Ocean to be held back, the
excess water being a result of the melting of the polar ice caps.
2957's briefing is interrupted by the appearance of Alpha 4; a
man dressed in the same sort of white suit that the Controller
is wearing. He apologises for interrupting him. 2957 quickly introduces
Simon saying that the boy is currently applying for controller
status. Alpha 4 has a report on the Atlantic Curtain. Apparently,
a computer check has revealed that the synthetic rubber sheeting
for its construction has not begun manufacture despite 2957's
assurances otherwise. Alpha 4 would have brought it to the Controller's
attention the previous day, had the Controller been available.
The delay has put the British section of the curtain behind schedule.
Alpha 14 leaves. Simon asks why they are all called "Alphas".
2957 is evasive and asks Simon not to bother him with such things,
which he wouldn't understand, adding cryptically that Alphas are
"special people" within this society and called "clones".
It is a word all too familiar to Simon.
Shortly after, 2957 shows Simon into the room housing the central
computer for the Master Plan. As 2957 begins to explain the way
it works, he is interrupted by a message from Alpha 4. There is
a problem with the seabed cable that needs his attention. Leaving
Simon to wait in the Computer room, 2957 heads off to deal with
it. As Simon looks around the many spinning computer reels and
consoles housed in the room, he fails to see a wall slide open.
An old man stands in the darkened doorway. He is dressed in the
same white suit as 2957 and Alpha 4 but his is grubbier and slightly
torn. The old man steps into the Computer room ensuring that the
secret door slides shut behind him. He removes a pair of scissors
from his jacket pocket and proceeds to unravel one of the spools
of tape on a nearby computer bank. He snips a section of the unravelled
tape and pockets it before attempting to re-attach the two cut
ends. Simon sees this and creeps up on him. As the old man continues
with his apparent act of sabotage, Simon asks him what he is doing.
The old man, startled, turns to face the boy. His face revealed
to him, Simon can only utter the name of the man he recognises
as Commander Traynor...
Complete cast for part two
Denis Quilley (Commander Traynor), Cheryl Burfield (Liz Skinner),
Spencer Banks (Simon Randall), Mary Preston (Beth Skinner), David
Graham (2957), Brian Pettifer (Paul), Merdel Jordine (Vera), Ian
Fairbairn (Alpha 4), Teresa Scoble (Alpha 16), Lisa Scoble (Alpha
Script editor Ruth Boswell
Scientific Adviser Geoffrey Hoyle
Designer Michael Eve
Director Peter Jefferies
Producer John Cooper
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