Josh finds Sarah unconscious on the floor and injects her with the antidote to the Marberg virus. When she comes round, he tells her he’s killed both Will and the Keeper. Sarah is horrified, but he argues that he had to defend both her and himself. She wonders when he changed and learned it was so easy to kill. He tries to help her up, but she says he’s done more than enough for her already.
Here are the headlines at midday. Police have given more details about the failed plot to release a deadly bio-weapon. It now appears a British group obsessed with aliens were behind the operation. Members of a group known as the Crimson Chapter were arrested at airports at twelve major cities around the world. Each of them was carrying a vial of the deadly Marberg virus. Scientists from the World Health Organisation estimate that the hemorrhagic fever would have claimed millions of lives had it been released as planned. Scotland Yard has traced the vials back to a research centre in Berkshire where six people died in a Marberg outbreak last week.
In other news, the world’s first space tourism flight has been cleared for lift-off next month. Officials from NASA had cast doubts on the readiness of the Dauntless, but it passed a rigorous inspection in Nevada this morning. Pilot Ben Kimmel told reporters that he couldn’t wait to fly the innovative spaceship: “The Dauntless is going to rewrite history. By the year 2020 this baby will make a trip into space feel like catching a taxi.”
Meanwhile, astronomers have been surprised by the discovery of a previously unrecorded comet approaching the Earth. The as-yet-unnamed celestial body will pass so close, it’s believed our planet may pass through the tail, as happened with Halley’s Comet in 1910. Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics estimate it’s been 500 years since this particular comet previously passed near our solar system.
Nat realises Sir Donald Wakefield has been busy again, keeping the Book of Tomorrows out of the news headlines. Sarah is grateful to her for driving her to Will Sullivan’s funeral, but Nat had thought it was about time they got back in touch anyway. She noticed that Sarah kept looking around during the service and wondered if she was looking out for Josh, but Sarah says she knew he wouldn’t be there. The police may have accepted his explanation, but she doubts the Sullivan family would have been so forgiving. In fact, she was hoping Harry might have been there. Josh keeps leaving messages for Sarah, as has Sir Donald, but she hasn’t called either of them back. Nat has sorted herself out after discovering the man she loved was part of a doomsday cult, but Sarah still feels guilty about having so much blood on her hands.
As they arrive back at Sarah’s cottage, they’re surprised to see Josh waiting outside. Nat offers to send him away, but Sarah realises it would be better if she spoke to him now rather than later. She asks what he’s doing here and Josh cheerily announces that he’s got some good news - Sir Donald has invited them both on an all-expenses paid trip to Nevada for the launch of the Dauntless as a way of saying thanks. Sarah doesn’t feel like celebrating and refuses to share in Josh’s joy that the Crimson Chapter has been defeated. Sarah reminds him that six people have died - and Josh killed three of them himself! Nat realises, for the first time, that Josh killed her boyfriend Luca, despite the fact that he’d previously said he didn’t know what happened in Florence. Josh becomes angry and Sarah recalls that he’d promised to tell Nat the truth himself. Sarah wants to be alone, but Josh tells her Sir Donald is already waiting inside for her. She’s furious that Josh let him in and she says he’s apologised so many times now it’s just become meaningless.
Inside her cottage, Sarah asks Sir Donald to leave, but he asks her to hear him out first. He tells her the cancer has spread through his body and he only has a one-in-six chance of surviving until October. If he lives long enough to be on board the Dauntless when it lifts off, he wants her to be by his side. Sarah is amazed by his offer, but he reminds her that she’s the herald of the Orphans of the Future and this is her destiny. She says she doesn’t believe that a higher power or intelligence is shaping their lives - in fact, she wishes she did as that might make the random cruelties of life easier to bear, but she’s certain there’s no great plan, no predetermined force and no alien intelligence influencing the course of her life. Sir Donald reminds her she’s spent her whole life being a crusader, but this is her chance to see the bigger picture. He wonders if she’s just afraid to believe the truth. Most people at some stage in their lives ask themselves why they’re here, but he thinks that since leaving UNIT she’s been looking for one last great adventure. He can see it in her eyes - the quiet terror she keeps buried. Deep down she suspects she’s been chosen for something special, that she has a destiny to fulfil, and that terrifies her! Disturbed by his comments, Sarah orders him to leave.
Josh tries to explain himself to Nat, but she can’t understand why he needed to kill Luca in order to save Sarah, rather than just disable him. He tells her it was a split-second decision and argues she would have done the same thing - but Nat says that’s the difference between them as she’s never believed the end justifies the means. He tells her he’s been having recurring nightmares in which he’s playing cards with Luca and Will, with the Keeper of the Crimson Chapter dealing. In the dream they’re playing for their lives and one by one they all lose, until there’s just Josh left. The Keeper deals the last hand and smiles at him as if she can see his future. He reaches out to turn over the card…and then he wakes up, without ever knowing what the card is. Nat suggests he’s sees a therapist.
Sir Donald wonders why Sarah she never married or had children, and why she also walked away from her journalism career even though there were opportunities to be had. She seems to have spent her life moving on, always ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Sarah argues that she values her independence, but he adds that even in her personal life she never lets anyone get too close. She tells him he has no right to comment on her life, but he insists she has a destiny that she can’t deny. Sarah calls the police, but when Josh joins them she suddenly tells the operator it was a false alarm. Josh wonders what the matter is and she tells him she’s only just realised now that she’s seen Josh and Sir Donald together for the first time - the resemblance is obvious. Josh is Sir Donald’s son!
As one of the survivors from the previous week’s killer virus outbreak at the Pangbourne Scientific Research Centre in Berkshire, Maude Fletcher is interviewed on a television news programme. She explains that she’d never heard of the Crimson Chapter until Special Branch came to interview her after the incident. She and her daughter had been keeping a vigil outside the centre as they thought animals were being experimented upon inside. Emily broke in to get evidence against Mandrake, and the staff used her and several other protestors as guinea pigs for their experiments. Fortunately her daughter survived as she got the antidote in time, but three of the others didn’t. Emily is currently in hospital recovering from her ordeal.
Sarah demands to know why Josh didn’t tell her Sir Donald was his father. He explains that his parents divorced years ago and he reverted to his mother’s maiden name. Josh admits he is also an acolyte of the White Chapter, but his father wouldn’t let him tell her the truth as he knew she’d be a target of the Crimson Chapter once she was identified as the herald. She had to be protected, so Josh was sent to watch over her. Josh continues to insist that the death of Will was an accident during their struggle, but Sarah now knows he’s been lying to her for years! Even when Miss Winters was sent to test whether Sarah truly was the herald, Josh was there, looking after her - and it was the Crimson Chapter who destroyed Miss Winters because she went too far.
Sir Donald also follows the Book of Tomorrows, based on the journals of Duke Guiliano, who told of his city being plagued by the Brotherhood of Demnos, but they were purged during the last alien visitation. Guiliano reformed the survivors into a new group called the Orphans of the Future who were committed to helping mankind. Before he died, he wrote down all the future events he’d been told by the herald and she warned that an unearthly power would return half a millennia in the future - and now her prophecies are coming true. Astronomers discovered the approaching comet in 2001 and since then Sir Donald had channelled all his fortune into getting the Dauntless ready for the coming. They believe the comet heralds their salvation just as Sarah’s emergence does. Sarah tells them this was just a few careless words from her at the wrong time, and the arrival of the comet could be pure coincidence. Sir Donald asks Sarah to come with him on the Dauntless to confront her destiny and see this through to the finish. She needs time to think so he leaves her with a document containing plane tickets and details of the training she’ll need to undertake. He’ll be leaving for America today as there’s a new treatment being offered that might stave off his cancer long enough for him to take part in the mission. Josh asks Sarah to think about it, then he leaves with his father.
Sarah receives a phone call from Nat, apologising for leaving her to deal with Josh and Sir Donald on her own, but they both had plenty to think about. Sarah tells her that she needs to make her decision about going into space by tomorrow as she’ll have to undergo four weeks of training before the lift-off. She’s already agreed to go as far as Nevada, but only if Nat will come with her. She explains that Josh is Sir Donald’s son so she needs someone she can trust to keep an eye on things. She also tells Nat that before they ever met, she used to travel with an extraordinary friend who showed her things she could never discuss with anyone else. Only now has she started to realise how lonely she’s been all these years and how much she’s missed her friend. Ever since he walked out on her life she’s tried to put a brave face on things, but for years afterwards she hoped he’d come back, until she eventually stopped looking. The world had moved on and she found herself out-of-synch with everyone else. Deep down she’s always wondered if he left her behind for a reason and maybe this is it…? She doesn’t know if it’s destiny or coincidence, but she needs to have something to believe in again. The trip to Nevada will be a leap of faith for her. Nat is convinced that Josh is a genuine friend and she doesn’t want to lose that. She agrees to go with Sarah.
Here are the headlines at midday. The first space tourism flight is now less than three weeks away, but the identity of the two passengers remains unknown. At a press conference in Nevada, pilot Ben Kimmel refused to be drawn on who would be flying with him in the world’s first private enterprise spaceship. British billionaire Sir Donald Wakefield purchased both tickets on the maiden voyage on September 27th, but his deteriorating health makes his presence on board doubtful. Here’s what Kimmel had to say on the subject: “Sir Donald is a determined kind of guy, I wouldn’t bet against him”. The hybrid propulsion system of the Dauntless is unique and when the booster is fired, tiny solid-fuel igniters will scorch a massive tube of rubber for one second, then nitrous oxide is blown through it. That will accelerate the Dauntless to nearly three thousand miles an hour, fast enough to get the ship into space.
In Nevada, Sarah and Nat are welcomed to ‘Dreamland’ by pilot Ben Kimmel. Dreamland is the official call sign for the facility, but some people call it Area 51. Sarah notices how quiet everything is and Ben says this is often referred to as “the silence of God”. This is the place where Chuck Yeager became the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound but after a few days, most people don’t even notice the sound of a sonic boom. Sarah is surprised that Josh wasn’t here to welcome them, but Ben tells her he’s currently at the Medical Centre with his father and this will be their first stop. In any case, Sarah will need to undergo a full medical in preparation for going up in the Dauntless, but she reminds the pilot that she still hasn’t decided whether she’s actually going on the trip.
Sarah reports to the Medical Centre where Josh is waiting for them. The atmosphere between them is still uncomfortable and Josh realises she must still be angry with him for lying to her for so long, but he assures her she can still trust him. Even if the Crimson Chapter is history, she still wants him to promise there will be no more guns, no more killing and no more lies. He says he doesn’t have anything left to hide and she’s the closest thing he has to a friend, so he gives her his word. Ben Kimmel joins them and begins preparations for Sarah’s training programme.
A week later, Nat calls for Sarah and tries to waken her from her sleep. Sarah is exhausted after her latest training session and complains about being woken at three in the morning…until Nat points out that it’s actually three in the afternoon! She’s missed breakfast and lunch, but she was kept busy until midnight. Nat insists on opening the curtains and asks why Sarah is putting herself though all this if she hasn’t even decided whether she’s going on the trip, but her friend refuses to be pressed on an answer. Sarah says Josh doesn’t mention his father’s illness, as if ignoring it will make it go away, but Nat knows from her own personal experience of her mother’s death that denial will only make things worse when the time comes. Josh knocks on the door and tells them his dad wants to see all of them.
In the Medical Centre, Josh brings Sarah and Nat to his father. The doctors have told them they can only have a few minutes as he needs to conserve his energy, but Sir Donald says that will make little difference now. He knows how awkward they must feel around someone who is dying, but he wanted Sarah to know that her presence here has been a comfort to him over the last week. He says he feels cheated after coming so close to the one true ambition in his life, and now the cancer is taking that away from him. It’s likely he’ll only live long enough to see the Dauntless lift-off, so he asks Josh to take his place aboard. He asks Nat to sit in Mission Control and talk to the passengers via a head-set so they can hear a friendly voice. He makes his final request to Sarah - will she be on the Dauntless when it launches? She agrees and he’s very grateful. He hopes she will find what she seeks out there among the stars. She and Nat leave the Centre, giving Sir Donald a chance to say his final goodbyes to his son, and once they’re alone, he tells Josh there’s something important he needs to do…
Sarah and Nat have been waiting outside the Medical Centre for two hours without news when Josh finally emerges. Sadly, he reports that his father has passed away and he breaks down in tears. His two friends comfort his as best they can.
Here are the headlines at six. With a week left before the world’s first space tourism flight lifts-off, it seems increasingly likely that Sir Donald Wakefield will not be on board. There’s been no official update on his condition from the Dauntless project team in Nevada for several days, but rumours have been circulating about a relapse of the British billionaire’s cancer. If Sir Donald dies before the maiden voyage lifts-off, it’s believed his son Joshua Townsend may take the empty seat. The normally media-friendly tycoon had managed to conceal the fact that he had an adult son for years until the story was broken by a tabloid newspaper last weekend. Sir Donald has not been seen in public since then, fuelling further speculation about the state of his health.
Meanwhile, the war of words continues between the Dauntless and officials at NASA. Astronomers connected to NASA have questioned the wisdom of proceeding with the maiden flight of the Dauntless at the same time as a new comet is so close to the Earth. The comet will pass within two million miles of the planet, one of the closest approaches for centuries. A spokeswoman for the Dauntless pointed out the commercial spaceship will reach the apogee of its flight some 70 miles above the Earth - “We’ve got a little room to spare”, she told reporters in Nevada.
Two weeks later, Sarah and Nat are shown the Dauntless for the first time. For a masterpiece of modern astronomics, Nat was expecting it to be bigger, but Sarah thinks it will be cosy. The Dauntless will be attached to a launch aircraft called the Valiant in a couple of hours, which will carry them nine miles up before being released. The pilot leaves to perform his last minute checks, leaving Sarah and Nat to wonder whether Josh is up to the flight given that he’s only recently buried his father. Fortunately he seems to be returning to the old Josh they used to know, probably because everything they’ve been doing for the last few years has just been a build-up to this launch. Sarah is more worried about how he’s going to react afterwards if nothing out of the ordinary happens. He’s had a lifetime of indoctrination by the Orphans of the Future, and to him this flight is the culmination of a centuries-old prophecy. Everything he’s ever believed in could be shattered. Josh chooses this moment to join them, and he also thinks the Dauntless looks a little cramped. He’s come to collect Sarah as it’s time for them both to go into quarantine. The three of them say goodbye to each other, but the flight is due to take place in a couple of hours and they’ll only be in space for twenty minutes, so they should be back in time for lunch.
In Mission Control, Nat tries out the communications headgear and speaks to Sarah and Josh aboard the Dauntless. They’ve been allocated their own frequency so they can talk throughout the flight. Sarah complains that the seating is too tight, but Nat points out that when the booster fires and she’s flying at thousands of miles an hour she’ll be glad she’s strapped in. An announcement giving Mission Control clearance for take-off is made and the launch aircraft starts to accelerate down the runway and then takes off. As the Dauntless begins its maiden voyage, there is a round of applause from the technicians. Sarah and Josh are finally on their way into space…
The Valiant approaches the designated release zone and preparations for separating the two ships begins. Nat checks on her friends and although Sarah is OK, Josh is apparently looking a bit green around the gills. The medical team report that both their heart rates were unusually high so they need to brace themselves for the increase in the g-force. Once the hybrid booster is fired it will feel like a giant invisible first trying to crush them! The countdown begins…and Mission Control reports the separation has been successfully achieved. The next stage is to fire the booster and a second countdown begins… The Dauntless begins its incredible acceleration and the speed soon passes a thousand miles an hour. Sarah and Nat are struggling to breathe and Nat reminds them of their training. The compression on their lungs means they need to take smaller shallow breaths. The pilot becomes concerned when Sarah releases her harness to check on Josh, who’s having a panic attack, but with Nat’s encouragement as well, they manage to get their friend to calm down enough to breathe more slowly. Eventually he recovers and everyone signals they’re OK. The booster is due to shut down in a few seconds when the Dauntless reaches a height of 30 miles above the Earth. Once they reach sub-orbital space they’ll see the stars and become weightless. Josh cheers for joy when they finally reach Outer Space and even Sarah admits she thought she’d never be here again.
Mission Control reports that they haven’t registered any engine de-activation and Sarah asks the pilot Ben what’s happening. There’s no response and she and Josh realise something has gone wrong. They urge him to switch off the booster and Mission Control prepares to switch over to automatic control to take over the operation. Suddenly Ben Kimmel reveals that he is an acolyte of the Crimson Chapter! Declaring that the Book of Tomorrows will be their salvation, he begins sabotaging the controls. Nat contacts Sarah on her personal frequency and tells her Mission Control has lost all radio communication with the pilot. Sarah tries to convince Ben that the Crimson Chapter has gone, that the Keeper is dead and the other acolytes are all in prison, but he refuses to listen.
To everyone’s surprise, Josh pulls out a gun. Sarah urges him not to fire inside the spaceship, but Josh was told by his father than there was always a chance the Crimson Chapter might try something at the last minute. Josh promises Sarah he won’t hurt Kimmel providing he does what he’s told, but the pilot has no intention of de-activating the booster. Josh gives him a warning shot, but he’s determined to be a martyr and starts to struggle with Josh for control of the gun. More shots are fired and the capsule starts to fill with smoke as the instruments are hit.
We interrupt your normal programming to bring you this breaking news story. According to reports reaching us from Nevada, the world’s first commercial space flight has run into severe difficulties. Details remains sketchy, but we’ve received unconfirmed reports that gunshots have been fired in the cockpit of the Dauntless. We do know that all radio contact has been temporarily lost with the spaceship. We’ll give you more on this story as we get it.
Nat continues to call out to Sarah and Josh, but the only response she gets is static. Slowly, the sound of Sarah’s voice breaks through and she tells her that the pilot is dead and Josh shot him! Nat reveals that Mission Control has lost all radio and computer contact with the Dauntless and Sarah says that one of the bullets hit the cockpit controls and there’s a fire on board. One of the technicians starts working on getting a piggy-back on Sarah’s transmission in the hope they can get a signal to the on-board computer. Sarah tells Nat that Josh has been shot in the stomach and has passed out from blood loss. She’s asked to check on the condition of the guidance system, but the fire seems to have destroyed most of the panels. The booster has been disabled but the ship is still going up and Mission Control are trying to calculate how much further the Dauntless is likely to go, but unfortunately there’s no reliable data for such a situation. Just then, the communication is lost and the technicians realise they have to get Sarah back on quickly as she‘s their only link to the ship.
On the ship, Sarah tries to talk to Nat but she soon realises it’s useless. Josh starts to wake up and she urges him not to move. She can’t understand why he brought the gun on board, but he says it seemed like a good idea at the time. He realises he’s lost a lot of blood and he reminds her of the first time they met when she was working undercover as a bank teller. He was hovering around trying to find a way to introduce himself when the two bank robbers came in and gave him the perfect excuse. He’s always been her guardian angel. She urges him to save his strength, but he needs her to forgive him for breaking his promise. They hold hands, but he can’t feel her. Sarah starts to cry and begs him not to leave her here on her own.
Mission Control try to boost the radio signal, but the Dauntless is moving further and further away from Earth all the time and the communications system was never designed to cope with that range. Just then the static starts to fade again and Sarah’s voice comes through at last. She tells Nat there’s nothing she can do for Josh and it’s starting to get very cold up there. It seems as though the shots had damaged the life-support system too and it’s getting hard to breathe. Nat manages to speak to her, but there’s nothing much she can say. They’re already speaking to NASA and the Russians about a joint rescue mission, but Sarah realises there’s not much hope. She assures Nat that she knew the risks when she agreed to go on the flight…but then the communications are lost as the ship finally goes out of range and Nat is left to mourn on her own.
Sarah realises she can’t hear Nat anymore, but she thinks she might still be transmitting so she carries on talking. Josh has gone cold and his blood is started to freeze. The stars outside the window aren’t moving so fast now, so it looks as though the ship is slowing down. The life-support is definitely failing and it’s getting increasingly hard to breathe. Suddenly there’s the sound of something outside the ship and Sarah looks out the window to see a beautiful display of shooting stars. For a moment she thinks she can see something … but perhaps she’s just hallucinating? Then she sees it again - some sort of light coming towards her from outside. Suddenly Nat can hear Sarah’s voice again over the communicator and she explains that something definitely appears to be approaching the Dauntless. It’s so bright, it’s dazzling. She explains that the light has now filled the entire window and is flooding the cockpit. She’s seen something like this before, a lifetime ago, and she never thought she’d see it again.
Mission Control is detecting nothing but empty space, and although Sarah says she thinks the light could be coming from the comet, Nat realises the comet is too far away from the Dauntless to be visible. Sarah’s ears are filled with a roaring sound that gets inside her head. Suddenly Sarah’s voice becomes calm - this is what she’s been searching for all this time! She says goodbye to her friend Nat, and then the radio fills with static again…
Here are the headlines at ten. There’s still no news about the fate of the Dauntless, the world’s first commercial space flight. The vessel lifted off for its maiden voyage from Dreamland airbase in Nevada earlier today and all seemed to be going according to schedule until shortly after the spaceship was due to cut its engines. Sources within Mission Control have confirmed they heard what sounded like gunshots on board. Shortly afterwards all radio contact was lost with pilot Ben Kimmel and his two British passengers, Joshua Townsend and Sarah Jane Smith. Speculation is rife about what happened on the ship, but a spokesman from the project team refused to comment,. She insisted they haven’t given up hope and said talks had begun about a possible intervention by NASA. However, a rescue mission is considered highly unlikely as the Dauntless is only designed for making brief trips into space and carries a strictly limited supply of air. Unlike the shuttle, this vessel does not have the capability to hold orbit around the Earth. Whatever happens, this incident seems certain to make future space tourism flights unlikely…