Horizon Advent Calendar 2021 continued: 21st - 24th December


Coordinated by JustBrad
trevor travis, Mrs Underhill, Joe Dredd, BradPaula, Tyce, JustBrad, LittleSue, M1795537 OC Virn, AnneArthur, Moon Disk, Lurena

21st December - trevor travis
TT and Og productions proudly present… RETURN TO GAUDA PRIME

Soolin awoke groggily. Where was she?

The last she remembered was being on Gauda Prime. She had returned to her home planet under protest. She’d long dealt with matters there and shot dead the men who killed her family, simply for a piece of farming land.

She’d had no urge to return. But they had.

But then what?

Slowly, the memories came back to her. The destruction of Scorpio, after Tarrant finally tried to land a ship - and failed. The hut. The underground base. The tracking gallery. Being surrounded by guards. Even she couldn’t shoot in two opposite directions at once. She’d been hit.

She should be dead. But where was she now? She thought: “If only I’d accepted TT’s offer of his cigarillo case…”

“Hold it right there, TT!”, demanded Blake, pointing his gun in my direction.

What is it, Blake?

“You know damn well what I mean, TT. No breaches of the fourth wall in your Advent Calendar story, because they always result in my demise.”

But Blake, this is set after the end of the final episode, so you’ve already been shot by Avon and you’re already dead.

“Oh bugger, I hadn’t thought of that”, said Blake and disappeared in a puff of logic.

Wherever Soolin was, she noticed some familiar bodies beside her on the floor. Dayna, Tarrant, Vila and Avon were all unconscious. She’d been the first to stir.

And this did look like the tracking gallery. Although what was that large bulky object with a lens in the corner?

She stood up, picked up her gun and decided to have a walk. She entered the next room… and it was the inside of the flyer. And the next room after that was the Scorpio flight deck. The destroyed Scorpio flight deck.

Then she looked upwards and saw lights and a ceiling. What the hell was going on?

At that point, a young man appeared. He looked a little flustered. “Oh, Miss Barber, you’re still here, I thought you’d left for the evening.”

Soolin raised her gun. “Where are we? And who the hell are you?”

He wasn’t phased by the gun. He thought it was just a prop. It wasn’t. “Just the late-night BBC cleaner. I’m just tidying up the studio, ready for the final day of filming tomorrow.”

She was confused. “Filming?”

“Yes, tomorrow’s the last day. I’ve heard a rumour that it’s the very final episode of Blake’s 7, which would be a shame. I really like it. I think you’re great in it.” He went a little red in the face - he clearly had a thing for Miss Barber.

“What’s Blake’s 7?”

He wondered if she’d suffered a concussion. But before he had time to answer, the young man fell to the floor. Soolin then saw Dayna, who had chopped him with her gun from behind and knocked him out.

“What the smeg is going on?”, she said as she delivered with the obligatory Red Dwarf reference. “This place is weird. Are we dead?”

“I didn’t believe in the afterlife and I’m still not sure if I do. I think it could be far worse. We could be trapped inside one of TT’s stories.”

“Oh no”, exclaimed Dayna.

“I’ve got a gun, TT, so I’m warning you now: no shower scenes!”

Og, why have you crossed out the next few pages?

“Me thinks the story gets a bit boring, TT. Too much exposition as they gradually find out where they are. Me can hear Paula sharpening her Welsh Street Sign and telling you to get on with it.”

Good point, Og.

Right, to cut short a much longer story, the crew just miss meeting the actors who play them the following day, on the final day of shooting Episode 52.

They discover the Federation Guards shot them with a fiction ray and they are on Earth in early November 1981, in a different reality to the one they’re used to.

They crew watch the final episode on December 21, 1981 in Og’s shed at the end of my garden, although Og is very sad to have to share his pizza.

“Tarrant ate too much of the pizza. Some excuse of being a growing lad…”

Og, I’m trying to cut a long story short.

“Me sorry, TT. Me do appear again, though?”

Yes, Og you do.

“Oh good”.

In any case, Avon worked out the only way they can return to their own universe is to return to where the final episode was filmed and recreate events.

How Avon could deduce this without Orac, who was still on Gauda Prime, and with only the rudimentary technology of 1981 on hand is something of a plot hole. But it’ll give the readers on Horizon something to discuss on the comments thread after reading this.

“TT, you’re doing it again””, exclaimed Blake.

And you’re still dead, Blake. Oh good, you’ve disappeared once more.

Back to the story.

The crew went back to TC6, but the tracking gallery had disappeared and two chaps called The Two Ronnies were there instead.

But Avon read in Andy Spencer’s excellent location piece in the 1982 Blake’s 7 Annual that Sasha Mitchell revealed that the final episode was also filmed in Yately Heath Wood, so they headed there.

“Me spotted another plot hole, TT”, said Og. “That annual wasn’t published until 2021, but the story seems to be set shortly after the end of the TV series. You need to rewrite that last bit.”

OK, Og, good point…

Back to the story.

The crew went back to TC6, but the tracking gallery had disappeared and two chaps called The Two Ronnies were there instead.

But Avon read in Andy Spender’s excellent location piece in the 1982 Blake’s 7 Annual - which was published in 2021, but had fallen back in time by around 40 years due to the effects of the use of a fiction ray within this story - that Sasha Mitchell revealed that the final episode was also filmed in Yately Heath Wood, so they headed there.

“A bit clumsy, but it’ll do” said Og. “Me thinks One Spare Part will now give your story three-and-a-half out of ten instead of three out of ten.”

Avon suggested that Yately Heath Wood looking approximately the same could help and it would be sensible to go at the same time of year. They found out from the annual that the location scenes were filmed between October 12 and 15, 1981.

That was still several months away.

They had three options. To carry on sharing the shed with Og (who snores very loudly), to get proper jobs, or to revert to a life of crime. No prizes for choosing which one they picked.

They ended up going to Yately Heath Wood on October 9, 1982.

Og drove them to the location in a strange looking car, with three prongs sticking out of the front of it and the engine in a bulbous rear.

“Isn’t it a few days early?”, queried Tarrant from the back seat, where he was crammed in with Soolin, Dayna and Vila.

“It’s in case it’s a trap set by Servalan”, Avon explained from the front seat. He always got the front seat.

Dayna was perplexed. “Servalan? She’s not even in this universe. I bumped into the actress who played her one day, and I can’t recount the rest of that story since this Horizon site is PG-13. But she’s not Servalan.”

“But surely you noticed?”, asked Avon.

“Noticed what?”

“That however improbable it is for us to meet Servalan we always do. Helotrix, Bucol-2, Mecron-2, Virn - it was a complete coincidence she was there each time. In short, when people write episodes of Blake’s 7, they take shortcuts. And we know who is writing this one, don’t we?”

You’ve got me there, Avon, although at least I’ve gone to the trouble of borrowing the Infinite Improbability Drive from the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy to explain how you could even meet Servalan when she’s in a different universe.

“But Avon, why today on October 9?”, asked Soolin, who had been looking lovely throughout this story.

“Because she’s expecting us to go on October 12. But suspecting a trap, I would then suggest October 11 to get there a day before she does. But… what if Servalan suspected that I suspected that it was a trap and turned up a day earlier on October 10. I suspect she would, hence we’re going today.”

On arrival, they started to recreate scenes from the shooting script that they’d stolen from the BBC and used the original Orac prop that they’d stolen from Mat Irvine.

They’d also nicked Gareth Thomas’ costume from the appropriate department and Tarrant was dressed up as him, since it turned out all his scenes in the final episode were filmed in TC6.

“Are you sure this is going to return us to our universe?”, queried Dayna.

At that moment, Servalan appeared and the crew realised they were surrounded by Federation Guards.

She said: “Avon, I suspected that you suspected that I suspected that you suspected that it was a trap and turned up yesterday.”

“Well now, I hadn’t thought of that”, admitted Avon.

Vila looked at all the guards surrounded them. “Why don’t you get on and kill us, Servalan?”

“Kill you?”, she queried. “Vila, that’s not the plan at all. You see, I once said a universe without Avon and Tarrant will take a certain amount of getting used to. And it did. In fact, it was very dull. Therefore, I asked TT to insert into his story the suggestion that Avon thought that you could return to our universe by recreating the episode.”

Phew. That’s one of the earlier plot holes resolved. Readers don’t need to discuss that on the comments thread after all.

Servalan continued quickly, before those readers (in particular, Brad, who tends to pick up on these things) could think of the other plot-holes that I hadn’t resolved, such as why the Federation guards had used a fiction ray on the crew in the first place.

“In any case”, she said, “I knew you’d return here once you worked out that locations, unlike studio sets, remain in place. Although I was a bit gutted to find out, from the new edition of the Liberation book from 2025, that Leeds Polytechnic eventually got flattened”, said Servalan, while looking Avon up-and-down.

“Anyway, I’m digressing. As you can see, this location has not yet been touched. So if I shoot you here with the fiction ray to return you to our world, we can start up bumping into each other by coincidence and playing a universal game of cat and mouse, when I never kill you and you never kill me, for some reason or other.”

Servalan looked at Tarrant. “And, for goodness sake, take that off and get into your own clothes, unless you want to end up as Blake back in our universe. I’d then have to kill you, rather than hope that Tanith Lee writes a special late-night sequel to Sand.”

And so, after being shot, they awoke several hours later in the woods on Gauda Prime. Avon retrieved Orac and they found a route off the planet by stealing another ship.

As they left the orbit of Gauda Prime, Vila mused: “That last thing that Servalan said before she got the Federation guards to shoot us. That she’d also be making a few other changes before she used the fiction ray on herself. What did she mean?”

It’s the evening of December 21, 2021. The 43th season of Blake’s 7 has just completed transmission, and while Og and I are surprised how it ended, we are intrigued to find out how it will return next year. After some potty training, Og is permitted to watch the episodes indoors these days. Sometimes he gets careless and I skid halfway across my living room.

The show was revived for its fifth season in the Autumn of 1983. The cast never seem to age, but each of them seems to have a mysterious room containing a Sea Devil beneath their houses.

It’s rumoured that the BBC is now ran by a man with an eyepatch, assisted by several goth-looking ladies with strange headgear, although this has never been proved.

22nd December Mrs_Underhill

Happier version of the meeting on Gauda Prime, inspired by Bunn1cula's "A Visit from Blake" from Horizon Advent Calendar 2019.


23rd December Joe Dredd

I'm going to tag this onto Mrs Underhill's wonderful work on "Blake".

Here are the sets for "Blake" in 3D - CLICK
It pans around the BBC studio itself, but you can take control by moving your mouse, and zoom with the scroll wheel. Superb!
and the 24th...


Merry Fedmas and here are two videos which I thought were particularly good for the Holiday season.




Apologies from Obsidian. She tried for several hours to get her 23 Advent Calendar post to you but is having serious technical issues. She's asked me to post this on her behalf.

She send you lots of love for the holiday season.


Since everyone seemed to want to know where Groucho was, here he is a few Christmases ago playing with a jar of peanuts, at least until he notices the camera.


And here for the December prompt is a jolly little romp, with a lovely piccie by Lurena.

The Ones That Got Away….

“Are you sure?”
“Look, if we can’t find anyone here, then we are in the wrong business.”
“I think we already are…”

The two unkempt men looked out of place as they tried to mingle among the other visitors to this establishment, all dressed in their finest and somewhat absurd outfits.
“I thought you said we wouldn’t look out of place.”
“It must be a fancy dress or something.”
“What’s this Mardi Gras they’re talking about?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care, but somewhere amongst this little lot there must be someone with a price on their head…”
“Or with so much money they need help to spend it.”

The two men seated themselves away from the action and studied each and every person in the area in front of them.
“What about that lady over there, the one in red?”
“Nah...she'll be sure to have some body guards around.”
“What about him, the guy in the silver top eating that dessert?”
“Hm, looks pretty flamboyant, but compared to all the others here, I don’t think he’s for us.”
“Appearances can be deceptive.”
“True. I’ll scan him anyway.”
“Now look at that guy on the roulette table. Look at all that money.”
“Beginners luck. And look at him. Obviously didn’t hear about the fancy dress code. No, we want someone who is loaded, or is wanted by the Federation. There’ll be money in that.”
“So now we are Bounty Hunters?”
The first man checked the scanner on his wrist.
“Anything?” his companion in crime asked.
“No yet.”
They continued to watch as the one remaining person at the roulette wheel began to literally rake in the credits.
“You know, he is going to need help spending all that.”
The first man smiled, “That’s if he is allowed to leave with it, which somehow I don’t think the casino will…just watch.”
“It’s been some time.”
“I expect they’ve been trying to find out how he managed to do it.”
“Look, let’s face it, he’s just a gambler with a system. Has that scanner come up with anything about anyone?”
“Give it time…”

“Wow he beat that Klute or whatever it is. What now?”
“Well, the scanner isn’t showing them as being anything. So they may just be high rollers. Let’s follow them to their ship…they may just have an accident.”

The two men hastened their pace as they approached the two other men; one with all those credits and the other with a small box under his arm.
“Jewels?” the second of the would be robbers whispered.
“Let’s hope so…”
Suddenly the man in the silver top turned round, his gun aimed at the two thieves.
They stopped dead.
“Gentlemen, whatever you have in mind, I suggest that you forget it. Take us up Orac.”
And both targets vanished. Leaving the concourse empty but for a few torn decorations blowing around.
“Orac?”, the first man asked, “Whose Orac?”
The scanner on his wrist bleeped.
He stared down at the small screen.
“What does it say?” the second man asked.
His companion held out his wrist.
On the small screen was the information they had so much wanted.
The identities of the two gamblers followed by the words;
“Read it and weep, ORAC”
“Read it and weep? What is that supposed to mean?” the second man asked.
“It means we let two of the Federation’s most wanted men get away. That’s what!”

M1795537 OC Virn

Your Christmas Card from the Federation:



Hugbot's lovely story about the Turks Head pub in Penzance and its cat Tigger made me think of another Tigger, an enormous soppy tabby that my mother's family had when she was a girl. I wrote this story a while ago for the prompt 'Fluff', and based it on a cat my boss had with that name, but it is haunted by Tigger also. It is not specifically Christmassy, except in that it involves a finding of common ground between the two most antagonistic members of Scorpio's crew. It is set early in season 4.


This had been a Delta area. They were always the worst, thought Vila, and he moved through the remains of the cramped dwellings with compassion, noting the shabby furniture, the tawdry ornaments. His mother had had a painting like that one - she'd set great store by it, although Vila could now see that it was gaudy and sentimental. There was a word for art like that, a word Avon and Tarrant used - 'prolefeed', cheap pleasures for the masses, to keep them under control. The people who lived here had been controlled all right, he thought, bitterly. Pacified, and shipped off world - and still the troopers couldn't resist trashing their empty homes.
A small squeaking sound caught his attention. He lifted an overturned chair and there, cowering under it was a kitten - a tiny ball of black and white fluff. It did not try to run as Vila scooped it up, and nestled against his chest, still shivering.
'Who are you, then?' he asked it. 'Were you somebody's pet?' The kitten nestled closer. 'Poor thing, left all alone here. I wonder if you're hungry?'
He pulled a protein bar out of his pocket, and broke off a bit. The kitten ate greedily, and Vila gave it a second helping. He wasn't sure, but he thought it looked a bit livelier.
'I'll tell you what,' he told it. 'I'm going to take you back to Xenon. You'll like it there. Nice planet for you to explore, nice warm base to live in, lots of mice.' There were indeed lots of mice on Xenon base - they'd been getting to be a problem. The cat could catch them, thought Vila, imagining himself justifying his actions to the others. But really, he realised as it looked up at him with great green eyes, he just wanted a friend. He needed someone, he thought bitterly, what with Cally gone, and Dayna ignoring him, and Avon getting weirder by the day. Anyway, once on Xenon, they'd have to let it stay. It was just a matter of getting it there without Tarrant noticing. And how hard could that be?

Harder than Vila thought, as it turned out. He had not reckoned with a pilot's ears, attuned to the sound of his engine, alert for the slightest abnormality.
'What's that squeaking?' Tarrant asked, half an hour into their journey.
'What squeaking? I don't hear anything.'
'Listen! There it is again. I heard it earlier, but it seemed to stop. It's coming from under there, by the cooling system. Take over, will you, Slave?'
'It will be my pleasure, Sir.'
Tarrant was already on the floor by the starboard aft bunk, unscrewing the panel underneath it. He peered in, then reached one long arm in and pulled out the kitten.
'Well hel-lo,' he said, standing up, stroking the tiny, cowering body. 'Where did you come from?' He looked at the screwed-down panel, and Vila could see him thinking. Tarrant turned to him.
'Is he yours?'
'Yes,' said Vila belligerently. 'And it's a she.'
'Oh, I beg your pardon,' Tarrant said to the kitten. 'What's her name?'
'Fluff.' What a stupid name, said Tarrant's voice. But he continued to stroke the kitten, and she snuggled up to him and started to purr. Faithless hussy, thought Vila. Tarrant grinned.
'I'd forgotten they did that,' he said quietly. 'We used to have one - father got him when I was seven. A real Marscat.' He smiled wryly. 'One of the few things that don't get better the more expensive they are, I guess - but he was gorgeous. Called Tiger - because of the stripes.' And that's a stupid name and all, thought Vila. 'He used to sleep on my bed. I'd wake up in the night and he'd be pressed against my cheek - all warm and soft - and I'd be terrified to go to sleep again in case I rolled over and crushed him. Of course, he grew into an enormous tomcat who would give me what for if I rolled over onto him in the night - but he still slept on my bed. And his fur' - he shook his head in wonderment - 'you could sink your hands into it. I used to miss him terribly when I went to school.' He frowned at Fluff, and held her out to Vila.
'Here. Your cat.'
Vila took her. She snuggled up against him and started to purr as he stroked her. He became aware of Tarrant watching wistfully.
'I thought I'd give her the run of the base when we got back,' he found himself saying.
'Good idea. She might do something about the mice.'
'Bound to. Delta cat, you see,' said Vila, proudly. 'They're always good mousers - they need to be. Anyway, what I'm saying is that she'll be around the place. You'll see a lot of her.'
'I'd like that.' Tarrant came over and scratched her between the ears. 'Maybe not sleep in my bed, though!' He laughed.
'Maybe not.' Vila wondered for a moment if Dayna was sleeping in Tarrant's bed. He had been pretty sure there was something between them for a couple of months now - but they were being discreet about it, if there was. Anyway . . .
Tarrant was looking into the space under the bunk.
'Look, don't put her back in here, OK? She's made quite a mess - I'll have to give it a good clean out when we get back to base.' He slid the panel back into place.
I'll have to give it a good clean out - that's a first, thought Vila. Talk about the mellowing effects of cute fluffy kittens on hardened ex-Space Command officers . . . Tarrant sat down and took the controls back from Slave. He checked them briefly, then looked up.
'Oh, and Vila . . . I'd, erm, be grateful if you didn't mention what I've just told you to Avon and the girls, OK?'


Moon Disk

Missing episode - 'The Christmas Tree'
Whereby the Liberator attempts to navigate treacherous tinsel branches in Sector Seven, avoiding glitter balls and dancing reindeer. Meanwhile, Vila is knocking back the eggnog, Avon is complaining about getting socks again for Christmas, Gan can't remember the words to 'Deck the Halls', Jenna keeps making cryptic suggestions about someone called Santa hurrying down the chimney tonight, and Cally has fallen under the influence of the Elf on the Shelf.
"Where did it all go wrong?" sighs Blake.
Merry Christmas, everyone!



I'll just leave this here and wish everyone a very merry Sithmas.

(Give it to the 46 second mark).



I couldn't resist:

Obsidian's wonderful manip as a puzzle HERE



Hugbot wrote:

Avon is devastated!
Vila played a cruel prank on him and hid his beloved teddy bear deep in the maze of Liberator’s corridors:
Can you help Avon to find Roj Bear so that he will be happy again and can enjoy the Christmas holidays?

I think Avon would have programmed Zen (or Orac but Orac might have thought such a easy task beneath him) to solve the maze for him, something like this:

- Maze which is a set of Nodes connected by Edges.
- Edge is a set of 2 nodes: (start, end)
- Start node (where we start the search).
- Target node (the exit we want to find).

- Path from Start node to Target Node: a set of Nodes and Edges.

To solve the maze, call method FindPath(Start node, {} /*empty starting path */)

(Success or Failure) FindPath(Node node, Path finalPath):
- If (node = Target node)
-- add node to finalPath
-- return Success
-- for each Edge
--- if (Edge was visited): continue
--- else
---- Mark Edge as visited
---- result = FindPath(endOfEdge, finalPath)
---- if (result = Success)
----- add Edge and node to FinalPath
----- return Success
-- return Failure.

The method will either return Success with FinalPath accumulating the Edges and Nodes from Start to Target, or will return Failure with empty FinalPath.

Avon would the trace the FinalPath through the maze to collect his beloved Teddy.


For your Christmas cracker:

And a silly game for when you get bored. Everyone should have a hobby, according to Vila.
Click here and try to hit as many pursuit ships as possible, but watch out for their explosives!
for the game: CLICK

Joe Dredd

There's always one Christmas card that doesn't quite arrive in time.


For Advent Calendar 2021 Part 1: 1st - 20th December click here.