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Earthsearch 2: A New Adventure Serial in Time and Space is a BBC Radio 4 science fiction series written by James Follett, comprising ten half-hour episodes broadcast between January and March 1982. There is also a novelisation by Follett under the title Earthsearch 2: Deathship. The series has been released on cassette and audio CD, and has been rerun several times on BBC 7 beginning in 2003. It is a sequel to Earthsearch I.

Contents

Cast

  • Commander Telson - Sean Arnold
  • Sharna - Amanda Murray
  • Darv - Haydn Wood
  • Astra - Kathryn Hurlbutt
  • Elka - Jill Lidstone
  • Bran - Michael Maloney
  • Angel One - Sonia Fraser
  • Angel Two - Gordon Reid
  • Tidy - David Gooderson
  • George - Stephen Garlick

Episodes

  1. Return
  2. Flood
  3. Surrender
  4. Solaria
  5. Sundeath
  6. Supermass
  7. Deathship
  8. Megalomania
  9. Earth
  10. Earthvoice

Story

At the end of Earthsearch, the crew of the starship Challenger settled on the Paradise planet, having never seen their original home planet that they called Earth. They left the Challenger's control computers, Angel One and Angel Two, in charge of the ship to continue the search for Earth.

Four years later, the crew have settled into their life on Paradise, despite many hardships they are suffering. Then suddenly, one of their children is killed by a 'monster' that appeared from the sea.

It transpires that this 'monster' is actually an android from the Challenger, which has returned. When the sea level begins to rise, the crew are suspicious of the Angels. They notice a large amount of radiation coming from the southern horizon, and they fly to Antarctica in their shuttle craft. There they find hundreds of towers embedded in the ice. The Angels are using terraforming equipment from the Challenger to melt the ice and thus raise the sea level in an attempt to get the crew to rejoin them on the ship.

The crew are adamant that they will not leave Paradise. The flood gets worse and worse, and will clearly soon submerge all the land. They load breeding pairs of animals into the shuttle cargo bay, and when the water level gets high enough, the shuttle floats. The crew are surviving, barely, and have beaten the Angels for the time being.

However, their situation deteriorates to the point where they have no more water to drink, so they eventually surrender to the Angels. First, however, they demand that the flood is reversed, so they can release the animals. Then they fly their shuttle up to the Challenger.

The crew are gassed by an android, and they become unconscious. When they come round, they discover that they have been in suspended animation for sixteen years. But the children, who were very young when they came on board, have been awake the whole time, and are now about twenty years old. Telson and Sharna's son, Bran, is now the commander.

The older crew have realised that the Angels have brought the human crew on board for a reason. The Angels are being attacked by mysterious transmissions which are weakening them. Higher intelligence androids (the type that the Angels use to run the ship) are also being affected by these transmissions. However, humans are totally unaffected. The Angels want to seek out and destroy the source of these transmissions, and they need the humans in order to achieve this.

Eventually, the Challenger arrives at its original home, Earth. It now orbits a new star, having been moved there a long time ago when its citizens realised their sun was going to go nova in a (geologically) short time. However, it does not look like the Earth that the crew have seen in recordings. This planet is almost totally dead. There is very little water, and no rain. The only sign of life is a huge tower on the equator, with a tiny village nearby.

The crew fly down to the village, and meet Peeron, the leader. The Earth's civilisation has collapsed a long time ago, and the human race is reduced to eking out a meager living from a tiny spring that grows weaker every year. It appears that the humans will be extinct in a short period of time.

The crew examine the tower. There is a door set into one side, but it cannot be moved. Peeron says that many of his predecessors have tried to open it over the centuries, by hitting it with battering rams, but it will not budge. It is said that it is held shut by a "lock of knowledge".

Darv eventually works out how to open the ingeniously simple lock. It requires a low grade of technology which would only be available to people who have already worked out basic principles of science and engineering.

When the crew open the door, they enter the tower, leaving Peeron and his people outside. They hear a voice, which introduces itself as "Earthvoice".

Earthvoice establishes contact with the Angels, and promises to join forces with them to rule the Earth. The Angels welcome him, but it is a trick. Earthvoice is the source of the attacks that have been weakening the Angels, and now he launches one last brutal attack from close range that destroys them.

Earthvoice explains to the crew that the tower was constructed by the people of Earth as a repository of all human knoweledge when their last great civilisation was collapsing. The lock was designed so that the people could not enter until they had already worked out how to make some technology for themselves. Unfortunately, Earthvoice has been helplessly watching the environmental conditions deteriorate, as he lacks any means to fix the problem.

The crew use the terraforming systems on the Challenger to bring rain to Earth. They create a stable weather pattern which will allow the people to flourish.

Rather than interfere further with the primitive human culture on Earth, they seal the door to the tower, return to the Challenger, and head back to their new home, Paradise.

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