Battle of the Planets Episode: “G-Force in the Future”
“There’s never a dull moment,” says Zark’s voice as we see Center Neptune, “Down here at Center Neptune, deep beneath the waves, especially if you happen to be the central defense robot, as I am.”
And we see 1-Rover-1. He yaps.
“What is it, 1-Rover-1?” asks Zark, who’s standing beside him, “You’re not hungry again? You just had a big bowl of grated iron filings.”
But 1-Rover-1 yaps again.
“Oh, you’re worried,” says Zark, “You’ve heard. Well, I know there’s a lot of big talk around here now about the plans to build a marvelous Future World powered by geothermal energy, but don’t let it upset you.”
With that, Zark flaps his cape and flies over to his monitors. So, 1-Rover-1 rotates his tail and also (and equally implausibly) becomes airborne and flies over to be beside Zark again.
And he yaps again.
“We’ve got to worry about the here and now, 1-Rover-1” replies Zark to whatever 1-Rover-1 just said, “If I don’t stay alert and protect the present world from the evil plans of planet Spectra, we may not have a future world.”
1-Rover-1 yaps again.
“Right now, G-Force is meeting with Security Chief Anderson,” says Zark, “They’ll be helping the scientists find the best location to build the Future World. I wonder if they plan to make robots obsolete? Maybe they’ll go back to using nothing but humans.”
Wouldn’t that be rather contrary to a place called “Future World,” Zark? (Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing him made obsolete.)
1-Rover-1 rolls over and plays dead (or, as he’s a robot, plays “obsolete,” I guess.)
“Oh no, they couldn’t take a foolish, backwards step like that,” says Zark (even though he’d just contemplated that very possibility), “But maybe we should just take a peek in the Security Office, and see what they’re up to.”
In other words –spy on them.
“The disaster planning commission,” says Chief Anderson’s voice as we see an image of Earth from space, “Has chosen the arctic area as the most feasible site for Future World.”
[I would love it he’d instead been relating a new plan to render Zark obsolete, accompanied by cheers of approval from the G-Force members, but that is not the case here…]
Next we see a cross-section image of Earth.
“The key to the entire project,” explains Anderson, “Is the Gorki formula –the tapping of the Earth’s molten core to supply energy for Future World.”
And we see all of G-Force sitting around in their civvies, listening and watching Anderson’s slide show.
“This is Dr. Gorki,” says Anderson, bringing up an image of man with grey hair and beard, wearing glasses, “Architect of Future World.”
Slide show over, Anderson walks over to a window and opens a blind, letting in sun.
Hey, why aren’t they at Center Neptune?
“He’s an eccentric,” explains Anderson, shutting down the projector and sitting at his desk, scowling, “But definitely a genius. He’s going to survey the arctic area for Future World and he’s turned down all security protection.”
“Lots of people go around without security,” remarks Princess.
“I don’t get it, Chief,” says Mark, “Why bring us into this if Gorki wants to go it alone?”
“I don’t like it,” says Anderson, standing up again, “Dr. Gorki is carrying his energy formula in his head. We’ve run a security check on him and he’s clean, up to a point, but he has radical ideas.”
“Now wait a minute, Chief,” says Mark, frowning a bit, “You just said Dr. Gorki was a genius, not a conformist.”
“I don’t deal in ideologies,” replies Anderson, pointing a finger, “Just security –that’s why you’re going with him.”
“Going where?” asks Mark.
“There’s been mysterious activity going on in this area,” says Chief Anderson, walking over to a map on the wall and pointing to a region that, if the map’s latitude lines are any indication, is at one of the Earth’s poles, “So far, we’ve drawn a blank but it smells like trouble.” He slaps his hand against the map.
“The rest of you will fly shotgun in the Phoenix,” he tells them, “Discreetly, of course.”
Everyone salutes and says “G-Force!”
We cut to a scene of a large plane flying through the sky.
“Dr. Gorki is an eccentric, all right,” voice-overs Zark-the-spy, “He insisted on flying in a vintage propeller-driven plane from the 20th century. The plane was an old DC-5 which had hung in a museum of primitive aircraft.”
Yes, Zark, and someday you will hang in a museum of primitive robots…
The Phoenix is flying through the sky as well, a discreet distance from the DC-5.
Inside the primitive, 20th century plane is what looks like an upright glass coffin with lots of cables extending from its sides.
“Dr. Gorki was very secretive about this piece of equipment,” remarks Mark to himself, looking at it, “It looks like an old cryogenics casket. I wonder what it’s for.”
Mark comes up a little flight of stairs to join Dr. Gorki in what looks like the passenger area of the plane.
“I don’t like anyone nosing around my equipment, Commander,” declares Gorki, “And I dislike your checking up on me.”
“Sorry, Doctor,” says Mark politely, sitting down beside him, “But Security feels there may be some attempt to stop you from reaching the Future World site. My job is to see that you get there.”
“And to check up on me, eh?” adds Gorki.
“Not really,” says Mark.
“Bah,” says Dr. Gorki, unconvinced.
The plane’s altimeter is spinning now, and the plane is going into a steep descent.
“Buckle up,” Mark tells Dr. Gorki, “I’ll find out what’s gone wrong.”
“Be careful,” says Dr. Gorki, who then fastens his seatbelt.
Mark slides along the floor on his way to the cockpit, as the floor is angled downward now.
“What’s happening?” asks Mark, entering the cockpit.
“We’re in trouble, Commander,” one of the pilots tells him.
Mark immediately pulls out his boomerang and says “Let’s take a look,” using it to pry open a panel beside the throttle.
“It looks like the holding pin’s broken loose,” announces Mark as the two pilots look on. Meanwhile, the plane is still descending and the icy terrain below is no long that far below.
“This museum piece has had it, Commander,” says the pilot.
“Let’s take a look at the flight manual,” says Mark, removing it from a wall compartment. He doesn’t look up ‘Emergency in-flight repairs’ or anything like that though –he just removes a clip-like metal page marker.
“It might work,” he thinks as he studies the shiny clip.
As the plane continues to plummet, Mark takes the clip and inserts it into the throttle mechanism. His repair an apparent success, he says “Okay, give it a try,” to the pilot.
The clip bends from strain, but it holds –lucky for them as the plane was close to hitting the ground. As it is, they’re still at risk of crashing into a mountain looming before them.
“Look out, Ted. Get those wing flaps up, Ted,” says the senior pilot now to his junior colleague (and, very BOTP-like, gives him an actual name.)
Ted gets the wing flaps up, as the clip continues to be strained by the throttle but still stays intact. And they’re able to just avoid crashing into the mountain.
“Wheels down, get ready for a rough landing,” the senior pilot says next.
Meanwhile, Mark has gone back to where Dr. Gorki is sitting and tells him “Hang on, we’re making an emergency landing.”
“No tricks, Commander,” says the eccentric Dr. Gorki, “Stay right here where I can keep an eye on you.”
Mark glowers at him.
“I don’t want you monkeying around in the baggage compartment,” he adds, ”I’ll reveal the secret of Future World’s power source when I’m ready.”
Mark doesn’t respond to this, and then we see the plane landing in a desolate arctic setting.
But suddenly there’s what looks like a small explosion outside somewhere, and the plane is shaking and jostling Mark and Dr. Gorki.
But we cut to Princess on the bridge of the Phoenix, saying “They’ve just gone in for a landing.”
“Something’s wrong,” says Jason, “That’s not the designated landing area. Check it, Tiny.”
“Check,” says Tiny, altering the Phoenix’s course.
Meanwhile, the DC-5 is sitting on the snowy ground and inside, Dr. Gorki is putting on a parka.
“I’m going out to look around,” he tells Mark coldly, holding a little black device in one hand, “This recorder will warn me if anyone tries to tamper with my equipment.”
Sheesh, this guy is a pain.
But before Dr. Gorki can even open the door, the whole plane really starts shaking, flinging him and Mark back towards the wall behind them.
“Now what?” says Mark.
“What” is that the ice that the plane’s sitting on is cracking wide open under them and the plane is falling into the resulting chasm. Inside the cockpit, the two pilots go tumbling too.
“Oh no!” cries everyone on the bridge of the Phoenix, seeing what’s happening. And the chasm the plane fell into is closing up again now.
“Get out, Doctor!” cries Mark, but with the plane pitching and lurching, neither he nor Dr. Gorki make it over to the door. We see a piece of one wing break off against the ice and then the plane plunges into water and sinks. The icy chasm closes fully over now.
“Mark’s gone!” cries Keyop, on the bridge of the Phoenix.
We see a close up of Mark’s face, looking horrified as he sees nothing but ice outside the plane’s window…
All goes dark.
And we cut to Zark, standing at his monitors.
“7-Zark-7, calling Commander of G-Force,” he says, “Come in, Commander. Come in.”
Gee, Zark, maybe he’s too busy being crushed by ice to want to talk to you.
“This is terrible,” says Zark, as his antennae droop, “The plane carrying Mark and Dr. Gorki has fallen into a deep, icy crevasse, and I can’t get through to them. I don’t like the way this is coming down. If Spectra is behind this and somehow gets hold of Dr. Gorki’s energy formula… Come in, Commander! Please, come in!”
We cut to a color swirl of psychedelic blobs, and then wavy lines (but no needles jabbing into anyone’s arm).
We get a close up of Mark’s face again, and now he’s groggily opening his eyes. He sits up (and there’s a futuristic looking city visible through the large window behind him), saying “Where am I? Oh, my head!” He clutches his head with one hand.
We see that he’s in a bed with Dr. Gorki –a weird image to be sure!- but he gets up and walks a bit unsteadily over to the window, still holding his head. But then Dr. Gorki walks up behind him, saying “Amazing! We’re in Future World!”
The city they’re seeing sure looks like something belonging to the future, with tall, oddly shaped towers and domes and elevated roads and transport tubes going everywhere and little cars whizzing along.
“We must have gone through time warp,” says Mark, frowning.
“It’s like a dream!” says Dr. Gorki cheerily.
“A bad dream,” says Mark, walking about the room now, “Someone put us in here.”
Suddenly, the section of floor that he and Dr. Gorki are standing on descends into the floor, taking them with it. They descend down a long glass tube.
“Absolutely incredible,” says Dr. Gorki, still staring around at the city, “It’s exactly the way I designed it!”
But now they’re at the bottom and they both jump off the platform. They’re in a massive glassed-in room with palm trees, ponds and monorail tracks. It looks quite nice, but they spot a bunch of people all sitting listlessly on some long benches.
“A welcoming party,” says Mark, frowning, as the people all stand up and start coming their way. “There’s not a happy face among them,” says Dr. Gorki, puzzled.
In fact, all the people have very glum or blank expressions on their faces.
“This is not my Future World,” says Dr. Gorki now, dismayed at this apparent lack of appreciation for the fruits of his genius, I guess, “Not what I had in mind.”
“Let’s split,” says Mark, just as the mob is nearly upon them. He hustles Dr. Gorki down a nearby corridor.
“Wrong turn,” says Mark, as they encounter yet another group of glum/blank and unspeaking people. So, they run down yet another corridor –only to reach a dead end.
“Dead end,” says Mark, “We’ll have to turn back.”
But Mark backs up apprehensively as the zombie mob approaches. Fortunately, a glass partition suddenly drops down from above, with them on one side and Mark and Dr. Gorki on the other.
“Have no fear, gentlemen, they are harmless,” says a voice from behind that sounds exactly like Zoltar’s. Mark turns around hastily to see a wall panel rising to reveal two new men.
“I am Koda,” says the speaker (who sounds just like Zoltar) but he’s a middle aged man with a mustache, and he and his somewhat younger companion are dressed in smock-like grey and white uniforms, “Welcome to Future World, Commander.”
“Who are those people?” asks Mark.
Koda walks over to the glass panel and looks at the zombie mob. “Return to your quarters,” he orders, and they all start walking away listlessly.
“They are all survivors of the great Spectra invasion, Commander” continues Koda.
“Invasion?” says Dr. Gorki.
“What Spectra invasion?” demands Mark.
“It happened almost fifty years ago,” says Koda, “Zoltar and his invaders plundered and destroyed all our great cities.”
Okay, some of the zombie-like survivors we were just shown were definitely younger than 50. Did the Great Invasion take 20 years or so to be completed?
“All but one of your companions died,” continues Koda, looking at Mark now, “Trying to save Earth. Center Neptune was destroyed.”
“You’re lying!” cries Mark, getting in Koda’s face, “This is all just a nightmare!”
“Come,” says Koda calmly, “I will show you what’s left of the old cities, Commander.”
And next thing you know, Koda and his companion, Mark and Dr. Gorki are all lifting off from a rooftop launch pad in a little flying shuttle.
“Please be seated, gentlemen,” says the companion, gesturing to two seats with a good view out the window.
“Future World is all that’s left of Earth,” Koda is explaining now, leaning on the back of Mark’s chair, “All else is devastated.”
The shuttle enters a large tube that extends upward…
Up at the surface, we do indeed see that Earth’s cities are devastated. As Mark and Dr. Gorki stare out the window in horror, Koda keeps talking.
“This was once the great city you lived in.”
“I don’t understand,” says Dr. Gorki, “Why was no effort made to rebuild it?”
“Deadly radiation, Doctor,” explains Koda, “It may be that Zoltar and his invaders wanted to leave Earth a wasteland, Dr. Gorki.” Koda turns away from the window to look at him. “Except for Future World, which was built from your master plan, they have succeeded. We, the few survivors, are grateful.”
He points, and Dr. Gorki looks and gasps. So does Mark. What they’re seeing is more devastated city, with one particularly prominent building toppled over on its side.
“The entire city is nothing but a graveyard of ruins,” says Mark, staring, “But why didn’t we continue aging?”
“Evidently you were frozen into a state of suspended animation,” explains Koda, “We found you and your plane entombed in ice. We revived you.”
Dr. Gorki stares silently at Koda, then turns towards the window, clearly thinking…
Next we see the shuttle traveling under water.
“This was where Center Neptune once stood,” Mark is saying, still looking stunned by all he’s been seeing, “Where 7-Zark-7 kept watch over the Galaxy.”
“Your companions, Commander,” says Koda as Mark moves towards the window, pressing his hands against it and looking truly horrified.
We see a brief view of a gravestone that looks just like the one that Mark was calling his brother’s in “The Awesome Armadillo,” but Mark whispers “Jason, Princess, Tiny? All gone?”
Is Mark seeing some sort of writing that we’re not seeing, because although Koda mentioned earlier that one companion survived, he didn’t say which one?
Mark closes his eyes and bows his head in grief.