The Catacombs Space: 1999 Catacombs
Zero G

Zero G



adapted by David Hirsch, scanned by Paulo Jorge Morgado from the Space 1999 1978 Convention booklet


Moon City, man's first outpost in space. It was there that the men and women of W.A.N.D.E.R. (World Association of Nations Defending Earth Riqhts) awaited the first report of Deep Space Reconnaissance Probe C-42. The robot spaceship had radioed back detailed information about an alien planet. Soon, humankind would know of a race other than themselves. As the Master Computer in the Control Centre processed the vast amount of data, Commander Steve Maddox wondered how the crew aboard the alien spacecraft, which had been watching Moon City since it began operation, would react to the fact that the humans were now watching them.

The report confirmed all the guesses. The civilisation on the alien planet was highly advanced and was quite capable of launching spacecraft to Earth. Maddox realised that the next logical step would be contact. However, Maddox would make contact sooner than he expected. Upon returning to his quarters for some rest, Maddox was grabbed by a powerful transference beam and pulled across the void of space to the alien planet. Stunned by his journey, he awoke in a strange geometric environment and discovered he was in some structure.

Attempting to escape from the structure, Maddox found his exit blocked by an invisible shield. He laser seemed to have no effect on the shield at all. Suddenly, a voice from behind told Maddox that his weapon was useless. The Commander turned to face an impressive-looking alien dressed in some skin-like material of the same geometric design as the structure about.

The alien stepped forward and accused the people of Earth of setting up Moon City for offensive use. The alien flashed an image of the military installations on a screen as proof, but Maddox insisted that the equipment was for defence. "We are stepping out into the unknown. This is man's first encounter with another life form in the universe," Maddox told the alien. "How do we know that you aren't going to be hostile?"

"You don't," the alien replied. "Why don't you kill me, now? You're armed and I am not."

Maddox was bewildered by the question. "I have no reason to kill you."

"Wrong! You recognise my power is greater than yours. You are unsure how effective your weapon would be, or how I might retaliate. What if the situation were to be reversed, Commander?"

The alien's words had a ring of truth. However, Man was already in Space and the aliens could do nothing about it, Maddox told him.

"We mean to make sure that man will go no further," the creature threatened. "My first encounter with an Earthman. I'm quite impressed. I would like to believe your version of Man's interest in Space, but unfortunately your Earth's history does not bear this out. You say that your base is defensive and you are the Commander. What was your brief?"

Before Maddox could answer, the familiar voice of General Heineman, head of Earth Command, filled the air. It was the briefing shortly before his departure from Earth to Moon City. "Space Commander Maddox, you are hereby appointed Head of Operations, Moon City. You are to investigate and probe deep space in a quest for new mineral and energy sources, so that ultimately Man may exploit and colonise habitable planets. It is the beginning of a new and exciting era, the conquest of Space."

The alien had driven his point home. There was no more need for communication so Maddox was returned to Moon City. He told Science Officer Marc Miller of his journey and Miller concluded that if the second batch of data did not come from the probe, all Maddox saw was quite real. Just as expected, the aliens interfered with the radio transmission and all the data was lost. A Moonship, carrying General Heineman, was dispatched from Earth to look -into the trouble at Moon City, but the spacecraft crashed shortly before landing. Lt. Caron, head of reconnaissance, retrieved the undamaged flight recorder from the wreckage and discovered that the crew was given false information from the onboard computers.

Suddenly, the base scanners reported that the alien spacecraft was 200 miles from Moon City and closing. Maddox and Miller took command of a Multiple Transport Unit and flew towards the alien craft.

"Are you going to attack?," asked Miller.

"Not unless they do. They're landing, hang on."

Both the M.T.U. and the alien craft touched down on the lunar surface less than a half mile apart. A green light pulsated atop the alien ship.

"Programme our missiles in the target, Marc and keep your finger on the button."

"They can hardly be planning an attack with only one ship."

"You're thinking in terms of Earth technology. We don't know what power that ship's got."

The green light began to pulsate brighter and brighter to the point where it was almost blinding Maddox. "Stand by to fire," he commanded, but Miller was unconscious.

The voice of the alien filled the tiny command module. "Man's first instinct. although in the case, defensive, Commander. We have decided on our course of action. It is within our power to destroy Earth totally, but that is not our way. You are about to start your journey into the unknown. We do not believe that you are a threat, Commander. You represent the scientists, the explorers. You believe you are defending right against wrong. It is because of your politicians and war-like leaders that we wish to leave Earth encapsulated in its atmosphere.

You have learned to use energy through machines and we have found that the greatest source of energy is through the human body and mind. In the Universe there is a wealth of power to draw from. Power that you do not yet know exists. But nothing is without sacrifice, energy cannot be destroyed, only converted. We shall never meet again, Commander."

The voice was replaced by a shrill electronic tone. Maddox was assaulted by the sound and brilliant pulsating light. The lunar surface was bathed in green and the Moon City Commander thought he would go mad when suddenly, the sound, light, and the alien craft itself all vanished simultaneously.

Miller awoke as did all the personnel at Moon City. Lt. Caron reported that there were no injuries and everything was functioning normally.

Maddox fired the vertical thrusters and the M.T.U. leaped into the lunar sky only to lurch violently. The information coming from the onboard computer was the same false data the Moonship's crew received. It was a heavy landing, but the two men were safe.

Running some additional checks on both flight recorders, Miller was able to discover the cause of the computer failure when Dr. Gordon reported that she couldn't understand why her medical scanners reported that Lt. Caron's stress factors was far below normal when he went out on the lunar surface to recover both recorders.

"The Moon's gravitational pull is down by 70%, "Miller reported. "We didn't feel it because the anti-gravity units compensated for the difference. The pull is still dropping and the Moon's axis is tilted 40 degrees. According to Computer, centrifugal force unopposed by gravitational pull will cause the Moon to break Earth's orbit. This process has already commenced and the Moon's velocity and trajectory with this "Zero G' condition will result in complete breakaway from our solar system."

Unable to contact Earth Command for advise because of a communications breakdown with Earth, Maddox decided to make the choice on his own. There was no way they could evacuate Moon City. Every M.T.U. in flight would be blinded by the electronic jamming from the aliens.

The Commander activated the intercom at his desk. "Moon City, this is your Commander speaking. You all know by now that as a result of the Alien action, the Moon has been robbed of its gravity and is leaving the solar system. I have carefully considered the possibility of attempting an evacuation of Moon City and returning to Earth. Not only would this operation be hazardous in the extreme, but it would appear that we would have very little chance of success.

"There is, in my opinion, only one course open to us... to remain here in Moon City. Whatever our Personnel feeling may be at this time, we now commence a battle for survival. Survival in deep space."

Zero G is clearly a very early prototype of Space: 1999. The episodes were still 30 minutes, not an hour, and the script has just 2 Acts and 33 pages. George Bellak had just joined, and no actors had been cast. There are some elements that are familiar, some that are missing and a lot feels undeveloped.

Mysterious Unknown Force

The plot concerns mankind meeting a mysterious alien with huge power who sends them into space. The mysterious unknown force, of Arra or the Triton probe or the War Games planet, is clearly established here. The emphasis on the war-like nature of mankind will be seen again in War Games.

The green spaceship watching Moon City, and Maddox being transported to the alien planet from his quarters, anticipates Ring Around The Moon and Missing Link. The green light itself appears in Alpha Child, although the alien spaceship and the alien leader here is more similar to Ring Around The Moon (another alien ship watching Earth and anticipating mankind to invade the universe).


There are just 4 named characters, plus the alien leader. Only Commander Maddox and Doctor Miller are heavily featured, and we immediately recognise what will become Koenig and Bergman.

The 2 other named characters are Lt Caron, who will become Alan Carter, and Dr. Gordon, the "woman doctor" who will become Helena Russell. Their scenes are brief and functional.

The alien leader is more recognisable Space: 1999 alien, aloof, mysterious, powerful. He is cynical about mankind's aims in space, but allows the "scientists and explorers" on moon city to travel into space, while trapping the politicians on Earth.

Human Decision Required

The computer has a female voice. Maddox asks it about the evacuation, and it concludes "requires human decision". The dialogue is slightly different, but this sequence survives into Breakaway.

Location and sets

Moonbase Alpha is "Moon City", Main Mission is "Control Centre", Eagles are M.T.U.s. Control Centre is linked to Maddox's office with a sliding wall able to isolate the commander at his desk. Control Centre has banks of computers, consoles, an observation gantry with a panoramic window, and a giant video screen (called "Video-Scan"). Apart from some naming, the design and layout is clearly already established.

Travel Tubes with small 6-seat cylinders connect all parts of Moon City, and an extending docking tube connects the MTUs. The MTU pads includes MTU ships with different configurations. When we see this shot, we see Maddox and Miller through port-holes in the travel tube, an ambitious effect the series never attempted.

There are "communications columns" in the medical bay and corridor, but a "communications console" in Maddox's quarters. There is nothing like a commlock yet.

Maddox carries a "laser beam generator" as a personal weapon.

Moon City has only been operational for 3 years. It is unclear how many people live on Moon City, but it may not be large if it takes 10 MTUs to evacuate them. It is unclear, but it seems to be on the far side of the Moon (called the "blind side" here, rather than "dark side"), because at the end they can see the Earth for the first time.


The aliens live on the planet Uranus. The C.42 probe shows an atmosphere similar to Earth, with water, vegetation and buildings. Maddox is transported to the planet and sees the exotic foliage with a vivid flame-coloured sky.

In reality, Uranus is a gas giant planet, with no solid surface. They could have made the alien world a moon of one of the gas giants; the eventual decision to invent the rogue planet Meta is more plausible. The alien plot would be dropped completely.

The unmanned space probe C.42 took 2 years to reach Uranus. There's an echo of the B142 probe from the UFO episode Close-Up in the naming.

Action and special effects

We see establishing shots of the space probe C.42 and Uranus, and Moon City.

The Moonship Zero Three carrying General Heineman from Earth crashes.

The Moon City launch pads are shown, with different MTUs and the docking tube.

There is a lot of pulsating green light.

Maddox has a difficult flight in his MTU back to the base after the alien ship has disappeared.

In the breakaway, the Earth rises above the Moon horizon, and shrinks.


The ending of the episode, especially the scenes of Maddox consulting Computer ("required human decision") and his final address to Moon City, survives into the episode Breakaway.

The aliens are very critical of the politicians and military of Earth. It is an aspect that would be developed in the character of Simmonds.

The alien plot disappears, but elements appear in other episodes, especially Ring Around The Moon.

Several elements of the plot are unclear or unexplored. The alien ship appeared when Moon City was built. Did Earth try to contact or board the alien ship since then? How did they connect it to the planet Uranus?

Lt Caron is the accident investigator who recovered the flight recorder from the crash site on the lunar surface. It would probably have been less ambiguous if he had been shown doing that, rather than working it out from the dialogue.

The breakaway itself is underwhelming and muddled. Miller figures out the gravity is changing, but the implications are unclear until at the end Maddox explains they are leaving the solar system.