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Ashes to Ashes

 
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Janov Seldon



Joined: 16 May 2004
Posts: 1687
Location: There - but I like it here

PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:48 am    Post subject: Ashes to Ashes Reply with quote

Finally got this piece finished, although I may want to tweak it later. It's part PGP, part something else and the clue is in the title!


Ashes to Ashes

The prisoner sat back against the grimy grey wall, reflecting on his recent actions. His mind refused to do anything else but replay the events in the Tracking Gallery. Over and over again, he could only see the figure advancing towards him. Over and over again, he kept hearing the three loud gunshots, feeling the recoil of the rifle in his hands, feeling the blodied hands of his victim grasping him as he collapsed dying to the floor.

He remembered staring down at the corpse, the dead eyes staring up accusingly at him as a storm was unleashed all around - screams, gunshots, the sounds of running boots, shouted orders and explosions in the distance. The acrid smell of discharged weapons in the air, smoke drifting to the vents in the ceiling in lazy wisps.

“Avon!”

Snapping out of his daze, the reality of his situation sank in as he saw the black suited troopers closing in, their snub nosed guns all aimed at him. He took a final glance at the dead body at his feet and then stood astride it, as if to protect it. He raised the rifle in his hands and gave a ironic smile.

“I always thought that his death and mine would be linked in some way.”

For what seemed like an age he had stood there as they surrounded him, their guns pointing at him as he stood there and pointed his gun at them.
The troopers parted to allow a dark haired man he assumed that was their officer to stand before him.

“You kill me, my men kill you.” The officer had said after a long pause and gave a grin. “Pointless really.”

“The last five years of my life has been pointless, “ he’d replied, “ever since...”

Thoughts of Anna pushed his immediate situtation to the back of his mind, a memory of him lowering her dead body to the ground. And then he remembered that empty feeling, the same one that he felt now. Slowly he lowered the rifle he was holding and let it drop to the floor.

“Take him.”

The officer had motioned two troopers to take him and they frisked him for concealed weapons before handcuffing him.

“Where there’s life there’s hope.” their officer had told him as he was being led away.

Hope. A worthless dream here in the cells. Like regret, it was a feeling he’d rarely admitted to.

But where was Servalan? Why wasn’t she here?


“Why are you here?”

Kerr Avon opened his eyes at the sound of the voice and he turned to see a young girl sitting on the bunk beside him, her long blonde hair spilling over her red dress.

“Rather young for a Federation interrogator, aren’t you?” He raised a curious eyebrow.

“I’m your friend.” the girl replied with a proud grin. “I’m your only friend.”

Her last words reminded him of the bodies he’d walked past as the troopers had led him from the Tracking Gallery. Blake, his blood slowly leaking across the patterned tiles. Vila, Tarrant, Dayna and Soolin.

“Do you like my clown?”

Avon frowned as she held up a stuffed toy, its clownlike features both amusing and sinister at the same time. He shivered involuntarily.

“I had a clown.” Avon replied, closing his eyes. “I tried to kill him.”

“Are you scared?” the girl asked, her eyes eager for an answer. “Do you feel alone?”

“I’ve always been alone.” Avon said quietly.

“Why are you here?” the girl asked again.

“I came to find someone,” Avon started.

“But you didn’t find the answer you wanted.” The girl told him.

“I didn’t find the answer I expected.” Avon gave a weary grin, realising the irony of what he had done. “They’re not quite the same thing.”

“So you’re hiding in here.” The girl said proudly, as though she had uncovered an important secret. “Hiding away from the galaxy.”

“What are you doing here?” Avon asked the girl.

“I told you. I’m your only friend. Me and my clown. Your only friends in the whole world.”

“Be careful what you wish for.” Avon replied with a hint of irony. “I kill my friends.”

“Like you did out there?”

“Yes” Avon leaned back against the cold cell wall.

“Tired?” The girl asked. Again she seemed eager for an answer, her eyes gleaming with... Avon didn’t know.

“Yes I’m tired. Tired of fighting a crusade that I could never win, tired of fighting for the rabble, tired of Him!” Avon spat angrily.

“Then sleep.” the girl said.

His eyes felt heavy and his body finally started to react from the events of the past hour. He slowly started to fall asleep.

“No!” he suddenly shouted, fighting to stay awake as he knew that if he surrendered to sleep he was finally beaten. His eyes snapped open.
Only to discover he was somewhere else. Somewhere horribly familiar.

The cell was different. The grimy grey walls were now a grimy grey-green, none of the grafitti etched into it rose fifteen centimetres above the floor. The air was different. Instead of the acid tang of pine needles it had the smell of rotting cabbage, an air of defeat and fear.

It was a cell on Earth, deep in the bowels of Central Security. Area 101. He knew this place. One visit was enough to burn it into his memory. The second seared it in permanently.

He heard a laugh, recognising it as being that of the little girl with the clown - or was it merely his mind playing tricks on him?

He raised a hand to rub his tired eyes and he rubbed the back of his neck. His fingers felt something just below the skin, something that gave a slight click.

He leaned back against the cell wall and closed his eyes again, expecting it all to be an illusion and that when he opened them again that he’d be back on Gauda Prime.

In his weary state he hardly heard the low electronic hum but he felt a shadow over him and opened his eyes to see Tarrant standing over him with Dayna at his side, alert and with her gun at the ready.

“Avon, you look terrible!” Tarrant looked unusally concerned.

“I’ve had better days.” Avon admitted with a hint of irony and raised himself painfully from the grimy mattress as Tarrant handed him a teleport bracelet.

“Time to leave.”

“And Shrinker?” Dayna asked.

Avon paused, realising the futility of his desperate plan for the first time. What was he expecting?

“He’s not worth it. None of this is worth it.” He admitted, more to himself than anyone else.

Dayna shrugged at the questioning look that Tarrant gave her, thumbing the communicator on her bracelet.
“Vila, bring us up.”


“Corpse reviver?”

Avon opened his eyes, looking at the drink Vila offered him. He took it and downed it in one.

“Liberator...” he whispered, looking round the teleport area. This wasn’t Scorpio and as if to prove the point, a familiar voice echoed Tarrant’s words.

“You look terrible.”

Avon’s eyes widened as he recognised the owner of the voice sitting behind the teleport console. For a fleeting second, he was in the ruined and rubblestrewn corridor on Terminal looking at her shattered body.

“Was it all worth it?” Cally said, the accusing tone in her voice made him feel a twinge of guilt.

“Perhaps...” Avon’s eyes narrowed but he felt too tired to argue.

“I’ll get the ship underway.” Tarrant glanced at Dayna. “No sense in hanging around here.”

The two left the teleport area. Vila remained for a moment or two before recognising the double meaning and swiftly followed the two after a worried glance towards Avon.

“I was wrong, Cally.” Avon said quietly as he placed his teleport bracelet in the rack. “Perhaps some questions are better left unanswered.”

“An admission of failure - from you?” Cally asked, relaxing back in her seat. “What did they do to you down there?”

There was a long silence as Avon tried to frame an answer to a question he couldn’t answer himself. How could he tell her when he didn’t even know what had happened himself? Illusion or reality?

“No-one leaves Area 101 unchanged” Avon said finally, giving a half smile. “That’s what their interrogators always claimed.”


Avon sat back in the padded seats on the Liberator’s flightdeck, looking out at the stars streaking by on the main monitor.

He felt tired, his body ached despite all of Cally’s expert ministrations. He forced himself to stay awake, his mind was whirling at the events of the last week but other thoughts and memories forced themselves upon him.

Lowering Anna’s body to the ground... a bearded Blake attached to a life support machine... The Liberator disintegrating and exploding on a monitor screen... “Blake!” A female voice screaming in his mind... A beautiful woman with long blonde hair pointing a gun at him... A suitcase of money in front of him as banknotes fluttered around him... “Vila, I need you!” Stalking through a dimly lit shuttle, gun in hand... A collapsing flightdeck around him, full of smoke... A long walk through a forrest... Three gunshots taking Blake’s life... Screams and gunshots around him as a storm unleashed...

Were they memories? Glimpses of the future or products of his mind to protect him from the torture in Central Security? Or had he finally gone insane?

Had he been given a second chance? Or was this all an illusion - had it all been an illusion? Was he still in Area 101 waiting to be shipped out to the London?

Avon sighed, closing his eyes. Questions were all he had and whatever the answer, he was where he was. There was no escape from the prison he was in.

“I’m your only friend.”

His eyes snapped open at the sound of the girl’s voice yet all he saw was the stars streaking by on the main monitor. Looking around he saw the blinking lights of Zen, Tarrant absorbed in the readouts of the flight consoles with Dayna at his side. He gave a slight grin at the sight of Vila dozing in his seat at the weapons console.

And then there was Cally, watching him intently. His eyes locked with hers.
This felt real. It felt right. And he knew Cally was real. She gave a knowing smile and went back to the readouts on the consoles before her.

Avon’s eyes remained on her for a few seconds longer before his attention turned back to the stars streaking past on the main viewer.

If this was real, if it was a second chance, then it was going to be different. With no regrets.
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inge



Joined: 16 May 2004
Posts: 1158

PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent story janov, very poignant.
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Janov Seldon



Joined: 16 May 2004
Posts: 1687
Location: There - but I like it here

PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part of it is along similar lines to something I've discussed before and other bits were inspired by fic elsewhere on the web.

And it's the first bit of fic I've actually *finished* in 18 months, so that has to be cause for celebration anyway!
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inge



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes its a real nuisance when work interferes with more important activities.
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Mary Lou Jensen



Joined: 27 Feb 2011
Posts: 480
Location: Bowels of a disused space station with Hudson (shoot me now!)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know what - that was very subtle, I like AUs when they are well written and this is well written; technically here and there it needs a nudge but plot - hell the plot is the most important thing.

I had a huge letter and a 30 minute telephone conversation with a publisher back when I was 17 about plot vs technique......

Did you get my PMs?
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Janov Seldon



Joined: 16 May 2004
Posts: 1687
Location: There - but I like it here

PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Just had some personal issues to deal with reecently.
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Mary Lou Jensen



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Location: Bowels of a disused space station with Hudson (shoot me now!)

PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No probs, just wondered coz PM can be eratic at arriving at times on these boards.
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