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clareblues1



Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 151
Location: Warwickshire, England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 23 - Orbit


I give up, this time I really give up. My willingness to get involved with Avon's 'grand plan', if he has one, is at best a feeble attempt. What is all this pointless chasing around the galaxy for? Personally I think we'd be far better just keeping out of the Federation's way and small time pirating our way to wealth. Steal a purse and hardly anyone notices, rob a bank and you might get chased out of town...but upset the Federation and the whole galaxy will be after you. It's a lesson I've more or less learned, but one that hasn't quite sunk in with Avon yet. Needless to say, each time we formulate a plan, Servalan is ever present to thwart and frequently succeeds, or does Avon allow her? I can't be certain any more.

Having put the spectacular failure on Zerok behind us, Avon received a message purporting to be from Egrorian, a scientist at the Space Research Institute. I'd heard of him, having studied there myself and rumours were rife about his disappearance. Whatever the invite was about it must've been very interesting, else Avon would've just dismissed it. It took 10 hours to reach Malodar, so I wasn't in a good frame of mind when we arrived. Even then Avon saw fit to send me down in his place and harangued Dayna too!! I couldn't be bothered to waste my time arguing with the man, so I went along with it, but was very much relieved when Egrorian insisted that Avon go down himself.

On explicit instruction I took the Scorpio out of range having transferred Avon and Vila over to the shuttle. In a way I was glad, a chance to have a few hours free of the man I'm rapidly losing patience with. Eventually the shuttle returned and the deal? Egrorian wanted Orac and in return we get some Tachyon device capable of destroying whole planets. Just another 'ultimate weapon' as far as I was concerned and although I've never warmed to Orac, I saw our possession of that as worth more than a weapon, powerful or not. Dayna enthused over it, but I was more preoccupied with the report Orac gave on Egrorian, was there a connection between him and Servalan? If it proved true, then Avon had set in motion a chain of events that was bound to end in our defeat, or perhaps worse. I pointed out the irregularity and thankfully was taken seriously.

Avon formed a plan to provide Egrorian with a duplicate of Orac which could be controlled via a long range relay. This would, if successful, fool the scientist into giving up the weapon, while allowing us to retain the 'real' Orac. It was daring, but provided Vila didn't foul up, had a good chance of working. Bizarrely it did work! Sometimes Vila does suprise me. However it was too easy by far and it didn't take long for us to realise that something was very wrong. The shuttle was nowhere near the correct course and from our standing point we could do nothing, not even the teleport would provide an escape route given the velocities involved. Soolin took the ship in nearer, but it seemed hopeless. At the last minute the shuttle appeared to gain height and limped into a shallow orbit sufficient for us to form a link up.

Back aboard we learned that virtually everything had been jettisoned in order to achieve the orbit, the real culprit being a spec of neutron material. But that's far from my mind right now. Seems it transpired that Avon very nearly disposed of Vila! I feel vindicated. My mistrust of him is well founded after all. I've threatened Vila myself, make no mistake I find the man intensely irritating, but would I actually go the distance? To be fair to Vila he's never pushed me that far and I suspect won't either, he understands where we stand. Perhaps he feels more certain of me than he does Avon, now anyway. As I'm writing we're back at base and Vila has retreated to his cabin, he's been shut in there for hours now. I venture to suggest that none of us will ever be the same again.
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"The river tells no lies, though standing on the shore, the dishonest man still hears them"
Oma Desala
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clareblues1



Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 151
Location: Warwickshire, England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found several of those last few the hardest to write...perhaps because they weren't such good episodes for Tarrant...series 4 didn't have so much 'depth'...however it redeemed itself in the final 2 episodes....the next one...Warlord....I have thoroughly enjoyed writing and has been the most pleasurable so far...
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"The river tells no lies, though standing on the shore, the dishonest man still hears them"
Oma Desala
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clareblues1



Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 151
Location: Warwickshire, England

PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 24 - Warlord


I haven't felt like this since my brother died. Sifting through the wreckage that passes for my cabin, I'm trying to keep myself busy, fight back the emptiness, the desolation. Oh to hell with it...*sits on bunk* I can't fight anymore...I'm worn out...defeated... I apologise to whoever reads this, I simply cannot translate my feelings into words... Damn Avon! He shut his emotions off a long time ago, but not me, I don't want to be like that. Why should I sacrifice my humanity for the sake of this pointless fight against the Federation?! Damn Avon!! Shouting hurry up from the crew room...for all I care he could leave without me... I need to deal with this in my own way and in my own time.

To begin with the idea seemed a simple one, I couldn't be certain of the outcome, but then neither could Avon, if he was being honest. The two of us travelled to Betafarl, an independent planet and at their current rate of expansion, in line to be conquered by the Federation. Their ruler, a pirate by the name of Zukan, came with a reputation to rival that of Servalan for brutality. It would have been utterly foolish to travel alone, so someone had to accompany Avon just in case back up was required. This was going to be a delicate situation and we couldn't afford to misjudge our host. There was no way we could risk sending Vila, who can be unstable at the best of times and by all accounts Zukan was far from a ladies man, so it fell to me. I was by no means happy with the arrangement.

During the trip we discussed in detail the exact nature of our visit. We were to persuade Zukan to give up his efforts in conquering neighbouring worlds and stand with us to fight the Federation. We had the antitoxin formula for Pylene 50, but not the facility to mass produce it. Zukan had access to laboratories, technicians, it could work. Did I say simple? More fool us. On arrival we were instructed to wait until summoned into Zukan's presence. Avon reassured me that this was a common tactic among leaders keen to impose their superior status. I think he sounds more like Orac every day. Still, if waiting meant we gained a small amount of respect, then wait we must. I was acutely aware of just how vulnerable we'd be making ourselves, both in coming here and revealing the whereabouts of our base. Zukan was a notorious gangster who could sell us out if he so chose.

Eventually we were granted an audience and despite his reputation I found the atmosphere to be surprisingly civilised. A dainty figure sat close by, his daughter Zeeona. Avon had used Orac to obtain as much information as possible, including his family and current level of political support. He wanted to be absolutely certain of every detail. She caught my eye a few times during the discussions and I sensed her curiosity towards us. Avon had instructed me to take a back seat, since he was deemed to be the leader and I was merely his accomplice. The initial meeting appeared to go well, but a recess was called after only an hour. Avon had not yet finished presenting his plans, but we bowed to protocol so as not to jeopardise our position. We did not see Zukan again for the rest of the day and instead were taken on a tour of the facilities.

I was impressed with what we were shown, although I'm quite certain that it didn't account for every area of research. The labs we saw were well equipped and apparently devoted to the study of Betafarl's natural resources. Being a world of a twin star system there were times when the orbit gave rise to intense heat and large areas of the planet had already become deserts due to over exploitation. Perhaps this accounted for Zukan's constant invasions of other nearby worlds. Certainly the relations with these outposts were at best, strained and called for the need of frequent political posturing, as Avon referred to it. As luck would have it, our visit coincided with one such occasion.

Dinner. It was now that Zeeona appeared to come into play. Zukan walked alongside, proudly introducing various dignitories to her delicate charms. These I learned were emissaries from the various worlds he had conquered. Avon and I wisely kept our distance from this political dialogue in which we had no standing. Watching Zeeona from a distance I found myself beginning to like her and every now and then she would again catch my eye. She seemed so different from every other woman I've known, with perhaps the exception of my mother. A kind, gentle soul who had clearly been sheltered from the harsh realities of life under Federation control.

It was obvious that Zukan was reluctant to introduce us and I couldn't help but smile as she did everything she could to persuade him. Seeing this Avon needed little excuse to remind me of our mission and did so with his usual lack of diplomacy. Eventually Zeeona succeeded and her bright eyes twinkled as we shook hands. A spark had been kindled no doubt. By rights that should've been the end of it, but daringly she asked why we had come to Betafarl. I admired her boldness however Zukan's eyes flashed with displeasure although he stopped short of reprimanding her in such a public place. I explained as succinctly as possible, Zeeona appeared keenly interested and suggested that her father should give it due consideration. This pushed him to the limit of tolerance and he diplomatically ushered her away.

The residences were blacked out at 'night' to induce natural sleep, but I couldn't stop thinking about Zeeona. Our mutual affection had, unwittingly, begun a chain of events that would prove tragic. The next morning we were again summoned into Zukan's presence, however Zeeona was nowhere to be seen. After the dinner she'd left in a hurry and had no doubt been told, in no uncertain terms, to keep well away from us. The meeting was brief and although Avon was allowed to finish his presentation we left with nothing decided and no agreement from Zukan. It was particularly disappointing especially considering Betafarl was the quite probably the best placed to deal with the antitoxin. However we were summarily dismissed and promptly escorted to the landing area.

Back at Xenon the conference went ahead as planned and we found ourselves inundated with political discourse. True it was a great achievement, but it was far from a smooth road and Avon struggled to get the agreement he wanted. Note then our complete surprise when Zukan showed up with a cargo vessel full of equipment and technicians. A further surprise, Zeeona had boarded the freighter and Soolin and I found her helping to unload the equipment. Away from her father she was a different woman, confident and it turns out skilled in the field of Biogenetics. In fact she could prove extremely useful to our cause and I knew that once Avon was made aware of her potential, he would no doubt agree to her staying a little longer. I fully intended to brief him once Zukan was out of the way. I never got the chance.

In the meantime we felt that it was probably better if she kept a low profile, at least until her father decided to leave. Safely settled into a cabin we found our mutual 'entente cordiale' and for a while shut out the rest of the world. I fell in love with her and for the first time in my life realised what I've been missing, what I've denied myself. Avon is wrong, there are still good people out there, you just have to know how to recognise them. I'm not sure he can any more. Alas our peace was inevitably going to be disturbed and all the more frustrating that Avon was the one responsible. My anger was barely contained by the time we got to the crew room and being forcibly pushed out of the room did nothing to placate it.

Soolin could see that both Avon and Zukan were being ridiculous, she knew I would never harm Zeeona. We were in love for goodness sakes! For the greater good I kept my distance and helped with the equipment in the freight bay. Soolin came up with a plan, Avon had already told me that I would not be going back to Betafarl and that he was going in my place, so she found a way to accompany both him and Zeeona. She teleported her back to Xenon and we were reunited, hopefully to stay permanently. Some might interpret my expression of emotion as weakness, but to my way of thinking it takes a far stronger man to be honest with himself than it does to hide and bury ones feelings.

I was right to question the motives of Zukan. Seems he somehow managed to sabotage our base and we were almost killed in the resulting explosions. Trapped and with a diminishing air supply our fate appeared sealed. Added to which there was some form of radioactive contamination on the loose, which would no doubt reach us if we didn't switch off the life support systems. I later learned that while all this was going on Avon and Soolin were having problems of their own. Deceived by Zukan they were captured by Federation guards, he had sold us out after all. Zeeona was beside herself with both fear and anger and looked to me for reassurance, but I had none to give. A fait accompli.

There are times when I could quite cheerfully throttle Vila and now was one of them. He was of little help in clearing the access tunnel and when we found a Paraflame 5 leak that was that means of escape cut off. We checked the door seals while he drowned his sorrows. His criticism of Zeeona was the last straw, but she stopped me from going too far. It was pointless anyway, the useless waste of space!! Eventually we were able to make contact with Avon who found a way to restore our air supply, but perhaps by some measure of ironic justice Zukan's ship had been damaged and exploded. Perhaps Servalan had double crossed him, we never will know for certain.

Back aboard Scorpio we faced the dilemma of what to do with the contamination on the base. Zeeona volunteered to go back down and reverse the offending piece of equipment. No way was I going to let her go down there alone!! No way! But Avon insisted and once his mind is made up...Soolin backed him up which didn't help. We lost contact and desperate to find out what had happened Dayna and I teleported down...

I won't describe what we found because it's too....



So, here I am, alone and having packed my things aboard Scorpio, leaving for the last time. So much of me is back there, with her...a piece of me died today.
_________________
"The river tells no lies, though standing on the shore, the dishonest man still hears them"
Oma Desala
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clareblues1



Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 151
Location: Warwickshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The final instalment...and another challenging one to write for given the events of the episode...

Part 25 - Blake


I wish I could say this journey was an easy one, but I can't. Avon set the base to self destruct and once safely out of range everything that we left behind on Xenon was destroyed, including memories. It had to be done. If Zukan had revealed our whereabouts to the Federation, it wouldn't take them long to despatch a heavily armed fleet and Scorpio was no match for them. We're now en route for Gauda Prime, Soolin's former homeworld and apparent location of Blake. I think Avon genuinely believes he can unite the various rabbles that constitute the rebellion. Since when did he get political? At least the plan to keep one step ahead of Pylene 50 made sense, but I can't understand where this latest scheme has come from. He never took an interest before.

Gauda Prime will take over 12 hours to reach and I suspect that when we arrive there won't be time for reflection, so I'm taking the opportunity now. There is still a darkness that haunts me, the memories, the images...I can't escape them. Avon strikes me as beyond caring, he's focussed on our goal and that's all that matters to him. As for me, well once again it seems I'm just along for the ride. I can't seem to place myself in a significant role and I sense the others feel the same. Perhaps I could go back to smuggling arms? Yes, that might work. I look up for a moment, Avon is transfixed by the screen in front of him. He's using Orac to research what information he can, sensible enough.

On the long range sensors the planet looms ahead of us...but seems we're not destined to reach our destination unscathed...the alarms are sounding...
_________________
"The river tells no lies, though standing on the shore, the dishonest man still hears them"
Oma Desala
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