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Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
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5% [5 Votes]

Tyce - (Bounty)
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Norm One - (Redemption)
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Hal Mellanby - (Aftermath)
Hal Mellanby - (Aftermath)
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Hunda - (Traitor)
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Rescue Who by Brad D. Black

Rescue Who?
A Silly Alternative to the Fourth Series
by
Brad D. Black

Dawn on Terminal. An unwholesome morning on a poisonous world. Vila and Dayna stood in the clearing, waiting for Avon to return. He had doubled back to bring up the lagging Tarrant. Vila worried quietly about Avon. He had insisted on taking the first watch and then neglected to wake his relief. This, following the long approach to Terminal, meant that Avon was going on forty-eight hours without sleep. Avon had spent the night working on the 'dented' Orac, who was now whirring quietly, albeit intermittently.

Dayna started down the trail. “Where are you going?” Vila demanded.

“I want to see what’s up ahead,” Dayna responded.

“Avon said to stay here,” pleaded the thief.

“So stay here!” she answered coldly. She started ahead down a densely covered path and then, remembering her previous encounter with one of Terminals’s menacing life-forms, started up a hill instead. From the top of the hill she could command a view of the surrounding area.

Avon entered the clearing to find Vila sitting on Orac. “Get up!” he commanded.

Vila complied and then picked up Orac. Avon obviously had his hands full with Tarrant, who was delirious and completely out of touch with the situation.

“Come on, Zeeona,”** Tarrant whispered in Avon’s ear. “Give us a kiss. Your father won’t be back for hours.” He kissed Avon on the cheek.
(** We know Tarrant didn’t meet Zeeona until Warlord, but this is a comedy story and not to be taken seriously**)

“You take him,” Avon ordered Vila.

“Oh, no!” the thief protested. “He fancies you.”

Tarrant continued to whisper sweet nothings in Avon’s ear, making the latter determined to find him some female company, any female company. “Where the hell is Dayna?” Avon demanded. “OUCH!” he roared as the confused Tarrant bit his ear. Avon dropped the annoying pilot.

Right on cue, Dayna came bouncing down the hill. “Hey, you lot!” she bubbled, “come and see what I found.”

Vila started up the hill behind her, admiring the view. Avon grabbed Tarrant by the collar and began to half lead, half drag him up the hill. “Woof!” Tarrant sighed. “I’m a good doggie. WOOF!”

The unlikely quartet came over the top of the hill and surrounded Dayna’s discovery. It stood roughly two meters tall by one meter square, was a faded blue in color, and bore the words ‘Police Box’ across the top.

Avon broke the awed silence. “What is it, Orac?”

“It appears to be some sort of communications device,” Orac explained, “but there is more to this than meets the eye. Its mass is much too great for its size.”

“Perhaps it’s an entrance to a sealed-off, and therefore safe, portion of the base,” Avon said thoughtfully. “Or conceivably there is food inside.”

“Or drinks,” Vila added.

“Or weapons,” Dayna suggested.

“Or maybe it’s a toilet,” the still-delirious Tarrant said, crossing his legs.

“Vila!” Avon barked. He had found the lock.

Vila observed the lock, and decided it definitely wasn’t the simple device it appeared to be. He began to curse himself for snatching Orac from the Liberator instead of his best tools. He would have to make do with the probes he had on him.

“What’s the matter, Vila?” Avon asked.

“It’s a unique design,” Vila complained. “It’s mostly magnetic, but uses a telepathic link with its owner to prevent unauthorized access.”

“Hurry up, Mum,” Tarrant broke in. “I have to go now!”

Avon regarded the pilot leaning close against him and took a sudden step back. Tarrant staggered up against the blue enigma and began to hop.

“How long, Vila?” Dayna asked.

“Hard to tell,” the thief responded. “There are several combinations to think through.”

“You have to think?” Dayna exclaimed. “We’re doomed.”

“Oooooh,” Tarrant intoned as he started over the hill. “I have to go wee.” As he reached the crest and started down the hill the others heard him exclaim, “Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!”

“Shouldn’t someone keep an eye on him?” Dayna asked.

“Indulge yourself,” Avon said.

Dayna slowly walked to the top of the hill, trying not to look too excited. She watched as Tarrant reached the bottom of the hill, unzipped and began to relieve himself on what he thought was a large rock covered in black moss.

Dayna winced as the rock stood up and expressed its disapproval of Tarrant’s actions. After a gory moment, she ran back to the imagined safety of the blue box.

“What happened to Tarrant?” Avon queried.

“Something he disagreed with ate him,” she sobbed. “There are Links coming up the hill.”

“Vila,” Avon said softly. “There are Links coming, and we’re going to feed you to them first.”

Vila showed no reaction. Avon’s retort lacked teeth. Without the thief there would be no access to the blue box.

“Let me try,” Dayna insisted as she eyed the approaching Links. “Vila, Servalan is here. She’s wearing a slinky dress and she wants you to dance with her.”

Vila gulped, shifted the probe and pushed the door open.

“There’s not a lock in the universe he can’t open if he’s scared enough,” Dayna quoted.

The trio stepped through the door into a large central control room. In the middle of the room was a hexagonal console. Rising from the console was a semi-transparent obelisk. On a table opposite the door sat an incomplete cube. Five sides of the cube were in place. A sixth segment was missing.

“Orac, analyse,” Avon ordered.

Orac whirred for a while, but Vila spoke up first. “It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.”

“This unit is dimensionally transcendental,” Orac intoned.

“What’s that mean?” asked Vila.

“It means that it’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside,” Avon agreed.

“That’s what I said,” Vila complained.

“This is a time machine,” Orac declared. “It calls itself a Type 40 TARDIS. Its central processing unit is somewhat scrambled. You will have to replace most, if not all, of the logic circuits.”

“You mean we can travel anywhere, any time?” Avon enquired. “Confirm!”

“That presumption is essentially correct,” Orac responded.

“We could go back to Sarran,” Dayna exclaimed. “I could kill Servalan before she kills my father.”

“There’s something I must do first,” Avon declared. “Orac, can you operate this… TARDIS?”

“Affirmative.”

“Can you put us back inside the main complex of Terminal just before the explosions?” Avon asked softly.

“Short journeys in this vessel are perilous unless exact coordinates are provided,” the super-brain explained.

“Can you provide us with exact coordinates?” Avon was almost whispering.

“Of course I can,” Orac said tersely.

The light on top of the box began to flash. The TARDIS generated a sound not unlike an elephant with an upset stomach, and vanished…

Shortly after the blue box disappeared, an unlikely-looking trio came over the edge of the hill. A tall man led the party. He wore brown oxford wing-tip shoes, loose trousers, and a purple trench coat with many pockets. Brown curly hair stuck out from under his fedora. A ridiculous long scarf completed his ensemble. He was holding a small device that resembled nothing so much as it did a rectal thermometer. Occasionally he tapped and shook the device as though it was not performing its function properly.

He was followed closely by a tall, elegantly good-looking woman inappropriately dressed in a white formal gown. A small mechanical dog brought up the rear.

“I tell you this cannot be Atrios,” the woman exclaimed. “The tracer hasn’t picked up any evidence of the sixth segment.”

“Well, it’s not my fault,” the man protested. “The tracer isn’t functioning properly.”

“Let me try,” insisted the woman.

The man handed the device over as he casually surveyed the surroundings.

“Doctor!” the woman exclaimed. “This isn’t the tracer, it’s a rectal thermometer. You’ve got us hopelessly lost again.”

Hmmm, the Doctor thought. I wonder where I’ve left the tracer, then? He hurriedly dismissed the thought. “Well,” he argued, “it’s a lovely planet anyway.”

“No it isn’t,” she retorted. “It’s cold, miserable and populated by nasty critters. Let’s find the TARDIS and check the coordinates.”

“Critters?”

“Doctor, let’s just find the TARDIS.”

“That’s odd,” the man said. “I would have sworn we left the TARDIS here.”

“You’ve got us lost again,” the woman repeated.

“No,” the man insisted, sniffing the air. “I can smell the effect of the dimensional stabilizer.”

“With that nose, it’s a wonder you can’t smell the sixth segment.”

“ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!” the dog exclaimed as Links began charging over the hill. A red beam issued from the dog’s nose and struck down the Links one by one, until all were dead. All except the one at the bottom of the hill that hadn’t followed the others. It sat stooped over and moaning.

“What’s wrong with it?” the woman asked.

“Something it ate disagreed with it,” the man surmised.

Suddenly a blond man with cold eyes appeared. “Are you Kerr Avon?” he asked the man in the silly scarf.

“No,” was the reply. “We’re travellers, and we’re lost,” the oddly-dressed man responded. The woman smiled at his admission.

The blond man eyed the two carefully. “Oh, well,” he said, “you two will have to do. Come with me and I’ll give you a lift off this rock.”

“Thank you very much,” the man in the scarf replied. “By the way, I am called the Doctor, and this is my companion, Romana. You are…?”

“Dorian.”

***

Cally ran down the catwalk as smoke began to rise from the depths of Terminal. All the others were on the surface. If she did not move quickly she would face an Auron’s worst fear - she would die alone.

Ten meters ahead she saw the ladder that led to the surface. Perhaps she would be all right. Just then the first of a series of explosions ripped a section of the catwalk away. It was the section Cally was running on. She grabbed a remaining protrusion of the catwalk and burnt her hand on the hot twisted metal. As Cally and the catwalk began to fall together, a piece of shrapnel struck her in the temple. Somehow she managed to hang on with her remaining hand, five levels above the flaming concrete floor of the base. Cally’s mind sensed Vila searching for her. She telepathed a plea for help to him, but telepathy was not Vila’s best gift. Another explosion jolted her. She began to lose her grip. She knew he would not make it to the ladder. She would die here, alone.

“BLAKE!” she screamed, not knowing why.

“Cally!” a voice answered from above. It was not Blake’s voice. It was Avon’s.

She looked up. Through blood, tears and smoke she made out the form of Avon, reaching down to her from the door of a small blue something. She blinked and looked again. The apparition was still there, hovering just above her.

“Cally!” he called again. She stretched out her burned hand. Avon grabbed her tightly and hauled her through the small blue door into a brightly lit room.

Once they were inside the control room, Dayna pulled down a lever with a large red knob protruding from the control console and the doors closed.

“Orac, go!” Avon ordered. The blue box disappeared from Terminal forever.

“I have a question,” Villa offered.

“I’m sure you have,” Avon spat. “Dayna, help Cally below.”

“Below?” Dayna enquired.

“Through that door. Find the living quarters. Make her comfortable. Then go and find a medical kit.” Avon let his annoyance show with every word.

“All right, all right,” Dayna rejoined. “Go and take a soma.” She dragged Cally to her feet and led her off the flight deck.

Vila started to follow, but was cut off by Avon. “Where are you going, Vila?”

“To find you some soma.”

“What was your question?”

“What? Oh, yes. I just wanted to know where we are going.”

Avon had to admit, but didn’t, that he didn’t have the slightest idea. Instead he turned on Orac. “Orac!”

“Yes?” the brain responded testily.

“Where are we going?”

“We are not ‘going’ anywhere. If you insist on speaking in incomplete sentences I am then forced to take incomplete actions. Your command was incomplete. Since you did not choose to state a destination, I have simply dematerialized this TARDIS. We are beyond space and time as your human mind perceives it.”

Dayna had walked in on the electronic tirade. “In other words,” she stated, “we are nowhere.”

“Oh, good,” Vila beamed. “Orac, open up a viewport. I’ve always wanted to see the middle of nowhere. I bet it looks like Wales.”

Before Avon could countermand the order, Orac opened the main viewport. Instead of Wales, the trio gazed at a stern-looking old man. He was wearing a white cloak and a white hat. He had white hair and white whiskers and… you get the idea.

“Kerguelen Avon!”** the man’s voice boomed.
(**The White Guardian had obviously read Avon: A Terrible Aspect by Paul Darrow, available from Citadel Press, wherever fine paperbacks are sold.)

Avon’s eyes glared white hot. He met the demigod’s gaze with equal fury.

“Kerguelen?” Dayna whispered, chuckling under her breath.

“I wouldn’t if I were you.” Vila advised.

“Yes?” Avon responded, the work hissing through his teeth. “Who are you?”

“I am the White Guardian of Time,” the voice bellowed. “Since you have chosen to displace the Doctor and steal his TARDIS, you must complete the quest I have set for him. Five of the six segments of the Key to Time have been assembled by the Doctor. You must find the sixth segment and complete the key so that I may maintain the universal balance between good and evil.” The threatening nature of his voice was thinly veiled. “You must do this.”

Avon silently considered the possible consequences of outright rejection, and the probable rewards of compliance. ”Three conditions,” he stated flatly.

“You dare barter with me, mortal? Do you know…?”

“You could try listening to me before rejecting them,” Avon said evenly.

“Very well,” the White Guardian responded. Most of the threatening nature of his voice subsided. “Speak.”

“First,” Avon began, “tell me if, in my personal time frame, Roj Blake is truly dead.”

“While you yet live, he lives.”

“Second, we cannot possibly operate this ship without help. Amongst my people I am considered something of a genius…” (At this remark Dayna rolled her eyes, while Vila’s gaze remained firmly fixed on Avon) “…but even I understand only the basic principles of time travel.”

The White Guardian closed his eyes. After a short time a circular spot of blue light appeared in the middle of his forehead. The light slowly spread into a thin beam and crossed from the portal to Avon. After a few seconds the light subsided. Avon let out a long slow sigh. “You now know everything you need to know about the TARDIS. Your third condition?”

“Don’t call me Kerguelen!”

The viewport silently closed. Avon crossed over to the console and firmly pushed down the tracer, which had been improperly inserted by the TARDIS’ former owner.

Dayna leaned over to Vila. “Have you found the soma yet?” she asked, still gazing in awe at the closed viewport. Vila shook his head.

“Well, get to it, and bring some to my cabin, third door on the right. I think I need a drink.”

“Yes, Mistress,” Vila teased.

“Don’t be sarcastic,” she whispered, and wiggled out of the control room.

***

The next morning Dayna walked into the control room to find Avon standing next to the console, arms crossed. She approached quietly and studied his passive expression, wondering if he was asleep on his feet.

“Yes?” he said.

“How long until we land?” she asked, somewhat taken aback.

“Not long.”

“Where are we going?”

“We won’t know until we arrive.”

“Have you checked in on Cally?” she asked.

“Why should I?”

“To see if she’s all right,” Dayna reprimanded him.

“If she is all right, then I don’t need to ‘check up’ as you put it. If she is not all right then I will be able to do nothing but get in the way.”

“Avon, have you had any sleep?”

“If you are trying to make polite conversation, please do it somewhere else.”

***

Dayna had converted one of the oddly furnished bedrooms into a makeshift sick bay by removing the junk, piling in any items she thought looked useful, and making the bed. Cally lay on that bed in a relative state of unconsciousness, either from her wounds or because of the strong sedatives Vila had somehow managed to produce from one of his hidden pockets.

In a chair opposite the bed slouched Vila. He had meant to be watching over Cally, but had drifted off early on, worrying himself to sleep. It was an unfortunate irony that the only surviving member of the crew who understood anything of Hippocrates’ art was the one in need of medical care.

Cally began to stir. She stretched out an arm and knocked a full water pitcher to the floor.

Vila slept on.

Cally opened her eyes and let out a moan. Vila woke instantly, giving the impression of someone jumping straight up, although he remained firmly in the chair.

Slowly, Cally focused on the disheveled form of the thief. “Where are we?” she asked, apprehension evident in her voice. “This can’t be heaven, or my head wouldn’t feel like this, and if it were hell, no-one would be here to keep me company.”

“I’m not sure I can explain,” Vila stated, “but we are safe.”

“We?”

“You, I, Dayna and Avon.”

“Tarrant?”

Vila shook his head. “Pilot du jour,” he mumbled, but Cally didn’t catch it.

“How long have I been unconscious?”

“I can tell you if someone can tell me how long I’ve been asleep. I’d say at least a day.”

Dayna quietly entered the room. “Come on, Vila,” she commanded. Glancing at Cally she enquired, “Feeling better?”

“No,” the Auron stated, stirring towards the edge of the bed.

“Stay put,” Dayna commanded. “We’re just going on a little scavenger hunt. We’ll be back soon. No arguments.”

Cally began to protest, but was cut off by Vila, who added, “You wouldn’t want me to have to get tough now, would you?”

“Maybe,” Dayna teased.

Cally giggled, then winced with the pain the action caused her, and lay quietly down.

Dayna led Vila in to the control room. The column in the center of the console was still. They had landed.

“Any luck?” Avon asked.

“This ship is huge,” Dayna observed. “I haven’t found an armoury, or any proper weapons, but I’ve managed to pull together a few odds and ends.”

“Weapons?” Vila asked.

“Probably necessary,” Avon agreed. “Even if the locals don’t mind us wandering around trying to steal something, we are bound to have competition. If there is a White Guardian seeking the Key to restore order, then surely there must be a Dark Guardian, or one of his agents, assisting chaos.”

“Now that we’re here,” Dayna interrupted, “where are we?”

Avon examined the console. “We are on a planet called Atrios.”

“Oh,” Vila exclaimed. “Are we going to see Ensor?”

“Atrios, Vila” Avon offered, “not Aristo. You must be the only verbal dyslexic in the galaxy.”

“What’s a dyxkesic?” Vila asked.

Ignoring him, Dayna asked Avon, “What’s your plan?”

“I have selected a rather obscure landing area. The tracer is having trouble pinpointing the sixth segment; it may be on the move.”

“No problem,” Vila chimed in. “Find it, nick it, take it on the lam. Rather my specialty, I’m afraid.

“Very well then,” Avon declared, crossing his arms, “we’ll wait here for you.”

An interminable silence ensued, during which Vila became considerably less comfortable. Finally Dayna came to his rescue.

“We’re listening, Avon.”

Leadership was no fun for Avon without Tarrant. There was absolutely no-one around who liked to argue. He let out a deep sigh. “I shall go first.”

Vila let out a deep sigh.

“If anyone is watching I will lead them off. You two follow with the tracer. Find the segment and return here. While you are about,” he turned to Dayna, “see if you can find some ‘proper’ weapons. This planet is at war with its neighbour, they probably tend to shoot strangers.”

“What if you’re captured?” Vila asked.

“I’m surprised you’ve so concerned about me.”

“I might not be if I could fly this crate.”

Avon smiled. “Then if something happens, you will have to rescue me.”

“Take this,” Dayna said, offering a letter opener she had fashioned into a crude dagger.

“Not really my style,” Avon declared dryly. He opened the viewport, examined the scenery, and left.

“Where do we start?” Vila asked.

“If this planet is at war,” Dayna suggested, “we should have no trouble finding a weapons locker."

***

“Doctor, what is that?” Romana asked anxiously.

“The time has come, Doctor,” Dorian triumphantly declared, “for my Gestalt to feed.” Turning his gun on his companion, he added, “On all of you.”

Soolin drew her gun in a flash. Nothing happened. Dorian smiled his wicked smile. Soolin’s gun was empty. “Sorry, my dear,” he added quite insincerely. At gunpoint Soolin backed down the spiral staircase and into the underground Gestalt room.

A large, green and strangely familiar looking creature came wandering out of the BBC wardrobe department and into the cave.

“See!” the Doctor beamed. “There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s just my old friend the Sea Devil King.”

“Doctor, I really do think you should be more cautious,” Romana’s warning fell on deaf ears.

The Doctor approached the creature. “Greetings! Remember me? I’m the Doctor. It really is…urgghh!”

“Warning!” K-9 barked. “Cease hostilities at once!”

The red beam issued from his nose. The Sea Gestalt Devil King dropped the Doctor and then dropped to the floor. No-one was ever able to explain how K-9 had made it down the spiral staircase, or how he ever got anywhere at all for that matter.

“No!” Dorian screamed, and promptly exited the scene in a manner usually reserved for Christopher Lee.

***

Vila and Dayna rounded a corner of the complex. The tracer had pinpointed the segment, but prompted by Avon’s warnings, the pair were still looking for the armoury. Suddenly, footsteps could be heard, a long way off but drawing nearer.

“Company,” Dayna warned. Vila opened the lock on a low, oblong locker and climbed inside. Dayna had trouble bending over in the tight, low-cut jumpsuit, but managed to climb in on top of Vila.

After a few moments the footsteps passed, then subsided. There were no further sounds.

“Do you think it’s safe?” Dayna asked.

“Mmmmmmmpht thhiifgg tho,” answered Vila.

“Stop it,” Dayna protested. “That tickles.”

***

Avon was shown into the Marshal’s office by two guards, who roughly sat him down in a chair and left.

“What have we here?” The Marshal beamed. “A Zeon spy perhaps?”

“My name is Avon.”

“And what can you tell me of the Zeon fleet, Avon?”

“Nothing much,” Avon replied. “What is Zeon?”

“Zeos!” the Marshall replied. “And don’t try to make a fool out of me.”

“It never entered my mind,” Avon offered. “No challenge.”

Suddenly, Vila was brought in by the same two guards.

“How did you manage to get yourself captured so quickly?” Avon sneered.

“It wasn’t easy,” Vila replied. “It took three surrender tries before someone would bother with me. Nice to see you.”

Vila offered Avon a handshake, which the latter finally took, along with the small white capsule Vila had palmed. Then he smiled at Avon, showing a similar capsule clenched between his own teeth.

“Was he alone?” the Marshal demanded.

“Yes, sir, he was found entering the armoury.”

“Exiting actually,” Vila whispered.

“Is anything missing?” the Marshal enquired.

“Four handguns, several grenades, two canisters of tranquilizer gas…”

Avon faked a cough and swallowed the pill.

“…four assault rifles and a crossbow,” the guard intoned.

“Who is your accomplice?” the Marshall demanded.

“Her name is Dayna,” Vila offered.

“And where is she?”

Vila checked the guard’s watch, which now graced his own wrist. “Here.”

The ceiling grating crashed to the floor, followed by a smoking canister of tranquilizer gas, followed by Dayna.

“How long will they be out?” Avon asked, regarding the now prone forms of the Marshal and his guards.

“The instructions on the canister said six hours, but the effect could be offset by high concentrations of adrenal supplements.”

“Which Vila just happens to have,” Avon guessed correctly. “Have you found the segment?”

“Yes, but I don’t like the looks of it.”

After a brief description of the dilemma, Avon decided on the direct approach.

***

The police box materialised in the middle of a dark chamber, deep under the Marshal’s complex. Avon, armed with a small handgun and carrying the tracer, stepped through the TARDIS door dressed in typical fourth season garb.

A frail young woman was tied to a chair. A sinister-looking man stood next to her. He was dressed all in black, had bright, burning eyes and a black goatee beard. A menacing smile graced his lips. He was staring straight at Avon. An ominous looking grandfather clock stood in one corner, ticking away but stuck at twelve o’clock.

Avon was examining the tracer. “It’s the woman,” he whispered to Vila, and handed him the tracer.

“Welcome Doctor,” the Master said. “I’ve been waiting for you. I must say, I do like this latest regeneration, but…” he stated, looking at Vila, “I don’t think I care much for your choice of companions these days.” The Master regarded Avon with an expression of amusement that slowly turned into a look of subdued respect as the latter stepped into the light. The Master looked Avon up and down. “Nice outfit,” he offered.

Vila and Avon stared at each other incredulously.

“Well, Doctor, you have done an admirable job collecting the first five segments of the key, but as you have deduced, I possess the sixth segment, and you are running out of time. What do you say we strike a deal?”

“What do you say I blow your head off?” Avon challenged, leveling his pistol.

“Come, Doctor,” the Master rejoined. “We both know how useless a gun is in your hands. You can’t shoot me; that would make you as evil as myself.”

“What’s your point?” Vila, Avon and Dayna all replied in unison.

“No use stalling for time, Doctor,” the Master began. He produced a small device resembling a roll-on deodorant from beneath his coat. “Come to terms before I lose my patience.”

Vila put his fingers in his ears and closed his eyes.

Avon shrugged his shoulders and fired. He stepped forward to stand over the body of his fallen adversary, a look of disbelieving amazement frozen on the dead face. “What a pity,” Avon moaned. “I think I would have liked him. He had good taste in clothes.”

While Vila untied the woman, Avon searched the pockets of the Master, removing items of interest.

“Are you a soldier?” the woman asked Vila.

“No,” Vila replied. “I’m your fairy godmother.”

“Half right,” Dayna offered as Vila tapped the woman on the head with the tracer. She obligingly turned into one-sixth of a cube.

Vila picked up the six-sided Princess Astra up and disappeared into the police box, closely followed by Dayna. Avon carefully examined the grandfather clock, then unlocked its door and stepped inside.

In the control room of the police box Dayna and Vila were startled to see the grandfather clock suddenly appear. They were even more startled to see Avon step out. “Collect Cally, Orac and the cube and follow me,” he declared, then returned into the clock.

Dayna, Cally and Vila stepped through the door of the clock carrying the prescribed items, and entered a control room very similar to the one in the police box, except that the color scheme was basic black - which partly explained why Avon had chosen to make the change. Avon closed the door and produced a graphite writing stick (it’s a pencil, you idiot) and a piece of paper, and handed it to Dayna.

“If you could have one wish - anything, possible or impossible- what would you want?”

Dayna reflected only a moment, and scribbled the name of a lost friend. Then she handed the pencil and paper to Vila. He began by writing the name of his favorite resort.

“Vila,” Dayna exclaimed, reading over the thief’s shoulder, “you can have anything you want and you want to go to Freedom City?” Vila ignored her and continued writing. Reading the whole sentence Dayna changed her tone. “That’s sweet, Vila. I hope you two will be very happy.”

Vila handed the paper to Cally, who hesitated. “I think I already have what I want,” she sighed. She was staring straight at Avon.

“Then make a wish for someone else,” Avon suggested, meeting her gaze with his usual cold demeanor.

Cally regarded the paper for a moment then began to write. “For Jenna,” she declared. She handed the paper back to Avon. He hesitated, torn between his own, natural (for Avon) greed and his unnatural (for Avon) feelings for the only man he had ever trusted.

After a few seconds Vila took his shot. “What’s the matter, Avon?” he teased. “Can’t remember how many zeros in five hundred million?”

That did it. Avon wrote one word at the bottom of the paper. His own personal wish - Blake.

As Avon wrote, the viewport opened of its own volition to reveal the form of the White Guardian.

“Well done, Avon!” the voice boomed. “Now assemble the cube.”

“In due time,” Avon agreed. “First, return the police box to the Time Lord called the Doctor.”

***

Much to the Doctor’s delight, his TARDIS suddenly materialised in the control room of Dorian’s lair. “You see, Romana? I told you there was nothing to worry about. Romana?”

It was then that the Doctor noticed a handwritten note on the table.

Doctor, the President has appeared and offered to take me back to Gallifrey. I shall resume my old position as cocktail hostess at the Panopticon lounge.

Well, thought the Doctor.That explains the dress…

I can’t say I shall ever forget our time together, although I shall certainly try.

“Well, what do you think of that, K-9? She left just when she was becoming interesting. K-9?”

P.S. I am taking K-9 with me.

The Doctor let out a long sigh and started for the TARDIS door.

“Doctor.”

He turned to regard Soolin

“Take me with you,” she suggested. “There’s nothing on this planet but primitives. I have no transport, no friends, no family. Please, take me with you.”

“Very well,” the Doctor agreed, cursing his predilection for human females. “Have you ever been to Paris?”

***

“It is done,” the White Guardian declared. “Now, assemble the cube, or the forces of darkness will wreak havoc.”

Avon lifted the paper he was holding. “We still have to discuss compensation,” he decreed.

“No more bargains!” the White Guardian proclaimed.

Avon nodded at Vila, who began to dissemble the cube. Avon held the tracer in both hands, preparing to destroy it.

“Stop!” the White Guardian implored.

Avon smiled, and began to read from the list he and his companions had prepared.

***

Blake sat as his large, stately desk, quietly drumming his fingers on the arm of the chair. Opposite him sat Deva, who was staring at the clock on the wall. At twelve noon sharp Deva smiled.

“Let me be the first to congratulate you, Mr. President.” Deva reached out and shook Blake’s hand.

“Thank you, Deva,” Blake smiled. “My dreams are now complete, both military and political. What’s the first order of business?”

“Your chief of staff.”

“Show the General in, please.”

The General entered and stood in front of Blake.

“In recognition of your valor, I hereby make it my first official act as President of the Free Galactic Alliance to name you my Chief of Staff and officially place you in command of all Allied armies and fleet. Congratulations, General Mellanby.”

“Please, sir, call me Dayna.”

“Who will you name as Chief of Operations?”

“A brave pilot I have promoted to Commodore for his skill and ingenuity.” As well as his charming smile and curly hair, she sighed to herself.

“I’d like to meet him,” Blake declared. “Is he here?”

“No, sir. I’ve granted him sick leave. He’s been through a lot lately.” Namely the digestive system of a primate.

Blake’s communications console lit up. “Sir,” his secretary intoned, “a call from the Administrator of Freedom City.”

“Now?” Blake retorted. “Very well, put him on.”

“Congratulations, Blake,” a familiar voice beamed.

Blake looked incredulously at the viewscreen. “Vila?”

“I wanted to be the first civic leader to congratulate you,” Vila affirmed. “I know you’re going to be busy for a while, but when you get the chance, come on up for a holiday, on me, and I’ll introduce you to my wife, Kerrill. Must dash, lots to do you know. Give my love to Jenna.” The viewscreen went dark and silent.

“Jenna,” Blake sighed longingly.

“Yes, Blake?” Another familiar voice.

“Jenna!” Blake exclaimed, hardly able to believe the coincidence. “How did you get here?” He dashed to the door and dragged her into his office.

“It’s the strangest thing,” she replied. “Avon and Cally dropped me off in the oddest ship I’ve ever seen. One second I was in my freighter, surrounded by Federation pursuit ships, the next minute I was on their vessel. They whisked me here in no time.”

“Avon and Cally, here?” Blake beamed. “Bring them in.”

“I don’t know what happened,” Jenna continued. “Their ship disappeared as soon as they let me off, Avon muttering something about so many planets, so much time.”

Blake smiled. “He probably couldn’t stand the fact that I was able to win without his help.”

At this comment General Mellanby was heard to laugh uncontrollably.

***


- Epilogue -

Avon and Cally sat on the golden grass, next to a silver lake, somewhere on a nameless planet. A purple sky darkened slightly as the red sun slowly sank in the east. They sipped their wine slowly.

“What do you think?” Avon asked.

“Not bad,” Cally remarked.

“But not perfect.”

“No,” Cally agreed. “The grass clashes with the sky.”

“Well, tomorrow is another day - and another planet.”

Cally was staring wistfully at the lake. “Do you think they’ll be happy?” she asked.

“If they aren’t it’s their own fault. They each got exactly what they asked for.”

“And so did I,” Cally said as she reached over and kissed Avon on the cheek. He remained his usual stoic self, lest imagined and unseen eyes catch him acting human. “Kerr?”

“Yes?”

“Did the White Guardian consent to all our demands?”

“All but one.”

“No renewal?” Cally sighed.

“No.”

“But why?” Cally cried. “We were popular with the fans. Everyone wants to come back, even Servalan. Terry has written a pilot. Half the population of Great Britain watched the final episode. And America loves us more than cheap wine.”

“It’s not that simple,” Avon countered. “In speaking to the White Guardian, I learned that the forces of evil were destined to remain in control of the Federation for another five hundred years. By allowing Blake to win, the White Guardian upset the balance between good and evil. To restore that balance he was forced to surrender control of what had previously been a source of great good on Earth."

“No,” Cally gasped. “You don’t mean…”

“I’m afraid so,” Avon sighed. “The BBC is now under the direct control of the Black Guardian. Not only had he refused every reasonable request to renew our series, he has also cancelled Doctor Who.”

“Our beloved Beeb,” Cally sighed, “controlled by the Prince of Darkness.”

“You have to admit,” Avon countered, “that explains a lot.”

***


This story was originally printed in 1992 in Horizon #16.
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All original fan fiction hosted on Horizon is copyright to the individual authors. No attempt is being made to supersede any copyright held by the estate of Terry Nation, the BBC, B7 Media, Big Finish or any other licensees or holders of copyright on Blake's 7 material.

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