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Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
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Hunda - (Traitor)
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Deva - (Blake)
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Who? by Anniew

WHO?

by
Anniew


Fortunately, there isn't much left of her. Only a few bones identifiable as metatarsals and a lot of greasy ash. It's the smell that makes Vila retch. That, and the expression in Avon's eyes as he lounges, apparently unruffled, against the bulkhead, watching him shovel up the remains.

Disposing of their dead is usually a simple operation. A command to Slave and, hey presto, the body is transported into the vacuum of space, where it drifts around, presumably for eternity. All they have to do is wrap some kind of sheeting around it before it vanishes - if they have time, and can be bothered. And if it doesn't smell too bad. But even then, Vila sometimes wakes from nightmares in which of lines of corpses drift purposefully through space towards them. The collateral damage from their struggle to survive homing in on them to hold them to account.

This death is different, because the detritus left after incineration, the pieces of that once-living figure, are too tiny for Slave to lock on to. And so they must dispose of the waste personally. Well, for they, read Vila, as he's the one doing all the clearing up under Avon's sardonic, yet haunted, supervision.

Waste. Clearing up the waste. Appropriate term, that. Another life wasted, so they might live.

Blake, he reflects as he chucks more of the mess into a disposal bag, had always seemed  immune to the horror that finds Vila reaching for the bottle every time they take a life. Blake's bright belief that the lives they snatched were in pursuit of a noble purpose transformed each shred of flesh, splintered bone, chunk of redly matted hair into a symbol of glorious victory. Dayna and Tarrant, on the other hand, hardly seem to allow that their dead are real. For them, killing appears to be part of a game they play with life, and if the remains are unpleasant, they are easily forgotten. Only the deaths of their own flesh and blood leave any marks of sadness on them. Soolin, like Jenna before her, knows that what is left was once human. But any feelings she has about this are locked away so deep that even Vila's skills are insufficient to pick them open. Accepting killing as a professional duty seems to have allowed both Soolin and Jenna to broker a kind of peace with it early in their careers.

Cally, now. She was different. She used her telepathy to accompany everyone she killed to the very borders of that country from which no-one returns. It was an act of penitence that washed away her remorse as effectively as water removed the traces of blood.

Vila's own solution is less spiritual. He drowns the screams of protest as the dying light flickers and fades,  by grabbing wine, soma - anything he can get his hands on. Anything that will render him insensible for a few hours, until his natural love of living re-asserts itself.

But Avon, he knows, lives with his dead every day; trapped by his guilt alongside each decaying corpse, his mind hyper-sensitive to suffering and unable to shake it off. It is quite heroic in its way, Avon's refusal to share; his refusal even to admit the nightmares he lives with. But also quite, quite mad.    

Vila glances sideways at that impassive white face, the lips pressed together, clamped against horror and guilt. He knows what Avon is feeling, and on impulse he steps towards him, shaking the bag in his face.

"Okay, that's the last of Dr Plaxton." Vila spits out the name deliberately, and watches closely as Avon's jaw tightens and his mouth twists into a parody of a smile.

"What do you want done with her, Avon?" he goads. "Something worthy of the sacrifice she made for our cause, surely? You must have something up your sleeve."

"Must I? I'm out of ideas. And she's not much use to us now, is she?" Avon drawls in a commendably even tone. "Use the airlock, Vila, and then reward yourself with half a glass of wine."

"A full glass and a shower. You owe me, Avon." He is glad to see a little animation trickling back into the frightening blankness of those eyes.  

"Just the one glass." The voice is annoyed, admonishing, but Vila detects a concealed note of warmth. He also notices the slight shudder that passes through the leather-armoured frame, as Avon leaves the engine compartment accompanied by yet another ghost.  

***

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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