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Current Poll

Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
Avalon - (Project Avalon)
22% [46 Votes]

Selma - (Horizon)
Selma - (Horizon)
4% [8 Votes]

Tyce - (Bounty)
Tyce - (Bounty)
14% [30 Votes]

Norm One - (Redemption)
Norm One - (Redemption)
1% [2 Votes]

Bek - (Shadow)
Bek - (Shadow)
7% [15 Votes]

Kasabi - (Pressure Point)
Kasabi - (Pressure Point)
14% [30 Votes]

Hal Mellanby - (Aftermath)
Hal Mellanby - (Aftermath)
17% [35 Votes]

Hunda - (Traitor)
Hunda - (Traitor)
4% [8 Votes]

Deva - (Blake)
Deva - (Blake)
13% [27 Votes]

4% [8 Votes]

Votes: 209
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Started: 09 July 2016

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Mature Whine by Susan Bowden


Susan Bowden

“Well, did you find anything?” demanded Avon.

Blake shook his head and Avon turned away, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “I tried to warn you about this sector,” he said, taking a seat at his station. “It’s crawling with bounty hunters.”

“The planet may prove valuable in an emergency,” said Cally. It’s principally forests - ”

“It’s never a hot, sandy beach,” complained Vila. “I can’t remember the last time I wore shorts. What’s that?” he added, nervously watching Cally place a battered container onto a side table. “Is it a bomb?”

“Did we set out to retrieve a bomb?” snapped Blake tracing a finger across the peeling crate. “We weren’t able to locate the fabled crystals, but we did find this in the ruins of a building. Corpses, too - long since dead, with ivy growing in places I wouldn’t have thought possible.”

Blake, Vila and Cally inspected their decaying prize while Avon turned away to tinker with his controls. The crate’s sliding lid yielded with a slight shove and Blake pulled out a flat, disk shaped… what? He played with it in his hand, utterly clueless as to its purpose.

Vila didn’t have any luck with the second object; a metallic cube. A green gelatinous substance oozed from a tiny hole, dripping onto his trousers.

“Oh, great,” he moaned, “I only put these on today. What if it’s toxic?” Contemplating throwing his trousers out the nearest airlock, Vila had started to walk away when he noticed Cally retrieving a bottle from the crate. He stopped in his tracks, staring at it. “Hang on a minute, is that what I think it is?”

Avon strode across the flight deck, practically snatching the bottle from Cally. He wasn’t fooled by its mouldy appearance. He could make out the word Bordeaux on the label. “Do you have any idea how much this would be worth to a collector?” he whispered reverently.

Cally wrinkled her nose. “It does not look appetising.”

Blake prised the bottle from Avon’s tight grip. “It’s probably spoilt. Doesn’t alcohol have to be stored in favourable conditions?”

“It would still fetch an impressive price,” Avon insisted. “Wines are collectable for many reasons: iconic cult label, rare vintage… and this bottle is certainly vintage.”

“What does that indicate?” asked Cally inspecting the faded print. “It looks like a date and… doesn’t that say France?”

“It could be old calendar,” said Blake.

“It’s exquisite,” breathed Avon.

Vila licked his lips. “I bet it tastes delicious.”

“You’re hardly a wine connoisseur,” Avon replied scathingly.

“And you are an expert, I suppose? Fine wine with every meal!”

“I know it’s a good investment.”

“Something as rare as this shouldn’t be disturbed,” Blake said withdrawing from the flight deck with the historical artefact securely in his possession. “It should be admired without interference,” he added, deliberately ignoring his crewmates' strongly worded protests.


“Where’s Blake?” asked Jenna. “I haven’t seen him all day.”

“He received a secure communication from Inga,” replied Vila. “You remember his cousin?”

“Blake wanted to read it in private,” Avon added innocently.

Jenna pulled her mouth into a tight smile and placing the ship on automatic, she sauntered over to Avon, who was sitting on the couch with his legs crossed, and invited him to play chess.

Avon declined with a polite smile, turning away to stroke the probe in his hand. He knew his creative flair would come in handy.

He wasn’t willing to risk Blake hoarding the wine - or worse, donating it to a rebel faction, complete with inspirational speech: how a fragile bottle surviving the repressive Federation represented their ultimate cause. Inga’s intimate communique would keep their fearless leader occupied, while Avon concentrated on finding the wine.

Avon didn’t expect Blake to leave his cabin any time soon and with Jenna sulking, Cally - well, he wasn’t sure what the Auron did in her free time, now all he needed was to find a way to eliminate Vila.


Avon dropped his dirty clothes into the laundry chute and climbing into a hot bath, he allowed the foamy water to soak into his aching muscles. He gingerly rubbed at a developing bruise on his knee, deciding to resume his hunt in the morning.

He wisely ruled out the remaining inspection channels; Blake wouldn’t stash anything valuable in those. And apart from the minor injuries due to crawling on all fours, he really wasn’t comfortable with confined spaces – they reminded him too much of the London.


Vila couldn’t prove it, but he knew the sharp tongued computer expert had something to do with his current state. He could remember taking a nap and waking later feeling drowsy, sick and bewildered.

He knew it wasn’t alcohol related. He hadn’t touched a drop since they’d discovered the tantalising red wine that called to him like a siren’s song. Vila planned on relishing its rich bouquet and then he would present the redundant cork to Avon.

The need to medicate his headache found him walking past the storeroom, where he caught sight of Avon rummaging through cupboards, feigning interest in soup – a futile attempt to cover his tracks, in Vila’s opinion.

He shadowed the technician from a distance, hoping he would be led to the prize. Too distant, apparently, because he somehow lost Avon in a corridor. Vila watched and waited in vain; until it occurred to him there was more than one way to skin a cat.


Vila’s boast that he could pick any lock on the Liberator made it easy to break into Avon’s cabin. He paused to smile at how perfectly the room’s neat, tidy, appearance captured Avon’s methodical personality.

A splashing sound alerted him to its occupant’s current whereabouts. Good! Ideal opportunity to wrong foot the competition.

Avon locked everything, including the furniture where he stored all his clothes. Not that Vila could imagine anyone wanting to borrow Avon’s leather trousers. He sometimes wondered how the man managed to breath.

Vila deftly manipulated the security on the closet and poking his head around the bathroom door, he called out: “I’ll let you know how it tastes!”

“What the hell…?” Avon’s weary mind immediately switched from contemplating his navel to throwing his sponge at the intruder.

It missed!

A familiar chuckle filtered through the doorway and swiping at the bubbles covering his torso, Avon propelled his legs over the tub in his haste to choke Vila with his bare hands.

He landed on the floor with a resounding thump, and with water pooling at his feet, Avon took a moment to make sure Vila wasn’t hiding anywhere in his cabin, then crossed to his closet and entered the code.

“Come on, I don’t have all day,” he growled at the closed door.

Avon tried the code a second time, his puzzled annoyance with the closet security gradually turning to furious expletives as he worked out the reason it wouldn’t release.

“Vila,” he snarled in disgust.

Did the fool honestly believe his crude diversionary tactics could deter him from his goal? Wrapping a weathered hand towel around his waist, modesty paling into insignificance compared to the credits he would surely pocket, Avon exited his cabin with a grimace akin to a starving wolverine.


Avon stalked the ship’s corridors, eventually coming to a halt in the teleport bay where he startled Jenna with a tap on her shoulder.

Jenna swung around to stare at him in stunned amazement. “Blake wants you on the flight deck,” she muttered lamely. “Asteroids. You’ll need to operate the force wall.”

“I’ll kill him!” barked Avon.


Avon hit the communication button with excessive force. “Zen, I want Vila’s exact location!” It stood to reason the coward came this way.

Jenna struggled to concentrate on Avon’s outburst. Did he know he was naked? Hair tendrils clung to his temples, and wasn’t that soap residue on his…

“Do you know you’re naked?” she finally asked.

Avon lowered his gaze, realising he wasn’t wearing his hand towel. “Where’s my weapon?” he demanded. “My gun, Jenna. I left it on the console.”

Jenna directed his attention to the recognisable shape on the padded seats. Avon slung the weapon around his slim waist and went to resume his search, while Jenna stood quite still, watching his retreating backside. She wondered what it would take to convince Blake to practice naturism.


Avon quietly observed a shadowy form lurking inside the cargo hold. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t thump you!” he challenged, hurrying forward to confront the Liberator’s resident thief.

Vila glared at him defiantly, then yelped in response to the heavier, fitter man pinning him to the wall. “All’s fair in love and war,” he gasped, struggling to break free from Avon’s tight grasp. “Why shouldn’t I have that wine?”

“You don’t have it? It wasn’t in the hold?”

Vila shuddered as Avon bared his teeth in a cold smile. He shook his head; all he could manage with Avon’s hands wrapped around his throat.

“What are you doing?” Cally rounded a corner in time to witness her naked crewmate attempting to strangle a decidedly sweaty looking Vila. “Let him go!” she shouted, not entirely sure she wasn’t hallucinating.

Avon glowered in her direction. He wasn’t in the mood to deal with Cally’s homilies – surely there were only so many proverbs to emerge from Auron.

Vila immediately seized the opportunity to escape, but raising his knee to deliver a blow to Avon’s crotch, he found himself caught completely off balance as the ship lurched without warning.

Bracing her palms against the wall, Cally managed to remain on her feet. Her companions weren’t quite as lucky. Avon floundered helplessly, and Vila hit his head on a solid panel, slumping like a boneless chicken.


Vila reached around to massage his throbbing head. He groaned in dismay as he recognised his surroundings. “Why am I in the medical unit?”

“You hit your head,” Cally explained. “Blake insisted you were brought here as a precaution. It’s important to rule out concussion.”

“What about him?” Vila pointed to the figure lying supine on the adjacent bed. “Did he hurt his pride?”

“Avon took a knock to his spine; it isn’t serious. You took the brunt, Vila.”

“It serves him right,” smirked Avon.

Vila adopted an innocent expression. “What did I do?”

“Where the hell do I start? You entered my cabin without consent. You - ”

“I call it payback! You tried to poison me!”

“If I wanted to kill you,” Avon said, casually tugging at the medical gown covering his body, “you’d already be dead. And I wouldn’t bother with poison - it would be with a gun in my hands.”

“Cally, you heard that, right? You’re a witness.”

“You are hardly blameless in this matter,” said Cally.

“He attacked me,” Vila protested.

“And you stole his clothes,” she reminded him tersely.

“I didn’t steal his clothes… I merely stopped him from getting dressed. How was I supposed to know he would run around the ship in his birthday suit? He should have been able to crack the lock – so much for his reputed computer expertise.”

“My principle concern wasn’t to override your shoddy handiwork,” Avon retorted.

“Shoddy? It stopped you, didn’t it?” Vila taunted his wine wars opponent.

“Where do we store the rodent poison?” Avon swung his knees out of the bed. “I’ve changed my mind. Watching him foam at the mouth does hold a certain appeal.”

“Avon isn’t - wasn’t - trying to poison you. You have a stomach bug; it isn’t life-threatening.” Cally slowly counted to ten, a method Jenna swore she implemented whenever Blake attempted to undermine her piloting skills. “Why don’t you try to sleep?” she suggested, thrusting a drink into Vila’s clammy hands.

“Ideally six feet under,” Avon muttered, ignoring the glare he received from Cally.

“Does this mean I can’t drink alcohol?” Vila stared in disdain at the water in his cup. “What about Orac, doesn’t he know where Blake hid the wine?” The thought of rich, mature wine tricking down his dry throat was enough to make him salivate with anticipation.

“Orac isn’t to be trusted,” replied Avon. “It sent me on a wild goose chase.”

“Are you done?” Cally wasn’t inclined to deal with reluctant patients. “Is a single bottle of wine really worth all this animosity?”

“Yes,” they answered in unison.

“In that case, I will leave you to battle it out. My presence is required on the flight deck. Jenna and Blake cannot be expected to navigate asteroids without assistance.”

“Did Zen forget how to plot a course?” Avon asked dryly.


Avon paced back and forth in his bare feet, arms folded behind his back; his entire body language screaming with desire to march onto the flight deck. It would certainly help to quell his increasing frustration with Blake’s heavy handed approach to leadership.

“I assume you raided Blake’s cabin?” he asked, determined to remain focused on the liquid credits hidden somewhere on the ship.

“Have you ever noticed Cally has really curly hair?”


“It isn’t there,” Vila confirmed, mentally blocking out the scanners and medical equipment. Wherever he looked, the machines reminded him of his mortality. He preferred to live in blissful ignorance.

“What about Jenna?” mused Avon.

“It won’t be in her cabin,” chuckled Vila. “You know Blake never goes there.” It would take a torture master with a hot poker to tear it from his mouth, but Vila had to admit he held a grudging respect for the technician’s shrewd intellect. He regarded Avon with a furtive smile, happily relinquishing all the thinking to his associate, particularly since it relieved the pressure on his pounding head.

“Find installation … blow up installation.”

“What?” asked Vila

“Blake would keep it simple,” muttered Avon.

“You know where it is!”

Avon sprinted out of the medical unit with Vila at his heels. While Avon’s head start initially gave him the lead, it wasn’t long before his sore back started to affect his performance. This presented Vila with the ideal opportunity to take advantage. He scrambled to match his friend’s impressive speed, overtaking from the outside, sweat dripping from his fevered brow. It was still a two horse race, with the participants neck and neck as they came down the home stretch.


“I can’t see it,” moaned Vila. “Are you sure it’s here?”

“You’re not looking hard enough,” Avon replied, his dark eyes scrutinising every available space in the observation deck. Homing in on a wine bottle balanced in a gap between two panels, he moved forward, his heart racing like an excited child about to receive a much anticipated present.

“It’s too high,” Vila said, breathing down his neck. “You won’t be able to reach it without a chair.”

“You’d be surprised what I can accomplish when I set my mind on it.”


Curbing his instincts to shout at the irritating thief, Avon glanced over his shoulder. Vila stood rooted to the spot, staring outside at the rocks that were about to slam into Liberator’s force wall.

Avon swore under his breath. He knew the bottle couldn’t survive a sustained barrage; it began to wobble precariously as the first rock struck. Steely resolve etched into his features, he released a desperate grunt. Standing on the balls of his feet, Avon could feel the muscles in his back stretch as he extended his fingertips in a last ditch attempt to claim their – his - his tantalising prize…


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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