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Tarrant's Blog, Part One by Clare Juland


Tarrant's Blog
Part One

by
Clare Juland


Entry 1

Now I've finally got a minute to collect myself...though to be honest, this cabin is a lot more basic than I was expecting. Functional, but far from luxurious. Perhaps the legends surrounding this ship are just that - legends. Half-truths spread by those who would have us believe the Federation is the only authority to be obeyed. Suppose I shouldn't really complain. The fittings on their pursuit craft are even less welcoming. One benefit though, is that I can at last choose my own attire. Though I must say there are some rather unusual items, even in that line. At least the talk of this ship being of alien origin is substantiated.

Just getting here was a trial in itself. I found myself caught up in the battle for our survival, something I now wish I'd been able to escape. However, once on board it was easy to realise this ship could prove useful. Imagine then my shock to find Klegg and his men already here! They'll have to go, I thought. I got rid of two without any help from those among whom I now find myself. I didn't need them then, and I still feel that way now.

Avon, he's no fool. Once I realised who he was, I decided to let him help me deal with Klegg and the remainder of his team. I dislike him being the only one who truly understands Zen and that irritating box known as Orac. I never did like computers. Now I don't know quite where I stand. I sense he only tolerates my presence, waiting for the day when I may prove useful to him. We're destined to clash, I just know it. Perhaps he thinks that about all of us, I can't say for certain. But now I'm here, I need to play my part in the crew.

And what of the others? Dayna - a good fighter, if a little naive here and there. Cally seems the most sensible, aside from Avon's rationality. Vila - a joker, yes, but Avon seems to value his thieving ways, the reason for which eludes me. Vila's already started to annoy me, and I can tell we'll never be friends.


Entry 2

Oh, what a disaster!
We've been chasing rumours of Blake's whereabouts for weeks. The latest rumour necessitated a reconnaissance mission on a planet called Obsidian. To be frank, I think Avon was just testing the loyalties of Dayna and myself. I hope at least we managed to achieve that, if nothing else. It surprises me somewhat that Avon bothers to try and track Blake down. I've been told he made a promise to return him to Earth, but I wonder - is it more than that?

Just an average sort of day. We teleported down in the wrong place and then walked straight into a Federation trap. Of course I wouldn't have bothered with the mission at all, but naive Dayna thought that this friend of her father could be trusted. He could, but not his son. We played straight into Servalan's hands and she very nearly captured the Liberator. Clearly she wants it for herself, now that the Federation fleet is in disarray. Avon ought to watch her. We all should, she's no fool either.

We hoped to find some allies on Obsidian, but instead we found polite disinterest. As for the friend, he hit the button and blew his people sky high. He said they were dying anyway, but we never did find out exactly why. I suppose it's better than being slaves of the Federation, although I can't help but agree with Vila's conclusion.

It seems that Avon managed to get injured and is out of action for a few days. Extra shifts, that's all this useless folly has got us. I wasn't sure at first, but ironically after this I sense that Dayna and I will be friends. Cally was taken hostage and has been tending to Avon most of the time since. For his part, Vila has been helping make the repairs, along with the rest of us. What next, I wonder? I'm starting to regret getting involved with this lot, but something tells me we're stronger together than alone.


Entry 3

Orac.
Confounded thing! Even Avon didn't see this one coming.
The trouble started when the ship began to veer off course. Odd, considering Zen is normally so efficient. It didn't take us long to figure out that some external force was at work, and as it turned out was partly Orac's doing. Apparently, he got curious. I didn't think computers were supposed to express irrationality, but that's Avon's area of expertise, not mine.

And so we fell for it - literally. The source turned out to be an artificially created Black Hole, an impressive feat of technology, even by my reckoning. It was at this point that Avon showed a side of his nature that I don't like. Somehow in the midst of chaos he found a survival suit but I felt compelled to insist we should fight this together, as a team. However, Avon can be as stubborn as a mule when he wants to be. A sign of things to come, I suspect.

Whilst attempting escape, all our shots were reflected back and some robotic monstrosity destroyed the detector unit. By a slightly less than democratic vote, Vila ventured outside to have a closer look. This seemed to prove fatal, and for a moment the flight deck was silent. I felt partly responsible and took on the duty of recovering his body with the intention of giving him a respectable send-off. Relief nearly overcame me when I discovered he was alive and well. Evidently an atmosphere had been created outside the ship. Lucky Vila.

Then we met our captor. To be honest he didn't look too menacing, until he waved a cane with a nasty streak under our noses. I've never felt so completely helpless in my life. From then on, things just got worse. We were locked up and Cally was taken away, but not before she'd told us the legend of the Thaarn. It would have been enjoyable, if had it been under better circumstances and without Avon nitpicking the details.

Avon and I were taken against our will to work on mathematical calculations. A bizarre request since this Thaarn, whoever he was, was obviously a more intelligent being. We found an unlikely ally in Groff, who helped us to escape and ultimately destroy this place 'beyond the threshold of space and time', as Cally described it. It seems that while we were occupied, she was having her own adventure. In fact, it was she who provided the critical link which enabled our final departure.

I'll not forget Avon's words for a while. We'll have to leave without her, he said. And I'm certain he would have done so. Thankfully, Cally made it back just in time. Now I'm torn over wondering whether Avon would have delivered the message that we promised to Groff, had I not set the course myself. Certainly, it seems clear that his attachment to the crew hangs by a thread more often than I'd like.


Entry 4

I've always been a pirate at heart. Even when I was still with the Federation, I made a tidy profit at my colleagues' expense. Now the nearest I get is by beating Vila in the games that while away the long hours. Although to be fair, I think Avon enjoys the accolade more than I do. The games are no substitute for the real thing, in any case. I've always wanted to bust the Federation's most tightly guarded profit making operation, the harvest of Kairos. Now for the first time I have a real chance.

Avon agreed in principle, but first insisted on retrieving something he considered of vital importance from an uninhabited planet. It was even more strange that he chose Vila to accompany him. Perhaps it was just that he didn't want to go through the motions of persuading me. He knows I wouldn't have considered it a valid reason, and I still don't. He can influence Vila more easily.

While they pursued Avon's quest, I sold my idea to the rest of the crew. Somewhat hesitantly, they agreed. Not surprisingly, we were found by a Federation patrol and forced to stand our ground. Avon returned in the nick of time - with a rock. I felt incensed that he'd put the ship at risk for that! He even insisted on Zen scanning it before we could consider ourselves safe. Sometimes I wonder where his priorities lie. Certainly on this occasion he seemed content to hand over all command of the Liberator to me. But why? Whatever the reason, I made the most of it.

At last I had the chance to put my former Federation training to good use in battling our way to reach the Kairopan cargo vessel. However, it was also clear that the Liberator needs a full crew on hand in such moments. For some bizarre reason, Avon recruited Cally to assist with his experiments on the rock. Infuriated, I almost had to forcibly put a stop to it, in order to save our hides. Cally has a better understanding of the ship's systems than Vila and certainly Dayna - we needed her! I could have wrung Avon's neck, I was so riled. But that wouldn't have achieved anything, either.

Safely through, we boarded the Kairopan shuttle, only to be ambushed. I'm a pilot, not a military strategist, but all the same I should have seen that one coming. Avon was quite right to berate me. The net result was that Servalan finally achieved her goal of controlling the Liberator. Again I felt incensed by Avon's apparently easy capitulation to her. As it turned out, I was glad he decided to go off on his own when we were dumped on Kairos. I doubt very much that I'd have been able to contain my temper much longer.

For the first time, I got to know Cally beyond the necessary conversation on the Liberator. She's more balanced than Dayna, who is not unlike me in certain ways. Cally is pragmatic like Avon, and I like that. She's caring, too - another welcome trait.

We found a number of dead slave workers, clearly the result of some lethal element peculiar to this planet. We eventually discovered an indigenous creature that actually eats the Kairopan crystals and is quite lethal when determined enough.

I was taken by surprise to find a man I'd not seen in years down there - my old Commander, Jarvik! Apparently, Servalan recruited him to assist with the taking of the Liberator. And now he was challenging me to a duel, of all things! I did ok at first, but I'm no fighter and Jarvik got the upper hand. Again, I looked a fool in front of my fellow crew members - that's twice in one day. A bad day. Even Dayna was overpowered, though quite honestly I think she sometimes overestimates her abilities.

Thankfully, I saved what remained of my shattered pride by getting us safely back aboard the Liberator. I wonder how Avon would have handled it, if Jarvik had killed me? The Sopron, clever stuff though it turned out to be, is a far cry from a skilled pilot. As for Jarvik, we found him dead. Dayna mentioned there'd been a struggle. It's a pity in a way that he got tangled up with Servalan. Jarvik would have made a far better ally than an enemy.


Entry 5

Neutron blasters.
A good invention, but they have an Achilles heel - they require a crystalline component in order to operate at 100% efficiency. After all the battles we've got into lately, no wonder they're showing signs of wear. A few days ago, they shattered completely and we were left defenceless. Naturally, finding replacements became our top priority. At least Orac does occasionally have its uses. He directed us to a little known planet, where we would be unlikely to run into the Federation. Just as well, under the circumstances.

Down I went, and encountered some primitive people. They were simple and non-aggressive in their manner, and I felt no reason to be concerned. They were prepared to offer the necessary crystals in return for technical assistance, the kind in which Vila specialised - opening locked doors. It seemed a bizarre but fair deal, so I agreed. Then came the real challenge: persuading Vila to go down there. As Avon put it, 'He's useful, but irritating.' In my frustration, I got rather carried away, but eventually Vila relented. We needed those crystals.

He signalled from the planet's surface and Cally teleported down to fetch the crystals, but nearly got a bomb exploding in her face as a result. I felt certain that the natives could not have been responsible for such an act and as it turned out, they weren't. I wondered for a time if Avon believed I had sent Vila and Cally into a deliberate trap, but that made no sense, so I put the thought out of my mind. However, Avon did make it quite clear that I could be replaced, which I didn't disagree with. To be honest, I'm getting tired of these spats between us, and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to leave this motley crew.

No, that's not entirely true. I do feel a sense of loyalty, at least towards Cally and Dayna and, to a lesser degree, Vila. Avon... well, perhaps the least said. However, I must say that on this occasion, Dayna let me face the music alone. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by that. It was a lesson learned, nonetheless. Down we all went to find out what had become of Vila. It seems that he had fallen into the hands of an old adversary of mine, Bayban. Not the nicest of people. He didn't remember me, but I'd never forgotten him. As for Vila, there was no sign of him.

After a struggle with Bayban and his cronies, we eventually had the place secured. Vila made quite an impressive entrance, thanks to the advanced technology of Kezarn's ancestors. It seems that he and Kerril had an adventure of their own, or so he boasted afterwards. Lucky Vila, again. As for the rest of us, we teleported back to Liberator, leaving him to decide his future - no easy task. But Vila returned and brought the crystals with him. Despite everything, the day ended well.


Entry 6

Oh, what a day!
Servalan strikes again. Cally and Avon had a tiff - first time I've seen them fall out. She seemed genuinely upset, and even Vila was surprised by it. Avon's too focussed on taking revenge on someone called Shrinker. Apparently, he's a Federation thug who murdered Avon's lady friend. Avon! A lady friend? Well I'll be...!! Actually, it explains a lot, not least my having virtually to read the riot act in order to persuade him to help Cally's people. Sometimes Avon can be so pig headed. Shrinker be damned, he can wait.

We discovered the Aurons were losing a battle against a pathogenic disease. Turns out Servalan introduced it, the devious.... And all she wanted was to use their replication facilities! Saints preserve us! Quite why she felt the need to murder the whole population of Auron, I'll never know. Perhaps she thought they wouldn't help her unless pushed into a desperate situation. Who knows? But blackmail isn't a strong enough word, that's for sure.

Of course, the inevitable happened. We got captured by by Servalan and infected with the disease. Cally cleverly used her abilities to set in motion the means for our escape. Perhaps I underestimate her at times. Nearly getting our hides well and truly kicked, we took refuge in the replication plant. Despite being restricted to the decontamination chamber, we met Cally's twin sister, Zelda. It was a strange moment, seeing an exact duplicate of Cally. Even Avon seemed bemused.

Eventually we persuaded Zelda and her fellow technician that Servalan was going to destroy the place with all of us all inside. We were allowed in and assisted in carrying the Auron gene stocks. Their only chance was a fresh start in a new home. I knew straight away that I wanted to help them. Cally has saved mine and the others' lives on more than one occasion. I didn't mind repaying the debt.

By this time, we were all feeling the effects of the disease. I thought my head was going to burst, and nearly dropped the heavy carrying case as we teleported back aboard Liberator. For some inexplicable reason, Zelda felt a sense of loyalty to the new life still in the incubators and remained behind to attend to them. Cally pleaded with her desperately, but to no avail. Servalan destroyed the facility and Zelda was killed. I'll never forget the pale and pained expression on Cally's face as Zelda died. Afterwards, she explained that when Aurons die the mental link is severed. I can't fully understand it of course, but the description sounded traumatic enough for me to buy into the theory.

For once, I'm grateful to Orac. We were prescribed the necessary medication to rid us of that disgusting disease. I say disgusting... on two counts. One, because it was deliberately introduced and the other... well, let's just say that there were some rather nasty effects on the skin in places I'd prefer not to mention. Cally slept for hours and stirred only because we were dropping off her fellow Aurons. She took her time down there, no doubt explaining that she couldn't stay with them. There was no reason why, in my opinion. Perhaps she thought we wouldn't understand - not so, at least in my case. As far as I was concerned, all debts had been paid. Before we arrived, the rest of us had joked about whether or not Cally would go. It's bizarre how Avon can be so ironic at times.


Entry 7

Auron now lay in ruins and we set course for Earth to sort out this matter of revenge for Avon. Revenge... not the nicest of motives. In fact, it quite chilled me to think what he'd got planned. Avon's version of justice isn't exactly what most of us would consider palatable. Not that it bothers him what people think. He went alone and told the rest of us to maintain a constant readiness to teleport down. What was that all about? There seemed little point in querying it, so wisely I kept out of his way and after he'd gone, coordinated a rota with the others.

During this time I got pretty bored - to be honest, we all did. I even caught Vila trying to spy on Dayna at her ablutions, the idiot. She'd be furious if she found out. In the interest of peace, I'll keep that to myself, but I made it clear to Vila that if he does it again, I will tell her. Sometimes I wonder why he stays with us. He's had more than one opportunity to leave and hasn't. Maybe he thinks he's safe if he sticks with Avon. As if any of us can be 'safe' with him around.

The signal came through and Dayna and I hurried down. We found Avon... but what a sight greeted us. He was filthy and clearly had been subjected to torture. I won't forget that image for a while. It brought back memories of my old Federation days, though of course I never really saw this aspect of the organisation. We brought Shrinker aboard and Avon went to get cleaned up. Meanwhile, the rest of us took pleasure in making this thug of a man cower and beg for his life. He deserved every word of anger we threw at him. It was Cally who spoke out in protest and I'm glad she jolted us to our senses. If we can't restrain ourselves then it makes us no better than the Federation. Something I've since come to realise.

Avon looked tired - no, exhausted actually - when he returned. Before his visit to Earth, he'd instructed Vila to set up some equipment for him. Quite what that was for, I didn't know. He swore Vila to secrecy, too. Avon took Shrinker down to the same location and returned alone a while later, presumably the fatal deed now done. It felt cold, somehow. Less so than the murders that thug had himself perpetrated, but something inside keeps telling me it was still wrong. The voice won't go away.

The names Bartolomew and Councillor Chesku came to light. I don't know what significance these people have, but Avon is giving it top priority. Apparently during the pleas for his life, Shrinker volunteered the information Avon wanted. Now we're off on a new quest, one which will take us directly to Servalan. This is madness, I thought, it'll be like walking into the Lion's Den! If we get caught, that'll be it. No mercy of any kind.

When we arrived, I was surprised by how few sentries there appeared to be. It seems we had walked straight into the middle of a rebellion. A dying communications officer guided us to where Servalan had been incarcerated. Beaten and chained to a wall, I'd never seen her looking so defeated. It's strange how one imagines a person's ultimate fate and in her case nothing conceivably unpleasant would ever be enough.

It was equally bizarre how easily she had apparently been overthrown. Perhaps the Federation's iron grip is slipping? Avon's steely resolve made it quite clear that I wasn't wanted. The immovable object. On hearing footsteps approaching, we hastily readied ourselves. Being caught out in the confines of this cellar wasn't a prospect I relished. A woman stepped into view and would have attacked us, had it not been for my quick action.

Anna Grant. So this was Avon's former lover. Alive and apparently well, despite what he had been led to believe. Anna wasn't quite what I expected. She was demure and slightly built, although evidently capable. Knowing Avon as I do, she didn't seem to qualify as the type of woman I'd imagined he would take an interest in - but what do I know? I stepped back to give them space, and during their exchange Cally joined me. She had been keeping well out of his way during this charade, and I don't blame her.

Servalan then provided Avon with the clue that revealed Anna's true identity. She was the security agent who had been 'running him', the one who had been code named Bartolomew. Avon shot Anna dead. He had no choice, she'd have killed him, that's for certain. Instinctively I raised my own gun, but there was no need. It was all over in seconds. For a moment Avon looked genuinely distressed and removed his teleport bracelet. Was he going to stay behind and allow Servalan to kill him?

Seeing the obvious lack of sense in this, I agreed with Cally that it was about time we got the hell out of there. But Vila misinterpreted Dayna's instruction to stand by and brought us back up instead. Cally was furious, especially when he said that he forgot to check the inbound co-ordinates. While she hurried to reset the locator, Avon's voice came over the coms system. He was returned safely but explained that Servalan had threatened to send us a corpse. However, for some reason, she didn't kill him. I was left wondering about her motives for that. Perhaps, deep down, she has a grudging respect for Avon.


Entry 8

I never feel comfortable dealing with overtly personal issues and I was right to keep out of it. None of us said anything, but it hadn't escaped our attention that Cally had locked herself away. The thought crossed my mind that I should try to speak to her, but I knew I wouldn't be welcomed. It seemed strange to me that Avon would take it upon himself to brave the challenge. Hes even less approachable than I am.

Avon had originally wanted to pursue an asteroid in the hope finding some mineral treasure. Useful, he said. I couldn't help but think, Oh great, more rocks, but I calculated the necessary adjustments to our course and speed. Just as we were about to set off, Zen detected an alien ship drifting in space at a distance of two hundred spacials. That's close, and I don't know quite how it had escaped detection until that point. There was something eerie about its arrival that I didn't like.

It was about that moment when Cally had a strange reaction. Thinking back on it, she must have been receptive to some alien emanation from the ship, but just didn't realise it at the time. Seemingly, it affected the rest of us as well. I definitely felt an increased tension towards Avon, which I hadn't been aware of previously. Not a conscious act of will, but coercion, nonetheless.

Outvoted, Avon gave the go-ahead to investigate the ship. Dayna and I were left on board Liberator to act as back up, or so he called it. At the time I took it personally, but now I see it actually made sense. Something happened while they were there and Cally started seeing things. Apparently the alien entity had already made contact with her subconscious mind. Zen detected an energy build up and we tried to teleport them out, but only Cally returned. She insisted on being sent back across and by some means that I still don't understand, was able to retrieve the others. Afterwards she theorised that the bracelets may have malfunctioned. One perhaps, but not two. It must have been the energy field somehow affecting them.

By now, the alien entity was intent on controlling the Liberator. It used Cally to activate an artefact that Avon had brought back. This subsequently enabled the alien to take over her mind completely. Strange things started to occur and we were all affected, for me in terms of heightened aggression. I'm normally much more restrained. In the Old Calendar days they would have called it demonic possession, but whatever you call it, the entity had control of us and the ship.

I was left in no doubt that eventually it would have destroyed Cally, and ultimately us as well. According to the entity, we were destined for slavery, but we would never capitulate to that. Eventually the struggle was reduced to a battle of wills between the alien and Avon. He knew that Cally's mind was an inescapable part of it. He used this to full advantage and drove the alien from her, but not before it had wrecked several vital systems on the flight deck.

This experience ranks as the most bizarre I've had so far with this present company of crew. But I have at least learned to be more cautious when dealing with anything unusual. Perhaps this is what Avon was trying to make us see, all along. A valuable lesson learned at least.


Entry 9

I knew I should have stayed in bed today. Ever get the feeling it's going to be one of those days? Well, today was it. One consolation at least, is that relations between myself and Avon have settled down again to their normal level. And the day? Zen picked up a regular, but indentifiable signal, Vila engaged Orac with silly jokes and we discovered an artificial planet. Just another average sort of occurrence in our adventures.

I apologise for the sarcastic tone, but I am growing rather tired of the repetitive dullness now prevalent in my life. In fact, before I recount any further events, perhaps I should deal with that; offload this burden that has been gnawing at me. I can't say whether or not I'd be better off by myself, as I was before. Certainly I've made friends among this crew, but is that enough for me? What do I really want from life? Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's the lack of excitement - real excitement I mean, not just fending off some alien hell-bent on destroying us.

Real excitement is the heat of battle and the skill of evading destruction. I want to use my Federation training in the best way I can - preferably with them on the receiving end of my neutron blaster. I'm a pilot by trade, and right now I just feel like the captain of a passenger cruiser, endlessly trudging along a well-trodden path. A battle commander relishes the tactics of war and the challenge of survival. These people would prefer a quieter life, Vila especially. I'm certain of that. Perhaps Dayna is the exception. I find I can identify with her more than the others. As for Avon, he and I still don't agree over many issues, but I think at last a measure of understanding is being reached between us. *sigh* Like it or not, there isn't much I can do about it.

This time it was Avon who became curious about a new discovery. For a while our roles were reversed - he was the headstrong, charge-in type, while I was the cautious one. Agreeing to investigate from a discrete distance, we all took a much needed rest period, only to be awoken by Avon. Cally had gone missing. It came to light that she had teleported to the alien planet - but why? Whatever the reason, she clearly needed assistance. There was no hesitation from me on that score, but now Avon seemed to have rediscovered his caution. Thankfully, this time Dayna backed me up. We teleported into a labyrinthine complex with no idea where to start looking for Cally.

I won't bore you with excessive detail of what happened after that. Suffice to say, once again we were facing a hostile alien force. Aliens who knew more about us than we did them. I don't like the odds being so uneven. They had taken Cally and transferred her consciousness, and they planned to do the same to us. Apparently the aliens exist solely to increase the power of something they referred to as the 'Core', which was a living computer. Under better circumstances, I'm sure Avon would have liked to remain here to study such a system, but not when they had us within an inch of our lives.

Ultimately, Dayna and I caused enough damage to start an irreversible chain reaction - at least it seemed that way at the time. What we didn't learn until after our escape was that Orac and even Vila had played a significant role in the downfall of the Core. I think I am coming at last to realise that Orac is a valuable member of the team, even if it can't do some things that are restricted solely to the province of flesh and blood.

Speaking of which, there is one final issue... one that is, to say the least, rather awkward to address. During our capture by the Ultra, Dayna and I were given an ultimatum: co-operate or be absorbed. Their request? Demonstrate human intimacy. I dug my heels in and refused at first. There is a point beyond which I consider is going too far, and the Ultra had crossed it. Dayna, on the other hand, seemed surprisingly keen, albeit to use the moment as a distraction for her plan of escape. It worked, but now there is a silent memory between us. We continue as normal and divulged part of what happened, but not all. Even between the best of friends, some secrets will remain just that - secret.


Entry 10

Servalan. Does she never give up? Apparently not. We've been following her for what seems an eternity. Vila was starting to get on my nerves yet again, but this time I wasn't the only one. The ship disappeared into... well, nothing. A black empty space. It turned out to be the planet Sardos, which had an extremely advanced means of hiding their existence - not that I blame them. The Federation aren't exactly the nicest of neighbours.

We followed Servalan and found ourselves almost crashing right into Sardos. Something in the planet's atmosphere disrupted Zen's control systems and I only just managed to get us out of there on manual. Seems my pilot's skills do occasionally come in useful, after all. There was just one problem - how to get down there and investigate why Servalan had bothered to travel all this way. The planetary cloaking screen is certainly interesting enough. A chance presented itself when a T-16 transporter bound for Sardos approached.

Cally teleported Vila and me aboard and we were on our way. That is, until Vila got mixed up with a group of drunken convicts. My frustration with him reached boiling point while we were on Sardos. I knew I'd pushed him too far, but I still needed his help. Afterwards I didn't care what he did - if he chose to stay there with his 'pal' Doran, I'd have let him. Servalan, however, is too important to ignore.

I tried to raise the Liberator, but was unsuccessful. This time there was no being whisked away in the nick of time, and I was shot with some kind of stun gun. When I came round I found that I had been disarmed and secured inside a compound with a dozen or more others. A Federation uniform was thrust in my face and the guard suggested very strongly that I was to put it on. What now? I wondered. Vila was nowhere to be seen, and the company in the compound left a lot to be desired. The guard walked away and joined a couple of others harrying a blonde woman slumped in the far corner of the compound. Had I been armed, I'd have intervened, but by the looks of things I was too late anyway. She died a short while afterwards.

Servalan, like a bad penny, always turns up. Somehow I avoided being seen, as she killed almost everyone else in the compound and accompanied her pilots back to the ship. I heard it leave. One more chance to kill her, lost I thought. I'm not quite sure if Vila intended to find me or not, but he reappeared and we set about destroying the central computer, and more, importantly the information it contained.

At some point, Avon and Dayna made their way down here. Presumably Avon figured that since they'd lost contact with us, we'd been taken prisoner and therefore the need for secrecy had evaporated. Just quite what he hoped to achieve in our place, I couldn't imagine. Again I faced Doran, the sort of man I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley, especially if I was a woman. With help from one of the natives we found what we'd been looking for. Inside, I could hear Avon and Dayna, but... Avon was clearly being subjected to painful torture. Vila certainly took a while to open that door.

A tense exchange followed and culminated in the deaths of Grose and his men, Doran and the woman who had helped us. Had it ended at that, I'd have been content to set some explosives and get the hell out of there. But what happened next almost defied belief. Moloch. Exactly what it was remains a mystery to me, but over-confidence in its own abilities proved its undoing.


Entry 11

Empty. Alone. Spent. That's how I feel right now. Resting in my cabin, I think I can understand why Cally shut herself away after Auron's destruction. I cannot help but wonder if everything I've done up until now has been worth it. Was it all a waste of time? I know I'll never find the answer.

My brother Deeta. We were close as youngsters and my mind is filled with images, memories, feelings. We played together, got into trouble together, did everything you'd expect young boys to do, together. Our parents allowed us to grow up as normally as possible, given the restrictions imposed by the Federation. Oh, how I wish I was back there now and not having to cope with this pain, this loss.

So what happened? We grew up, that's what happened. Deeta chose to leave Earth, while I joined the Federation military service. The rest is history. Deeta got himself involved with the Teal-Vandor Convention and wound up being Teal's champion. I hadn't seen him for years and we'd completely lost touch. Of course one never forgets, though I will admit he had slipped from my mind since I joined the Liberator.

That was until Vila learned that Teal and Vandor were once again in conflict and we chose to take a respite there. Safe from the Federation, it seemed the ideal place. We were viewing a viscast when I recognised Deeta. He had changed considerably since I last saw him, but that was almost ten years ago. Older, but not necessarily wiser. Deeta was to face Vinni, the champion of Vandor and the fight would be to the death.

We also learned from the viscast that Servalan was to be the neutral arbiter. A strange choice, to say the least. Needless to say, Avon suspected that if she was involved, foul play would no doubt follow. Ultimately, his fears were proven correct. I wanted to see Deeta before... well, you know. At best, he only had a 50-50 chance. When I met with Max, the Teal representative, he told me that Deeta had asked not to see me. I couldn't understand why. Perhaps the thought of seeing me before the fight would create unnecessary emotion in an already charged moment. I suppose I can see the sense in that.

Max told me about the sensor net, which was, in short, a means of eavesdropping on Deeta and Vinni's thoughts and actions. I wasn't certain about doing that, but I took a handful of receivers anyway. With the fight due to begin, Dayna monitored Vinni while Vila and I observed Deeta. As he stood outside the doorway, I could feel my brother's growing exhilaration, tempered by anxiety. A duel, no less challenging than any other he's faced before. Except perhaps this time it was more blind than usual.

When the battle commenced I could feel every judgement and move that my brother made. Instinct over cold rationality. Here was the true test of any warrior, to fight with more than the sum of one's self. Reliance on the weapon alone would not win the war. Deeta cornered his opponent and a chance presented itself. Instead he chose honour over blatant murder. You see, we are different from the likes of Servalan.

It proved a fatal mistake. The sound of that shot was deafening, and pain, excruciating pain. I/he fell hard and for a moment it was almost as though Deeta and I were alone in that place, reunited at last. He spoke to me, then relinquished his tenacity to take his leave. I actually felt him die and part of me went with him. Now I truly will walk alone for the rest of my days.

No doubt on Vandor the cheering was as fervent as the disappointment on Teal. Max said they would have to give up two thirds of their fleet and three planets. And who paid the highest price? I know he understood what he was doing and accepted the risks involved. As for Vinni, Dayna noted the difference between him and Deeta - a lack of instinct. Orac suggested that the Vandor combatant was in fact an android, programmed as a gunfighter.

So this had been Servalan's plan. Once the treachery was revealed, a genuine conflict would erupt between Teal and Vandor. The Federation could then clean up under the guise of a so-called peace keeping operation. Very clever. But not if I had anything to do with it - I couldn't allow Deeta's death to be for nothing. Avon seemed to have no desire to see Servalan increase her empire either, and I was grateful for his support.

Max wasn't keen to let me fight Vinni. I understood why, but it had to be done. Dayna gave me her latest new weapon and into the fray I went. I will be eternally grateful for Cally's telepathic abilities. Without her help I would have stood no more of a chance than Deeta. Once Vinni was out of the way, Avon and I guided Max on how best to avoid the potential conflict. A fitting epitaph for Deeta, my one and only lost brother.


Entry 12

Avon. It seems I still don't fully understand him... perhaps I never will.
Due to circumstances, I've had to wait before continuing with this log of events. We've paid a heavy price, one that I don't consider was worth it in the end. My only consolation is that Avon feels the same way. He got us into this situation, after all.

He had been on watch for hours and banished the rest of us from the flight deck.What the hell was he up to? Naturally I queried it, but was given a less than satisfactory answer. Apparently he'd been communicating with someone outside of the ship and without our knowledge. He didn't even know the final destination. It was very underhand and I felt entirely justified in losing my temper with him. I've come close to a showdown before, but never quite this close. To top it all, he had the nerve to threaten me - I mean, really threaten me, not just a verbal exchange.

My fears were justified when he took the Liberator straight through a cloud of unknown particles. Whatever his goal, it must have been important if he was willing to take that kind of risk. To say I was happy about it would be a blatant lie - I was furious! He deliberately put the ship in danger, again something he wouldn't normally do. We eventually arrived at Terminal, an artificial planet, which by all official accounts no longer existed. And yet here it was - and it was also the source of the signals that Avon had been receiving.

Insisting on teleporting down alone, Avon made it quite clear that we were not to follow him. I suspect he knew that we would, though. Cally and I did go down after allowing him time to get clear of the teleport co-ordinates. He was nowhere in sight, but we did pick up the trail of two strangers. Perhaps they too were following Avon, so we decided to follow and find out. Eventually they came upon a hatchway covering a deep shaft, but before they could enter, the strangers were attacked and killed by some bizarre wild creatures.

I suppose it was foolish to think we would be safe, following this assault. Cally was hit first and then I was. However, we were eventually able to get away with minimum injury to ourselves. Inside we found what appeared to be a laboratory with some sophisticated equipment, though what it was being used for we didn't know at that time.

Servalan. So all along this elaborate set up had been her doing, and again the Liberator was her target. Avon had been captured and his mind manipulated, which explained the purpose of all that equipment. Avon really believed he'd been receiving signals from Blake, but all the time it had been an artificially created voice pattern. Now it was his turn to be furious and he nearly lost it completely, but there was no sense in getting ourselves killed. I told him to back off, since there was little to stop Servalan putting an end to us all there and then.

Immediately prior to our capture, Dayna had made contact and informed us that the ship was in trouble. Something was causing massive structural damage and computer failure. It seemed that Terminal was to become our permanent new home from henceforth. However, during the confrontation with Servalan, Cally and I did not reveal this information. There was every chance that even though we would be marooned, we could finally rid ourselves of our greatest nemesis. We watched as the ship exploded, leaving us with nothing but the clothes we stood in and a modest supply of provisions. It seemed as though the journey, for us, was over.

***



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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