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Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
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Finale by Shaqui Le Vesconte

Finale
by
Shaqui Le Vesconte


Blake was dying.

He was sure of it, as he felt the blood ebb out of the gaping wounds in his gut. Certain, as he could no longer move, the pain and all other feelings fading to numbness. The uneasy sickening bed-mate to his total paralysis.

Lying on the floor, eyes staring almost sightless up at his killer. His friend.
A face which dissolved into a blinding white light from above.

Is this death? Blake thought.

During his days on the Liberator, he had been able to use Orac to research history, looking at the way the Federation had risen to power. Few now had an interest in those ancient times but the rise - and fall - of powerful empires in Earth's history had intrigued him. For in those origins may be a hint of a weakness, an end to that oppressive regime. With them were tales, myths, of long-lost beliefs. The Old Churches the Federation had finally eliminated a few centuries ago. People no longer considered whether there was reward or punishment after the end of life, but here and now, Blake seemed poised on that very precipice. Judgement?

Two figures hovered over him. Difficult to discern, but he felt one was male, tall, the other female and shorter. Briefly, he considered they may be Gan and Jenna, two friends he knew for sure to be dead as well, waiting for him on the other side. To welcome him - or were they chosen to decide his destiny in what lay beyond? But the man was leaner, the woman's hair a mass of curls, backlit like a halo.

Cally? Even though his mouth failed to frame the question, he felt sure if it was her, she would have heard his thoughts.

"Is he still hanging on?" The woman, her voice echoing.

"Barely." The man responding. "Not long to wait now."

Blake had also read that in the moments before death, people used to believe their entire life would flash before their eyes. As he lay on the floor of the complex on Gauda Prime, many light-years from the Earth he had once called home, he was also lying on a bench in a dark room, his head ringed by vicious strobing lights that sliced into his mind - the stark beginning of the journey that had led him there. Memories evoked by words from a man called Foster, who claimed to know him.

They literally took your mind to pieces and rebuilt it.

A fight for freedom he had no recollection of. His siblings slaughtered. Years of drug-controlled compliance to a corrupt and uncaring dictatorship...

Then it happened all over again.

Foster and his followers were massacred. Blake was caught and mock charges trumped up for a show trial ending in exile. But he always clung to the belief he was right. That the Federation was wrong. Evil. And he would always find a way back. That he would never give up.

Maybe some dreams are worth having.

Jenna had said that, once. Sweet, trusting, adoring Jenna. He had never really felt comfortable that she appeared to to be attracted to him. Perhaps even loved him. But he preferred a reliable friend to a lover. She had followed him - not on the promise of fighting for freedom, though she always paid lip service to it - but because she had hoped for more from him. Even when they met again after the Intergalactic War, it never amounted to anything. Perhaps that's why, in the end, she hit that self-destruct... she no longer thought a life without him was worth it.

Maybe some dreams... I'm sorry, Jenna.




Wealth is the only reality.

Avon. Cynical, logical, not-quite-unemotional Avon. There may no longer be religion, but he worshipped money. Power. The idea that fortune would shield him from the corrupt ways of the Federation, if he paid them enough. And yet, Blake had placed his trust in him. His computer skills. His dissenting voice. Avon may not have been 'the honest man' Blake was fighting for, but he valued his opinion. Always.

With those two, he found a way. Or rather, it found him, as if destined.


Wisdom must be gathered, it cannot be given.

Zen. The mind and heart of the gleaming white spaceship they had come to call Liberator. From the histories Blake had read, he could imagine that ship as his triple-bladed sword of freedom. That he was a knight on a crusade. A wronged nobleman made outlaw. He was sure that was how his followers - not his small crew but those who spoke of the legend across the colonised worlds when the Federation banned news of it - saw him, sometimes.

Blake liked to think he had gathered much wisdom in that fight. Knowledge which had almost seemed to make them invincible. Until...

You think, Blake. Think what it is they control.

Gan. Big, strong, straight-forward Gan. The first to die. After, that was, the death of the reality that they - that he - had finally got to the heart of the Federation and was able to destroy it. Only they hadn't.

It's the great illusion, Blake. You give substance and credibility to an empty room, and the real thing becomes undetectable, virtually invisible.

Travis. His opposite and nemesis, Travis. Whose black-clad personal vendetta against Blake had been given the seal of official approval to seek, locate and destroy him. Ironically, Travis had also become an outlaw and sought to destroy the Federation, too. And he had almost succeeded.

The aliens were closing down the defence zone. There must be a fleet out there. We must warn the Federation. Humanity is going to need all the resources it can get.

His own words, again so distant but it was almost as if he had just spoken them. How ironic. It was a familiar pattern. One-time foes uniting against a common enemy. Liberator holding its own against hundreds of alien ships until the Federation fleets began to trickle toward the edge of the galaxy and fight alongside it. In many ways, it was their finest hour.

Blake wished he could have seen it. Travis had almost killed him that day, too. In Liberator's medical bay, he lay fading in and out of consciousness, hearing the whine of the ship's neutron blasters echo through the hull as they fired again and again. Felt each shudder as alien weapons slammed into the force wall. A fight which seemed to go on forever...

It was a turning point in more ways than one, not just the brief uneasy alliance with Federation forces. Blake went a separate way from his ship and his crew, but the resolve, the fight was always there. Star One may have ultimately been destroyed, throwing the Federation into a chaos which already existed post-war. However, they survived, albeit in a reduced random way. Outer worlds were now free or rebelling against what little hold had been left. He listened to the viscasts. Servalan had somehow become President, making the Federation's weaker powerbase feel more dangerous, more personal.

Those Liberator-less days were dark, difficult to recall as he struggled for survival on anarchic colonies and ex-Federation strongholds now in fear of overthrow. He nearly lost his life again, coming to in a largely unlit room, on an unknown planet, prostrate on a life support system, as unable to move as he was now.

There were times when your simple-minded certainties might have been refreshing.

Avon again. It must have been… was it really... years since they last met? There was no way Blake could be rescued by his friend, let alone teleported. He wouldn't survive without the mechanical devices keeping his heart beating, his blood flowing through his veins, his lungs filling with air. And yet, even though Avon had been unable to save him, he had healed again. Grown strong. Lived to fight on. But it was the last time he had seen Avon, until…

The shadowy duo on the edge of his fading perceptions were joined by a third. He couldn't quite make out the face but he had an inkling it was familiar, blurring with his last recollection of Avon looking down at him on that life support. Of Avon looking down at him now as he stood astride his dying body, surrounded by Federation guards.

Avon!

Again Blake's voice failed him.

There was more pain in Blake's chest, his heart coming to agonising arrest, before numb oblivion encased him completely. His sightless eyes stared up at the white light above.

"He's gone." Doctor Havant straightened up with satisfaction after checking the psycho-analyser beside Blake's head, turning to Alta Morag at his side.

The diminutive stocky woman nodded in satisfaction. "When you said it was possible to implant experiences easily, I had no idea the techniques were so advanced."

Havant shook his head. "I can't take all the credit. It would have been impossible to try the same memory-blocking techniques as last time, especially as Blake had shown every indication of breaking through them. No, my associate here is responsible for our success."

Morag turned to the slight, taciturn man who had joined them. "And the secret of that was…?"

"Well now, it is really quite simple. It is no longer a matter of crushing will in someone so rebellious. You have to give them some hope. Build it up by degrees. Offer their own distinctive and personally unique way back to life. Blake could only do that by fighting the Administration and Federation. So a means to escape the exile to Cygnus Alpha, even in an implanted experience, was made. A ship so advanced he could fight back almost single-handed. We gave him a few key elements and his mind filled in the rest. He believed he fought for several years."

Havant looked at the expression on Morag's face as she came to terms with the explanation, and responded, "But isn't that giving him the very idealism we want to get rid of?"

The man's level voice became slightly more animated in its precise, carefully considered delivery. "Exactly. But from that idealism comes a form of self-fulfilling indestructibility. Blake believed he was infallible. At that point, it was possible to chip away at his will, and make him realise that even the most powerful opposition is futile... the death of a colleague, that the location of Control was a deception and even after he found the real thing, he had to save the Federation to save humanity."

Morag recognised the underlying principles of Federation propaganda in the last comment. "And all this worked?"

The man allowed himself the rare luxury of a smile. "The coup de grace, the final blow was when he realised he was wrong about the one man whom he thought he could trust. All that idealism had to be checked and gnawed away at from within."

Havant stood beside the man and placed a hand on his shoulder, "That was why your method worked in this instance, isn't that right, Dr Avon?"

"Yes. My newer technique allowed me to infiltrate that fantasy. Be there at his side and always offer doubt, even when also giving support. In the end, through all that, he came to trust me. And when you get to trust an enemy, only to be betrayed... why, that fact killed him almost as if I had put a couple of plasma charges through him."

Avon checked the vital signs monitor above the body of Blake. "His body is recovering from the mental trauma. The old Roj Blake is dead. Soon you can start rebuilding his memory in the way you want, so that he can remain a loyal and obedient Federation citizen. An example to them all."

As Avon spun on his heel to leave, Havant called out, "We shall make payment in the usual way? Five million credits was the agreed fee, wasn't it?"

Avon turned and nodded his assent, another hint of that rare smile, "Thank you. After all, wealth is the only reality, is it not?" He regarded Alta Morag before departing.

"Take more care with this new Blake, when he returns to his life in the City. I would not like to think we should have to go through this a third time... "

***********



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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