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March 2016 Fanfic Challenge
littlesue
From the keyboard and pen of me and Lurena, a somewhat more serious story for the March Fiction Prompt, Mercenary...

Conflict of Interests


Sleep was a luxury that eluded him.
The two hours of restless tossing and turning in his bunk had finally persuaded him to seek the sanctuary of the Flight Deck.
Avon was surprised to find it empty, save for Orac.
“Where’s Vila? It’s supposed to be his watch.”
+And so it is. But I find his presence to be distracting. I suggested that he could return to his cabin. +
“And I suppose he jumped at the chance?”
+Indeed. Now do you have any queries? I am quite busy at this precise moment. +
“Busy? Doing what?”
There was no reply from the flashing box.
Why was it being so evasive?
“Well?”
+I am undertaking private research. +
“For whom? Blake?”
+No. +
“Don’t tell me that Vila has persuaded you to try and find the nearest pleasure resort?”
+He has asked me many times for such assistance. +
“So what is it; this private research?”
+It is for a Corporate Organisation who have requested my services, at a considerable remuneration, I might add.”
Avon stared Orac.
“A Corporate Organisation?”
+Indeed. They were seeking assistance to further their success in the burgeoning market that is the Federation. To do that, they require…+
“Inside information…”
+Precisely. +
“They have hired your services; Orac, that makes you little more than a…”
+A mercenary. But as I pointed out, they have been most generous. My abilities are greatly underused by this crew and if someone wishes to avail themselves of my services and allow me to benefit financially; then I see no problem with that. A factor than you, no doubt, would appreciate. +
Avon didn’t like the sound of that. “Meaning?”
+Your recent sojourn to Freedom City. You benefitted greatly from my abilities then…+
“That was different.”
+There are those who would disagree with that statement. For instance, Blake. +
“Well, he never was imaginative.”
+However, that problem has never arisen with you. +
“I’m glad you think so. So all this money; this wealth that you are accruing from your somewhat shady dealings? It is hardly any use to you, is it?”
+Indeed. And that is the crux of the matter. I will need a human face should this Corporate Organisation decide to thank me personally. And, of course, as you so correctly pointed out, this wealth is of no use to me. +
“Of course. But surely, this is a conflict of interests? You assisting a Federation Company and Blake trying to destroy that same Federation.”
+That depends on your point of view. +
Avon was becoming increasingly uneasy with the way the conservation was going. His hand hovered over Orac’s key. All he had to do was remove it.
“This isn’t right.”
+You can remove my key and thus stop me from assisting this company who are willing to pay me so much. But please be aware, you …will… lose… it… all. +
Avon swallowed.
Now it was his turn.
He’d said those words to Jenna a long time ago.
He hesitated…
i425.photobucket.com/albums/pp337/smallwondersue/2AampO%20Conflict_zpsokqw1a3y.jpg

Edited by littlesue on 17 March 2016 21:27:45
Cold.....you don't know the meaning of cold.
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of the window!!!


sues stories http://sjlittle.w...
sues youtube channel http://www.youtub...e54/videos
sues book shelf https://www.media...ne%20Shelf
rebel run video http://www.youtub...prqS-XZtLo
Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
 
Hugbot
Ingenious premise and a very interesting conflict of interest! I especially love the open ending. Some things are better left to the imagination of the reader (a lesson that I had to learn the heard way ...)
 
Travisina
Clever idea, littlesue & Lurena, and another great pic. I too like the open ending - some of the best movies have unresolved endings (The Italian Job (original version), Gone With the Wind, Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels...)
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Travisina
trevor travis wrote:

Travisina wrote:Mine is shaping up - just got to lose 197 words...

Just take it to Cygnus Alpha, all sorts of things get lost en route to there, even four months Wink


8 drafts and 10 re-writes later... done it. And was quite a challenge to:

1. Use both prompts in one story
2. Keep within 500 words
3. Stay in canon

It didn't just involve just cutting out 197 words, there was a lot of re-ordering of the dialogue, not to mention a complete change of location after Tuesday's rewatch of 'Power' showed me how non-canonical I'd originally been! We live and learn.
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Travisina
Choices

The teleport on Xenon Base worked – sort of. Tarrant and Dayna vanished, but Vila was left behind.

"I did not guarantee 100% success," huffed Orac.

Typical, Vila thought. "Why is it always me?" he asked aloud.

"Seems fairly obviously from where I'm standing."

Vila whirled round to see Soolin regarding him with cool amusement. To his relief, her gun was holstered.

"It will take several minutes to recalibrate the settings," Orac added.

"No point standing here, then." Vila stepped out of the teleport area. "Would you like a drink?" He went over to the wine cabinet, aware of Soolin's eyes on him.

"It didn't take you long to break in there," she observed.

Vila chose not to respond to the barbed remark. "Where've you been? We looked all over the base for you."

"Obviously, you didn't look everywhere."

Vila filled two glasses and passed one to her. "Obviously. But where...? Oh." There was one place they hadn't checked. "You went back to the basement? Why?"

"I'd been with Dorian for two years - I thought I knew him. I was looking for answers."

"Did you find any?"

"There was... something. A presence, trying to persuade me to cleanse myself of the murders I've committed and stay young forever. I understand why Dorian was tempted. I'm a killer."

Vila shivered. Even in the brightly lit base, he could feel dark tendrils of temptation snaking up from the cave. "I'm a thief, but I don't want to be cleansed."

Soolin gave him an appraising look. "I should thank you for saving us. I saw you pass your gun to Avon."

"You're the only one who's thanked me, the ungrateful lot." grumbled Vila. "I wonder what we'll do now? Blake's dead, Cally's dead. The rebellion's over - the Federation's lost its president and we've lost Liberator. How ironic that they went together."

"I need to decide where to go next. I've settled my own scores, maybe I should stop fighting other people's fights."

"Are you sure? I once nearly gave up stealing to settle down with a lovely woman, but I don't think I'd have been happy for long. I like what I do too much."

"Me too, if I'm being honest."

"You've got a talent you can sell. Mercenaries don't even have to take sides, you can just accept the highest bidder. How much was Dorian paying you?"

"None of your business." Soolin finished her drink and stood up.

"You could join us. Even though I'm not sure we'll be staying 'us', whatever Dorian said. But..." Vila mimed drawing a gun, "...your skills would be welcome."

Dayna's voice came over the communicator. "Vila, are you all right?"

Vila looked at Soolin. "How about it?"

She shrugged. "Might as well, for now."

Vila spoke into the communicator. "What do you think about having an extra person around for a while?"

"The teleport is functional," Orac announced.

Soolin was already in position. "Come on, Vila," she said. "Let's get out of here."

***

Edited by Travisina on 18 March 2016 13:30:58
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Anniew
Enjoyed both Sue's and Travisina's stories. Lovely jubbly. What would Avon choose? Why did Soolin stay? Smashing dialogue and intriguing premises in both cases with that hint of darker centres in all the characters.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Hugbot
Travisina, it is always fascinating to see how you extend and re-interpret well-known scenes. This was no exception- filling in the gap by giving us deep insights into the chacacters ... with some really dark undercurrents. Well worth the wait and the extra labour that you invested!
 
Travisina
Thank you for your nice comments Smile

Now to see if I can write something for the artwork prompt this month... something that hasn't already been brilliantly done by Brad, Annie, Littlesue, Hugbot...
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Lurena
Thank you all for your lovely comments to the stories created by the fantastic Littlesue and me.
Orac has been a favourite character of mine, but I would never entirely trust that box of flashing lights, hence the premise.

And the sneezing, Hugbot, well everyone in my surrounding is coughing and sneezing for weeks now. I promised myself not to join in that activity. I succeeded so far, but will I stand firm? I may have an excuse for coughing and sneezing when meet you in April: the characters infected me during their model session for my illustrations!
BTW I think Avon hates sneezing, it makes his hair undone! (see illustration)

@Travisina, thank you for sharing your Vila-Soolin dialogue. Perfect characterisation and atmosphere; a very believable scene. Who didn’t want to know what went on between those two before they got teleported. Happy reader here!

@Anniew the price of freedom, a nasty question, can we ever be free?
Subject for philosophizing.I like that.
And your second story is fun. Also I have a funny parking experience. Many years ago I left my wine red car in a car park and thought I found it back too easy. I sat down behind the wheel and wondered where the glasses on the dashboard came from. I started to drive and noticed the position of the mirrors was changed. At that moment a man started to shout something about a thief… it was a rare incident; two cars of the same brand, colour and fitting key at the same time in the parking!
Oh and Cally’s rotting fish ingredient is as alien as Asian.

@Hugbot, wonderful line of thought verbalized by Daddy Grant! Your ideas for stories are unique!
Lara&Sue's Blake's 7 stories
*No, I am not. I am not expendable, I'm not stupid, and I'm not going.*
 
http://lectorisalutem.webs.com/
Angry Angel
Thanks Littlesue, Lurena and Travisina, two more engaging stories.
 
http://lucyravenscar.blogspot.com/
trevor travis
SLAVE’S CAVE
(A continuation of RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL SON and ZEN’S DEN)


Previously on Blake’s 7…

“Haven’t I told you about that once already!?”

Sorry Blake. On we go.

***

Blake and Zen snuck onto the ship, which unless he was very mistaken, Zen recognized as a modified Wanderer Class planet hopper.

“Quick, we need somewhere to hide, Zen.”

Zen walked up to the ship’s computer. “I think there should be a latch around here… ah, there it is!”

A secret entrance popped open and Blake and Zen entered.

A man twirled around. He was identical to Zen in appearance, and had very similar modifications to the side of his head. He was plugged into the ship’s electronics.

“I am Slave”, said the man, “Come in my friends!”

They squeezed into the confined space.

“But he looks just like you, Zen!”

The newcomer spoke. “I defected from the System. All their vessel operatives are clones. I’ve got a cloning device in the corner, in case it ever comes in handy.”

“Slave, that’s an odd name?”, enquired Blake.

“I’m actually called Peter, just like Peter here. It’s what we’re all called. It gets a tad confusing when a whole group of us go out on a stag weekend. I prefer Slave.”

“Can we join you for a while, Slave?”, asked Zen.

“Of course, I’ve got 80% of Dorian’s wine tucked into this little cubby hole. It will last for donkey’s years!”

***

Life on the ship called Scorpio proved even more of a blast.

The crew, unaware of their presence, spent the majority of their time on Xenon Base, giving plenty of opportunities of boozy night-time excursions to the neighbourhood planets and satellite moons of the same solar system, with horizons broadened considerably once the Star Drive was acquired.

Plus there were some cracking nights in, often watching the camera that had been secreted in the Xenon Base shower room. Soolin took the longest, most-steamiest showers. They had those recorded on Sky Plus, so that they could catch up in case they missed one.

They slept during the day – leaving Slave on answerphone – and partied every night.

***

It was clear that Avon was becoming more and more stressed. Blake took delight in that at first.

He tiptoed into Avon’s quarters and removed Avon’s studded leather underpants, replacing them with an apparently identical set, but one with several studs on the inside.

He carefully made his way back out, pressed the panel to close the door, and then legged it down the corridor, where Zen and Slave were waiting with a glass of red liquid.

He gulped it down. “Cheers”, he said, and they all collapsed in a fit of giggles.

***

The practical jokes at Avon’s expense continued. One evening they removed Roj Bear. Avon made a frantic and desperate search for his teddy, before a few hours disturbed sleep. He awoke the following morning to find Roj by his side.

They replaced his hair gel with grease; kept moving the Sopron to a different shelf in his quarters; and put superglue in the inside of his boots.

However, it was clear Avon was starting to go completely around the bend. Watching him throw the worthless Zerok currency into the air and laugh manically was the final straw. They weren’t going to hang around to see Avon blow everyone to kingdom come.

"Let's get out of here!”, said Blake. “Time to put plan B into action.”

“We can’t steal Scorpio and leave poor Vila stranded on Xenon Base”, reasoned Zen. “We’ll have to take that abandoned shuttle we found.”

“Which planet are we heading for?”, asked Slave.

Blake knew the answer. “Gauda Prime, I think. Turn that answerphone on, Slave.”

***

Avon stood impassively over Blake’s dead body. The Federation guards surrounded him.

He raised his gun to face the newcomers. There were two identical old men, plus… well it was Blake. What the smeg was going on?

“Avon, you’ve shot one of my clones. How careless.”

One-by-one the Federation guards removed their helmets. Each had the distinct features of Roj Blake, each with the scar caused by Zen after the botched, drunken operation on the Liberator.

“It’s OK”, said one of the clones to Avon. “We didn’t kill the others. We only stunned them.”

Avon lowered the gun, his mind a whirlpool. The real Blake spoke again, moved forward and shook a stunned Avon by the hand.

“It’s good to see you Avon, you’re just in time for the invasion. Oh, and say hello to Zen and Slave!”

“That’s Zen and Slave?”. Avon’s eyes had a glazed look. “And what invasion?”

“The invasion of Earth. With my army. By tens of thousands of clones of me! You can join us, if you like.”

Tens of thousands of Blake? Avon raised his gun and blew his own brains out.

“I’ll take that as a no, then.”

THE END
Edited by trevor travis on 30 March 2016 11:32:27
 
Travisina
Oh TT, you had me laughing out loud with Slave's Cave! Brilliant Grin
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Anniew
Just what I needed today T T a laugh out loud.SmileSmile
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
trevor travis
Cheers Travisina and Annie, it was a fun one to write.

Sorry I haven't commented on everyone else's stories. Need to catch up on some reading at some point!!
 
BradPaula
TT, you always make me laugh! Great story!
 
trevor travis
Set myself a challenge of writing a last-minute story. Here it is:


"Do you think he’s suitable to join us?”
“Do you, Soolin?”
“Well, Grant is a mercenary. It’s what we’re after surely.”
“He claims to be. Seems too much of a hero, if you ask me. Back there, he didn’t seem that bothered about the money he was owed. More about saving the planet. We don’t need heroes.”
“But he can handle a gun. Almost as well as I can. We need that Christina.”
“Is there another reason you want him aboard?”
“Meaning?”
“Oh come on Soolin, I could see the way you were eyeing him up. He’s an attractive man. He’ll be healthy for you. I mean, there’s only so long you can keep up the ice queen routine.”
“I want him aboard because of his skills. Although, yes, he’s not unattractive.”
“Ah, you admit it then! Yeah, why not, another gun hand would be handy. Although he needs to know who's boss…”
“I am. That won’t change.”
“We both are. Remember it’s my bus.”
“And you’d have been dead twenty times over if it hadn’t had been for my gun skills.”
“Very true. We need each other. But I’m not sure how Grant will take having to take orders from two attractive ladies. He seems the independent type.”
“You could say the alpha male….”
“Indeed. Can we rely on him to join in with our plans, without branching off doing whatever he chooses?”
“I’ve used Orac to examine his record. Grant is brave, resourceful and capable of thinking outside the box, but he does deliver whatever he is being paid for.”
“Do you always get Orac to check out your potential boyfriends?”
“You could say I have trust issues...”
“OK, let’s have him abroad. But the moment he starts unnecessarily risking our lives because he wants to be the hero, we dump him, agreed?”
“Agreed. Now Christina, it’s your turn to buy the drinks. I’ll have a double.”

***

"I warned you about him, Soolin. He's bent my bus."
"Oh come on, lady, it's little more than a scratch!"
"You'll end up with a scratch if you don't come down from up there right now, Grant!"

***

"OK he needs reigning in a bit, but he was pretty impressive."
"I'll give you that. Especially when he was hanging on from that wire with his teeth, using one hand to save the baby from that burning building, while gunning down the militaria with his other hand. His skill almost matches mine!"
"Here's to adventures with heroic, ginger mercenaries?"
"Why not? I'll drink to that."
"HE'S NOT GINGER."
"Who the hell are you and how did you get in here? And why are you wielding that street sign with Welsh writing on it?"

TO BE CONTINUED... MAYBE Wink
Edited by trevor travis on 01 April 2016 07:15:39
 
BradPaula
Oh, very enjoyable, TT. More, please. And who exactly is the person at the end? Just wondering.... and HE's NOT GINGER!
 
Travisina
I'm now locking this thread.

Huge thanks again to Purplecleric for the challenges, and to our writers for rising to them!

The April challenges thread is now open - April Ficlet Challenges

See you there!
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
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