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Jan 2018 Fanfic Challenge
purplecleric
*HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL*

The constellation Capricornus in Greek mythology represents the goat who suckled Zeus. Its broken horn was transformed into the cornucopia or horn of plenty. In literary terms, a bounty.

The word prompt this month is … BOUNTY

An episode title, the reward for killing or capturing a person. To continue the confectionery theme of the previous year; a rather tasty chocolate-covered coconut treat (dark chocolate ones are best) and in more pragmatic terms, a brand of kitchen towel.

For the second challenge:

The crew observe the disappearance of a bright star on the monitors. Tell the story.
 
purplecleric
A reminder of the challenge 'rules' for any newcomers:

The prompts can be literal or the inspiration; you can use both or either, together or separately; any written word form is acceptable - a scrap of dialogue, a vignette or scene, a poem or a pun, a filk, parody or crossover, an excerpt or a half-remembered fever dream.

Multiple entries are welcome, no experience is necessary. This is a playground, not a writer's salon, so feel free to experiment.

There's a word limit of 500 words per piece - to encourage participation and to make it easier for Travisina to compile the monthly collections. The deadline is midnight in your time zone on the last day of the month and please remember Horizon's PG13 policy.

This is not a competition; there are no prizes, just kudos for participating and the opportunity to play with our favourite toys.
 
Hugbot
Star of Wonder, Star of Night

It had been an extraordinarily bright star but then, from one moment to another, it had vanished. As if someone had turned a switch.

Was that a new fiendish plot of the Federation? A new weapon that could destroy whole star systems at the press of a button? Frantically, Avon checked all sensors. If they could wipe out a star like that they could also wipe out the Liberator at any moment.

+Information,+ Zen suddenly intoned, +the vanished star has been identified as the Christmas Star. Its disappearance is a regular event. Every year at this time, it leaves its place to appear to the people on Earth and to wish them peace and goodwill to all men.+

‘Don’t give me this superstitious nonsense,’ Avon snapped, ‘That is completely unscientific. Besides, I have lived on Earth long enough. There is never a time when such a star miraculously appears in the sky. It is only ever to be seen in the paintings of children.’

+Yes,+ Zen answered, +It is in their hearts where it shines.+
 
Joe Dredd
Beautiful!

Though Avon would like to add "Sentiment breeds weakness, Hugbot... now, please excuse me for a moment. I seem to have got some dust in my eye."
 
Joe Dredd
Down Among the Good Guys

Blake beamed with satisfaction as he and the others stepped from the teleport bay, arms laden with strange boxes and objects.

"How did you go?" asked Gan, grinning in return. It was obvious things had gone well.

"We got the lot!" Vila crowed, holding up a large metal safety deposit box.

"A veritable bounty," exclaimed Jenna.

"A veritable hat-trick!" said Vila, exuberantly.

Blake turned to the others. "Well done, everyone. You all did a brilliant job. Cally, please put the descrambler we liberated in the workshop. Avon and Orac can examine it later. Jenna, the chocolate covered coconut belongs in the kitchen of course--"

"And the rare jewel-encrusted duck feathers?" asked Vila keenly.

"Take them to the treasure room Vila. I'm going to trust you in there, so remember you're dropping off only. I want those feathers locked up tight, so make sure you put them away... in the down safe."
 
Joe Dredd
It's All in the Sun

"But I tell you I saw it!" insisted Vila.

"Or didn't see it," smiled Dayna, joining him on the crew lounge.

Vila glanced about in confusion. "Yes! Er, no! BOTH!"

"And this didn't have anything to do with it?" asked Cally, holding up an empty glass from the centre table.

"No!" cried Vila, clearly desperate to be believed. "'I've only had one adrenelin and soma. Well, two," he corrected seeing the frowns around him.

"Let's get this straight," said Tarrant, staring at the bright star blazing on the screen. "You say that star there, the Warn Eye, disappeared?"

"Yes!" said Vila.

"But it's right there in front of us!" said Dayna.

"Well, it's obviously reappeared again!" cried Vila. "Like a... like a--"

"Winky blinky light?" Dayna smiled at Tarrant. Tarrant didn't share her amusement as he strode to his flight position.

"Yes!.. No!" protested Vila.

"Zen, I want a 60 degree conic scan centred on that star," ordered Tarrant. "Report any sign of ships nearby that could have occluded it as they passed."

Zen's soft rectangles of light changed pattern as it said, "Confirmed. Scan result negative."

Avon arrived on the flight deck as Tarrant ordered a telemetric band sweep.

"Sweep negative," reported Zen. "No telemetry detected."

"What's happening?" asked Avon, staring at the star filling most of the main screen. "Why aren't we moving?"

"While you were sleeping, the navigation computer decided it needed to completely recalibrate itself," replied Cally. "It seems that star on the screen is a handy reference point for this locale. It's a foregroung halo giant, apparently."

"It's called the Warn Eye," added Dayna. "Vila thinks he saw it disappear."

"I did see it disappear!" insisted Vila.

"With the navigation computer off line, Zen won't move an inch," said Tarrant.

"So we're sitting ducks." said Avon, punching up a readout on his console. "Zen, time until navigational recalibration is completed."

Zen's lights settled into slow new patterns. "Recalibration of navigational and positional systems will be completed in approximately nine point two five three four minutes," it intoned.

Dayna smirked. "Approximately."

Avon gave them all a grim look. "You should've woken me."

"There was no need," replied Tarrant. "We've all been extra vigilant. I was checking to make sure what Vila saw wasn't a hostile ship getting between us and that star."

"Next time, wake me," Avon said sternly. "If there is a next time."

"Look!" said Vila, pointing at the screen. Everyone looked up to see blank space where the star had been. "It's disappeard again!"

"Zen, raise the force wall," shouted Tarrant. "Clear the neutron blasters for firing."

"Confirmed."

The tall young pilot turned to Dayna. "Dayna, arm the seekers."

"Right," said Dayna, hurrying to the weapons console.

"Wait," snapped Avon, raising a staying hand. "Look at the screen. What can you see?"

"The stars!" said Cally. "You're right, Avon. There's nothing blocking the stars. We can see the stars that were behind it."

Dayna stared. "That means it's either gone... or invisible."

Tarrant checked a reading. "The gravitic indicator says it's gone."

"It's back!" called Cally as the star reappeared on the screen.

Vila looked across at Avon. "If there's something aimed this way that can displace a star, we could be next!"

This time they all noticed the light from the main screen dim as the star disappeared again.

"The Warn Eye," said Avon. "Warning of what?"

The star winked out and reappeared several times as Avon crossed urgently to Orac and inserted the key.

"Orac," he said. "Why is the nearby star known as the Warn Eye disappearing and reappearing? Is Liberator at risk?"

There was a pregnant pause as the crew waited for Orac to reply. "There is no danger," it said after a moment. "It is a signal."

"A signal?" asked Vila.

"Time the appearances!" shouted Dayna. "And disappearances!"

Avon looked unimpressed. "Morse code, Orac?"

"That is correct."

"As you are obviously familiar with the code, Orac, you can translate the message for us."

"Oh... very well."

The crew gathered around as Orac translated the pulsating appearances of the star into characters.

"H... A... P... P... Y... N... E... W... Y... E... A... R... T... O... B... 7... F... A... N... S... E... V... E... R... Y... W... H... E... R... E ..."


The End. (And another beginning.)


- - - - - - - - - -
[T: WARN EYE]
- - - - - - - - - -
 
Anniew
Not a patch on previous entries (massive kudos Huggy and Joe) and a tenuous link to one of the prompts!
....

The click clack, click clack of heels on the concrete alerted him that she was coming. He was probably dying but there might be one last throw of the dice left, for him if not for Blake and the others. She would want Orac and might be persuaded to keep him alive in exchange for the information as to its whereabouts. Particularly as he had programmed it to release pictures of “Sleer” and Servalan to the President if he didn’t return within six hours and cancel the order. He took a breath- painful- and had just braced himself to move when his hair was gripped tightly, his head jerked roughly up. He found himself face to face with:

“Jenna!” But that was impossible wasn’t it? He’d had no information that she was with Blake. In fact apart from Zen’s assertion she was on a ship making for Morphenniel, he’d found no news about her at all. Not that he’d sought any. With her out of the picture, the Liberator had been undisputedly his.

“Hello, Avon,” she said. “I see you’re in considerable pain. Don’t worry. I intend to do something about it, eventually, but in the meanwhile we should have a little chat.”

He moved uncomfortably. Breath was hard to fetch and there was something in the implacable blue eyes skewering his gaze that filled him with fear.

“Jenna,” he tried for charming as best he could. “ I’m glad to see you survived. And found Blake. As you can see, we both arrived too late to save him. There was a traitor in his camp.”

He moved aside fractionally and she let go of his hair and turned the face of the corpse he was laying on towards her, making an odd exhalation as she registered who it belonged to.

“Bastard,” she swore roundly. “Bastard.”

“I was too late, Jenna,” he tried, persuasively. “I was shot trying to defend him. You have to believe me. Help me, Jenna. Please.”

She laughed softly. “Help you, Avon? Oh I don’t think I’ll do that. You see I set all this up.”

He sank back once more, exhaustion claiming him. This wasn’t how things were supposed to go. He couldn’t even make sense of her words. “Set this up.” That was Blake, wasn’t it? Had they both betrayed him?

“Bastard!” She swore again, dropping Blake’s head none too gently onto the concrete. “You bastard, Blake. My only regret is that I didn’t get to kill you myself. But killing your co-conspirator here will be some compensation.”

“Co-conspirator?” Bewildered by the accusation, he nevertheless marshalled his energy as best he could and made one last desperate plea. “I was his victim, Jenna. Just as you were. Never his co-conspirator. He betrayed me as well as you.”

Dimly he saw Jenna toss her head in the decisive way he remembered. She bent over him and now he saw a gun had appeared in her hand.

“Oh you both betrayed me, Avon,” she hissed. “You and Blake. Doing a deal about the ship when my back was turned. What right had he to give it to you? Liberator was mine. You knew that or you’d have looked for me after the war. And what did you do with it? You destroyed it, so Orac tells me, and you killed Zen....killed my Zen....in the process. Now beg for your life, Avon. I shall enjoy hearing you beg.” She thrust the muzzle of the gun hard against his temple.

“Jenna...please... you can’t kill me. Not for taking a ship. That would be murder..”

Jenna laughed. “Not murder, Avon. Justice. The penalty for taking a ship from its rightful Captain has always been death.”

She pulled the trigger and then left the silo without a backward glance.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Joe Dredd
Anniew wrote:

Not a patch on previous entries

You're too modest, Annie. That's excellent.
 
Anniew
Oh Joe. Thank you. The link was Mutiny on the Bounty and I really wanted to write an AU on it but failed! The above fic was the nearest I got.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
littlesue
Anniew, you do manage to have Avon suffer so well....
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/
 
Coser
Joe Dredd wrote:

- - - - - - - - - -
[T: WARN EYE]
- - - - - - - - - -


Shouldn't that have been "Warn Og"?




I'll get my hat!
"Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics, and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-Tzu, and Einstein, and Morobuto, and Buddy Holly, and Aristophanes…then all of this…all of this…was for nothing. Unless we go to the stars." Commander sinclair, Babylon 5.
 
littlesue
Well. here goes. Lurena and I have had to have a Part 1 and a part 2 to this little effort...Lurena went a bit mad...okay, I went a bit mad....all right, we both went a bit mad!!!

When you Wish Upon a Star.....


i.imgur.com/x6Yxdz6.jpg


PART 1

Gan put aside his fork, his face distinctly glum.
The waiter hurried over, offering apologies.
“Sir, we are aware of the quality of the meals on offer and we are about to fire the cook. If you care to wait, we will be able to provide you with a new menu…..”
But Gan wasn’t too pleased about that, for he knew that would involve one of Cally’s infamous Auron dishes.
“Thank you, but I think it best that I leave,” Gan replied, quickly scanning the open kitchen for Cally who had offered her culinary arts in an attempt to cover the identity of the trio who had arrived at the Etiole Filante, the only restaurant floating in space which possessed a classical Michelin Guide Gold Star.

It was Gan’s digestion troubles and the chance that food, other than that from the Liberator’s instant menus, would be of help, which had prompted this escapade.
He had teleported over to the Etiole Filante with Cally, who pretended to be looking for employment, and Avon, who wanted to use the opportunity to collect some specific herbs for his favourite Wok Stir Fry. He had presented himself as a kitchen inspector of the Galactic Michelin Company.

Gan took his leave and walked towards the entrance hall, where he met Avon, smiling broadly.
“Got them! Where’s Cally?”
“Still in the kitchen,” Gan sighed, “But I don’t know for how long…”
Avon raised his left hand,” Jenna, two to come up.”

The Head Chef of the Etoile Filante was not one to get himself sacked so easily.
“Does she have the correct Federation Hotel Academia Certificates?” he demanded to know.
The restaurant owner shrugged, “Look, I’ll request her data now.” He opened the Alumni files of the renowned FHA. “Auron she said…”

Vila watched the two men step out of the Teleport area, “Where’s Cally?”
“Don’t worry, she’ll be here soon,” Gan replied calmly,” Nobody likes Auron Hamburgers.”
“She could be in trouble,” Jenna pointed out.
Avon smiled, “Not Cally, although the same won’t be said of her dinner guests.” So saying, he disappeared into the Liberator’s Galley.
“This doesn’t feel right,” Jenna said, “Vila…”
“I’ll go and look for her…”
Vila’s unusual lack of hesitation was missed by Jenna who was too focussed on Cally’s predicament to notice.

There was a slight vibration in the air of the Etoile Filante‘s entrance hall and Vila appeared, instantly scrutinizing the area, but not looking for Cally. He had something very different in mind.
His hand slipped into his pocket, searching for a tool.
There it was! Locked up in its Perspex casing: The Big Michelin Gold Star!
A last glimpse over his shoulder and then a quick movement with his tool….

A Federation guard rushed in, “Sir, there is a space ship of unknown origin in our parking orbit. Scanners confirm that it is wanted Liberator!”
The restaurant owner raised his brow, “Just what I thought! The new cook is an imposter; she must be the Auron dissident Cally! “


Part 2

//INFORMATION// Zen intoned, //SENSORS REPORT THAT THE ETOILE FILANTE HAS SOUNDED BATTLE STATIONS//
“Battle stations?? For a restaurant???” Blake asked.
+It would appear, + Orac began, + that this is not a restaurant as such, but a Federation facility, and it seems that someone over there has identified the Liberator…and the Etiole Filante’s new visitors.
An interesting point: Etoile Filante is French, it means: Shooting Star. +
The first plasma bolt didn’t quite find its mark, but the resultant ‘hit’ still sent Avon flying across the Liberators kitchen and his lovingly prepared Wok Stir Fry went up in flames. “Damn!!!”

Cally materialised in the teleport.
“Where’s Vila?” Jenna demanded.
“I don’t know, but I think I was about to get fired…”

Blake was shocked; he couldn’t put up the force wall until Vila had returned…
// PLASMA BOLT LAUNCHED AND RUNNING TRUE// Zen announced.
“Vila’s here,” Jenna reported, “It’s time to put that restaurant out of business.”
Blake returned fire and the Etiole Filante exploded in a brilliant starburst.

“Vila, what kept you?” Blake asked.
“This gold star. It could set me up for life. I could open up my own Michelin Star restaurant…yes; I can see it now, waitresses in red with lovely long legs…”
Avon was silent, still not amused that his attempt as creating a dish from the ‘borrowed’ ingredients had gone up in smoke.
Cally was not amused either, “They didn’t like my Auron Vegan Burgers. The Head Chef said they were deplorable.”
Gan smiled, “He can talk. His meals were revolting. They say that nothing tastes as good as home cooked food…” He sighed, “Unfortunately that can’t be said of the Liberator’s fayre…”
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/
 
ServalansGran
Only Jenna was missing from the Liberator’s flight deck. She would be needed when they reached their destination, and in the meantime was resting. But that was many hours away, and Vila was bored.
‘Orac. Tell me again. How much are we worth now?’
‘If you are referring to what the Federation would pay a bounty-hunter to -’
‘Yes!’ interrupted Vila, ‘just get to the figure!’
‘50 million credits on condition that - ‘
‘50 million credits!’ cried Vila with something resembling jubilation. Cally laughed:
‘You sound like you’re thinking of turning yourself in, Vila.’
‘And I would remind you,’ cut in Orac, ‘that I alone am worth 100 million to the Federation.’ At that, Avon strode purposefully around the flight deck, withdrew Orac’s key, pocketed it, turned to Vila, and said acerbically,
‘Don’t you go getting any ideas.’
Blake chose that moment to speak up:
‘Here’s an idea for you, Avon.The Federation might just have a problem with this bounty. As we’ve become more and more of a thorn in their side, they’ve naturally increased the amount for our capture - dead or alive - but, what they may have overlooked, is how sceptical any bounty-hunter would have to be of the Federation’s willingness to actually hand over such a large amount.’
‘Servalan would like nothing better than to have her cake and eat it.’ Cally, wishing to speak plainly, wasted no time in identifying the Federation with Servalan. Avon on the other hand had been mulling over Blake’s proposition as if it were a mathematical equation, a problem of logic.
‘Don’t underestimate people’s naivete, Blake.’
‘Meaning what, Avon?’
‘Plenty of fools would shoot us in the back and think they had made their fortune.’
‘But someone that naive is hardly- ‘
‘Likely to capture us? Exactly.’
‘So you agree we’re safe? Is that your what you’re saying, Avon?’
‘Safe from bounty-hunters? ‘ He paused; then concluded, ‘I’m not sure… ‘
‘Not sure, Avon?’ Gan, who had been holding himself aloof from the debate, was piqued by this development. ‘That’s not like you.’
Before Avon could respond, something happened which immediately took precedence. Zen intoned,
‘Federation pursuit ship - ‘
 
littlesue
And now for the second entry; very tenuous, but here goes!
Piccie by Lurena...

After her foray to Freedom City, our blonde gunslinger decides to have a quiet moment to herself, but not for long…….

Adventures of Soolin
Part Four
A Bountiful Idea


Soolin was in a reflective mood.
So much had happened since she had found herself with new companions and Dorian had been revealed for what he really was.
But at least she was getting off Xenon once in a while, although she had a feeling that soon Avon would start to question the number of sorties that she felt compelled to join Tarrant, Vila and Dayna on.
But at least she was getting closer to solving the mystery of the Family Pack of Revels.
“Do you mind if I join you?”
She turned to see Avon standing in the doorway.
He looked tired.
“I’m surprised that you are up and about considering that electric shock that you took. Was it worth it?”
Avon sat down, somewhat dejectedly, “It would have been if Tarrant hadn’t decided to take matters into his own hands and destroy Muller’s creation.”
“But it killed Vena,” Soolin declared.
“A casualty of advancement.”
“It wanted to kill us…in case you’ve forgotten.”
“Every advance in cybernetics has it casualties.”
“I must remember that the next time Orac has a meltdown.”
“I’m sorry about Vena….”
Soolin was pensive. Here was man who had coldly sent Dr Plaxton to her death, and yet he seemed genuinely saddened by the death of Muller’s lady.
“I take it you have decided to curtail your trips off world?” Avon asked.
“For the moment,” Soolin replied. That was true, although her next venture was beginning to beckon. She continued, “Dayna is still getting over Justin’s death, although I wouldn’t be surprised if her chocolate need will surface again soon, which should keep Vila busy.”
“Good,” Avon said absently.
“Penny for them?”
“Servalan; I can’t help but wonder how she escaped the Liberator and how she is masquerading as Commissioner Sleer. It won’t be long before she starts to hunt us down again.”
“Will she?”
“Oh yes, mark my words…”
Vila came bustling in, “Oh…Soolin, I thought you were alone.”
“Evidently not?” Soolin smiled.
“Um...I was wondering if you would like to try these. I found them on… that last port of call.”
“What bounty do you have now, Vila?” Avon asked quizzically.
“No, they’re not Bounty, and it’s not chocolate,” Vila replied, a twinkle in his eye, “They’re called Wine Gums…would you like one Soolin…or two?”
She took one from the proffered packet.
“Well?” Vila asked, “Try the one with Port on it, or the Champagne one, or Claret, Sherry, Burgundy...”
Soolin did so, watched by Avon.
“Anything?” Vila asked...
“Did you have something in mind?” Soolin enquired.
“Well, these are wine gums…and um…maybe you need a few…”
“They’re very nice, Vila.”
“Nice? “
“Vila, may I?” Avon asked, reaching for the packet in question. He smiled, a weary smile, “These wine gums lack one very basic ingredient…alcohol.”
“What? Who on Earth thought that was a great idea?”
“Mr Maynard apparently,” Avon said, handing Vila the packet back.
Vila looked at Soolin and then at the packet.
“Never mind, Vila,” she said, taking pity on the poor crestfallen man, “Better luck next time.”
i.imgur.com/GrVmoaT.jpg
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/
 
purplecleric
Hugbot - Star of Wonder, Star of Night - Aww, what a sweet way to start the new year.


Joe Dredd - Down Among the Good Guys - Groaaaaaaan. I've just recovered from cracker jokes.
It's All in the Sun - And a very happy new year to you!

Annie - I do enjoy a vengeful Jenna. Good alternative take.


littlesue & Lurena - Auron vegeburgers strike again! and another great picture. And the Confectionery Tales continue!

ServalansGran - welcome! I like Avon being unsure and the crew's reaction. I can almost hear the cogs of Vila's brain turning.

I haven't been posting much the last few months for various reasons but I have been lurking and reading. Thanks for keeping the challenges going in such fine style.
 
purplecleric
Hunter


Cally eyed the all-weather jacket with disdain. It was practical, so each crew member had one, but uniformity was not her style. By nature, she was rebel. She discarded the jacket and sought an alternative in the wardrobe room. Cally was drawn to a furred jacket with a spotted print. It was soft, warm and stylish. She slipped it on and posed, tall and proud. It was decided.
There were stares when she entered the teleport bay but it was Blake who commented, once they were safely planetside. Mindful of any patrols, he whispered.

‘Is that some form of camouflage or are you making a statement?’

Cally continued to scan the woods as she replied.

‘There is no subtext, Blake. We’re not all Avon, I just fancied a change. Let’s scout the area.’

It didn’t take long to dispose of the body and soon Cally was following the sound of voices through the chambers of Sarkoff’s ‘prison’. Approaching, she could discern the words. Blake and Sarkoff were discussing history. She hung back, listening and flicking through an old paper picture book. One image stood out: a large feline poised on a rocky outcrop, surveying herds of grazing animals on the plains below. Its pelt shone gold and black in the light from a low sun. The image captivated her with its vision of a lone hunter, powerful, independent and free. There was a sadness there too, that compelled Cally to stroke the picture with a finger.

The gun thrust in her back startled her. Tyce ripped the book from Cally’s hands, looked at the picture and scoffed. Cally regained her composure.

‘I’m with Blake.’

Tyce directed Cally forward with the gun.

‘We’ll see.’

Nightwatch after a long hard day, and Cally welcomed the time alone on the dim flight deck. Zen’s flashing amber and gold lights evoked memories of the picture that had captivated her.

‘Zen, search the data banks for information on an ancient earth creature, feline, yellow fur patterned with black spots.’

Zen’s lights flashed faster, forming a different pattern, then slowed as if in apology.

+ NO INFORMATION +

‘It was called a leopard.’

Cally spun around. Blake was silhouetted at the top of the steps. He continued speaking as he climbed down into the shadows, his voice low in keeping with the muted atmosphere.

‘Magnificent creatures; strong, graceful and athletic.’

Cally noted his wistfulness. ‘The Federation killed them?’

‘Oh no, they were long gone before the Federation and the domes.Their food was taken, their habitats destroyed, they were hunted for entertainment and their fur used for fine clothes and decorations. And we call the ancients ‘civilised’... ‘ Blake swung his arms as he paced, as if to dispel the bitterness in his last words. In a more upbeat tone, he addressed Cally again.

‘Off to bed, it’s my watch. We did good today, so rest easy.’

Cally dreamed of the leopard that night, and many more nights after, but she never wore the jacket again.
 
purplecleric
The Cook

I’ll get there in the end. After all, time is relative. Matter may be finite but the combinations - oh so many combinations. It never fails to astound me what can be created using the same raw materials in varying amounts, applying forces in various ways, giving it all a stir or letting it sit and brew. I don’t know what thrills me more; the experimentation, the anticipation or the end result. One day I will hit upon the perfect recipe and then my work will be over, but not yet. Please not yet, I’m having too much fun.

See this one? A fluke. A contamination from an earlier trial and boom! The cloud of beautiful colours and the taste sublime. Sublime, but not perfect. What makes it perfect? Well... let’s see. It has to have the right blend of flavours, it has to be nutritionally complete with enough stored energy to sustain us in perpetuity. Why is the flavour important? Well, if it’s the only thing you’re going to consume for the rest of eternity, it better be bloody good, eh? I don’t know what’ll happen to me after I’ve found it. Retire, I guess. Won’t be much point doing anything else - after all, this is my whole life.

Careful! Don’t go poking around in that one, it went a bit wrong and is now more like an anti-food, if you know what I mean. Oh, those? Useful byproducts. Sometimes I let them be, sometimes I use them to add piquancy. See how they are all gathered on the surface of that one? Adds a bit of crunch. Think of it as seasoning. Yes, they do move around - a bit of cross pollination is good. Remember the cloud? Of course, sometimes it’s not so good. Had to write off a whole batch over there that got tainted.

You’re right, I guess - I have probably made enough already but it’s not perfect yet. I need to conduct some more experiments... I didn’t know that, I’ve been busy, kept my head down, you know? Really? Things are that bad? Now? No… please...

***
On the flight deck of the Liberator, the crew are alerted by Zen. They turn to the screen and watch as a bright star disappears. Then another.
 
Travisina
Yay, wonderful fics! Good to have you back, PC Smile
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There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Travisina
The sound of his cell door grinding open woke him, but Avon lay still, feigning sleep. He had been anticipating this visit, and did not want to give her the satisfaction of knowing she was expected. He waited to hear the click of high heels on the steel floor, the swish of a silky dress. He took a deep, painful breath, trying to catch the first hint of musky perfume as she approached.

But instead he heard the heavier tread of boots, and a familiar voice saying his name in an unfamiliar way. He opened his eyes and rolled over to face his visitor.

Vila seemed taller, and not only because Avon was looking up at him from the low bunk. He was standing straight, his expression unsmiling. His clothes appeared expensive; neat and well tailored. Alpha clothes.

"Hello, Vila. You're looking well, for a corpse."

"You don't seem surprised to see me."

"I'm not. I figured you weren't dead."

"How?"

"Next time you fake your death, if you're supposed to have been shot from behind you should fall forwards, not backwards."

"I'll try to remember that. After all, I plan to live forever... or at least longer than if I'd stayed with you." Vila's tone was casual, but Avon could hear the bitterness behind the light words.

"Is this revenge for Malodar?"

"Not exactly. I'd been offered a tempting proposition, and thought, what’s left for me on Xenon? Why not just accept it?"

"Ah. You were bribed."

"I prefer to call it payment for services rendered. My criminal record has been wiped, with full pardon for any previous... misdemeanours." Vila brushed an invisible speck of dust off his tunic. "Not to mention a handsome reward, and the guarantee of a quiet retirement on the leisure planet of my choice."

"And I thought Blake was the bounty hunter."

"Funny how things turn out."

"I'm not laughing."

"Neither am I."

"What about the others?"

"Alive, and on their way to Earth in separate transports. Each has been told that the rest are dead. A clever touch, don't you think? I expect they'll meet again when they're called as witnesses at your trial."

Avon got to his feet, and moved forward as far as his manacles would allow. It was a small triumph to see Vila take a hasty step back; to see the old flash of fear in his eyes.

"Mr Restal?" A guard stood in the doorway. "Sir?"

"Yes, I'm coming. I just need to..." Vila took two quick steps towards Avon, and with a sudden swift movement, punched him in the jaw. "That's for Malodar." He turned on his heel and walked out.

Avon sat down heavily on the bunk, blinking in astonishment. Then he started to laugh.

***

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There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
BradPaula
A Second Chance at Life


People had often commented that he could be one of the exhibits in his little museum. It was always said with kindness, but it was true. He was a man out of a different time. It had taken him years in his exile to gather his priceless treasures. And many of his possessions were given to him by governmental officials, which he was both thankful for and a bit saddened by.

His prize though was his very antiquated and unique motor car. It had cost a small fortune to ship it from Earth to his present location, and it also cost much to maintain and run the thing. But one of his joys here was the weekly drive around the complex in it, being dressed to the nines, taking the air. He really looked forward to those days.

As he strolled around his folly of an abode, he admired all of his hard-won collection He stopped and picked up a spoon and looked at it minutely. He blew a bit of dust off of the bowl and squinted to read the writing stamped on the shaft. It read 'Sheffield', wherever that was. It had to be from early in the First Calendar. And he had a matching piece too- a knife with the same stamping on it. They had to be priceless... He wandered absently around his collection musing about it. What a bounty he had!

All this- his abode, his collections- himself- it had been a self-made prison. Yes, he had been deposed and lived in exile here, and convinced himself he was happy with it all, that is, until that Rebel came and changed everything.

He was bullied back to reality and was not happy about it. But being a long-serving politician, he felt it only right to follow the will of the people. Whether he wanted it or not, it seemed his people wanted him back so how could he decline? He never liked the Federation anyway. And besides, Tyce wanted it more than he did. So- taking one last look at his prized possessions, all of which he had to leave behind, he set off with the Rebel, to take back his planet and his job. He'd start a new collection when things were back to normal. It would be even more amazing than what he had in this prison. A true bounty would be in store now. With that thought in mind, he donned the teleport device and looked towards the future. A free Lindor, and a second chance at life.
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
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