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Sep 2019 Fanfic Challenge
‘Well, I did my bit, and what happened? Your troops bumble around looking for someone to surrender to, and when they've succeeded, you follow suit.’ Avon - Spacefall

The word prompt this month is … SURRENDER

Many people have demanded the crew surrender themselves or their ship or Orac or whatever prize is currently being fought over. It rarely works out in their favour.

For the second challenge, imagine the crew have landed on an unfamiliar planet and they hear this:

+Would you like extra fries with that?+

It never ceased to feel odd, hearing Zen’s sonorous voice issuing from the food dispenser. But odd or not, it needed an answer.

“Again, Zen? Surely you’re capable of serving up something better than this!” Avon gazed in dismay at the offering on his plate, shiny with grease and dripping a yellow substance that Vila swore was cheese,.

“What’s wrong with it? Lovely grub this.” Vila paused from dipping a rubbery, thin oblong into a bright red sauce. Gan, his mouth too full of bun and meat to speak, managed an acquiescent nod, while Blake stopped slurping the fizzy purple- black liquid in his paper cup long enough to belch, pat his midriff, and observe that he saw nothing wrong with his meal.

“Some of us like to take care of our hearts,” Jenna snapped, gazing disapprovingly at the little rolls of fat protruding over the waist band of Blake’s trousers. (‘Love handles’ he called them, but she wasn’t convinced.) “And our weight,” she added pointedly.

Blake looked abashed and Avon interjected, a trifle defensively, “And our tastebuds.” Not for a million credits would he admit that his leather trousers were getting tight. He had taken the top off his bun and now removed a drooping green leaf from it, but couldn’t quite pluck up the courage to insert it into his mouth.

“Cally eats what we eat and she’s not put on an ounce,” Blake argued, jerking his head towards the Auron who was happily jigging to music from her headphones, while stuffing down her bun and its contents with every appearance of enjoyment.

“Cally could eat a horse and not put on weight,” Jenna shot back. “And this unrelenting diet of pure grease isn’t good for us. It probably explains Vila’s frequent indigestion.”

“That’s nothing to do with diet,” Vila protested quickly. “I’ve got a sensitive stomach. It reacts badly to stress. Are you going to eat that?” He pointed at the somewhat deconstructed meal that Avon was toying with. “Only I could do with seconds.”

“Be my guest.” Avon pushed over the mess of bun, brown meat, yellow goo and green and red disks towards him, shuddering slightly as Vila scoffed it enthusiastically. Jenna, with the air of inimitable reproof she’d perfected, poured herself a glass of cold water and offered another to Avon, which he took gratefully.

“ I’m afraid we’ll just have to accept, Jenna, that our beloved leader is determined to kill us one way or another. If Travis doesn’t get us, the cholesterol will,” he remarked sardonically.

Blake finished off his drink with a defiantly noisy flourish and stood up. “Time to get back to work,” he announced cheerfully.”Cally?” He waved at the girl. “Raids to plan,” he mouthed as he caught her eye. She nodded without removing her headphones, and stood up to follow. “Gan, you’re on duty. Vila it’s your turn to clean out the ballast chamber.”

“Really? I’m not sure I’m up for that. I don’t feel so good,” Vila whined, clutching his stomach with a pained expression.

“So, Zen. To return to my original question,” Avon demanded as Blake shepherded a complaining Vila from the rec room. “What alternatives to a diet of grease can you offer?”

The reply when it came, caused Avon’s eyes to light up.

Jenna sighed resignedly. She knew that surrender was inevitable and a week of supplements and no alcohol would follow, but who could resist a double portion of salted caramel ice-cream with fudge pieces?
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
Yay! Someone finally made something of the prompt by thinking outside the box. Now to get my brain in gear.... .. ... ... .. .... ... . .... <recalculating> ... .. ... .. ... .
That was really clever and funny, Anniew! I especially laughed at Jenna's skepticism towards Blake's cutesy description of his own thickening middle and cholesterol potentially beating Travis to the punch at being the death of them.

Great job. Smile
Hahaha love it.

I am trying to think of a time we actually see the crew eating...
"Imagine you're standing on the edge of a cliff."
"As long as you're not standing behind me."
Loved the fic, very funny. And a heartfelt sentiment about burgers which I share with Avon.
Even GBBO made the bakers do the frigging burgers, argh! Angry

JohnMax wrote:

Hahaha love it.

I am trying to think of a time we actually see the crew eating...

Deathwatch! Even Orac got some snacks in front of him. Smile
I’m glad you enjoyed my first offering. Here’s the next.

Cries of the damned. That was Vila’s conclusion as he huddled behind a rocky outface, fairly gibbering with terror. Even Avon seemed somewhat disquieted as the the wailing sounds of torment continued to reverberate off the surrounding cliffs.

“Don’t be ridiculous. There’ll be a natural explanation for them. Cries of the damned! I thought you didn’t believe in such superstitious clap trap?” Avon was already scanning the area for clues.

“I don’t,” Vila all but sobbed,” unless I’m stuck in one of the circles of hell with their souls.”

“Circles of hell? When did you read Dante?” His tone indicated that Avon found this far more surprising than finding himself holed up on a planet with what appeared to be a bunch of disturbed ghosts.

“Dante? Who’s he? Never heard of him. Is he one of Servalan’s? Oh make it stop. Make it stop!” Vila hunkered down and his head with his arms as the noise intensified.

“Old Calendar poet,” Avon explained absently, cautiously peering around the rocks, gun ready to blast anything that looked blast-able. “Could be the wind perhaps? Wind blowing through holes in the rocks. Hmm. Where did you hear about them?” he continued, holstering his gun. “The Circles of Hell? I shouldn’t think they’re commonly talked about amongst the Delta classes.” He picked up the sensor, reviewing the results. “No. Not porous enough. They’d have to be like Swiss cheese to make sounds like that ...”

“Swiss cheese? Dante? I’m trapped on a planet with something horrible. And the voices are very reassuring either, let me tell you. And here you are, babbling on about poets and dairy products. I’m in hell.” The noises had died down, and Vila’s usual ebullience was surfacing again.

“It’s a mystery to me, how you’ve avoided taking up permanent residence there for so long. What’s that ... ?” Avon broke off abruptly as a flicker of movement caught his eye.

In the greyish light of the planet, bright dots of yellow, green and blue began suddenly to appear amongst the boulders. The inhuman keening and howling began again. Fascinated, Avon inched closer to discover that rodent -like creatures, their fur glowing and fluorescing, had emerged from cracks in the cliff face and were issuing challenges to each other; their eerie cries amplified by the surrounding rocks.

‘And there’s your lost souls,” Avon grinned as he pulled Vila up to observe the sight. “Let’s see if Tarrant’s shaken off those pursuit ships. I can’t find any readings for titurnium here. We’ll have to keep looking.”

“No ... No ... No ... No ... No ... !”

Avon listened intently as the footsteps approached and then passed the door of his cell. The moans, inhuman, eerie, full of pain and fear, began again, swelling louder and louder until cutting off with a final, lingering shriek.

This time it was the voices of the damned he was hearing. And he really was in hell.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
M1795537 OC Virn
Thanks for those AnnieW. Both fantastic, as usual.
Now, before Series A, episode 6....

The training college was hot and stuffy. Strategy and tactics aside, thoughts were turning to lunch, the recreation deck, and for the slightly older cadets, beer.
Don Garcia viewed the intake critically, noting the vacant stares, the drooping heads. One boy was asleep. Few were still attentive. No officer material, he determined.
A hand was raised: he nodded assent.
“Sir,“ a clear voice asked, “It would be helpful to hear your field experiences in these battles.”
He met the girl’s cold gaze, and knew she’d done her homework. As a Strategist he’d had no frontline experience. She was calling him out in front of them all. Again.
He noted her innocent expression, the long dark curls, the pretty, childish face and suddenly, hated the lot of them, especially her. She seemed to enjoy highlighting the shortcomings of his staff, and was never wrong. Other heads were turning to see who’d asked, and several cadets were grinning, suspecting he had no answer. There was no easy way out.
“It would take too long, Cadet Sleer,“ he replied, “I think we all need a break. Class dismissed.”

At lunch with the other Dons, Garcia was still grumbling.
“A poor intake,” he complained, “Hardly a real soldier among them.”
“Because Command made enlistment compulsory,” suggested a colleague.
“The days of volunteers are long past, Gansenn,“ Garcia snapped, “We need numbers. The Rebellion is growing everywhere.”
“I don’t agree,“ said another voice, “Some are excellent additions.”
“Anyone in particular this year, Keller?” asked Gansenn, grinning. Don Keller’s penchant for the younger female recruits was well known.
“Still researching,” Keller returned complacently.

Another day, another lecture. Don Keller surveyed the group analytically. His eyes rested on two girls: a blonde, tall and slender, the other younger, darker, less eye-catching but appealing.
“And always remember, an enemy does not cease to be an enemy simply because he has surrendered,” Keller finished, watching the blonde, but it was the other girl’s head that lifted.
“Sir?” she asked urgently, “Explain that statement, please.”
“I’d be glad to,” Keller replied, sensing his opportunity, “Come to my office after supper. I’ll have plenty of time for you then.”

Garcia’s bitterness grew as the course progressed. Sleer’s progress to promotion was swift. Fashionable and intelligent, family connections made her almost invulnerable in social terms, while Don Keller’s favour ensured her military success. The combination promised a glittering career, if not in the military, then in politics, he predicted.
He also wanted rid of Keller. The man was undeservedly popular, with friends in Administration who turned a blind eye to his liasons with under-age cadets. A thorough disgrace. The current relationship with Sleer only added to Garcia’s frustration. He began to fantasize ways to humiliate them.

He needn’t have worried. Keller had other problems. The angry parents of a previous partner were threatening to file charges. Sleer was only the latest in a long line of his protegees, and her dependence was becoming tiresome. Towards the end of term, Keller requested a transfer.

PS. This is a bit late but I have been asked to explain the connection to 'Seek, Locate, Destroy'. In the episode, after Servalan says the line about surrender, there's a long pause. Jacks is probably trying to get the next bit of script straight in her head, but in this ficlet she's remembering where she first heard it, and what it led to.
Edited by M1795537 OC Virn on 02 October 2019 09:15:13
You're not sulking, I hope?
Joe Dredd

Vila could hear Cally's voice in his mind.

"You have to give up, Vila!" she called. "Don't fight it!"

Vila looked at the angry creature in front of him. It reminded him of a picture he'd seen once of a tiger, all fur and fury, apart from the colour and the complete lack of eyes. Why had he agreed to this mission on the grassy plains of Auron?

The tiger-thing growled, a deep, low, throaty growl. It started padding towards him again, with determination and a sense of certain victory. It was the kind of arrogance Vila had seen in Servalan; that absolute knowledge that they would come out best.

Vila fainted.

When he came to, he was lying on his bunk in his cabin on Liberator. Cally was sitting nearby, reading the book screen.

"Cally..." he said.

Cally looked up, smiling to see him awake. Putting down the screen, she poured a glass of water from a carafe on the side table and passed it to him.

Vila accepted it gratefully. He drank a couple of mouthfuls and passed it back. "What happened?" he asked. "There was a tiger! It was going to eat me!"

"Ah," said Cally, "Auron tigeris. Do you remember what I explained to you before you went down on the mission?"

Vila blinked. "No," he replied honestly. "Was it a clone? That was why you couldn't go on this mission, wasn't it? Avon said we wouldn't be able to tell if they sent someone else back in your place."

Cally's lips compressed into a hard line, but only for a moment.

"No. Vila, did you notice its eyes?"

Vila sat bolt-upright. "It didn't have any!" he said. "It shouldn't have been able to see me. But it knew I was there! It was coming for me!"

"That's because it was a creature of Auron," replied Cally, easing Vila back down onto the bed. "It hunts telepathically. It could sense the fear in your mind."

"Then why didn't it get me?" asked Vila, wide-eyed at the very thought.

"You passed out," said Cally, stepping over to the door. She turned off the light as the door swished open. "It couldn't sense you any more. It was like you became invisible. Now get some rest."

The room settled into darkness as the door closed behind her.

Vila smiled to himself, as he settled more comfortably. "Invisible, eh? Sometimes, I even impress myself."

[Idea very much nicked from Robert Sheckley]
If only they had thought of that plan in After Earth, it would have saved a lot of messing about :-)
"Imagine you're standing on the edge of a cliff."
"As long as you're not standing behind me."
M1. Wrote a fic on similar lines for Gallifrey The Long Way Round. Servalan, Keller and Kasabi.

Joe. Clever stuff as always. Perhaps that’s how the white tigers found Tarrant in Aftermath!

Hope you’re all contributing to Kentish’s charity Avon fiction anthology in honour of Paul Darrow,
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
A Story for Our Mums

Night had fallen by the time Maris returned. From his vantage point at the cave mouth, Sym saw the dark figure trudging through the snow, and went out to meet him.

“Welcome back. We thought you’d been captured or killed.”

“I was. Captured, that is. They let me go so I can deliver their terms.”

“You’re injured!”

Maris forced a smile. “Always stating the obvious, Sym. I’m alright. How are the others?”

“Shira will be very glad to see you. Walsh and Lyon are hungry and bad tempered. Austin’s dying - we’ve nothing left to treat him with.” Sym glanced at the bag hanging limp and empty at Maris' belt.

Maris caught the look. “I couldn’t find any supplies.”

Inside the cave, a small lamp threw fitful shadows on the dripping walls. Maris was greeted with a mixture of relief and weary disappointment. “They caught me by the old warehouse,” he explained, wincing as Shira cut away his blood-soaked sleeve and bathed the wound with cold water.

“The one we didn’t manage to blow up?” asked Walsh.

“I’m not the engineer,” snapped Lyon. “That’s Austin’s department.”

“Well, he’s paid for his failure. We all have.”

“There’s no sign of anyone else,” said Maris, pre-empting another argument. “I think we’re all that’s left.”

“Not for much longer,” said Sym. “We’re out of everything. Food, meds…”

“Luck,” added Walsh dourly. “So, what were their terms – surrender or die?”

“Both,” muttered Lyon.

“Surrender for interrogation,” said Maris. “They want information.”

“And they won't ask politely,” said Shira. “I can imagine what they’ll do to us.” She shivered, and Maris put his arm around her.

“Can you blame them, after what we did?” asked Walsh. “It wasn’t just operatives in that base. There were families… children.”

“We could go down fighting,” suggested Sym.

“With our bare hands?”

“We’ve got enough ammo to take out a few of them. Make a story our mums would be proud of.”

“Dying in the snow like dogs?”

“Dying in the snow like heroes. Better than surrendering like cowards.”

Maris shook his head. “They’ll keep us alive; we’re a big prize.”

“Only until they get what they want,” said Walsh. “And then...”

“There is another option,” said Lyon thoughtfully. “Deprive them of their prize. We’re dead either way, but if we do it ourselves, they wouldn’t get their satisfaction – or our information.”

“Suicide,” said Shira. “I’d prefer that to letting them take me.”

“Same here,” said Sym.

“So no story for our mums,” said Walsh. “I wish there was a way to let mine know. Suppose one of us does surrender? Someone who could hold out longest under interrogation. Maybe some information could be traded for a message to our families.”

“I’ll do it,” offered Maris. “They already know me. I’ve delivered their message, perhaps they’ll agree to deliver ours.”

Austin moaned, then fell silent. “He’s gone,” said Lyon. “At least he didn’t have to make the choice.”

Walsh peeled off his jacket and passed it to Maris. “Here. Yours is in pieces, and I won’t be needing this.” Maris took it silently. There was nothing left to be said.

Snow was falling again as Maris emerged into a grey dawn. Behind him, he heard the shots echo through the cave. Lyon, Sym, Walsh. Shira was already dead by his hand, looking into his eyes after they’d made love one last time. Now he was truly alone.

He thought of his mother, and wondered what they’d tell her; whether she’d hear that her son had died a hero or a coward. “Dress for the occasion,” she always said. She would not approve of this borrowed, ill-fitting jacket. He pulled it straight and gave the badge a quick wipe.

Ahead, a triumphant shout went up, and the enemy moved in to surround him. Head high, hands raised, black uniform stark against the falling snow, Federation Officer Maris surrendered to the victorious rebels.


Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
A statement of fact cannot be insolent
Travisina. Nice twist, very Ray Bradbury.
Lovely Travisina. A sort of reverse Siege of Masada.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
Nice to see it from the other side...very good.
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...
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Lara and Sue's Stories http://lectorisal....webs.com/
M1795537 OC Virn
So dark, Travisina. Great atmosphere.

Fly on the wall

“It worked before, but the fans would recognise it," Richard protested.
“But it's quicker…” John, his assistant objected.
“We'll make a new one ourselves,“ added Ken, “It would be cheaper.”
“That takes twice as long. Let’s just –“ Richard tried again, but was interrupted.
“When I was with the film studio –“ put in Kat, one of the young interns.
“Name dropper,” muttered AJ, the other intern, as Kat went on, “ _ I did some foley stuff. I could do this.”
“Kat, we’re not making movies. It’s not foley, it’s fx.” Ken was tiring of Kat -rapidly.
Richard looked round the table, wondering, not for the first time, why this was happening. Maybe everyone was as tired as he was? A crew that discussed: fine. Even vigorous discussion. But pointless arguments meant too much time and too much stress, which he could do without. The budget – or lack of it – already drained what was left of his enthusiasm. He didn’t need pushy young Kat, or AJ the misery (was he miserable? or just hungover?) ‘helping’ with this decision. The production was over time, over budget, over everything. The decision was his, and he …
“What about that dying alien I did? Play it backwards. I bet that would work,” suggested Brian, emerging from his newspaper.
“Oh, glad you could join us,“ Ken hailed the suggestion with a flourish, “The mighty Brian deigns to put his oar in at last.”
“Love you too, darling,” Brian returned, grinning.
John looked thoughtful,
“Do you remember we had a ding-dong like this over what to use for the creature in that one from the first series… which episode was it?”
“Was it the first series? “Ken returned, ”Surely the best one was in series two, when we even scared the cast. Sally was jumpy all through rehearsals, waiting for it to happen again.”
“That was such a good day. But it must have been the first series, because – “
“Stop it!” Richard shouted. He knew from experience that once everyone started reminiscing over previous triumphs, they’d be here till the small hours, “We are not going to do this: we are not going to go over every episode in this and every other programme we’ve ever made. We are going to decide on this one last detail, and then go and do it. Agreed?”
The group round the table had the grace to look a little sheepish. All except Kat, who’d taken offence and was sitting with her back to them all.
“OK, “ Richard returned to the script, “They’ve landed. They look around. They hear –“ he pressed a button on his PC and a tinny wail came from its speaker.
The others sniggered. Richard glared at them.
“OK, on this it’s pathetic,” he admitted,” But with the background and everything – which we’ve already done… Ken, let them hear it properly –“

(If this link doesn't work use Purplecleric's above!)
Edited by Travisina on 26 September 2019 18:12:53
You're not sulking, I hope?

She’d been hearing the voice since they found that floating sarcophagus. She usually heard it when sleeping. Thus, she didn’t sleep. A weary telepath is vulnerable. Thus, she found herself on Ultraworld.

Now she slept.


“You’re a dream. Avon destroyed the ring. You decayed to dust.”

The ring only affected the physical form I created in your image.

“You’re not real.”

I am not corporeal, but I will be when you finally give in.


The corridor was thick with heavy, greasy smoke that blinded her eyes and burned her lungs. Had it come to this? At least the others had escaped to the surface, but she couldn’t find the ladder. She would die on Terminal, alone and silent.


She heard footsteps. Many black clad troopers appeared, protected from the acrid air by their respirators. A dozen blasters turned towards her.


She ignored the voice, concentrating on the danger in front of her. “Who are… ” her question ended in a hacking cough as the heavy smoke robbed the air from her lungs.

A trooper spoke through his respirator, a cold, electronic voice. “Did you think Servalan would leave it to chance? Our orders were to remain in hiding until the first traps went off, and then mop up any survivors. You, and all your friends, will die.

She tried to send a warning to the only friend close enough to hear. “Villa…”

She was interrupted by the voice in her head.


“All right, I surrender.”

The trooper laughed. “Your surrender won’t save your life, or the lives of your friends.”

“Oh, yes it will.”


Avon crept though the dark passages. He needed Orac, and he had to be sure…

She appeared in the corridor surrounded by a dozen dead troopers. It looked like Cally, sounded like Cally, but it didn’t look at him the way Cally did.

“Foolish of me, I assumed destroying your ring and your physical form would end you, but you only retreated into Cally.” Avon raised his blaster.

The entity gestured to the black clad bodies littering the floor. “Your weapon will have no more effect than theirs did. Even if you could destroy me now, you would be destroying all that is left of Cally, for her essence abides in me.”

“How did you overcome her?”

“I didn’t. She gave herself to me that I could save you from these assassins. Will you render her sacrifice vain by forcing me to defend myself? Take comfort in this, Avon, a part of Cally will live on in me long after you meet your fate. Speaking of which, you should leave. The one you call Servalan left many more surprises behind. This entire planet is doomed.”

Avon paused at the base of the ladder to pick up Orac. As he climbed towards the surface he heard Shrinker’s voice echo in his head, ‘Is there anyone who thinks you’re worth dying for?’

He would spend a little time, but being Avon, only a little time, wondering what he had missed.

Edited by JustBrad on 27 September 2019 13:04:11
Anniew wrote:

Lovely Travisina. A sort of reverse Siege of Masada.

Thanks, Annie - and well spotted! I was actually thinking of Masada while writing it.
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
A statement of fact cannot be insolent
Sone great reads.

@JustBrad - very spooky!
"Imagine you're standing on the edge of a cliff."
"As long as you're not standing behind me."
And for the second prompt:

“Down and safe,” Blake reported, looking around for their contact.

Jenna took a deep, appreciative breath of fresh air. They had materialised on a sloping mountainside on a crisp Autumn afternoon. A cool breeze ruffled the tall grass and late-season wildflowers; it carried the scent of harvest, but also a whiff of damp decay. An eerie wailing seemed to emanate from inside a nearby cave; rising and falling with the wind. Jenna turned to investigate, pulling aside the climbing plants that had grown across the entrance, but a human shout from below caught her attention.

A stout man hurried up to meet them, out of breath. “Welcome, Blake!” he said. “Thank you for coming to Cynra-4. We need your help.”

“What with? You’ve seen off the Federation and regained your independence. Well done!”

“It wasn’t easy. We lost a lot of good people. But we made sure they did, too... ” He cocked his head. “Can you hear that?”

“The wind in the cave,” said Jenna. “It sounds like voices, but of course...”

“... it can’t be voices. And yet. It can be heard for miles. Frightens people. Folk are saying we’re being haunted for what we did during the fighting. Or rather, for what we didn’t do afterwards. It’s my fault – I made a promise that I couldn’t keep. Will you help us?”


“I can re-route the message via a Federation satellite,” said Avon, his attention focussed on the communications console. “It’ll look like an official Federation transmission. They won’t be able to trace it to us.”

“And even if they could, we’ll be light years away before they figure it out,” said Vila confidently.

“Did you think the place was haunted?” asked Cally.

Jenna shrugged. “It doesn’t matter what I think – they believe it. People had died inside that cave; we saw what was left of the bodies.”

“I’m ready to transmit,” said Avon. “Let’s have it.”

Blake consulted his pad and read aloud, as Avon tapped out the message.

“To Federation Command Headquarters:
We regret to inform you of the death of Officers Walsh, Sym, Lyon, Shira, Austin and Maris: killed on active duty while attempting to quell an insurrection. Their heroism will not be forgotten. Please notify their families and send our condolences. Message ends.”

Avon pressed the button to transmit.

A million spacials away on Cynra-4, the voices fell silent.


Twitter: @TravisinaB7
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A statement of fact cannot be insolent
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