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Who is your Favourite Guest Rebel?

Avalon - (Project Avalon)
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Apr 2021 Ficlet Challenge
purplecleric
The phrase prompt for this month is … The Elephant in the Room.


And for the second challenge:

The crisis is over and the crew can finally relax - or that’s what they thought...
 
GanMiniMe
White Elephant
Part One


“Are you feeling better, yet?” Blake asked, coming onto the flight deck.
“Yes, much,” replied Gan.
“Speak for yourself. I still feel like I want to throw up,” moaned Vila.
“The decontaminants will take a few hours to work fully,” said Avon, eyeing Vila’s rather unconvincing pretence at having a headache.
“Well, I need somebody to help me carry ORAC to the deck. I don’t want it left unattended in the teleport bay.” At Blake’s words, Gan obligingly got to his feet and went with him. They returned carrying the cumbersome silver case.
“Shall we take a look?” Asked Avon, trying to sound as if he wasn’t excited. Blake shook his head. “We’ll wait for the others, first. They shouldn’t be long.”
At that moment Cally appeared, looking worried.
“Where’s Jenna?” Asked Blake.
“In the medical bay, she’s still very sick,” she replied. “She seems to still be getting worse, she’s starting to become confused. I think she might need a second dose.”
“Does that mean we’ll all need another one?” Piped up Vila, anxiously. “What if there aren’t enough to go round?”
“Jenna was on Cephlon’s surface for longer than we were,” said Avon. “Add to that the fact that Vila, Gan and I spent more time inside the hill, the lining of those chambers may have offered us some protection from the radiation. It would be logical to assume that Jenna has been more badly affected.”

At that moment Jenna’s voice from the doorway made them all turn round.
“Why aren’t you lying down?” exclaimed Cally, running over to her. She was leaning against the wall, a sheen of cold sweat on her skin, which had turned a nasty shade of seasick grey. She could barely stand.
“You weren’t there... I thought you’d- you need me- we have to get out of here... the Federation will be coming...”
“Don’t worry about that just now-“ said Blake firmly, but stopped as Jenna’s knees buckled and she began to slide down the wall.
“Get her back to the medical bay,” barked Avon.
Cally tried to help her back up. Gan jumped up and hurried over to help, but as he stooped to lift her Jenna flung up her arms and groaned “No, Gan, no-“
“Get away from her!” snapped Cally, stepping in front of her with her dark eyes blazing. He stopped, his hands half-raised in a gesture of astonished surrender. The sharpness and anger in Cally’s voice momentarily caused a shocked silence. Gan helplessly turned to the others, unsure what to do.
“Vila, help Cally get Jenna back to bed,” ordered Blake coolly. Vila briefly looked like he would have liked to protest, but thought better of it. “Give her a second dose, and don’t let her get up again until she’s able to stand and think straight. Zen, get us out of here.”

++CONFIRMED++

***
Without a word, Cally and Vila got Jenna back to the medical bay. A couple of times Jenna tried to say something but Cally shushed her. Vila risked a couple of searching sideways looks at the pair of them, wondering if it was safe to speak yet, and quickly concluded it wasn’t.
They got her back on the bed and gave another dose of decontamination, and a little light sedation for good measure- she was still pale and shaking, jumping at any unexpected noises.
“His limiter’s fixed now, you know-“ Vila began, awkwardly. He checked abruptly at a sharp telepathic reprimand from Cally. He gave his own voiceless reply with a wince and a resentful look- he hated it when she did that.
“I know it wasn’t his fault.” Jenna managed to say, but there was no softness in either her voice or face.

“My head still hurts,” he grumbled, rubbing his temple. “I’m going to lie down.”
“Good idea,” said Cally, not looking up. He made for the door. On the way out he paused briefly.
“He was just trying to help,” he reproached, before leaving. Jenna closed her eyes and turned her head away.
Halfway to his cabin Vila heard Cally’s voice inside his head again- softly, but emphatically. He didn’t want to listen but he really had no choice.

Vila, I know he couldn’t help it. But if you had a friend, who you cared about and trusted, and then in a heartbeat they turned on you- and you could see in their eyes that they wanted you dead... would you be able to trust them again?
 
GanMiniMe
White Elephant
Part Two



Shortly after Vila pleaded a headache, Gan on the flight deck made the same excuse to Blake and Avon, and went towards his own cabin. Neither of them had said anything, but he had felt the look they exchanged as he got to his feet as keenly as a sudden cold draught from a partially-open window.
He was not afraid of what they would say once he had left- neither of them was much of a gossip, and Avon rarely had enough concern for other people’s feelings to wait for their backs to be turned before indicting them with his cutting remarks. In a back-handed way, that could sometimes be reassuring; but if Avon had held his tongue this time it was not through tact or empathy- it was simply because it was pointless to voice aloud what he knew everybody else was thinking.

After the surgery to repair his limiter, the others had laughed and joked, clapped him on the shoulder and said how glad they were to have him back. It wasn’t talked about, nothing seemed to have changed outwardly, but he had the uneasy sense of a slight shift in their attitude towards him- the feigned Bon-homie of people trying to pretend that it hadn’t happened.
Cally’s instinctive reaction to him had just smashed through that brittle facade, and everybody knew it- they had all frozen in horror at that instant, as if snapped out of some strange collective hypnotism that had made it bearable to spend time with him.

He couldn’t blame her. He was still fighting his own mortification at what he had done. All his life people had marvelled at his strength, but where had his strength of will been, when the implant failed? He hadn’t even been strong enough to control his own brain. He still wasn’t; the unspoken awkwardness between himself and Jenna had made him abandon her on the surface of Cephlon.

“I’ll go. You stay here...” He had said as he had walked away.

He had sensed her apprehension at being alone with him, and he had felt a tug of shame that she would have felt safer on this unfamiliar, radioactive planet by herself. In his absence she had been attacked, and his assertion that she had been right behind him had plagued him ever since. He seldom lied, but he recognised the way it felt when he did- that stiff, stale taste in his mouth like old bread.
For the second time in the space of a few weeks, he had nearly been the cause of her death.


The limiter inhibited his ability to kill, but it did nothing to his memories; he could still remember the malfunction, and what he had done to her, to all of them. And he remembered how it had felt, too. Cally had never been anything but compassionate, but at that moment he had detested it, loathed it- that sickly smear of pity in her attitude towards him, as he had lain on that bed. And his rage, at being seen as a victim, another enfeebled, damaged, unfortunate misfit cast out by the system... he had enjoyed that one glorious moment of throwing it all off. At that second, all he had wanted to hear was her last, terrified gasp; all he had wanted to feel was her neck break.

And he was so ashamed. These people had saved him more than once, and got him help at huge personal risk to themselves- and he would have killed them all, and relished doing it.

He couldn’t wipe that from his mind, he couldn’t forget it, and it was now clear that neither could they. He wished he hadn’t had the opportunity to join Blake; he wished they’d left him on Cygnus Alpha to rot; if he was entirely honest with himself, that was all he had deserved. Now, he was nothing but a liability. They may have helped him this time, but what about next time?

He had reached his cabin, his mind made up- he couldn’t stay here. Somehow, he would have to find a way to leave Liberator and its crew. He knew Blake wouldn’t hear of it, and the others would protest that it wasn’t necessary; maybe they didn’t realise it yet, or maybe they simply didn’t want to admit it, but for their sakes he had to: if it had happened once, it could happen again. He wasn’t worth them risking their lives for.

He sat down on the edge of the bunk, and covered his eyes with his hands. He did nothing to fight back the broken sobs, or to stop the despairing tears from leaking between his strong fingers.
 
Lee Bagnall
Fantastic. Good to see some Gan centric fiction too. Just as underused in fanfic as the series, sadly.

As a prequel of sorts, I'd point you to my own "The Psychobombs" over on Fanfiction.net.
"An eyepatch? Practically a badge of honour for space commanders, but the cane?"
 
GanMiniMe
Lee Bagnall wrote:

Fantastic. Good to see some Gan centric fiction too. Just as underused in fanfic as the series, sadly.

As a prequel of sorts, I'd point you to my own "The Psychobombs" over on Fanfiction.net.


Ooh, thank you! I’ll look for that one
 
GanMiniMe
Lee Bagnall wrote:

Fantastic. Good to see some Gan centric fiction too. Just as underused in fanfic as the series, sadly.

As a prequel of sorts, I'd point you to my own "The Psychobombs" over on Fanfiction.net.


I’ve finished! I liked that a lot. It has helped to explain a couple of slight questions posed by ‘Breakdown’, and it’s interesting to think of him having it fitted as an experiment rather than as an outright punishment. Kudos to you x
 
Annie
That’s a lovely fic GanMiniMe.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
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