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Ficlet Challenge: July 2022
purplecleric
The phrase prompt this month is ... RED SKY IN THE MORNING

And for the second prompt:

The crew run into some old friends ...

Happy writing!
 
M1795537OCVirn
(I have no idea where this came from.... )

Old Friends?

"Animals?" Servalan frowned. Pets had long been banned by the Federation, and what animals remained on Terra were kept in strictly controlled habitats, for educational and experimental purposes only, "You're suggesting I visit animals?"
"Ma'am, the locals have certain traditions..."
After she requested an alternative to the obligatory official tour, Hamiko, the Federation's Representative, had suggested Beta Coruscant's zoological collection. She was not convinced.
"These people find animals interesting," the man added, a little nervously, "In their culture other life-forms are respected, Madam President. They are a primitive people. I am assured there is no danger."
"I see. Well, I'll consider it. After all, your team did an excellent job in persuading the - what was it called?"
"Moot, Ma'am."
"Moot? A strange name for a government. Moot, then, that joining the Federation was to our mutual advantage. Shipments of our plastics recycling in return for their herculanium ores! And achieved without a shot being fired. Impressive, Hamiko. You may leave now."
Servalan stared thoughtfully at the viewscreen. Currently it was showing local landscapes. Beta Coruscant, the Federation's latest affiliate among the frontier worlds, was a pleasant place, but somehow lacking. There was no real excitement. No danger. Yet she felt... risk. Something here did not add up.

"What is this place?" Vila wrinkled his nose, "Smells like ..."
"Manure," Avon supplied, without interest, "Move."
"But - "
"Zoological," Avon said, as they scrambled out of sight among the rocks, "Meaning, animal. Careful, this rock is slippery."
"Animals? Do we need to be quite this close?"
"We need to get closer. Orac said she won't be here long."
"One shot, you said," Vila quoted grumpily, "That shield lock wasn't worth bringing me here. You could have done it yourself. With one hand tied behind your back."
"Security here is unorthodox but reliable," Avon hissed back, "There may be more. Keep your voice down."

"What's that noise?" Servalan, resplendent in a full-length, figure-hugging white gown that shimmered blindingly when it caught the sunlight, halted with her foot on the first step. Her guards raised their weapons.
"Merely some disturbance among the ..er... exhibits," her genial host, King Tuomo replied, flatteringly, "Perhaps they are afraid of you. Who knows?" He signalled to one of his aides, who hurried away to investigate.

"And this is..?" Servalan tried not to breathe in the smell. Whatever the animal was, it was unlikely to be mistaken for another.
"The gurgit?" Tuomo beamed, "A fascinating creature: we use them as - " he broke off, as more noises erupted from the enclosure. There were cries, as two figures were seen sliding slowly but surely down a rock face into a dark pool. Tuomo's smile widened, "The gurgit. when threatened, ejects a stream of slime... and as you see, has excellent aim."
"Wait - " Servalan stared, "I know those men!"
"Old friends?" Tuomo laughed sarcastically, "I think not. They were planning an ambush. But the pit is deep and gurgit slime is highly acidic." He turned to her, "They won't last long."
"I am in your debt, your majesty," Servalan replied, registering the threat as Tuomo's people surrounded her party, "Perhaps some renegotiation of our agreement is in order? The Federation always pays its debts." She watched as the last bubbles rose pungently from the pit. No doubt Avon and Vila would have escaped the same way they arrived - using teleport. She'd heard their shouts. They might not die in a gurgit hole, but they would smell of it for quite some time.
"Good," Tuomo nodded, looking smug, "It would be such a pity to lose that lovely dress in a gurgit pool."

Wink
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
 
Anniew
That’s very funny M179 etc. and horrible to imagine!
Play the hand fate deals you.
 
Cygnus Bazza
Excellent yarn, M1etcetcetcVirnetc! 'Creepy yet cosy', as the saying goes.
 
Cygnus Bazza
THE BLAKE’S 7 BUMPER BOOK OF PROVERBS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE

Red sky at night, Servie’s delight
Servalan’s ordered something/someone to be set on fire. It’s/he’s/she’s burning nicely.

Red sky in the morning, Servie’s still delighted
Whatever Servalan ordered to be set on fire is still ablaze the next day.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king
Or ‘The Travis Strategy’, as it’s also known.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but if it IS broke, best leave it to Liberator’s auto-repair function
Put that bag of spare wingnuts away, Vila. Libby’s got this covered.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking legs
Cookery Shrinker-style.

Honesty is the best policy
Not really. This is Blake’s 7, remember?

Truth is stranger than fiction - except for 'Sarcophagus' which is just plain weird
I mean what IS that all about???

My hands are tied
I’m a Federation prisoner

Where there’s a will, there’s a way – unless Blake gets involved
If he does, it’s got c*ck-up written all over it. Ask Gan.

If you scratch my back, I’ll have you executed
Servalan swears by this one.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
That’s because some idiot’s spread sand all over it.

Any port in a storm, but soma tastes better than port
One of Vila's, but then again he doesn't really understand proverbs.

A stitch in time saves nine
Used by June Hudson when repairing Avon’s leather trousers, a frequent occurrence due to the phenomenal
(some might say unnatural) strain the trousers were subjected to

It’s no use crying over spilt milk
Unless it’s Servalan’s milk you’ve spilt, of course. In which case crying’s a great idea.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Unless it’s Travis and his heavies who bring you the apple. In which case you’ll probably end up needing a doctor anyway.

Curiosity killed the cat, though Servalan would have done it quicker, cleaner and with minimal fuss
The lady’s track record speaks for itself.

A problem shared is a problem halved - but in Blake's 7 a problem shared tends to experience an exponential increase in seriousness/difficulty
There's actually a clever maths equation to help you quantify this increase.

All that glitters is not gold - but it might be, so nick it anyway
Also known as ‘the Vila and Avon option’.

If you can’t stand the heat, don’t teleport to Obsidian
I mean, you know what a volcano is, don’t you?

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. If you don’t pay at all, you get Vila.
Avon came up with this one, bless him.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face
Get Travis to do it for you.

You can't get blood out of a stone - people are MUCH better for that kind of thing
Servalan's got this one on a t-shirt.

Don't let the b*stards grind you down - just let one b*stard do it
Travis being the prime candidate, of course.

All’s well that ends well.*
Sorry, not relevant to Blake’s 7.

* Other proverbs not relevant to Blake's 7 include 'Once bitten, twice shy', 'You live and learn' and 'Let's let bygones be bygones'.
Edited by Cygnus Bazza on 07-07-2022 13:47
 
Anniew
Cygnus Bazza - LOL
Play the hand fate deals you.
 
M1795537OCVirn
Well done, indeed, CB. What about 'If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well'? Presumably another of Servalan's. Definitely not one of Blake's.
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
 
Cygnus Bazza
Old Friends

“Friends? FRIENDS? I haven’t GOT any ‘friends’. I haven’t got any new friends. And I CERTAINLY don’t have any old ones. Even ONE would be too many! So I definitely do NOT have a ‘big mob’ of them, as you describe these people.“ His tetchy outburst still hanging in the air, Avon looked at Blake with disdain, bolstered by a bit of contempt, fortified by a big dollop of scorn. “You’re talking garbage! Garbage! How can some ‘old friends’ of mine be desperate to meet me?”

Blake grinned from ear to ear. His eyes twinkled. His hair seemed to scrunch just a little tighter. He was, quite simply, revelling in the discomfort detonated by his news bombshell. “Maybe I was guilty of a little…verbal inexactitude. Put it this way. You may not know THEM. But they know YOU. Or at least they feel as if they do. And for some reason I find hard to fathom, they crave your inimitable charismatic presence. I suppose you could call them a kind of…fan club…”

“A KIND OF FAN CLUB?” Visibly punchdrunk from a heady cocktail of disbelief and despair, Avon slumped down onto his chair. “Saints alive! What KIND of ‘fan club’ precisely?”

“Well, I suppose…a fan club fan club…”

“Brilliant…” Avon’s hand moved to his temple, which he started to rub in a slow circular motion. “The very thought’s enough to bring on one of my pressure headaches… So, Blake, not a KIND of fan club at all. An ACTUAL fan club…”

“That’s about the size of it.”

“And you’ve invited them on board Liberator?”

“Yep.”

“May I ask why?”

“Well, I think it’s high time we implemented a targeted programme of outreach activities.”

“A TARGETED PROGRAMME OF OUTREACH ACTIVITIES?”

“Yep. Think of it as a chance to interface with some of our key stakeholders. It’ll be good for us to give something back.”

“GIVE SOMETHING BACK? If you really want to give something back, Blake, why don’t you just GIVE BACK VILA????”

The only way Avon’s morning could possibly get any worse was if Vila piped up.

“Well, I think it’s a great idea!” Vila piped up. “It’ll be nice to see a few new faces round here for a while. What do they call themselves, Blake?”

“Apparently, they’re part of a group known as ‘Horizon’. Been around for centuries. And that’s just some of the younger members. Baffling though it is to me on a personal level, they sound as keen as mustard to meet Avon!”

Avon really was distinctly unimpressed. “I really am distinctly unimpressed,” he said. “‘Keen’ is just your coded way of saying ‘unhealthily fixated’.”

“Nonsense! A bit of harmless fun. They just appreciate what you do and wouldn’t mind having a quick feel of some of your leather gear.”

“Not while I’m still in it, I trust…”

“I can’t make any promises. And you’ll have to run through some of your pithy sayings for them.”

“Well as luck would have it….” Avon growled. “…there’s a two-word ‘pithy saying’ I’ll be only too delighted to dust off for them…”

Blake threw back his head and laughed long and heartily. “Come, come, Avon! Be a good sport! These poor people LOVE you to BITS!”

“Are they quite well?” Vila piped up.

“Never mind THEM!” Avon moaned. “It sounds like they’ll give ME a right pain in the neck. And how long will they be here, these ‘Horizon’ types, getting under my feet and generally making a nuisance of themselves?”

“Not sure exactly,” Blake conceded. “But judging from your reaction, I think I know how long it’ll feel like for YOU!”

“And how long would that be exactly?”

Blake beamed long and hard. “Forever, Avon.”
Edited by Cygnus Bazza on 09-07-2022 00:27
 
M1795537OCVirn
You stayed up late just for us? Definitely worth it. Thanks, CB!
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
 
Travisina
Oh Cygnus B, those are LOL-tastic! GrinGrinGrin
There is no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
Anniew
CB. Clever AND hilarious!
Play the hand fate deals you.
 
littlesue
Well here goes. Prompt one and 2 piccies by Lurena!!!

Red Sky in the Morning


i.imgur.com/kJPoqPI.jpg

“Oh look,” she had said excitedly, “Red sky at night shepherd’s delight.”
Gan smiled. This was the woman he loved; this was the woman who he was to marry tomorrow.
“A’s delight?” he asked.
She opened the door and they both stared at the red streaks blazing across the blue sky.
“A shepherd. I don’t know what he did, but according to my father, such a man was pleased if the sky was like this at sunset. It boded well for the next day.”
“And it will be a good day.”
“There is more to the saying. Red sky in the morning. Shepherd’s warning.”
“And what does that mean?”
“The day will not go well for him…”

And it seemed that she had been right.
The Federation guards suddenly appeared on some pretext of a murmured uprising.
The red sky that morning had turned to a red mist as chaos had descended and Gan had tried to stop the wanton destruction.
He had been dragged away as he had tried to save her from the brutal guard.
He knew she was dead the moment he saw the guard attack…and that man had paid.

Now Gan was sitting quietly awaiting his fate.
The prison cell had no windows and the walls were a stark white, but he still imagined the red streaked sky; the late evening sunset that promised so much.
And then there was the red sky that morning and his world had been shattered.
He had heard the guards saying something about making an example out of him. What that entailed he didn’t know. It scared him.

The cell door slid open.
The man in white looked at him and then at his notes.
“An excellent choice. Cygnus Alpha will require someone strong like him, but that anger of his. It must be quelled.”
“Quelled?” Gan asked.
“You weren’t given permission to speak,” the black clad guard growled from behind his mask, as he raised him arm.
Gan shot to his feet, but more guards came rushing in and it took four men to overpower him.
As he lay on the floor, the red mist that had descended over him cleared momentarily as the man in white came into view.
“Yes, Olag Gan, quell. Limit your anger. And we have just the thing.”
He raised the hypo and inspected it. He had to make sure that the dose would be enough to sedate the giant of a man.
“Limit his anger?” the guard asked, “In what way?”
”A simple device, inserted into the brain. It is a limiter and it limits his aggression. Now hold his arm…”
Gan tried to resist, but it was useless.
As the darkness enveloped him, for a brief second his thoughts returned to her smile and that saying…
…Red Sky in the Morning…

i.imgur.com/jzQFTc9.jpg
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!


Sue's Book Shelf https://www.mediafire.com/folder/z1xg...Zine_Shelf
Sue's Stories sues stories https://sjlittle.webs.com
Rebel Run Video https://youtu.be/8prqS-XZtLo
 
M1795537OCVirn
I bet that's just how it happened, Sue. And another great illustration, Lurena. Thank you both.
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
 
littlesue
And now for the second prompt and another piccie by Lurena...

Should Old Acquaintances…..

“How many more times are we going to follow up these sightings of him?” Tarrant asked.
“Well now, that depends,” Avon replied.
“On what?”
“The rest of you not insisting going after every rumour.”
“You sound as if you don’t want to find him.”
“Have you considered the possibility that HE doesn’t want to be found?”
“Why not?”
“You’ll have to ask him that, when you do find him.”
Any further discussion was halted by Dayna’s arrival.
“I think Vila’s in trouble.”
“Where is he?” Avon asked.
“In that bar over there.”
Tarrant sighed, “He’s in trouble all right.”

Avon peered through the smoke laden air and could just make out Vila with two men.
“What’s the problem?” Tarrant whispered.
“Amagons.”
“Who?”
“Some very old friends.”
“They know you?”
“They know of us, at least their colleagues did. I think we’ve just found the source of all these rumours.”

“My dear cousin, Tarvin, was so pleased that he had tricked the Liberator crew. He boasted about how much money he was going to make, yet it seems that both you and the Liberator are still roaming around free. Tell me, what happened to my dear cousin and his colleagues?”
Vila swallowed. He wasn’t too sure exactly what had befallen Tarvin, but he knew that he was dead along with the rest of the Amagons who had boarded the Liberator.
“Dead.”
“Well, it had to happen. So my friends and I continued his mission to capture you, your associates and your ship. And we used your friend Blake to get you here. Exactly where is Blake? He is worth more than the rest of you together.”
“We don’t know.”
“So you chase every possible sighting; every rumour and that, my friend, has worked in our favour.”
“You’ve been putting out the rumours?”
“Well, of course. It’s business. Now I suppose the rest of your people will come looking for you soon?”
“I doubt it.”

“What now?” Tarrant murmured.
“They will most probably recognise me,” Avon said, “But I doubt if they know that you and Dayna are now aboard the Liberator.”
“So?”
“So go and get Vila out of this mess. I’ll cover you, in case things get out of hand…”

“So there you are, you slimy little rat.”
“What?” Vila blurted out as Tarrant was suddenly towering over him.
“I’ll teach you to treat my sister…”
Vila looked at Dayna, “Your SISTER!!!”
The Amagon didn’t seem too happy about the interruption.
“And who are you?”
“Never mind about me. It’s this lowlife I want. Do you want to make an issue of it?”
“Maybe I do.”
“Too bad,” Tarrant said, as a well placed fist sent Tarvin’s cousin straight into his colleague. “You’re coming with me, Vila, and don’t make a scene.”
“I think you’re managing quite well on your own,” Vila smiled as he looked at Tarrant’s ‘sister’ aim her gun at the two Amagons now tangled on the floor.
“And you too, ‘sister’, now!”
Dayna sighed,”And just when the fun was about to start…”

Later on the Liberator's Flight Deck.
“So they’ve been putting out these rumours?” Avon sighed.
“Yes,” Vila replied, “Blake was never there. It was a trap and we nearly fell for it.”
“So what do we do?” Cally asked, “Ignore any rumour about Blake’s location?”
“That’s exactly what we do,” Avon smiled, “Unless he contacts us…”
i.imgur.com/lrgh2x0.jpg
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!


Sue's Book Shelf https://www.mediafire.com/folder/z1xg...Zine_Shelf
Sue's Stories sues stories https://sjlittle.webs.com
Rebel Run Video https://youtu.be/8prqS-XZtLo
 
ellen york
Those are both so good, Sue. And poor Vila looks slightly befuddled by the Amagons. Good thing Tarrant and Dayna were there to rescue him.
 
littlesue
Thanks for all your kind words.
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!


Sue's Book Shelf https://www.mediafire.com/folder/z1xg...Zine_Shelf
Sue's Stories sues stories https://sjlittle.webs.com
Rebel Run Video https://youtu.be/8prqS-XZtLo
 
GanMiniMe
Anybody who thinks of freedom fighters or rebels normally has an idea of militant figures with some sort of weaponry, risking life and limb for a noble cause. Or so it had always seemed to Dayna; which was why she was sat now with an expression of incredulity on her face that would make a mirror crack out of sheer shame.

“Butter?” She didn’t have to look round; she knew the others were just as baffled as her. Avon turned on his heel and faced her with a menacing gleam.

“Not exactly butter. A butter substitute that was popular around the later years of the twentieth century, old calendar.”

“It was made with buttermilk to give that real, buttery taste, but with half the fat of butter or margarine, to give a taste that was both delicious and light.” Piped up ORAC.

“And how are you planning to bring down the Federation with it?” Cally sounded slightly less astounded than the others... but only slightly.

“I have been contacted by the man who has a claim to this business and all its subsidiaries. He is the legal heir to a business empire worth billions of credits across every colonised world.” He paused to savour the little thrill which copious amounts of money always gave him. “His grandfather was the previous owner and died penniless after his headquarters was broken into and all proof of ownership and intellectual property rights was stolen. The business continued to function, but the profits were reaped by a mystery figure.”
“Don’t tell me...” said Dayna, with an air of disgusted resignation.

“Servalan.” Concluded Tarrant. Suddenly, he flashed a bright smile. “Well, if anybody knows a thing or two about climbing up the greasy pole of power...”

“So what’s the plan?” Cally said. “Something dangerous...” muttered Vila.
“We are planning a raid in the official headquarters. Her proof of ownership is, naturally, an excellent forgery. Presumably she will also be in possession of the original. If we can get both-“
“Are you telling me that you’re about to risk all of our necks to restore a complete stranger’s inheritance?” Asked an astonished Tarrant. “Since when were you such an altruist?”
“I was never anything so tiresome. My main objective is to cut a major revenue stream of the Supreme Commander.” He turned to Vila. “They will be very securely hidden. I trust you have your box of tricks?”
Vila sighed.

***

Two days later, at a rendezvous point on a planet at the edge of the galaxy, Avon and Vila beamed down onto a dwarf planet to meet their ally. The sun was just setting, sending a gorgeous crimson glow over the dusty sky.

Erwin Shepherd was a small man, with tight black wiry curls with more than a slight thread of grey, and a surprising amount of ear hair. He gripped Avon’s arm and shook his hand with a warmth and enthusiasm that literally shook his usually still posture.

“Thank you, oh, thank you, a hundred thousand times!” He enthused, as Vila handed him over two data strips- the real property rights, and the forged ones.

“Our computer has analysed both of them,” replied Avon, awkwardly but gently extricating his arm. “The forged rights are of surprisingly low quality. It should not be difficult to get them confirmed as fake. I trust that you have everything you need, now?”
“Of course, of course! With these I can reclaim my inheritance and prove the theft of the Shepherd family’s intellectual property! I can prosecute that woman, my lawyers will be able to scrape her out like one of her accursed tubs of Federine! The shelves of the galaxy’s supermarkets will once again be filled with Delight!”

“And, of course..?”

“Of course, my dear fellow. Half the proceeds of the compensation, after legal costs are paid- and a fifteen percent stake of all future profits! You should be able to cause the Federation quite some upset with that.”

Avon just smiled.


Other brands of spread are available; which is good, because this one no longer is.
 
AnneArthur

Cygnus Bazza wrote:

THE BLAKE’S 7 BUMPER BOOK OF PROVERBS: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE

Red sky at night, Servie’s delight
Servalan’s ordered something/someone to be set on fire. It’s/he’s/she’s burning nicely.

Red sky in the morning, Servie’s still delighted
Whatever Servalan ordered to be set on fire is still ablaze the next day.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king
Or ‘The Travis Strategy’, as it’s also known.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – but if it IS broke, best leave it to Liberator’s auto-repair function
Put that bag of spare wingnuts away, Vila. Libby’s got this covered.

You can’t make an omelette without breaking legs
Cookery Shrinker-style.

Honesty is the best policy
Not really. This is Blake’s 7, remember?

Truth is stranger than fiction - except for 'Sarcophagus' which is just plain weird
I mean what IS that all about???

My hands are tied
I’m a Federation prisoner

Where there’s a will, there’s a way – unless Blake gets involved
If he does, it’s got c*ck-up written all over it. Ask Gan.

If you scratch my back, I’ll have you executed
Servalan swears by this one.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
That’s because some idiot’s spread sand all over it.

Any port in a storm, but soma tastes better than port
One of Vila's, but then again he doesn't really understand proverbs.

A stitch in time saves nine
Used by June Hudson when repairing Avon’s leather trousers, a frequent occurrence due to the phenomenal
(some might say unnatural) strain the trousers were subjected to

It’s no use crying over spilt milk
Unless it’s Servalan’s milk you’ve spilt, of course. In which case crying’s a great idea.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Unless it’s Travis and his heavies who bring you the apple. In which case you’ll probably end up needing a doctor anyway.

Curiosity killed the cat, though Servalan would have done it quicker, cleaner and with minimal fuss
The lady’s track record speaks for itself.

A problem shared is a problem halved - but in Blake's 7 a problem shared tends to experience an exponential increase in seriousness/difficulty
There's actually a clever maths equation to help you quantify this increase.

All that glitters is not gold - but it might be, so nick it anyway
Also known as ‘the Vila and Avon option’.

If you can’t stand the heat, don’t teleport to Obsidian
I mean, you know what a volcano is, don’t you?

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. If you don’t pay at all, you get Vila.
Avon came up with this one, bless him.

Don't cut off your nose to spite your face
Get Travis to do it for you.

You can't get blood out of a stone - people are MUCH better for that kind of thing
Servalan's got this one on a t-shirt.

Don't let the b*stards grind you down - just let one b*stard do it
Travis being the prime candidate, of course.

All’s well that ends well.*
Sorry, not relevant to Blake’s 7.

* Other proverbs not relevant to Blake's 7 include 'Once bitten, twice shy', 'You live and learn' and 'Let's let bygones be bygones'.


Servalan wears T-shirts?!?? I don't quite believe that. Otherwise, I love them!
 
M1795537OCVirn
Of course Servalan would never wear t-shirts! (Well, not where anyone was watching). The thing was a gift - probably from Cygnus Bazza.
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
 
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