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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.
"Seldon, Janov. Space Commander. Alpha 14922. Name, rank and serial number. That's all you're getting!"
 
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.
 
littlesue
This month I have somehow managed to combine both prompts into a 2 parter. And I think Lurena may have had just a little too much fun creating the picture this time!
I would also like to thank Lurena for coming up with yet another alcoholic beverage!!

A Garden of Delights
Part One

“What is this place?” Cally asked.
“According to the sign, Zoological Gardens,” Avon replied, studying the well weathered board in front of them.
“So where are the animals?” Blake pondered, surveying the area.
“More to the point, where are these life signs coming from?”
“Zen definitely said in this area,” Cally murmured.
“Hmm, I beginning to wonder what sort of life signs,” Avon queried, as he wandered off to the first enclosure.

He pressed a button and a very hazy striped animal appeared in front of him.
“What’s that?” Blake asked.
“It’s supposed to be a hologram, of a tiger…and not a very good one. The image is buffering. Lack of maintenance I suppose.”
“Can we do anything about that?”
Avon gave Blake a bored look,” We are not here to play…”
“Look, somewhere around here Zen picked up some life signs. All right this may not be them, but I’m intrigued by this place. Maybe that building may have the answers…”
“You’re intrigued?”
“Yes I am…I think you are too. It wouldn’t hurt to find out…would it? Cally, keep looking and see if you can find what it is Zen detected down here.”

Avon was deep inside a computer console and was not best pleased when Blake idly asked, “Any luck?”
“Luck does not enter into the equation. However, a total lack of maintenance does. Why the interest in getting this Zoological Garden back on line?”
“Maybe I’m sentimental.”
Avon’s response was inaudible…

Cally found them. A small group of four legged creatures standing by the enclosure’s fence, as if waiting for something or someone.
“You’re not holograms, are you?” she said reaching out a hand to the inquisitive animals.
She smiled.
Then as she went to contact Blake, the smallest one suddenly reached out and took the bracelet from her wrist.

“Blake…”
“That’s Cally! “
“Where?”
“She’s in trouble….Gan!”

But Gan had already reacted and had activated the teleport.

He was staggered as what came out of the teleport bay wasn’t Cally, but some creature he had never seen before. And before he could do anything, the creature bolted up the stairs towards the rest of the ship…

She was gently stroking his face and blowing in his ear.
Vila smiled.
Time to open his eyes and see who was caressing him.
“What the? Blake, Blake…”

Blake was on the Liberator Flight deck.
“Zen, where did this creature go?”
“….Blake…There’s an elephant in the room!”
It was Vila.
“What?”
“In my cabin. An elephant…”
“Zen, belay that order. I think we’ve found our intruder.”

Garden of Delights
Part Two


Vila was not happy.
He had hoped that the baby elephant could stay on board.
“But he was so cute,” he moaned, “Why couldn’t I have kept him? Cally’s got her Moon disc.”
“Vila, there is an enormous difference between a Moon disc and a baby elephant,” Blake said slowly, “For one thing, those baby elephants grow. You saw the size of its parents…and the entire herd.”
“Yes, but…”
“Besides,” Jenna began, “it would have been unkind to keep that little sweetie here, all by itself. It needs its herd.”
“I suppose so.”
“Look, this planet that Orac found will be ideal,” Blake said, “That entire herd will be safe now; it will have plenty of room, plenty of food. Just think what would have happened if we hadn’t come along? That Zoological garden was deserted, they would have died. But now they have a chance.”
“If it makes you happy, we can even come back and visit,” Jenna smiled, “Now drink your drink and let’s celebrate a job well done.”
“He was cute though,” Vila said, wistfully.

It had taken a while to teleport the rest of the elephants straight up to the main hold of the Liberator, but with Cally to soothe them, it had all gone as planned.
And later, they had all been teleported down to their new home.
Cally waved as the herd trundled off to explore their new surroundings and tried not to laugh as the smallest elephant, Vila’s new friend, had planted a large wet kiss on Avon’s face.
He was not best pleased.

Back on the Liberator, Gan was satisfied with a job well done.
“I think that planet will be a better place than that old garden. Real creatures deserve real surroundings. Although Vila isn’t very happy.”
“And I have an idea why he wasn’t happy. Apparently our entrepreneur had asked Orac for some advice.”
“Advice on what?” Gan asked.
“An interesting drink called Indlovu Gin.”
Cally and Gan looked at him quizzically.”
“It requires a great deal of elephants,” Avon smiled.


“Well done, Avon. Everything went all right?” Blake asked.
“Naturally. Vila, you didn’t seem very happy about the outcome?”
“Didn’t I?”
Avon sighed, “Much as I admire your zeal when it comes to creating wealth…”
“And what’s wrong with that?” Vila asked indignantly.
“To make Indlovu Gin you require a great deal of food and fresh fruit for the elephants, something that not even the Liberator’s facilities could provide. I’m afraid your scheme was doomed from the start and you would have suffered a great financial loss.”
“Oh,” Vila said, his shoulders slumped.
“Which leaves us with one other problem, one that you can solve.”
“I can?”
Vila turned round to see Avon and Gan with a space suit and spade in hand.
“What’s that for?”
“I think you already know the answer to that. It’s in the main hold. All of it.”
“What?”
“Don’t worry,” Gan put in, “I’ll help you.”
Vila was crest fallen.
“Well,” Avon continued, “you did say that you would do anything to keep that animal aboard…and now you can find out why that wasn’t a good idea.”
“All right…on condition that I have a glass of Adrenalin and Soma when I finished.”
“And a shower,” Avon added.
“That,” Blake grinned, “goes without saying!”
i.imgur.com/GNjrfkU.jpg

Indlovu Gin? Google it
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/
 
GanMiniMe
I have googled it.

Great fic, made me laugh very loudly at the thought of Vila opening his eyes, thinking it was his lucky day at last and instead... LOL!!

Lucky elephant, too...Wink
 
Annie
I had exactly the same idea Sue but couldn’t make it work. Kudos. That was very funny. And Lurena’s pic the cherry on the top.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
littlesue
Annie wrote:

I had exactly the same idea Sue but couldn’t make it work. Kudos. That was very funny. And Lurena’s pic the cherry on the top.


Great minds and all that! I just thought 'What if there was an elephant in the room....literally?'
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/
 
Lurena
I'm happy you enjoyed the story and the illustration.

littlesue wrote:


I would also like to thank Lurena for coming up with yet another alcoholic beverage!!



This suggests that I would have a lot of knowledge of alcoholic beverages. This is by no means true, I'm really a total ignorant in that. It's that my daughter's father-in-law was the owner of a hotel in Africa, and it's him from whom I gained that elephant's gin knowledge.

But it is true that I had a lot of fun about it and I could barely draw because of the laughter.

Mind that Sue originally wrote that story without the gin aspect which was reason for an extra lot of fun for me when I told her about the beverage!
Lara&Sue's Blake's 7 stories and *my PD as Kerr Avon Tribute*
*No, I am not. I am not expendable, I'm not stupid, and I'm not going.*
 
http://lectorisalutem.webs.com/
stormypetrel
Brilliant stories, from totally different points of view!
 
stormypetrel
“It’s an elephant,” said Blake, with the assurance of someone who had owned a copy of ‘Ancient Earth Mammals’ as a child.

“Yes.” Apparently Avon had owned the same book, but he remained unimpressed. “But what is it doing here?”

They both stared at the large grey animal occupying the inner hold; it gazed back at them.

“I don’t suppose it would fit on the flight deck,” Blake observed. Avon looked more unimpressed than ever. Blake edged closer to the elephant; it tapped him on the shoulder, a teleport bracelet sliding down its trunk as it did so. “Well, we know how you got here, at any rate.” He took the bracelet and handed it to Avon.

“Someone... has teleported... an elephant.” Avon sounded disbelieving. “Was there a particular reason to try and prove what I have always said about the intelligence levels on board this ship?”

Blake ignored him. “We’d better find out who, hadn’t we? I’m fairly sure Cally would have mentioned it if...” He paused, and looked more closely at the elephant, “...she had appeared while she was at the teleport.” He flicked the communicator switch. “We’re going to need the rest of you down here. The problem seems to be bigger than we were expecting.”

The elephant was getting restive; she began to explore the studs on Avon’s tunic with her trunk. Avon glared at her; she sighed, but carried on until the others appeared in the doorway, when she turned her head as if in expectation.

Jenna and Cally halted in amazement.

“What is it?” asked Cally.

“An elephant.”

“You were on teleport duty,” said Avon. “Didn’t you notice it arriving?”

Cally looked more amazed than ever. “Teleport... but it would never fit!”

“Well, it has.”

Blake, seeing that neither Cally nor Jenna were responsible for the stowaway, broke in.

“Where’s Vila?”

“I haven’t seen him since we were down on the planet,” answered Jenna. She looked at the elephant. “You don’t think...”

“It could be an improvement,” said Avon speculatively.

“Vila went to rest,” Cally told them. “He was complaining of a headache. I went to get him something for it, but when I went back to the teleport section he had gone.”

“He’ll have a headache if he’s responsible for this!” The elephant had started blowing insistently on Blake’s hair; he stepped irritably to one side, and called into the communicator, “Vila! That includes you!”

They waited; eventually, Vila appeared, looking somewhat the worse for wear. The elephant trumpeted a loud greeting; he winced.

“Well, she seems to know you,” remarked Jenna. As if to prove the point, the elephant trumpeted again.

“Can’t you do that quietly?” protested Vila, clutching his head.

“Did you teleport this elephant?” demanded Blake, almost as loudly as the elephant itself.

“I didn’t... well... not exactly... yes.”

“Why?”

“There was this man at the bar...”

“You bought an elephant from a man in a pub?” Jenna sounded incredulous.

“I didn’t buy her!” He sounded indignant. “I won her. It was a bet. They were trying to breed woolly mammoths, to stop the planet overheating...”

“How much had you had to drink?”

“And it didn’t work...”

“Really,” said Avon meaningfully.

“And she was left over...”

“You rescued the elephant?” inquired Cally. Vila looked gratefully at her.

“That’s it!”

Blake stared from Vila to the elephant and back again; finally, he spoke.

“And what are we supposed to do with it now?!”
 
M1795537 OC Virn
I knew you could do it! Thanks, SP!!
You're not sulking, I hope?
 
GanMiniMe
Well done Stormypetrel, that was excellent.

Fiddling with Avon’s tunic buttons (and sighing), kissing him goodbye in Littlesue’s one... I kind of wish I was an elephant...
 
Ellen York
What are they supposed to do with it ??? Hint, hint Smile
 
GanMiniMe
I am enjoying speculating on an elephant-created malfunction to Servalan’s magnificent, and often very expensive and white, wardrobe...
 
Annie
Great stories everyone. Really lifted my spirits reading them.
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
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