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May 2021 Ficlet Challenge
purplecleric
The phrase prompt for this month is … Everything but the Kitchen Sink


And a sound prompt for the second challenge:

https://freesound...nds/32424/

Enjoy!
 
M1795537 OC Virn
Heartbeat (AKA: A slower way to kill)

(I imagine https://freesound... playing in the background as you read...)

The console bleeped. President Servalan turned from the viewscreen, where she'd been watching the destruction of another rebel base.
"Yes?" she asked, opening the channel.
"Ma'am, Security here. One of the wounded prisoners is asking for you, Ma'am."
"For me - by name?" Servalan was surprised: why would a rebel want to talk? It was probably a trap.
"Er, yes, Ma'am. She says the matter is urgent and personal."
Indeed, the chance to kill the President would be very urgent, and extremely personal. Servalan was about to order the prisoner's execution when she paused. Perhaps they had useful information? She asked,
"A female? Did she give a name?"
"Yes, Ma'am. Keller."
It was a good thing the call was voice-only, the President reflected, feeling herself blushing. She stumbled to her chair, needing its support. Keller? After all this time - and knowing he was long dead - what did this woman know of her relationship with the man whose rejection had fuelled her thirst for power? Perhaps the prisoner simply hoped that the name would gain access: this had to be an assassination attempt. Yet despite herself, Servalan wanted to know more. She made the decision.
"Very well. Bring her."
"Er, apologies, Ma'am, but the medics say she cannot be moved: her injuries are terminal."
"Then I will require a full escort. Immediately."

The holding cells were unpleasant - deliberately so - and not only for the inmates. The prison guards drew back in surprise as the President swept past, a glamorous apparition in dazzling white, flanked by bodyguards.
She was shown into a room where an old woman lay on a cot, blood still seeping from her injuries. The smell was offensive, a mixture of the metallic tang of blood and the sickly floral odour of death.
Servalan stared without recognition at the body on the bed, anticipating danger. The woman was too far gone for anything but a suicidal implant - explosive or poison?
"Has she been scanned?" the President demanded.
"Yes, Ma'am. She's clean," the guard answered.
Servalan nodded acknowledgement, taking a step closer to the bed. She turned, ordering,
"Leave us: there is to be no record of this meeting: is that understood?"

The woman opened her eyes.
"Servalan?" her voice was barely above a whisper. Servalan bent closer.
"The child," the woman told her, struggling to breathe. Each word was a separate effort.
Servalan's eyes narrowed: what was this about?
"You mentioned Keller," she began, "What do you -"
"My son's child," the voice interrupting her was even weaker now, "And yours. I could not let her die."
The President sprang away, shaken. Who was this woman? And ...a child? Her thoughts flew backwards almost a dozen years.....The stillbirth had never been made public: they'd assured her the baby died...
"Elisabeth," the dying woman breathed, "Take her."

A day passed. The President waited in her office.
A mutoid brought in the struggling child. She seemed very young: a wiry bundle of arms and legs.... but when Servalan met her eyes, the likeness was undeniable. Hazel, like her own, backed by a keen mind and fierce determination. For a timeless moment they shared a contact that startled them both.
"So I have a daughter," Servalan admitted to herself unwillingly, "What does the President of the Federation want with a daughter?" But this was Keller's child, she reminded herself. The product of something that had once meant everything to a naive Space Force cadet.
The girl stared back, overawed at meeting the President, not understanding what was happening.
"Yesterday, I destroyed everything she had," the woman thought, "Yet she survived. Again." The only safe course of action was to have the girl killed. But having seen her, it was impossible. Could she even bring herself to send the child away? They had stolen her baby! The feelings for Keller had been extinguished long ago, but this helpless infant was proof that they had existed, proof that the impervious President that she had become, had once been capable of love.
Love that threatened to return at the sight of those bright, uncompromising eyes. And the name, of course. She had chosen it herself, at that first scan, hearing the heartbeat for the first time....
"I'm not scared of you," Elisabeth lied desperately, breaking the tense silence, "Leave me alone."
Servalan pulled herself together. Nobody ordered the President around... and no, she would not leave her child alone. Not again.
"I see I shall have to teach you better manners," she announced briskly, "I am your mother. You live with me now."
Edited by M1795537 OC Virn on 06 May 2021 11:55:58
You're not sulking, I hope?
 
GanMiniMe
Stainless Steel



Cally paused. She shook her head slightly. It didn’t help. As an acid test, she glanced around at Tarrant- he seemed oblivious. That meant that it was in her head, then. She stayed still and listened.

It was a strange, slow, whooshing sound not unlike white noise. It shifted, overlapped, came and went, like waves upon a beach, underpinned by a low pulsing sound. It was almost musical, organic, but had an odd electronic quality.
Underneath the sound she could hear echoes of voices- whose voices? They were too indistinct to recognise- fragments of discussions, conversations... commands? Questions? She listened.

It seemed to grow louder, the pulsing rhythm a little faster, but Cally did not say anything about it. She knew there was no point, Tarrant clearly couldn’t hear it, and had come to regard her telepathic abilities as a liability. She didn’t want to arouse his mistrust of her, and her instinct assured her that whatever this sound was, it wasn’t a threat. Quite the opposite- something about it seemed to call out to her, to ask her to hear it. So, she stayed quiet and heard it.

***
Dayna hurried onto the flight deck and went straight to Vila. “I got them-“ she began, but the hand he quickly raised silenced her.

He was listening. Zen’s voice was wavering and slurring.

+++ Dysfunction on computer banks three and six. All resources now concentrated on maintainance of teleport facilities- I... I have failed you...+++

“He never referred to himself before. He never once used the word ‘I’ “ Vila’s own voice was a mixture of surprise at this realisation and dawning despair.

+++I have failed you, I am sorry, I have...+++



On the planet’s surface, the sound in Cally’s head became distorted, fuzzy and gradually faded into silence.

***
Later, they all stood around the view screen and watched as the Liberator began to break up. It was only seconds in reality, but it seemed to take an extraordinarily long time. Finally, one huge explosion blasted that beautiful ship into smithereens. Dust, smoke and and detritus filled the screen.
Tarrant said something to the others and, one by one, they turned, gave Avon a long look and walked away from him. He was still watching.

As the view began to clear, he could make out huge pieces of shrapnel and debris- all twisted by the impact, burnt, none of it salvageable or recognisable.

Except...

Was that...?

It was. Among the wreckage now floating out across the planet’s outer orbit, was one part Avon recognised. As he turned away from the screen and followed the others out, he couldn’t resist the grin that his naturally black humour prompted.

The most technologically advanced ship in the galaxy, with capabilities that outstripped anything the Terran Federation had ever seen had been reduced to slime by one of the most basic life forms in the known universe: enzymes. And those enzymes had destroyed everything.

Everything but the kitchen sink.
 
Lurena
For a while now I have been thinking about how it was possible for Cally and Zelda to make telepathic contact over such a very long distance. I suspect there had to be an amplifying factor somewhere.
Tissue warning , on Littlesue's advice after beta-reading my story.

The Auron Farewell

*|You must get out of there,|*
Cally cried out telepathically, *| Zelda. Put the bracelet on! |*
*| Even Servalan's children must have a chance, Cally! |* Zelda had replied.
*| Cally! ...|* followed by a silent scream heard only by Cally.
Then nothing …
In the safety of the Liberator’s teleport section, Cally fainted …

...

Cally had retreated to her cabin after that unfortunate confrontation with Avon on the flight deck.
"Affection for him!" she had sneered to indicate how insensitive he was, but also to disguise her own weakness, her homesickness for Auron.
Homesickness. She had already expressed that word sarcastically to Vila; at that time also to cover her own feelings. Vila clearly admitted that he longed for Earth, to go home. She wished it had been so easy for her.

Now she was alone in her cabin, overcome with melancholy .
The Moon Disc moved towards Cally's hand.
She gently stroked her hand over the Disc, but this time the xerophyte did not bring her any comfort.
Instead she was consumed by homesickness for Auron, her siblings and her most beloved sister Zelda.

A mental trembling went through both the Moon Disc and Cally.
A sense of general unwellness engulfed Cally; her gaze became blurry as in her head an eerie telepathic sound echoed and buzzed.
Auronar! … What was going on?
Rhythms of life, heartbeats, sounds of so many. Pulses accelerating and slowing down, echoes of death, sounds that faded...

With difficulty, Cally stumbled through the long corridors of the Liberator to the flight deck.
The others, she had to reach the others. What others? Who? She couldn’t get her mind clear.
She just managed to bring out in a soft voice, “Death. Dying.”
She felt Avon grabbing her by the arm, “Cally! … Cally!”
Vaguely, she heard Dayna ask, “What's wrong with her?”
But she could only explain, “ They're dying ... all dying.”
And Avon’s voice insisted, “Who? Who is dying?”
Yet, in her desperation, she turned to Dayna, “ They're all dying. Dayna, they're all dying.”

*

It took some effort to convince Avon to postpone his mission to Earth.
Fortunately, Dayna and Tarrant stood up for her, followed a little later by Vila, who first had to overcome his homesickness, which he disguised nicely by saying that he likes to be on the winning side.
Avon had frowned on that, which had briefly given Cally a sense of triumph and a lot of strength.
*| I'm coming, Zelda. I'm coming home. |* she telepathed relieved and happy, *|I'm coming home.|*

*

That joyous homecoming was not to be.
Cally lay in the quiet of her cabin and even pretended to be asleep when Avon and Tarrant came to see how she was.
But as tired and broken she was, sleep wouldn’t, couldn’t come.
Many of her people had died, but for Cally the loss of her beloved sister Zelda was too hard to bear.
The sounds had faded.
It was so quiet.
Too quiet.
Cally got up and extended her hand to her Moon Disc ...

i.imgur.com/Gr9NwKk.jpg

*

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/
littlesue
And here is my little effort with piccie by Lurena.

That Sinking Feeling


“What is that?” Blake asked as the main view screen showed a small ship seemingly towing a jumble of household items behind it.
Jenna was slightly taken aback by the scene.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said,” it seems to be everything but the kitchen sink.”
“The what?” Blake said in all seriousness.
“We’re being hailed.”
“From what? That ship? But who…?”
“This is Mother O’Reilly…”
“Really,” said Blake absently.
“…no, O’Reilly. Do you have a Vila Restal aboard?”
“What do you want with him?”
“Look, sonny, he asked for my help and I said fine, as long as he could help me. I think my tractor beam is buckling under the strain. Now, can I please dock alongside your ship?”
Blake looked at Jenna, who could only shrug.
“Permission granted,” Blake replied, “what has Vila been up to now?”

“Laundry?” Blake asked, perplexed.
“Yes. It’s all Avon’s fault,” Vila began to explain. “He made me put that spacesuit on to clear up…the hold after our rescue mission for those elephants and no matter how many times I put it through the Liberator’s cleansing programme it still came out…rather smelly. So I asked Orac to find out the best place to take it to and he came up with Mother O’Reilly’s Mobile laundry…”
“And here I am sonny.” A rather old, scraggily grey haired old woman appeared at the hatch. “You needn’t look so shocked, how else do you think some of the deep space travellers keep their clothes clean? Me, that’s how.”
“But why all that paraphernalia towing behind you?” asked Jenna.
“That, young lady, is all my worldly goods. You don’t expect me to keep it aboard, do you? It would be rather cramped.”
“And the kitchen sink?” Blake asked absently.
“That, me lad, stays aboard. That is my most valuable possession. Now where is this expert who can fix my rather tired tractor beam?”

Avon protested, of course, but eventually he was persuaded to do Mother O’Reilly’s bidding.
”Hm. Who cleans your leather outfits?”
“Why?”
“Well, whoever it is isn’t doing it proper. Now get that red leather suit off.”
“What?”
“It will be payment for sorting out me tractor beam.”

“Well now I’ve seen everything…including the kitchen sink,” Blake murmured.
“That wasn’t any ordinary kitchen sink,” Avon explained, now suited in his resplendent newly laundered red outfit, “From what I could make out it was a type of teleportation device. She put an article of clothing in; it dematerialised and when it reformed all the dirt, dust and other unwanted atoms were removed. It was most thorough.”
“A teleport device?” Blake asked.
“And quite a money making device,” Avon added, “Where’s Vila?”
“In the teleport section,” Cally informed them.
Gan smiled, “He said something along the lines of ‘Who needs a kitchen sink?’”

“No!” Blake was quite firm about the matter.
“But…”
“You…we, are not going to become the Liberator Laundry Service!”
“But…”
“Vila, I am supposed to be organising rebellions against the Federation…not doing their washing! What’s that doing here?”
Blake pointed to the kitchen sink sitting on the seat, next to Vila, partly hidden from view.
“I borrowed it. Just to see how it works, you understand.”
Blake looked heavenward, then let out a deep sigh before pressing the communicator button.
“Jenna, contact Mother O’Reilly. Tell her she’s got everything BUT her kitchen sink!!”

i.imgur.com/st1I8dp.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/
 
GanMiniMe
Well, now I’m conflicted. I read these two one after the other, and went from being desperately sad at Lurena’s sensitive, moving fic to snorting with laughter at Littlesue’s delightfully absurd one ( and the picture!!). Well done, both were excellent!
 
Lorna
Thanks all for your stories. I particularly liked Lurena's insight into how Cally made contact with Zelda. Also the pictures are great!
 
Annie
What excellent stories. A great Servalan story to start. I never thought anyone could make me laugh about the demise of Zen but I did. Poor Cally - missing Zelda so much, very moving and The Liberator Laundry Service is a hilarious proposition.

Thank you all
Just because I can't sing doesn't mean I won't.
 
Cygnus Bazza
Avon had combed every cubic angstrom of their glittering new craft, but entirely without success. He turned to Blake with a scowl. "So where the hell are we supposed to do the washing-up?"
 
M1795537 OC Virn
Cygnus Bazza wrote:

Avon had combed every cubic angstrom of their glittering new craft, but entirely without success. He turned to Blake with a scowl. "So where the hell are we supposed to do the washing-up?"


Thanks for that! But which 'glittering new craft'?
You're not sulking, I hope?
 
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