To Live Despite Regrets

By Susan Riaz

The story so far : After GP, the only survivors are Avon and Tarrant. Servalan hopes that Avon and Orac can help her re-establish her power, but sends Tarrant, under a new identity, to a harsh prison planet for two years. However, despite Servalan's plans, Tarrant survives. He eventually finds himself working on small courier or protection jobs, on the planet Zuskar, for a man called Jansen afraid to fly and unable to work as a pilot after his experiences on Gauda Prime. Jansen gives him a courier job, commissioned by Sleer, on the pleasure planet Lyssos. On Lyssos, Tarrant discovers Avon, who is Servalan's prisoner. Visions of Soolin and Dayna encourage him to let go of his fears and he manages to release Avon and kill Servalan. He is then able to fly for the first time since GP. We join Tarrant and Avon in a hopper, fleeing Servalan's estate on Lyssos.

Tarrant stared straight ahead, studiously avoiding eye-contact with Avon, as he skimmed the hopper over the man-made desert of Lyssos. On the periphery of his vision he could see brightly coloured pleasure hoppers in the vicinity. They shone, like brilliant jewels, against the vast, monotonous regularity of the desert colouring. Tarrant stayed low and kept up the same, erratic movements, hoping they would also pass as pleasure riders from above. Bright sunlight burst into the hopper, reflecting from the gold of the sand all around, and illuminating the two, pale, tense faces within. Eventually, Avon balanced Orac on his lap and inserted his key.

"Orac, are we being pursued?" he asked.

"Search parties have been organised, but our whereabouts has not yet been discovered. There are no search parties converging on our current co-ordinates."

It occurred to Tarrant that, by offering additional information, and the telling word 'our', even Orac had realised the importance of their situation. Still, being helpful did not naturally apply to Orac, and Tarrant found it unsettling.

"If we stay down low, hopefully we'll be accepted as just another desert hopper," he commented, grasping the controls more firmly.

"Hopefully," Avon replied, wryly. "Where are we going to?"

"The space port?"

"Do you have a ship there?" Avon asked.

Tarrant avoided his gaze. "No, I arrived on a scheduled flight..."

"A scheduled flight?" Avon's tone was unbelieving.

"Well, I had no way of knowing you would be here," Tarrant answered, defiantly.

"And obviously no plan to rescue me if you did find me here," Avon drawled. "Well, luckily, we have Orac at least."

The slight was intentional and Tarrant shifted, embarrassed, but concentrated on the still tense matter of flying again. Rivulets of sweat ran down his palms and he wiped his hands on his jacket. Avon noted the action and looked at him strangely. Tarrant felt uncomfortably aware of his shabby appearance. His bulky dark green tunic, brown trousers and boots were well-worn. Even the weight of the garments could not hide the fact that he was much thinner than he had been. Acid welts ran across his fingers and scarred his wrists. An ugly scar ran the length of his, once-boyish face, where cheekbones now jutted beneath an unruly mass of curls. Avon, in a black, zipped jump-suit, looked heavier by comparison.

"Who was the boy you brought with you?" Avon asked, curiosity touching his voice.

Tarrant knew he referred to Kit, who had been killed during Avon's rescue. "His name was Kit," he said softly. "He was the pilot of this hopper. I hired him to take me to Servalan's estate."

"You hired him to fly you?" Avon queried.

"Yes. I... haven't flown in a long time," Tarrant admitted.

To his immense gratitude, Avon did not ask why. Instead, he asked, "Could you fly now, if I can get Orac to release a ship at the space-port to us?"

"Yes," Tarrant said, shortly. "If Orac can obtain us a ship, I can fly it."

Continued in Frobidden Star Two...

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Last updated on 19th of December 1997.