Time For A ChangeBy Marian Mendez
Deva wasn't quite dead yet and saw Blake fall. What a pity, Deva thought, eyes closing for the last time, Should have worked harder on Blake, stopped that bounty hunter nonsense, shouldn't have been this way.
Then Deva's existence ended, and the only moving figures wore the Federation's uniform. The alarms were silenced, the lighting returned to normal, and the guards lined up neatly, awaiting further orders.
"Oooh. Oh, that was pointlessly painful ." The person in Deva's clothes sat up warily, checking out the equipment before chancing further movement. "Still, it could have been worse." Satisfied that everything was functional, Deva rose and walked, somewhat unsteadily, to the nearest reflective surface, ignoring the motionless guards. A short, blue-eyed, blonde woman looked back from the mirror-bright steel. She frowned. "No, I don't think that's entirely suitable." She glanced at the body draped over Blake's form. "Too much like your Anna. Let's see." The blonde's brow furrowed in concentration. Her body shimmered, lengthened, and developed quite a respectable figure. The hair lengthened, too, and shifted hues, becoming a deep russet. Her eyes widened and darkened to a sea-green.
"Not bad." She smiled. "Certainly will be a change of pace from poor, serious, little Deva." She turned to Avon, and knelt beside him, turning him over onto his back. "Are you all right?"
Avon woke and stared back at the woman bending over him. "Considering that I am dead, and in hell for murdering Blake..." He started to sit up, then stared at his hands, half hidden by his sleeves. "What?"
"The guards got carried away. Sorry, but they were confused
when I was killed. I didn't realize The Master had disabled Temporal
Grace on his Tardis. I'm afraid they've triggered your first
regeneration, Avon. "
"What are you talking about? Who are you anyway?" Avon snapped. He wasn't paying much attention to her, instead he was patting himself down. "No injuries? That's absurd. I died." He got up, pushing the red-headed woman away when she reached out to him, and promptly had to grab for his pants which drooped on his hips. "What happened to my clothes?" He asked, totally confused. His people were dead, he'd killed Blake, Federation guards were standing at attention like a row of tin soldiers, a strange woman was babbling nonsense, and he couldn't seem to think straight. On top of that, someone put him in clothes three sizes too large- clothes exactly like his own, right down to the worn places.
"My name is Romanadevaratnalunda," the woman introduced herself, "and I'm a Time-Lord."
"Yes, of course you are," Avon replied, looking for his assault rifle, before remembering that it was empty and he was dead, anyway, so there really wasn't much point in caring if you were in the company of a madwoman.
"You can call me Deva if you like. Although I prefer Fred."
Avon looked down at Blake. Supposing Avon to be alive, could Blake... He forced himself to touch Blake's hand, and recoiled from the icy chill. Blake wasn't getting up, ever again. Avon had done what the entire Federation failed to accomplish. Abruptly, he started laughing, harshly.
"Stop that!" the woman, Deva, Fred, Romana-whatever her name was, ordered. She looked alarmed, as if she was worried about Avon. That was patently ridiculous, of a piece with this whole nightmare. "It's all right, Avon. That's not Blake. Your friends aren't dead. Everything will be fine. Just calm down, it doesn't do to excite yourself in your present state. You haven't stabilized yet. Until your neural synapses have completed fusion, there will be a certain amount of confusion."
Avon's legs buckled. The woman caught him and helped him to a seat at the tracking gallery, pushing aside the woman Avon had shot. "Please, rest. I'll explain everything as best I can if you'll just be patient."
"Blake." Avon stared at the big corpse as if the rest of the room was empty. "Tell me about Blake. You say he wasn't real- what was he- a clone?"
"No, he's an android. Like the guards. His programming was a little too authentic, though. I never could control him."
"No, Blake never could be controlled." Avon relaxed, feeling a cold knot in his chest loosen.
"Actually," the woman continued, holding Avon's shoulder while she spoke, "actually, Avon, you're a clone."
"You are insane." Avon tried to pull back, but the woman was surprisingly strong. She also was taller than him, which was really annoying. Come to that, everything seemed a bit larger. Fighting her hold, he shifted in the seat, and came face to face with a stranger reflected in the polished metal of the nearby console. "No!" he shouted, "what have you done to me?" He couldn't pull his gaze from the horrified face he saw, jet-black hair and eyes set in a small-boned, sardonic face graced with a widow's peak and a sharply pointed beard and mustache. He put up a hand to touch the beard, and a slender, graceful hand raised in the reflection, to stroke along the impeccably groomed beard. He felt it, through both the hand and the face being touched. It was his face, his beard. "I've gone to hell and become the devil," he said, shaken.
"No, you haven't. Now just stop frightening yourself and listen to me. I'm going to start from the beginning this time. And you're going to listen." The Federation spy, Arlen, chose that moment to groan. Deva/ Fred glanced back over her shoulder. "As soon as I get the place cleared up. Now, stay put." She patted Avon on the shoulder then went to the silent line of guards. "Take Arlen out of the Tardis and dump her in the woods," she ordered. "Put Klyn and Blake and the other damaged androids in the workshop.Then go into Storage Hold C." She stooped to examine Tarrant. "Not too bad. Carry Avon's people to the infirmary and put them on the beds there. Then join the other `droids in Storage C."
The guards nodded in unison and began carrying bodies as instructed. Avon watched silently. When the last of them had gone the woman returned to him. She picked up his wrist, felt his pulse, nodded, moved her hand slightly and then nodded again. "Both hearts strong and properly synchronized. Good."
Avon grasped her wrist, preventing her from pulling away. "How did you know I've got two hearts? It's not on the Federation records, I had Orac delete it years ago."
"All Time-Lords have two hearts. Listen to mine."
Abruptly, an ample bosom was pressed against Avon's ear. There was a distinct double cadence to the rhythm he heard. Shaken, he pulled back. It was not her action, nor the revelation that disturbed him, but the strong urge to stay there, to allow this creature, this woman, this Time-Lord, to comfort him.
"What, precisely, is a Time-Lord?" Avon asked, trying to distance himself from the feelings.
"We're a humanoid species, originating on the planet Gallifrey."
"Never heard of it."
"Well, you won't have done. We try to stay out of other people's messes, and your Federation is a prime example of the sort of thing we avoid." She hurried on, seeing Avon's impatience. "We can travel in both Time and Space, using devices known as Tardises. That stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. Most Time-Lords don't actually travel, though, as we have strong moral strictures against interfering in other cultures. There are exceptions- a few authorized agents of the Council of the Time Lords, a few adventurers, such as myself, and one other, a man known as the Master. He's a megalomaniac, a mass murderer, and totally conscienceless."
"I take it he has no objection to interfering in other cultures."
"Or destroying them. We have a very long life-span, due in
part to our ability to regenerate after death. This regeneration is
limited to twelve times, but The Master has found ways around that. The
last time we heard of him, he had forced the clone-masters to produce
him a new body. As an infant. Force-growing would confuse the
regeneration count. Since he had recently regenerated his body using
forbidden methods, he could afford to wait for the child to attain
maturity before he transferred his `essence'. The Doctor- an old
colleague of mine-" she explained, "stumbled across him and
stopped him. The Council confiscated the Master's Tardis, imprisoned him
and voted to destroy the clone, fearing it would turn out as evil as its
original. The Doctor refused and gave the child to foster parents- human
foster parents. Your parents."
"No wonder my brother and I were so different," Avon mused. Despite himself, he was beginning to believe her. So his entire existance had been a lie. He was the clone of a psychopathic alien. It went a long way toward explaining things.
"The Doctor wouldn't tell anyone where or when he placed you. Frankly, he's getting on - twelve hundred and thirteen on his last birthday. I think he simply forgot. Looking for a child in all of Time and Space would be impossible, but fortunately I didn't have to. A Time-Lord infant is hypersensitive to the TimeStream. You could say it gives them colic. So the Doctor would only have moved the child in space from the Master's last position. The Council gave me The Master's Tardis and I set it to retrace its path.
"I should have been able to pick you up directly after the Doctor gave you away, but this Tardis..." Here she smacked her hand down on the tracking gallery monitor. "This Tardis is the most uncooperative machine I have ever known. It doesn't like me.The last time I regenerated it even interfered with that, making me outwardly resemble a male human. It has a warped sense of humor."
"It is only a machine," Avon said. He began eying his surroundings with fresh interest. Unless he missed his guess, she was saying that they were in a time machine. The whole base? Possible, if you postulated that the Relative Dimensions part of their title meant that they were in a pocket of extra-universality as long as they were within it. That would also greatly decrease the amount of energy required for travel, if the interior actually remained stable in the other dimension and the only part of the vehicle which actually moved was the exterior portal. He began visualizing equations for the energy transfer.
"Are you listening to me?"
"Hmm? Oh, yes, Romana, is it? Do go on, please, my dear." He patted her on the hand before he realized what he was doing. Apparently a new personality came along with a new body. Already he felt his fight against the Federation and Servalan, as something that happened to someone else.
"The problem is, all Tardises are Single-Response Isomorphic."
"A one-man dog?" Avon queried. "How could a machine differentiate betw..." He felt a disconcerting sensation, perhaps best described as a mind-tickle. "Ah, I see. It's telepathic."
Romana nodded. "And tends to resemble its user, especially with prolonged single-owner voyages. The Master had this Tardis for several hundred years. I think it believed I was trying to capture you. It let me follow you, but always arrived after you'd left. I learned all about you, second-hand. Finally I set up the Tardis as a rebel base and tricked your computer into bringing you here. The Tardis can alter the settings once it's in motion, but it can't move on its own. It was the only way I could find you."
A thought struck him. "The Tardis should not be able to tell the difference between us. To all intents and purposes, I am this Master."
"That's an oversimplification," Romana said, alarmed. "You haven't done the things he has. You aren't him."
"But I could easily be," Avon said, smiling. He wondered what it looked like on his new face, and was gratified to see Romana flinch. That at least, hadn't changed.
"I was sent to bring you home to make certain you don't become another Master."
"Home? I have no home. Certainly not your precious Gallifrey."
"You could be very happy on Gallifrey. The computers are advanced as far beyond your Orac as it is beyond the abacus. There is no Federation, no war, nothing to interfere with research or academic pursuits."
"Oh? And would I be allowed to conduct research as I please?"
Romana looked away and bit her lip. Then she said, "Well, of course you'd have to get your degree first."
"Of course," Avon mocked. "And how long do you think that would take? How long did it take my original before he grew bored and simply took what he wanted? Bear in mind that I should have to start from scratch, in a totally foreign environment, with instructors who are predisposed to consider me a pathological monster."
"It wouldn't be easy, I admit, but you are intelligent."
"Too intelligent to take your offer."
"You really can't want to continue to live with humans. The Doctor used to travel with human companions. Sometimes they were refreshingly innocent, but in general I found them annoying with their parochial attitudes. They consider the human race evolution's crowning achievement.They can't understand you and you don't understand yourself."
"I don't fit in." Avon laughed. "Dear lady, I have never `fit in', and I don't care to start now." He got up. "I do thank you for your concern, but I think I shall just go see how my - companions - are. And then we will take our leave of you, I think."
"Wait!" Romana sounded desperate. "The Council will have my head if I don't bring you back, or at least teach you how to control yourself. You are very young, Avon, you have no idea what changes your first regeneration causes."
"Good god, you don't mean I'll have to go through puberty again." Avon shuddered. Then he looked at Romana, really looked at her for the first time as a woman. She was beautiful and desirable, far more than most women he'd known. His voice lowered to a growl. "Then again, this time around, I might enjoy it."
"That would be cradle-snatching."
"Would it really?" Avon eyed her for another minute until he saw a flush rising in her fair cheeks. "In any event, I haven't time for it. With this device, I should be able to finish what Blake started. You may come along, if you wish."
"No! Time-Lords are strictly forbidden from..." but Romana's protest sounded forced, as though she was tempted to agree.
Avon grinned. "I'm not an accredited Time-Lord, am I? And you are a self-confessed adventurer. What could be a better quest than the overthrow of a galaxy-wide repressive dictatorship of the worst stripe? Why, with the Tardis, I could go back, back before there was a Federation and prevent its existence."
"No." This time Romana's refusal was flat. "You
can't interfere with your own time-line. That's not a Time-Lord rule.
It's a fact. If you try, you may think you have changed your future, but
what actually occurs is a split in the Time Continuum, creating a new
reality. Enough of that sort of meddling and the cosmos would
"All right, so that's out. It can still travel faster than any space vessel- virtually simultaneously, I should imagine."
"If properly navigated." Romana shook her head. "And if you think I'm teaching a child how to pilot a Tardis, you'd better think again!"
"No, actually I was thinking of Tarrant." Avon frowned and glanced in the direction the androids had carried his crew. "That is, if he's still alive."
"He should be. The Master always traveled alone and usually in hostile territory, so his infirmary is highly sophisticated and automated. Do you want to see it?"
"Yes." Whatever else had changed, those four people were his crew. His brain had begun to settle, and fewer wild thoughts leaped out to distract him. He should have checked on them before. How long had he been content to simply sit and listen to Romana lecture him? His life had changed, so be it. Accept and move on. He no longer felt the personal drive to defeat the Federation, but from both an ethical and a practical view, he would strongly prefer that system abolished. For that task, his present -companions- were ideally suited. They had the skills, the motivation, and for whatever reason, they trusted him to lead them. Of course, they might change their minds when they learned he had changed his body.
"Watch that monitor." Romana gestured toward a section of wall which didn't look much different from any other until a panel slid back, revealing a glasslike screen. Depicted on it Tarrant was standing toe to toe with Vila. There was no sound but it was obvious they were arguing.
"He's still alive," Avon said."Pity".
"Which one do you mean?" Romana asked.
"Take your pick. Can they hear us?"
"If you like." At Avon's nod, Romana flicked one of the many switches set in the panel before her and Tarrant's voice came through. Avon automatically noted which switch Romana had used. He also noted that the console which activated the monitor had not been there before. Apparently, the interior of the Tardis was not only extra-dimensional, it was also mutable. Even if the machine accepted him as its master, he would still need Romana to tell him how to operate it.
"Vila, Tarrant." He was gratified to see them jump.
"Who's that?" Vila backed up, and suddenly he was with Tarrant against an enemy.
Tarrant stiffened. "I don't know what kind of fools you take us for, but you're not Avon."
"Don't sound anything like him," Vila added.
Dayna slid off the examination table she'd been sitting on. "What have you done with him?"
"And what do you intend to do with us?" Soolin was in the corner, arms crossed, looking very cross herself.
"Romana, let them see me." Avon spread his arms, and
grinned, enjoying their reactions to his new body in his old,
ill-fitting clothes. "I was Avon. Apparently, I didn't know me as
well as I thought. I'm not human."
"I could have told you that," Vila muttered, automatically, his eyes still bugging out.
"And you would have been right. What a novelty," Avon teased gently.
"Well, Vila," Tarrant demanded, "you've known him longer than any of us. Do you think that's Avon?"
"I dunno. I dunno," Vila wailed. "It talks like him. But maybe it's one of those things that blew up Star One. The Andromedans. Avon... Avon told me about them, they looked just like people until you killed them and then they melted into great, disgusting globs of lime aspic."
"Yes, that's true," Avon said, brow creased in thought. "However, that particular test is very final. Well, it would be if I were human. I won't melt when I die- will I, Romana?" He queried, as it occurred to him that he really didn't know.
"No Gallifreyan has ever melted, as far as I know," Romana answered him, mildly. "I must admit, you are rather advanced for your age. Usually that sort of philosophical question comes much later."
"I've had a rather strenuous childhood." Avon still did not take Romana's attitude seriously. No matter what any Gallifreyan calendar said, he was no child, couldn't even remember being one.
"Yes, that's true. I'll have to take that into account when we start home schooling."
"Would you rather go through life ignorant of even your basic biology, Avon? Not to mention your history, legends, social development, sciences, and technologies?"
"I haven't time..." Slowly, Avon's smile widened. "I do have time, don't I?"
"If you don't get yourself killed while fighting this Federation."
"You aren't my mother. Even if I let you stay on my ship..."
"You've already acknowledged that the Tardis does not respond properly to you and it will to me. Therefore it is, ipso facto, my ship. Between myself and Orac, with possibly a little assistance from Tarrant, it should prove possible to pilot it, without your help. You are therefore surplus to requirements and if you prove annoying enough will be set down on the nearest habitable planet."
"You are a spoiled brat."
Avon grinned. "I've been told that before. Ah, speaking of
Orac, it may be able to come up with a non-lethal test of my
identity." He turned back to the monitor, where his crew had been
mystified by the by-play between `Avon?' and the beautiful woman wearing
the clothes of a rebel technician. Vila, it must be admitted, had been
speculating on how much strain the buttons on her shirt could take.
"Vila, can you come to the tracking gallery and pick up Orac on
your way? It's just outside the second level stairwell, behind the fire
"I know where the bloody box is. You stood on my shoulders to wedge it there..." Vila trailed off. "Well, Avon did, anyway."
"Then get it and come here."
Tarrant stepped forward."We can't. Every time we leave this infirmary, we wind up right back here, no matter which way we go."
"It's maddening," Dayna agreed.
"It's also impossible," Soolin added.
"Normally, I would agree," Avon remarked, "but this `rebel base' is actually part of an alien artifact which occupies an alternate dimension wherein the laws of physics, as we know them, do not necessarily apply."
"Very good, Avon," Romana said. "Perhaps you will
be able to skip a few levels."
"Wonderful," Avon replied. "In the meantime, could you explain to my people how to get through this maze you've set up?"
"I didn't set it up. You did. You were obviously not ready
to face them and your Tardis picked up on that. So it created a
recursive loop in its interior arrangement."
"What?" Vila and the rest of the ex-Scorpio crew asked.
"It's a topological absurdity," Romana said helpfully. "Impossible to break out of. But if Avon is ready to see you, the Tardis should have reverted to its usual arrangement. Try walking straight out of the infirmary, take the first left, through the Zen rock garden, up two flights, past the aviary, and you should be right here."
"Rock garden? Aviary?" Tarrant was bemused. "All we saw were old brick basements."
"Dark dirty ones, with huge spiders," Vila added.
"Try it again."
"All right, Avon." Tarrant said, then caught himself. "Well, whoever you are. There had better be a good explanation for all this."
Romana turned off the monitor then said, "I'm off to the closet for something a bit more comfortable. I'm about to burst out of this. I want to get changed before your companions arrive."
"Vila will be disappointed."
"Will he? What a shame. Would you like me to bring you something?"
"Perhaps later." Avon began rolling up his shirt sleeves. "After my companions arrive."
"Yes, I see." Romana went toward the entrance that had come from the landing bay, then paused. "Don't fiddle with the controls while I'm gone. I'd hate for you to blow us up before we've all been properly introduced."
"I'll wait. But I won't wait forever. This ship is mine, and I will learn how to operate it. With or without your help."
"The young are always so impatient." Romana left before he could decide on a suitable comeback.
Tarrant came into the tracking gallery first. He was still wearing his scorched and torn garments, but he was fit and ready for a fight. He strode up to the man sitting with his back to the pilot, apparently studying one of the consoles. "Now, who are you really, and what's your game?" On edge after the trauma of the day's events and further frustrated by the rat-maze he'd run a dozen times since coming to in the infirmary, he grabbed the man by the lapels and dragged him up out of the seat, turning his quarry to face him. Half expecting the solid weight of Avon, he staggered back a step when the slender body he'd caught came up too easily. This man was half a foot shorter than Avon and much slighter.
"That was very stupid, Tarrant." It wasn't Avon's voice, but the arctic bite in it was familiar. So was the muzzle of the gun pressed against his ribs. Avon's hold-out gun. The one he kept hidden for emergencies. Being dangled with his feet above the ground probably counted as an emergency.
"Perhaps you're right." Tarrant lowered the other man carefully, so as not to jar the hand holding the gun.
"Then again," came Soolin's voice from behind Avon's ear, "maybe you're wrong." She pressed her own clip-gun against his back. "A stand-off."
Vila and Dayna had come in during the distraction. Vila was carrying Orac. Dayna pulled her gun and aimed it at Romana. "Stay put. Don't try anything."
"Oh, no. I wouldn't dream of it," Romana said, calmly watching the confrontation.
Vila put Orac down on a convenient console and reached for get his gun, then changed his mind after looking more closely at Romana. "Very nice dress," he commented.
"Yes, I think it suits me quite well." Romana twirled
the long, midnight blue, velvet skirt. "I'm glad you like it. Avon
thought you'd be disappointed."
"Never! I like a lady to look like a lady. I'm glad you changed."
"So am I," Romana replied, giving Vila a friendly smile which melted his remaining reserve.
"How come you're not upset over my gang threatening your friend?" He patted his holstered gun. "The guns are unloaded, right? I mean, you'd feel pretty silly getting killed by us after you fixed us up."
Dayna looked at her weapon, startled. She quickly slipped out the clip to check. "It's all right, Vila. The gun's not been tampered with."
"No," Romana said, "It didn't occur to me. I don't use weapons, certainly not anything as crude as those. I had thought we could simply have a civilized discussion. This childish squabbling isn't going to resolve matters."
Dayna was offended by the remark about the clip-guns being crude. She thrust her weapon under Romana's nose and said, "You'd be surprised what a gun can resolve."
Romana pushed the gun away. "Please." She raised her voice. "Avon, I enabled the Temporal Grace mechanism." She smiled at Dayna. "That means no weapons will work inside the Tardis."
Avon lifted his gun away from Tarrant's side, and aimed at a nearby pillar. He fired, but nothing happened. "Interesting. A field effect, Romana?"
"Not quite, but something similar." She frowned. "You know, shooting everyone you disagree with is a very bad habit."
"Yeah," Vila added, "look at poor Blake." Avon's head snapped up, and the light in his black eyes wasn't quite sane. Vila put his hand over his mouth, and turned white. "Sorry."
"So you keep saying," Avon replied. He turned away from Tarrant and Soolin, strode over to Orac, fished in his pocket for the key and activated the computer. "Orac."
* Yes, what is it, now? *
"Gracious as ever." Avon leaned his elbows on the computer casing. "Do you know who I am, Orac?"
* You choose to waste my time for that? Don't you know who you are? I don't expect much from humans...*
"My name is Avon and I'm not human."
* Avon? Ah, so you have finally completed your first metamorphosis. Fascinating. Will you describe the experience for my records? You are the first Gallifreyan I have had an opportunity to study.*
"You knew? All along, you knew what I am, what would happen to me?"
* It only came to my attention the first time I was utilized to monitor your recovery in the Liberator's medical unit.*
"Why didn't you tell me?"
* You never asked.*
Avon jerked the key out. For a moment, he hesitated, weighing it in his hand, as though he intended to hurl it the length of the tracking gallery, then he pocketed it. "One of these days, Orac..."
"Me first, Avon," Vila said.
Avon looked up at Vila. They had been of a height, although Vila's perpetual cringe made him appear smaller. Now, though, Avon was decidedly shorter. This regeneration business has its faults. "You are very quick to believe. In your position, I think I would be more skeptical."
"Yes, you would. That's how I know you're Avon," Vila said cheerfully. "When I saw you standing there, ignoring a beautiful woman, I said to myself, `self, I said, that's Avon all over' and when you gave Tarrant what for, that was a pretty big hint, but the payoff was Orac. If he doesn't know his master, who does?"
Avon's crew visibly relaxed. Apparently, they were willing to accept Vila's judgment. Even Soolin put her gun aside, although she transferred her suspicious looks to Romana. No one had vouched for her.
Avon winced again at the word `master'. He was not looking forward to telling them the details of his origin. Better to start out with the good news. "Blake is not dead," he said abruptly.
"Are you sure?" Tarrant narrowed his eyes. "Was he some sort of alien, too?"
"I doubt it. He always seemed very human to me. But he wasn't here. What I shot was a very sophisticated android. Not quite sophisticated enough." He gave Romana a very dirty look.
Romana spread her hands. "I bought them from a junk-shop dealer on Tara. Most of them couldn't even speak. Klyn was the best of the lot, but the body was too small for Blake." She sighed. "Still, you really didn't have to do such a thorough job of shooting it. It's going to be the very devil to fix."
"Why bother?" Avon asked.
"Well, if you insist on this revolution business, a Blake might come in handy."
"I would prefer the genuine article," Avon said. "With Orac, and the Tardis, it should be simple to locate him." He lowered his voice. "And I do mean to find him." He grimaced and rubbed his forehead.
"Avon?" Dayna said. "What's wrong?"
"I have a headache," he admitted. He opened his eyes to see her staring at him with a peculiar expression. Their first meeting flashed into his mind, and he smiled. "Are you no longer curious?"
Dayna grinned brightly, and stepped forward to kiss him. "You're still beautiful," she said softly afterward.
Tarrant groaned at the smug expression on Avon's new face. "Really, Dayna, do you have to feed his ego?"
"Ego?" Avon said, eyebrow arched. Vila couldn't help chuckling at the sight, so Avon, and yet not. "I am the very soul of modesty," Avon proclaimed. "As ever."
The `new' Avon's old crew all chuckled at that. Soolin recovered first and said, " It's nice to know some things never change."
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