Selection Library Help

Vila Restals E-mails - Year 1

By Nicola Mody
To:               Jandy Restal [jrestal@deltalevel17.londondome.terra]  
From:           Vila Restal [vila@liberator.rebel.org]  
Subject:       Hello

Dear Mum,

Guess where I am! On the Liberator – the fastest, most powerful ship in the galaxy! I bet you’re surprised to hear from me – after all, no-one ever escaped from the Cygnus Alpha penal colony before. That was a pretty dire place – full of depressing stone buildings in the early maniac architectural style, and a lot of crazed priests whose religion looked like it included human sacrifice and possibly cannibalism. Mind you, they wouldn’t have enjoyed eating me – terror tends to make meat very tough.

I’ve got all the comforts of home here though – more in fact! A nice comfy cabin, wide-screen TV on the flight deck (though they won’t let me tune it to any commercial channels), and enough food for decades. Haven’t found any vindaloo so far though.

Remember that rebel-leader guy Blake from a few years back? Well, it’s his ship - now - and I’ve joined the rebellion! I’m no longer Vila Restal, master thief, but Vila Restal, rebel hero!!! I’m going to be the one who breaks into, and out of I sincerely hope, Federation installations for them. Blake said he was very lucky to have me! :-)  I’m a bit sorry I stole his watch now.

You can get me on this e-mail address from now on.

Your loving son, Vila. xxx



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Hello  

My darling Vila,

I’m so proud! That must be your fastest escape ever! The Liberator does sound like a nice ship, dear, and much more suited to one of your sensitivity and delicate constitution than those rough colony worlds.

I’m surprised you’ve joined the rebellion though; you never showed the slightest interest in politics. I suppose it’s a good career move. I’ll be checking the viscasts to see if you get a mention.

You shouldn’t have taken Blake’s watch, love. Friends don’t steal from friends, you know that. Besides, you’re the top in your field, that sort of thing should be below you.

Your doting Mum. ooo xxx



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Rescue

Dear Mum,

I only took Blake’s watch to look like a incompetent fool who’d be no threat to any of the hard guys, which always works pretty well (I made sure Jenna saw me do it). I did give it back. Still, I don’t suppose it made the best first impression.

But to be honest, I can’t claim it as an escape at all, more a rescue really. I’m a bit ashamed of the whole thing to tell the truth. On the way to CA, we ran into the edge of a space battle, which was a nice diversion, and Blake organised us to take over the convict ship, but it went a bit wrong. You know how me and guns don’t mix well, Mum? Well, my friend Gan and I were meant to take the guards at gun-point, and I was nervous enough already, and when Gan yelled, “Drop your guns!”, I got confused and dropped my gun too and we got recaptured. Blake and Jenna and Avon got put on this abandoned alien ship to check it out, and took off with it, a nice piece of grand larceny. I’m surprised on the whole that they bothered to come back and rescue us off CA. With teleports too!!! Pretty cool, eh?

Love, Vila



To:               det_haskell@larcenydiv.law.londondome.terra  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Gloat

Hello Detective Haskell,

I thought it would be professional courtesy to tell you I’m out again! Getting blown across a bank vault by a loose live wire and brained on the safe deposit boxes was so humiliating I thought I’d never live it down, but I figure an escape from Cygnus Alpha has restored my dignity. Pass it round the lads at the station will you? Thanks.

Vila Restal



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Rescue

Dear Vila,

Teleports? You mean you were in one place, then suddenly you were somewhere else? I’m not sure I like the sound of that. What if you didn’t get reassembled properly?

Tell me about your new friends, dear. I hope they’re not too rough. Is Jenna a girl’s name? Is she a nice girl, and does she like you?

Your Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           orders@amagon.com  
Subject:       RE: Your order

Dear Vila Restal,

Thank you for your order, but we regret to inform you that your Federation credit card has been cancelled due to your being a convicted felon presently in detention. We recommend that you set up a GalacPay account as you can use that from anywhere, Federation or neutral space. We look forward to your future orders.



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       The crew

Dear Mum,

I’m a bit concerned about the teleport too. I mean, do my atoms and molecules and bits get sent, or do I get wiped out in one place and re-created from completely different atoms when I get there? I hope I’m still me! (I can just imagine what Avon might say if he heard me say that, that any change would be an improvement, probably).

Well, Roj Blake’s our leader, a really nice guy. He even gave us a choice whether to follow him. When I voted to go with him, Avon said, “I’m sure that fills him with confidence and reassurance, Vila”. I’m not sure he really meant that.

Avon, Kerr Avon, he’s our computer tech; bit of an Alpha snob. He’s basically a thief like me, though he thinks he’s a cut above. He can fool himself that being an embezzler is classier (well, it’s got more syllables than thief), but I know better.

Yes, Jenna is a girl’s name, Jenna Stannis. She’s pretty and blonde, but judging by the way she leapt into Blake’s arms when we teleported, I don’t think there’s much chance there. She’s a prominent (oh now, that was felicitous!) smuggler, though she likes to call herself a free trader. Hey, I could all myself an acquisitions engineer!!! :-)  Jenna’s our pilot, and a good one too.

Olag Gan’s my good friend from the holding cells. He’s a big guy, and he likes me – not that common a combination. We were a good team on the London, me the brains, him the brawn. I suppose he’s our muscle but he’s got a limiter in his head, so he’s got about as much killer instinct as me – IOW very little.

Guess what! I’ve got two jobs, lock-pick and armaments – I’m on the neutron blasters!!! I’ve never had a tough rep before; things could be looking up!

Oh, and there’s Zen the computer who set up this e-mail account for us. Avon and I wanted liberator.com because there’s always the chance we’ll liberate more than the downtrodden, but Blake said no, we’re a non-profit organisation. :-(

Love, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: The crew

Dear Vila,

Why has Blake put you of all people on the neutron blasters? You’ve always avoided violence and you know you tend to faint at the sight of blood.

Love, Mum



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Shopping trip

Dear Mum,

Well, firstly, there’s not a lot of blood with neutron blasters, and if a Fed ship wants to take us out I think I’d be able to bring myself to push the button, at least I hope so. I could pretend it’s a video game. Avon asked Blake why he was putting a puny half-wit in charge of weapons, but Blake said that he didn’t want a trigger-happy killer on them who would start a massacre, and a pacifist with a strong sense of self-preservation is a good combo. Then he smiled at me and his eyes all crinkled up at the corners like Uncle Serrin’s do, and he said “I trust Vila.”

I went to Sirius Gamma for a shopping expedition. Nice to get off the ship and stretch my legs a bit. You see, on the Liberator there’s a room full of jewels which Avon says could subvert the whole Federation banking system. Blake said they’re for the rebellion and made me promise not to steal any, and I keep my word, but I bet Avon got a pile salted away in his cabin. He had plenty of chances before they got us off CA and I’m not sure if his word’s worth much. So I thought, I’ll have to get some money of my own first chance I get, you never know when I might need it.

Anyway Blake let me teleport down to SG’s main city and buy the best tools a master thief could wish for, including one of those very expensive doohickeys that can get you through a force field if you know what you’re doing. While I was there I nipped into a bank and took out some money, then opened a neutral zone numbered account and a credit card. So when I’ve got my GalacPay account set up I’ll be able to send anyone money though it should take years for you to run out of our stash.

I also got a real craving for a nice biryani and lager but couldn’t find anything like that, so I settled for pasta with a very tasty red house wine.

Tell you what, I was tempted to take off my teleport bracelet and go to ground. A rebellion isn’t really my style, not very good for my life expectancy I suspect, but then I remembered Blake saying he trusted me, so I went back.. (I hope I haven’t made the biggest mistake of my life.)

Love, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon [avon@liberator.rebel.org]  
Subject:       FW: Parking Fine

Vila.

Take care of this. Now, Vila!

Avon

----------Original Message----------

Crew of Liberator:

Parking fine for 4 hours longer in stationary parking orbit than was paid for: 500 credits.

Sirius Gamma Orbital Parking Authority 



To:               Jenna Stannis [jenna@liberator.rebel.org]  
From:           Vila Restal  
CC:              Roj Blake [blake@liberator.rebel.org]  
Subject:       FW: Parking Fine

Jenna,

Yours I think as I was on rebellion business and you were the designated pilot.

Vila

----------Original Message----------

Crew of Liberator:

Parking fine for 4 hours longer in stationary parking orbit than was paid for: 500 credits.

Sirius Gamma Orbital Parking Authority



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jenna Stannis  
CC:              Roj Blake  
Subject:       RE: Parking Fine

Vila, you little rat,

You were the one who demanded extra hours, and then came back smelling of spag bol and cheap Chianti. Pay up, you weasel. I enjoy seeing a grown man cry, and that’s what you’d do if I catch you alone in a dark corridor.

Jenna



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Roj Blake  
Subject:       RE: Parking Fine

Come now Vila. Yes, you were on rebellion business buying tools, but you were on your own business in those extra hours. Do you think I hadn’t noticed the viscast reports that the main SG bank was coincidentally broken into while you were down there? Sorry, Vila, you must pay and out of your own money too. I see you got almost half a million. Carry on like that and you may be financing us. ;-)

I’ll have a talk with Jenna and calm her down, don’t worry.

Blake

PS. I’m glad you came back. I wondered whether you would. Thank you, Vila.



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           accounts@galacpay.com 
Subject:       Your new GalacPay account

Dear Vila Restal,

We have debited 1 credit from your credit card. When the transaction shows up, please go to your account page on our web site and enter the 13-digit transaction code as confirmation. Once this is done, your account will be available for use. Thank you for choosing to use GalacPay.



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Saurian Major mission

Dear Mum,

We struck our first blow! Blake decided to blow up a Federation communications centre on Saurian Major. I went down with Avon and Blake to let them into the building. I asked why we couldn’t just teleport inside, and Blake said there might be force walls which would disrupt the beam (not a pleasant thought, in fact it made me feel quite queasy) and anyway we might end up in the guard room. Makes sense, but what about the air, eh? I mean, what happens to that? We don’t displace it ‘cos there’s no noise. Does it end up mixed up with my molecules? Avon said I was a fool with only a vestigial grasp of science when I asked, but just the same I’m going to start weighing myself regularly, I want to stay a nice trim 77 kg.

Anyway this planet was a nasty place full of flesh-eating plants with designs on my tender body, and we met an Auron guerrilla called Cally who was there on a suicide mission (slightly alarming, that). Yes Mum, Cally is a girl’s name, and no, no chance there either after all the insults Avon threw at me while we were introduced, and besides, you should have seen the look Cally gave him, an up-and-down “Mmm mmm, what have we got here?” look. Let’s face it, the only chance I’d have on this ship is if they got twice as many females as males. :-(

Blake was very impressed with how fast I got through the door – imagine, they were going to blow it up, no finesse. I was tempted to sign my name to my work (well, they’ll know it was me now so what the hell) but didn’t bother as we were going to blow up the whole place anyway. We barely got out in time ‘cos there was no-one on the teleport as the ship was overrun by thawed-out homicidal maniacs off an alien seed capsule we brought on board earlier. Against my better judgement I might add. They should listen to me next time.

Love, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Saurian Major mission

Dear Vila,

That Avon doesn’t sound very nice. He might be a higher grade than you, but you’ve always been brought up to have good manners, and that counts for a lot.

I do hope you’re looking after yourself properly and wrap up warm before you go down to strange planets, you know you’ve never been strong after all that conditioning they tried to do to you, dear (torture I’d call it). And considering you must have left Cygnus Alpha with only what you stood up in, I do worry about what you’re wearing, and whether you have fresh things on every day.

Congratulations on your little mission dear, I shall keep an eye out for you on the wanted lists.

Love, Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Detective Haskell
Subject:       Outlaw notice

Vila Restal,

Judging by your e-mail address, and the fact that the locks on the Saurian Major complex were picked rather than blown, it is assumed that you are on the rebel ship Liberator, and thus now no longer classed as an escaped prisoner, but as an outlaw. This means that:

Your citizenship of Earth has been revoked

You will be interrogated and executed on capture rather than imprisoned

Your picture will be posted Federation-wide with a bounty for your capture

Your library card has been cancelled

Detective Haskell



To:               Detective Haskell  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Outlaw notice

Detective Haskell,

Hey, I am on the fastest and most powerful ship in the galaxy, and I’m in charge of the neutron blasters. Arrest me!

Vila Restal



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Clothes

Dear Mum,

Avon’s all right, really. He insults me all the time, but it’s sort of a game: he keeps saying how stupid I am, but with words that a lot of people wouldn’t understand, so it’s a compliment really. I get him back anyway with stuff like saying he’d be a good pickpocket, and calling the devices he makes “Avon’s little gadgets”. We have a sort of points system, though I have to say he’s ahead.

To set your mind at rest, Mum, we have heaps of clothes on board this ship. We’re all having a lot of fun choosing different clothes to wear each day. I bet though that by fresh things, you mean underwear? Oh now look Mum, not that again – “Always wear clean underpants on a job”? I can just see it – Vila Restal, dangerous outlaw, is taken by the Feds and stripped for interrogation – the guards reel back with horror, their hands held to their eyes to hide the horrible sight – Vila Restal is wearing day-old boxers! Oh no!

Actually, Mum, the freshness of my underwear might be a moot point if they captured me.

Love, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Security

Vila,

Just what do you think you’re doing, sending e-mails all over the galaxy about what we’re up to? Is staying alive a difficult concept for you to grasp? I thought Vila was short for villain, but it is obviously short for village idiot. Your encryption system is pathetic too, like everything else about you.

Avon



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Clothes

Vila,

There is never any excuse for crudeness. I only wanted to make sure you were keeping yourself nice.

Mum



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Security

Avon,

Firstly I think it’s very unfair of you to break into my private e-mails, considering I gave Blake my word not to pick the locks on anyone’s cabin doors. He said I wouldn’t like it if everyone else went through my things, and it’s a cogent argument. Bet you didn’t know I knew a word like cogent, did you Avon? I deserve some privacy too.

Secondly, if you look through my e-mails, I think you’ll see I never gave anything away, just stuff that already happened.

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       RE: Security

Vila,

E-mailing your mother may be marginally acceptable, but not the police department and amagon.com. That verges on lunacy, even for you. Can a thought actually cross your mind, Vila, or is the bridge permanently out? If those Amagon pirates ever board the Liberator, I shall know whom to blame.

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Clothes

Dear Mum,

Sorry I didn’t reply straight away but that bastard Avon broke my encryption system and I had to set up another one. I hope I didn’t say anything bad about him as he’s probably gone through all my messages. Maybe not though, as he passed me in the corridor before without saying anything other than “On your way to put your usual spanner in the works, Vila?” which is downright friendly.

Anyway, I wear fresh underwear every day. Does that put your mind at rest? There’s a lot of choice in what we call the wardrobe room, I’ve gone for silk boxers (very nice against the skin) in nice muted greys and browns. I don’t know what the others chose, but just for a laugh, here’s my guess:

Blake:   white cotton Y-fronts
Jenna:   black lace
Gan:     stretch briefs
Cally:    satin/polyester high-leglines
Avon:    he’s a hard one to figure out, but given a certain predilection for leather, I’d say he goes without.

Cheers, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           orders@amagon.com  
Subject:       Your order

Dear Vila Restal,

Thank you for your order of:

1 Book: Indian Cooking for Spacers
1 Book: Latest Federation security handbook
1 Book: Riddles, Puns, and Word-Games
1 Game: Chess set
1 Game: Pyramid
1 Game: Galactic Monopoly
6 decks of playing cards

Paid by GalacPay, held for pickup on planet Centero. We look forward to your next order.



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       Wanted

Darling Vila,

I am so proud! There are wanted posters everywhere for you and all the others, except for that alien girl Cally – I suppose she’s too new. There’s a million credits on your heads. A million! People stop to congratulate me in the street! I nicked one of the posters when no-one was looking and cut the top and bottom off, then had it framed in a nice faux-wood which brings out the brown in your lovely eyes. They used your arrest photo. You have that faintly surprised look you always seem to have when they nab you. They take a nice photo down at the station. You should smile a little next time, dear.

And enough about underpants! You’ve always been such a nice boy, don’t let those rebels you’re with turn you coarse.

Mum



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Silicon webby thing

Dear Mum,

Yep, I’m worth a million, but not the way I’d like to be. :-(  I did get almost half a mill from the bank on SG, but I’ll have to get a lot more if I want to pay off any bounty hunters that might get at me.

We’re on our way to another planet (better not say which one in case Avon breaks my new encryption, I already risked enough having amagon.com send some stuff there) to blow another communications centre.

I was showing off my latest outfit to Cally and she laid me out cold. I didn’t think I looked that bad! Lucky I found out later she was possessed or I might have gone right off that girl. She was taken over by some people from her planet, and sabotaged the ship so that we got caught in a silicon web. Blake let me fire the neutron blasters at it. Bit tricky, you have to put up a flare shield first. Lucky Zen warned me, or it might have been a trifle nasty. A lot of fun actually, but it didn’t work. BTW Blake also got me to plot a course away from the planetary gravitational field; I bet Avon didn’t notice, but Blake guessed I can do that stuff. He also got me to do the atmosphere and gravity check too, but the others still think I’m a thick delta-grade. :-(

Anyway we got away all right and are back on course; those ‘lost’ Auronars only trapped us because they wanted some power cells off us. They should use rechargeables like we do. I’m looking forward to getting the stuff I ordered, but I’m wondering who can give me a good chess game here: 1) who’s good enough for a decent challenge and b) who’s prepared to play a grade-4 ignorant Delta like me.

Love, Vila



To:               Olag Gan [gan@liberator.rebel.org]  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Test

Hello Gan,

It’s really easy! Just say ‘reply’ and then what you want to say to me, then ‘send’. Go on, give it a go!

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Olag Gan  
Subject:       RE: Test

Look, it’s this easy. You just speak and watch the words come up, see Gan? You can just say:

Hello there, me old mate Vila,

It’s Gan here, then blah blah, say whatever you want to me, then say your name and ‘send’. Yes, I know it’s easier to just come and talk to me, but what if I wasn’t on the ship, eh? You can talk to anyone in the galaxy this way if you know their address. Go on, give it a go.

All right Vila. Let’s see, um, I’ve nothing to say really. What do I do now? Oh, right.

Gan



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Silicon webby thing

Dear Vila,

Don’t sell yourself so short, sweetheart. You know you got such good grades in your 11-plus you could have been promoted to Beta or even Alpha if you hadn’t ended up in the juvenile detention wards. And you did choose to buy that ignorance grade from your friend at the testing centre to stay out of trouble because you didn’t want to go into space, and there you are again, dear. Is that what you call irony? Or is that sarcasm? I always get them mixed up.

I’m glad Blake sees how intelligent and capable you really are, though I bet you fool around all the time in your usual way, so you can’t really blame people when they don’t take you seriously.

Are you taking your vitamins? I do worry about you.

Love, Mum



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Centero mission

Dear Mum,

It’s irony, Mum. And fooling around as you call it gets me lots of leisure. If they knew what I could do, esp. with computers, I’d be worked till I dropped.

We went to Centero, another Fed communications centre, to steal a cypher machine. Blake and I went down first and I picked a complicated physio-psycho lock on the gate, nice piece of work! Actually I was doing really well – I distracted some guards with a lot of prattle about being an escaped thief going in for a spot of sabotage and looking for something suitable to blow up, blah blah. They were stunned with amazement, then stunned for real when Blake took one out from behind and I whacked the other with my tool box.

We got the cypher gadget (eventually) and blew the place behind us to cover our tracks, but Cally got left behind. Supreme Commander Servalan (you know, that one whose dresses you like) released the hounds, or at least one - a one-eyed maniac called Space Commander Travis - to interrogate her but we managed to rescue her. Apparently Blake almost killed Travis once, and he had the chance again this time but didn’t. Bad move. I bet we see him again. He sounds like the sort to go for the throat and not let go.

I finally got my Amagon stuff; had to nip down to an airlock to meet their shuttle on the excuse of going to the loo.

Love, Vila.



To:               Roj Blake  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Last mission

Blake,

I know Avon was a bit peeved about that guard setting the alarm off and I said it wasn’t my fault, but to be honest it was really. While I was on watch while you all went to get that cypher thingy, one of the guards came to and I couldn’t run fast enough to stop him setting the alarm. I did slug him but it was a bit late. I know I was meant to shoot him but I just couldn’t. Sorry, Blake. If you want to dump me like Avon suggests, I’ll understand, I quite fancy Sirius Gamma actually.

Also I think you ought to know, I signed that gate we got through. There aren’t a lot of people who could get though a physio-psycho lock, and I’ve always fancied signing my best work, so when I nipped back to close the panel I scratched a quick “Vila R” on it.

Vila



To:               Cally [cally@liberator.rebel.org]  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Bruises

Cally,

Got anything in medical for a bruised fist? And before you laugh, my hands are my livelihood. Actually, now I come to think of it, what can you do for a bruised ego? I suffer from that quite a lot round here.

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Roj Blake  
Subject:       RE: Last mission

Vila,

I already know your attitude to killing, and I’m not concerned about it. It was my fault for forgetting to take it into account. Mind you, next time you could shoot for the legs. Just a thought.

As for signing locks you pick, do indulge yourself. Propaganda is as important to a rebellion as action, and that’s a very nice touch which will be very effective with the public.

And let’s have no more talk about being dumped, Vila. You are irreplaceable in more ways than one.

Blake 



To:               Roj Blake  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Space skills

Blake,

Hey, thanks! After all of Avon’s insults I was starting to feel a bit unwanted, a novelty for me actually, ha ha. This goes against the grain a bit, but I should tell you I was the technical adviser to the CF1 (Correctional Facility One penal colony) escape committee. We hijacked a freighter that I not just picked the locks to but also flew to a neutral planet (I read up on all the pilot’s manuals in the colony library first.). So I know how to pilot and navigate an intersystem ship. I think you already guessed I knew something about it.

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Roj Blake  
Subject:       RE: Space skills

Vila,

Duly noted. And I’m very impressed!

Blake



To:               Roj Blake  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Space skills

Blake,

You wouldn’t have been if you saw me sitting on two cushions in the captain’s chair, I was only 15 and small for my age. It really cracked the others up. Still, it is one of the high points of a low life. ;-)

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       Vitamins

Dear Vila,

You didn’t say whether you were taking your vitamins. You have to keep your strength up, such as it is.

Love, Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Cracked

You used the wrong preposition, Vila. It should be “for a low life”, not of one.

Your encryption was a little better this time. I hadn’t realised you knew any prime numbers over 19, reliant on your fingers as you undoubtedly are.

Oh and Vila. Place any more orders with the Amagons and you’ll be out an airlock so fast you won’t know what’s happened until your eyes begin to protrude. I don’t care what Blake says. Pull another stunt like that and you’re gone.

In the meantime I shall extract an appropriate punishment by whipping you at chess. This evening?

Avon



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Cracked

Took you a while to break it this time, didn’t it, Avon? Big computer expert like you, foxed by the so-called “idiot” thief?

You’re on for chess, and what makes you think you’d win?

Vila



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Murder mystery in space

Dear Mum,

We came across this cruiser drifting in space and Blake, Avon and Cally went over to check it out. It was just like those murder mysteries you enjoy, Mum. One of the crew members was gradually killing the others to get a very expensive device they were taking back home to get rid of a fungus on their crops. They gave it to Blake to take to their home planet Destiny but can you believe it, he didn’t even check the box first, just took off for Destiny straight through a very severe meteor storm which made me feel very unwell though no-one gave me any sympathy at all. So when Blake found the box was empty, we had to come back through the same storm (Blake said I shouldn’t have eaten dinner) and get the thingamejig and in the meantime Cally and Avon had solved the murders.

You’ll like this. One of the victims wrote 54124 as he was dying. It was really the murderer’s name. Can you figure it out? Go on, have a go!

We’ve just left Destiny. It’s an agricultural planet and I’ve seen enough wheat and corn to last me for a lifetime.

Love, Vila.

P.S. Yes, I’m taking my daily vitamins, in a vile green drink which could do with a shot of something else to improve it. I’m working on that.



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Chess

Vila,

You were lucky that time. Rematch tonight?

Avon



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Murder mystery in space

Dear Vila,

We all had a look at your little clue down at the factory, and it came to me when I saw it up-side-down. SARA? Am I right? Oh, I do like a good murder mystery.

Love, Mum



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Duel in the woods

Dear Mum,

You were spot on! You’d make a good detective! Not that a detective in the family is an nice idea though.

I left you heaps of money, Mum. You could live in comfort for years on it. Why are you back at the factory?

We’ve been dodging Fed patrols for days and our power got very low so we had to find a place to hide and charge up for a while. Travis cornered us near a planet and we were about to ram his ship in desperation, when we got caught in a stasis field and the locals made some of us fight a sort of gladiator contest – Blake and Jenna vs. Travis and a mutoid. They hunted each other all over the woods, built tree huts, sharpened stakes, and dug little traps while we watched from the ship. Very bucolic but not a lot of action. I put out drinks and crackers and spreads to liven things up a bit for us spectators, but Avon said my taste was only matched by my intellect. I don’t know why - IMO the blue cheese was delicious. Blake didn’t kill Travis again, which was apparently the right thing to do this time, so they let us go. Now we’re back to square one, being chased again. It’s hard to keep up a decent level of fear when it goes on for days like this. I’m getting bored. I might break out the Galactic Monopoly.

Love, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Duel in the woods

Dear Vila,

I know I don’t need to work, but the girls on the production line are fun, we have a good laugh in our breaks, and the factory runs a good Bingo night. Besides I think they’re watching me to see if I spend too much, then they’ll guess about your money.

Love, Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Olag Gan  
Subject:       Question for you

Hey, Vila,

Why did you ask me if I could fly the ship if Jenna and Blake didn’t come back? I thought you could.

Gan



To:               Olag Gan  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Question for you

I can, Gan, but I was hoping someone else could. I’d do it for Blake ‘cos I trust him, but if they hadn’t come back, Avon would be in charge, and you know what he thinks of me. Also less responsibility, less blame, that’s one of my mottoes.

Cheers, Vila

P.S. Can you get the lid off a pickle jar for me? 



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Galactic monopoly

Vila,

The aim of Galactic Monopoly is to acquire as much money as possible, not to languish in jail unable to spend it. Appropriate though it is in your case.

Avon



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Galactic monopoly

Avon,

Well, your only strategy seems to be building up huge space fleets to slam me with when I get out of jail. No wonder Cally won by building all those hospitals and charging us two through the nose for med treatments after each battle.

Vila



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Avalon rescue mission

Dear Mum,

We went to this extremely cold planet to rescue that resistance leader Avalon. When I heard it was 120 below I wasn’t at all keen to go down, but what do you know, Blake called up and said he’d found some locks for me, so I had to after all. :-(  The others had turned their thermal suits up to 75% but it was down to –180 by now so I whacked mine up to the max, and ooh, it did scorch! Cally said to turn it down, but she and Avon were both smirking at me so I pretended it was all right and put on another couple of layers before teleporting.

Mission summary:

Locks opened: one fairly simple, one complicated one with Kleiber fastenings (would need explosives or a v. talented genius like me), one standard prison cell door.

Guns dropped: none this time, in fact I did really well, holding a guard at gunpoint!

Rescued: one Avalon android armed with a glass sphere containing a virus meant to kill us all (set up by Travis).

Swapped: said android and sphere for real Avalon.

Net result: saved Avalon, maybe killed Travis and Servalan with virus, uncomfortable burns on various parts of my anatomy, partic. rear end.

Love, Vila

P.S. You know how I thought I’d gain weight from teleporting ‘cos of all the air I don’t displace (where does it go?). Well I’m losing it if anything, I’m down to 75 kg now, it must be all the nervous tension.



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Cally  
Subject:       Burns

Poor Vila,

I have noticed you have not sat down since you got back. Swallow your pride and come and see me in the medical unit, and I will put some burn cream on you. :-)

Cally



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Living in hope

Ooh, Cally’s offered to rub some burn cream on me! Could there be a happy end after all for your little Vila? :-)

Vila



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Living without hope

Nope, no such luck. Cally was very gentle and kind but also very clinical. She did promise she wouldn’t tell Avon about the burns though. She said I give him enough ammunition, and smiled at me and patted me on the head. You know, there’s no hope once they do that.

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Living without hope

Dear Vila,

Never mind, I’m sure you’ll find a lovely girl one day. You never know your luck in a big galaxy.

I’m pleased your mission turned out well, it’s been in all the viscasts. And several people at the factory have asked for my autograph!

Your proud Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jenna Stannis  
Subject:       Little pest

Vila,

If you don’t stop staring at Avalon’s legs like that, I’ll give you a right slap up the head.

Jenna



To:               Jenna Stannis  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Little pest

Sorry, Jenna. Didn’t mean to upset you. Avalon’s a visitor, but I’m still loyal to the home team. I’ll be back cheering for you and Cally when she’s gone!  Um, that’s a joke, Jenna. Please don’t hit me. :-)

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Cracked again

Vila,

Blake tells me you were quite the little hero during Avalon’s rescue. And I see that as you’ve once again taken to sprawling about the flight deck in your usual indolent manner, your burns must have healed.

Yes, that’s right, Vila. I’ve cracked your latest encryption. It wasn’t a bad effort for someone who only manages to get the right shoe on the right foot more than half the time by sheer luck. Do set up another one. I’m beginning to enjoy the challenge.

And leave Avalon alone. She’s been through enough without having to put up with you.

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Avalon

Dear Mum,

Poor Avalon. She looked so sad moping around, I told her not to feel bad about giving up any secrets to the Feds, and it wasn’t her fault, as once they start with your head, less than 1% can hold out, and they have to have different wiring like me, and on the whole people prefer to be normal. She laughed at that, and said she hadn’t even thought she could, laugh that is. So since then, I’ve been trying to cheer her up, bringing her drinks, telling her jokes, making her my special cheesy toast. She says I’m cute and sweet and make her feel better, and she doesn’t know why everyone keeps telling her to make me go away.

Nice, that. Makes me feel really wanted.

I told her that if she’s recruiting a new team, she could consider me, and she said she couldn’t deprive Blake of such a talented crew member. And you know what? I think she meant it!

Vila



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Cracked again

FYI Avalon enjoys my company. She says I make her laugh and stop her thinking too much.

Thanks for the compliments, Avon. And nice you’re concerned about my health. Didn’t know you cared!

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       RE: Cracked again

I’m surprised Avalon can think at all with you prattling away at her.

Touched are you, Vila? Chess tonight?

Avon



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Cracked encryption

Oh no, I’m not falling for that one, Avon! And you’re on.

Vila



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Gan

Dear Mum,

Avalon left a few days ago. She took me to one side to say goodbye - she hugged me and said thanks for being a friend when she really needed one. Then she told the others they should show more appreciation for me. I thought, it’s not ‘show more’ but ‘have some’, but never mind. Felt good all day after that.

Anyway.

Gan and I have had a lot of headaches lately, and here I was thinking it was the brew I cooked up from the raisins I found in the food store last week (we call it muscat, our little joke). But Gan has a limiter in his brain to stop him killing again (he killed a guard once I think) and it was starting to malfunction. He went a bit nuts and knocked me out cold. Just as well I was a friend, it might have been worse.

The closest place we could get medical help for him was a neutral research station called TK72, and we had to fly through a prohibited zone go to get there, which made me very nervous and jumpy. I had to use the thrusters to help stabilise the ship which was rolling about like a sick whale and I was beginning to regret socking back a whole mug of ‘muscat’ for breakfast, because one wrong move and goodbye Vila.

We got two surgeons to come aboard, but the senior one mucked around doing nothing till I pulled a gun on him and Avon backed me up. Turned out he regarded us as criminals (all right, that one’s true), maniacs and killers and anarchists, and had called the Feds in. I like that! Hey, people don’t think of us that way do they? Anyway we made him fix Gan up, and when the Fed ships arrived one of their shots missed us and took out the station by mistake, so yah boo sucks to them. And once again we’re away, hotly pursued as per usual…

Love, Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Gan

Dear Vila,

I do hope your friend is feeling better now. I’m glad you’ve got a good chum on the crew, esp. now that nice Avalon’s gone. Pity, that.

And do try to have a nice solid breakfast in future, with at least two food groups. Go to work on an egg, Vila, and some nice toast cut into soldiers, the way you like it.

Well, the official viscasts call you all terrorists, but that’s not how everyone sees you, esp. in the Delta levels. Do you know Vila, you’re a very popular hero. People love how you sign all your locks.

Your Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Roj Blake  
Subject:       Housekeeping

Vila,

What are all the retorts, flasks and copper tubing in the kitchen pantry? If it’s what I think it is, Vila, dismantle it ASAP. Besides, it’s hard to get to the spice rack with all that stuff on the floor.

And who ate all the fairy cakes? There were three cartons last week.

Nice work on the thrusters by the way.

And where did you get those games I see you playing? No, on second thoughts, I’d rather not know.

Blake



To:               Roj Blake  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Housekeeping

Blake,

Retorts are more Avon’s thing, aren’t they? In more ways than one, too. I mean he’s always doing strange experiments, and he’s pretty fast off the mark with a sarcastic comment.

It wasn’t me who ate the cakes. Ask Avon, he has the sweet tooth. He’s already polished off all the strawberry ice-cream.

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Roj Blake  
Subject:       RE: Housekeeping

Oh, very funny, Vila. You and Avon are the only ones technically capable of putting that equipment together, but you are the only one who’d go to all that trouble for alcohol of debatable quality; Avon is a connoisseur of fine wines. Please break your still down immediately. Avon has already accused us of being a rabble, and though I disagree, I will not permit any reason for anyone to call us a drunken rabble.

You are also wrong about the cakes (but right about the ice-cream). Cally ate them. I don’t know where she puts them.

Blake



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Amagon bounty hunters

Dear Mum,

We got boarded by Amagons! Just as well I hadn’t thought up a new encryption yet (yep, it was cracked again) or Avon would have blamed me for it and I haven’t bought anything off them since Centero. They wanted to collect our bounties. At 1 million per head and a cool 7 mill for the Liberator, that’s a tidy sum, and me still without enough to pay them off with. I really must acquire several million somewhere fast or I won’t feel safe again. Not that I’ve felt that safe for months now.

While Cally and Blake were springing this old guy Sarkoff off a planet, the Amagons sneaked up on us pretending to be a ship in distress. Gan teleported over to check and when he didn’t report back straight away, everyone tried to convince me to fire up the neutron blasters to take the ship out. I primed them, but damned if I was going to blow Gan away. Then Gan said it was all right and he’d come back, but it wasn’t Gan’s voice. I tried to warn Avon and Jenna not to bring him over but it was too late and we all got captured, and got explosive collars put round our necks, except for Jenna who pretended to be on their side. They got Blake and Cally too when they got back. I tried to get Blake’s collar off him while Avon tried to open the door with some lockpicks he kept in his shoe (Ahah! High class embezzler indeed! That snotty Alpha is no better than me, no matter what airs he puts on!) He took about 30 minutes too. I said I could have done it in two, but I lied – I can open any lock on the Liberator in 3 seconds flat now; I’ve been practising for just such an occasion as this, and a fat lot of good it did me. When I got Blake’s collar off, everyone else lined up to have theirs done, but when I asked who would take mine off, they just ignored me. I felt extremely hurt. They didn’t even thank me, though Blake said I was probably a genius. Actually Gan did offer to help in the end, but I wasn’t going to lose my head over it – I went off to my cabin and did it looking in the mirror. I tell you, it isn’t easy when your right hand looks like your left hand and vice versa; I almost went cross-eyed.

And that’s definitely the last time I buy anything off those pirates!

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Bounty

You are very lucky, Vila. If I hadn’t broken your encryption you would have had a long fall to the nearest gravity well.

However if you have any ideas on how to get several million is a hurry I would be interested in hearing them. Just between us two.

Avon



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Bounty

Oh, I don’t know, Avon. I always thought you went in for computer fraud, nice clean sneaky office cube-farm type stuff, but you keep lockpicks in your shoes just like I do! This puts a whole new slant on things, doesn’t it? And I bet you never paid any Thieves Guild dues.

Care to help me knock over a nice bank next civilised planet we get to? Or kill two birds and do a Fed bank? I’d love to sign one of their vaults!

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       RE: Bounty

Vila, the thought of relying on you in a heavily-defended Federation bank does not fill me with optimism. However given your career to date and reputation as a master thief, I shall consider it. After all, by the law of averages, there must be something you excel at.

Avon



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Amagon bounty hunters

Dear Vila,

I am appalled at your friends’ manners. There is no excuse for not saying please, thank you, or sorry. Take comfort that at least you’ve been brought you up to be a very polite boy. What is Blake’s e-mail address? I should tell him to take his crew to task for their treatment of you.

Your Mum



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       No way

Oh, now look here, Mum, how can you even think of humiliating me by e-mailing Blake? It was embarrassing enough that you used to go down to the police station and bawl them out every time they tried to arrest me. I’m not a kid any more, I can look after myself you know, done a pretty good job for years now. Hey, I’m all grown-up now and I’m at the top of my profession!

Vila



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Bounty

It’s a deal, Avon. There’s nothing I can’t break into, and you seem to be fairly competent with computers and can handle a simple locks (though you’re a bit slow), so we could make a good team. So I’ll cut you in. :-)

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: No way

Dear Vila,

Oh, you might be the famous master thief now, Vila, but a mother knows: you’re still a scared little boy at heart. And if I think I need to e-mail Blake about your diet, health, happiness, or the way they take your skills for granted, I will. If I don’t care about you, who will?

I brought you into this universe, Vila, 9 months carrying you, 7 hours of labour, and you were such a small weak little baby, you needed a lot of looking after. How can I not care for you? You should be grateful, my boy.

Your only mother



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: No way

Dear Mum,

You’ll be glad to know then that you don’t have to worry about me or bother Blake.

I’m a picture of health - I’ve been eating three square meals a day, choosing from each major food and drink group, plus snacks to keep my strength up. I’ve been sleeping very well, some say too well (I’m the only one who can manage a nap on the flight desk or at the teleport controls) and I haven’t even caught any nasty bugs despite all the strange planets I’ve been to.

Hey, and I’m wearing clean undies too!

And Blake does appreciate me for my skills. Even though the others don’t, they occasionally smile at my jokes as long as we’re not under fire at the time, and they like playing me at chess or monopoly. So I’m fine, really. And I’ve got those Amagon explosive collars sussed so I can get myself out of one in less than a minute now, provided I’ve got a mirror.

Love, Vila



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Radiation sickness

Dear Mum,

Me again. Spoke too soon. I might have to take some of that back. I have a touch of radiation sickness, which has put me off my food right now, and I’m not the only one.

You see, we saw a small craft crash onto this planet Cephlon, and Avon, Jenna, Gan and I went down to see if there were survivors. We split up and found one guy dead, and the other in pretty bad shape, and teleported up with him, but Jenna didn’t come back with us. So Avon, Gan and I had to go back to look for her. Now, this place was very radioactive and had gone primitive, and we weren’t meant to be there for more then 4 hours, and we didn’t plan to be. However that guy we sent up, Ensor, went a bit bananas and took over the ship and tried to make Blake and Cally fly it to his father’s planet, so we got stuck there a lot longer than we should have been.

We got chased by natives into a place under a mountain where a girl called Meegat had been waiting for her rescuers from the stars (which was us!) to save her and her people. She kept calling Avon ‘Lord Avon’ and fawning over him is an extremely disgusting manner, which really went to his head. Turned out there was a rocket waiting there to send her people’s genetic stock to a new planet, though she had absolutely no idea about it (she was using candles - I ask you!). So we got the mission control all fired up for her and started the countdown. She told us where the primitives had Jenna and we rescued her, went back and watched the rocket take off, listened to more sickening slavering over Avon from the mad Meegat, then eventually got teleported up.

Ensor had popped his clogs by then, but regardless of that we’re on our way to Aristo where his father is, to take him some power cells for his heart or something, and maybe swap them for something called Orac he’s invented. And now Avon, Jenna, Gan and I are all sick from radiation poisoning. I’ve lost my last 3 meals, I can hardly stand, and as I can also hardly stand looking at Lord Avon’s smug face as he thinks about being the noble saviour of a whole people, I’m in my cabin having a rest and taking my mind off how ill I feel by e-mailing you.

And I’d like to know, why did she pick Avon anyway? Why not Lord Gan (who’s very big and impressive) or Lord Restal (such good looks, wit and charm)?

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Radiation sickness

My poor dear Vila,

Surely you’ve taken some drugs and you’ll be better soon? I don’t know how I’m going to sleep for worrying about you! Put some extra blankets on your bed, keep your feet up, and try to drink plenty of fluids. No, make that water.

Lots of hugs and kisses, Mum



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       RE: Radiation sickness

Dear Mum,

No, we haven’t got any decontaminant drugs. Funny isn’t it, with a room full of clothes, another of jewels, and enough food for decades – oops, gotta go… All right, I’m back, sorry I mentioned the food just then. We’re hoping Ensor’s father has some drugs as well as this Orac thingy.

Bit tired now, catch you later.

Vila



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Radiation sickness

Darling Vila,

How are you feeling? Any better? Please try to eat and drink something, perhaps a little vegetable and tofu soup.

Love, Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Radiation sickness

Vila sweetheart,

Are you still there, Vila? Please answer.

Love, Mum



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       Wake up

Wake up, Vila and put on your surface gear. Now. We may need you.

Avon



To:               Vila Restal  
From:           Jandy Restal  
Subject:       RE: Radiation sickness

Vilakins, please.



To:               Jandy Restal  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       Orac

Dear Mum,

Sorry about that, I went to sleep till Avon yelled at me through the intercom and woke me up and made me get up and teleport down to Aristo. I felt so ill that when I got out of bed I couldn’t walk straight and bashed my head trying to open the door. Running head injury total: 3. Avon had no sympathy at all (mind you he was ill too) and said it was unlikely I’d hurt anything important, and I could crawl if I couldn’t walk, but he did give me a pill to help, and it did a bit. Then we teleported down before I even had my boots on both feet and I landed in a puddle and got my left foot wet (I’ll have to get Cally to check it for fungus now, also the latest bump on my poor head).

Anyway we got down just in time to stop Travis killing Blake (though once again we did the honourable and stupid thing and let him and his keeper Servalan live) and got Orac who turned out to be a super-computer with a very bad attitude problem. He must be really something though as the Feds were willing to pay 100 million credits for him, and it only cost us some power cells for Ensor’s father Ensor’s artificial heart. Unfortunately the poor old guy didn’t make it - he logged off early. Oh yes, and we also got the decontaminant drugs, so we’ll all be back to normal in a week or two (though Avon said in my case that was debatable).

A Good Thing: Ensor was the guy who invented the tarial cell which is in every modern computer, and Orac can hack into any computer with a tarial cell, so now I can find out anyone’s e-mail address in the galaxy. I’m considering who I can annoy when I’m on watch alone.

A Bad Thing: Orac predicted the Liberator will get blown up very soon.

Another Good Thing: I got Orac to help me set up a new encryption by daring him to prove he was cleverer than any other machine or mere human like Avon.

Love, Vila



To:               Kerr Avon  
From:           Vila Restal  
Subject:       New Encryption

To Avon, the great computer expert. I’ve got a new encryption. The gauntlet is down.

Vila


Rate This Story: Feedback to
Nicola Mody

Selection Library Help

Back to B7 Top