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Vila Restals E-mails - Year 3

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

Dear Vila,

Are you still there? I’ve watched the official viscasts and they didn’t say anything about you or the Liberator. Someone told me though that the neutral zone news said the aliens would have won if it hadn’t been for you and your friends holding them off till the fleet got there. But they don’t know what’s happened to you either. Please reply if you get this. I can’t help but think the worst – you’ve been digested by space slugs, you’ve caught the Andromeda strain flu, you’re dead at the bottom of a cliff. Yes, I know I always think that, but a mother can’t help it. You might be a hero, Vila dear, but I hope you’re a live one.

As for us, thanks for your warning, which I passed on, because things have been bad here since the war, and I don’t know what would have happened if we hadn’t all laid in emergency supplies. It was worse than they say Y3K was.

Still, we’re not starving. They’ve started giving out some new stuff called Soylent Green, which must be all right for vegetarians if it’s made with soy, but it tastes off. I’m using up my food store first, even though it’s mainly baked beans, curried veg and pot noodles.

Love, Mum



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Chenga

Dear Mum,

Yes, I’m still here, but I wasn’t for a while.

The aliens took out Star One; so much for our efforts to save it in the end. They almost took us out too. And if staying on the neutron blasters and getting repetitive strain injury in my fingers from continuous firing makes me a hero, then I am one, though I was so shaky afterwards I had to sit down and put my head between my legs. Avon said, “Don’t kiss it good-bye just yet, Vila, go and check the life support capsules,” as the damage was so bad, Zen was closing everything down. Don’t know why they say I’m a coward, as if I was I would have leapt into the first working one and done a runner, esp. when half the ceiling came down and a fire broke out. No, I waited for the others. Mind you, I was scared to go alone. Cally said Blake and Jenna had gone, and Avon said he was surprised I was still there. Avon got knocked out by more ceiling bits, and Cally and I sent him off in a capsule with Orac. I made sure Cally was all right to go, then I found my capsule wouldn’t open and panicked. Cally helped me reset it, then kissed me on the cheek and said I was braver than I thought and said goodbye, and we both ejected.

I wasn’t brave. I was terrified. I had a rough ride, and it was lucky I’d already lost my last meal on the Liberator before the battle because it could have got very nasty in there. I ended up in a forest on Chenga with a badly-broken arm. I was lonely, cold, miserable, hurt and hungry, and Zen wasn’t answering, the heartless pile of electronic junk. I was about to be pounced on by something large and probably carnivorous, when two friendly primitives called Lom and Mall turned up. They set my arm (I just about passed out) and started to take me to their camp as they were being hunted by high-techs. Lom got shot with a dart and I got lost and was captured by two very nice high-tech girls who petted me, fed me, and reset my arm. Almost passed out again. They were so sweet and kind, those girls, I really thought I’d landed in clover. One of them even reminded me of Avalon. They took me to a dome, where I found Cally. We were really glad to see each other, and they treated us so well, giving us comfortable lounging-chairs and nice relaxing drinks, that I thought, this is lovely, I might spend the rest of my life here. Almost did - it was an organ bank! Servalan was there too, but she’d bribed her way out. She did a bit of a gloat over us, and we did nothing – that drink had relaxed us into paralysis. I almost went to pieces before they put us out cold. And afterwards for that matter, ha ha! We were teleported just in time.

When I came round in the medical unit, Cally and Avon were there. Cally looked worried, and I thought briefly that Avon was too. I must have imagined it though; he just said, “You’re all right now, Vila. They wouldn’t have wanted such an inferior collection of substandard organs as you anyway. Come on, get up and meet some people.”

We have new crew – Dayna Mellanby who is very pretty but a weapons expert and probably very tough, and Del Tarrant, that really annoying cocky good-looking fly-boy ‘smoke me a kipper, I’ll be home for breakfast’ type. I bet he gets right up my nose.

Love, Vila 



To:               President Servalan [pres_servalan@federation.govt]
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Congratulations?

Servalan,

Should I congratulate you on your new position as president of a crumbling Federation?

I didn’t go spare after all. I’m much better as a whole. Or you used to think so, judging by some of your more salacious e-mails. BTW in case you were wondering, Travis is so much scrap metal by now on Star One. You’ll have to train another attack dog.

CU, Vila 



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

Oh, Vila! I worry enough already about you, without hearing about more ghastly things which could happen to you. I’d never even thought of you being cut up into bits and put on ice, but I will now. What will they try to do to you next – can you as pet food?

What happened to the others? Blake and Jenna?

And I think you’re a hero, sweetheart. I always have.

Your Mum



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

Cally? You said you knew I was alive on Chenga because you could feel my pain, How come? I thought you said you could only receive from another Auron.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: Telepathy

True, Vila. That is what I thought too. I could tease you a little and say it is because you are a pain, but I do not know the answer. I do not get thoughts as I would from an Auron, just particularly strong feelings and emotions. Perhaps you have something other than human in your ancestry, or a mutated gene.

Cally 



To:               Cally
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Telepathy

Don’t tell Avon! He’ll say I’m a subhuman mutant! In fact he probably will anyway. :-(

Hey, this could explain my Space City bender! If that trans-dimensional alien took you over, maybe it did a bit with me too, to make me hide Orac and get so drunk I forgot where. I’ve always felt I’d never live that one down. This makes me feel better!

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: Telepathy

Oh, Vila. Are you going to blame alien possession for all your other little lapses from civilised behaviour, like short-sheeting Blake’s bed, putting cling-film on the toilets and whoopee cushions on the flight couch, molasses in Avon’s hair gel and vindaloo powder in his ice-cream, setting his hair-dryer to suck instead of blow, eating all the cashews and almonds out of the mixed nuts, and serving me foam-rubber leamingtons?

And for that matter, the way you look at Dayna’s rear?

Cally



To:               Cally
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Telepathy

Sorry about that. I can’t help it. It is the biggest one on the Liberator.

Vila 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Obsidian

Dear Mum,

You asked about Blake and Jenna. The last we heard, Jenna was on a hospital ship, but not badly hurt. We don’t know where Blake is. Avon did a deal with him to get the Liberator if we stayed to fight the Andromedans (not that anyone asked me) so I didn’t think he’d want to find him in a hurry. All the same, we’ve checked out some rumoured sightings on a few planets in the area:

One where the plants were sentient and ate the animals. A tree tried to eat me and Avon and spat us out; Avon said it was because I was tasteless and I said his aftershave must have been too strong. Took ages to get the spit off.

One so hot your eyeballs would fry in their sockets like poached eggs.

One so windy everyone lived underground and had to use ropes and pitons to go for a stroll after dinner.

A few which had gone cannibal after the war (oh, no, Vila cutlets on the menu!)

Obsidian

Tarrant wanted a planetary base and for some reason Avon seems to be letting him take charge. I must ask him if he’s feeling all right. Perhaps his head went soft while he was in that tree, he certainly had enough saliva in his hair. Anyway, Dayna said her father had some friends on Obsidian, so even if Blake wasn’t there, it might still be a good base and we could get some recruits. That’s all I need, I thought: more crew to pick on me and say shut up Vila, go away Vila.

Dayna and Tarrant went down. I said I didn’t like the look of it (one big volcano, no cities or banks or pleasant beaches). Avon and Cally ignored me. I said it was odd the Feds didn’t want it (they’ll invade anything with a breathable atmosphere). Avon and Cally ignored me. I said we ought to warn Dayna and Tarrant. Avon and Cally ignored me. I said I was worried they hadn’t called in yet. Avon and Cally ignored me. Ahah! I thought, that’s his plan – put that annoying oaf Tarrant up the sharp end and let them pick him off. Finally Cally got worried, so Avon went down for a look, found Servalan was there with a Fed patrol, came back and went to the flight deck. Tarrant called in just as a Fed fleet moved in to attack us - at least I thought it was him - so I worked the teleport, and four troopers appeared. Oh no, I thought, it’ll be bed for little Vila without any supper tonight. I said, “We’re under attack!” hoping they’d leave, but they thought I’d alertly noticed they’d boarded us, and was going for the bleeding obvious remark of the year award, and tied me and Cally up and gagged us. Cally telepathed, “At last, some peace and quiet!” which was uncalled for, considering I’d been right all along. Maybe if they listened to me, I wouldn’t talk so much.

They bit off too much when they took Avon on though, as only two of them came back from the flight deck, looking very pissed off. They untied us and made me teleport them down with Orac and Cally. I went to check on Avon. There were two dead troopers on the flight deck, and Avon didn’t look too hot either. Servalan hailed us, and when I answered, she thought I was in charge of the Liberator (Captain Vila!) I told her we were all there, I had her grid reference, and she’d better start running. Surprisingly, she did! Avon woke up then. Nice timing - I face off Servalan and no-one’s there to see it, and who’ll ever believe it? He was only shot in the arm, so I patched it up for him, and got a nice glass of adrenaline and soma to calm me down. Avon didn’t want one; he said he needed his wits about him, seeing as I didn’t have any.

Tarrant and Dayna rescued Cally and Orac and they all came up just before Servalan got back with reinforcements and attacked Obsidian. I found out then why they’d left it alone before. Dayna’s father’s friends, the Pyroans, were very aggressive for pacifists. They had a nuke tucked down their volcano, and they blew the planet up. Cally said everyone lost in the end but them. In that case, I’m glad I’m a loser!

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant [tarrant@liberator.rebel.org]
Subject:       Duty roster

Ensign Vila Restal,

Your assigned duties are as follows: breaking and entering, general maintenance, plus:

Day 1:  Check stardrive oil levels and top-up if necessary. Take your dirty bed-linen to laundry before 0900, collect your clean bed linen before 2000, make your bed according to space-fleet specs (I will show you how to do standard corners)

Day 2:  Assist Dayna to test-fire the neutron blasters. Weekly meal duty (plan a balanced menu, cook, serve, and clear away). Alcohol is not needed with every meal, Vila!

Day 3: Check all console circuits. Weekly KP duty: clean the kitchen (with particular attention to the toaster oven you make your cheesy toast in)

Day 4:  Assist Cally to test force-wall and check energy levels. Do personal laundry on and only on this day. And no more socks drying over the stardrive, Vila!

Day 5:  Tidy your room and clean your en-suite. And remove your custom door-lock so I can inspect your quarters.

Captain Del Tarrant 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Duty roster

Sod off, Tarrant! This is not the space fleet, but a ship full of rebels and criminals. I don’t have a rank, you great oaf (and if I did, it would be security, weapons and morale officer) and neither do you. And the lock stays. My cabin is off-limits to everyone but invited guests and high-ranking members of the Thieves’ Guild.

BTW if you try to make me wear a uniform, esp. a red shirt, I’m jumping ship!

Vila

P.S. I’ve got some nice ball-bearings if you want to buy some to fidget with! 



To:               Kerr Avon [avon@liberator.rebel.org]
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Captain Queeg

Avon, did you get a list of duties from that jumped up Tarrant? What rank did he assign you, eh? Computer nerd? Chief geek?

Have you had your quarters inspected yet? I bet Dayna has (her hind ones)!

And how come I’m off the weapons console? I did a pretty good job on those neutron blasters.

I see you’re on meal duty today. Goody, lots of desserts!

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Captain Queeg

And what was your rank, Vila? Ship’s idiot? Petty theft officer?

Anyway, Tarrant and I have discussed the matter and come to a compromise. He will e-mail you and the rest of the crew when he gets out of the medical unit. I did agree though that a duty roster is quite a good idea as the kitchen is a mess, and your hands in particular far too idle.

As for the weapons console, Dayna is the expert. It make sense. After all, I wouldn’t expect her to open locks, although she says she could replace you completely by using shaped explosives to do so. An attractive idea, but her method would set off alarms.

I see you’re on meal duty tomorrow. Remember, you ignorant Delta: serve to the right, take from the left, and use a napkin when you pour the drinks. And ‘Good appetite’ is preferable to ‘Get yerself round that’ or ‘Hot curry, hot plate, good Ghandi, can’t wait!’

Avon



To:               Liberator Crew [crew@liberator.rebel.org]
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       Revised duties

Everybody,

Your duties remain the same except that there is no time limit on bed-linen changes, no bed-making standard, and no inspections. You’re a bunch of slackers who would have been cashiered from the fleet.

There are also no military ranks. Responsibilities are as follows (and they’re in order of length of service, before anyone gets annoyed again ):

Kerr Avon: computer tech, hacking, embezzlement, strategy, R&D

Vila Restal: picking locks, cracking safes, general theft, wiring and circuitry, entertainment, maintenance, teleport, backup weapons console, backup computer tech, backup pilot (you sure about this last one, Avon?)

Cally: guerrilla warfare, alien contact, medical and surgical, teleport, backup force wall

Del Tarrant: pilot, tactics, duty roster

Dayna Mellanby: weapons console, force wall, personal weapons, demolition, teleport, backup medical and surgical

Cally: thank you for the steak for my eye.

Vila: no red shirts, but you can continue to wear your brown trousers or those ghastly yellow suede ones.

Tarrant 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Revised duties

That’s a bit unfair, Tarrant! I’ve got more to do than everyone else, and you’ve got less.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: Revised duties

According to Avon, you’re an exasperating pest but quite talented and intelligent. I can’t see it myself. A lot of your responsibilities are just backup anyway. If you ever get to pilot the Liberator, Vila, remember it’s the classiest ship in the galaxy, not an old penal colony freight scow hot-wired by a thieving little teenager. And we don’t have third party insurance.

Tarrant



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Black hole

Dear Mum,

My turn to worry about you. Is everything all right in the Delta levels? You got power, food, water, viscasts, your bingo evenings?

Things are good and bad here.

Good: Avon let slip to Tarrant that he thinks I’m clever. Hah! Several to me in the Avon-Vila points war, I think! Still nowhere near even though.

Bad: Tarrant took me off the weapons console and prowls round checking that I haven’t cheesed up the toaster oven. At least we don’t have underpants inspections to ensure they’re both fresh (yes, Mum, mine are!) and standard issue, like I heard they have in the fleet. And they all pick on me during galactic monopoly, and it’s my game-board! I always end up on a penal colony, then get wiped out by Avon when I escape. If I do survive his attacks, I’m so badly wounded, Cally gouges me for organ transplants at her hospitals, and if I run for a bolt-hole, my only option is one of Dayna’s expensive hotels with all the expensive extras. My only consolation is that Avon never wins either, ‘cos he spends all his resources taking me down.

I was saved from almost complete humiliation in our last game when we got sucked into what we thought was a black hole. I was a bit unnerved – being compressed out of normal space isn’t the way I want to go – mind you, I haven’t thought of a good way to go yet. Things got strange and I passed out. I came round to six Avons looking at me anxiously and saying “Vila, wake up.” Why six? Two I could understand. I must have got it wrong about him being worried too. Cally was possessed again and they took her off to medical. After all this excitement, I needed a swig from my little flask of something called whisky which I acquired on a recent planet. Strong stuff – burns going down like a one-day vintage, but warms nicely.

Orac said there was no space as such outside, so guess what – everyone decided I should put on a spacesuit and go out an inspection hatch. I balked ‘cos I get claustrophobic in a spacesuit, but Avon and Tarrant jumped me. They said the hatch needed my delicate skilful touch. I booted it open, and dropped into a huge dark cavern. I tripped over my air-hose running from some strange lights, and went down, thinking it was my last gasp. Got that Tarrant back, though. I was playing dead, surprised I wasn’t, and when he came out to get my corpse, I sat up grinning, giving him a hell of a shock. Orac was right – there was no space outside – there was air. That little rat-in-a-box!

We all got captured. Cally was taken off to see an Auron fairy-tale bogey-man called Lord Thaarn who wanted to rule the universe without computers, and the rest of us were forced to do dynamic flux mathematics in Thaarn’s sweatshop with pencil and paper (I lifted a log book and a nifty little something called a slide-rule to help). Our supervisor, a guy called Groff, took a liking to us and helped us to escape by reversing the gravity generators and exploding (or is it imploding?) the place.

That Thaarn turning out to be true is a worry. I hope the snaggle-toothed purple bandersnatch who eats naughty little boys starting with their toes doesn’t show up! ;-)

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Black hole

Dear Vila,

Ah yes, the snaggle-toothed purple bandersnatch. I had to be careful which stories I read to you at night, because even the bananas in pyjamas frightened you.

Things are fine here. Food’s a bit short, but we get free lunches at the factory made of that Soylent Green stuff – rissoles, soup, casserole, Soylent Green surprise. As I said, I don’t like it much, but it’s free. You don’t know what it is, do you?

Do be careful on your next space-walk, dear, and look after all your hoses.

Love, Mum 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Soylent Green

Avon, do you know what Soylent Green is? My mother says it’s a major food group on earth now.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Soylent Green

WHAT? Vila, just tell your mother and everyone else not to touch it.

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Soylent Green

No jokes or insults, Avon? You’re starting to scare me! What is it?

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Soylent Green

Ah, Vila. I am tempted, but oddly enough I do draw the line somewhere in my dealings with you. I really don’t want to upset you. Just tell her, Vila.

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Soylent Green

I’m pretty tough now, Avon! I can handle it!

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Soylent Green

All right, Vila. Let’s just say that after the Andromedan war, there was a lot of, well, excess organic material not suitable for turning into spare parts as they tried to do with you on Chenga. ‘Waste not want not’ appears to be the Federation’s motto in this case.

Avon 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Soylent Green not kosher

Dear Mum,

Don’t eat the Soylent Green, and tell everyone else not to! Put it this way: if I hadn’t survived the war, or if they hadn’t wanted my bits on Chenga, you could be eating me!

I’ve left you enough money to dine out for years. Have a nice vinders and lager on me, and treat your friends. If you need more money, I’ve got heaps and I can send it to you via GalacPay. (BTW when Avon and I were on that that windy planet New Scotland where I got the whisky, we finally banked our Freedom City winnings in neutral zone numbered accounts from. Lucky they weren’t in Fed credits as they’re lower than seashells and glass beads right now.)

Back to the Soylent Green - personally I’ve gone off everything that colour. Avon said he did warn me, and when he was on meal duty yesterday, he served asparagus soup, broccoli, beans and peas in pesto with spinach fettuccini, and a choice of pistachio or peppermint ice-cream to follow. The bastard.

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Dayna Mellanby [dayna@liberator.rebel.org]
Subject:       Loser!

Nyah, nyah, lost again, huh, Vila! You really are a galactic-class loser! Go on, tell me something legal you’re good at. And it had better not be disgusting, Delta-boy.

Dayna 



To:               Dayna Mellanby
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Loser!

Being picked on? Annoying everybody on the Liberator? The only thing I can think of is the grilled cheese on toast I make you for breakfast, and that hardly justifies my existence, does it? You’ve convinced me, Dayna. I’m a waste of skin. You might as well use me for archery practice. And people wonder why I knock back the A&S. :-(

Vila 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Xaranar

Dear Mum,

Remember that guy Groff who destroyed that hollow planetoid Krandor so we could escape the Thaarn? Tarrant promised him we’d go to Xaranar to tell his family what happened to him, but as it’s a Federation world that specialises in building and crewing survey ships, I suspect he had an ulterior motive.

Avon stayed on board (he said he could do with the peace and quiet), Cally went to a concert, and Dayna went shopping at a small arms trade fair. I planned to check out the latest in acquisitions technology, but Avon said I had to go with Tarrant to see Groff’s family. “Ahah,” I said, “you don’t trust him either!” Avon just smiled and said he trusted neither of us alone with a vulnerable widow. I was quite hurt.

We teleported to the street outside Groff’s house in a nice leafy suburb. I could live in a place like that, lots of room and the novelty of open sky above the roof. The house was like something out of ‘Dome and Garden’. Groff’s wife Lorna was grateful that we came, and said that as it had been two years Groff had been gone, she’d assumed he was dead anyway. She was quite pretty, and I noticed Tarrant was showing even more teeth than usual. He said, “Why don’t you entertain the children, Vila?” So I did some magic tricks for them, pulled coins out of their ears etc. Cute kids, a boy and a girl about 9 and 11. Tarrant said, “Why don’t you go outside and play with the children, Vila?” I thought why not, it sounded like fun, and it was too – we played Star Trek (climbing trees and ‘beaming down’ out of them into the vege garden, shooting each other with tomato stakes, capturing aliens (the dog). I was Captain Kirk, and ended up with my shirt half ripped off. I was a bit concerned about Tarrant with Lorna though, so we went in every 5 minutes or so to get more biscuits, cake, milk, whatever, or just to say hello. Each time, Tarrant’s chair was closer to Lorna’s, and she would leap up eagerly to serve us while Tarrant got more and more annoyed with me. Finally she thanked us for coming and said I was a sweetie and would make a lovely father. Tarrant said rubbish, I was basically still a kid. Lorna looked at my ripped shirt and tried not to smile, and said “Oh, really?”, and Tarrant threw my tunic at me quite savagely. Lorna kissed me on the cheek and gave me some home baking to take with me, and said I could come back any time. To tell you the truth, I briefly considered deserting and staying, but Avon knew where I was, and he already warned me last year that he never forgives betrayal. And it is a Federation planet.

Next we had to get some weapons crystals and other parts for the Liberator. Tarrant was still annoyed with me and wouldn’t let me steal the crystals. I was so bored while he flirted with a spare parts saleswoman that I lifted the contents of the petty cash box, a Servalan calendar (for darts) and a cool glass paperweight with a little planet-hopper in it, which you shake to get a meteor storm.

One guess who had to change the Liberator’s oil and install the new crystals? And who had to put the old ones back in after we found Tarrant got the wrong grade? Why me? You got it – ‘it needed my delicate touch’. Like every other dirty job here.

Love, Vila 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Tarrant

Avon, I still don’t trust Tarrant. My reasons so far are:

Ex-Fed. Or possibly still Fed?

I know his name from somewhere.

He has the most insincere smile outside a court room, and where did he buy such perfect gnashers?

Who paid for them? Who paid for them?

Number of Fed installations attacked in last 4 months: ah, let’s see now – none!

Not that I object to a quiet life of course!

Vila 



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

I’d be surprised if a scan showed any electrical activity in your brain, Vila. If Tarrant were Federation, he would have captured us and turned us in by now, for our bounties if not the glory.

The Federation is still reeling from the war, so I see no reason to risk our lives like that idealistic idiot Blake, tilting at his windmills.

Use a little logic. In fact, you can use some tonight in a chess game after dinner.

Avon



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       A little piracy

People, may I suggest a little piracy? It’s that time of year again when the Federation harvests the kairopan on Kairos. Grab their total shipment and we’ll be able to buy a planet each to retire on.

Tarrant 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       A little piracy

Satisfied with that, Vila? Not an installation as such, but still a strike at the Federation which will hurt them in their pockets.

Pity Dayna wasn’t present at our chess game last night to see you lose again. :-)

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: A little piracy

Yeah, well, I see you don’t trust Tarrant either, or you’d have told him about the treasure room! Actually I don’t care to risk my life boarding a heavily-armed Fed ship, when we could just divvy up the Liberator treasure and hightail it to the bolt-holes of our choice.

Vila 



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

Darling Vila,

I agree with that Lorna – you would make a lovely father, but you’d spoil your kids rotten! I’ve always wanted grandchildren, and neither of us are getting any younger.

Anyway, did you know you’re an even bigger hero here than you were before? When I told everyone at the factory about the Soylent Green, the news spread like wildfire. Most Delta and Gamma workers went on strike, and half of London Dome took to the streets. They’ve got trouble all over Earth. I think you’re better known than Blake now, at least among the ordinary people, and I’ve made quite a bit on the side selling copies of your wanted posters, signed “Vila’s proud Mum”.

Love, your proud Mum 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Sopron and kairopan

Dear Mum,

Hey, I’m in my prime, or at least one of them – 31! And if you wanted grandchildren, you should have passed on some better genes – there’s very little demand for short thin nervous thieves with weak chests.

Tarrant wanted to hijack the kairopan harvest, but on the way there Avon made us stop to check out a strange life-form he’d heard of on the permanent dark side of a planet. Dayna volunteered to go down with him, but he said he’d take me, and I didn’t need to wrap up warm as it was earth temperatures down there. It was too – just like the Arctic. I stumbled around in the dark, freezing slowly from the feet up, trying to get readings on the heavy equipment he made me lug around. Finally I fell over a rock and landed flat on my face, then leapt up, yelping, slapping all my pockets and checking my watch was still there. Avon laughed and asked if I’d been robbed by a better thief than me. I said nervously, “Not so far,” making sure my lockpicks were still there. He said I’d found a Sopron, and picked up the rock. “Oh, most impressive, such superior intelligence and lucidity of thought,” he said, smiling at it.

When we got back, Fed ships were closing in, but we escaped. At Kairos we were waiting till the harvest was all on the space transporter before boarding it, when we were attacked again.

BTW I’ve been taken off the weapons console now. Dayna does it. I wouldn’t mind much (after all I always had to kid myself it was a computer game and I wasn’t really killing anyone) but having time to think during a battle is really not good for my nerves.

And in right the middle of the attack, Avon took Cally away to look at his pet rock, and Tarrant went off to look for them, leaving me to pilot and Dayna to shoot. (And they say I’m easily-distracted and irresponsible?) We got one! Tarrant took over when he came back of course, and he and Dayna got the other two. Then we boarded the transporter and stole the crates, which turned out not to be full of crystals but Fed troopers, which are nowhere near as attractive or in as much demand on the open market.

Servalan then dumped the lot of us on Kairos so we could find out why you can only go there for one week every 15 years. We did. Huge spiders that eat kairopan and anyone who’s touched it, which I had. Things did not look good, even when we found a hangar with an ancient landing module in it. Tarrant tried to power the thing up (I told him he might need some choke on something that old and he told me to shut up), and Avon hacked into the software (I said he probably needed 700 years of MS upgrades and he told me to shut up). I opened the roof and we got off the ground just before it was scorched by a plasma bolt meant for us. We got the Liberator back too – Avon had written a quick Sopron-program to fool it into thinking we were even bigger and better, and the Fed rats abandoned ship.

That Sopron rock reflects back at you what you are, but more so. Orac and Zen saw computers, Cally saw her parents. If Tarrant had looked, I bet he’d have seen a great bullying prat with a bloated ego, and unruly fluff both on and inside his head.. :-)

Love, Vila 



To:               President Servalan
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       You tease

I’ve gone right off you, Servalan. That’s twice you’ve tried to kill me lately. So much for all those e-mails. I should have blasted you over Obsidian.

Vila 



To:               Kerr Avon, Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Trojan Horse

Nice one, you two! Done in by the old Trojan Horse trick. I didn’t like the idea from the start, if you remember.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Trojan Horse

You liked the idea of spending your booty languishing by a lakeside on Gardinos, Vila. If you remember. And where in space did an uneducated Delta-grade thief hear about the Trojan horse?

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Trojan Horse

Hah! Shows how much you know about me, doesn’t it, Avon? You can get an education outside school, you know. CF1 had a good library, and I joined the Federation public one after I escaped. I bet your choice of bedside book is a boring software manual.

Timeo danaos et dona ferentes.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Trojan Horse

Latin from a fool who barely speaks Terran? Is that your so illustrious and well-bred family’s motto, Vila?

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Trojan Horse

No, it means beware of Greeks bearing gifts, philistine! :-)

The Restal family motto is Semper ubi sub ubi.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           President Servalan
Subject:       RE: You tease

But I do still have a soft spot for you, Vila. Don’t be like that. Yes, I did rather expect I’d seen the last of you on Chenga and Kairos, and I felt a small frisson of regret. But you know, Vila, I don’t think I could actually bring myself to shoot you down face to fetchingly innocent face. I do look forward to seeing you again, dear. Soon.

Servalan



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       A cheap deal

Dayna has pointed out that the neutron blasters just fizzle rather than blast. The old crystals are clapped out. I’ve made a good deal for some more with some people on Keezarn. All they want in exchange is Vila. The crystals are extremely cheap at that price! In fact, anything is cheap at that price! :-)

The deal is Vila goes down alone with no surveillance, and 15 minutes later one of us (Cally) goes down to collect the crystals at the same coordinates.

Report to the teleport pad, Vila.

Tarrant 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: A cheap deal

Oh, now wait a minute. I’m an important member of this crew with unique talents, that’s what Blake said. And I’m not cheap – I’m worth a million on the wanted list, and I bet they keep me and sell me for a fat profit. That’s not a good deal, Tarrant. And a delayed exchange without any sort of guarantee is just stupid - you’re asking to be cheated.

And does everyone else go along with it then? Or don’t you lot care whether I come back? :-(

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: A cheap deal

Your sole unique talent in this crew is picking locks, and we haven’t needed that since I’ve been on the Liberator. One word, Vila - expendable.

Tarrant 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Dayna Mellanby
Subject:       RE: A cheap deal

You’re useless here. They seem to want you. It sounds good to me.

Dayna 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: A cheap deal

We need those crystals, Vila. I don’t have time to argue with you right now.

Avon 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: A cheap deal

Try to be brave, Vila

Cally 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Kerril

Dear Mum,

Tarrant did a deal to swap me for some weapons crystals. When I refused, he pushed me around and said he’d toss me off the ship, and that I couldn’t stop him and no-one else would care. True on all counts actually, as no-one had stood up for me. I went off to get my tools, and the pain in my chest was so bad I made a side-trip to knock down a double shot of adrenaline and soma, though my heart was beating so fast, I would have done better with a defibrillator. When I got back, Avon tried to give me a tracer to swallow, but I didn’t trust any of them any more so I palmed it and left it on the table.

I teleported down, and the ‘peaceful primitive people’ Tarrant said he did the deal with took my bracelet off me and made me walk to their ruined city all without so much as a word, then abandoned me to the tender mercies of a dirty, tough, mean, smelly gunhand with bad breath. She was called Kerril. Charming. She took me to her boss, and it was Bayban. You know who I mean? Bayban the Beserker / Butcher / Bastard? I was glad I’d gone before I left the Liberator.

He gave me an hour to open a vault which was meant to be full of treasure, though a local called Norl said it contained the future. Very clever, the vault designer – he used a force-field which refracted light like a solid door, and those clods had been trying to blow it up. I put a low-energy probe on it and waited. Kerril turned up all clean and combed and wearing a native dress – she must have taken some of my comments to heart – and she did scrub up well. When the force-field collapsed, we went through it and ended up teleported more than 3000 light-years to a scout ship which had been looking for a new planet for Norl’s people for millennia. The vault designer’s recorded message told us that if the ship hadn’t landed yet, we’d suffocate, and sure enough it seemed like it and there were two skeletons in the room from previous attempts. Kerril suggested that we pass the time we had left in this oh so romantic setting in, well, mutual comfort. I have to say I wondered why she fancied me. I don’t get that many offers, and that well-known cliché “Only if you were the only person on the planet” did spring to mind.

When I woke up, expecting not to, I was amazed we still had air. The force-field on the door had malfunctioned. I cancelled it, and we both went out to explore our new world. Kerril seemed happy to stay there, but I had to wonder about little things like what to eat, where to sleep, what we’d make clothes of, the total lack of minimal amenities like buildings, soft beds, the Galacnet, and of course locks for me to open, my only admired talent. Still, we had a lovely time together, and when we sat down by a pool in the evening I realised the ground was covered in the crystals we needed. Kerril was angry with me for wanting to go back straight away, don’t know why. When we got out at the other end, Avon, Cally and Tarrant were there. Cally was pleased to see me, and Tarrant even said welcome back, and Avon insulted me, so I began to think they wanted me after all. Then Dayna came in and said Bayban had got away from her. So they had all came down to rescue me! Though I suspect Dayna only wanted to test her new heat-seeker bombs.

Norl’s people all turned up and went through to their new world, and Norl said I was both clever and brave. (I hope Avon and Tarrant heard that.) Kerril asked to go too, then asked me to. The others gave me a bracelet and left me to decide. I tried to explain why I couldn’t. She’d seen me at my best, Mum, being brave, clever, and kind. Getting through locks and into safes and vaults is all I do that’s worth anything to anyone. And she’d go off me fast when she saw me trying to bang a nail into a piece of wood, or raise a barn, and she was a real tough customer underneath it all – she’d be pretty rough on me.

Then she said she loved me.

No-one ever said that before, but you. I still don’t know what I would have done if Bayban hadn’t turned up then. I held him off with my gun while Kerril and Norl escaped. I got out just in time before he fired the laser cannon at the force-field and killed himself and blew up the whole place. Still, I wish I’d had the chance to ask her to come with me, but I only had one bracelet. Though she wouldn’t have liked me much after she found out how I’m treated on the Liberator. So maybe it’s best this way. She’ll remember me at my best. And maybe I’ll be a legend there - the discoverer of a world!

Tarrant said he was sorry and he hadn’t meant what he’d said, and Avon even said welcome back (!!!), but this was only after I turned over the crystals. I still don’t really trust any of them any more. Except maybe Cally.

Love, Vila 



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

Darling Vila,

Oh, my poor boy. I think you did make the right decision though. You don’t seem to last long with the tougher sort of girl (or any sort really), and I couldn’t see you as a pioneer at all. Never mind. I’m sure you’ll meet the right girl one day, who’ll love you for your sweet sensitive self and not just how fast you can get into a vault.

And you must learn to stick up for yourself with the others, dear. You’ve never been good at that. I’m sure your growth was stunted by people always taking your school lunch.

Love and a big hug, Mum 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Ultimatum

All right, you lot. If my skills are no use to you any more, (and that’s right, I haven’t had to crack a Fed lock for at least 6 months), then do the decent thing and drop me off somewhere on the far edge of the neutral zone. Any place with a breathable atmosphere and a decent-sized city will do me. Rich gullible tourists would be a bonus. And you needn’t worry – I’ll stay lost. If I was at large (yes all right Avon, I’ll get in first - at small) for over 10 years after I got out of CF1, despite being on the wanted lists, I can disappear so well the Feds will never find me.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: Ultimatum

Look, I said I was sorry, Vila. What more do you want? Avon told me about some of your exploits, and if that sourpuss has that much respect and admiration for someone he says he despises, I’m convinced of your value. You still have to clean the toaster oven though, and the ban on drying socks over the stardrive now includes underpants.

Tarrant 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: Ultimatum

Oh, Vila! Avon and I didn’t have time to say anything to you before you left, because we were both busy making up that tracer you refused to take with you. Doesn’t that prove something? I for one would miss you very much if you left. And Avon would too, I think. He enjoys his verbal and chess games with you, and frankly if it came down to keeping you or Tarrant, he would choose you.

So cheer up and have a nice adrenaline and soma and some nice chocolate cake with me. I find a sugar hit always cheers me up.

Cally 



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

Sulking again, are you Vila? If you continue to do so I shall take you up on your offer. You are annoying enough when you’re cheerful, but the sight of you wandering around with big doleful spaniel eyes quite turns my stomach. You could at least have the consideration to lock yourself in your cabin and be miserable in private, as has been your wont in the past.

I should however rather you stay, as you are the backup pilot, and that gives me the freedom to dump the appalling Tarrant if he becomes too unbearable.

Oh and Vila. I translated your little family motto. Very ungrammatical in Latin or Terran - 'Always where under where'. One of your mother's admonitions no doubt.

Avon 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Dayna Mellanby
Subject:       RE: Ultimatum

Come on, Vila! I’d say I’d miss you, except I’m a crack shot.

I’ll give you a head start of a million credits and a small fleet in our next game. And I won’t make you be the shuttle this time. You can be the big cruiser.

Dayna



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       Revenge

Vila. I need your help, such as it is. My cabin now.

Avon 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Earth

Dear Mum,

I asked everyone to leave me on a nice planet, but it seems they do want me after all! Everyone’s been nice to me for three days now, and that’s a record for this year! Even Avon, though with him it’s a bit hard to tell.

Avon asked me to his cabin yesterday, gave me a drink (a shiraz he acquired on a recent planetfall) and said he wanted some help with a plan he has to get revenge on a Fed interrogator called Shrinker who killed his girlfriend Anna Grant. I asked why me, and he said he’d checked on Orac and I’d survived five conditioning attempts starting as a kid, so I knew what torture was like. Just remembering gave me the willies, and I spilt the wine all over myself, the chair and the floor. Instead of yelling at me, he just said “Sorry, Vila. Are you all right?” I said yes and sat on my hands so he couldn’t see them shaking. He looked quite worried and almost patted my shoulder, which terrified us both, but instead went and got a rag to mop up the wine, and said, “Lucky the chair is black leather, so it won’t show. But if you’re going to make a habit of spilling fine wine, you clumsy fool, wearing light colours is a mistake.” I was relieved he was back to normal.

The upshot is, he wants me to help him set up a trap for this Shrinker bastard, and I said I’d do it. I’ve never been much for revenge myself, but I don’t mind in this case.

So we’re on our way to Earth again! Sorry I can’t come to see you, but with a cool mill on my head and some of the neighbours with long memories of things I did when I was a kid, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Though I still think it was funny picking their apartment locks and playing practical jokes. In fact I may try one on Avon!

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       My furniture

I assume it was you who broke in and bolted all my furniture to the ceiling while I was on watch? Fix it, Vila, or I’ll leave you in that cave.

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Clones and plague

Dear Mum,

We got diverted from going to Earth when Cally sensed the Aurons were all dying. Avon didn’t want to go, but Tarrant said mercy was better than revenge. I could get to like him a little after all. The Aurons were all dying of plague from a pilot who’d caught it in space. As you know, I hate bugs, so I volunteered quickly for teleport duty, but Dayna brought one of the victims, Patar, back for analysis. I put a helmet on as a precaution. Avon and Tarrant got very pissed off when they called me for an update and couldn’t hear a word I said inside it, so I had to take it off and hope for the best. Orac found a cure, and Patar was very impressed - he said we were better than the other ship. What other ship I asked? Oh, just an ex-Fed one! I tried to call the others and got Servalan, who said to surrender the Liberator and she’d save the others, and also throw in the governorship of Earth out of her great personal regard for me. A nice thought – I allowed myself a little daydream for a second or two of me dressed like Napoleon, but chance would be a fine thing. I pretended I’d negotiate and she sent up a guy called Deral, and we captured him. I told Servalan she was a bit naughty, and threatened to blow up her ship but she said she had the cure on board. She then blew up the Auron control centre in a fit of pique and the others headed for the replication plant as the only safe place. Turned out Servalan was growing cloned mini-Servalans there, and she’d infected the Aurons to make them do it. Dayna went down with bracelets and brought the others back, plus an Auron doctor and the gene stock for 5000 foetuses. Servalan blew up the replication centre and killed all her own foetuses, not sure why. Maybe she remembered that multiple births can be a bit stressful, esp. for a someone with a demanding career.

Avon teleported that guy Deral back down, though he begged not to be. I bet Servalan executed him as soon as she saw him. A cold and unfeeling bastard, Avon.

The others looked very ill, and I started to feel sick in sympathy, so I went to the medical unit with them to make sure I hadn’t caught the plague too. They all got annoyed with me and said “Go away, Vila.” And I couldn’t bother Cally after she’d lost all her people. I said, “I don’t feel right,” and Avon said, “You’ve never been right, Vila.” Later on I said, “I feel hot,” and Dayna laughed and said, “Just like all your possessions I suppose, Vila.” Then I said I felt weak, and Avon said, “You are weak, Vila. As is that particular ploy.” At dinner I felt so queasy when Avon served the cassoulet (his fancy name for a stew) that Tarrant said, “You’re such a ham, Vila, you ought to play for Earth United.” I just collapsed face-down in my dinner (shades of a Terra Nostra hit!) and yes, I did have plague. Did anyone apologise? Nope, just told me to go back and clean up the spilt food in the dining room when I was cured.

Cally was very annoyed when she found out later they hadn’t bothered to check me. I went round to see her when I was better to offer some comfort like she did for me when Gan died, and she said I was very kind and sweet. So is she. I wish… oh, well.

We’re taking Franton and Patar and their 5000 future little Aurons to an uninhabited earth-type planet called Kaarn. It’s on my list of places to avoid for the next 20 years.

Love, Vila 



To:               President Servalan
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Babies

It was a nice thought to offer me the governorship of Earth, Servalan, but I doubt if the appointment would have lasted longer than a few minutes.

Why did you change your mind about having a family? Was it the thought of hundreds of little Servalans all with full nappies and screaming at the supermarket checkout? And imagine how much it would cost to keep growing mini-megalomaniacs in designer clothes!

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           President Servalan
Subject:       RE: Babies

The job would have been a sinecure, dear. No public appearances. The position would have involved varied ones in my personal quarters. While restrained of course, knowing your talent for escape. And the only maternal instinct I have is for innocent and harmless-looking little things like you. :-)

Servalan 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Clones and plague

Dear Vila,

Auron plague. What next? You’re not a strong lad, and I worry so much about you. It’s obvious that apart from that Cally, and Gan and Blake when they were there, that no-one takes any care of you or bothers to look out for you. Did you tell them you have a weak chest? Perhaps when you get to Earth I could join the crew to look after you and make sure you eat properly and dress warm. I’d sort them out for you.

Love, Mum 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Clones and plague

Dear Mum,

I’m fine now! Really! Honest! And the nerve stress from my last conditioning went away a few months ago, so I’ve got a detectable pain threshold now.

Vila 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Sweepstake

I’m getting bored, and I thought we’d liven things up a bit with a sweepstake on how many days from now till we meet our friend Servalan again. I figure each of us can put in a stake – no money, just a favour or a talent - and the closest to the winning number takes three of their choice, runner up gets the rest. And you can’t win your own favour.

See me to sign up.

Honest Vila 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Servalan Sweepstake

All right, here it is. As I said, the day count starts now.

And I don’t see why I couldn’t offer to do teleport duty for a month.

Punter              Days                Offer
Avon                13                    hack into and sabotage the web site of your choice
Vila                  17                    cook and serve breakfast in bed for a week
Cally                34                    3 yoga for relaxation lessons
Tarrant             6                      2 hour Liberator flying lesson; no landings
Dayna              29                    1 Black Forest cake (dark, delicious, real cherries)

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Dayna Mellanby
Subject:       RE: Servalan Sweepstake

I’ll get you for that, Vila. You can hide, but you’ve got to come out sometime, you little rat.

Dayna 



To:               Dayna Mellanby
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Servalan Sweepstake

I don’t know what you mean, Dayna. It was a straight-forward description of Black Forest cake. Cally and I ate one between us a while back (well, I got 2 pieces of it). Be fair for once and pick on someone your own size!

Vila



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Avon’s plan stages 1 and 2

Dear Mum,

We’re orbiting Earth now (with Avon’s little cloaking gadget running), starting to put Avon’s plan into action. This is it:

1.      I find a suitable cave (tiny airhole, no way in or out but by teleport)
2.      I install a huge picture of Anna Grant (Avon’s girl friend)
3.      We set up Avon to get arrested
4.      He holds out under interrogation till Shrinker, senior torturer, turns up
5.      He turns off his tracer and we grab them both
6.      Avon exacts his revenge and leaves Shrinker in the cave to die

I’m working on stage 1 and 2 right now. Tarrant scans for a cave, Avon teleports me there and I check it out. I’ve got the creeps almost constantly from this (two of my fears and one pet hate – darkness, claustrophobia, and cold) and I’m starting to feel like a crew-member of Voyager on an away mission. Without Seven, unfortunately. At least Avon is there with a hot drink with a slug of soma in it when I get back, and he hasn’t insulted me for days. I’m actually starting to miss it!

I’m also drawing a picture of Anna to blow up to poster size. Cally refused to do it. As Avon hasn’t got a photo or holo of her, I’m doing it like the police artists – he keeps saying, no her eyebrows are pointy like yours, make her hair a bit longer, her mouth is wider etc – and it looks a bit like one of those police efforts: a bit lifeless and not quite human. Lucky Avon hasn’t broken my e-mail encryption for over a year, or he’d say “Just like you, Vila”. It’s getting bad when I have to invent my own Avon insults! ;-)

More later.

Vila 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Avon’s plan stage 3

Dear Mum,

Me again. We went to stage 3. Dayna implanted a tracer (like the one they tried to give me on Keezarn) in Avon’s neck. I get faint at the sight of blood so I couldn’t do it, and Cally wouldn’t. Then Avon and I went down last night and broke into Space Fleet Terra HQ. They had some lovely locks I can add to my CV, but I wasn’t allowed to sign them this time. I actually felt quite nostalgic – it was just like the good old days with Blake, cracking a Fed installation again. We put explosives in the main computer room set to go off in 30 minutes, then broke into the cafeteria. I unlocked all the dispensers and filled a bag with a few choice items (crisps and twisties etc – haven’t had those for years – and some chocolate bars for Cally). Avon could enjoy his wait with the open ice-cream dispenser. I wished him luck, then left, resetting all the door locks as I went. Dayna teleported me up and said I was lucky she’d decided to. I gave her a first pick of the junk food to mollify her, and she actually smiled and said I was quite useful sometimes.

By now they’ll have arrested Avon. Just thinking of him being interrogated brought back my memories, and I had terrible nightmares last night. Cally, who disapproves of the whole thing, said it served me right for eating so much rubbish just before bedtime.

Now we’re all on tenterhooks, on two-minute alert waiting for Avon to turn the tracer off, which is the signal Shrinker’s there.

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       Coke

If you happen to be down on Earth again this trip, Vila, see if you can get me some coke. I’d better specify, knowing you. I mean the drink Coca-Cola. Classic if possible.

Tarrant 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Coke

Ahah, that explains the dazzling white gnashers! The old ones dissolved!

Actually I’d go like a shot right now if we weren’t on standby. I’d kill for a real vinders.

Vila 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Avon’s plan stages 4 through 6 and unplanned 7

Dear Mum,

Next installment in this exciting serial. Avon turned his tracer off and we all hit the teleport bay running, me with two stiff drinks, one for Avon and one for my nerves. Cally teleported Tarrant and Dayna down to get Shrinker and Avon. Avon needed that drink too – so much so, he actually said thanks to me! To cut it short, stages 4, 5, and 6 went as planned, but when Avon got back from the cave after leaving Shrinker to die there, he said it wasn’t over and now he had to see Servalan.

Servalan eh? Ahah, I thought, we’re on day 12 and Avon bet 13 days on the sweepstake. Lucky I didn’t say anything - it wasn’t the time for a Vila joke. Mind you, there are a lot of people who feel it’s never the time for one. :-(

Shrinker hadn’t killed Anna. A Fed agent called Bartolomew who had been running Avon during his bank fraud had killed her. And guess what. Servalan knew who Bartolomew was.

Orac found Servalan at her new palace, and they all teleported down except for me, left all alone and worried on teleport duty. I had another stiff drink with Orac. That surly computer isn’t the best drinking companion but he’ll do in a pinch.

In short: the others gate-crashed a rebellion against Servalan run by Sula, who turned out to be both Anna and Bartolomew. You know how Avon feels about betrayal, esp. from someone he trusts. He shot her dead. Then I teleported everyone up except Avon (Servalan had his bracelet) and got blamed for that as usual. She was going to send him up as a corpse, but we got him just in time. He looked so terrible I gave him my drink.

The funny thing is, I think he’s now mourning Anna. Note to self – never betray Avon, esp. now he trusts me so much. Him being sorry after killing me won’t be much consolation.

Still, I’d like to cheer him up. So even though he deliberately went to see Servalan, I think he can win the sweep. And anyway disqualifying him might count as betrayal!

Love, Vila   



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Sweepstake results

The winning number was 12 days till we met Servalan again. Avon bet 13 and wins. I bet 17 so I’m runner-up. Sorry Tarrant, you miss out by one.

Choose your three prizes, Avon, and enjoy them.

Vila 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Sweepstake results     

And I thought Vila would disqualify me and grab first prize for himself. Sometimes he shows signs of intelligence.

Well now. I shall have:

Vila cooking and serving me breakfast in bed for a week
Cally’s yoga for relaxation lessons
Dayna’s Black Forest cake

That leaves Vila with:

Me hacking into and sabotaging the web site of his choice
Tarrant ‘s flying lesson. Oh, but Vila can fly already. What a pity.

Vila. Softly-cooked scrambled eggs on two pieces of crisp buttered toast, a hot pot of herbal tea, and a small ice-cream sundae, all served tastefully on a tray with silver service and a folded napkin. And unaccompanied by what you doubtless think is light and witty conversation.

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       My prize    

I was going to choose those pirates amagon.com as my web site of choice, but I’ve decided to go for gold – Servalan’s home page! Can I help, Avon? I’m quite good at graphics.

Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       My prize    

Surprise! I’m claiming that prize, Tarrant! A two-hour Liberator flying lesson please, with the emphasis on high-speed fancy stuff which would be useful in a battle. Or an escape, a subject dear to my heart.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Avon’s plan stages 4 through 6 and unplanned 7

Vila,

I know you said it was too dangerous to come to see me, but couldn’t you have set the teleport for inside the apartment? I could have cooked your favourite meal and had Uncle Serrin and Aunt Doty over. You can risk your life breaking into Federation buildings, but you can’t come to see me.

Your mother



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       Your flying lesson

Vila. A ship-wide announcement of “Hold on tight you lot” before doing a slingshot manoeuvre around a neutron star at standard-by-12 is hardly sufficient. Go and clean the dining room starboard wall where the Black Forest cake Cally and I were eating at the time impacted at what felt like 6 Gs. As did we. And doing figures-of-8 around the moons of Gardinos surely counts as careless use of a space vehicle in a built-up area.

However I shall forgive you, as the sight of Tarrant reeling from the flight deck quivering in terror followed by you looking nonchalant is one I shall treasure. I believe he is still suffering from nervous prostration in his cabin. I never thought I would say this, but: congratulations, Vila.

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Possession all round

Dear Mum,

I couldn’t teleport as deep as the Delta levels, Mum, I’d have to start at the top and work my way down, with my wanted posters everywhere and a bounty of one million credits. I didn’t like the sound of that. But you were right - I saw one of my posters outside the Fleet HQ, and it is one of the best they’ve had of me!

Cally got possessed by an alien again, but I shouldn’t point the finger. We all did.

And I was feeling so good for a short while too. I won advanced flying lessons from Tarrant, and pushed the envelope with the old Liberator. After I’d found out just what she could do, Tarrant, clinging white-faced to his seat, was so shaken he lost his head and said, “You never said you were a stunt pilot, you lying little runt!” He’s made up for that unintended compliment since though. He and Dayna have been picking on me every chance they get, and unlike Avon they really mean it. It’s starting to get me down. Dayna keeps talking about dumping me on the next planet (atmosphere or not I suspect). All I can say is, talk is cheap. I wish she would.

Anyway. We were chasing a mineral asteroid, when we found an old alien vessel, and Tarrant (probably wanting to recover his rep after my lesson) suggested we check it out. Avon, Cally and I went over, and I materialised on my bum, then hit my head on the floor. (Running head injury total: 8, the first this year though!) There was an old sarcophagus there with a crumbly corpse in it wearing a ring I almost lifted but chickened out of. We must have set something off though (well, all right, I did, playing with the pretty glittery party streamers) because everything started humming and flickering, and when we called for teleport only Cally actually went. She had to come back for us and hold our hands to get us out before the whole shebang blew. Even Cally got annoyed with me then because I went on holding her hand after we got back. I retired hurt to my cabin to nurse my headache and my wounded ego.

After that everything got very strange, with things moving around on their own and the lights going on and off. The alien whose corpse it was took over Cally, and the rest of us too as her servants – me her jester (typecast again!), Tarrant her protector and Dayna her minstrel. The alien said I had a very high IQ but acted like an imbecile (I like that - harmless is the effect I aim for) and would make a nice pet. And later she said I had an unusually sharp intelligence. Avon and Tarrant heard both comments, but will it make a difference? Somehow I doubt it. Especially when the alien also humiliated me by making me whine to Dayna about being picked on, and Dayna said my helplessness brought out her sadism. I’m not helpless. I’m harmless.

In the end, Avon defeated the alien because Cally wouldn’t let it hurt him. I note though that she let it hurt us and even zap me unconscious at one stage. And I thought Cally liked me.

A couple of our consoles blew during all this electrical chaos, and I bet I know who’ll have to fix them. They’ll need my delicate touch of course.

Love, Vila   



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       ‘Intelligence’

For the record, Vila, I was always aware of your IQ. And have taken some pleasure in pointing out to Tarrant the difference between his and yours. What amazes me is your extraordinary ability to use so little of it.

What kind of moron gets one of the highest scores ever recorded in the Delta level 11-pluses, then refuses the offer to become an Alpha grade? I rest my case. You’re a fool, Vila.

I’ve changed my mind about wanting conversation over my breakfast in bed. Perhaps now your secret is out, you can try to say something intelligent. Besides, I’m rather sick of you sitting there looking at me like a sad puppy hoping for walkies, wagging your tail hopefully every time I look at you.

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: ‘Intelligence’

I’m the kind of moron who spent 12 years living quietly in a luxurious apartment surrounded by the best home entertainment and comfort stolen money can buy, Avon. All it took was the occasional foray to pick a lock or two, or crack a safe. While you were doing 9-to-5 in a cube-farm, and Tarrant was a plasma-bolt target in the space fleet, I had my feet up with a drink and a good book.

Who’s the fool, Avon? One to me, I think!

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: ‘Intelligence’

Just get to the fight deck and use a little of your reputed intelligence and that delicate touch to fix those consoles, you idiot savant. Now, Vila.

Avon 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       Consoles

I see two of the consoles are still out. Jump to it, Vila. I haven’t seen much evidence of your genius, but we both know how easily you bruise, don’t we?

Tarrant 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Star Trek fantasy number 2

Dear Mum,

Yep, I had to rewire the flight deck consoles again, so I thought I’d indulge in another Star Trek fantasy at the same time. Voyager again - you’ve got to like people who name their best shuttle the Delta Flyer!

Scene: Bridge of Starship Voyager - assistant engineer Restal has just completed repairing a console. Enter B’Elanna Torres.

B’Elanna (grabbing me from behind): Mmm, I’d recognise that cute bottom anywhere, Tom Paris! (Turns me round and throws me across the top of the console and leaps on top of me)

Me (weakly struggling): Eh? What? I’ve only just fixed that! Be careful, you’ll short it out again!

B’Elanna (letting me go in disgust): Huh? Vila Restal! You’d better check that console. There were sparks, and they weren’t due to you. (Exits in search of Tom.)

I fall off the console and stagger disconsolately (pun intended) to a replicator and order some of Captain Janeway’s strongest Irish coffee.

It’s pretty bad when even my fantasies are failures. Not even in my dreams, eh? :-(

In fact I think I’ll give up on humans and make friends with Orac.

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal; Kerr Avon
From:           President Servalan
Subject:       My web site

I assume it was you two, Vila and Avon, who made alterations to my web site recently? I suspect Avon because of his record, but I doubt that is Avon mooning (I believe it is called) those who link to what is meant to be a rather attractive full-face portrait of me. Although they are very fetching buns, and have received a lot of hits in the last few days. As will you on that particular portion of your anatomy, Vila, if I get my hands on you.

I do rather like the picture entitled Servalan’s studmuffin of Avon in his leather studded swimming trunks. And the one called Just deserts of me in handcuffs and prison drab being led away by both of you. The thought is quite stimulating. In fact very.

But I am extremely annoyed that all my recent GalacPay payments have gone to two unknown neutral zone accounts, and that amagon.com have been receiving (and fulfilling, what is more) bogus orders from me for the most appallingly tasteless off-the-rack clothes and plastic souvenirs of various pleasure planets.

Servalan 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Star Trek fantasy number 2

Dear Vila,

Come on darling, don’t get depressed. Perhaps I should tell you some of the things they say about you. The Federation news says you’re a ‘dangerous outlaw and notorious criminal’, which isn’t very nice, but at least they’re taking you seriously. The neutral zone viscasts call you ‘the intrepid, dashing and resourceful thief-turned-rebel, known for his debonair flourish of signing opened locks and his nonchalant wit’. I copied that down and looked all the long words up so I know it’s a good thing. Though I don’t know why they called you dashing – you only move that fast when you’re being chased. And now that nasty Bayban’s dead, you’re third on the wanted lists, just below Blake and your friend Avon. So cheer up, love. You’re a legend in your own lifetime. Even if your pals don’t appreciate you.

Your proud and loving Mum   



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       Studmuffin?

Vila. When I agreed to help you hack Servalan’s site, I did not expect you to do some extra work in your own time, for possibly the first time in your life. I am not sure what a studmuffin is, but your rear end will resemble two of them after my boot has impacted with it.

Avon 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Studmuffin?

But Avon, she liked it! You could be onto a good thing there!

I didn’t know Servalan had your address too. Do you get regular e-mails from her like I do? The stuff she sends me either makes me blush or gives me terrible nightmares. I wonder who else she writes to. Tarrant?

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Studmuffin?

Yes Vila, I do hear from Servalan, and I’m aware that it’s you I have to thank for that, ever since Travis spammed Blake due to your profligate desire to annoy as many people in the galaxy as possible.

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Ultraworld

Dear Mum,

I have cheered up, thanks. Not a bad press! But what happened to insouciant? They used to call me that. It looks like witty dashing young thieves with extraordinarily good looks might be valued at their true worth in the neutral zone. :-)

Oh well. Back to reality. Dayna’s stopped being really nasty now – it’s just the usual “Shut up Vila” and “Go away Vila” I get from everyone here. I think she was shocked to find out about her sadistic side when that alien from the sarcophagus took us over. Tarrant’s started pushing me around again though, probably in retaliation for finding out what my IQ is, and me terrifying him with my resourceful and intrepid flying ability, ha ha. (It was worth it though!) However I’ve been having fun with Orac of all people - I mean machines - teaching him riddles, puns and jokes. He didn’t see the point at first, but he’s really come to enjoy analysing the hell out of them.

Cally got possessed again. Maybe I should have kept a running total of her alien possessions, but it’s a bit mean. And besides, she said a while back that I must have some telepathy too, as she can sense my emotions. She might be right, as I was got at in the end as well. Looking back though, I think it’s her fifth possession.

We came across this artificial planet built by some blue aliens called Ultras who were compiling their own Encyclopaedia Galactica. They possessed poor Cally and she teleported over and the others went down to rescue her. Cally and Avon had their brains patterns emptied and stored (under T for telepath and A for arrogant Alpha doubtless) and the Ultras tried to make Dayna and Tarrant perform the human mating ceremony for their records. (I didn’t have the courage to ask if they actually did.) In the meantime I was all alone and getting very nervous when I felt something getting at my mind. Orac made me to tell him more riddles and puns, and sent them to the ultra brain to confuse it and overload it. Tarrant and Dayna put Avon and Cally’s memories back into them (with only an even chance they got the right match!) By now the brain had made Zen fly the Liberator into the planet for their museum, but as the others came through the airlocks, Avon told me to free it. And what thanks did I get for this, a nice piece of very close manoeuvring? Just Tarrant snapping at me to get to my station when he came in. Then when I told them later that I’d saved them with my word games, Avon just said that logic and reason was no match for me, and everyone laughed. And Avon smiled at me almost as if he liked me.

I’m beginning to get on well with Orac. He’s a sharp-tongued little computer, but he’s the same with everyone. No class snobbery there! And he appreciates my jokes if no-one else does. Here are some of the ones he esp. liked:

Where does President Servalan keep her armies? Up her sleevies!

Where do space pilots leave their ships? Through the airlocks.

Which locks can’t be opened with keys? The lox on bagels.

Knock knock! Who’s there? Avon! Avon who? Avon enormous plum in may mowth becaws ay’m a stuck-up Alpha.

Knock knock! Who’s there? Cally! Cally who? Callisthenics keep me really thin no matter how much cake I stuff myself with.

Knock knock! Who’s there? Vila! Vila who? Vilification’s all I get no matter what I do. (Bit close to home, this one.)

Knock knock! Who’s there? Vila Restal! Vila Restal who? Vila Restal of you ven I catch you! (And this one.)

Can’t do a thing with my brain - I just had it washed and conditioned! (Ditto.)

BTW check out Servalan’s home page – gww.servalan.gov!

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       Consoles

There were sparks and explosions from a couple of consoles while we were breaking free from Ultraworld. Get onto it, Vila. And no lip or you’ll have a fat one.

Tarrant 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Another little fantasy to ‘console’ me

Dear Mum,

I had to fix the consoles once again. Sigh. You’d think that after over 7 centuries of space travel, they’d have sussed that little problem, wouldn’t you? As usual, I indulged in another little fantasy, but this one isn’t a Star Trek one.

I wondered - what if Tarrant had got Cally and Avon’s memory tubes the wrong way round on Ultraworld? An alternative ending to that little adventure:

Scene: Flight deck of the Starship Liberator. Vila is applying 90 degree lateral thrust to get the Lib out of the Ultraworld berth. And doing it very well too. Enter Tarrant, Dayna, Avon and Cally.

Tarrant: Vila, get to your place!

Dayna: You shouldn’t be upset, Tarrant. It happens to everyone sometimes. Those cameras just put you off. (Grins and exits; Tarrant scowls.)

Cally (advancing on me with her arms out and fingers flexing): Vila, you absolute moron. It’s the airlock for you this time!

Me (flattening myself against the wall): Eh? What have I done now? I just saved you lot by blowing up that brain!

Cally (grabbing me by the throat): Yes, and now we’re stuck like this.

Avon (pulling Cally off while I gasp for breath): Don’t be mean to poor Vila. It wasn’t his fault. He does his best. (Puts his arm round me while I try weakly to struggle free.) There, there, Vila. You’ll be all right. (Kisses the top of my head.)

Me (pushing Avon away): Ugh! Get away from me, Avon!

Cally (sneering): That was extremely stupid, considering whose body you’re in.

Me (just getting it): How did that happen? Who did it?

Tarrant (paling): Vila, take my place! (He exits hurriedly.)

Avon (ignoring me as I take the pilot’s position): I call wearing leather this tight extremely stupid, Avon. Perhaps if you wore looser clothes you wouldn’t be as unbending. And the talcum powder you needed to get these pants on is starting to itch.

Cally: Well, I’m building up a massive static charge in this polyester. No wonder your hair curls, Cally. I’m going to get changed into something natural.

 (They look at each other speculatively. Both exit together, colliding in the doorway.)

Me (putting the ship on auto-pilot, some adrenaline and soma in a glass, and my feet up): Cheers, Orac!

Love, Vila   



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Another little fantasy to ‘console’ me

Dear Vila,

I loved your jokes and that body-swap story, darling. Oh, I do miss your mischievous grin.

Still, I’m concerned that even in your fantasies you’re being picked on. And I don’t like the sound of that Tarrant. You shouldn’t let him get away with bullying you like that.

Oh but I did laugh out loud when I saw President Servalan’s web site though. It’s added to your legend. The neutral zone news are now calling you two ‘the brilliant and buff computer expert, and the charming and cheeky thief’. I do hope that bare bottom wasn’t one I should recognise, Vila. Or is that why they said cheeky?

Your loving Mum 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Cheekiness

Dear Mum,

Yes, that was me, on Servalan’s web page! So I’m cheeky and charming, eh? I’m chuffed! In fact I’m over the moons! :-)

Vila 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Limerick competition

We’ve been following Servalan for over a week now, standard by 3, no course changes, and I don’t know about you lot, but I’m bored witless.

Anyway, Orac and I thought we could have a limerick competition. Submit your entry and your wager (a favour like last time) and Orac will be the impartial judge.

Here’s my entry:

There was a proud hacker called Avon
Who fancied himself a real maven
Tried to take the Feds
for 5 million creds
Lost his freedom and all he was savin’.

And my bet is: to teach how to pick a simple lock, that is a Liberator one, any door you like.

Vila 



To:               Liberator Crew  
From:           Kerr Avon  
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

You are already witless, Vila!

My entry is:

There was a light-fingered young Delta
who followed a girl – a real belter.
Said Lucy Locket,
“He picked my pocket!”
Said Vila, “No no - I just felt her!”

And my bet: to make an Avon special ice-cream sundae, 7 flavours.

Avon 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Dayna Mellanby
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

All right.

There is a young rebel called Vila
who’d like to be a real lady-killer
but Cally is errant
with Avon, and Tarrant
makes poor Vila look like vanilla!

My wager is to make a banana and coconut cake.

And any smart remarks from you about that, Vila, and you’re toast – burned to a crisp and lying right-side down on the floor.

Dayna 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

Oh dear. I do not think I am any good as this sort of thing, Vila. But I will have a go, just for you.

There was a pleasure-loving young thief
to whom fun and escapism was chief.
He drank too much soma
he’s now in a coma.
We always knew he’d come to grief.

And I’ll offer a neck and back massage.

Cally 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

There was a young pilot called Del
who really liked to give Vila hell
for being lazy
and possibly crazy
Only violence makes Vila work well.

A shampoo, perm, condition, and style to the winner!

Tarrant 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

Oh marvellous. Thanks everyone. It’s ‘pick on Vila’ week, is it? Et tu, Cally? I feel like taking your advice and drugging myself insensible on double somas hold the adrenaline.

Here’s a novel idea. How about declaring next week an off-season for hunting Vilas, before they become extinct? That’d be a challenge to you all which should stave off the boredom.

Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

And you can think again, Tarrant! That prize is only any use to Avon. I wouldn’t let you near my hair (I want to keep as much of it as long as I can), the idea of conditioning gives me the shudders, and the girls hardly need a perm. Come up with another bet or you’re disqualified.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

Oh Vila. I am sorry I hurt your feelings. I did not mean to. I thought it was funny because you are always raiding my soma store no matter how many new locks I put on it. But I can see how you would feel with everyone having a go at you. Poor Vila.

I’ll give you a relaxation massage this afternoon anyway. With a nice glass of adrenaline and soma to follow, and we’ll share a big box of chocolates.

Cally 



To:               Cally
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

Thanks, Cally! I feel better already. I don’t know how I’d manage without your kindness and friendship. Probably take to the hard stuff - alcohol! ;-)

Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant, Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

Tarrant: I suspect your entry has some basis in fact. Do you remember what I said to you when you bullied Vila into going down to Keezarn? I was not joking. I meant it. Vila’s skills are irreplaceable. Yours are not. In fact, Vila is capable of replacing almost any of the crew on this ship, if he weren’t completely bone-idle. And you are wrong: he is not motivated by violence or threats thereof; he is only scared. As I hope you are. Oh and Tarrant. Change your bet.

Vila: If Tarrant so much as lays a finger on you, tell me. But do something about your chronic aversion to work. There is no such thing as a fear of glycolene or an allergy to magnetic flux capacitors. Or vice versa.

Avon 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition

I’ve had objections to my wager. Although I think it would be a nice touch if we all had curls. Perhaps in memory of your one-time fearless leader Blake? No?

All right. I offer the loan of any 3 books or viscubes from my private collection. I have historical fiction, several proscribed classics, and some good modern tunic-rippers, nice light reading for travelling. Most tastes catered for.

Tarrant 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Limerick competition results

Here are Orac’s rankings and comments (so don’t blame me!):

1st     Avon       Correct scansion, nice use of two words to rhyme with one.

2nd   Cally       The second line did not scan, and its syntax was clumsy.

2nd   Vila         The third line did not scan, the last rhyme was not perfect.

3rd    Tarrant    The second and fourth lines did not scan.

4th    Dayna     The second line didn’t scan; errant and Tarrant do not quite rhyme, 
                       and what is the connection between a human and a flavouring?

Avon (once again) chooses 3 prizes, Cally and I tie for second and choose one each.

Vila   



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition results

Well now. I choose Vila’s lock-picking lesson, Dayna’s cake, and Cally’s back massage.

But Vila - something more challenging than a Liberator lock I think, as I have already picked one if you recall, when the Amagons captured us. How about the custom one on your cabin door?

Avon 



To:               Liberator Crew
From:           Cally
Subject:       RE: Limerick competition results

For my prize, I will borrow some of Tarrant’s books, unless tunic-rippers are your style, Vila. :-)

Cally 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Winnings

Sorry Avon. The only person who can get through a Restal special is me. And I know you’ve tried. I’ve seen the little scratch-marks from that pitiful little pick you keep in your shoe. Why don’t you just ask if you want to borrow one of my suede outfits?

And you took 30 minutes to get through that simple lock while I was cracking those Amagon explosive necklaces. Pick another lock, so to speak!

Vila 



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

If you’re not careful, Vila, I’ll ask you to show me how to pick an airlock from the outside without a spacesuit.

How about the lock on Tarrant’s cabin?

Which 7 flavours would you like in your sundae this evening? Presumably not vanilla.

Avon 



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

Fancy Tarrant’s low taste in reading matter, do you Avon? Or don’t you trust him either?

I’ll have pistachio, chocolate, halva, almond, rum and raisin, caramel, and ginger, please. Ooh, and a banana? And fudge sauce over the top?

Vila 



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

Yes, Vila. That was rather over the top, wasn’t it? Especially for a little Delta like you who’s probably never encountered ice-cream in sufficient quantities to get used to it. And on top of half a box of Cally’s chocolates too, I hear.

Clean it all up, Vila. Now. I don’t care how sick you feel. You’re on watch in an hour, and you’d better have those floors sparkling by then.

If not, no matter how good a Restal lock is, I’ll have it and you out of there with a laser cutter.

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Psychopaths

Dear Mum,

We’d been following Servalan almost a month, and I almost went crazy from boredom. Orac and I got a little limerick competition going last week, but I didn’t dare suggest anything else after the results of that. I almost e-mailed Servalan to ask her what she was doing, but even I’m not that stupid. After all, so far no-one’s found out it was me who caused her to gatecrash our holiday on Del Ten that time. And just as well.

Servalan passed the last planet out here – Calcos, a penal colony for the real hard guys – then her ship disappeared. Just disappeared. Of course we followed it like idiot lemmings – no-one listening to any of my sensible objections. In fact, I’ve taken to talking to myself on the flight deck recently, just for the friendly conversation. We only just avoided an ‘unplanned flight into terrain’ as the space fleet calls it – it was a hidden planet surrounded by a field which stops light. I didn’t avoid crash-landing on the flight deck floor though (running head injury total: 9).

Orac said the place was Sardos, and the Sardoans were very advanced and stand-offish because they want to avoid further evolution. (Avon said later I could have given them some tips.) Tarrant was all gung-ho and raring to go down and Orac had this brilliant idea of teleporting him to an unused compartment on a T-16 transporter which was just coming in. To get out of this compartment would of course require my skills. I said no, but Tarrant just grabbed me and dragged me off the flight deck. Keezarn all over again, with no-one else caring what happened to me. I materialised on the wrong side of the wall (teleporter malfunction # 2). Tarrant was in the compartment, and I wasn’t – I was on the same side as a bunch of very rough convicts from Calcos. I managed to get my tools though a hole to Tarrant before one of them, Doran, found me and took me off to meet the others. I began to think this could be a good thing. They seemed a friendly lot, Doran said I was his pal, and I suddenly realised how lonely I’ve been on the Liberator lately. I thought what the hell, I might actually stay with these guys. I’d just about had it with Tarrant.

But when we landed and got out, Tarrant grabbed me, and Doran tried to help me. Tarrant hit Doran then me, and threw me on the ground. Verbal put-downs I’m used to now, but physical ones are a bit much. When I tried to escape, he pulled a gun on me, then realised he’d gone too far and let me go.

Look, I really thought I’d fallen into clover with Doran and the others. The Fed Fifth Legion, who crashed on Sardos after the galactic war, were going to make us convicts into space captains to fly the ships they were building using the Sardoans’ replicator technology. I thought I’d go along with it and just do a runner at the first opportunity and fly my ship to a nice safe neutral planet. They even gave us Fed uniforms, and I think I looked quite distinguished in black! But then I found I was in with a crowd of total psychopaths and homicidal maniacs, Doran being one of the worst, and that wiped the smile off my face. I was starting to think about calling the Liberator to teleport me up, and take my chances with Tarrant, when Doran took me off to a tent and said he had a woman to cheer me up.

It was Servalan.

She said to untie her so she could show me where Tarrant was being held, as she wanted her pilots back too. I did, because I’d decided to throw my lot, such as it is, back in with the Liberator crew. I made her go ahead and kept my gun on her - she said I should be more trusting - then we came across a man in a Fed guard uniform like me beside a camp fire. Servalan told me to shoot him, and I tried to twice, but couldn’t make myself do it. You know how I am about killing and violence. While I was looking back at Servalan, hoping she’d let me off the hook, he jumped me, we started fighting, and I lost my teleport bracelet. I thought I was done for when he ended up sitting on me, bashing me in the face and head (running head injury total: 10 - I’ll count it as just one), but Servalan whacked him on the head with a rock. I got up dazed, and begged her for my bracelet, then the guy came to and went for my throat, and Servalan shot him. When I turned round, expecting to be next, she’d gone. But why didn’t she kill me?

When I found Tarrant in the compound, he said Servalan had been, shot half the guards up, and left with her pilots, ignoring him. Why didn’t she kill Tarrant?

We met up with Doran again, and a Sardoan girl who led us to the computer room where the legion commander was torturing Avon. Doran and Tarrant had some light fun killing the commander and guards, but Doran and the girl got killed when they left. Then we found we still had a enemy. Turned out the Sardoans weren’t keen on evolution because they’d created a man from the distant future called Moloch, a revolting little thing that looked like a cross between a gargoyle and a chicken. Moloch had manipulated the legion commander to call for Servalan as bait to attract us because he wanted the Liberator, but when he teleported up he left his life-support behind and turned his toes up. If he actually had some. Avon replicated some bracelets for us all and we got out of there.

But now I’ve got to work it all out. I don’t trust Tarrant or Servalan (and I think I’m trusting enough, no matter what she says) and I don’t understand what went on down there with those two. Maybe I’ll ask Avon.

I’m sorry now I thought of leaving, because when I got back and Cally treated my bruises and cracked ribs, she was very gentle and sympathetic, and said they all, esp. Avon (!), been worried about me, being dragged me off like that with no choice.

I feel strange about Doran getting killed, because although he was the sort of murderous bastard I’d normally avoid like plague (not that I’ve done well at that lately), he was fond of me, and that’s rare enough these days for me to mourn him a bit.

Love, Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       A warning

I’ve had it with you pushing me around, Tarrant. I’ve just got out of the surgical unit where Cally had to treat my bruises, a concussion, and a couple of cracked ribs. Some of them were due to another fight I got into, but all the same, would you like to imagine what Avon will do to you just after he said to lay off me? And that was ‘off’, not ‘into’.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: A warning

Would you like to imagine what Avon will do to you, Vila, if he finds out you were going to desert? I think that would count as betrayal. don’t you? Especially since he trusts you for some strange reason.

We could make some book on it. My bet is he’d gun you down in cold blood.

Tarrant 



To:               President Servalan
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Thanks, but why?

Hello, Servalan. Me again.

Hey, why didn’t you kill me down on Sardos, in fact why did you save my life twice? And don’t tell me it was because I’m cute.

Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: A warning

All right. Stalemate. Neither of us turns the other one in. Still, I survived a pretty vicious fight with a guard down there, and next time you have a go at me, Tarrant, I’m hitting back. I hate personal violence, but I learned how to defend myself in prison, and I will if I have to.

Or we could learn to live with each other. You could ask me nicely to do things instead of ordering me around and threatening me, then I wouldn’t resent it so much. And I’d include you on my evening drinks round.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           President Servalan
Subject:       RE: Thanks, but why?

Oh Vila, why not? Such guileless innocence is quite unique in my experience, and I wanted to preserve it. And besides, you had ample opportunity to shoot me too. But you couldn’t, could you, you sweet boy. I do have a soft spot for you, Vila, which I’ll show you one day soon.

Servalan 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       RE: A warning

It’s a deal, Vila.

Would you be so good as to check the Liberator’s transmission fluid sometime today? And I’d like a gin and tonic before dinner.

Tarrant 



To:               President Servalan
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Thanks, but why?

I’m so innocent, Servalan, that I’m blushing with embarrassment!

Vila 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       A theory

Avon, I still don’t trust Tarrant, even though we didn’t find anything in his cabin. (Though now you can pick his lock, you can keep an eye on him.) Funny though that it’s all Fed space fleet regs, everything all lined up and tidy. You’d think he wouldn’t bother any more after going mercenary.

Anyway, on Sardos, Tarrant said he wanted to find Servalan and kill her. But he didn’t, and Servalan didn’t kill him either, though they did see each other in the compound when she freed her pilots. Do you think they had a friendly little chat instead?

I was starting to trust him because he’s saved our lives a couple of times, and he did seem pretty keen on getting me safely back to the Liberator. So he wants us alive.

And so does Servalan. She not only had plenty of opportunity to kill me down there, she actually saved my life twice.

Now, why would she want us alive? I reckon as bait. Here’s my theory:

Servalan has a two-pronged attack plan.

She wants Blake. so she’s planted Tarrant in the crew to make sure we’re not much of a threat while keeping us alive, in the hopes we’ll find Blake or he’ll find us. To do that, he needs you and me and Cally, as Blake knows us.

At the same time, Servalan wants the Liberator, which would be worth as much to her as Blake, strategically as well as for propaganda.

She doesn’t care which one comes first, so Tarrant’s in her firing line too while he’s on board.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           President Servalan
Subject:       RE: Thanks, but why?

Oh Vila, what did you think I meant by a soft spot? The pet basket in the corner of my bedroom of course, where you could sleep at night, curled up like the dear little spaniel you resemble, with your big sad brown eyes and those long floppy sideburns. :-)

Servalan 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: A theory

Well now. Vila’s trying to use a bit of his vaunted intelligence.

Even Tarrant wouldn’t be stupid enough to go along with that. What’s in it for him? Being almost killed along with us would tend to be a bit discouraging.

Put your mind, such as it is, to something it can handle. Like calculating 2 plus 2 in base 10, a number which matches that of your fingers.

Avon 



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

Dear Vila,

I’m very glad you didn’t stay with those dreadful men from the penal colony. You’re a much better class of criminal. Though it doesn’t sound as if Tarrant is any better than them, throwing his weight around like that.

Vila sweetheart, you really must learn to be more tough. You had a terrible time being bullied at school for being too clever until you learned to play stupid and got more popular for stealing to order and breaking into the staff room to change students’ grades. Till then you almost never got to eat your own lunch, you always came home with bruises, wedgies, and strange things shoved down the back of your shirt, and I’m sure your teachers knew we didn’t have a dog which ate your homework every night. Don’t put up with bullying all your life.

Love, Mum 



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: A theory

Oh now look, Avon. We’ve been after those ore-ships of Servalan’s for days now, and keep missing them because Tarrant gets his sums wrong. Don’t you think that’s suspicious?

And is this petty piracy going to hurt the Feds much, if we actually catch one?

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: A theory

Tarrant’s just stupid. We now have two idiots on board. I’d have thought you’d feel less lonely. However I don’t trust Tarrant either, but mainly because his brawn exceeds his brain. A comparison which would be hard to make in your case.

And what is this, Vila? Have you suddenly become a brave and idealistic rebel, eager for blood? I’d have thought you’d be happier the less action we saw.

Or is it just that you’re desperate to pick a lock?

Avon



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Duels

Dear Mum,

Don’t worry, Tarrant and I are getting on better now. We came to an understanding. After all, I’d rather deal than brawl. Dayna’s still treating me as almost human too, so I’m feeling happier.

Did you watch the big Teal-Vandor fight viscasts? We were there! And that was Tarrant’s brother in the first duel, than Tarrant himself, if you hadn’t realised.

It was my idea to go, which disgusted Cally. She said she’d always thought I was a sensitive kind-hearted person unlike the average human male, and I can see her point because Avon and Tarrant were almost rabid with excitement at the suggestion. Not a pretty sight. Well, I didn’t want to go for the fight anyway. I wanted to have some fun at the festivities - it’s one of the few places even outlaws and rebels can have a good time safely as all outsiders are welcome as guests and protected by both sides. Though in principle I think having two people fight it out instead of having a war is a great idea. I think Servalan and Avon should do it for control of the Federation. No, on second thoughts I think he’d be almost as bad as her if he got that sort of power.

Anyway, we were all stressed out by Tarrant stuffing up our attacks on Fed ore ships, so we thought it was time for a break. I got out chips, dips, nibbles and drinks, and hoped for better entertainment than Travis and Blake building tree huts that time. Mind you we knew there would be trouble when we found out that Servalan was one of the independent arbiters, and Tarrant’s older brother Deeta was the Teal champion.

Except for Cally, who wanted to stay on both the Liberator and the high moral ground, we all teleported down. Well, what a disappointment. Where was the party? Where were the bars overflowing with cheerful drunks like the one I’d planned to be? We decided that Servalan being there and that Fed battle fleet on manoeuvres not far away had put people off. The pace was deserted. Tarrant went off to see the guy who handled his brother, and Avon said he had a sick friend to see. (Well, they’d have to be, wouldn’t they?) That left Dayna and me, and she isn’t the best drinking companion. I asked Cally for teleport but she got mean and said we could stew a while. Dayna got cross when I broke into an ATM machine to fund our evening, and said she could think of better things to do than be stuck in a boring hick town with a loser of a thief, and that she’d break my fingers if I put them anywhere else they shouldn’t be. After I split the money with her too! And I’d been considering cracking a small hotel safe to get her a nice necklace too, like I got for Cally and Jenna on Del Ten. She also said placing a bet was as sick as I probably would be if I continued to knock the drinks back like that, but what else was there to do? I’d been so looking forward to a good party too.

Cally finally let us come back up. Then Avon arrived and got Orac to look for violations to the convention. I was tempted to ask if his sick friend had been our old mate Servalan, but I remembered he was still very annoyed about that picture of him I slipped onto her web site when we were hacking it. In fact I think mere mention of the word ‘studmuffin’ would be enough to have me out an airlock. Tarrant turned up with sensor disks for our foreheads so we could ‘take part’ in the duel, sharing what the champions saw and felt. Avon said we should use them to look for any foul play. I chose a Deeta one. I regretted the whole thing when the other guy, Vinni, gunned him down; I was absolutely sickened. But all the same, I could see that Vinni was unnaturally fast.. We worked out he was an android and if that came out, the violation to the convention would probably start a real Teal-Vandor war which the Feds could mop up after. Dayna went down and shot up their computer so they couldn’t test Vinni, than Tarrant took up the challenge under blood feud rules and blew him to vapour with one of Dayna’s new guns, which got rid of the evidence nicely.

I agree with Cally now. I’ll never regard one of those duels as an excuse for some fun ever again. All the same, if I hadn’t suggested going to it, the Feds would have taken over all the Teal and Vandor planets. Hey, that makes me a hero again! Unsung as usual.

Attached photos (all taken before the duel):

bullet

Me fixing a console (Cally took it; Avon said he wants a copy for its rarity value)

bullet

Me lying on the flight deck couch with an adrenaline and soma (Cally said I should send you a typical pose; Avon said a better one would be me asleep on watch)

bullet

Cally on the comms console

bullet

Close up of Cally, smiling at me

bullet

Avon in his strangest leather outfit yet (with Sydney Dome Opera House shoulders)

bullet

Avon telling me to piss off

bullet

Tarrant looking slightly less cocky than usual (I used a filter for the glare off his teeth)

bullet

Tarrant telling me to piss off

bullet

Me beside the plundered ATM machine (Dayna said that was pretty typical too)

bullet

Me having a drink in a (sadly) quiet pub

bullet

Dayna on a barstool drinking an orange juice

bullet

Rear view of Dayna on a barstool drinking an orange juice

bullet

Close up of Dayna, not smiling at me         

bullet

Dayna telling me to piss off

Love, Vila 



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

Darling Vila,

Thank you so much for the lovely photos. I’m putting them on the fridge with the holiday ones you sent me last year. You’re looking well, dear, but a bit paler and thinner. Do try to get enough sleep and eat properly, sweetheart. I do like you in browns and creams - warm colours do bring out your lovely eyes.

Yes, I did watch the duel. I had Serrin and Doty round and we made an evening of it. I wondered at the time if those good-looking Tarrant boys were connected with your one. He doesn’t look like a bully. What a lovely smile. (Oh, and yours is too of course, dear.)

Love, Mum 



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

Dear Mum,

Yeah, I have lost a bit of weight. I’m down to 72 kg now. But generally I’m pretty healthy (hardly any concussions this year, and only one plague), though I’ve got a terrible pain behind my eyes right now. Not that I get much sympathy. Avon just said he had a terrible pain in front of his eyes which would get better if I left the room.

I’m hung over today because after the duel I went round to see Tarrant with a bottle of whisky I’d been keeping for a special occasion. I said I was sorry about his brother, and he said he could tell from my reaction at the time. I said let’s open the bottle, and if it helps have a chat, and he said I wasn’t that bad after all and he was sorry he’d been a bit rough in the past, so we ended up a bit drunk and maudlin. Avon wasn’t impressed that the pilot and backup were both too pissed to stand watch. In fact, he made us take a cold shower together which he thought should put us both off drinking for life, but at that point we were the best of mates. We started giggling and put our arms around each other and sang “It’s great to be free” under the shower. The sight disgusted Avon so much he said he was considering becoming teetotal himself.

The pain’s worth it though, because Tarrant and I are getting on all right now. Though I hope I don’t look as bad as he does. Even his teeth look a bit dull today.

… bit later on. Cally took pity on me and gave me something for the pain, and said I was very sweet to think of Tarrant’s grief after the way he’d treated me, and hugged me and gave me a kiss on the forehead. Pity the drugs hadn’t kicked in yet and it hurt so much. But I still went weak at the knees. I’m putting that close-up of her smiling at me in my cabin.

Love, Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Family names

Hey Tarrant. Just a thought, but do all your family’s names begin with De? The mind boggles. Del, Deeta, Desmond, Delia, Deb, Delilah, Delbert, Dennis, Desdemona, Derek, Dev, Dexter…

Vila 



To:               Del Tarrant
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Family names

Just leave it, Vila. Whatever was in that pill Cally give you to perk you up that much?

Tarrant



To:               Kerr Avon
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       What’s going on?

You’ve been stuck in there a whole day now. Not that I mind not standing my watch, Avon, but what’s going on? Don’t we get a say?

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       RE: What’s going on?

I wouldn’t use the verb ‘to stand’ in connection with your watch, Vila.

It’s none of your business what I’m doing.

Of course you get a say. Not that anyone will listen.

Just leave me alone, you halfwit. You enter the flight deck at your own risk.

Avon 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Terminal

Dear Mum,

We’ve all been stranded on a lost planet called Terminal. And it’s all Avon’s fault.

He went a bit strange, worse than Blake at Star One. He took over the flight deck and wouldn’t let any of us on it, so Dayna and Cally played Galactic Monopoly in the teleport room instead, while I got a bit of revenge on Dayna by advising her to make bad moves so Cally could wipe her out. Bad move on my part too as it really annoyed her. That’s what wrong with revenge IMO – you end up waiting in fear for counter-revenge.

Then Avon said I could take my watch. We all piled onto the flight deck to find out what was going on, but Avon had put security codes on Zen. There was a cloud of fluid particles ahead, and both Zen and I advised going around it, but Avon came in and said to maintain course. Tarrant said he had to tell us what was going on, and Avon pulled a gun on him. I decided asking more questions could put a crimp in my life-expectancy and tried not to be noticed. We got shaken around a bit going through the cloud, but everything seemed all right. I didn’t even fall on the floor and hit my head!

We ended up at a sun on the edge of sector six which shouldn’t have had any planets, but it did – an artificial one built for some evolution experiment about 400 years ago near Mars. Who knows how it got out here. It looked very odd, all flattened, but I think now that Zen’s sensors were a bit gunked up and he was already getting confused.

Avon still wouldn’t tell us what he was up to, but said if he didn’t come back, Zen would give us a recorded message and take the ship to Calipheron. He said he’d kill anyone who followed him, but Tarrant and Cally went down after him.

Then I noticed that the energy banks were running low, and Zen said the auto-repair system was working overtime to repair hull damage from enzymes, then he shut down for a while. We tried to contact Tarrant and Cally, but got no answer. The stuff began to eat through the flight deck walls, and I surprised myself by not panicking but getting Zen up and running again and telling him to stop the auto-repairs and concentrate on keeping the computer systems going so he could find a solution. You know, I think I’ve improved in the last three years. I don’t think I’d drop my gun now.

Just in case I had to abandon ship in a hurry, I went to my cabin and took off my outfit, put on 6 pairs of clean underpants over the ones I was wearing (aren’t you proud of me?) and another outfit as a spare, then got dressed again. On the way out I pocketed a few things - emergency lockpicks, bank book, credit card, my photo of Cally, and the last of the vindaloo powder. Dayna laughed at me when I came back, and said I looked very well-padded for such a skinny runt, then thought better of it and went off too, probably to grab some undies and high explosives. Don’t know where she carries them though in those tight outfits.

A few hours later Zen started to ramble a bit. I got him to revive enough to say that we couldn’t move or we’d break up, but we could survive another few hours in orbit. Then he said “I failed you. I have failed you. I’m sorry” and died. He never said “I” before. Poor Zen. I cried a bit and Dayna didn’t even sneer at me.

Then Avon called in and said to take the Liberator away at maximum speed, no questions, but I could hear Servalan getting snitty at him in the background. I tried to tell Avon that I couldn’t anyway, but he didn’t answer. Tarrant took over and said I had to surrender the ship and teleport Dayna down. I did, and got Servalan, an officer and two guards in exchange. Servalan hardly looked at me (so much for all those e-mails) and just told the officer to get rid of me, then left for the flight deck with the guards. Orac was there on the teleport table, so I grabbed him and said he was a sculpture I’d made and could I take him? Amazingly I got away with it! I gave them a warning about second-hand spacecraft being very unreliable before I went. One of my best lines, I think!

After I got down, the Liberator started to break up; we could all see it on the screen. The end of an era. It had been our home. We all turned and walked away, leaving Avon laughing like a madman.

Turned out Servalan had lured him there with false messages from Blake. All she wanted was the Liberator. She said Blake’s really dead on Jevron, and the only way off this planet is in the ship she crash-landed there. She reckoned it would take months of work to get it going. Wonderful. Guess whose delicate touch that will need. And apparently the life-forms on the surface are nasty beasts. Hordes of hairy aliens in fact. Who knows how long we’ll be stuck in this dump. And I doubt if I can get a good night’s sleep with the planet’s artificial heart beating away all the time.

I feel very upset about Blake. I’ve missed him, but I always hoped we’d find him again ‘cos I think he liked me. It was a pleasure to work with him. He used to treat me like I was worth something, and I’d almost started to believe it.

Better go now before Avon catches me using Orac for e-mails. (I had to pay the uppity little plastic pain to do it with some jokes, and I wasn’t really in the mood).

My head hurts a bit already from that constant beat-beat beat-beat. I’m off to see if I can find any adrenaline and soma around here.

I hope this planet isn’t as bad as its name sounds.

Love, Vila


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