Dreams and ThingsBy Kathy Hintze
Page 2 of 3
Vila was busy mixing himself something in the Rest Room when he heard his name called. Turning around, he jumped in surprise. "Kerril, what...what are you doing here?"
"Norl sent me back," the woman replied with a smile. "I just couldn't be happy without you, Vila."
"But how did you get here, on board Liberator?"
"I don't know. I was just here," she said in a puzzled voice. Then the woman smiled. "Does it really matter?"
"No! No! I've missed you, Kerril. Really missed you," Vila murmured and took her into his arms and kissed her.
"I've missed you, too, Vila." Freeing herself from his embrace, she glanced down at his hand and asked, "What is that?"
"Oh, just a little concoction of mine," Vila replied with a grin. "Wonderful pick-me-up."
"Could I try some?" Kerril inquired.
The thief looked at her dubiously. "You're sure? It's pretty strong."
"'Course I'm sure," she told him, kissing his lightly on the cheek.
As Vila turned round to get another glass, a scaly hand poured the contents of a small bottle into Vila's drink, then disappeared. Vila turned back around, with a glassful of his 'special' in one hand and a smile on his face. "Here you go, Kerril." He looked around. "Kerril?" She was gone. Hurrying to the doorway, Vila looked up and down the corridor. There was no one. Confused, he retreated to the couch, and sat down, muttering to himself. "They're driving me crazy...Avon and Tarrant. That's what it is. That and all this excitement. A person of my delicate nature wasn't meant for it, not at all." He looked at the glass in his hand. "No sense wasting this." With a quick gulp, Vila emptied it, then picked up his own half-finished drink. Vila glanced one more time around the Rest Room and shook his head. "Crazy," he sighed, and downed the remainder of his drink. Then he stretched out on the couch to take a nap.
"Vila, report to the flight deck, please." Cally's anxious voice echoed through the corridors of the ship. "Vila, respond please!"
The concern in her voice was real enough to rouse Avon from a sound sleep and bring him to the flight deck. "What's the problem, Cally?"
"It's Vila. He should have relieved me two hours ago. I've called his cabin, the Rest Room, everywhere. Something is wrong, Avon."
Avon activated his panel communicator. "Vila, this is Avon. Come to the flight deck immediately." Vila might ignore Cally's plea but not an order from him. Minutes passed and still no Vila. Avon frowned. "He's probably just found a quiet spot and curled up with a drink. I wouldn't worry about it, Cally."
"I can't help feeling that something's happened to him," she murmured uneasily.
Avon looked up at her worried face. Cally's feelings were seldom wrong. "If it will ease your mind, I'll see if I can find him," Avon offered.
Cally looked at him and smiled. Much as he might protest it, Avon did like Vile and worried about him. "Thank you," she said.
"Hmmm. I believe he mentioned the Rest Room when he left," Avon remarked. "I'll check there first."
Even before he opened the door, Avon sensed something was amiss. 'One of Cally's feelings?' he wondered as he peered inside. Vila lay sprawled on one of the couches, unconscious and gasping for breath. His skin was cold and clammy to the touch, his pulse fleeting. The bluish tinge to his lips and around his nails indicated a serious lack of oxygen. Walking quickly to the comm, Avon punched in the flight deck. "Cally, this is Avon. Meet me at the Medical Unit."
There was an urgency in Avon's voice Cally had not heard before. "Avon, what is it?"
"No questions. Just hurry." Carefully, he picked up Vila's limp form and carried him to the Medical Unit. He had just finished attaching the sensor links and life support when Cally rushed in.
Her eyes took in the pale, almost cyanotic figure connected to the system and widened in alarm. "What happened?" Cally exclaimed. The monitor indicated Vila's life signs were well into the danger level.
"I don't know," Avon explained. "I found him in the Rest Room. This was lying on the floor next to the couch." He handed her a small bottle.
"Poison?" Cally murmured, looking down at Vila. "You don't think he tried to...."
"To kill himself?" Avon finished. "No, Vila wouldn't do that no matter how depressed he was. No, someone gave him this without his knowledge. Someone who wanted us to believe he had committed suicide."
The med computer broke in with its analysis. +Subject's condition is critical. Substance is slow acting in nature causing paralysis of the body and eventual death through suffocation. Advise Antidote E4 be administered immediately.+
Wordlessly, Avon got the antidote and handed it to Cally who sent the drug flooding into Vila's system. Twenty minutes went by before there was any visible reaction. Then gradually, the bluish tinge began to recede and Vila's breathing deepened. Avon checked Vila's pulse; it was weak but better than it had been.
"Who would want to harm Vila?" Cally asked, watching the monitor.
"Who indeed?" remarked Avon in a flat tone. "Is Tarrant on the flight deck?"
"No," Cally replied. "Dayna came in right after you called me." She looked at him curiously. "Avon, what are you thinking?"
Before he could respond, Cally was hailed by someone at the doorway. It was Tarrant. "Dayna said you were down here, Cally." He started in, then stopped as he noted Cally's worried expression and Vila's unconscious form on the couch. "What happened?"
"Someone tried to poison Vila," Avon announced coldly, turning to face Tarrant.
"What?" Tarrant exclaimed, looking down at Vila's pale features. He glanced up and saw Avon staring at him. "You think I did it?"
"In light of what happened a few hours ago on the flight deck, can you think of anyone else? It had to be someone he knew, someone who wanted him off the ship even if it meant killing him. Your past regard for his well-being makes you an obvious choice."
"I'm not the only one," Tarrant countered in a harsh voice. "God knows, you've expressed the desire to be rid of him often enough."
"Expressing the desire and committing the act are two different things," returned Avon, his eyes flashing dangerously.
"Stop it, both of you!" cried Cally, stepping between them.
A slight movement from the med couch brought an effective halt to the two men's arguing. Vila was struggling feebly to free himself from the confines of the resuscitator. "Please, lie still," murmured Cally.
The thief slowly opened his eyes and looked around. "Kerril?" he called weakly. "Kerril?" Avon and Cally exchanged glances. "Where is she?"
"Kerril left with Norl, Vila," Avon told him quietly. "She's gone."
"No, she was here." Vila saw the disbelief in his companions' eyes. "I saw her, Cally. I didn't dream it. She was here," insisted Vila.
"Please, you must rest, Vila," Cally soothed. "We'll talk about it later."
"You don't believe me, do you? No one ever believes me." Vila suddenly grew aware of his surroundings. "What am I doing here?" he whimpered.
"As Cally said, we'll go into it later, Vila," Avon told him. "Right now, you need sleep."
"But...but I don't want to sleep," cried Vila, his voice shaking. An icy chill ran through his body. "I...I feel so cold, Cally. Why am I so cold?" Cally glanced up at Avon, who nodded. Vila saw her pick up a hypo and press it against his arm. "Cally, Avon, please, I'm afraid. I...don't...want...." The mild sedative sent Vila back into darkness.
"Avon." It was Dayna calling from the flight deck.
Avon walked over and switched on the intercom. "Yes, Dayna, what is it?"
"Someone's been tampering with the main blasters," the girl explained. "The primary access hatch has been forced open."
"Any damage?" inquired Avon, glancing over at his companions.
"No. It looks like something was trying to get at the crystals," Dayna replied. "The auto defense mechanism must have driven back whatever it was."
"Stay put. We'll be there in a minute." He switched off the intercom. "Cally, stay with Vila. Tarrant, come with me."
"Are you sure you can trust me?" asked Tarrant.
Avon smiled thinly. "No, but I prefer to keep you where I can watch you."
Back to B7 Top