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Jabberwocky - Part 8 - Stand-in

By Sheila Paulson
Page 1 of 11

Background

Part 1 Link-up

Cally has survived the explosion on Terminal and the crew have escaped in Servalan's wreck of a ship. While in a coma, Cally dreams the events of the fourth season, including Blake's death. Traumatized by her injury, she has lost her telepathy. When the crew, augmented by Hugh Tiver, a doctor kidnaped by Avon to take care of Cally, steal a prototype Federation mindship constructed around a living human brain and capable of bonding with a human in a mental linkage, their adventures are just beginning. Afraid of finding Blake for fear Avon will kill him, Cally bonds with the ship, naming it Jabberwocky. After rescuing Soolin from the Scorpio, they go to Gauda Prime, where the encounter backfires. Blake is wounded but is rescued and joins the crew of Jabberwocky. Cally's telepathy returns and she turns linkage of the ship over to Blake.

Part 2 Mind-Rape

Blake is back, and in linkage with Jabberwocky, and Servalan wants to steal Jabberwocky and link with it in order to take back the presidency. She had meant it to be hers from the beginning. She uses Witt, a telepath who had worked his way into Avalon's rebel army on Ryalon base, to wrest control of Jabberwocky from Blake, leaving the rebel trapped inside his mind. A mental linkage is the only way to bring him back, and Avon the only one who can do it. With Cally's help, and using nearly atrophied telepathic skills he had long pretended he didn't have, Avon is able to draw Blake back from the prison within his mind. Jabberwocky defeats the rogue telepath.

Part 3 - Healer

With Blake in control once more, Avon is gradually accepting he was born a telepath, but his powers were suppressed to the verge of destruction.

      Blake begins behaving oddly, and problems develop with the ship as Jabberwocky begins to remember his long suppressed past - his memories had been blocked when his brain was used in the mindship. In the meantime, Jenna Stannis and Del Grant have teamed up and have one objective: Kill Avon. When their plan goes wrong and Tarrant is gravely wounded, only the combination of the mindship and Avon, the untrained telepath are able to save the pilot's life, and at this point, Tarrant becomes Jabberwocky's linkmate. Jenna joins the crew.

Part 4 - The Froma

On a mission to draw in potential rebel support, Blake and his crew are asked to steal the Froma, an alien artifact that cannot be stolen as it destroys anyone who tries to remove it from its world. When Avon and Hugh are captured, Avon receives an unexpected telepathic contact - from the Froma itself. The strange device proves to be a sentient organism, the last of its kind. Able to link telepathically with Avon, it wants to bond with him on a permanent basis, but Cally helps, and the entity is taken to Kahn where it can be among the newly reviving Auronar.

Part 5 - Decoy

When the Jabberwocky crew pick up a message that suggests IMIPAK is being taken to a remote world, they are in two minds about going after it, partly because of the danger to Avon and Blake and partly because it may be a trap. But Blake refuses to leave IMIPAK in Federation hands. The mission is complicated by the fact that there is a potential sleeper agent on the ship who might betray them. Everyone suspects everyone else. The sleeper proves to be Soolin, who was programmed long ago. The IMIPAK device proves a dummy, part of a plot to capture the rebels, but they are able to escape, taking the false device with them.

Part 6 - Kyl

A teenager comes to Ryalon to join the resistance and causes a great deal of trouble inadvertently when he encounters the crew of the Jabberwocky. Concealing his true identity, he is torn between a desire to become a member of the resistance and the need to confront his long-lost father - Avon. Kyl proves to be programmed, part of a long-standing plot to get Avon, but Orac is able to deprogram him, and the plot is thwarted when Kyl's former guardian arrives and nearly kills Avon. Kyl and his father make wary peace.

Part 7 - Clone

Realizing mention of IMIPAK will draw Servalan back to the planet where it was left, Blake plans a mission to find and destroy the weapon. Trailed by a mysterious ship, and protesting all the way, the crew arrive to find that Blake's clone is still there. When the mysterious ship arrives and Dayna dies in an accidental confrontation, Servalan captures the clone only to find she has the original Blake. The clone overpowers Blake and replaces him on Jabberwocky. When the captain of the mysterious vessel proves to be Dorn Suliman, a friend of Tarrant's and the son of the man Jabberwocky once was. Avon plans a rescue of Blake, using the dummy IMIPAK. Dorn warily decides he will try to get to know his father again.


Stand In

Vila Restal was bored. He was so bored he was actually missing Avon, which was so unlikely that he sat back in his seat on Jabberwocky's flight deck and allowed his mind to drift to some of the less than savoury schemes that he and Avon had shared over the years. Freedom City came to mind and he glanced over at Orac, wondering if he could convince the computer to shrink itself once more and if McAllister's World had any good casinos for them to practice on.

      "Do you think there are any good casinos down there, Tarrant?" he asked the pilot who was the only other person presently on the flight deck. Blake had taken Avon, Cally, Jenna, Soolin and Hugh down to the planet with him to his meeting with the rebels there, leaving Tarrant behind because he was the pilot, and Vila because he'd volunteered to operate the teleport. It hadn't looked like they would have much fun down there - rebellion could be boring when no one was shooting at anyone. Of course if anyone had been shooting at them, Vila would have elected to man the teleport anyway, so it made no odds. Blake had taken all three women because the government of McAllister's World was based on a matriarchal society, and while men were allowed to hold responsible jobs there, the resistance leaders were all women. They accepted that Blake was a spokesman for Avalon, who was female, but they were likely to respond better to Cally. Avon had gone along out of curiosity, or so he said, but Vila suspected curiosity was only part of it. Avon and Cally were close, and ever since Servalan had got her hands on Blake when they had gone to try and retrieve IMIPAK, Avon had tended to act protective around him, though he would probably have decked Vila if he had even hinted he had guessed it.

      Of course the last mission had been a disaster in many respects, but Dayna's death was by far the worst. Vila winced. He was very good at refusing to remember such depressing things, but it was hard to hold those dark memories at bay, and Tarrant, who was brooding at the main screen, was probably remembering her too.

      Soolin had agreed to return to the ship when Blake had gone round to talk to her about it, though she was making a deliberate attempt to distance herself from them ever since her return, and Vila could understand that. He suspected Soolin thought she might have helped Dayna if she had stayed on board, and she had come back so that she could help them stave off any further deaths. She was devoted to Blake and fond of Hugh, and if she worked hard to hold them at arm's length, Vila was sure it was because she was afraid of being hurt again.

      Tarrant glanced at Vila with irritation. "Must you keep fidgeting around, Vila? Why aren't you in the teleport anyway?"

      "Because Jabberwocky can operate the teleport as fast as I can."

      "Why should he have to when it's your duty? That's why you stayed on board anyway, or at least it was your excuse. I should have known you'd prefer to lie about bone idle instead of doing something useful."

      "Useful?" Vila asked. "Like staring at the main screen? That's very important, isn't it, Tarrant? I'd hate to think what would happen to us all if you stopped."

      Tarrant shot angry sparks at him with his eyes. "I don't want to fight with you," he said after a moment.

      "Then don't. I wonder how they're doing down there?"

      "They should be all right," Tarrant said. "The Federation's not here. The only reason we came here is because the Matriarchy is afraid the Federation will come. That pacification program of Servalan's is moving in this direction and they're afraid it will happen to them."

      "Which it probably will," Vila agreed. "Notice how quick Avon and Blake are to jump at the threat of Servalan."

      "With good reason," Tarrant replied, picking up a light cube that Avon had been working on during the flight to McAllister's World and passing it back and forth in his hands. "She owes us, Vila." He shook the cube. "I thought Avon had this working."

      "No, I don't think it works - at least not when Avon was using it. Sometimes the light came on, but I don't think it was because of anything he did. He looked awfully sour about it."

      "What is it anyway?" Tarrant demanded.


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Sheila Paulson

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