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Vila Restals E-mails - Year 3

By Nicola Mody
Page 2 of 12

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

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


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!)


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 []
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!


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

To:               Kerr Avon []
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!


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!’


To:               Liberator Crew []
From:           Del Tarrant
Subject:       Revised duties


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.


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.


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.


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