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Vila Restals E-mails - Year 3

By Nicola Mody
Page 3 of 12



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


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Nicola Mody

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