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Dreams and Things

By Kathy Hintze
Page 1 of 3

Three days, thought Vila as he watched the swirling world on the forward viewscreen, it's been three days since I lost Kerril. So why am I sitting here like this? She was just another pair of pretty legs, after all. Her eyes were very nice, too, he reflected. And her mouth, so small and sweet.

Avon stood at the entrance to the flight deck, silently gazing at Vila. He had been too quiet since his return from Keezarn, much too quiet. To mourn the lost serves no purpose, Avon thought to himself. They are gone. He walked up beside Vila and said in a gentle voice, "You could have gone. No one forced you to stay, Vila."

"I know," Vila replied in a sorrowful tone, looking up. Avon's eyes softened briefly; then Tarrant walked in and Vila looked away.

"Still daydreaming, Vila?" Tarrant called with a mischievous smile. "I would have thought....."

"You don't think, Tarrant," Vila snapped without warning. He got to his feet and glared at Tarrant. "You never think. And...and you'll never force me to do anything again." Vila stormed off the flight deck leaving Tarrant with a shocked look on his face. Avon turned toward Zen, a smile playing lightly on his lips.

"What's gotten into him?" asked the bewildered pilot, glancing at Avon.

Avon ignored the question and said, "Zen, status of main blasters?"

+Main blasters are now fully operational.+

"Good," Avon replied. "I think it's time we left this place."

"I agree." And something in Tarrant's tone alerted Avon.

Avon turned to face him. "If you've got something to say, Tarrant, say it."

"All right, Avon. I don't like the way you've been keeping things from us."

"Meaning?"

"Meaning that message Zen picked up last week. The one which you immediately attached a security code to," Tarrant continued. "What was it, Avon?"

Avon moved over to his console, sat down and began rerunning a circuit check. Something he had already done twice within the last four hours. "It was nothing for you to be concerned with."

"If it concerns this ship, it concerns all of us," Tarrant shot back angrily.

Avon looked up at Tarrant but before he could frame a reply, Zen came on line. +Information. Forward scanners have detected five Federation ships moving into attack position.+

"How did they get this close without being detected?" Tarrant yelled as Avon hit the alarm to summon the others.

"The Federation has obviously come up with something new," commented Avon. "Zen, take us out of orbit. Full evasive action. Speed standard by ten."

+Confirmed.+ A pause. +Plasma bolt has been launched and is running true. Impact in 5.3 seconds.+

"Activate the force wall," Avon ordered as Cally and Dayna rushed onto the flight deck and manned their positions.

+Force wall is activated.+

"Where's Vila?" Tarrant demanded, noting his absence from his normal position.

"I don't know," Cally replied, grabbing her chair as the incoming blast sent a shudder through the ship.

Avon called out, "Dayna, take his place."

"Clear neutron blasters for firing," she requested of Zen.

+Neutron blasters are cleared for firing.+

"Concentrate fire on the two center ships, Dayna. Blow a hole big enough for us to get through," instructed Avon.

"It will be a pleasure," she replied, smiling coldly.

#

"The Liberator is getting underway, sir," reported the young exec officer in dismay. "I thought we'd surprised them for sure."

"So did I," his superior replied. "The new cloaking device enabled us to get closer than before, but not close enough. All ships are to fire at will."

"Yes, sir."

The Captain stood watching the Liberator. He knew it was no ordinary vessel. He'd read all the reports concerning its maneuverability as well as the skill of its crew. It would be a pity to destroy such a ship.

"Keep our ship back out of range, Lt. Alvers," he ordered. "I think four ships can handle the situation."

"Yes, sir," the lieutenant replied gloomily. From the look on his face, it was plain he'd hope to get in on the attack.

"Don't worry, son, you'll get your chance."

#

+Two Federation ships are now within range.+

"Then they're dead," murmured Dayna as she fired. Dual beams of destruction flew from the Liberator's armament and struck the oncoming vessels. The two Federation ships exploded, leaving behind only scattered debris.

"Very nice, Dayna," commented Tarrant.

"Naturally," she purred with a smile.

Avon glanced up from his panel. "Tarrant, let's see if your skill matches your boasting. See if you can slip us past the three remaining ships."

The look Tarrant threw Avon was anything but friendly. "Zen," he called. "Increase speed to standard by twelve."

+Confirmed.+

#

"Captain, they're escaping," exclaimed Lt. Alvers.

"I can see that, idiot," bellowed the captain. "Contact the other ships, tell them to....."

The sentence was never finished. As the Liberator shot past the Federation ships, one of them fired in a last ditch effort. The bolt went wide, striking the command ship.

#

"I'm impressed," was Avon's sarcastic comment on their escape. Tarrant smiled at Dayna's sigh of relief.

"That was a bit too close for me," remarked Cally.

Avon nodded. "Agreed." He walked over to Orac and inserted the activation key. "Orac, I want you to tap into the Federation Defense Computer. I want to know if they've been working on any cloaking devices. If Servalan has come up with something new, we'd better find out what it is and a way to defend ourselves against it."

"Very well, I will advise you of my findings," replied the computer.

A loud groan near the steps announced a new presence on the flight deck. "Where have you been?" Avon demanded of Vila as he stumbled down the steps.

The thief staggered over to the flight couch and collapsed. "The next time you take off so fast, Tarrant, it would help if you would let a guy know," he moaned.

"What happened?" asked Cally, walking over to Vila.

"I'm not sure," Vila moaned, putting a hand to his forehead. "One minute I was running out of my cabin, the next I was lying in the corridor."

"Let me have a look," Cally said gently, checking his head. "Hmm...just a nasty bump, nothing more."

Vila groaned loudly again. "My head feels awful, Cally."

"It's only a bump, Vila," remarked Dayna.

"You can't fracture your brain, can you?" he moaned.

Avon looked up, amusement in his eyes. "I believe a brain is required before that can happen."

The thief glared at him. "Very funny, Avon. Chuckle, chuckle." Then he caught sight of Tarrant's irate expression and asked in a curious voice, "Did I miss something?"

"Not much," Tarrant replied sarcastically. "We were nearly destroyed by five Federation ships. And, since you weren't here, Dayna had to cover your position as well as her own."

"It wasn't my fault," Vila began. "I was on my way up here when...."

"When what, Vila?" returned Tarrant. "When you tripped over your own feet because you were too drunk to see straight?"

"You've no call to say that, Tarrant," Vila exclaimed.

"I think it's time someone did," Tarrant retorted. "Don't you realize you jeopardized our lives as well as the safety of this ship?"

"This is my ship, Tarrant," intervened Avon, his eyes flashing dangerously. "And I decide what jeopardizes its safety."

Tarrant stared at Avon in disbelief. "You know it's true and yet you stand up for him. Why, Avon?"

Avon's eyes held a deadly light as he answered. "No one is forcing you to stay, Tarrant. Anytime you wish to leave, feel free."

Tarrant glared first at Avon, then at Vila and stormed from the flight deck. "Touchy, isn't he?" Vila asked nervously in the uneasy silence which followed. Avon looked at him briefly, then turned back to his panel.

"Uh, I think I'll try to finish my rest period," Dayna said, getting to her feet. Looking at the sorrowful thief, she added, "Don't worry about Tarrant."

"He's not mad at you, Dayna, but thanks for the thought." Vila watched as she walked up the steps and into the corridor. She's got great legs, he thought. Not as nice as Kerril's, though. Now what made me think of her?

Avon's voice broke his train of thought. "Cally, there seems to be some interference in the forward scanner. Will you monitor while I adjust it?"

"I can do it," Vila volunteered, getting up from the couch. Cally intercepted him and pushed his back down. "I'll do it, Vila."

"Watch the deviation ratio," Avon explained, removing a back panel. "It should not exceed .005."

"It's holding steady at .002," Cally told him.

"Circuitry unit was loose," Avon remarked, replacing the panel and looking over at Vila. "Vila, I believe you checked it last?"

"Uh, yes," gulped Vila.

"If the unit had failed, we could have lost our forward scanners and all you can say is yes?" Avon replied, sharply.

"It was all right when I checked it, Avon," Vila shot back, turning away. "Kerril was right," he muttered under his breath. "I was a fool for not going with her." He looked back to find Cally watching him. "I'm going to the Rest Room. If you don't need me for anything, that is."

As Vila walked from the flight deck, Cally murmured quietly, "I think he really misses her, Avon."

Avon sighed and moved back to his console. "He chose to stay with us, Cally."

"We don't know what he might have done had Bayban not shown up."

"Let it go, Cally," Avon told her softly.

#


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