Revenge's ChildBy Judith Proctor
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The murmur of the crowd grew louder. They were waiting. They had
waited nearly seventeen years, Soolin reflected - it would not harm
them to wait a few more
"You know what you have to do?" she asked her son.
Kerr nodded. "Today we stop running."
There was no trace of nervousness in him, but then there wouldn't be. They had dedicated their whole lives towards this moment. Now, finally, her revenge against the Federation started.
Straightening his black tunic one final time, Kerr stepped forward onto the platform. Soolin eyed him dispassionately. She'd chosen his outfit with the same care that she had organised every other aspect of his life: everything from the silver studs on his tunic, to the way he styled his hair. Genetics be damned. If he was to stand in the shoes of Kerr Avon, it would be her doing, and hers alone.
As he stepped into the light, it caught on a stray wisp of soft brown hair, and for a moment her heart weakened. He was so young to carry such a burden. Then she firmed her resolve. She had sworn, not only to herself, but to the spirits of all those who had died on Gauda Prime.
Kerr was speaking now.
"Many years ago, a man died on Gauda Prime, a victim of the Federation; a victim of a system that oppressed, tortured and drugged its people. Since that day, the Federation has banned his name, made it a crime to do so much as speak of him."
He was good, Soolin decided. The dialogue could do with a little polish here and there, but the passion was there, people were listening. There was a quality to his voice, even at this age, that gained attention. Charisma. Not like Avon: he'd never been able to sway people with argument. What was it Vila had once said? Something about Avon's style of diplomacy being to knock a lame man over and then offer him a crutch? Maybe - it was long ago and hard to remember any more.
"A man died. His only crime - to seek justice for the poor and oppressed, to seek freedom, to seek to lead the people towards a better day.
"Today, I break the Federation's laws. I name his name, and I claim it as my own. I claim the name of my father - Kerr Avon!"
Yes, that seemed to have gone down well. He'd call her up in a minute. As the only survivor of the Gauda Prime massacre, they'd want to hear her story. It would be the first time she'd had to tell it in public. Ever since Kerr's birth, she'd lived in hiding, only finally contacting the resistance when he came of age. Telling that story wasn't going to be easy. Even now, the memories had the power to hurt her. She'd lie to some extent of course. Presenting Avon in the most favourable light would serve her interests best. Some things though... Some things had to be mentioned to gain support, but they would tear at her soul even as she talked about them. The aftermath of Gauda Prime: torture, imprisonment, and rape. Inadequate words to describe the most terrifying days of her life. A time of endless nightmare before she had finally escaped with inside help.
Kerr's words of the future - of the hope that they must build on; of all the plans that they had made together throughout the empty, exiled years; of revenge - all faded from her hearing, to be replaced by memory.
There had been one man more than any other. So ordinary looking that you would lose him in a crowd. No bulging muscles, or evil in his face, to help you guess his trade. When he had inflicted pain, it had had been with the dispassion of the surgeon removing a diseased organ. When her showed her the bodies of her friends he had shown merely an analytical interest in her response. Only when he invaded her body had she seen excitement in him. Only then had she truly realised what hatred meant.
Even if it took her a lifetime, she would be revenged, both upon him and upon the Federation that had employed him. He had sown the seeds of his own destruction without even realising it - a dark-haired, brown-eyed boy, who would some day kill his father.
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