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Change of Direction

By Mjo
Page 1 of 6

"Blake, we must teleport now!" shouted Avon, raising his arm to speak into the bracelet

"No!" said Blake, grabbing Avon's arm, "we're nearly there, and we must get those plans"

"You may have suicidal tendencies, I do not. We do not have time" Avon said, violently shrugging off Blake's hand

At that moment three Federation troops came round the corner and opened fire

Blake ducted. Avon wasn't so lucky as one shot caught his right arm and he fell backwards, over a box, his teleport bracelet flying off his wrist in one quick motion

"Avon!" Blake screamed, starting to move. Another shot rang out keeping him pinned down. Reluctantly he raised his arm. "Vila, teleport now!" Blake shimmered out.

Avon remained motionless, unconscious.

Once the troops realised no one was shooting, they cautiously approached. One bent down and prodded Avon with his foot. "He's out cold"

"Bring him"

They dragged Avon from the room, still unconscious.

Avon cautiously opened his eyes. He was in a darkened room. He could just make out the shape of a table at the far side. There also appeared to be some computer monitoring equipment, blinking away in the corner.

Suddenly the room lit up. Avon winced

"Good, you're awake" said a familiar voice

"Servalan"

"How nice of you to remember me" she said

"You're not easy to forget.. unfortunately"

"Why, thank you Avon"

He glared at her.

He went to sit up and found he couldn't move.

"I don't think these restraints are necessary" she said to a white-coated man sitting at the table. "Remove them"

"Yes Supreme Commander"

Avon looked at Servalan suspiciously. He lay there for a moment, then sat up quickly. His head spun and fell back down onto the couch.

"What have you done"

"What makes you think I've done anything"

"Don't play games with me Servalan"

"As a matter of fact I haven't done anything....yet" she said, touching his face "You were concussed, and wounded. We have fixed you up, made you comfortable, but you're still weak"

"You won't try to escape, will you?" she said moving away "You see, if these.." indicating to two mutoids who had just entered the room "see even the slightest movement, they will kill you, and that would be such a waste"

Avon couldn't tell how much time had passed. He had lifted his arm slightly, once, but had quickly lowered it as the mutoids fingers tightened on the weapon. Now he just lay on the couch, looking up at the ceiling, wondering how the hell he had got himself into this mess. Of course there was only one reason, Blake and his damned crusade. If he ever got out of here, he vowed, he was leaving, taking his share of the Liberator strongroom and setting himself up on some nice, quiet, Federation free planet.

The door opened

"I trust you're feeling better"

He did not give Servalan the satisfaction of a reply

"You can get up now Avon"

He didn't move

"Get up"

Still no movement

"Very well" Servalan sighed "Give him a tranquilliser" she said.

"No" he said, getting up from the couch. Whatever they were going to do to him, he wanted to be awake. Drugged, he would have no chance.

He walked resolutely towards Servalan; the two mutoids followed, as they left the room.

He had expected to be taken to an interrogation chamber. What he had not expected was a luxurious, decorated room, complete with the finest wines, a tray of real food, that must have cost thousands of credits. He stood and gaped, momentarily caught off guard.

"I will not be bribed"

"Of course not Avon"

"I will not give you Blake, Liberator, Orac or anything else"

"We shall see"

He spun round about to say something, then stopped. He would play this by ear. As long as he could keep Servalan talking he might have a chance, find a way out. He shrugged, walked into the room and sat down on a lavishly upholstered chair

"Wine?" Servalan offered "It's not drugged" she said, pouring a glass. She took a sip, then offered the same glass to Avon

He looked at it briefly, then took it

"Very good" he said, appreciatively

"It is refreshing to meet someone who appreciates the finer things. One gets so terribly bored with the unsophisticated military types that one has to associate with"

"What do you want Servalan?"

"We'll talk later" passing him a tray of delicacies. "You must be hungry. Pick one or two for me to eat, then you can choose." He shrugged, pointed to four of the items on the plate and watched carefully as she ate them.

"These really are delicious" she said "You really must try them"

He waited for several minutes watching her carefully.

"Really Avon.. anyone would think you didn't trust me" she purred

He laughed, then took some of the food.

She was right, it was probably the best he had tasted, certainly since before the London They sat silently for a while, eating and drinking, though Avon was careful not to over indulge with the wine. He wanted to keep his senses

"Why did you join Blake?"

"Why not" Avon replied

"You can't really believe that you will have any chance of overthrowing the Federation"

"He thinks so"

"And you? What do you think Avon?"

"I think" he said, carefully turning the glass around in his hand "that he's a fool" he said, looking straight into Servalan's face

"But you won't betray him"

"No"

"You could have all this" she said, waving her arms around the room, "and more"

"It's tempting, I'll admit that.. but"

"But?"

"The price is too high"

"What, Blake?"

"No, not Blake" he gave a wry smile "Survival, or to be more precise, the failure to survive"

She looked at him.

"I might live in luxury for a year, maybe several, but eventually the Federation would kill me"

"I would protect you" she said moving towards him

"You would probably be the one to order my death"

"As I can do now"

"As you can do now" he said, raising his glass in salute

"So you can die now, or you can die in several years time, surely you have a preference"

"Of course. But the end is the same"

"So you would choose to die now"

"I would prefer not to die at all"

At that moment a light flashed on a button near the door. Servalan got to her feet and went to an intercom.

"You wanted to be notified when they arrived"

"Yes, thank you. You know what to do"

The two mutoids entered the room

"This conversation is academic really" Servalan said, turning towards Avon. "You see.. you're already dead, or dying anyway"

Avon shot to his feet, he looked at the food and drink

"No" Servalan said softly "Not that. I wanted your last meal to be perfect. I believe that's traditional"

Avon swayed "How .." he faltered

Servalan looked at him with intense sorrow on her face. She moved towards him, reached up, and kissed him on the lips. He didn't back away, neither did he respond.

"I'm sorry Avon" she said, "truly I am. I can't even promise you a quick death"

Avon steadied himself, pushed her away

"How long" he snapped "How long do I have"

"That depends on the metabolism of the individual. 48 hours, maybe longer. Some have lasted up to 5 days"

"Poison?"

"You underestimate me Avon. Nothing that simple" "You're friends have arrived. You're about to be rescued"

"Rescue a dead man" he said flatly

"Ah, but you're not dead yet. You see you're still going to give me the Liberator"

"What possible incentive could I have now for doing that" he said sarcastically

"None whatsoever, but that's immaterial. Blake is on his way here, and he is going to find you. He will also be finding the means of his own destruction. That's rather fitting don't you think"

"You see, I've been investing in germ warfare, and you're the germ" Avon lunged at her. He was restrained by the mutoids.

"My scientists have developed a new strain of Thazapolin"

Avon looked at her, appalled, "No.. " he croaked

"Ah I see you've heard of it. As you are aware, the vaccine for the original Thazapolin makes it completely useless as a weapon. Therefore my scientists have come up with a new version. It's quite remarkable really. Apart from the initial dizziness, at first there are absolutely no symptoms at all. A person would not be aware that anything was wrong. The carrier isn't even infectious for the first six hours. That's how I've been able to make these last moments so enjoyable for you Avon"

He spat at her

"And I thought you were such a civilised man" she said, wiping her face. "That was also quite pointless. There's still another 18 minutes. Then anyone who comes within two meters of you will be dead.. eventually"

"There is no vaccine, no cure, even the finest minds would take years to develop one. It would have been folly to develop something that could easily be outwitted"

A guard moved towards Avon with a tranquilliser. He struggled, but couldn't prevent the injection, and slumped to the floor.

Servalan bent down and stroked his hair. Then got up and walked out.


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