PandoraBy David D
Page 2 of 4
"Blake they aren't there, you've been in hibernation. Years
have passed since you were on Star One," explains Jenna.|
Blake looks into her face and sees the truth of her words. He begins to reel backwards. "What!"
Avon guides him to sit on one of the chairs.
Half an hour later a properly dressed Blake has heard a summary of the whole story since Star One and the battle. He knows of his flight across the galaxy to Gauda Prime, of the loss of the Liberator, of the death of Cally and of the rise of Servalan. He takes it well but is deeply confused, like a man who is out of his own time.
"I need to be alone." he says at last and makes his way out of the control room. Jenna follows him and for the next hour it is Avon who is once again alone.
During this time Avon surveys the Liberator and finds that it is now only the third pod; that is; the part that had detached from the main Liberator just before the explosion that destroyed it. It had been blown away but not destroyed. The rotting biochemical acid that had brought the Liberator to its end was eventually exhausted and the Pod had begun to rebuild itself. It could only do this, as it was able to gain atoms and molecules, which happened gradually as it wandered in space. Zen had begun to re-form inside the pod until fully functioning though with a reduced data capacity. Having gained time-distort drive, it set about looking for its crew. Finally, through communication with Orac it had followed Avon to Guada Prime. Jenna had teleported down to the medical unit just too late to warn Blake of treachery, and so she came to the room, as the federation troops were about to shoot Avon.
Avon looks out at the gantry that would have connected the pod to the main body of the ship.
"Zen" he says. "How long till you are able to fully reform the Liberator?"
"One hundred and fifty years at the present rate of reconstruction." says the voice of Zen.
"Can it be accelerated?"
"Given a source of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen. Titanium, molybdenum, gallium, ..
"Yes Thank you Zen, so how can we best obtain all you require?"
A region of space recently having experienced a supernova, would accelerate the rebuild."
"To what timeframe?"
"A period of fifty years."
Avon says nothing, but gazes out at the glorious star fields and the planet close by.
At that moment the ship's intercom crackles. The voice of Jenna says. "Avon, can we talk? Blake and I are on the flight deck."
Avon arrives at the control room to find both Blake and Jenna sitting at the conference table. He sits with them.
"You wanted to talk?" he says.
"Avon," says Blake. "I have no memory of you shooting me and so whatever happened on Guauda Prime has no relevance to me. It's not like a confusion of forgotten memories. I simply don't feel that I existed then. Yesterday, I remember being on Star One. That is all."
"But I do remember," says Avon. "I did not trust you. I do not trust you. You seemed to have betrayed us and I remember shooting you; killing you in fact. I shot you three times to make sure of it."
"But we can go on," says Blake. "We can continue the fight against the Federation despite what happened there? Jenna. You and I? "
Avon looks at Blake and sees that it is the Blake of two years ago. He has not seen the death of most of his friends. He is ready to fight on. But Avon feels weary of it all. He sneers.
"I have lost my friends," says Avon. "Soolin, Dayna, Tarrant ....Cally. I need a rest from it all. It's over."
"No!" says Jenna, "Cally is here."
"What do you mean?" says Avon alarmed.
"We have used Zen to re-materialize the Cally that last beamed down to Terminal." Avon is seriously alarmed and sits up, but he hears footsteps and as he looks up - there is Cally. Avon cannot take this in and turns pale. He reacts against this bringing back of ghosts from the dead.
Jenna puts her hand on Avon's arm. "It's all right Avon. It is Cally, the real Cally."
"Avon," says Cally, "I am glad to see you again. Jenna has explained everything to me. You have been through many troubles since I left."
"No!" says Avon getting to his feet. "Cally was killed a year ago. You cannot be Cally."
"But I am, she says, "Look at me, touch me, it is me."
"I know this is hard for us all," says Jenna. "It is difficult to take in but we are all here, ready to fight again, and Vila also will be with us soon."
"Only Gan cannot be here," says Blake. "It is the four of us and Zen - and we can recover ORAC. Like it or not Avon, we are together and ready to go on and take the fight to the Federation."
It is an hour later. Avon is alone and deep in thought. He has sat with Cally, and with Blake. It is a Blake and a Cally but he questions what is the soul of a man or woman. What makes a person - in his spirit? Can a computer simply create a Cally? What consciousness makes a personality? If that consciousness is broken; has a gap, can it be the same one? He thinks around the subject and wonders. If Zen dematerialises a person in the transporter and then re-materialises them, is it really the same consciousness, or has one died and another exact copy been born? Avon realises the futility of these questions, but he has questions about Jenna.
"Zen" he says, "I want to know the details of how you rescued Jenna. Show me."
"Details are unavailable," says the voice of Zen.
Avon has almost anticipated this response.
"Jenna was not transported here was she? You were not there when she self-destructed her vessel. You created this Jenna didn't you?"
"There is no data available for the information you are requesting,' replies Zen.
"Zen!" exclaims Avon. "Set course for Guarda Prime. We have unfinished business there."
Avon feels the engine powering up and knows that Zen is carrying out his instructions.
The intercom sounds and the voice of Blake is heard. "Avon What's going on? The Liberator is moving, we're on a course for .. Gauda Prime, why?"
"I'll be with you in a few moments," says Avon.
Avon joins the others on the flight deck and says nothing about his doubts of them being the real Cally, Jenna or Blake.
"When we left Guada Prime,' explains Avon, " Federation troops were there and I have no doubt that Servalan herself was present. She would not dare allow ORAC to fall into other hands. We are going back to avenge our people. We will find her and take revenge."
"But for what reason?" asks Blake. "What will be the point if we all die in a vain attempt to take revenge?"
"Scared?" asks Avon.
"No!" says Blake "But there is no point in a suicide mission unless we are to achieve something really worth while."
"I agree," says Jenna. "We don't know what the situation is there. The place may have been destroyed already. Servalan may have left. We need to have information in order to make a planned attack."
"They are right," says Cally. "I understand your sentiments Avon but.."
Before Cally can finish her sentence Avon laughs and says. "Servalan ..Oh! and she doesn't want to be known as Servalan these days - will be there. I have already sent a message ahead informing the Federation of our imminent arrival. Once there we will talk of a trade. ORAC for our freedom."
"Avon. No!" says Blake.
"Ask ZEN" laughs Avon.
"ZEN what is our course?"
"Our course is for Gauda Prime."
"ZEN! " says Jenna. "Change course, take us to the nearest uninhabited system."
"Unable to comply with new instructions," says ZEN.
Avon laughs. "You see I have blackmailed ZEN. ZEN will do only my bidding, won't you ZEN?"
"How?" asks Blake
"That would be telling," sneers Avon.
"Very well," says Blake. "We'll do it your way. We'll arrive at Guada Prime. You have a plan?"
Avon laughs. "I have a plan? Yes. Servalan, I have a plan," he says rhetorically and with bitterness.
"I'm going to the information console," says Blake. There is some research I want to do."
Blake leaves the control room and Avon watches, aware of what he is probably going to research."
"Are you going to stay in the control room Avon?' asks Jenna. "Cally and I could take a break."
Jenna and Cally make their way to the refreshment bar. They materialise drinks and sit together. "How do you feel?' asks Jenna looking at Cally.
"I feel well. I cannot quite understand that a year has passed, nor can I understand how I can be brought back to life after dying."
"You remember nothing then?" asks Jenna, "about being - well dead."
"No. I see what you are driving at. You think that because I am a telepath, that I may somehow be able to form a link from myself now, to before I was killed?"
"Well you may have an insight that I do not." says Jenna.
"I have no insight. I was transported down to Terminal but materialised here. That is all I can tell you. There is nothing else. No spirit world that I can recall, no floating above my own body, nothing. How did you come to be here Jenna?
"I was piloting my vessel, running contraband into Gauda Prime when I was surprised by a fleet of Federation pursuit ships. I threw the self destruct when I was surrounded, but before the ship blew, Zen transported me out."
"So you had a bracelet on?"
"Yes I always wore a bracelet," but Jenna feels puzzled. "I must have done, or Zen could not have saved me."
"Cally looks strangely at her."
"I must have done." repeats Jenna.
"That is one explanation." says Cally.
"Is there another?"
"I only know that I am here and that you appear to be Jenna. However, I have lost my ability to telepath since I materialised here. So that is something that is not the same. Do you feel the same in every way Jenna?"
"Yes. I am Jenna Stanis."
Cally can see that though Jenna has a memory that appears to be continuous, yet she has some questions and doubts.
"Only Avon has not had an interrupted existence that we can be sure of," says Cally
"Then we must refer to him," answers Jenna.
"Yes. He must be our reference point because we cannot be sure of ourselves."
The girls become quiet, trying to work everything out and looking inside themselves for clues about their existence.
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