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Vila Restals E-mails - Year 4

By Nicola Mody
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To:               Vila Restal [vila@liberator.rebel.org]
From:           Jandy Restal [jrestal@deltalevel17.londondome.terra]
Subject:       Terminal

Dear Vila,

I’m sorry you lost the Liberator, dear, and that Zen died. I suppose he was a bit past a reboot. Have you been able to repair the ship Servalan left for you? It sounds like a real banger; I do hope you got the better end of that swap.

And I am proud of you that you remembered to take extra clothes and undies with you when you abandoned ship. How clever of you to wear them all at once!

Love, Mum 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       Are you still there?

Dear Vila,

You keep doing this to me, Vila! First you get radiation sickness, then Orac predicts you’ll all get blown up, then you get mixed up in an intergalactic war, and now you’re stranded after your ship got eaten up around you. You tell me these terrible things, then you don’t write - you just leave me wondering what’s happened to you. Do you enjoy frightening me? Don’t you know how much I worry when I don’t hear from you? I hope there aren’t any cliffs on that Terminal for you to be lying dead at the bottom of. I do worry so much about you, Vila. You should think of your poor mother sometimes.

Love, Mum 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal [vila@scorpio.salvage.com]
Subject:       Cally

Dear Mum,

No, I’m not dead at the bottom of a cliff, but I almost was. And Cally’s dead. She was so nice, friendly and sweet, and she even liked me too. Mostly. I’ve got a really bad pain in my chest like when Gan died, and though I’ve knocked back enough wine to stun a Tarsian warg-strangler, it still hurts. So does my head for that matter. And of course now Cally’s gone, there isn’t anyone to talk to about her. Must be an Alpha thing - don’t mention the dead. Like never saying where you’re going when you want a pee.

BTW Orac can forward our mail to us from our old Liberator addresses, but from now on you should write to the new one. I’m going to bed while I can still stagger there.

G’night, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Cally

Dear Vila,

I am so sorry to hear about Cally. I used to hope she’d come to her senses and see what a much nicer boy you are than that snitty Avon. And drinking yourself legless won’t help. You tell me about it instead.

And what cliff?

Lots of hugs and kisses from your Mum  xxx ooo 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       RE: Cally

Dear Mum,

Oh, all right. Avon and Dayna went off to look at Servalan’s crashed ship while the rest of us checked out the underground base for food and supplies. Avon took Dayna because she’s an explosives expert and he thought the ship might be booby-trapped. It was, and so was the base – it all came down on top of us. I wasn’t hurt but Tarrant was unconscious (yeah, you can tell!) so I dragged him out. Almost didn’t get the great oaf up the ladder; I think I’ve put my back out now. I dumped him outside, then went back for Cally. She said “Vila” telepathically, and I yelled I was coming, then started down. There were more explosions, almost throwing me off the ladder, and the hatch started to close. I jumped out just in time and threw myself on Tarrant to shield him – suppose I wanted to protect my investment. Then I ‘heard’ Cally call out “Blake!” and I felt her die. So I wouldn’t have got to her in time.

Why did she call for Blake? Why not Avon? Because Avon’s mistake stranded us here? Or because she thought Blake might make everything all right again, like it once was?

When Avon and Dayna got back I was curled up beside Tarrant, crying. Avon went in to look for Cally, and Dayna looked at me in disgust then tried to wake Tarrant up. Avon came back and stood beside me. I said I was sorry, and I could see his boots right by my face. I thought he’d kick me, but he just said very quietly, “There was nothing you could have done, Vila,” which is maybe the kindest thing he ever said to me. He had Orac with him, and sat down and pretended to try and fix it. I went off to look for firewood till I got myself under control. Shows how much I cared about Cally: there were real hairy aliens – links – about, and some snaky things that had attacked Dayna, but I just didn’t care. Turned out Tarrant got hurt trying to rescue Cally, so she can’t have been far away. I should have looked. She died alone and silent, which is a terrible thing for an Auron. I hope she felt me thinking about her. She sometimes could. Maybe that would have been a comfort, but considering it was only me, I doubt it.

More later when I feel better. And yes. I’ll tell you about the cliff.

Love, Vila 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Dorian

Dear Mum,

Me again. First the cliff. The next morning, Dayna was scouting ahead and I was all alone and getting very nervous, so my bravery of the night before must’ve worn off. Or my shock more like. When I heard Dayna yelling for help, I ran off after her and fell half-way down a cliff (not a very big one) and ended up clinging terrified to a tree root next to her, with a huge wolf-snake thingy at the bottom trying to get at us. Dayna was not impressed. Another daring rescue from that well-known hero Vila Restal…

A guy called Dorian came along and rescued us and was promptly rewarded by Avon pulling a gun on him and taking over his ship, an old rust-bucket of a salvage scow called Scorpio. On the way back to Dorian’s base on Xenon, I made it up to Dayna when I opened the gun locker for her. She was really taken with the cute little guns with all the nifty interchangeable clips in designer colours – laser, plasma, shells, grenades, stun, drugs. We took one each. I went for the stun option, though the drug clips have certain possibilities for the future. Still, I grabbed Dayna’s discarded Fed rifle on the way off the ship. I was nervous, it looked big and mean, and I needed some reassurance.

I was right to be suspicious. They were expecting us. Dorian’s ‘companion’ Soolin was ready with wine – a glass for each of us including Cally (I drank that one). We all had hot baths waiting and new outfits laid out for us in our quarters - all grey except for Avon’s which was black leather with studs as usual, and some white. Which would average out to grey. Dorian obviously knew Avon’s taste well enough. I don’t want to think about what he knew about me - my outfit has targets on it. Only on the shoulders and elbows luckily, not any vital bits! But still. Must have bought in bulk too – there were 5 more the same in the wardrobe.

Soon as I emerged all clean and sleepy from a hot bath, Dayna and Tarrant tried to get me to open the security door to the landing bay. Without proper equipment it was a waste of my time, so when they left to look for another way in, I sodded off to find Dorian’s wine. Excellent stuff, made from real grapes and more than a few months old if I’m any judge. Mean of him though to keep it locked up. I was just getting mellow when I heard Avon and Dorian coming, and hid up the stairs with my gun and bottle (I know my priorities). Dorian had Avon at gunpoint and said he put dummy clips in our guns while we were in our baths. Wonderful. Then the little creep said he was going to feed us all to something in the basement which stopped him ageing, and marched Avon off, and Soolin too. Bet his relationships don’t last long. I came downstairs, saw the Fed gun, considered having another drink for courage, and decided not to – frankly nothing was going to improve my courage, such as it was. I took the gun down to the basement, handed it to Avon and he shot the creature. Dorian aged and turned to dust in seconds, and the creature turned into a young man’s corpse. I thought I’d had too much to drink for a moment, then thought about it and decided what I really needed was some more.

And now I’m ready for a little snooze. Hope I don’t have nightmares.

Love, Vila 



To:               Scorpio Crew [crew@scorpio.salvage.com]
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Dorian and grey clothes

I’ve been thinking, and before you say it, yes, I do sometimes! You know, we should have worked it out. I bet Dorian wasn’t his real name. He must have named himself after that Oscar Wilde story, Portrait of Dorian Gray. It explains why he had a thing about grey too. Can’t be the aesthetic appeal. Give me a nice warm brown or tasteful beige outfit any day!

And how did he know where to find us? And our clothes sizes? Did the creature know? If so, it was the strongest telepath I ever heard of. Or did Servalan tell him in case the bombs, links and snakes didn’t get us? Lucky she’s dead then, or she’d be turning up here next.

Vila 



To:               Scorpio Crew
From:           Kerr Avon [avon@scorpio.salvage.com]
Subject:       RE: Dorian and grey clothes

Well now, it knows about Oscar Wilde as well as the Trojan Horse. The next thing I know, it will be walking upright. Our own little link.

However some of Vila’s brain waves must be reaching the shore. He has a good question. So that you all know, Orac is now fixed and it has determined that Servalan put out a general bulletin that we were on Terminal. Given the bounties on our heads we were lucky it was Dorian who found us first. And doubtless he found our heights and weights on our wanted notices on the Galacnet. If he’d got it wrong, Vila would now be busy altering our clothes with needle and thread.

Avon 



To:               Dayna Mellanby [dayna@scorpio.salvage.com]
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Demolition

Dayna, for your eyes only:

You can surf on some of my brainwaves actually! And here’s one. I heard Dorian tell Avon how to use the basement. Now I plan to live forever or die trying, but not like that. You know me - I’m harmless. Can’t say the same for Avon though, and you know I’d be the first one he’d dump down there, don’t you. We have to blow it up. You’re the expert, but I’ll come too and hold your fuses. Much as I hate explosives.

Dorian must have heaps of them somewhere, ‘cos he was always doing tunnel additions and renovations.

And we can trust each other you know. I’ve got a plan.

Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Dayna Mellanby
Subject:       RE: Demolition

And how do you know I wouldn’t ‘use’ you, Vila? It’s quite sweet of you to trust me. But for that matter, can I trust you, even though you’re harmless? And gormless and feckless for that matter.

I think you have a very good point though. Possibly your only one ever. Meet me in the living room and we’ll do it now. And if you dare misinterpret that, Delta-boy, I’ll blow you up with the basement.

Dayna 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Del Tarrant [tarrant@scorpio.salvage.com]
Subject:       Oscar Wilde

I know it shouldn’t by now, but it always comes as a surprise to me that you can read, Vila, let alone that you’ve read so much. There’s a pleasant surprise in store for you! I found Dorian’s library, a very extensive one as you’d expect for a chap who lived for over two centuries. He’s got everything you can think of – the classics, proscribed books, history texts, tunic-rippers, and some stuff that would make your eyes pop out! Or in your case, Vila, embarrass and puzzle you. I can just hear you saying “Eh?” and turning the pictures round to work out what they are, then going bright red! :-)

Or maybe not. Perhaps you have hidden depths now I’ve seen you in handcuffs being chased by Dayna…

Tarrant 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       Drinking

Dear Vila,

I am very worried about you. I know you’re upset about Cally, and that Dorian thing must have been a bit of a shock, but it won’t help getting pie-eyed. And I don’t think that Avon will put up with it. Can he fire you or dock your pay?

You don’t seem to have done any rebelling for months now, and I see your new e-mail address is a dot-com one. Are you going into salvage these days? It might be safer I suppose.

Love, Mum 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Kerr Avon
Subject:       Explosion

Vila.

Dayna tells me that explosion was your idea. Only you could have been so foolishly short-sighted as to destroy such a valuable asset. I had plans for that basement, you idiot! It was worthy of further scientific study.

You can now straighten the pictures, pick up the pot-plants, put all the books back on the shelves, sweep the broken crockery off the kitchen floor. Now, Vila!

Avon 



To:               Jandy Restal
From:           Vila Restal
Subject:       Trapped

Dear Mum,

Don’t know what we’ll be doing here, no-one ever tells me anything. And I’m not drinking that much. I admit the first couple of nights here I socked it back, but now I just have a drink at lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner, and a nightcap. A pleasant drop, and it helps dull the pain in my chest a bit. Trouble is, seeing me with a glass in my hand gives people the impression I’m always drinking, but I said to them they can lay off me till they actually find me drunk. And that’s not likely to happen – drugs and drink don’t affect my mind unless I want them too, remember - little old unconditionable me? The old motor functions can suffer a bit though. Anyway, I reckon if I pace myself – a bottle a day – Dorian’s wine will last the year out.

I was worried about his basement though, as I bet Avon had already considered putting me down there for his old age, so Dayna and I blew it up. Dayna had already found Dorian’s weapons and explosives store and I’d been exploring too, jumping at every sound, me dressed as a living target and with Dorian’s blonde gunhand on the loose. I found some excellent tools to replace my lost kit, and some seriously kinky stuff in Dorian’s room. Including handcuffs. Dayna and I were both nervous about each other’s intentions, so I cuffed us both together so she couldn’t whack me one and leave me down there. She was furious but could see the logic. I said the key was in my room and I’d release her when we’d blown up the basement. We set the charges and Dayna used a remote to blow them. The whole base jumped; we probably overdid it but the basement’s been pulverised now. I was so relieved I took Dayna’s cuff off with a lockpick right there at the top of the stairs. “You little weasel!” she yelled. “You said the key was in your room!” Well, so it was, but she was really angry for some reason, and went for me. I yelped and jumped back, then ran for it with the handcuffs dangling from one wrist and my lockpick in the other hand, and Dayna hot-foot behind me, threatening to break all my fingers. I dodged Tarrant in the hallway, but Dayna collided with him, giving me time to get to my room and lock myself in. Of course Dayna just had to tell Tarrant and Avon all about it, to protect her rep I suppose. And mine too for that matter, though it isn’t worth my life to point that out! I mean, I don’t do that sort of weird stuff. Or any sort of stuff really, now I think of it.

Anyway, we’re a bit trapped here. That security door to the landing bay is still locked, and the only other way in is through the hole in the cliff that Scorpio flies into, not that I’m going to mention that. Dorian had some great tools which are now mine, so I’ll have to have another go at that door.

After all, there’s only food for 3 weeks here for the 4 (or 5?) of us. I did suggest the others eat rodents to eke out the supplies, but Avon said a more logical solution was to eat the vegetarian first! “Roast Vila appeals,” he said, “and we could probably serve it cold for a week.” “Nah, Vila cutlets grilled on the barbecue,” said Dayna, licking her lips, “with the leftovers in a Vila casserole.” “I’d prefer crumby Vila schnitzel myself,” Tarrant said and bared his big white teeth at me. I backed up against the wall, and ran to get my tools. Dorian has some nice fortified wines here, and I’ve got to get that door open before Avon thinks of Vila Scaloppini Marsala!

Love, Vila 



To:               Vila Restal
From:           Jandy Restal
Subject:       RE: Trapped

Dear Vila,

I think you should look for a less dangerous job with nicer work-mates, sweetheart. Threatening to put you in the basement or eat you just isn’t on. Can’t you negotiate a new employment contract?

Love, Mum 


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