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Jabberwocky - Part 9 - Choices

By Sheila Paulson
Page 1 of 15

Background

Part 1 Link-up

Cally has survived the explosion on Terminal and the crew have escaped in Servalan's wreck of a ship. While in a coma, Cally dreams the events of the fourth season, including Blake's death. Traumatized by her injury, she has lost her telepathy. When the crew, augmented by Hugh Tiver, a doctor kidnaped by Avon to take care of Cally, steal a prototype Federation mindship constructed around a living human brain and capable of bonding with a human in a mental linkage, their adventures are just beginning. Afraid of finding Blake for fear Avon will kill him, Cally bonds with the ship, naming it Jabberwocky. After rescuing Soolin from the Scorpio, they go to Gauda Prime, where the encounter backfires. Blake is wounded but is rescued and joins the crew of Jabberwocky. Cally's telepathy returns and she turns linkage of the ship over to Blake.

Part 2 Mind-Rape

Blake is back, and in linkage with Jabberwocky, and Servalan wants to steal Jabberwocky and link with it in order to take back the presidency. She had meant it to be hers from the beginning. She uses Witt, a telepath who had worked his way into Avalon's rebel army on Ryalon base, to wrest control of Jabberwocky from Blake, leaving the rebel trapped inside his mind. A mental linkage is the only way to bring him back, and Avon the only one who can do it. With Cally's help, and using nearly atrophied telepathic skills he had long pretended he didn't have, Avon is able to draw Blake back from the prison within his mind. Jabberwocky defeats the rogue telepath.

Part 3 - Healer

With Blake in control once more, Avon is gradually accepting he was born a telepath, but his powers were suppressed to the verge of destruction.

      Blake begins behaving oddly, and problems develop with the ship as Jabberwocky begins to remember his long suppressed past - his memories had been blocked when his brain was used in the mindship. In the meantime, Jenna Stannis and Del Grant have teamed up and have one objective: Kill Avon. When their plan goes wrong and Tarrant is gravely wounded, only the combination of the mindship and Avon, the untrained telepath are able to save the pilot's life, and at this point, Tarrant becomes Jabberwocky's linkmate. Jenna joins the crew.

Part 4 - The Froma

On a mission to draw in potential rebel support, Blake and his crew are asked to steal the Froma, an alien artifact that cannot be stolen as it destroys anyone who tries to remove it from its world. When Avon and Hugh are captured, Avon receives an unexpected telepathic contact - from the Froma itself. The strange device proves to be a sentient organism, the last of its kind. Able to link telepathically with Avon, it wants to bond with him on a permanent basis, but Cally helps, and the entity is taken to Kahn where it can be among the newly reviving Auronar.

Part 5 - Decoy

When the Jabberwocky crew pick up a message that suggests IMIPAK is being taken to a remote world, they are in two minds about going after it, partly because of the danger to Avon and Blake and partly because it may be a trap. But Blake refuses to leave IMIPAK in Federation hands. The mission is complicated by the fact that there is a potential sleeper agent on the ship who might betray them. Everyone suspects everyone else. The sleeper proves to be Soolin, who was programmed long ago. The IMIPAK device proves a dummy, part of a plot to capture the rebels, but they are able to escape, taking the false device with them.

Part 6 - Kyl

A teenager comes to Ryalon to join the resistance and causes a great deal of trouble inadvertently when he encounters the crew of the Jabberwocky. Concealing his true identity, he is torn between a desire to become a member of the resistance and the need to confront his long-lost father - Avon. Kyl proves to be programmed, part of a long-standing plot to get Avon, but Orac is able to deprogram him, and the plot is thwarted when Kyl's former guardian arrives and nearly kills Avon. Kyl and his father make wary peace.

Part 7 - Clone

Realizing mention of IMIPAK will draw Servalan back to the planet where it was left, Blake plans a mission to find and destroy the weapon. Trailed by a mysterious ship, and protesting all the way, the crew arrive to find that Blake's clone is still there. When the mysterious ship arrives and Dayna dies in an accidental confrontation, Servalan captures the clone only to find she has the original Blake. The clone overpowers Blake and replaces him on Jabberwocky. When the captain of the mysterious vessel proves to be Dorn Suliman, a friend of Tarrant's and the son of the man Jabberwocky once was. Avon plans a rescue of Blake, using the dummy IMIPAK. Dorn warily decides he will try to get to know his father again.

Part 8 - Stand-in

A mysterious cube proves to be a prison for an alien mass-murderer, who escapes - into Tarrant's body. With the link broken, Jabberwocky's sanity is in jeopardy, and Vila offers himself as a temporary link-mate. With Tarrant's body in stasis and the alien in possession of the ship's computers, only Vila can find a solution that will drive him away and restore the ship and Tarrant. The link is returned to Tarrant once the being is defeated.


Choices

"It's just another milk run, Blake," Tarrant objected impatiently with a defiant glare at the rebel leader. "That's all we do any more. Why bother to have a ship of this calibre-" he gestured around the flight deck "-if all we mean to do is sneak around the outer worlds when the Federation isn't looking, talking to sympathetic leaders?"

      "Because we must, Tarrant," Blake objected sharply, his arms folded across his chest as he stood four square in front of Jabberwocky's main screen regarding his crew. "I think we all might prefer going in with guns blazing, even Jabberwocky, but what's more important is gaining more worlds to stand behind us. Since Avalon has begun this attempt to create a unifying force, seventeen worlds have fallen in behind us. We've brought in eight of them ourselves. Eight new worlds that will back us when the time comes! That has to count for something."

      "I know," agreed the pilot. "And I agree it's important. It's just that there are other people who can do that as well as we can. We're equipped for more than that. We can out-fly and out-fight any other ship in space and what do we do? Slink around shielded and run when there's a threat. It's a waste."

      "I think it's a good idea," said Vila Restal predictably from his position on the forward couch. The drink in his hand would once have been adrenalin and soma, but these days Blake knew it didn't always need to be. Vila sounded sober enough. "Running, I mean," he plunged on. "We don't all need to be heroes, Tarrant. And this is more important in the long run."

      "You don't care about the long run," Tarrant accused. "You only care about security."

      "As well we all should," Cally joined in, raising her eyes from the communications equipment on which she was running checks. For the past two weeks, the crew had been doing maintenance, something boring but essential, helped greatly by Jabberwocky himself, who could give them better feedback about problems than ships' computers usually could. The mindship had truly been a stroke of genius, linking the human brain within the confines of a state of the art war vessel. Some of the genius behind the original planning had come from Avon, though he had never envisioned the survival of the human personality involved. He had been astonished when Jabberwocky proved far more human than he had expected. But now even Avon was comfortable with the mindship and with Jabberwocky. These days he didn't bother to object any more when Jabberwocky teasingly called him his father.

      "But don't you think it's a waste, Cally?" Tarrant had been working on the navigation console, ably assisted by Orac, and now he lay down his probe and stared around the flight deck as if seeking support.

      "I think we are doing very necessary work," Cally replied. "It is more important in the long run to win planets to our side than it is to go in with blasters firing. Besides, even if it is a milk run, it needn't remain that way. We encountered pursuit ships when we went to Kello last month."

      "Two of them," Tarrant returned as if they weren't enough to matter.

      "Enough for us to keep our hand in," Jenna argued. She had come for the meeting though it was not her shift time; she and Soolin and Hugh had been in the marketplace shopping when Blake had received orders from Avalon and decided to initiate things.

      Hugh Tiver strode over to Tarrant's position, picking up a circuit board and looking at it with every evidence of knowledge. He'd started his training as a pilot at the Federation Space Academy before being pulled following aptitude testing and thrust into medicine instead, so perhaps he understood what he was looking at. "Back off, Del," he urged. "You're outvoted this time."

      "I wonder why. Why are you all so content to take it easy?"

      "Why aren't you?" Avon demanded, suddenly entering the conversation. As far as Blake had been able to tell, Avon had been ignoring the lot of them. When the others had begun to trickle in, he had already been on the flight deck with Cally, with the detector shield console stripped down in parts around him which he monitored, tuned and replaced, bit by bit. He had not behaved as if he were part of the meeting but as if he had right of possession and the others had simply been there too, but the look he turned on Tarrant was mildly hostile and Blake wondered at it. Did Avon understand why he was so willing to go on these routine missions for Avalon? Did he care?


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Sheila Paulson

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