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Alternative Escape

By Kathryn Andersen
Page 1 of 8

Author's Note:
This is an Alternative Universe Crossover story - but it is doubly Alternative. Its origins are as follows:

Pat Dunn and Diana Smith wrote a series of stories (in Nikki White's fanzine, Multiverse) about the childhood of Avon (of Blake's 7 fame). They decreed that Avon was, in fact, a Time Lord (full name, Avontrokerrdred) and was related to the Doctor. While still a child, he was kidnapped by the Master, taken to the Blake's 7 universe, stranded, and adopted by some kindly souls.

Pat and Diana then wrote a story called "Escape" (which appeared in Multiverse #19) which was set immediately after the last episode of Blake's 7, where Avon is rescued by his parents, and is taken home to Gallifrey.

I was rather frustrated with "Escape", feeling it had a number of plot holes, and thinking they could have done it better. In fact, I thought I could do it better. So I put my money where my mouth was, and did so - and this is it. (I then sent it to the authors to ask their permission for its existance... oh well...) Being an alternative to Escape" it is titled "Alternative Escape". It was published in Multiverse #22 in 1990 - with Pat and Diana's permission.

Being an alternative to Escape, it was constrained to start at the same point, in the same way. So, cast your mind back to the last episode of Blake's 7, and begin...

Alternative Escape

by Kathryn Andersen

I'm searching for the anger
Consider it a gift
Open up that window
Come betray me with a kiss
You have won if nothing else
Rope enough to hang yourself
But what is that to us?

(Beyond the Call - David Batteau, Darrell Brown, Kevin Dukes)

The survivor lifted his head and turned, the alarms still blaring. As he turned, more troopers entered; the inner corridor, the west door, the entrance they themselves had come in - each had its trickle, the whole a flood. Every door he faced, he faced the muzzle of a gun. He gazed down at his friend's dead, staring eyes.

You fool. And another part of him babbled You fool! What have you done? and the counter-train You fool! You should have answered me. What else was I to think?... But Avon ignored them both, with iron control. You fool. He stepped over the body, protectively. The alarms cut out. Not a noise was heard but the background pips and hums of the tracking equipment.

You never understood, did you, Blake? Avon thought as he slowly raised his gun. The freedom those credits would have bought was freedom from this time and space, not freedom within it. He smiled grimly. I always thought our deaths would be linked. He fired.

But Fate wouldn't let him die - not even now. His random shot had not been so random - it took out a bank of switches at the far end of the room. The lights cut out for a few vital minutes. Avon instinctively dropped to the ground while troopers shot at each other in the confusion. Avon took out one of the troopers who had been behind him, standing inside the circular tracking-control bench, the one good hiding place in all the room. When the lights came back on, Avon crouched there, gun at the ready. Reflex. No time to reflect. To even decide if he wanted to live. He thought he wanted to die. But his body over-ruled him. All it would take was one movement, and they would see him. One movement, and it would be over. But he couldn't. Deliberate suicide required total despair - and he had not reached that place, not yet. There had been no time...

The troopers were taking stock, wondering where their prisoner had gone. A noise interrupted them. The troopers doubtless thought it was another alarm, but had no time to rectify their error. From where Avon crouched, it sounded like a trumpeting elephant spinning in an echo chamber. What was it? Where had he heard it before? Why did he suddenly have an unaccountable hope...?

While he was still considering this, the noise stopped. If anyone had been looking in the right place, they might have noticed one of the pillars near the inner entrance waver for a moment, as if it were a mirage, but no-one saw it at all. The next thing that Avon heard was what could best be described as a blue hum, and the thud of falling bodies. Troopers dropped like ninepins.

Avon scrambled up from his hiding place. He remembered where he had heard that sound before. The sound he had waited for so long, so long ago, when he was still a child, with a child's optimism.

"They've found me, after all this time," he said aloud. "I'm going home..." He began to relax; his iron control slipped, and a weight of weariness crashed down on him.

"I think not," a voice purred, as the muzzle of a hand-weapon touched Avon's neck. "Don't move, Avon."

His elation froze as cold as a dip in Deep Space. It is amazing what a gun to the neck can do for one's presence of mind. He stood motionless.

"Tell your friends to come out from wherever they're hiding," Servalan continued.

Avon said nothing. If he had heard aright, his rescuers had materialized behind them. The fact that Servalan had seen nothing amiss meant an efficient Chameleon circuit was operating. Now, if she didn't turn around...

Servalan raised her voice. "Come out, whoever you are, or I shall kill him."

"You know I can't allow that," a voice said behind her.

Servalan whirled, Avon ducked, and a shot echoed in the deathly chamber. Servalan, ex-President of the Terran Federation, who had laughed death in the face times without number, fell, and died, shot with a bolt from one of her own trooper's guns.

The gun in question was held by a tall man with bleached white hair, white as if it were frightened that way. Magnetic brown eyes in a strong face - mocking eyes, like Dorian's had been, full of secrets. Avon did not recognise him at all. And yet, and yet, there was something familiar in him. Something that said they had met before, that they knew each other...

"Father?" Avon quavered, his exhausted mind giving him no other answer.

"My dear boy," the Time Lord began, opening his arms and stepping towards Avon.

"I'm not a boy," Avon retorted, stepping back.

"Of course not, Avontrokerrdred." Soothingly. "It's been so long..." He took another step towards Avon. "We've been looking so long..."

"Why? Why did you take so long?"

"You were hidden too well, too far. But it's all over now, let's go home..."

"Home..." Avon breathed, lost in a vision of memory. Yes, it would be nice to go home, home where they didn't bother you, home where they didn't expect you to follow their causes, home where you were safe...

He hardly noticed when his rescuer took him by the hand and led him into his Tardis. The wheezy bellow of dematerialization soon followed.

Vila blinked. Playing possum was hard on the eyeballs. The trick was to keep your eyes open and stare fixedly at one point on the ceiling - or elsewhere. Like at Avon. What did he mean by going on without him, eh? Especially with all these troopers liable to wake up at any minute? It was too much to assume that they were all dead.

"And I'm not going to stick around to find out," Vila muttered, getting to his feet. He looked around queasily. "Must check," he gulped. Tiptoeing around the unconscious trooper's bodies, he checked his companions, one by one. Even while he was doing it, he was amazed at his self-possession; as if he were watching someone else going through the motions... They were dead. All dead.

He blinked away tears. "No time for that," he thought. "Get drunk over them later." If he could find anything to get drunk with. If he lasted that long. Be still, quaking heart. You can't afford to be afraid. There's no one else to fall back on.... Avon had gone, and Orac - what about Orac? Avon must have been far gone to leave it behind. Unless he meant to pick it up later? But the way Avon had looked, long-term planning was the last thing on his mind. That white-haired guy was his father? Hard to imagine. Very hard. It seemed a bit too coincidental.

Avon most probably thought him dead, if he thought of him at all. A Vila bearing an Orac would probably be more welcome than a Vila without one; but did he have time to get Orac before the troopers woke up? Better check on that secret passage Avon went down - there might be another way out; Avon might have gone to fetch Orac anyway. Vila stepped up to the pillar.

A wavery bellowing disturbed the ambient noise-level. "That stupid alarm again," Vila thought, and continued to inspect the pillar. No tell-tale cracks; not even an interesting knob. This was going to be a challenge. But there was nothing like a challenge to distract him from his bleak current prospects...

"What are you doing?"

"I'm looking for a door," Vila replied absently - and did a double-take. "Who - ?" he quavered, looking around for the owner of the voice.

The voice belonged to a thin, red-headed young man, outlandishly dressed, looking rather pale and cross.

"You're standing in the midst of a massacre, and you tell me you're looking for a door - in what is obviously a very solid pillar?" He rapped his knuckles on it - painfully. "You must be mad!"

"Mad to stay," Vila babbled. "That's my friends there too all dead except Avon and he went through this door and he's not going to leave without me and what's THAT?"

"That" was a large blue cabinet with double doors, taller than a man, standing impossibly solid in the (previously empty) aisle above the steps next to the pillar Vila had been examining.

"That's the TARDIS," the young man explained distainfully.

One of those blue doors opened, and another young man stepped out, nearly stumbling, as his foot encountered air where it was expecting floor.

"He was definitely here," the man muttered, staring fixedly at the device he held before him. He looked to be no more than thirty, with blond hair, beige coat and peculiar striped trousers. "Distinct traces..." he continued, oblivious to Vila or his surroundings. "Off by a few minutes, but there was definitely a TARDIS..." He pointed the device at Vila's pillar. "There!"

"You mean there really was a door -" the redhead began, turning back to Vila.

It was all rather academic to the thief, since he had just noticed something that these strangers did not; one of the troopers was starting to rise - armed! Before you could say "self-preservation", Vila dashed for the closest cover he could see - the Tardis!

It only took a bolt or two from an irate blaster-wielding trooper for the other two to follow suit. Yet again, the tracking gallery was graced with the sound of a dematerializing Tardis.

The Federation Captain's report of the incident was cannily fictitious.

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Kathryn Andersen

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