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Windows of the Soul

By Kathy Hintze
Page 2 of 5

"Vila? Vila, can you hear me?"

A voice sounding very much like Blake's prodded Vila back to consciousness. Had they discovered the trap and rescued him? He tried to open his eyes to see if it really was Blake but they refused to work. He must still be paralyzed. Then Vila heard another voice and his blood ran cold.

"I told you, Blake." It was Devlan. "They worked him over pretty badly. You can tell that by the bruises. It will take time."

Bruises, what bruises? Vila wondered. I didn't have any bruises unless... Ah, after he put me under, he must have had that guard... Well, one thing nice about paralysis, he thought to himself, at least I didn't feel anything.

"I realize that, Devlan," Blake replied. "And I appreciate the fact you volunteered to take care of him. There's no telling what might have happened to Vila otherwise."

Volunteered? No, Blake, it's a trap, Devlan is working for the Federation, Vila cried in his mind, but how could he tell Blake that? How could he warn any of his companions? There was simply no way. No way at all.

Light exploded into the darkness. Someone had opened his eyes. There was nothing but blurry images at first, then gradually they focused on the shape looming over him. Devlan was staring down at Vila, smiling like an executioner awaiting his next victim.

"I know you can hear me, Restal. I thought you might like to see as well. Your friends seem very worried about you, especially Blake. But not to worry, it won't be long and all of you will be together again. Commander Melcott notified the Supreme Commander the moment you and I were teleported up. And it's only a matter of time before they trace the homing beacon I brought with me."

He reached into his pocket and drew out a small metallic cylindrical shaped object no larger than a man's index finger. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Devlan asked Vila, holding the device before his eyes so Vila could see it. "The lab finished it just in time. Much less clumsy than the one in the interrogation room, don't you think?" He smiled cruelly down at Vila. "Yes, completely miniaturized with self-contained power unit. But just as effective as the larger unit."

Devlan flicked a tiny switch on the casing and a barely audible hum emanated from the device. He held the disruptor against Vila's throat for several seconds, then switched it off and slipped the device back into his pocket. "There now. That should insure your silence for a little while longer. It wouldn't do to have the effect wear off too soon, now would it?" he added. The medical unit door slid open then and the Federation spy turned away from the helpless thief.

A face drifted into view. Cally's face, and Vila longed for the gift of telepathy, or that Cally could read his thoughts so he could warn her of Devlan's treachery. But the interrogator had seen to it that he could not even move his eyes. In fact, the pupils were fixed, staring upward into the brilliance of the medical unit's lights.

Cally glanced up at the lights and shook her head. "Too bright," she murmured aloud and left Vila's range of vision. A few seconds later, the glaring overhead lights diminished to a soft glow and Vila gave a mental sigh of relief. Cally returned, a worried expression on her face. "Vila," she said gently. "Vila, it's all right. Do you understand? You are on board Liberator. You are safe now."

Safe? None of us are safe, Cally, Vila thought. Not as long as Devlan is running around loose.

"He's tired, Cally," Devlan murmured and moved her back out of sight. "He must rest now." Devlan leaned forward and smiled wickedly, then closed Vila's eyes.

No, don't, please. Too late. Don't panic, Vila told himself. You've been in worse spots before. I have? asked another part of his mind, when? You've beaten the best psychotherapists in the business. Don't let Devlan get to you. Easy for you to say, the other voice said again. Gotta rest and think. You can't do both, you know, the other voice pointed out. Shut up and go to sleep. All right, all right!


A rustling sound woke Vila up. Someone was in the room with him, someone who was searching the place as quietly as possible. Instinctively, Vila tried to see who it was. His eyes! They were open! Then the paralysis must have worn off. But as Vila tried to move the rest of his body, his joy crumpled. Nothing. The rest of him was still paralyzed. Well, at least he could move his eyes and that might just be enough.

Vila strained to see who was in the room with him, then caught a glimpse of dark hair. Avon? Then a slender, graceful arm. Definitely not Avon. Cally, then? Yes, it was Cally.

Cally was quietly going through the drawers, making up a list of the medical supplies they were running low on when she felt someone watching her. Turning around, she saw Vila's eyes upon her and smiled.

"Vila? How do you feel?" Vila didn't speak or move, he just stared at her and Cally sighed in disappointment. A disappointment she quickly concealed. "Well, at least you're improving. Blake and the others will be so relieved and Devlan...he will be so happy when I tell... She stopped.

Vila was blinking furiously at her. He seemed to be trying to tell her something. Something very important. Puzzled, she walked over and stared down at him. "Vila, what is it? Are you in pain? What...."

The door behind her opened and Devlan entered. "Ah, Cally, here already?" The man moved up beside her and glanced down at Vila. Vila had resumed the blank stare of the day before. "Has he shown any progress?"

Cally remembered Vila's reaction when she had mentioned Devlan and shook her head slightly. "No. I thought that perhaps if I talked to him some more, it might help."

Devlan accepted her explanation with a nod of his head, then asked, "Tell me, did you open his eyes or were they already open?"

Cally looked at him innocently and lied. "No, I opened them. Did I do something wrong?"

Devlan quickly shook his head. "No, Cally, you didn't do anything wrong. I'm sorry." He ran a hand absent-mindedly through his hair. "It's just that I have been so worried about Vila, taking care of him as I have that I tend to forget he has other friends who care. Forget I even mentioned it, all right?"

"If that is what you wish," Cally answered quietly, and watched Devlan cross to the far side of the room. Then she looked back down at Vila. He cannot see your face, Vila, she telepathed. It is safe.

Vila's eyes immediately turned towards her face, pleading, begging, seeking her help. How do I communicate? Vila thought to himself. She knows something is wrong, but how do I tell her? Then he came up with an idea.

Cally was startled as Vila began closing first one eye, then both. He repeated the sequence three times and looked at her with desperate eyes. Understanding dawned in her face. Ah, you want me to ask questions and you will answer them yes or no? One wink for yes and two for no? Vila winked one eye at her, relieved at being understood.

Devlan, he is not what he seems? One wink. He is not working with the Underground. Again he winked once. Then why was he imprisoned with you? Vila gazed at her perplexed as how to answer.

Sorry, I forgot, Cally apologized. But Blake said Devlan was imprisoned with you. Both eyes closed. Not imprisoned, not with the underground. The Federation? He's working with the Federation! Vila signalled yes to Cally, thankful that she had understood him. I must warn Blake and the others. Again Vila signalled yes.

She looked at him uneasily. Vila, will you be all right? If Devlan should suspect something... Vila glanced towards the door and Cally understood. I will warn Blake.

A noise from behind warned them and Cally stepped back away from Vila and sighed. "I wonder if he will ever be himself again."

Devlan came up beside her. "I wouldn't worry about him, Cally. From what I've heard, Vila is a very resourceful fellow. He'll make out, don't worry."

She gazed up at Devlan and nodded thoughtfully. "I have never doubted Vila's resourcefulness, Devlan, just his talent for getting into trouble. Still, you are right. I must go now. Blake will want my report."

"Of course," he said, watching her walk to the door. "And Cally, tell Blake not to worry. Everything will be all right."


As soon as the door slid shut behind her, Cally ran to the nearest wall comm and called Blake. In a very short time, he and Avon joined her in the corridor adjacent to the medical unit where she explained what Vila had revealed to her. Jenna had remained on the flight deck.

"I wouldn't have thought Vila capable of anything like that," Avon mused in a curious tone.

"I wonder what you would have done, given the circumstances?" Cally asked. She received a cool look for an answer.

"We have to get Devlan out of there and away from Vila before he realizes that we know," Blake told them.

"What exactly did you have in mind, Blake?" Avon inquired. "That we storm the medical unit?" Blake frowned at him but didn't answer.

"Whatever we do, Blake," Cally said in a worried voice, "we must hurry. I do not trust Devlan alone with Vila."



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