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Jabberwocky - Part 6 - Kyl

By Sheila Paulson
Page 1 of 11

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.


Kyl

Ryalon was a remote world in the ninth sector, the base of a slowly growing resistance against the Federation; one of the few worlds that had gained freedom and held it in the aftermath of the Andromedan war, largely because it was too far away and of too little value for the Federation to want it back. It was part of a system of four inhabited worlds, all pro-resistance. It would take a fleet to wipe out the pocket of resistance that was Ryalon, and so far neither Servalan nor her successor had made the effort. It was easier to recapture planets with a growing suppressant programme, and consequently, while Federation strength grew again in the Inner Worlds, a planet here and there in the Outer Systems might fall away without too much notice. Since Avalon, coordinator of rebel efforts, had made Ryalon her headquarters, it had been suggested that the system made a more attractive target, but even Supreme Commander Arpel had taken no serious steps in that direction yet. Everyone expected it, but there was still time, and men like Roj Blake made the rounds of worlds which had no strong affiliation to the Terran Federation, working out alliances. Ryalon was also a safe haven for those who opposed the Federation. Ships came regularly into Ryalon bringing all manner of men and women; ardent resisters, spies for both sides, criminals fleeing justice, refugees seeking new lives. Ryalon welcomed new people, but it watched them too, for it would be easy to infiltrate a spy into their midst. It had been done before and would be again. No matter how careful Avalon was, she could never be sure that the new man vowing allegiance wasn't a carefully-placed agent whose purpose was to bring the rebel movement to its knees.

      Routine checks were made on any new arrivals who expressed an interest in the rebel movement. It was vital to maintain security, and those who were questionable were weeded out. Occasionally Avalon's people caught a Federation spy, but a suspicious individual was given a chance to prove himself before being turned away. The new rebels came in all sexes, races, backgrounds, ages.

      Kyl Veelan was one of the youngest, and though he did not deliberately come with that intention, he caused a great deal of trouble.

      Avalon was conferring with Roj Blake, just back from the attempt to retrieve the weapon IMIPAK from the planet Serna. Blake was expressing an interest to track the real IMIPAK before Servalan did so, when Avalon's aide Myles knocked on the door. "Have you a minute for a new man?" he asked, and there was a twinkle in his eyes that suggested his question was largely facetious.

      Avalon seemed to welcome the interruption. "Shall we see the new man together, Blake?" she suggested tactfully.

      Blake was feeling frustrated. He was determined to do something about IMIPAK: the mission to Serna had failed and they had been lucky to escape with their lives. IMIPAK was presumably on the world where they'd left it, guarded by Blake's clone, and he wanted to retrieve the weapon before the Federation did. Though Servalan had been marked by IMIPAK too, she might still find a way to use it. Going to that unnamed planet was too risky for him and Avon, and Avalon had suggested he sent the rest of his crew after it while he stayed behind with Avon. It was a reasonable suggestion, but Blake didn't like the thought of staying safe while his people went into danger on his behalf.

      But this was not the moment to decide, because Myles was issuing the new recruit into the office. "Here he is," the big moustached man said, and withdrew. The recruit stopped just inside the door and drew himself to attention, facing them with a combination of excitement and defiance.

      He was tall, almost Blake's height, though much thinner, and his hair was red, not the almost orange shade that is called carroty but a deep auburn. Instead of being freckled, his skin was fair, and his eyes were an unusual light brown, almost amber, which gave him a catlike appearance, heightened by a sharp nose and a rather full lower lip. He was alert and wary and if he was sixteen years old, Blake would be very surprised.

      Avalon smiled at the boy. "My name is Avalon, and this is Roj Blake." The boy's expression didn't change; he knew them already. But at the back of his eyes glowed something that might be hero worship. He had it rigidly in check as if he'd guessed it would make him seem a child, and now he banished it entirely. A self-possessed young man, to be sure.

      "I'm Kyl Veelan," he announced. "I'd like to join the rebel movement, and I thought it best to come here directly so I could prove my capabilities to you in person." It sounded like a rehearsed speech.

      "Have you come far?" Avalon asked mildly, and Blake suspected she was being careful not to look amused.

      "Only from Sestus V. I'm originally from Earth, but I haven't lived there since I was eleven. You needn't be so careful. I'm old enough to know what I want to do, and old enough to hate the Federation." Emotion, quickly concealed, flashed in his eyes. "They killed my mother." It was an old anguish, but the hatred behind it had festered, and now he was growing up, he had determined to do something about it. It was a cold passion he displayed but no less real for all that.

      "How old are you?" Avalon asked frankly.

      "I'm old enough to know what I want to do," Kyl replied. "Is there an age limit?"

      "Not necessarily," she answered. "But if you're under age, someone must be responsible for you, and we have to consider that."

      "I may be under age, but I'm not under abilities," Kyl defended himself. "I've permission to be here. My guardian let me come. Besides, I've brought you something." He turned to Blake and offered a large envelope.

      "What is it?" asked Blake.

      "Some of the design specifications of the Mark 60 mindship," Kyl explained in carefully matter-of-fact tones, grinning as Blake opened the envelope and pulled out plastex sheets full of diagrams and figures. "You call it Jabberwocky, I think. I was sure they'd be useful."

      "Where did you get them?" Blake demanded with both excitement and suspicion. "Orac hasn't been able to pull this up on the system."

      "That's because a lot has been erased," Kyl answered. "I got into the system about the time the Federation realised who had Jabberwocky. Finding this much was hard. They got on to me and wiped most of it - I think they were afraid Avon or Orac was after it. But I got this much. You probably know all about Jabberwocky's capabilities now, but there might be something useful in there. Consider it my membership application. I'm good with computers." He smiled suddenly and engagingly. "The Federation did that. When they found I had an aptitude, they put me through every course imaginable. They didn't know I'd use it against them."

      "Then they were very short-sighted," said Avalon with just the right amount of sympathy. "They shouldn't have expected loyalty after your mother's death."

      "They thought I was safely programmed," Kyl insisted. "I wasn't. Are the specs enough? Will you take me on?"

      "You'd wonder if we took you so easily," Avalon replied. "We'll have to check you out, and we'll turn Avon loose on those." She pointed to the specs Blake held. "Orac will check you for hidden conditioning. They may have programmed you to come here. If you understand any of that, you're a threat to us, young as you are. If you're everything you claim, you'll find a place with us."

      "Or with us," Blake agreed. He wondered what Avon would say to another specialist who had been good enough to get these charts and diagrams out of the Federation system. He didn't want to take someone this young on missions, but the boy had earned a visit to Jabberwocky. "Avalon, let me take him to the ship. Avon can help keep an eye on him and find out how good he is."

      "Go on board the mindship?" The boy looked excited but hesitant. "I'd like that."

      "Fine. We'll go then. I can't wait to see Avon's face when I give him these." Blake glanced at the specs. "On second thoughts, you can give them to him."

      "But he-" Kyl looked disconcerted.

      "You've heard stories about Avon," Blake realised with a grin. "He can be intimidating, but I think you can stand up to him. What do you say?"

      As if he realised it was a kind of test, Kyl stiffened his shoulders. "It'll be worth it to see the mindship," he decided. "I'm game."

      "Keep an eye on him, Blake," Avalon urged with a warning glance, but he grinned and ignored it. If Jabberwocky and the crew couldn't keep one sixteen-year-old boy out of trouble, he wasn't running a tight ship. Besides, he wanted to see Avon's face when Kyl handed him the specs.

      

      


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