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Trick or Treat

By Willa Shakespeare
Page 1 of 1

BZZZZZZZZZZ.

Avon put the pillow over his head. He was for once drowsy enough to fall asleep without resorting to pills. Surely even on this ship of fools, no one would wish to disturb him once they realized he was asleep.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

"Go 'way," Avon muttered. After all, Vila's ridiculous celebration had one good effect. His 'Knockout Punch' was as relaxing as promised, and all Avon's tensions had melted away. He'd laughed as Blake and Jenna competed in the 'no-hands pass the apple' contest and even unbent enough to allow Gan to play fortune teller with a polished quartz crystal.

But Vila's All-Hallow's Eve was *over* and anyone with half an ounce of sense would leave ...

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. BZZZZZ. BZZZZZZZZZZZ. BZZZ. BZZZZ. BZZZZZZZZZZZ.

"Kill," Avon said softly, "crush, maim, destroy," as he rolled out of bed nude, snatched up his robe, fumbled his way into the armholes, and then lashed the belt around his waist. He made it to the door control with his eyes still half-shut, and slammed his fist down on the access control. "What!?" He snapped even as the door slid open.

"TRICK OR TREAT!" It was Vila's voice, drunk and cheerful, but...

"What are you playing at?" Avon's eyes grew wide as he took in the beaming apparition at his door. Vila was wearing a *dress*, bright red with gold appliques rayed like starbursts across his chest which had been padded out into a pair of asymmetrical bulges. He was also wearing a sort of wig, made of torn-up yellow paper, and garishly overdone makeup.

"It's Halloween! TRICK OR TREAT!" Vila shouted, and the fumes from his breath threatened Avon's eyebrows.

Avon stepped back involuntarily and Vila teetered into the room after Avon on a pair of red platform shoes that added four inches to his height. "Either you give me a treat, or I get to play a trick on you!"

"You're drunk."

"No, I'm not, I'm Jenna! But you didn't even try to guess my costume, did you?" Vila pouted and began to collapse in the general direction of Avon's bed. "You're a sourpuss, you know that, Avon. Back when I was a nipper, everybody always put a little something out for the kiddies on Halloween." He crossed his arms over his abundant chest after two tries, and nodded. "I'm *not* leaving until you give me a treat."

Avon considered his options. If he murdered Vila, he might regret it. Maybe. It certainly wouldn't be a quiet job and even after all this, he was still tired and had some hope of getting to sleep if he could just get rid of the nuisance quickly. He turned to his nightstand and extracted a bottle of fairly decent wine from the unlocked cabinet beneath.

"Fine. Take this, and go."

Vila accepted the wine and peered at the label for a moment, then grinned. Avon winced. Vila had lipstick all over his teeth. "Thanks!" Vila jostled his bosoms back in place and left, navigating by changing tacks every other stride. The door shut behind him, and Avon returned to bed, folding the robe neatly over the chair at his desk.

He lay still for a few minutes, listening to the quiet settle around him. When his ears stopped ringing he shut his eyes.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

"You're a dead Delta," Avon promised, rising to his feet and flinging the robe on, knotting the tie with a vicious jerk. He smashed the door control, and ...

"Trick or Treat!" Cally warbled gleefully.

Avon stared. Cally had put flesh-colored bandages over her forehead so that her hairline seemed to begin somewhere near the top of her head. She was also wearing a baggy tunic covered in brightly colored patches applied at random with medical glue, judging from the scent. She beamed up at Avon and giggled. Apparently Vila's Punch also worked on Aurons. She waved a twisted bit of wire in front of his face. "Guess what this is!"

Avon sighed. "A lockpick, and you're Vila."

Cally frowned. "You guessed!" Then she brightened. "But I still get my treat. Vila said so!"

"Definitely dead Delta," Avon said under his breath. He didn't particularly want to kill Cally. Who would run the medical unit if he did? So he picked up a set of colored markers that he'd been using to sketch diagrams of Liberator's circuitry. "Here," he said ungraciously. "Art supplies." He added an armful of unused printout paper, and Cally toddled off happily, stumbling slightly in her over-sized crepe-soled thief shoes.

He returned to bed and this time dropped the robe over the chair. After a few minutes of tooth-grinding, he began to visualize himself forcing Vila to accompany him on an inspection of the noisiest compartment in the engineering section tomorrow, when the hangover should be at its worst. Avon smiled and began settling into the covers, feeling the tension leaving...

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

Avon let out a snarl and leaped to his feet, flinging the robe on any old way, and stomping to the door. He slammed the opening mechanism.

"Trick or..."

"Yes, yes, I know," Avon said, cutting Jenna off as he eyed her costume. Slinky white dress, hair darkened with shoe polish and slicked down to her head. Lots of tacky jewelry. "Good grief. Servalan."

Jenna was just as drunk as the other two had been. Avon counted himself lucky he'd left the party when he did. He shuddered to think who he'd have got a notion to impersonate. Jenna was bribed with a bottle of rather flowery-scented cologne that Avon hadn't much liked and left, for her own cabin he hoped. He couldn't imagine she'd be much use on the flight deck. Oh, well, let Zen look after himself.

"Two idiots left to be heard from." Avon sat down in his desk chair, fuming. After a quarter of an hour had gone by peacefully, he took off his robe and burrowed back into the now-cold silver sheets. "Never again. No more parties."

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!

Avon made it to the door without conscious thought, or pausing for his robe. He didn't *quite* crack his knuckles punching the access code.

"ARE YOU INSANE!" He shouted into Blake's face. "Don't you know what time it is?! How do you expect me to run your computers and your precious revolution for you if you won't let me sleep!" And then he looked, really looked at Blake. Tight-fitting black leather. One huge, gaudy yellow topaz ring on Blake's left hand. One black eyepatch.

Really tight-fitting black leather. Avon looked more closely, just to be certain. Really well-filled, tight-fitting black leather. Avon shut his mouth to swallow, lest he find himself drooling.

"Trick or treat?" Blake said hopefully into the silence, looking at Avon with equal intensity, and nothing at all to impede the view.

"I'm.... all out of treats," Avon whispered.

Blake stepped in, pushing Avon back into the room by sheer force of will. "Not from where I'm standing, you're not," Blake said in a tone of sheer admiration. "Now, what was that about going to bed?"

.................

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

"Hullo. No, wait... Trick or treat!" Gan called out. He noticed that Avon's door wasn't firmly shut, but kept trying to close only to encounter a shiny black boot.

"Not very tidy," Gan chided, and stepped into the room to pick up the boot to relieve the over-worked door mechanism. He rose, boot in hand, and turned towards the sounds emanating from the other side of the room.

"Bother," Gan said with deep feeling, looking down at the entwined figures jiggling noisily all over Avon's bed. Blake was still wearing the eyepatch and the topaz ring. Gan looked down at the scattered bits of black leather on the floor, and sighed.

"Beat me to it," he said in resignation, and pulled off his own black eye-patch. "Knew I should have gone as a ghost."


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