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Jabberwocky - part 12 - Lifeblood

By Sheila Paulson
Page 1 of 17

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.

Part 9 - Choices

When Avon's son Kyl stows away on a mission and winds up being kidnapped by Servalan, she plans to use him in trade for Blake. Left with an impossible choice, Avon is overruled by Blake himself, and with Jabberwocky's help and the development of a gestalt linkage, the whole crew forms a mental link to confront Servalan and rescue Kyl and Blake.

Part 10 - Program

Jabberwocky and Orac design a program that can hold a complete human personality. They use Dayna's personality - and the program becomes self-aware. Some of the crew want to use the program to get Dayna back, using an android body. Avon finds this impossibly distasteful and tells Blake he will leave the ship if the program becomes part of the crew. In spite of his objections, Avon winds up teamed with Hugh on the planet where the android assembly plant is located, in an attempt to rescue the Dayna android before Servalan can steal it. They escape in a defective ship with Servalan in pursuit, but with the help of Dayna, she is captured.

Part 11 - Overload

Servalan is now a prisoner of the resistance. Held prisoner on Ryalon, she plots to escape, using old programming implanted in Avon at Terminal and the help of the rogue telepath Witt, whom she used once before to try to steal Jabberwocky. When a programmed Avon shoots Tarrant, he is suspected by his own crew. He is forced to use his developing telepathic skills to heal himself of the programming, and then the crew uses linkage to thwart Servalan's escape.


Lifeblood

It is not everyone who has the opportunity to visit their own grave. One might see where one is to lie but to visit the actual grave, to know one's mortal remains lie there and to survive, that is a unique experience. Dayna Mellanby stood under the skies of Sarran, looking down at the place where she and her father had been put into the ground and a chill ran up her spine.

      It wasn't a real chill, of course, just the result of extremely sophisticated programming, simulating the feeling. But her human responses were so well simulated that Dayna sometimes went for days without remembering she was an android.

      There was nothing to help her adjust to such a total change, only her own practical common sense and the support of her friends. Even Avon had tried to help, attempting his own special brand of healing when she had gone to him and confessed it bothered her. Afterwards, he told her reluctantly that it had not been his best effort and she knew it was because he was working with a program rather than the original consciousness that had been Dayna Mellanby. When she had said so, he had shaken his head impatiently. "You misunderstand me, Dayna. Of course that is a part of it, but you are more than the sum of your parts. I cannot deny that. It should be easier for me to help you, having helped Jabberwocky."

      "It's because you were there when I - when the original Dayna died, isn't it?" she had asked gently, knowing it was a touchy subject with Avon, who was only recently comfortable enough with her to risk this much.

      His mouth traced a taut line. "Perhaps. It was not an experience I should care to repeat. I have reached the conclusion I lack the temperament for healer's work."

      "Pity you're so good at it, then. I do feel better, Avon. Nothing you can do can alter what I am. Only I can change how I react to that. Knowing you and the others accept me helps. Perhaps one day I will accept myself."

      He watched her with some discomfort, though their minds had been so closely locked during the healing that she knew she had no secrets from him. "That," he said, "is perhaps the hardest part of all."

      With sudden insight Dayna realized he was no longer talking about her. "You healed yourself, didn't you?"

      "Not completely. I attempted it. I doubt I can fully succeed with myself. I know myself too well." He grimaced. "I have made myself change, but my instincts tell me I may be wrong, and that in lowering my guard to Blake - to all of you - I am exposing myself to intolerable risk."

      "That we'll hurt you?" she asked in surprise. He should know better than that by now.

      "No," he agreed thoughtfully. "That you will... die."

      "We will eventually, all of us." She caught herself. "Well, perhaps not. I'm not sure about this body. If anyone has the fear of surviving one's friends, it's me. You know me and accept me. Strangers might not. In the Federation as it is, I have no rights. Androids can own no property, cannot vote, even assuming voting meant anything, are subject to any human who owns them. In fact, legally you should have an ownership document for me."

      "That's absurd," he returned, distracted from his expectations of betrayal.

      "That's reality. You should hear Blake on the subject. He means to crusade for android rights when the rebellion wins."

      "If it wins," Avon responded cynically.

      "I think the time is coming that we finally might," she contradicted him, grinning. "It would make me feel safer."

      He looked at her seriously. "Do you feel - less than human?"


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Sheila Paulson

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