Encounter on JevronBy Jackie Speel
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It was only after he left the Liberator that Blake realised how much he had
relied on his association with the ship to promote his cause.|
It was not his intention to be following his own path - but with the battle against the Andromedans the Liberator had become so damaged that they had had to abandon ship. And that was where the problems started.
Try as he might Blake could not link up with the Liberator again - he kept on just missing them or found he was pursuing echoes that came to nothing. And, from what he did hear the Liberator crew were doing the same, for a while at least.
There were also occasional relayed messages - usually long after the passage. Blake was glad that he had followed Vila's advice before abandoning the Liberator - that as they might not be picked up immediately, they should take some of the more portable wealth of the Liberator's treasure room with them to tide them over.
Eventually, it seemed, those who were on the Liberator came to the same conclusion that Blake had reached. The space the sometime Federation occupied was so large that they could spend all their lives chasing rumours that came to nothing.
He did not blame Avon the realist for making the decision. Avon had always made it clear he wanted to use the Liberator to explore, which was one of the things he seemed to be doing now. It was an ambition Blake could not deny him. Especially as the political system was in a state of flux which the rebels seemed unable to take advantage of, on the large scale - there were a number of local successes, more temporary than not.
One day he found himself on Jevron, having attended a rebel meeting. The local authorities in the seaside town they had met were aware that they were slightly less than legitimate, but were prepared to ignore them so long as they did not draw attention to themselves: they had to spend money, and they might encourage tourism.
Blake was among the last to leave - they left in ones and twos to avoid drawing attention to themselves - and enjoyed a brief respite from being a rebel leader. He had decided that, for the present, he would step back from the rebel leader position he had held for much of the past two years.
He sat on a bench watching the beach and the sea, thinking about his future. It would be easy enough, he accepted, to decide to use this planet as a base, and combine his profession and his rebel activities. Others could take on the leading role he had had for the past couple of years. Perhaps he could take up a role similar to that of Avalon or Del Grant, using his knowledge, contacts, and skills where needed.
He would have to find a reason why though, for stepping back from the larger struggle and merely providing help locally where appropriate and wanted. It would have to satisfy himself, as well as Avon, should they meet up again.
There was also the option of a slow drifting back into quiet anonymity. Then in five, ten, whenever, years someone would say 'It is Blake the rebel isn't it?'
'Sorry - didn't mean to startle you.'
It took Blake a few moments to recognise the man.
'Dochelli?' A nod. 'What are you doing here?' He indicated that Dochelli sit beside him, and the other man did.
'Same as you - having a rest while I decide what to do next - I've been working in a hospital here, but the work's coming to an end.' Now that the secret of Star One was irrelevant he was in less danger.
'You still with the Liberator?'
'We were involved in the battle against the Andromedans, had to abandon ship, and have not yet linked up again.' If the two of them parted company, Blake would send a message through Dochelli - not a big favour to ask in return for what had been done for him.
'Care to join up for a while - two's company?'
'I quite like this planet,' Blake admitted. 'I was thinking how easy it would be to settle here, and be forgotten until years later someone asked the question you did,' he added with a laugh.
'There are people who would see a message in that. Not that I'm superstitious mind.'
Blake could understand what Dochelli meant though. So back to the more immediate issue.
'I am prepared to consider it. No strings attached, and no long term commitments expected?' Though they might well find themselves still operating together twenty years later.
'You say this might be a pleasant planet to stay - but would you change your mind if you knew that President Servalan is coming for a flying visit, and I would rather not encounter her. Yes, it's true,' Dochelli said in response to Blake's surprise. 'Big secret until afterwards - security and whatever. The hospitals are alerted of course.'
'I better leave as well then - for the same reasons as you.' Blake had a sudden idea. 'Are you still working at the hospital?'
'For a few days at least. Why?'
'Can you lay your hands on a spare body?'
'There are always a few unclaimed bodies. Why?' Understandable suspicion.
'I have been thinking,' Blake had a brief memory of Avon casting doubt on such a statement, 'about my role as rebel, and where I stand in relation to everything.'
'Life, the universe and everything... So what did you decide?'
'I might want to start again - and, at the very least, it might be useful if the Federation thinks I am dead.'
'So you want to give Servalan something convincing, while letting the rebels know that you are still around?'
'Something like that.' He had "come back from the dead" when Ravella had got in touch with him, and he had been given the opportunity presented by the Liberator: he could do it again now. What sort of opportunities would an "invisible rebel" have?
Servalan decided to keep the information about Blake's death secret. It had been convincing enough - but what better way to partially neutralise the threat posed by the rebels than by having them look to someone who could not pose a threat to the Federation.
Besides, she might be able to make use of the information in future.
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