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In Broken Images

By Catherine
Page 1 of 2

story by Catherine Salmon, poetry by Robert Graves


      {"Sub-Heading" off}Even on the London, he influenced me. He reached out, whether in need or, as he might claim, in friendship, it hardly matters. But that was where it began.




Avon sat quietly, alone, studying a piece of paper. He didn't even glance up as Blake entered the room, moving to sit across from him. He was aware of the big man's presence though, Blake was hard to ignore.

      "If you had access to the computers, could you open the doors?" Blake's eyes were intent, gazing off into space.

      Avon didn't even bother to look up. "Of course. Why?" And why am I not surprised at the question, he thought to himself.

      "Just wondered how good you really were?"

      You've planned this, Blake, Avon thought sardonically. You know exactly what I'm capable of. "Don't try and manipulate me," he said aloud.

      "Why should I try and do that?"

      "You need me."

      "Only if you can open the doors."

      I don't want to be needed, thought Avon in irritation. He considered Blake's plan, duelling verbally, while part of him chased after possible alternatives. There were none. He watched Blake pace, listened to him speak again.

      "You'll do it then?"



      Avon made up his mind. For now he would follow Blake's lead. Blake was a fellow alpha and he appeared to have an acceptable plan.

      I'm too tired, he admitted to himself. I don't want to think, don't want to dream. He shivered slightly, then rocked with the ship as it shifted sharply. Blake was watching him and his gaze said now. Avon rose.


      He is quick, thinking in clear images;

      I am slow, thinking in broken images.



"You really do intend to attack Control, don't you, with or without your faithful crew?"

      Blake, seated on the couch, looked up at the question. Avon was standing just beside Orac, his gaze curious rather than scathing. They were alone on the flight deck, the others having gone off to talk among themselves. Blake contemplated his companion's question, wondering at the reasons behind it. "Of course I do. It's the heart of the Federation's power, destroying it would be a crippling blow to the Federation, the opening the rebellion needs."

      "And if none of us choose to accompany you?"

      Now that, Blake thought, was a different twist from Avon's usual. Avon was always interested in his own welfare, what possible interest could he have in Blake's?

      "Then I go alone. I believe that I can destroy Control, with or without your assistance. Kasabi and her forces will be there." Blake paused, irritated by Avon's apparent indifference. "I don't want to do it alone but I will if I have to. It must be done, Avon."

      "Restoring power to the common man, how noble." Avon's voice dripped scorn. "The masses you so long to free care nothing for you. Your death would be meaningless, as would all of ours."

      "Afraid, Avon?"

      "No, concerned that you are not thinking. One of many constant concerns, I'm afraid."

      Blake couldn't help but smile at the sharp words. Avon did care. This was the only way he could show it, that was all. I know you, Avon, better than you know yourself, he thought fondly.

      "That's why I keep you around, Avon. You do my thinking for me." He smiled up at the technician, watching Avon tense up even more. Avon hated being caught out and Blake loved to do it.

      "I don't like it, Blake. The odds would be against us."

      "They always have been. We'll still win. With Kasabi's help, we will take Control."

      Blake turned away then, returning his attention to his plans, hopeful that Avon would support him in spite of the man's reservations. He was sure the rest of the crew would back him, despite their fears, they would want to make the attempt. Kasabi would be there too. Blake trusted that she would contact him, that everything would go, if not exactly as planned, then close enough. He never guessed that Gan would pay the price for his over-confidence.


      He becomes dull, trusting to his clear images;

      I become sharp, mistrusting my broken images.



Blake leaned against the wall, as he watched Servalan's headquarters rock with the strength of Liberator's attack. They had hit quickly and were off, unwilling to risk themselves further.

      Avon was aware that they were all upset by Gan's death, perhaps Blake most of all, inevitably holding himself responsible. And rightly so, Avon thought, as he watched Blake, you will be the death of us all. Blake seemed anything but threatening now though. The others had left Avon to his watch. Blake remained, depressed and depressing.

      Avon glared at him but Blake took no notice, staring off into space.

      "Feeling guilty, Blake?" Avon enquired nastily. Can I shock you out of this stupor? Avon wondered. Make you angry enough to think for a change? The look on Blake's face wasn't of anger though. Hurt maybe, for a moment; then resignation, acceptance.

      "Yes, do you care?"

      Avon had to look away. Damn Blake for always pointing out his own inconsistencies. Cruel to be kind, was how Blake interpreted Avon's actions, no matter how nasty he was. "When your mistakes could cost me my life, yes, I care."

      He paused, stepped to Blake's side. "You won't succeed, Blake. And no one will thank you for the effort. You'd be better off using Liberator to save yourself, and us, from the Federation. The masses don't wish to be freed."

      "You don't really believe that?"

      Blake's shock was apparent. He couldn't understand Avon's point of view, couldn't see past his own cause. It was his life, it gave him something to fight for and he believed in it implicitly, in its worthiness. It was purpose, meaning; but not for Avon.

      "Maybe not," Avon finally said, "but I don't believe that I was cut out to be a martyr. Certainly not for the sake of people I haven't even met and couldn't care less about." Avon could tell that his little speech was beyond Blake's comprehension. The rebel didn't believe Avon's words. He believed what he wanted to believe, as he always had.


      Trusting his images, he assumes their relevance;

      Mistrusting my images, I question their relevance.


Destroy Star One and the Federation will fall. Blake was so certain that it was the only way. Avon wasn't so sure. He had suggested to Blake that they control it instead, sure that Blake's altruistic nature would make him jump at the chance to save lives. He was surprised by Blake's response.

      "No, Avon."

      "Why not?"

      Blake rose to face the smaller man, inches away, but the distance between them greater than ever.

      "Because that much power could corrupt anyone."

      "You don't trust me?" It wasn't really a question, Avon assumed that he was the problem, that Blake didn't believe that the computer expert could resist the chance at wealth. Avon however, was mistaken.

      "Anyone, Avon." Even me. It hung there, unspoken. For the first time, Avon wondered. Did Blake mean that he might abandon his belief in freedom for his beloved masses in favour of replacing Servalan or did he simply fear that he would become the benevolent dictator; his people's best interests at heart but going about it all wrong?

      "Do the ends justify the means, Blake?"

      Blake was looking at Avon again, intensely. But there was no hesitation in his response.

      "They have to, Avon. Otherwise, all it has been is senseless violence, no better than Servalan or Travis."

      Avon saw that Blake believed it, every word that he said. Avon had often advocated the same type of philosophy, justifying all his actions in terms of his own survival. Blake's terms were a little broader seemed wrong coming from him, inconsistent with his own principles.

      Irrelevant to consider it though. Blake had made up his mind to destroy Star One, that was the answer. Avon would help but still, he wondered; was the Federation the problem or people who wanted to be led? There was no guarantee that the government to replace the Federation would do any better. Even Blake conceded the corruptibility of man, and he was the least corruptible man Avon knew.


      Assuming their relevance, he assumes the fact;

      Questioning their relevance, I question the fact.




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