What Price Victory?By Catherine
Page 1 of 3
Poetry by Oscar Wilde|
I don't really know why I'm writing this down. Seems a bit foolish really. No one likes to read anymore. Vistapes and visbooks are all anyone looks at. But this is more real to me. I know he liked the feel of old-Earth books too, even if he wouldn't admit it. It's for me as much as for him that I do this. I need to know that somewhere, sometime in the future, there will be a record of what really happened. Not the version that the new government will provide but a record of what it was like for us, for Avon and the rest of our people. But especially for Avon, because he did what he didn't have to, didn't want to, and he paid the price for our, for my, victory.
Where to begin? Shortly after we rescued Avalon from Servalan and Travis, Avalon contacted us on Liberator with a plan for finally bringing down those in power. She had managed to unite most of the rebel forces from the outer world and believed that those on Earth would follow me. After some argument from the rest of the crew, Avon most notably as usual, we decided to go to her base and discuss her plan. I asked Avon and Cally to teleport down with me.
"Welcome, Blake, Avon, Cally."
Avalon smiled, reaching out to clasp my hand. She's amazingly really, so tiny but so authoritative.
"Please, sit down."
She gestured towards a series of chairs and couches, clustered around a large table. There were two men already seated. She introduced them as Taron and Veldred. Their names were vaguely familiar and I glanced at Avon for confirmation.
"Leaders of the resistance on Outer Eurasia and New France. Taron," Avon paused for a moment, "was active in the resistance before the time of your group's demise, Blake."
"Yes, Avon. My time with the resistance began before Blake's, but far from Earth. We have been able to largely avoid direct fighting with the Federation. Until now. Listen to Avalon's plan, Blake."
He turned towards me, away from Avon, and I sat down. Cally also sat and, after a moment, Avon joined us. He still looked wary, but I'd have been surprised if he didn't. Avon's always been the suspicious type. Even though he would have denied it, I always had a sneaking suspicion that concern for us was part of it. But he sat as far from Cally and I was possible while still keeping a safe distance between himself and the other rebels. He saw me staring at him and glared back until Avalon's voice drew my attention away.
"I asked you all here to propose a solution to our problem of bringing down the Federation. A plan that will minimize the number of causalities, particularly civilian ones."
Avalon paused for a moment, and I looked round at the rest of her audience. Both Taron and Veldred were watching with rapt attention as was Cally. Avon's attention was divided between Avalon and the other rebels, as though he was listening to Avalon but observing them. Pulling out a large map, Avalon spread it across the table and we all crowded in to see.
"The key to destroying the Federation is in eliminating their command structure. The common soldier obeys his superiors. Eliminate those superiors and he will be unable to function."
Veldred shifted. "But how do you intend to remove that structure?"
"This is what is crucial to the plan. This is the plan of Space Command headquarters. Two days from now, the Federation will be having its annual council meeting. The leaders of the military, including Servalan, as well as many of the governors will be attending. And it is to be at Space Command headquarters."
I was intrigued but I couldn't help wondering. "What do you have in mind, Avalon?"
"An attack on the meeting itself, capturing Servalan and the other leaders, while you disable their communications structure, the main computer centre for Headquarters."
Avon spoke up. "Why bother to capture them? It would be simpler to destroy the entire complex from space."
I wasn't surprised at Avon's comments and I suspected he wouldn't approve of her answer either.
"Many people would die in such an attack. They may not be innocents but it would be much more effective to try them in court; to let people know that their new government will provide justice, not summary execution."
Avon's lip curled into a sneer. He didn't care much for lefty visions of justice. He preferred to fight for what he wanted, not trusting in the ideals of others. An Alpha elite, he had been abused by the system as much as the lowest Delta.
Slowly I brought my mind back to Avalon's plans. "Your forces will handle the attack while we," I gestured at my companions, "simply shut down the computer centre?"
"Yes, Blake. It shouldn't be too difficult for you. A couple of your people, in and out quickly. And Liberator to hold off any cruisers that might be alerted before the communications is shut down. Once the communications have been shut down, you can join up with our ships and mop up any Federation ships that try to stop us. Taron will be coordinating the ship movements. We have four modified space cruisers. My people and I can handle the command security."
It seemed like a good plan to me. I could tell Cally liked it. There would be no innocents at Space Command to be endangered. Avon's expression gave nothing away. He seemed to be considering.
"It's a good plan, Blake." Cally smiled slightly; perhaps she could tell that I was inclined to agree.
"Your answers, gentlemen?"
Taron and Veldred both agreed. I turned again to Avon. His silence was a bit unnerving. I was used to his vocal opposition or his silent disapproval. Neither were apparent. But he was watching me carefully, giving nothing away.
"I agree. We will take out the communications structure and keep away any flotillas that may try to stop you."
Avalon looked very pleased.
"I have more detailed plans for the computer centre, Blake. If you and the others would like to examine them."
Avon reached out smoothly and took the papers from her hand.
"I assume that the attack will commence after we have destroyed the communications?"
"Assuming you do so on schedule," Avalon commented.
Avon's gaze left Avalon and returned to the plans. Cally was looking over his shoulder and he smiled faintly at her. I envied her. True, Avon probably didn't sleep with her either, but at least he looked at Cally. Damn my stupid reactions to him. It wouldn't do for Avon to ever guess my true feelings for him. Partially to distract myself, I asked Avalon whether she intended for the whole complex to be destroyed or just the communications module.
"Just the communications, Blake. We'll need the rest of the computer system to help reorganize the government. Just do enough damage to prevent easy repair. We don't want to create more work for ourselves than necessary."
I frowned slightly. Avon's head had risen sharply at her words. I half listened to what she was saying, trying to concentrate on Avon's words instead of wondering how much he'd hate me if he knew I wanted to fuck him.
"The degree of precision will require specific placement of the detonating devices. Otherwise, the whole complex will be destroyed. It would take weeks to repair."
"That's definitely too long." Taron spoke up. "By that time, the remaining government would be in chaos. We need the control that the computer and communications centre provides."
Avon didn't look impressed. In fact, disapproval radiated from him. But he stayed silent. And I felt that it was up to me to reassure Avalon that we would carry through.
"I will place the detonators, Avon and I can determine the optimal locations."
Before Avon could speak~I know he wanted to~Avalon smiled and nodded.
"Good, Blake. Why don't you stay and we can talk about the battle plans? Avon and Cally can take the plans back to your ship and let the rest of your crew in on the mission."
Both Avon and Cally rose immediately. Avon didn't look very pleased at my remaining behind but he didn't say anything. Cally looked a little concerned but I think her concern was for Avon, not me. They called for teleport and the four of us settled down to discuss the rest of Avalon's scheme.
* * *
My return to Liberator was relatively peaceful. No arguments from Avon or the others. We sat down and I told them all the details.
"Ideas anyone? How should we go about planting the detonators?"
Cally suggested planting three small charges across the main communications feeds.
"The damage will be minimal and require," she glanced at Avon, "about ten hours to repair. Enough time for Avalon's take-over but the damage will not be so great as to impede repair once the take-over is complete."
He turned towards me, dark eyes gleaming and I couldn't prevent my instinctive reaction. But I covered my tension well, hiding it behind impatience.
"Cally's suggestion is a good one. I concur with her assessment."
"Very well then. Tell me where I should place the explosives."
"Where you should place them? You can't be thinking of going alone?" It was Jenna who spoke up.
"Why not? Only one of us is required to set them. It seems senseless to risk anyone else."
"But that one will not be you, Blake. I will go."
For a moment, all I could do was stare. Avon volunteering to go? Why?
The smile he gave was not reassuring. He shrugged slightly, elegantly.
"I am the computer expert, Blake. If something is not as it is in the plans, I will know and be able to adjust. Therefore, I will go."
"Not alone," I argued.
His face darkened, anger brightening his eyes, tightening the skin around them. I had never seen him quite so beautiful, or so furious. And it was all directed at me. He left his station, coming to lean down over me where I sat on the flightdeck couch. I could almost feel the angry heat radiating from him. I just couldn't understand why.
"Yes, Blake. Alone. For the same reason you gave."
The others looked as confused by Avon's actions as I felt. I believed that if we discussed it alone, I could convince him that I should go along. I certainly didn't intend to let him run the risk of this mission by himself. I definitely didn't believe the reason he gave, but maybe if the others weren't there, he could tell me why he wanted to do this.
"Come with me, Avon. I want to talk to you. Alone."
His eyes flashed at me but he made no comment, following me off the flightdeck.
* * *
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