Argus and Cally looked worriedly at Avon as he lay unconscious in the medical bay. After Cally had called for help, Argus and Reya had rushed to the flight deck. Argus carried the unconscious Avon to the medical facilities, leaving Reya to watch the ship.
"What happened, Cally?" asked Argus.
"I'm not sure. We were talking and he suddenly collapsed," replied Cally.
"It's got to be something more than that. What were you talking about? Did it trigger another episode?"
Cally hesitated. Avon had started to open up to her on the flight deck. She didn't know if she should share what he said with someone else, but Avon needed help.
"It seemed different this time," began Cally. "I don't think it had anything to do with the nightmares or some of the other things that give him trouble. It went back much further. He seemed to be having problems remembering his past."
"You mean not the recent past?" asked Argus.
"Yes. I think he was trying to remember something from a long time ago but he couldn't. The stress of it caused him to collapse," said Cally.
"Why is this happening?" asked Argus. He was very concerned.
"I'm not certain. We need someone with psych experience to help Avon. I can't. I don't even know where to start. But Avon won't trust outside help. He's afraid that Servalan would have access to anyone he needs and it would be a trap."
"He does have a point there," said Argus. "We found someone once. It was a big mistake."
"Was that Professor Tarkson? Avon told me about him," asked Cally.
"Yes. He turned out to be working for Servalan," said Argus.
Avon groaned and opened his eyes. They both looked down at him.
"Why am I here?" asked Avon as he registered where he was. He sat up.
"How are you feeling?" asked Cally.
"Did something happen?" asked Avon as he looked at each of them. It was clear something had happened but he couldn't remember what.
"Don't you remember?" asked Argus.
"If I did, I wouldn’t be asking," said Avon.
"What was the last thing you recall?" asked Cally. "Do you remember being with me on the flight deck?"
"I...did we do something?" asked Avon. He was concerned if they had done something important and he didn't remember it.
"We were talking."
"I don't remember that," said Avon. He put his hand to his head; there was a familiar pain.
"Does your head hurt?" asked Cally.
"The conditioning. It feels like my head is being squeezed."
They both looked at him in alarm. Argus rushed over to the medical terminal and pulled up the restricted files Sester had given him. He played the audio file. Sester's voice sounded over the speaker. "It's time to rest, Avon."
They waited and watched Avon.
After a few moments, Avon said, "Nothing. The pain is not decreasing." He concentrated, trying to assess what was going on with his mind. "But neither is it increasing. It appears to be different."
"Is this good?" asked Argus as he came back over.
"Well, if it is only a constant pain, then it would be a mild annoyance but easily remedied," said Avon.
"But what is causing it?" pointed out Cally.
Argus said, "Perhaps Healer Garett can help again."
Avon considered this. "Yes. He may be able to help. I would trust him more than anyone else we would be likely to find." He touched his head again. "The pain appears to be decreasing."
"I'm glad," said Cally. "I would prefer not having to give you more drugs."
"The drugs," mused Argus.
They turned their attention to him.
"Have they become less effective?" asked Argus. "You've been having more problems recently. It could be a result of the increased stress but it could also be the drugs."
Cally said, "The body does develop a resistance to drugs that are used continuously over a long period of time."
"Increase the dosage," suggested Avon. He slid off the bio-bed.
Argus said "We should also reduce your stress level until we can get you help."
He turned to Cally and asked, "Is what you are planning for Avon restful? That might help. He's been under too much pressure lately; plus the breaking of the conditioning. His mind may not have had enough time to readjust or to recuperate."
"That's a possibility," said Cally. "What I have planned should help."
"It might also relieve stress if you told Avon what it was you were planning," said Argus.
Cally said to Avon, "I have arranged with the Pleasure City personnel to give you access to their simulation technology. You can work with their scientists and engineers and they will answer any questions you have. They have arranged a private space for you so that you can do whatever work or experimentation that you want to. Everything you need will be available to you."
Avon stared at her. This was a bit more than his normal expressionless stare as his mind processed what to do next. It had been a long time since anyone thought about what he might like; even longer since anyone had cared enough to do something about it.
Avon finally said, "Thank you, Cally. That is the best holiday I could imagine." It was said in the unfamiliar warm tone they had heard before on the flight deck; the tone which had made Vila think he was an alien. Avon moved towards Cally hesitantly. For a moment, she wondered if he was going to hug her. Avon reached forward with his hand. They were all waiting. He touched her on the arm and said again warmly, "Thank you."
Cally searched his eyes. There was sincerity there as well as warmth. But beyond that, underneath, she felt something she had been waiting for, something which was not tied with rationality.
"Then let's get the two of you down to Pleasure City. Avon how's your head?" asked Argus.
"The pain is gone," replied Avon. The brief moment of warmth was gone. He was back to the old rational Avon. Cally continued staring at him. The external warmth may have disappeared, but the internal had not. She wondered about Avon`s mind and his loss of control over it. It seemed to be having affects which were both good and bad.
Would it be important enough to you to keep the good things even after you are healed, Avon?"
"Cally, what do you think of increasing the dosage on the drugs? Would it cause any adverse effects?" asked Argus.
Cally turned her attentions away from Avon and replied, "I don’t see any harm in a slight increase."
"Avon?" asked Argus.
"It’s unfortunate that we can’t consult ORAC," said Avon.
"I don’t think you afford to wait. Do you?" asked Argus.
"There’s no point. Cally."
She nodded, went over to a drawer and took out a bio-injector. After adjusting the dosage, she gave Avon an injection. Avon closed his eyes, trying to assess the effects, if any, of the additional measure of drugs.
As they watched Avon, Argus said, "I will ask Reya to contact her brother and let him know that we need Garett. Cally, concentrate on helping Avon. Vila and I will take over your watch."
"That's not necessary," said Avon, opening his eyes. He refused to be the focus for everyone’s attentions; especially if that attention was pity or sympathy.
"I think it is," said Argus.
"Avon, you're important to us. You have to let us help you," said Cally.
"We will not accept that you don't need help. Because you do," said Argus. "Don't let your pride get in the way."
"Avon, please. Let us do this for you," sad Cally.
Avon stared at her. "I’m not used to people helping me," he told her.
"You just don’t want to admit that you need help," said Argus.
"And you would?" asked Avon sarcastically.
"You have a point," said Argus. "But I would do it for Reya."
Avon turned to look at Cally. Unlike with him, there was no need to guess what she was feeling. Her concern and caring was evident on her face. He remembered telling Blake once that Cally was more human than he was. Avon hated to admit weakness; to acknowledge that he needed anyone except himself.
"Do I have a choice?" he asked her.
Cally knew that this was an important question for him. For their relationship to grow and have a chance, he needed to be reassured.
"You will always have a choice with me, Avon," said Cally.
"Alright, Cally. I will do it for you,” he told her.
"How could anyone get this drunk in just one hour!" said Allren with irritation as he tried to help Vila into bed.
"Not drunk. Didn't drink enough," slurred Vila as he fell face forward onto the bed.
"You could have fooled me," commented Allren. "What was he drinking? Suicide Blasters?"
"No. He really didn't have that much to drink," said Ture. "What happened back there?" He could see that Allren was angry and worried.
"Serella came looking for me at the bar."
"That's a good thing. Isn't it?" Ture asked.
"She came to tell me that you two were in trouble and that I had to get you out."
"I'm sick of it," Allren said angrily.
"I used to have a life! And it didn't involve having to follow you around all the time and bailing you out of trouble!"
"I'm sorry. I'll try harder," promised Ture.
"It's not enough anymore. I'm tired. You always feel sorry but it never changes anything."
"You must hate me."
"I don't! Why do you think I keep bailing you out? Because I hate you?!" Allren was very angry now. "You don't get it, do you?! You never did! You're my friend! I could never see you hurt. But I can't keep doing this. My life can't just be about bailing you out. And that's all it ever seems to be these days." He sounded tired. "I need to have a life too, Ture."
"I want you to have one. I do. I've been an ungrateful imbecile. You've always been a good friend. And I've used it. I was never that much of a friend to you. It was always you doing something for me. Keeping me out of trouble. I really appreciate it. I've never told you that. Look what if I run everything by you first?"
"No! We both need a life, Ture. I am not your guardian and I'm not your boss. We're partners!"
"Yes, I know." They both fell silent.
Allren calmed down. He had been surprised by his own outburst. "Look, Ture. I don't mind bailing you out occasionally. But I draw the line at making it a full time job."
"I guess I took it for granted that you would always help me. I never thought that you stopped having a life because of it."
"Shhhhh. How's anyone supposed to get some sleep?" asked Vila as he turned over in the bed. His voice still sounded slurred. He started snoring.
"Well, we do make a good team," said Allren, in a quieter voice.
"Yes, we do," said Ture in a whisper.
"And sometimes the trouble you get us into is fun..."
Ture grinned at him. "Is there anything I can do for you? Help you get Serella back?"
Allren thought for a moment. "Well, there might be something. I think Serella might be in danger."
"Danger?" asked Ture with alarm.
"That's the reason she came to get me. She said you and Vila had attracted the wrong kind of attention. Something about new management partners. She also said that they made the Terra Nostra look tame."
"The Terra Nostra is bad enough. What do you want me to do?" Ture asked.
"Use your hacking skills. See if you can find out anything about these new partners, without them getting wise," said Allren.
"I'll need access to a terminal connected to their PPC computers. Do you think Serella can do that?"
"I don't want to get her involved. She's already risked enough giving us a warning. There were two nasty characters in the casino watching the two of you."
"I didn't see them," said Ture.
"You were busy," said Allren.
"Then I need a computer with interface capabilities. Maybe they have one on the ship."
"Then go back to the ship and find out. I'll watch our sleepy friend."
"Maybe Avon can help," said Ture. His face brightened up at the prospect of working with Avon again.
"Don't forget that Cally said not to tire him out," reminded Allren.
"I won't. I don't mind getting in trouble to help you," said Ture with a smile.
Allren sighed and rolled his eyes.