Avon, Cally, Vila, Ture and Allren were trying to put as much distance between themselves and their former hideout as possible. Their speed was determined by Avon's ability to move, which was not very quickly. Even with the cane, days of being on the run had taken its toll on him.
"I've always said that with hands like that, you would've made a decent pickpocket," said Vila approvingly from behind Avon. "When did you do it? When did you take the gun?"
"You were already looking for an opportunity when you turned around, weren't you? Because she was standing too close," said Ture admiringly. He had positioned himself next to Avon while Cally stood on the other side.
"Not very smart of her," remarked Allren. He was walking beside Vila.
"I bet you took it when she slapped you. She was too preoccupied to notice." Ture was talking excitedly.
Allren was amused by his friend's enthusiasm. Ture didn't often speak unless he had something to say. He was being uncharacteristically talkative and animated.
Both Allren and his friend had been very quiet since meeting Avon. Unusually quiet considering how interested in him they had been before meeting him. The last few days of being on the run and watching the unfolding tensions between the crewmates had made them cautious. Neither one of them had wanted to interfere. But now that things seemed to be better, Ture's fascination had resurfaced.
Cally remarked, "You deliberately provoked her."
Even though there was no reaction on Avon's face, from what he had said before about Ture and Allren, Cally could guess that all of this attention was starting to irritate him.
Avon turned his head briefly to look at her as he continued walking. She always did know him well.
"It wasn't difficult. But it wouldn't have worked if she knew I was able to stand that quickly," said Avon.
Ture had been correct. When Avon had turned around to face Jenna, he had already positioned his body for his move. By only putting pressure on the leg which was strong, he had been able to stand quickly.
"Just how incapacitated are you?" Cally asked curiously.
Avon smiled slyly. "Enough."
"That doesn't tell me anything," she told him.
"Exactly. I did tell you that I was watching for opportunities."
"You did. But you fooled all of us."
"You never asked. You all assumed."
"Yes. We must remember to ask you more often," said Cally wryly.
"Yes. You should," said Avon.
"When you heard that the Federation sweep was over. You realized that leaving was now a safer option," said Allren.
Avon was surprised. This was the kind of strategic reasoning he would have expected of Argus. He hadn't expected any of them to notice this detail as the catalyst which prompted him to begin looking for an opportunity to escape.
There was something else which he had reasoned, which none of them seemed to have picked up on. When Jenna had come in with the armed rebels, it was not a good sign. Especially given the additional detail of the food, which made no provision for him.
Avon surmised that it wasn't just spite on Jenna's part. They had come for him, most likely to remove him from the others, so they could force him to work on ORAC without interference or support.
When Jenna had made the mistake of standing over him, a pathetic attempt at intimidation, he instantly seized the chance. Like the others, she had assumed that because of his physical difficulties, that he was helpless and did not present much of a threat.
They finally reached a deserted alley just off the main commercial square and stopped.
"What are we doing here?" asked Vila.
"Cally, do you think you can find your young thief friend? Ask him if he can find us a place to stay for a few days?" asked Avon.
"Palty? Yes. I should have thought of him myself," said Cally. She handed her satchel to Allren and prepared to go in search of the thief.
"Don't tell him anything that he doesn't need to know. And be careful," warned Avon.
As they waited for Cally to contact Palty, there was something about what happened which had been bothering Vila. He finally realized what it was.
Avon had been leaning against the wall, keeping a look-out for Cally's return. He rubbed his shoulder absently. It had begun bothering him lately. "What is it?"
"Are you prepared to sacrifice your friends to get to me?" Vila repeated Avon's words to him.
Avon looked at him sharply. The look on Vila's face was troubled as they stared at each other.
"You would, wouldn't you?" said Jenna cynically. They both remembered what Jenna had said.
"Jenna believed it," said Avon.
"She would," said Vila. He continued staring at Avon.
Ture and Allren looked at the two men with puzzled expressions. Neither of them could understand the sudden increase in tension.
"You used Jenna's paranoia against her," said Allren. "You knew that she would believe that of you." To him this sounded reasonable.
"It worked beautifully," said Ture.
"Yes, it worked," said Vila.
"Even better than I had expected," said Avon. His gaze had never left Vila's.
"Avon…." Vila wanted to discuss it further, but with Ture and Allren there, it wasn't the time. "Never mind."
"I need a place to hide for a few days," Cally told her young thief friend, Palty. "Preferably someplace out of the way. A place I can escape from quickly if I had to."
"Are you in trouble?" asked Palty.
"It's safer if you didn't know," said Cally.
The others were waiting in an alley nearby, trying to keep out of sight. With no knowledge of who belonged to the rebels or not, it was safer not being more visible.
Palty asked, "How large a place you looking for? If it's just you then there is a couple."
"I need a larger place."
"You've got friends?"
"It's…" Cally hesitated. She remembered Avon's warning about giving out too much information.
"I get it. It's safer if I don't know."
"Right. Let me dump some stuff first and I'll meet you back here in two hours."
Cally went back to where the others were staying out of sight. She told them what Palty had said.
"Where do we go for two hours?" asked Vila.
"We stay here. And watch," said Avon. "This is a discreet enough place."
"Watch? What's there to watch?" asked Vila.
"You're afraid of a trap?" asked Allren.
"He's always afraid of traps, and conspiracies and people planning things behind his back," Vila told Allren.
"Yes. Vila should also tell you that I have an annoying habit of being right," said Avon acidly.
"Avon. You don't have to worry about Palty. He's helped me before," said Cally. "And other than for a tendency to want to make a profit out of everything, I've found him quite reliable. We can trust him."
"Our current situation does not give us the luxury of trust," said Avon. "We will stay here. And watch."
"Well you can watch. I'm going to make myself comfortable," said Vila. He went further down the secluded alley and found a place to sit.
Ture said to Avon, "I'll keep watch. Why don't you get some rest?"
Avon had been watching Vila walk away. He said, "No. I'll watch. All of you get some rest." The tone of his voice made it clear that he wanted to be left alone.
"Alright," said Ture with a disappointed tone. He and Allren left Avon to his thoughts. Avon turned to look at the commercial avenue again. He leaned tiredly against the wall.
"Avon." Cally had noticed the increased tension between Avon and Vila since she came back. She was not about to leave Avon alone.
"Get some rest, Cally," said Avon as he continued looking out onto the avenue.
"You're tired. You need more rest than any of us."
"Yes, I'm tired," said Avon. There was a tightness in his throat. "That's why I need you to leave me alone."