"Unfortunately, none of the places they could have taken Avon, are places we really want to go into," said Allren.
The four were discussing their plans in another convenient dark alley well away from the storage facility.
"But we have to try," said Cally.
Vila said, "Allren is right, wherever they took Avon is probably crawling with Federation soldiers. Not a healthy place for any of us."
"I agree with Cally," said Ture. "We can't give up just because of the danger."
"I'm not saying we should give up. But it doesn't do Avon any good if we get ourselves killed," said Vila.
"I'm not leaving him to the Federation and Servalan," said Cally. "I will not abandon him."
"No one is saying that we should. Let's go take a look first then we can decide what to do next," suggested Allren.
"Take a look where?" asked Vila.
"The main Federation Security building," Allren replied.
"Even going near there is dangerous," said Vila.
Cally said, "That's a good idea; we can see what the situation is first. And find out where Avon is."
She was determined to go in regardless but she wasn't about to let the others know that. Cally was certain that Ture would go in with her even if the others wouldn't.
"Can we do something else first?" asked Allren.
"We can't waste any time," said Cally.
"Well, I'm not going anywhere else until I change out of these clothes," said Allren, indicating his old woman costume. It had been very uncomfortable and restricting when they were trying to escape.
"I don't know, that colour looks good on you and it does set off your eyes," said Vila.
"Don't you ever give up?" asked Allren in annoyance.
"And pass up chances like this? I would never forgive myself," said Vila.
"I suppose we could spare a few minutes," said Cally, trying not to smile. Now that she had taken a good look at Allren, he was somewhat comical; especially since Vila was right, the colour of the dress did set off his grey eyes.
"Thanks for all the support," said Allren sarcastically. He began pulling off his disguise and changed into his own clothes.
Sester came back after infiltrating the security building. Reya was nearby in their newly acquired transport vehicle. He took off his regulation Federation head piece and ran his fingers through his hair.
"I didn't realize these things were so stifling," he told Reya.
"Did you find out anything?" she asked him.
"Yes. It's not good. They've captured Avon and brought him up to their command ship."
"You're right. That's not good."
"It gets even worse," he told her.
"Have they captured the others too?" she asked, thinking the worse.
"No. But I think that Servalan is on the command ship," Sester told her.
"What? What is her interest here?" This was definitely bad news.
"She has a special interest in Avon."
"Enough to bring her all the way out here? That doesn't make any sense." Reya didn't understand how a major political leader could afford to allow personal considerations to dictate her actions.
"Where Avon is concerned, logic doesn’t always come into play for our Federation President," said Sester.
"Alright, we know where Avon is. How to get him out will be a problem. But how about the others?" she asked.
"I was right about Federation Security trying to clamp down on irregular activities. They've identified several groups and have been tracking them. It appears that Jenna Stannis is with one of these groups. I made a copy of their files onto data crystal so that we can study them. I can draw up a profile and identify their likely patterns of activity. We should be able to find them that way."
"You did good work," said Reya. "I'm glad I didn't tie you up."
"So am I." Sester suppressed a grin. He was determined to try not flirting with her.
Reya's eyes widened in surprise. She was looking past him.
"Sester, quick! Intercept that group." She pointed to a group which had just passed them. "It's Cally and Vila." Sester turned around and looked in the direction she was indicating. He recognized Cally.
Putting his headgear back on, he exited the vehicle and rushed after them.
Cally sensed his presence and whirled around. "Can I help you with something?"
Mindful of the threatening nature of the uniform he was wearing, Sester kept his voice even. "Cally."
"Sester?" Cally recognized his voice.
"Why are you wearing that uniform?" she asked warily. Cally wondered if he was trying to trick someone else as he had tricked her. "I thought you were a psychostrategist?"
"It's a long story. We should get off this street. Someone else wants to see you."
"Follow me." Sester led the way back to the vehicle. The door opened. They all looked at it apprehensively but didn't enter.
Someone stuck her head out of the door.
"Reya!" said Cally in surprise.
"Hello, Cally. Get in quickly."
They all squeezed in.
Sester entered last and took his headgear off again. "Sorry about the accommodations. We weren't expecting company."
"I'm so glad to see you, Reya," said Cally warmly. "Avon said that you'd been taken prisoner."
"It's good to see all of you," said Reya. "Yes, we were. But we escaped."
"I guess I shouldn't be surprised," said Cally.
"Let's go somewhere more comfortable and we can debrief," said Reya.
"I can't believe we came back here," said Vila as he settled himself on one of the smart beds.
"Jenna won't think that we would come back here," said Allren.
Everyone settled themselves on their furniture of choice.
"You were saying that Jenna wants to kill Avon?" asked Reya.
Cally had told the woman some of what had transpired during their journey in the transport.
"Yes. She wants revenge on Avon for killing Blake," said Cally.
"But I thought that Argus said it was a tragic mistake?"
"It was. But Jenna won't believe it. She hates Avon and won't rest until she kills him."
"Then it's a good thing that I found you first," said Reya.
"The Federation took Avon," said Cally.
"Yes, we know," said Sester. "They transported him up to the command ship that's orbiting overhead."
"No!" exclaimed Vila.
"Unfortunately, it's true," said Sester.
Cally looked at him suspiciously. She didn't trust this man. "How do you know this?"
"I was able to infiltrate the Federation Security building," he explained.
"That couldn't have been hard for you. You're one of them," said Cally.
Sester sighed. There was a time when women didn't want to tie him up or do him some bodily harm. "I didn't reveal to them who I was."
"Don't tell me you're tired of working for Servalan. Or has someone given you a better offer?" said Cally.
"Argus asked Reya to find all of you. I thought it was a good idea so I decided to help," he told her.
"I don't trust you. I think you're still working for Servalan. You must be here for some other reason," said Cally.
"He's telling the truth," said Reya. "When we were on the ship, he helped in defeating the invaders. He almost died."
"You trust him?" asked Cally.
"Yes. I do."
"You don't know him, Reya. He's tricky. He was even able to fool me," said Cally.
"I know he's tricky. I've watched him in action. But I also know that he won't betray us."
"Why are you so sure?" asked Cally.
Reya looked at Sester. "You'll just have to trust my judgment. If he does betray us, I will be the first one to hold him accountable."
"Can we speak as if I am here?" asked Sester.
Cally looked at him, "I trust Reya."
"That's all I ask," said Sester.
"What happened on the ship?" asked Cally. "All we know is that Argus contacted us and said he was sending all of you down in life capsules."
Reya's face lost all expression. Even after all this time, just the mention of what happened sent her emotions spiraling.
"I…" She tried to speak and then stopped. She looked at Sester. There was an appeal in her eyes.
Sester nodded in understanding and said to the others, "I don't know everything that happened. I was unconscious for part of it but Reya told me the rest."
As he began explaining, Reya got up and walked away from them. Cally saw that something was wrong but wasn't able to determine what.
"Avon, Argus and Reya were able to destroy most of the invaders' ships. We were able to convince the rest of them that it wasn't a good idea to invade this galaxy, at least for the present. But the Federation arrived shortly afterwards. The Justice was too badly damaged. There was no way to defeat them or to run. The only option was to escape and destroy the ship."
"Why did Argus send all of you down and stay onboard himself?" asked Cally.
Sester looked at Reya. She was standing a distance away with her back towards them. He knew she could hear what he was saying.
He went on, choosing his words carefully. "The autodestruct had been damaged during the fight with the invaders. Argus stayed to destroy the ship manually. He gave his life so that the Federation would not get the ship."
"But he didn't," said Cally. As Sester had said this last part, Cally was getting an idea of what was wrong with Reya.
"What are you saying?" asked Sester. Reya turned around.
Cally looked at Reya and addressed this next part to her, "He's not dead, Reya. Avon said that the ship was never destroyed. That means that Argus is still alive."
"He's alive?" said Reya with shock. It almost looked as if her legs wouldn't support her. There was such a look of joy and relief on her face that it seemed to brighten the entire storage room.
"Yes. You don't have to worry. He's still alive," Cally reassured her.
The look of joy disappeared, Reya's face turned pale. She quickly turned around and bolted from the storage facility.
Cally got up to follow her. Something was definitely wrong.
Sester reached out and stopped her. "It's better if you let me go," he told Cally. He got up and went after Reya. The others all looked at each other.
When Sester went looking for Reya, he wasn't sure what he would find. He knew that she was a woman who was controlled and kept her emotions in check but where Argus was concerned, she was very vulnerable.
Finding out that Argus was still alive had shocked him; then his thoughts immediately turned to Reya. The look of joy on her face had made him jealous but then he saw the other look and felt guilty. He wanted to help her.
Sester found Reya outside. She was sitting on the ground, her back against the side of the building, her head was bowed; she was crying.
He sat down beside her.
"I'm sorry," he told her. "I know this is difficult for you. But you don't have to feel guilty about what we did."
"You don't understand," she told him.
"You're right. I don't. All that I know is that nothing really happened. What we did was a physical exchange. Nothing more. You didn’t have a choice. You had to stay alive in order to keep your commitment to him."
She shook her head and didn't say anything.
Sester persisted, "You don't even have to tell him. He doesn't need to know. I'll never tell him. He will never find out."
"I have to tell him," said Reya.
"Why, Reya? You'll only end up jeopardizing your relationship with him. Even if Argus does understand. Things may never be the same again. Do you want to risk that?"
For some reason Sester found that he was becoming angry. Reya was not thinking rationally and was going to end up harming herself. He didn't want to see her hurt.
She said, "I would never keep the truth from him. I respect him too much. He has the right to know. He has the right to decide."
"Even if he decides he cannot accept what happened?"
"Yes. That is the power we give each other. I would not take it away from him."
It was Sester's turn to shake his head. He could not understand why she would be willing to do this to herself. He decided to try a different approach.
"You're doing it for yourself, Reya. You want a measure of peace. You want him to forgive you because you can't forgive yourself. But there is nothing to forgive. You didn't do anything wrong."
"Stop trying to be a psychostrategist. And stop trying to make me feel better. You're only making things worse. I want to be alone." She got up. "Don't follow me."
Sester wanted to say something else but decided not to. There was nothing he could say now that would change her mind. "Alright. But if you need anything…"
"I won't." Reya walked away from him. Not from you. She felt very alone.
Sester wanted to go after her and put his arms around her. He wanted to give her comfort; as he did those many nights they spent together but he knew that it was no longer his place. The only one she would find comfort with was the man whom she was going to give the power to destroy her.