Reya sat alone in her cabin onboard the Justice
. Argus had gone back down to the planet to take care of something. He promised that he would be back soon.
She knew that Argus loved her and he would most likely understand and forgive her.
But she was afraid; afraid that no matter what happened, that things would change between them.
Argus kept his hands in plain view, indicating that he was unarmed. He was sitting in a quiet outdoor café, seemingly enjoying a coffee. On the table sat a spare teleport bracelet.
Argus remembered the last time he had sat down in a café like this. It had been with Jenna. They were on a mission together, staking out a rendezvous point across a street.
He sighed. It seemed like along time ago.
Argus would have preferred being with Reya now, in his cabin onboard the Justice. But instead he had contacted Jenna using the modified comm unit, asking for a meeting.
"Argus, it's good to see you." Jenna's voice came from behind him. Argus turned to look at her.
"Is it good, Jenna?" he asked her. She sat down opposite him.
"You might as well save your breath. You won't be able to change my mind. It's either Avon or me."
"It doesn't have to be like this, Jenna."
"Yes, it does. Look, Argus. I know you're in a difficult position. I even understand you choosing Avon over me. He's much more useful."
"Jenna." Argus shook his head. "You know me better than that."
Jenna paused and then said, "Yes. That was unfair of me. I do know you. You feel you have to protect Avon because he's weak now."
"Jenna. If you think that, then you never knew me at all. This is not about Avon. This is about you. This obsession will destroy you. It almost did before. Do you want to go back to that? If you kill Avon, it won't purge your demons. But it will change you in ways you will never be able to undo. Ways that make you as bad as the person you think Avon is."
"Don't compare me to Avon," said Jenna angrily.
"I know you don't want to hear this but killing Avon will not erase your own feelings of guilt. That is what this is really about. It doesn't matter why Avon killed Blake, does it? Not for you. You think by killing Avon, you won't have to feel guilty for abandoning Blake. You won't have to feel responsible for not being there to stop what happened."
"Am I wrong, Jenna?"
"I need justice."
"You need justice? You won't find it by killing Avon. Nor will you find peace that way. You already know what happened on Gauda Prime, Jenna. We both do. Vila told us. Are you going to compound the mistakes made that day by both Blake and Avon, by making another one? The mistakes already cost Blake his life. Do you really want another one to cost Avon his? Is that what justice is? Avon has been paying for both of their mistakes every moment since that day."
Jenna was still unwilling to see the truth. "I don't see how. Blake is dead. That will never change. Avon is still alive."
"Do you call what Avon has now as living? Yes. He is walking around. He even has a semblance of a life. But at any moment, he can slip into a nightmare that fills him with such fear, guilt and horror that it paralyzes him. He can still barely function. Even simple things such as choosing what he is to wear or eat overwhelm him. The Federation nearly destroyed his mind, Jenna. He will never be free from the drugs which enable him to function normally. Do you call that living?"
"What does a man like him know about guilt?" she said angrily.
Argus was getting frustrated with her. "Don't be a fool, Jenna! If he wasn't capable of guilt, do you think Servalan would be able to do what she did to him? That is what she had to use to break him. Torture was not enough. But preying on his deep sense of guilt and remorse; that was what she used to destroy him!"
"You're just like Blake! You're seeing what you want to see! He always thought Avon was a better man than he pretended to be. That underneath it all, he was still human. But I never believed it. I know what he was really like!"
Argus realized that no matter what he said, Jenna's hatred was so deep that she was deaf to anything he was saying. She would never see what she didn't want to see.
Argus said sadly, "You never got over your obsession, did you Jenna? Not really. You only put it aside because it didn't seem possible to achieve what you wanted. You didn't know if Avon was still alive or where he was then. But you do now."
The change in his tone made Jenna calm down. "I'm sorry, Argus. You're a good friend. But I can't change how I feel. And I can't return with you."
Argus picked up the spare teleport bracelet and stood up. "I will not give up on you, Jenna," he told her. Jenna stood up too.
Argus said, "I hope you find some truth before your obsession destroys you. But if you try to hurt Avon. I cannot stand idly by."
"You would kill me? For him?" she asked bitterly.
"I would never kill you. But I will stop you."
Argus and Reya were finally alone. It did not take them long to be in each others arms. Their kiss was deep and passionate.
"I missed you," said Reya when they finally came up for air.
"I couldn't tell," Argus said smiling.
Reya did not want this to end. She did not want to break the moment but she knew that the longer she waited, the harder it would be to do what she had to do. She pushed him away gently.
"What's wrong, Reya?" He looked into her eyes, trying to understand the distress he was seeing there.
"I have to tell you something," she told him.
He waited for her to continue.
"When I was down on the planet. Sester and I slept together."
Her eyes never wavered from his as she said this. She could see a brief flash of shock, a moment of hurt and anger and then blankness.
"Why are you telling me this?" he asked her.
Argus realized that he had no right to expect Reya to be physically exclusive to him. He realized that it had been unfair of him to assume something without discussing it with her first.
To him it didn't matter how she viewed their relationship; he loved her and he was certain that she felt the same. That was enough for him.
"Don't say that, Argus!" said Reya, it was as if he had just stabbed her through the heart. "Don’t act as if it doesn't matter!"
"We're both independent adults. We have no hold on each other. What we do outside of our relationship is our own business," he told her.
"You're only saying that because you think that it will make things better. But it doesn't, Argus. It just makes me feel even worse."
"You don't owe me anything, Reya. I don't want you to feel bad about it."
"Please, Argus. Stop." There were tears in her eyes.
This threw him into confusion. By saying what he did, he had thought to make things better. He held her tighter; unsure what to do next.
"I don’t understand," he told her.
"You're an idiot! I do want it to make a difference," she told him.
He looked even more confused, "You want me to be angry?"
"Yes. I do not want it to be alright. I need you to say that it's not alright."
"Tell me what happened," said Argus.
She nodded and began telling him the events that occurred after the life capsules landed.
Sester had been sitting at the table in one of the cabins onboard the Justice. He was at a loss at what he should do next. Argus and the others had brought him aboard with them; extending the hospitality of the ship. But he was at a crossroads.
So many things had happened over the course of the last few weeks that Servalan seemed to be a distant memory. Sester knew that if he wanted, he could be free of the Federation President, free of the Federation.
Part of him rankled at the control that Servalan exerted over his life. But not everything about his life was bad. Most of it was quite good. Unlike some of his freelance colleagues, a psychostrategist working for the Federation gave him many privileges and advantages.
He even enjoyed the danger that an association with Servalan gave him. It had been something he had not expected.
But there was a strong reason for him to not go back. It had started the day he entered the Federation Special Detention Centre and met Avon. For the first time, he committed one of the greatest mistakes a psychostrategist could make; he felt sympathy for one of his own subjects, he had felt respect. It had culminated in something which was unforgivable; he had let Avon go. That act had almost cost Sester his life.
Then in the interaction with Avon and Argus on the invader's ship and working together against impossible odds against the invaders, Sester discovered that for once the nameless masses did mean something more to him than just being puppets with strings to be pulled.
There was also one final compelling reason. He wasn't sure whether it was a motive for him to go or to stay.
The buzzer sounded.
Sester went to open the door. He wasn't surprised at his visitor. Sester stepped aside to let Argus in.
"She must have told you," said Sester.
"She did," said Argus.
"It wasn't her fault. She didn't have a choice," said Sester.
"I don't want to hear it. I want you off this ship."
There was no anger in Argus's voice; not even a threatening or warning tone but the effect it produced was that this was not a man to be crossed, if you valued your life.
Sester nodded. He had expected this. "Before I go, I want you to know that the fault was entirely mine. She didn’t want to do it. I'm the one who pushed her. I'm a psychostrategist that is what I do. Reya didn't stand a chance against me. But she did it for you. She thought you were dead. We both did. I don't think she wanted to go on after you died. But you made her promise to take care of the others. And in order to do that she had to stay alive."
As Sester explained, he watched the other man's reactions but there was none; there was no expression to read.
"She told me," said Argus.
"I believe her."
"Then you don't blame her?" asked Sester.
"No. She never had to worry. I understood what she did and why," replied Argus.
"Then it must be me that you don't believe. And I just confirmed it with my explanation," said Sester wryly.
Argus stared at him; there was anger in his eyes now.
"I don’t suppose saying that I never meant to hurt either one of you would help at this juncture?" Sester asked.
"That is why you are leaving this ship by teleport rather than the airlock," said Argus.
Sester was fairly certain that Argus would never contemplate killing him, but not totally.
The two men headed to the teleport room and Argus sent him down to Papos.