Servalan waited as the medtech finished his examination of the unconscious man. They had had to sedate him again in order to give his exhausted mind some rest; it had been five days since he was brought to Gauda Prime and he was nearing the end. The analyst was slumped forward in his chains.
"Bring him around."
"Yes Madame President."
After he had injected the drugs, the medtech was dismissed.
Servalan bent down and lifted up Avon's head; he opened his eyes. For a moment she saw something in them she had never seen before, despair.
Servalan grabbed his throat with her right hand and squeezed, cutting off his air. As he struggled, she kissed him. Before he lost consciousness, she let go and stepped back. He gasped for air and glared at her in hatred.
"That was for the time on Sarran. I have a long memory Avon and I do not forgive."
She was referring to the time after they had both crash landed on Sarran after the battle at Star One. He had kissed her and as she responded, he had grabbed her throat and thrown her to the ground in a refusal of a partnership she had just offered him. He had known her treachery all too well to take her seriously.
"How much longer do you think you can hold out?" Servalan asked.
"How long can you wait?" he rasped.
"I have all the time in the world but I do not think it will be that long, do you?"
He did not respond. "It's time to work Avon," Servalan activated the mind trigger which would force his mind to think. She walked up the stairs behind him and left him to his nightmares. She smiled.
"Again your cruelty and brilliance takes my breath away Madame President," Sester told Servalan as she returned to the control room. He had been watching the scene on the monitors.
"What did I say about flirting with me?"
"I need a refresher course?" he grinned at her. "He was already at the end and you did the one thing that would make him fight again, and now he has to spend a few more days in there. Very well calculated."
"It was nothing."
Avon hung limp in the chains. The voices would not leave him alone. He shut his eyes, but still the scenes played over and over; his mind was very creative. He wanted it to end; but his mind would not let him go. He had already lost control.
"Avon," Servalan's voice gently called his name.
He opened his eyes.
"Have you had enough? Or shall I leave you alone again?"
He did not respond; Servalan turned to go.
"No," his response was a strangled whisper.
She bent down and touched his face.
"You know what I want." He looked up at her.
She could see the pain in his eyes as he struggled.
"I can't," he whispered in anguish. "I can't."
"It's your choice Avon. It always has been."
"No!" he cried out his torment. She had won but he could still not give her what she wanted.
"You are so stubborn." She caressed his face and smoothed his disheveled hair. His forehead was hot. "Would it be so bad to serve me?"
"Yes," he whispered. She smiled, and she would enjoy every minute.
"I think you need more time. To think," she said as she got up. "It's time to work Avon."
Avon struggled weakly against his chains but they held him fast. He gave a cry of anguish as she left.
"Is this necessary?" Professor Tarkson asked Servalan as she returned to the observation room. "In his state, he will already give you the compromise."
"Even with this," his head indicated the monitor. "He still won't give you anymore than that."
"I know that too."
"It is for educational purpses, his."
They watched Avon's increased distress as his mind slowly destroyed itself because it had been given nothing to focus on.
Two long hours of a mind racing with nowhere to go was driving him insane. The voices in his head got louder and more insistent. "Stop!" he shouted at them in agony. He needed it to end.
"Avon." Servalan had returned, the psychostrategist was standing behind her. She bent down and lifted his bowed head.
"Are you ready now?"
Avon looked wearily up at his enemy, the pain and anguish was evident on his face as was the advancing madness.
"We can keep this up as long as you want. Shall we do that?" Servalan stood up.
"Please," he said in a choked whisper, every word a reluctant admission of defeat," no more."
"That's better. You know about the triggers don't you?"
"Yes." He answered.
"And you know that applying yourself to solving a problem directed by Sester or myself will relieve the pressure?"
"Yes," he replied tonelessly.
"You know what I want."
He struggled as he answered, "I can't."
"Then you give us no choice but to continue." She turned to go.
"No," he pleaded. There was desperation in his voice. "Please. I can't."
This was the moment they had been waiting for, he was ready.
"A compromise then, I will not ask you to work on any technology associated with when you were on the Liberator."
They could see his struggle as he considered her offer. "And ORAC," he added. Even in defeat, he still fought for control.
"Then leave me here."
"You don't think I will?"
"I know you will," he answered her; there was misery and hopelessness in his voice.
Servalan smiled. Avon was even more important to her than ORAC at this point. As long as she had him, she would eventually get ORAC. Giving this to him now, only delayed the inevitable. She also had ORAC's activation key, without it no one else could use ORAC.
"Very well Avon, the agreement is extended to ORAC."
He looked up at her. There was no hatred in his eyes, no anger in his face; nothing at all. Only tightness in the jaw gave any indication of his stress.
"I will do whatever you ask, within those conditions."
"Our original agreement remains in effect."
"It's time to rest Avon."
The pressure in his brain slowly eased, he closed his eyes and rested.
"It's time to return home," Servalan remarked.
Servalan, Sester and Professor Tarkson were celebrating in the lounge of her Presidential suite aboard Command Vessel One. The broken man had been brought back onboard and was now sleeping in his cell.
"Excellent cognac Madame President, the real thing. I think I could get used to this," Tarkson indicated his appreciation of the drink he was sipping.
"Don't," she said icily. She lifted her glass. "Congratulations to you both, what you achieved exceeded my expectations."
"Avon exceeded my expectations," Tarkson remarked.
"He always does."
"What next Madame President?" Sester asked, by now he knew she was never satisfied.
"We will work him. I have many projects lined up for someone of his talents."
"And each time he gives in to your demands, he deepens his own conditioning," the professor commented.
"You're enjoying yourself, aren't you?" Sester noted.
Servalan had just gained a great victory over an enemy who had both infuriated and fascinated her over the years. Avon was in her control at last; she would never let him go.