Healer Garett and his specially gathered medical team were preparing the equipment for the brain mapping. Cally stood by Avon, who was still unconscious. Various machines were pushed into place around Avon's head and positioned. Two of the technicians approached and began strapping Avon into place, immobilizing him.
"Is this necessary?" asked Cally. She didn't like what they were doing.
Garett heard her question and came over to address her concerns. "Yes, the results are much better if he doesn't move."
"If he wakes up during the process and…" said Cally.
Garett interrupted, "It's not a matter of if. He has to be conscious for the process. We will have to wake him up."
"Can you not strap him in until after you wake him up?" asked Cally.
Garett nodded. "Of course. It will cause less stress for him." He signalled the two technicians to do as Cally suggested. They removed the restraints that they had already put into place.
"Everything's ready, sir," one of the assistant's told Garett.
"Alright." Garett took the bio-injector that an assistant placed into his hand and injected the contents into Avon's neck. Avon immediately stirred and groaned in pain. His hands went to his head and he began to look around in confusion at his new surroundings.
"Avon, it's alright," reassured Cally as she took one of his hands in hers.
"Cally?" With the pain in his head, he was finding it difficult to focus.
"Yes, it's me. We've arrived on Zirgon. You're in Healer Garett's medical unit."
'Already? I don't remember coming here." Avon tried to recall but the memory was beyond him. He tried to concentrate past the pain in his head.
"You were unconscious," she told him.
"We were talking…in the workshop." He kept trying to remember.
"Yes, Avon. We were."
"I…don't…how did I get here?"
Garett interjected, "That doesn't matter for the moment, Avon. Do you remember who I am?"
"Yes. Healer Garett."
"Good. We are going to use several mind mapping machines in order to make a comprehensive analysis of your brain. They will send various types of impulses directly into your head but we need to prevent you from moving. Do you understand?"
Avon's jaw clenched and sweat was beginning to form on his forehead as he fought against the pain. He nodded his understanding and said in a tight voice, "Yes."
Garett waved the technicians forward and they began strapping him in; both his body and head were immobilized.
As they were doing this, Cally told Garett, "He's in a lot of pain. He will need some medication before this begins."
"Unfortunately, we can't. For this to work, his brain must be unimpaired. Or it will throw off the readings." Garett told her.
"At least give him the medication now and wait until the pain passes."
Garett said, "You don't understand, Cally. The pain will not pass no matter how long we wait. It will only get worse until we find and fix the problems."
Avon took hold of Cally's arm and said, "Let him, Cally."
"Are you sure, Avon?" she asked with worriedly.
"Like this I am of no use to anyone," he told her.
She told him. "It doesn't matter if you are useful or not. We care about you, Avon. I care about you. We want you to get better."
Avon took hold of her hand. "I know. But it matters to me. I need this."
"Alright, let's begin," said Garett. "You'll have to step back, Cally." She took a few steps backwards but not too far.
Each of the machines sent a beam directly into Avon's head. For a moment he stiffened as his mind adjusted to the invasion of impulses. The mapping began.
Argus and Reya were sitting on their beach at the end of the day, staring out over the water and the reflection of the moon over its surface. He had his arm around her and she was nestled against his shoulder. They were sharing an intimate moment; and they both still had their clothes on.
"Are you happy, Reya?" he asked her.
"Yes. Very much."
"I guess it's hard not to be after being given a whole planet."
"I don’t care about the planet. I just want to be with you. That makes me happy."
“I’ve managed to go a whole day without saying anything silly to you. Well, half a day.”
“It must be a record,” she said with a grin. She turned to look at him.
“I was nervous about the pledging. But I’m not now. We should have done this earlier.”
“You weren’t ready yet.”
Argus sighed. As he continued staring out over the lake, his face took on a worried appearance.
“What’s bothering you?” asked Reya, who was studying his profile.
“I’m worried about Avon. What’s happening to him, I’m afraid he won’t be able to accept it.”
“You’re afraid he’ll try to kill himself again? Like he did before?”
“It’s different this time,” she told him.
He turned to face her. “In what way?”
“He has Cally now. And us. He knows he’s not alone anymore.”
“I don’t know. Would that make a difference to a man like him? His mind is everything to him.”
“Argus, why do you go to such great lengths to protect Avon?”
For a moment, Argus thought she had guessed what he had been doing; the agreement he had made with Servalan. But he realized that she couldn’t have.
“He’s a member of my team. I would do that for any of them,” he told her.
“No. That’s not it. There’s something different in the way you treat him.”
“I have to treat him differently. With all he’s been through, I can’t handle him the same way I do the others.”
“You’re saying that you pity him?” she asked, not accepting this answer.
“It’s not that.”
“Then why?” she asked him.
Argus’s brow furrowed in thought as he stared out over the lake again. He had risked a lot for this man without really understanding why. Reya brushed her fingers through his short-cropped hair as he worked his way towards an answer.
He said, “Before, I didn’t trust him. The stories I’d heard from Jenna. The rumours of betrayal. Then when I found out what he did for Cally, I began to see him differently. I started looking at what he did rather than what he said. He’s confusing. It’s as if he doesn’t know how to be a person sometimes. I don’t know how to describe it. Sort of like how I don’t know how to be a civilian. But I know I can trust him. There’s something about him. I can see that he doesn’t like himself a lot of the times. But I can relate to that. I don’t like myself either.“ Argus’s eyes widened as he got closer to the truth. “I guess I see myself in him. Or recognize him in me. We both have a darkness that we wished was not there. We’ve both done things we’re not proud of. And everyday its a struggle. But we try to do the best that we can. I want to help him find his way. In a way. I guess, it gives me hope that I can find mine too. I’m glad he has Cally. He needs her. Just like I need you.” Argus turned to look into her eyes. “What’s wrong?” he asked her.
“I don’t need a planet. I have you,” she said softly. She leaned forward and kissed him.
Over the next few days, the mapping of Avon's mind continued. Healer Garett was constantly shaking his head. The assistants and technicians with him looked grim.
When it became clear what they were mapping, Garett was horrified. Why would anyone want to do this to another human being?
He glanced over at the man strapped to the bed. It’s amazing that you weren’t driven insane long ago. But that’s why they chose you, isn’t it? Because of your mind. Your strength of will. They wouldn’t have tried to do this to you if you weren’t exceptional. They probably thought it would make you superior to no longer be tied to human weaknesses. But on some level, you knew it wouldn’t. You must have fought them every step of the way; trying to hang onto what made you human. It’s all there. The constant conditioning. And the attempts to re-engineer your brain. I can see those, the scars they left behind. You must be afraid that they succeeded. But they didn’t. Not fully. I can see that too. That’s why they put the blocks in. So that you would not remember. There are so many of them. It may be too painful for you to remember it all. That must be why you collapse. It must have been horrifying to experience your own humanity slipping away and not having any choice about it. How old were you then? Did you even know what was happening? Did they tell you? I doubt they did. I hope they didn’t. Even the Federation cannot be that cruel. These machines cannot give me your memories. I do not know what happened to you. I can only guess from the impact it had on your mind. It’s too disturbing to even contemplate and I’m not the one who they did this to. Would it be more humane not to tell you and just try to fix the problems? That’s the other difficulty. What can be done to help you? The damage has already been done. Even in this age, our ability to repair damage to the brain is limited. And for something this complex, the only thing we can do is to unravel the conditioning. What’s this?
Garett instructed the technician, “Bring that back. I want to see quadrant D-eight magnified.”
This is interesting.