He avoided her eyes and his face was completely expressionless. He was only allowing that part of him which felt defeated, to rule his reactions. It was not difficult, months of being subjected to the nerve induction chamber had made him intimately acquainted with depression.
He knew she was getting frustrated with his lack of reaction. If he had allowed himself to, he would have laughed.
"Have we finally broken you Avon?" she asked caressing his cheek.
At his continued lack of response, she said, "Do I have to remind you that you do not have control here?"
He looked at her sharply upon hearing the familiar phrase.
She smiled at this response. "Yes, I've been watching."
His jaw tightened but his face remained passive. He looked away.
"What do you want from me? You already have everything, except what is covered in the agreements."
"Yes, because of the agreements, I have you. The only thing I don't have is ORAC or the ship; but with you, I don't really need them, do I?"
"I was a fool to agree."
"Yes, you were my dear. You basically agreed to allow us to break you."
She could see his jaw tighten again and very deliberately relax, there was no other reaction. She ran her hand across his chest. Good, I was afraid that you wouldn't be fun anymore but that control is still there isn't it.
"I don't have everything yet Avon," she continued.
"You mean there is something you haven't taken?" he asked bitterly.
"I want you to destroy the ASP you created."
How he hated this woman. He lowered his head and nodded, he had guessed that this was coming.
"Look at me Avon."
"Death probably looks very good right now, doesn't it?" she asked.
"Yes," he admitted.
"I may grant you that one day, as a reward. But for now, it is in your best interests to do what I want or I will never allow you that. And don't provoke me Avon, that will only result in pain, not death. Remember the day you die, Cally and the rest of them also die."
"The rest of them? You've tried, you haven't succeeded."
"It's not a matter of trying Avon, I could kill them anytime I want."
He looked at her suspiciously. To Servalan lying was as normal as breathing but she was enjoying herself too much for what she was saying to be entirely false.
"The only thing which stops me is our agreement."
"You infected them too," he realized with dismay.
"Very good. It wasn't difficult, they walked into a trap and managed to escape," she said. "I admit, I had intended to kill them, all except Cally of course. Infecting them was a secondary objective in case they did escape. They don't even know they've been infected."
It was foolish of them to go down to the mining asteroid without first verifying if it was safe or not, thought Servalan.
"You broke our agreement," he accused her.
"No Avon, I didn't break it anymore than you did. I only promised not to kill them with the virus, I never said anything about not infecting them."
"That seems a pointless exercise, considering you are not going to risk breaking our agreement by using it."
"I'm surprised at you Avon, you still don't understand, it was not aimed at them."
You may have no scruples Avon, but you still don't understand about power.
"It deepens my hold over you," she explained.
She noticed that his breathing rate had increased slightly. Am I finally getting to you?
Her hands went to the zipper of his prison coveralls; she pulled it down and spread it open.
"I'm not sure I will ever want to let you go though, even when I no longer need your mind, you do have other uses." She began to explore his exposed body. "And you've shown me that you are very good at it; it was a mistake when you did that."
"I seem to be full of mistakes. Why do you even need me?"
"With respects to people and relationships, yes you are. But with machines, computers, and problem solving, your skill is unequalled. You are just as valuable with those as Sester is with the human element."
"That's why you used him on me."
"You never stood a chance against both of us; and with the nightmares, you were also fighting yourself."
"That was his idea?"
"Yes, it was. He's very good."
She touched a burn mark on his left side. It was one of many similar scars which she knew extended across his back. "Did it hurt when I gave you these?" she asked.
"You wouldn't have given them to me if it didn't."
She twisted one of the concentric circles on her presidential ring. A short laser dagger extended from the centre. It was a concealed assassin's weapon she had specially built into the ring. Very deliberately she applied it to the burn mark and began slicing into his flesh. He bit back a cry and tried to move away from her, but being restrained to the chair made it impossible.
"Don't move Avon, I'm trying not to reach any internal organs, but I can't guarantee that if you keep struggling," she warned him.
He pulled against the cuffs attaching his wrists to the back of the chair and willed himself to stay still as she continued cutting into him. She was very careful. After the first cut, she started a second one next to the first. Blood seeped from the wounds and dripped down his side. After the third parallel cut, she stepped back to admire her handiwork. He was trying to control his breathing, each breath stretched the cuts, causing more pain.
"Yes, you have many uses," she remarked, smiling fondly, remembering how she had often made use of him in the past two years to take out her anger and frustrations. No one else gave her that kind of satisfaction. Torturing any random prisoner was not as much fun. With him, it was personal; they had a long history.
She also remembered the times in the past when he had kissed her and then walked away in rejection.
He would never be able to do that again.
She caressed him again, avoiding the cuts and the flowing blood and enjoyed the tension in his body because he was unsure of what she would do next.
"Do you remember Domo Avon?"
"You mean, when you tried to kill me by sending Cancer after us?" he asked, his voice reflected the strain he was in.
Cancer had been a freelance assassin, the best; she never failed. Servalan had commissioned her to kill Avon and the rest of the Scorpio crew. Cancer had almost succeeded but unfortunately that ‘almost', ended up killing herself instead. Avon and the rest of them escaped and Servalan had walked away frustrated again.
But Servalan was remembering the little incident which resulted in Avon being put on the slave block to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. He had intended to put himself in a position to discover her plans but had lost his teleport bracelet which had been his means of escape. Avon had not realized that Servalan would be one of the observers at the auction.
She applied the laser dagger to his body again, making another deep incision. "You know what I mean."
"It was a mistake." His jaw clenched in pain.
"I like to think it was fate. I paid a handsome price for you, I understand it set a record which still stands. You should be flattered."
"You'll excuse me if I don't feel flattered," he said flatly.
That's good Avon. But I think we can do better than that.
"Officially, I own you."
"The Federation does not condone slavery."
"And what do you think you have been this past year?"
He could no longer hide the hatred. She could see that he wanted to lunge towards her but was only held back by the restraints.
"Now Avon, that would be a foolish thing to do and useless. I would have to punish you."
He immediately let go of the anger, she had manipulated him again.
"You're learning." She stroked her hand down the length of his chest.
Good. As long as you hold onto that anger and hatred, we will not be able to break you completely; that means that you will remain useful to me and be much more fun. But unfortunately for you, that also means that everything we do to you will be that much more unbearable.
She kissed him and as usual he responded to her. After a few moments she broke away.
"Good night Avon," she said patting his upper chest. She headed towards the door, leaving his coveralls spread open and the cuts still bleeding. "Lights, low," she spoke out loud, the automatic room control responded by dimming the room lights. She hesitated at the door before activating the door panel. "It's time to work Avon." She waved her hand across the sensor plate.
He could not afford another nightmare session. The last one in the isolation cell had already been too dangerous. If he was committed to this scenario, he needed to make it good.
"Don't do this," he pleaded as the door slid open.
"What did you say?" she turned around.
"I already gave you what you wanted. You don't need to do this."
Servalan walked back towards him. She put her hand under his chin and tilted his head up to face her.
"Is that fear I see in your eyes Avon?"
He did not respond.
She twisted her ring and applied the laser dagger again. Slowly she sliced into him again, there was a lot of blood now. He groaned in pain.
When she was done, she said, "You probably prefer the pain to the nightmares, don't you?"
"Yes," he admitted.
"You're fortunate I'm in a good mood today, though I shouldn't be. I should be furious with you, you nearly got away with it. But I am also full of admiration, we are well-matched, you and I. I think your survival instinct is even greater than Sester's."
"Yes, our clever psychostrategist, he plays some dangerous games."
Interesting, thought Avon.
For the next hour she kept him talking as the blood continued to flow from his wounds.
"Avon," she called out his name. The analyst was slumped forward in the chair, there was no response. He had stopped talking in mid-sentence.
Servalan got up from her chair and lifted his head, he was no longer aware of his surroundings. She saw the strain on his face, even barely conscious the conditioning was still forcing him to concentrate. She checked his pulse, it was rapid and so weak it barely registered against her fingers. He breathing was rapid and shallow. Servalan immediately applied a large healing pad to seal the cuts. She could feel the heat emanating from the pad as it closed the wounds. Avon moaned weakly, it was not the most painless procedure, especially without benefit of an anaesthetic patch but it was very effective. It was used by field troops to stem battle wounds quickly. She got a blood transfuser unit from a medkit, strapped it to his arm, inserted the needle and turned the unit on, this would replace the blood he had lost.
We're going to have to get you cleaned up she thought. There was a large patch of partially drying blood on the lower half of his coveralls, extending down his leg and pooling on the ground around the chair.
"It's time to rest Avon."
The analyst sighed as his mind let go and allowed him to rest.
She ran her fingers through his hair affectionately.
What have we done to you Avon? That you would ask to be tortured rather than face the nightmares again? They must be horrifying to be able to affect someone as cold as you are. Well, not exactly cold. She smiled as she recalled his passion in bed.