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"How are they doctor?" asked Jenna a little later. Both Avon and Vila lay on beds in the room which Dr. Alberay had converted into a makeshift med unit.
"Avon has a fractured rib, additional internal injuries, and numerous bruises. Health-wise he has reverted back to where he was over a week ago but his condition is stable. My real concern is Vila, I had to sedate him, he was completely out-of-control. If he had not been stopped, I believe he would have beaten Avon to death."
"That is not like Vila." Jenna told them.
"Do you know what could have caused this?"
"A suspicion, I've been treating Vila for headaches for the past month. I could find no physical cause so I attributed it to stress but I have been noticing a curious coincidence. His headaches always seemed to occur whenever he interacts with Avon or is thinking about Avon or the events on Gauda Prime."
"What are you saying doctor?" asked Argus.
"With this newest incident, It makes me wonder if my suspicions were correct. Certain factors seem to be triggering his headaches and the way he was behaving this time, also points to something else much more troubling."
"And that would be?"
"I don't know for certain yet but I suggest that we keep him away from Avon until we understand what is happening. It is probably best to keep Avon in his cell for now."
Argus directed the guards to do just that. As they carried the prisoner out, Jenna said, "We all have good reason to kill Avon but Vila saw him kill Blake. Now he is being forced to interact with Avon almost daily. Maybe it proved to be too much for him and he suffered a breakdown of some kind."
"It is possible, if it was just the headaches, " Alberay said, "but the way he was acting; out-of-control, almost psychotic, even attacking Ealen and Sams when they tried to stop him, it points to much more than just a mental breakdown. It was as if he was responding to something else. I'm not a psych specialist, I will have to consult with Professor Tarkson, he will have a much better idea."
Avon was back in his cell, lying on the bed trying to rest. The general pain level had increased with the new injuries but pain was a normal part of his existence. The attack had set back his recovery and his plans for escape but there was a mystery here, something he had not, in any way considered.
Vila's actions were inexplicable; the look in his eyes when he attacked him, his whole manner and loss of control, chanting words over and over. Avon recognized it, Blake had exhibited this behavior many years ago. It had been another one of Servalan's plots. Using a controlled beam to activate latent triggers which had been implanted deep into Blake's subconscious by Federation criminotherapists, Servalan had been able to control him and to impose a different reality in order to influence his actions.
Would they have planned this simulation to such a depth? Would they program their own man in order to fool me? Servalan would know that I would recognize this, would connect this with what happened to Blake, this is exactly the kind of meticulous planning and creative detail she is capable of.
Servalan and Sester working together. He smiled. The impossibility of his task had been raised.
He had to escape.
"Vila, tell me the events leading up to the incident in the eating hall." Professor Tarkson was seated in a chair opposite Vila in the medical unit. He had put Vila in a waking hypnotic state so that they could question him. Vila was seated on the bed and was leaning against the wall. Jenna, Argus and Dr. Alberay were hovering nearby, watching the exchange.
"You mean before I went berserk?" Vila did not like all this attention.
"Yes, we need to find out what happened and why, just relax and tell us what you remember."
"Alright, " he said reluctantly. He began to recount what happened, "I went to Avon's cell. I was thinking a change in scenery might do some good so I decided to take him up to the roof. There was no chance of him escaping, I had Ealen and Sams with me. But when we got to the stairs, I realized it was not a good idea. Avon didn't look like he could make it up more than two steps, so we decided to go back to the eating area."
"Did you have a headache then?"
Vila thought for a bit. "No. Not then."
"I put some chairs by the window so we could look outside and have a chat."
Vila realized what a strange idea that was, having a chat with Avon. Avon was a man of thought and when required, action. He was most comfortable interacting with computers and machines, he did not normally "chat" with other human beings.
"I asked him if he remembered what happened on Gauda Prime, he said yes."
"He said yes?" Jenna reacted in surprise. Both she and Argus leaned forward, this was a new development.
"Yes I was shocked too. I should have sent someone for you then, I don't know why I didn't. Then I asked him why he killed Blake."
"Vila!" Jenna exclaimed. She was clearly not pleased that Vila had taken this step without consulting with her or Argus.
Vila could tell they were not happy. Angry people. He needed a drink.
Tarkson asked, "How was your head then?"
"I felt strange, my head was starting to hurt, " he replied. His head was starting to hurt now. Addressing Jenna and Argus he said, "I'm sorry. I don't know what I was thinking."
Tarkson pressed, "What do you mean 'felt strange'?"
"I don't know, it was just strange."
"Think Vila. How was it strange?"
He closed his eyes, concentrating. "Part of me was angry, very angry." They could all see that Vila was agitated.
"The other part of me…it was a blur. My head hurts." Vila's hand went to his forehead.
"Is that when you attacked him?"
"What happened that caused you to attack him?"
"It was what he said about Blake. Traitor! I want to kill him." Vila's hands clenched and he moved to get up.
"Vila! Relax!" The professor quickly applied a sonic applicator to the side of Vila's head and signaled Argus and Jenna to remain seated. Vila was visibly calmer.
"Now Vila. I want you to recall what Avon said to you, " Vila instantly responded in agitation, "but not yet, not until I tell you to." Vila relaxed again.
Professor Tarkson worked for another hour but only got a little further.
"Sleep now Vila."
Throughout Vila's account, Jenna had been experiencing déjà vu. She had seen this kind of behavior before, with Blake, years ago.
After the session, the four gathered in one of the small meeting rooms to discuss the results.
"That was a waste of time, we didn't learn any more than we already knew, " Argus said. "We need to question Avon to find out what he said to Vila to set him off." His instinct was telling him that something was going on. But he couldn't quite pin down what it was. One thing he was certain of, Avon held the key.
"On the contrary, " Tarkson corrected him, "we have found out some significant information."
"What is that professor?" Jenna asked.
"First of all, Vila's headaches have a definite trigger. They are caused whenever the idea of Avon and the events at Gauda Prime are introduced. Sometimes just mentioning one will set it off, but definitely when both of them are brought in. Second, this trigger can also provoke feelings of great anger. Third, there is the "strangeness" he experiences in connection with what happened at Gauda Prime. Fourth, when he tries to identify the strangeness, the headache intensifies. Fifth, he is not able to identify the "strangeness", in fact the headache prevents it."
Tarkson looked at them expectantly.
"What does that tell us?" Jenna asked.
He sighed. Civilians. "His mind has obviously been tampered with. There is a trigger associated with Avon and the events at Gauda Prime which cause an instant emotional response. There are other memories surrounding those events which are the cause of the headaches. Whenever they try to break through, or when he tries to access them, the headaches result. This points to memory blocks. Whoever placed the blocks want him to remember specific things and want to prevent him from remembering others. Something Avon said to him must have directly accessed those repressed memories and Vila's mind could not handle it, that is why he turned violent."
"Is there a way for us to access those memories?" Dr Alberay asked.
"Not without breaking the memory blocks, that will take time and intense therapy but there is a much faster way."
"And what is that?" Argus asked.
"You were right before, we need to ask Avon."
"Assuming he still remembers."
"Assuming he still remembers, " the professor agreed. Tarkson knew something the others did not. From the information the psychostrategist had given him, he knew that Avon had been playing games with the memory confusion. Avon did not trust the rebels and he was biding his time. Tarkson had been ordered not interfere until the opportunity presented itself which would further the Federation's aims, this was such an opportunity.