They had just made love after returning from their walk out in the gardens of Residence One. Avon had to admit, it had not just been about the sex this time or him giving into her demands.
It had been passionate, as it always was between them; but this time the anger and hatred, which was always between them as well, seemed to have retreated to a distance. They had clung to each other like two people drowning in the dark would hold onto each other, when there was nothing else.
Afterwards as they rested she had said, "You really are better with a little more strength."
"I didn't know I was disappointing before." As they talked, Avon was confused at what had just transpired between them.
She chuckled. "Not that; but you have more stamina now and that's always better."
"You mean better for you." There was a faint scowl on his otherwise expressionless face. He was determined to remember that she was his enemy.
She smiled and reached across to touch his cheek. "I don't believe it wasn't better for you as well."
"It's hard to enjoy anything when I'm in constant pain. Do you ever plan to have them turn the implant off?"
"You know I can't do that; it's meant to be a reminder. It should be at a manageable level though; I turned it down when you arrived."
"So kind of you," he said with a sarcastic tone. He would never forget the pain of the past three years.
"We aim to please." Her hand slid slowly down his body to the deep cuts she had made with the laser dagger weeks ago.
"Sorry. Does it still hurt?"
"I'm sorry all of this was necessary."
"Stop apologizing to me Servalan. I do not believe you and you're very bad at it."
"Must there always be pain between us?" she asked.
"What do you mean us?" he asked sarcastically. Yes, I will always remember the pain.
Must there always be pain between us? Avon wondered what had been going through Servalan's mind when she asked him that.
Are you getting soft Servalan?
Jenna, Cally and Delik Gell were discussing the best way to infiltrate Kam Ellis's headquarters. They were in a workshop at the back of Delik's music shop.
Delik was Jenna's contact who had sold them out to Ellis Reve's uncle but was now helping the two women. Having incriminating holovids of him with the governor's wife, appropriated from Myler Reve, had assured his reluctant cooperation.
When one looked up the Athol definition of "charming rogue", Delik would probably have fit the bill. He was good looking without being really handsome and had a boyish charm. The most distinctive thing about him was a silky, gravelly voice which melted the hearts of most women. When he spoke, it didn't matter what he was saying, knees went weak. It kept getting him into all kinds of trouble. It was as hard for women to say 'no' to him as it was for him to say 'no' to women in general.
He had been staring intermittently at Cally since Jenna had called her in. Cally was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. The Auron girl had not had much experience with charming rogues and was sure she didn't like this one.
"Is there a reason you keep staring at me?" asked Cally.
"I have an idea," he told her.
"Leave her alone Delik," Jenna warned the charming rogue. The ex-smuggler had lots of experience with charming rogues and was not so easily influenced by Delik's charms. He found it quite a challenge, to Jenna's frequent annoyance.
"You have a suspicious mind Jenna," said Delik.
"I know you," she said unyielding.
"Have I not always been helpful in the past?"
"Yes. Very helpful and very well-paid on each occasion."
"You're a hard woman."
"Where you're concerned, I have to be."
Cally noticed that Delik's voice made it easy to sympathize with him.
"Stop playing games, Delik," Jenna told him. "And tell us how you're going to get Cally into Kam's headquarters."
"Well, before I was rudely interrupted and had my reputation maligned, I was going to say I had an idea how that could be achieved."
Delik looked at Cally again. He was definitely interested in something.
Argus approached Borel Reve's castle.
Who on earth lives in a castle in this day and age? He thought as he looked up at the parapets and high walls. It was quite impressive and reminded him of historical records of old Earth strategic fortifications he had studied while at the Federation military Academy.
More than a bit ostentatious. Argus wasn't sure whether he should start running now.
"Is this really necessary?" Cally asked Delik. She was trying to pull down the edges of the skimpy outfit she had just put on. Her tone clearly indicated her opinion that she didn't think it was required. She was dressed in a frilly barmaid's uniform; a barmaid whose function seemed to be more decorative than functional. Despite Delik's boast that he could tell a woman's size just by looking at her, she was sure he had gotten her size wrong. The Auron girl didn't look alien, but she definitely felt alien in this outfit.
At this moment, in the back of his music shop, this reluctant helper seemed to be enjoying himself much more than Cally thought he had a right to. He was trying to help her find appropriate 'infiltration' attire. She was sure that no barmaids dressed like this were ever found in any political headquarters. She was very naïve.
"I thought the intention was not to attract attention," said Cally reasonably.
"Trust me," he said reassuringly as he looked her over with a critical eye.
"When you say that, it usually means you're up to something," said Jenna.
"Now Jenna, don't tell me you're still sore about Myler Reve," he said, in a light tone as if it was a minor transgression he was sure she would forgive him for. He was used to women forgiving him for just about anything.
"I don't call being chained in a cellar something I can get over in a hurry," said Jenna.
"I explained about that," he said to her in that gravelly voice. "And I'm making it up to you the best way I can."
"Only because you don't have a choice," she pointed out.
"You're a tough woman to please Jenna," he told her.
The man was so smooth and determinedly charming that Jenna wanted to smack him, preferably with the heavy rolling pin she had hit him with earlier.
"Now explain to us why Cally has to dress up like this; and it had better be a good reason." She did not bother asking the other interesting question, such as why he had a revealing barmaid's uniform so handily available in his music shop in the first place; she was afraid that she already knew the answer.
Vila was angry at himself and angry at ORAC; but most of all, he was angry with Argus.
The rebel leader had promised to not lock the liquor dispenser codes. He had kept his word but instead, he had changed the codes such that the only thing being dispensed by the alcohol dispensers was a weak .1 percent of something which was little more than flavoured water.
Argus had left Vila with 2 decanters full of alcohol to tide him over until the next rendezvous in six days time. Vila had planned that the alcohol would last the six days. He had even marked out each bottle in order to limit himself to an equal portion each day.
Vila knew why Argus had done it and the more he thought about it the more insulted he had become.
"Who does he think he is?" said Vila angrily to no one in particular as he sat on a couch on the flight deck. "He wasn't there when Dayna died or Soolin! He didn't see Blake fall! He wasn't shot in the back! No one tried to throw him out the airlock!"
At that moment, Vila's back decided to act up again. It pained him every so often; more when he was under great stress.
"If I need a drink every now and then, for medicinal purposes, what business is it of his?"
You're a fool, Vila. For some reason Vila could swear he could hear Avon's voice. He shook his head, trying to get the voice out of his head. Avon had abandoned them and was working with the enemy. He should not be hearing Avon's voice.
There were three days left before the preset rendezvous. Unfortunately there was no alcohol left. Vila didn't actually remember drinking the rest of it. That scared him and he was trying not to think about it.
"ORAC, be a good computer and talk to me."
"I am busy," said the computer. It always sounded annoyed and preoccupied now.
If ORAC had been human, one would say that it was becoming increasingly frustrated. All of its efforts to follow Avon's directives had not produced any results. It was as if someone knew exactly what it would do and had blocked all possible avenues. Without a cypher machine, ORAC was severely hampered. But one thing about computers, they never gave up unless directed to.
Even ORAC has abandoned me, thought Vila, feeling very sorry for himself.