Argus had followed Reya around, giving help wherever needed. He had a growing admiration for the woman's ability but she confused him. Her manner towards him still caused a great deal of annoyance. She seemed to go out of her way to insult him at every turn.
On the other hand, Argus and the young general had formed an easy working relationship. He had noticed that in all military things, the man was a brilliant strategist and had an intuitive ability to spot weaknesses in other people's strategies. In non-military areas though, his sister helped to provide a balance. They made a formidable and strange team.
"You don't like following my sister around do you?" asked Borel as they sat in the young general's office.
"I wouldn't mind if she didn't go out of her way, to make me feel like I'm there to do her bidding," said an annoyed Argus.
Borel laughed. "Actually I've never seen her put up with someone for so long."
"Put up with…?"
"She usually prefers working alone."
Argus had a sarcastic comment but refrained from saying it.
"We need to find that other group you saw," said Borel. "How would you like to do some hunting? Reya said that your commando experience makes you better than any of my men at that."
"That's surprising," said Argus.
"We don't have any hunter units. At least none with your skill."
"No. I mean, that your sister would say that," Argus clarified.
"She knows ability when she sees it."
"She has a funny way of showing it."
Borel laughed again. "Don't let her fool you. She knows exactly what you're capable of."
From the young general's words, Argus was beginning to have a suspicion.
"You've been watching me," said Argus. "You wanted to know if I could be trusted and what my real abilities were."
Borel grinned, "She was right, you are quick."
"So her rudeness was an act to test me? And having me follow her around." So saying that you trusted me because you trusted Rane was not quite true. Either that or one of you is very cautious. My guess is it's her.
"Oh no, she is normally like that. Everything else was the test."
"Well, I obviously passed otherwise you wouldn't be asking me to do this."
"Correct. You can pick your own team. Ask Reya for help with that. She's coming with you but you'll be in charge."
"It's good to be in operation again," remarked Argus. Even if she is coming along.
Argus had been feeling useless and had wondered what good Olean Rane had thought he could do by being here. The young general had his own troups and obviously did not need his help in that area. And even though Argus had been able to give them information about the infiltrators, they hadn't seemed to need him for anything else. But he was finally going to be able to put his expertise to good use.
"I need to send a message to Jenna Stannis at Olean Rane's headquarters," said Argus, "I would like to use your long-range communications array." It was approaching the time to contact Vila.
"That's fine. Just let Reya know. She'll arrange it for you."
"Let's talk for awhile," Servalan told Avon later that night. Her head was propped up by one elbow as she contemplated him, with her other hand she was exploring his body. Despite his resistance, she could feel him responding to her touch. She loved driving him crazy.
Servalan had wondered how things would work between them with the new guidelines. She had been unsure whether Avon would meet her demands without the threat of punishment hanging over him. She need not have worried.
Tonight had been like the three days they had spent together. For some reason, in her bedroom, things had changed between them. They were still enemies, just as they were outside, but in here there was an unspoken understanding.
"You really are better with more strength and stamina," she teased him.
"Yes, we've established that," Avon said dryly.
She smiled and continued to play with his body.
He gave a low moan then grabbed her hand. "If you want to talk, you have to stop that."
"Let go Avon," she commanded sharply, he released her hand. "Don't ever do that again." She warned him as she continued playing with him.
"It's always about control, isn't it?" He tried to block out the effect she was having on him; but it was hard. She was very good.
"What else? I want to talk about Professor Tarkson's assessment of your condition."
He was focussed now; she could feel him stop responding to her. Her hand arrested its movements and rested against his chest.
"He said that the damage to your mind is deep and complex; and unfortunately progressive. Even if I allowed you the time and the therapy required to heal the damage, he said that it would take years. And in the end it still might not be possible to restore you fully. He also said that your loss of control over the memories may also extend to other areas."
"I see. So my condition will continue to deteriorate?" He had been afraid of this.
"I'm afraid so." She started caressing him again, but this time it was not to arouse him.
"Don't," he told her. This time he rested his fingers lightly over hers. "What else?"
"Isn't that enough?"
"I know you Servalan. You would not have brought me here just to tell me that."
"There is an experimental drug. It will help your mind to maintain control over the memories."
"And the side effects?" He knew there was still more she hadn't told him.
"Once we start using it, you will be dependent on it for the rest of your life."
It is always about power and control, isn't it? Avon thought. Something began to build inside him.
"You mean dependent on you," he said in an accusatory tone.
"Yes. Unfortunately, it is the only option available."
"I wouldn't think that would be a problem for you," he said sarcastically.
"Not for me, no."
"And the point of telling me yourself is to gloat?"
"That is such an unattractive word."
"You do want to gloat."
She smiled. "Just a little. Now show me what else you can do with a little more strength."
Avon knew what he wanted to show her; take her by the throat and squeeze until he could feel the life leave her body, but instead he did what she demanded.
The damage to your mind is irreversible and progressive.
Once we start using it, you will be dependent on it for the rest of your life.
You mean dependent on you.
He was aware of a cold anger building inside him as the night progressed. At times it was difficult to prevent it from coming to the surface as he fulfilled her desires.
He was aware of his own weakness as he fought his impulses to destroy her.
I cannot do this. He could not afford to kill her. Not yet.
Sester had been right in his assessment that Avon had not yet recovered. Just as Avon was too weak to fight the headaches which accompanied the short-term use of the mind trigger, he could barely prevent the anger from controlling his actions. He was finding it increasingly more difficult.
I cannot kill her, he kept reminding himself.Butthere were other things he could do. Allowing him additional strength increased his options considerably. Avon found himself starting to manipulate Servalan's responses to him, driving her crazy as she had done with him earlier.
He immediately recognized that this was a mistake. Servalan controlled others; she did not react well to being controlled. His actions continued to be fueled by his anger. He fought to control himself but felt the control slipping away. His failure made the anger even worse. He felt her on the verge of losing control to him. Soon he would do something he would regret.
"No!" Avon cried out in anguish. He pushed Servalan away from him and sat up.
Servalan was shocked at his actions. "What's wrong?"
Ignoring her, Avon closed his eyes and tried to concentrate, struggling to contain his own uncharacteristic emotions. The loss of control scared him. His fists clenched at the strain; his head was bowed from the effort.
I must maintain control.
Servalan had been very aware of Avon's growing anger and his struggle. It added an energy to his love making tonight which had made things very interesting; like playing with fire. It had excited her.
Professor Tarkson's warning had been correct. The loss of control was already spreading to others areas.
She could not blame Avon for his anger. He had been continually backed into a corner and had everything taken away from him; and now the realization that he depended on her even for his continued sanity must have been difficult to take.
Servalan could see the tension in his body. She wanted to reach out and touch him but she knew it would only make it worse for him.
She repeated gently, "What's wrong Avon?"
"I can't do this, not tonight," he told her, his tone anguished. He knew that with the state of his mind, there was only one way to maintain control. He hated it, but he had to do it.
It is the only way, he tried to convince himself. I cannot afford to make this mistake.
The uncharacteristic emotion in his voice shocked Servalan. "Why Avon?"
"Give me the drug now," he told her in a strained voice.