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Kalinda001
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Playing Dangerous Games - Chapter 07

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Avon sat in his cell. He wasn't waiting for the medtech or either of his two enemies to appear. He was just sitting. Thinking. They had started giving him time alone after his work sessions. And now that they were no longer working him to the point of exhaustion, he had the energy to think.
 
Along with his daily regimen of drug injections, they had begun giving him the new one which helped him to maintain control over the memories; to prevent them from overwhelming his battered mind. He found that he still had to concentrate but at least it was manageable now.
 
There had been no recurrences of the inability to control emotions from surfacing. He was relieved but he hoped that it did not mean that he was dependent on the drugs for that as well. For a man who had always been emotionally controlled, the loss of that control struck at the core of who he was.
 
He suspected there were other things that Servalan had not told him about Professor Tarkson's assessment of his condition.
 
There was another thing which was troubling him about these drugs they were giving him; that was the horrible realization that he was dependent on some of them now and would be even when he finally regained his freedom. Without them, he would eventually slip into madness. But he could not think about that now.
 
Whoever said ignorance is bliss never had my problems.
 
Looking around at his bleak, grey cell, Avon refused to accept that he would have to spend the rest of his life here; being used and having to cater to the whims of others in order not to be tortured. He was tired of continually having to lose ground to his two foes.
 
Avon knew that the psychostrategist would have guessed where his mind would be turning now, with the easing of the protocols and measure of freedom the new guidelines had given him. They would be expecting him to do something; and they would be ready for him. Servalan had already warned him. Any infraction or advantage taken of the new freedoms would result in swift and crushing punishment until he finally decided that it was better to cooperate.
 
Avon smiled inwardly. He recognized it for what it was. Another form of conditioning.
 
He didn't dare smile outwardly; he knew he was being watched. The security cameras in his cell were always monitored. At any moment either Servalan or the psychostrategist could also be watching.
 
Outwardly he looked passive and tired. Almost despondent. It wasn't difficult in the depressing cell.
 
Let's play a different game instead, he thought.
 
He was tired of only having the ability to react to what they did to him. It put him at a severe disadvantage. Avon knew that Sester had assessed that he could not face both of his enemies at the same time. That was why they had both been there in the interrogation room. Avon had to acknowledge that Sester was right. He couldn't. Not yet.
 
You think that you have beaten me so badly that I cannot fight anymore, don't you?
 
He would show them what they had bought by harnessing a dangerous mind.
 
There are many ways to fight; many ways to play this game. Ways that even I can manage right now. Or have you forgotten that Sester. Everyone thinks that I am capable of doing anything in order to survive. They were right.
 
                                   **********
 
Servalan turned on the side vidscreen. She was still in her office at the Terran Govermental Headquarters. It had been another long day and it wasn't over yet. There was still one more meeting. Commissioner Loki from the Cooperation Project had just reported to her aide that he would be an hour late. There were problems with the scheduling computer at the Central Spaceport.
 
The vidscreen currently showed Avon sitting in his cell. Any other person would have found it exceedingly boring. The subject on the screen did not appear to be doing anything other than sitting with his knees drawn up. To be fair, there wasn't a whole lot he could do in the bare cell. Nonetheless, Servalan always found it fascinating watching him.
 
It must be his rest period.
 
The new guidelines allowed him an hour of free time after his work sessions.
 
That mind must be very busy thinking now, she thought. Sester will have to deal with that.
 
It had been three days since she had last sent for Avon; that had been the day he had asked for the drug. She remembered having Corry contact Professor Tarkson; waking him up in the middle of the night. The drug had been delivered within the hour.
 
Servalan remembered the blank expression on Avon's face as she injected the drug into his neck. She had let him sleep afterwards; she didn't have the heart to demand anything else from him.
 
She still remembered the strained voice and the anguished look on Avon's his face as he struggled to maintain control but couldn't. Servalan touched the screen. She missed him but she would have to wait for a few more weeks before she could call for him again. She was on her way off-planet in the early morning.
 
There was something which was bothering her about what happened that night; but she couldn't quite place her finger on it.
 
                                   **********
 
Psychostrategist Sester watched Avon on the vidscreen from his room. He was making adjustments to his psychstrategy for the analyst. Things had become much more complex now that he had decided to add Servalan into his equations.
 
When Professor Tarkson had told them that Avon's loss of control had extended to the inability to stop strong emotions from surfacing, Sester had made a calculated gamble. When he made the suggestion to Servalan afterwards, he knew that something might happen; he was hoping it would. He knew that Avon would not kill her but there had been a strong possibility that Avon would make a serious error in their relationship. Sester had needed Avon to make that mistake.
 
Avon had surprised him again. He had fought and even though he did not win against the flood of emotions, he had still found a way around the problem. He had asked for the drug. The very symbol of his increased dependence on them. Sester had not expected that.
 
You are up to something Avon, thought Sester.
 
The psychostrategist had been watching Avon carefully for days. He had been expecting something to happen but the analyst was cooperating in everything.
 
He should not have been.
 
Past experience had told them that the stronger Avon became, the more difficult he would become. They had planned to allow him a certain amount of rebellion but then to crush him without mercy. This was to be repeated until he judged it better to cooperate. For this, they didn't need any compromises from him; they only needed him to be less difficult.
 
But Avon wasn't doing anything; and by doing that he was fighting them more effectively than any active rebellion.
 
You're an excellent opponent, Avon. You are actually forcing a different game. You cannot manage an active resistance right now so you are using a passive one. But two can play that game. There are many ways to allow you freedom. Some more unpleasant than others.
 
At first he thought it would be Servalan who would be the harder one to manipulate. But it was becoming clear that she was confused about her relationship with Avon. It was a confusion caused by the three days she had spent with him at Residence One.
 
That was something which always hampered the psychostrategist's psych-mappings. He never knew what happened between Servalan and Avon when they were in her bedroom. It was clear that something significant had; something powerful enough to bring Avon back from the brink of severe depression, something which had enabled him to return to a semblance of the old Avon. A dangerous Avon; who now was being allowed to recover.
 
Sester smiled. It was like playing with a caged lion. The lion was wounded, but a wounded animal was even more dangerous.
 
                                   **********
 
Argus retrieved the communications equipment and noted the frequency. Placing it carefully over the side, he began filling in the hole again. After he finished, he drank the rest of the water in the bottle and put his shirt and jacket back on. He looked around. There was still no sign of Reya.
 
Other than sounds of his own digging and the ambient noises from the woods, he had not heard anything else while he worked. He was beginning to worry. It had been over an hour since she had gone to scout around. The air-cycles were still where she had concealed them.
 
Maybe she's in trouble. It was possible that she had run into Ellis Reve's men.



 



Tags: b7_fanfic
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