"I am not an invalid," Argus said angrily. "Stop following me around."
Reya replied, "Yes, you are an invalid. And I will continue to follow you around if you insist on leaving the infirmary before you're ready to."
Argus had just finished checking in with their hand-picked units and discussing strategy with the captains. Now he was on his way to check on the current status of the civil war. He was headed towards the command centre to consult with Borel. Of course, he could have just asked Reya for all of these things, but she was annoying him again by acting overly concerned about his health so he refused to.
Unfortunately his legs chose at that moment to become clumsy and he stumbled and fell. To compound the situation, the wall was not close enough for support and he was in danger of falling flat on his face. Reya had to grab him to prevent him from falling. He cried out in pain. His shoulders were still very painful. He was panting. This was worse than falling flat on his face.
"You're enjoying this aren't you?" he asked as she continued to hold him up.
"Enormously," she told him. "Now are you going to behave and go back to the infirmary?"
Argus was now leaning heavily against her, his face was pale and he seemed to have lost all energy. His shoulders were starting to hurt a lot. The painkillers the healer gave him had obviously worn off.
"I don't have much of a choice now, do I? You'll just knock me out and carry me there."
"The thought had crossed my mind," Reya said.
The bickering duo made their way slowly back to the infirmary. It was a good thing too. Argus collapsed just as they reached the infirmary.
"Do you have any contacts who can help us?" Cally asked Jenna. "Preferably ones who do not want us chained up in a cellar?"
Cally, Jenna, and Vila were aboard the Justice, in the command conference area. They were discussing strategies to rescue Kameron Reve's lover, Galena.
"What's this about chains? And a cellar?" asked Vila. He was suddenly very curious.
"It's nothing important," said Jenna.
"Are you sure? You never know what may be important," he told her.
"I'm sure," Jenna replied firmly. She was not about to explain about the two incidents which had ended up with both her and Cally chained up in cellars after trying to meet one of her contacts. Jenna faced Cally and said, "Unfortunately Cally, I don't have any contacts on Ventro."
Ventro was Ellis Reve's base of operations in quadrant nine.
"Are we going in blind then?" the Auron asked.
"We have before," Jenna replied.
"Yes, but that was when we had Blake and Avon with us. We don't even have Argus now."
"We still have ORAC and the Justice."
"I would prefer not going in blind, if that's alright with you. I like seeing danger when I meet it," Vila remarked to them. "That way I know which way to run."
"Alright, we will have ORAC do some research for us and see if it can find out anything we can use. And I will go down and see if Delik Gell has any useful contacts there," Jenna told them.
"I see that Professor Ekron is not with the group yet," Servalan remarked to Sester. They were having a meeting in her private office at Residence One. She was talking about the research team for the phase-compression rifle project that Avon had started working on.
"Not yet, I have scheduled him to arrive in the next session. That way Avon will have no question why the good professor is there."
"As an object lesson, it will be lost on someone like Avon. He has no qualms about using people to further his own goals."
"That is not the kind of lesson I was thinking about," the psychostrategist told her. "It is meant to be a lesson in power. Your power. Let us call it a fair warning."
"I do like that," Servalan said. She liked anything which reinforced or reminded people of her power.
"I thought you might."
"You still think he is up to something?" she asked.
"I don't know," the Federation President sounded uncertain.
Sester looked at her with interest. This is very uncharacteristic of you. And it sounds like you do not want it to be true.
He recognized that he may have done too good a job on the Federation President. Encouraging her attachment to Avon prevented her abusing her power to hurt him. But this level of attachment was not healthy for her. Avon was much too dangerous, as his last conversation session with him had shown.
Sester was aware he may have misjudged these two. The depth of their connection to each other ran deep and warred against their natural impulses. When they were together, it made them very unpredictable.
The psychostrategist was angry with himself. He never made this kind of mistake. In the Federation world, psychostrategists were regarded with a mixture of awe and fear. Sester was considered one of the best; that was why Servalan had brought him in against Avon. He had never worked with two such complex, powerful and relationally volatile individuals as Avon and Servalan before.
Sester realized he would have to be careful with Servalan. She was very capable of having him killed. The Federation President had discovered his manipulation of her. The only reason why she had let it go was because it was something she had never admitted to herself that she wanted until now. But she would be watching him carefully from now on. Just as he was watching Avon carefully.
Avon was making adjustments to a calculation model on his computer terminal. He was working in the lab. The team of researchers he was working with included Dr. Garitas, a scientist who specialized in phase physics and a military small weapons specialist, Phipps. The two researchers were currently testing a prototype weapon in the test firing range which had been set up in one corner of the lab. The range was enclosed in a clear metallic wall which required palm-scanner access.
The prototype was never taken out of the firing range. There were two Centre guards at the access to the range and Avon was never allowed near it. All of the Centre personal got very excited when he wandered anywhere near the weapons range. Though he had never been punished, the threat was always there.
Avon was only allowed to assist with the calculations and the holographic model.
Avon knew that he was being watched very closely. They were all expecting him to make a move. But the security watchers and his tech minders saw nothing. Everything Avon did was scrutinized carefully and double-checked after he finished in the lab for the day. In addition, Sester reviewed everything.
But they had found nothing. Not even an indication that Avon was testing the system.
Sester instructed them all to keep vigilant. Beating Avon would require patience. The moment their guards were down or their attention wavered for even an instant, that was all Avon needed.
What they did not realize was that Avon did not need to do anything now. His plans had already been carried out. The analyst could afford to cooperate in everything now. He was only waiting for the end result.
The door to the lab opened. A familiar man entered the room. It was Professor Ekron.
ORAC was still trying to carry out Avon's directives. The almost complete lack of success from its efforts was beginning to form a pattern. If it had been human, it would be developing a persecution complex by now. Not only was it being blocked at every avenue; it seemed that the obstacles it encountered were specifically designed to block its efforts.