When she approached the infirmary, it was obvious that something was wrong. There seemed to be a lot of commotion coming from the room.
Reya entered in time to see two guards tackle Argus from behind. The rebel leader had managed to get up and was standing by the side of the bed even though his hand was still shackled to the railing. He had been determinedly fending off any infirmary personnel who approached him. One of the healer's assistants was on the ground and was being attended by others. He had been the person unfortunate enough to have been charged with sedating the supposedly sleeping man.
Argus turned around in time to see the guards and tried to avoid them but being shackled made it impossible. All three fell heavily over the railing of the bed. Argus cried out in pain as his shoulders impacted the bed.
"Don't hurt him," healer Garett told the guards even as Argus struggled to get free. Garett approached with the injector.
Reya watched the scene with horror. She had been the one to give the order that Argus be sedated, but she had never intended this.
Argus groaned as one of the guards twisted one of his arms behind him; finally immobilizing him. But he still continued to fight with them even though each movement now caused him pain. They could barely hold him still.
Reya recognized that though she insulted him and generally gave him a hard time, Argus stayed because he wanted to stay. Theirs was a strange and difficult relationship but neither had ever forced the other to do anything they did not want to do. Even though she had him restrained it was only because he was hurting himself. Though he did not like it, he had accepted it.
But Reya realized that they were doing now made her no better than those who had tortured him. This made her ill.
Healer Garett placed the injector on Argus's arm, preparing to give him the sedative.
Reya grabbed Garett's hand. "No," she told him firmly. To the guards she said, "Let him go. Now."
The two guards obeyed and let go of Argus's arms. They got up from the bed.
"Leave us. All of you," she told them.
Everyone filed out. Just as he left, Garett handed another bio-injector to Reya and said discreetly to her, "Get him to take this if you can, it's a painkiller."
Reya nodded and took the injector.
After they left, she sat down on chair next to the bed and waited quietly. She didn't dare touch him even though he was still faced down on the bed. After a few moments, as his breathing calmed down, Argus slowly rolled himself into a less painful position; and sat up and looked at her.
"This was your doing, wasn't it?" he accused her. There was a cold anger in his voice.
"I'm sorry," she said in a subdued voice. "I never meant them to do that to you."
"What did you think was going to happen when I found out what you were planning to do?" he asked her.
"You weren't supposed to find out."
"Until it was too late? Did you really think that would have been any better?"
"It would have kept you safe," she tried to defend herself. Her voice was quiet.
"You wanted to take away my choice," he accused her. "Because you wanted to feel better. Even though we don't ever do anything other than fight, I thought that at least we respected each other; that we would never force our wills on each other. I thought we had at least that. I guess I was wrong." He sounded very disappointed and added "I think your brother is the only one who can stand you."
"Don't say that, Argus," Reya said quietly. "I made a mistake. I will never do it again."
"Don't make that promise to me," he told her. His voice was still cold.
"Why do you want to stay?" she asked him quietly.
Even though he was still very angry at her, he saw that she was devastated by what she had tried to do to him. But he couldn't answer her.
"It can't be for me. You can't even stand me," she said.
He grasped her idea and fed it back to her.
"No. It's not for you. I do not like leaving something I have started. I am committed to Borel. I will not let him down and I will not abandon him," Argus told her. He almost kicked himself. Why did I just say that?
"Of course," she accepted.
This made him angry. "Don't do that!"
"Why aren't you questioning me? Do you have so little respect for me now that you don't even question me anymore?"
"It's not you that I don't respect." Her voice was still quiet. "It's me."
Argus could not stay angry with her; not when she was like this.
"I will stay. Because you want me to go," he told her.
"And you're going to give me an even harder time now. Because of this?" she asked.
"Someone has to."
"I suppose I deserve that. I want to give you this," she held out the injector Healer Garett had given to her. "It's just a painkiller."
Until she had just mentioned it, Argus had not noticed how painful his shoulders were from the assault by the two guards. The adrenaline was wearing off and he was starting to feel it.
"There is no reason you should trust me. I am willing to inject myself with it first," she offered.
"I do trust you, Reya; at least your intentions. Just not your methods." His voice was no longer cold. "We will work together to help Borel. And you can give me the injection."
"Can you try not hurting the infirmary personnel? I think they're afraid of you now. This is the second time you've knocked one of them out," she told him as she injected him with the painkiller.
Working with a team again gave Avon what he needed; his plans had already been carried out without lifting a finger. He now only needed to wait. The analyst decided his next task was to make it as easy as possible for the crew to rescue him. To do this he needed to persuade his two foes, and especially Servalan, to continue giving him more freedoms.
There was also another, less practical reason; he found that he needed to understand Servalan. When they were together, he saw different sides of her. She was still the same controlling, power hungry Federation President; but with him, she also revealed hidden depths.
Am I seeing what Tarrant saw in you? he wondered. He remembered telling Tarrant that Servalan was nothing more than a greedy gangster back when she used them to obtain ten billion credits worth of gold. Avon still smarted at that memory of how she had outmanoeuvred him. And she had obviously used the wealth to leverage herself back into a position of power. He had thought Tarrant a fool then.
It did not make things different between him and his enemy; but he still needed to understand. He was never a man to let a mystery go and she had become a mystery to him.
"Myler Reve? That's your source?" asked Jenna. Her voice clearly indicated that she did not like this news.
"I told you that you weren't going to like it," Delik answered. They were both at the back of his music shop again. "He's the only I know who can help you."
"I think I would prefer wearing a skimpy outfit," said Jenna. She was not forgetting that she had threatened Myler Reve and his wife; and told them to leave the Athol Territories and never to return. "I don't suppose you have incriminating holovids of him?" Jenna joked.
"No. Speaking of holovids used for blackmail purposes, I don't suppose you would consider giving me the ones you have of me with the governor's wife?"
"Not yet. We're still not even. Find me a way to influence Myler Reve to help us, and I may reconsider. Agreed?"
"It's going to be difficult. He's going to want something in return," Delik said.
"I am aware of that," Jenna told him. "See what you can do. I have every confidence in you, Delik. Don't let me down."
Delik Gell may have been a chronic ladies man and a rogue but his business was information, or rather the obtaining of it. He was very good.
"I wish you had more than just that," sighed Delik. "Very well, I'll try. But you have to be prepared to pay a price."
"I am willing to accept anything within reason," said Jenna. "Returning to Athol is not one of them."
"You just made it much harder," said Delik.
"That is my condition," Jenna said; she was not budging. She would not agree to anything which would bring the dead Overlord's overly ambitious brother back into the fray. Things were already complicated enough.
It was late afternoon. Sester sat across from the Federation President in the gardens of Residence One. She had asked him to join her for tea while he gave his report.
"You are sure?"
"Definitely. Although I have no proof. Avon is much too cooperative at the moment. He is trying to lull us into a sense of security. But you know him. It is impossible that he is not planning something. He only needs the opportunity. We must not give him that opportunity."
"What do you propose?" Even Servalan did not want to hurt Avon again, it was even more important that she not lose him. She also realized that she had allowed herself to become vulnerable. This was something she could never let happen.
"He has been allowed to become much too strong. We must disable him again."
"You are putting him back into the isolation cell?"
"No. We did agree that we would not use torture on him as long as he cooperates."
"And disabling him would not count as torture?"
"There are many ways to disable without resorting to torture. Increasing the level of drugs again will work just as well."
"So would a session with the interrogators." I am sorry, Avon. But I have no choice. I promised myself that would never be this exposed again.
Sester looked at her and smiled. "I should not have worried."
"You were concerned that I was being too soft on Avon? And that I would not agree?"
"Yes," admitted the psychostrategist. "But I should have known better. Your self-interest always comes first."
"How could you have doubted it? I want to give him a session in the nerve induction unit as well." You also need a reminder how cruel I can be. This session in the Shredder will be educational for both of you, thought Servalan. She had not forgotten how the psychostrategist had tried to manipulate her.
"We don't need to do that," Sester told her.
"We know he has been abusing the guidelines. Even though we have no proof. He must be reminded that we are the ones in control. We know him. That is all we require. This will be a reminder for him. It is not a return to the earlier protocols. I will tell him that when you send him to me after the session in the chamber."
"That will work. Have I said lately how good you are?"
"Not often enough." Servalan smiled. "I also want the drugs increased as well."
"Very well. I will communicate your orders to the Centre controllers." The two of you really are unpredictable. The normal psychostrategy methods seemed to be inadequate when dealing with the two of you.
"Now tell me what has been happening in Sector Ten."
A pattern was forming.
ORAC was beginning to realize this. There was no reason why every one of its efforts had been successfully blocked. Except one. Someone knew the computer unit's capabilities and had the ability to block it. ORAC only knew of one human who could do that, Avon.
ORAC surmised that it must have something to do with the strange conditions Avon had given to it the last time he was onboard. Avon must be in some kind of trouble; something which had forced him to take these measures. Somehow he had found it necessary to devise the ingenius ways to block the very efforts; he had asked ORAC to make in the first place.
But Avon, despite being bright for his species, only understood a small fraction of what ORAC was capable of. ORAC decided to change its strategy. First it had to determine how much Avon knew about how it functioned and second if all it had to beat Avon.
There was also another possibility. Avon would have found a way for ORAC to complete the directives he had given it, despite the handicaps. It was a possibility. ORAC began to refocus it's efforts to these two areas.