"Is that the story you told Tarrant? Down on the sand planet?" Avon asked the Federation President after they had finally shared a passionate night together. The analyst was sitting with his back against the head of the bed. Servalan was nestled against his shoulder as they rested. They had been together for five days.
She had taken his hand in hers and was absently tracing the lines on his palm.
"I don't know what you mean," she replied.
"Tarrant came back thinking you were human."
"And what do you think, Avon?" She turned her body towards him so she could look at him.
"I think you do a very good imitation of one," he said looking down at her. There was an amused expression on his face. "He was very naïve to be taken in by you."
"He was very sweet." Servalan recalled how she and Tarrant had kissed and she had easily taken his gun from him. "And very naïve," she agreed.
"He doesn't know you as well as I do," Avon said.
After the day by the lake, when she had poured out her life with Don Keller to him; Servalan had become less of a mystery to him. And he wished that she still was.
"Tarrant made a mistake," Avon remarked. He now understood where Tarrant had gone wrong.
"He made many mistakes."
Avon had no arguments with her about that.
"His mistake was not in thinking that you were human; but that you still were."
"How very perceptive of you, Avon. And is that what you are?"
He did not answer her so she continued, "I had my Don Keller. And you had your Anna Grant."
Avon stopped smiling. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"You don't think so? Remember. I was there. In the cellar. When you killed her."
I saw the look in your eyes, she thought. Servalan wondered if others had seen the same look in hers the day Don Keller had ripped out her heart.
"Do not mention the cellar to me," Avon said in a cold voice. There was an equally cold anger in his eyes.
"Yes. You are right. It was very tasteless of me to mention it." How could I have forgotten? I lost that right when we used it as one of the nightmare scenarios to break you.
For some reason, that anger in his eyes disturbed her. The anger was not because of her. It was for a woman who was long dead.
Perhaps having both of you in beds next to each other was not a good idea, thought Healer Garett as Argus and Reya were having yet another argument.
Or maybe I should have you both moved to separate rooms.
At first it had been fine. They had both been injured and there was a tenderness and concern between them. But as they had both become stronger, the sparks began to fly.
Healer Garett had both of them chained to their respective beds. Both of them refused to stay in their beds otherwise. He shook his head and smiled.
You are both so much alike. He never thought that Reya would ever run into someone who could affect her as much as Argus did.
Garett had served with Feltar Reve when the Overlord was alive; and had attended the delivery of most of his children. The Healer had watched Reya grow up. He seen her desperate attempts to gain her father's approval even though it was clear he was only concerned about his sons. She had tried to make herself even better than her brothers by becoming a soldier.
He had never seen anyone try so hard before and overcome so many odds in order to succeed. And succeed she did; at everything she put her hands to. But she did not succeed at the one thing she wanted. His heart had ached for her when she realized that no matter what she achieved, she would never be good enough for her father; because she was not a son.
Reya became hard and unforgivingly cynical. But you never felt sorry for yourself.
She seemed to lose the ability to love anyone, not even herself; although she was always very protective of her younger brother. Of all of the Overlord's children, Garett had a great fondness for Reya and Borel.
"I don't know why you have to be so stubborn," said Reya.
"I don't know why you have to be so unreasonable," countered Argus.
"And what are we arguing about today?" asked Healer Garett as he approached their beds. I really should be asking what they are arguing about this hour.
Both of them fell silent. They did not like other people joining in their disagreements.
Garett had noticed that. When they fought, it was only for each other.
You are a strange pair, he thought.
"I want both of you to get some rest, or I will have you separated and put in different rooms."
"I will stop if you will," Argus looked over at Reya.
"I will stop. But only because Healer Garett asked."
Garett saw that Argus had a biting response ready but the rebel leader controlled himself. Instead he rolled onto his side facing away from her, and closed his eyes.
Reya did the same on her side.
Standing between them, Garett shook his head. He knew the peace would probably only last a few hours. But every hour they could rest was good for them.
Garett had known that threatening them with separation would work. He realized that he would probably have a fight on his hands if he ever did try to separate them. He doubted if a whole platoon of guards would be able to achieve it.
All of his infirmary personnel were already very wary of Argus and refused any order to do anything which the rebel leader might not like. The Healer had only been able to have the two of them restrained because it was done while they were both too weak to resist.
Garett was the only one both of them deferred to.
What are you doing ORAC? Avon wondered. He was tired and he was in Servalan's bedroom again. The Federation President was dozing in his arms after several hours of intense activity.
It had been almost a week since she had him returned to the Special Detention Centre after he had recuperated at Residence One. And now she had asked for him again.
As she rested, Avon took the opportunity to run over his plans in his mind.
The modified programming for the remaining ASP had been released by the uplink to the researchers' datapads several weeks ago. His minders and whatever security personnel also checked his work had completely missed it because they had been looking at the wrong thing and at the wrong time.
He knew they had been checking his work carefully and thoroughly since he had been allowed to work with people again. Everything he touched or worked on with the phase-compression rifle group was scrutinized; sometimes in his presence. But they had found nothing.
Because there had not been anything to find. At least not there. They checked everything except what they needed to check.
He knew it had confounded them to no end; especially Sester, whom of all of his enemies, knew for certain that he was planning something.
Avon had planned for the eventual contingency that he would be allowed to work with people again. He had readied the modified programming in discreet parts, hidden within the computer at the lab. By the time he was allowed to work with researchers again, he did not have to do anything else. The modified programming was able to act on its own without any additional input or action from him; and was completely separate from any of his work on the phase-compression rifle.
It uploaded itself in small pieces over the course of over two weeks; using the datapads used by the researchers to load data for their personal use away from the lab. Once completely within the network, it reassembled itself then sent a recall out to the remaining ASP. The two would merge and become a much more powerful entity and then it would go looking for ORAC.
The wrong place and the wrong time; that is why they were unable to catch him out. And why Servalan and Sester had resorted to torture to get him to behave.
But there should be results by now, he thought. Avon moaned.
Servalan was no longer dozing and was caressing him now. Her attentions to his body brought his mind back.
"What were you thinking just now?" she asked continuing to caress him; deliberately trying to provoke a reaction from him. He bit back another moan. She was also adding light kisses to various parts of his body. It was becoming difficult to not react to what she was doing to him. She had always known how to get him to respond to her touch. His breathing had become quicker. It was clear she was eager for more activity and very soon; which was a good thing, that meant he did not have to think up a response to her question.
"I thought I told you that I do not want or need your help?" said Kameron Reve. Although Cally did no discern any emanations of anger from him, his voice had been cold.
Jenna and Cally had come with a sample of the alien material and were about to try to convince Kam Reve that there was something major going on and that he needed to put his personal concerns aside.
"We have some information which you might find useful," said Cally.
"I don't want to hear it unless you can tell me where Galena is and what happened to her," said Kam.
"We cannot tell you where she is, but we may know what happened to her," replied Cally.
Kameron waited for her to continue.
"While we were exploring the mansion, we came across a substance. It was green and had a gooey consistency. We brought it up to our ship for analysis. It appears that this substance is a decomposing bio-matter material consistent with the remains of the beings who tried to invade our galaxy several years ago from Sector Eleven."
"You are saying that the aliens have Galena?" asked Kam incredulously.
"It is highly possible. I told you that we had encountered evidence which suggested that a battle had taken place at the mansion where she was being kept. It is highly likely that the aliens have her now. We brought a sample of the bio-matter for your people to analyze."
"Why would the aliens do that?"
"That is something we were not able to ascertain."
"You think that this information will change my mind about helping Borel?"
"Yes," replied Jenna, speaking for the first time since they entered the room. "The issue has reached beyond the conflict between you, Ellis and Borel. There are much deeper concerns here if the aliens are trying to take control of this sector. The Athol Territories represent a major part of this sector. We need you to step in."
Kam smiled. Cally sensed that there was something going on. There were no indications of the hostility she had felt from him the last time they had seen him.
"What is going on?" Cally asked suspiciously.
"It's too late," Kameron replied. There was a faint hint of amusement emanating from him now. This was definitely something she had not been expecting under the circumstances.
"What do you mean?" asked Jenna. "Are you not going to help?"
"Borel contacted me several days ago. I already know about the aliens. My forces are already on the move out to quadrant five. In fact I had only come back here to get a few things before I left for my flag ship."
Jenna had a disgusted look on her face, "You mean we went to all that trouble for nothing?"
"No, you didn't. I now know that the aliens are also involved with happened to Galena. For that I am grateful," answered Kam. "I am now even more determined to resolve things. Can I ask one favour of you?"
"Ask it," Jenna told him.
"Can you continue trying to find out what happened to Galena? I will be too busy now and I need to know that someone is taking care of this. Someone I trust," Kam told them.
Jenna looked towards Cally, who nodded.
"We will continue looking," agreed Jenna.
"Thank you. Now I really need to get going," said Kam.