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B7: The Improbability Zone - Chapter 17 (END) 
3rd-Oct-2007 05:21 am
Last Chapter of The Improbability Zone
End of the B7:  New Patterns and Old Friends Story Series


Previous ChapterChapter SeventeenBack to Chapter One


"You still love him, don't you?" Avon asked Servalan. She had been talking about Don Keller again. Avon's arm was around her as she lay relaxed against his shoulder.
 
"No."
 
"Then why did you go looking for him on Virn?"
 
"I wanted to kill him."
 
"You wanted answers."
 
"Stop it, Avon. Stop trying to understand me." He was making her uncomfortable.
 
Avon realized with dismay that he had fallen into the same trap as Tarrant. And he was the greater fool. Tarrant had fallen for her tricks; but Avon had sought to understand the mystery. He had walked into the trap on his own. Here, in her bedroom, with her guard slipping, she had become human.
 
He put his hand under her chin and tilted her head up to face him.
 
"When will you stop trying to punish him?"
 
"I don't know what you mean."
 
Avon looked into her eyes and the confusion reflected there and thought, When did you become so vulnerable?
 
He said, "You really don't, do you?"
 
She did not know how to respond to him. Is that what I have been doing? With you?
 
"You always stress how alike we are. Why is that important to you?" he asked when she didn't answer him. He suddenly had a flash of insight; and wish he hadn't.
 
"And when will you stop trying to punish yourself?"
 
Servalan pushed against him and sat up facing him.
 
"Now I really don't know what you are talking about," she said. There was a coldness in her tone.
 
Of course, timing demanded that very moment was the perfect time for Argus and Vila to arrive. Avon saw them. He quickly sat up and pulled the blanket around Servalan's shoulders.
 
"What took you so long," he asked them.
 
Clutching the blanket to her, Servalan whirled around to face the two men who had appeared in her bedroom.
 
"How did you get in here?" She demanded. Her hand slowly moved towards a hidden security button.
 
"I wouldn't," Avon stopped her hand in a hard grip. Servalan turned to stare at him in anger. She felt as if she had just been betrayed.
 
Argus and Vila approached the bed, their pistols raised to cover the Federation President.
 
"Madame President. I would stay very still if I were you," said Argus.
 
"Who are you?" she asked outraged.
 
"My name is Argus."
 
"We have been searching for you."
 
"I know."
 
Vila had an amused look on his face as he saw the state of Avon and Servalan on the bed. He remarked to Avon, "I was going to say that we were here to save you from a fate worse than death, but I see we were too late. Or were we too early?"
 
Avon gave Vila a cold stare. "Bring me my clothes," he told him. Vila looked around and spotted the discarded prison coveralls on the ground. He picked it up and handed it to Avon.
 
"I take it ORAC followed my orders?" Avon asked as he got out of bed and pulled the coveralls on.
 
"Yes and no," said Argus. "We are safe from the virus. As for the rest, we can discuss that later." The rebel leader guessed what they would find in Servalan's bedroom and had insisted that only he and Vila teleport down. Argus handed Avon a teleport bracelet. "Do you want to kill her yourself?" he asked, indicating Servalan.
 
Despite their agreement with Sester, there had been no promise not to kill Servalan. After Argus had read the files which Sester had sent, he felt that Avon deserved the chance to kill her. They would deal with whatever fallout would result.
 
"Give me a gun," Avon told him as he snapped on the bracelet.
 
Argus nodded to Vila, who was very happy to surrender his weapon to someone else.

Avon trained the phase pistol on Servalan.
 
The analyst told them, "Downstairs, in a locked safe, you will find ORAC's key. I trust you are still competent enough to open it Vila. You can take the lift next to the liquor cabinet. There is a recessed button on the side of the cabinet. Now leave us. I want to have a few words with the Federation President. I will signal for teleport when I am done."
 
Argus looked at Avon. The analyst had a cold impassive look on his face and his gun hand was steady. The rebel leader nodded. "Let's go get the key, Vila."
 
"Oh. Yes. Right." Vila didn't really want to leave. He felt that things were much more interesting in the bedroom.
 
Argus took Vila's arm firmly and guided him to the lift. The two men left.
 
                                   **********
 
Avon sat down on edge of the bed and stared at the woman who had been the bane of his existence for more years than he could remember.
 
"We don't need to talk. Just kill me," Servalan told him. "We have already done too much talking. It's time to work Avon."
 
Avon immediately knew what she had done as his mind began responding to the conditioning.
 
"It won't work Servalan. You no longer have any leverage over me."
 
"That's true. But you know that unless I turn the conditioning off, your mind will destroy itself."
 
"I would rather be free and go insane rather than spend another day trapped here under your control."
 
"Then kill me and go."
 
Avon pointed the gun at her and squeezed the trigger slowly. Servalan showed no fear.
 
She was his hated enemy. The woman who had him tortured and turned his weaknesses into debilitating nightmares; the one who used him like a personal slave and had conditioned him to work for her. She had broken his body and made his sanity dependent on drugs he would never be free of. Every pain in his body and every scar was a reminder of what she had done to him.
 
It was so easy to kill her now and to end his misery. It was time. It had reached the point of no return. The gun shot out its charged energy; racing towards its final destination. And hit the wall behind Servalan.
 
Avon lowered the gun. He could not kill her.
 
"Are you going to stay then?" Servalan asked. Her voice had softened. She had seen the anger and hatred in his eyes when he pulled the trigger; she had expected to die.
 
"No," he replied. In that one word was conveyed a wealth of misery which was incongruous with a face which remained emotionless.
 
"You have to. I do not want you to go insane. That would be worse than death for you."
 
"Yes," he admitted. "Perhaps I will end up killing myself. But at least I would be free."
 
"And you would rather do that than to stay here with me?"
 
"Yes," he replied. There was no emotion in his voice. He felt numb. Part of him no longer wanted to feel anything. It meant he would not have to hate himself.
 
Servalan suddenly realized something. "You knew that this might happen, didn't you? Even if your crew obtained the antidote, you knew you were still vulnerable to the conditioning and that I would use it against you."
 
"I know you; I knew it would be a strong possibility. Even if we knew how, the likelihood would be that we would never be able to break the conditioning soon enough to prevent me from going insane."
 
"So you were waiting for them to rescue you so that you could die?" she asked incredulously.
 
"You would not give me that option."
 
"Avon," she said his name softly. There was such sadness in her voice.
 
"Don't," he told her. "Don't become human." Don't become more human.
 
He leaned forward and kissed her briefly, keeping his gun well away from her hands. Just as she responded to him, he pulled away.
 
"Goodbye, Servalan."
 
Avon stood up away from the bed and activated the teleport bracelet on his wrist, "This is Avon. Bring me up."
 
Just as his form began to shimmer in a familiar energy, Servalan said quietly, "It's time to rest Avon."
 
                                   **********
 
Despite his efforts to hide his actions, Servalan knew who it was who had freed Avon. She knew it couldn't be anyone else. She immediately instructed her special security personnel to apprehend the psychostrategist.
 
                                   **********
 
The cell door opened. The Federation President stood in the doorway, flanked by her hooded personal guards.
 
Sester was sitting on a metal sleep platform. His hands were restrained by shackles. He was not wearing a prison uniform; obviously an oversight by the Centre personnel. Sester reflected how the guards had processed him with undisguised pleasure and anticipation.
 
There was no sign of fear or defeat on his face. He was every inch the confident  psychostrategist Servalan had known for over three years. There was even an amused look on his face.
 
The psychostrategist had almost escaped. He had been about to board his personal observer craft when the Central Spaceport had been shut down for security reasons. After that he didn't have a chance. He did not even bother to run; and had waited calmly for them to take him.
 
Sester stood up as the Federation President entered. Her guards did not follow her into the cell. The door slid closed. Sester saw that the security cameras had been switched off.
 
"Madame President."
 
"Sester."
 
There was an atmosphere of formality between them.
 
"Given my present circumstances, I assume that Avon got away?"
 
"I let him go."
 
The psychostrategist reacted in surprise then he laughed.
 
"The two of you consistently surprise me," he told her. There was no need for pretense any longer.
 
"I am glad you find it so amusing. It may be your last opportunity."
 
"So you came here to decide whether it would be more amusing to kill me or to torture me like you did with Avon?"
 
"You are in his cell."
 
"I am aware of that."
 
"Why did you do it?" she asked.
 
"I told you my reasons when I came back," Sester replied.
 
"And you think that will excuse you? I warned you what would happen if you tried to manipulate me again."
 
There was nothing he could say to that.
 
His planned had worked. Avon was free. The Justice crew would help fight the aliens. And Servalan would work with them. The only thing he had not been able to ensure was his own survival.
 
Servalan stared at the silent man for a few seconds then she activated a button on her wrist communicator. "Open the cell door," she spoke into it. The door slid open. She turned and walked towards the exit.
 
"So what is your decision?" Sester asked. For once, he had no idea what she was going to do.
 
Servalan hesitated at the doorway, and then she said, "Kill him." She left without looking back.
 
The two black hooded guards entered the cell; they were like twin spectres of death in faceless masks. They both lifted their rifles and prepared to shoot him.
 
The psychostrategist faced his death calmly. He smiled.
 
Just as their fingers tightened on the triggers, he said, "Wait."




*****  THE END  *****


 

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 New Patterns and Old Friends Story Index


Twin Souls
Comments 
2nd-Oct-2007 09:54 pm (UTC)
YES, a satisfactory end to this sequence.

Is there going to be a follow up?
2nd-Oct-2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
Is there going to be a follow up?
Yes. There will be a follow-up series which I am in the process of planning.
3rd-Oct-2007 01:14 am (UTC)
Yayy! *hugs Avon and dances* Wheee! Thank you, I was so worried about him. :^) Not that life will be sunshine and roses for him, but at least he's free-ish.
3rd-Oct-2007 03:50 am (UTC)
=) Yes he is free finally. There will be alot of fallout as he begins to deal with what has happened to him the last 3 years both physically, mentally and relationship-wise.

The crew have been operating separately from each other since story #5; several of them have gone through intense personal journies and there will be many things to deal with as they try to 'fit in' with each other again.
3rd-Oct-2007 02:04 am (UTC) - follow-up series which I am in the process of planning.
Anonymous
When?

3rd-Oct-2007 02:26 am (UTC) - Re: follow-up series which I am in the process of planning.
I started planning the new series while working on story 6. I already started setting up clues to what will be going on starting from that story. It may take a couple of weeks depending on how well inspiration goes. Once I start writing though, it tends to be quick.

I won't start writing the new series until I have at least a general timeline for major events. I am also working in more things from the poll which I posted several weeks back for feedback.

Feel free to add your own feedback and I will keep it in mind for the new series =)
3rd-Oct-2007 02:12 am (UTC) - "It's time to rest Avon."
Anonymous
It's time to work Avon."

My apologies (self-protection; your series was as painful as Gauda Prime is eternally) but I skipped parts. What does "rest" mean, Avon fighting narcolepsy?

Sorry.

Hooked, hung, and dangling in the wind for the sequal.
3rd-Oct-2007 03:00 am (UTC) - Re: "It's time to rest Avon."
...painful... are you the one who posted before regarding the torture scenes? It's hard to tell since you show up as anonymous and the poster then also was anon.

*spoilers for story #2 * to explain the use of the two phrases

Those two phrases are conditioned mind triggers which Servalan had implanted during story #2 which forces Avon's mind to work for her. The "work" phrase turns the conditioning on. The "rest" one turns it off.

Avon does not hear the phrases when they are used but he is aware of its affect on his mind. When the condition is turned on, pressure in his mind builds and becomes increasingly unbearable unless he applies himself to a task which is directed by either Servalan or the psychostrategist. If the pressure is unrelieved eventually he descends into madness. After the conditioning became firmly entrenched, only Servalan or Sester's voices are required, not their physical presence.

This explains Avon's attitude in this final chapter. He knew that as long as the conditioning was in place, Servalan could activate it anytime either in person, a communication to the ship or even through a public broadcast. There is no way for him to simulate the phrases in order to control it because he is unaware of what the phrases are. He was conditioned not to hear them.

So as long as Servalan held this over him, he knew that his time was limited once he escaped. She would never let him go in peace.

From Servalan's actions in this last chapter, at first she tried to force him to stay by using the conditioning but when it became clear that he would prefer madness rather than continue being her prisoner...she let him go and released the conditioning just as he was teleported away.
3rd-Oct-2007 03:02 am (UTC) - General comments
Anonymous
1) "Once burned, twice shy." Why didn't the crew guard against Avon doing it again ("Rumours of Death") - letting Servalan go?

2) Did Avon restrain himself because she is needed in her function as President?

3) What does Sester's "wait" mean - who has he not conditioned?

4) Drama has different requirements than common sense. Teleport, isolate, examine under microsope, protect galaxy, reduce headaches, keep simple. Avon or crew don't realize this? But I suppose we need rabid dogs running around for more plot.

5) 50 to 100 PGP stories and nobody goes in depth into Avon's psychology.
Ok, so I skipped too much. Look forward to getting inside his head some more and putting Avon under the microsope. Nobody seems to do him much crazy, either. Physical, no, mental, yum.

6) You are in Taiwan? Where? My fellow librarian is from Taiwan.

Thanks for spellbinding us. Good luck.
3rd-Oct-2007 03:43 am (UTC) - Re: General comments
Some good comments there. Let's see... *mild spoilers to some of the stories to explain some things*

1) "Once burned, twice shy." Why didn't the crew guard against Avon doing it again ("Rumours of Death") - letting Servalan go?
When Avon let Serv go in "RoD" he did it because he wanted something from her and promised to release her for information. He kept his word.
In this story, the crew thought that because of what she had done to him, that he had no reason, not to kill her.

2) Did Avon restrain himself because she is needed in her function as President?
I don't think at this point that Avon himself really understands why. But it has to do with the relationship stuff between them from story #5 onwards.

In the original series
...even though they keep trying to kill each other, they never really succeed and they both exhibit strong regret if they think they have succeeded (even if that regret is because they would prefer to kill each other personally)
...they seem to be obsessed with each other
...their reaction to each other during that final scene in "RoD"; during the episode on Sarran, the scene in "Deathwatch"; their final scene in "Gold" and numerous other scenes when they are interacting directly with each other point to much more interesting possibilities between them...which were not possible during the series because they were much too dangerous to each other

It is these aspects I explored more of and expanded on throughout this series in a very unique situation; (i.e. in being her prisoner, Avon was no longer as much of a danger and she could afford to explore other things with him and this confuses him because he sees different sides of her which he cannot hate) and resulted in what happened in the final chapter of the last story.

3) What does Sester's "wait" mean - who has he not conditioned?
Sester always has an out...stay tuned.

Did you wonder how he escaped Servalan's wrath after he lost Avon the first time on GP in the first story and ended up working much closer with Servalan from story #2 onwards?

4) Drama has different requirements than common sense. Teleport, isolate, examine under microsope, protect galaxy, reduce headaches, keep simple. Avon or crew don't realize this? But I suppose we need rabid dogs running around for more plot.
Not quite sure what you are referring to here?

5) 50 to 100 PGP stories and nobody goes in depth into Avon's psychology.
Ok, so I skipped too much. Look forward to getting inside his head some more and putting Avon under the microsope. Nobody seems to do him much crazy, either. Physical, no, mental, yum.

As you can tell, I like getting into the character's heads...

6) You are in Taiwan? Where? My fellow librarian is from Taiwan.
I have been assigned to Taipei for the past year; will probably be here until end of Feb next year.
3rd-Oct-2007 04:05 am (UTC) - Re: General comments
re: 4) Drama has different requirements than common sense. Teleport, isolate, examine under microsope, protect galaxy, reduce headaches, keep simple. Avon or crew don't realize this? But I suppose we need rabid dogs running around for more plot.
One thing I did try to do because the crew was split up was to emphasize each group's strengths and weaknesses. Not sure how well I succeeded there... I tried to emphasize that each group handles situations differently and each makes mistakes (I'm not sure if you can spot the obvious mistakes they make) which would not have been made if one of the others had been in the group.

Also they are all approaching the same conflict in Sector Ten from different perspectives. If they had put all their information together, they would probably have been able to figure out what was going on, as the psychostrategist had.

It was also quite a challenge to remember who knew what and when....
21st-Dec-2007 08:36 pm (UTC) - "Not found"
Anonymous
Did you take Perceptions off the internet?
It keeps saying "Not found" for 12/20-21/07.
Thanks for your frequent "Christmas" present
to us: what you write!
Happy Holidays!
21st-Dec-2007 08:42 pm (UTC) - Re: "Not found"
Hello...are you referring to the index for Perceptions? I accidentally deleted it last week.

I have created a new one and am in the process of updating all the links to it.

Try this one: http://kalinda001.livejournal.com/89584.html
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