Series Title: Perceptions
Sequel to Damaged Beginnings
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"Look, I'm sorry. Alright? How many times do I have to say it?" asked Argus. He was in the corridor outside Reya's cabin. She was inside and had refused to let him in or open the door; or even speak to him. If he had not seen her enter her cabin, he would have thought that he was speaking to an empty room.
It had been a week since the sphere incident and Reya had decided that she was going to be mad at him for awhile. The revelation that Argus had planned to either leave her or push her away; without even discussing it with her first, had caused her to realize their relationship needed some serious work.
Except for painfully professional conversations, she made sure they were never alone. At other times she would shut herself off in her cabin; and she always managed to do it before he could intercept her. Argus suspected she was getting help from some of the others in the crew, specifically Jenna and Cally.
None of them said anything but he was sure that they were all secretly amused.
I must be getting paranoid, thought Argus.
"Look this is embarrassing. What if one of the crew comes by?" said Argus.
"I don't care," came a muffled voice from inside the cabin. "Go away Argus."
Well at least you said something. Although anything else would have been better than "go away."
"I made a mistake. I should have talked it over with you before I made my decision," said Argus placatingly.
"I hate you," came the muffled response.
Okay that is much worse than "go away." He knew she didn't mean it. Or at least he really hoped she didn't mean it. He hoped he had not made a complete mess of things.
Damn that Investigator. Why couldn't he leave things alone?
"Please Reya, don't say that," he begged her. At that moment Vila strolled by, on his way to his own cabin.
He looked at Argus strangely. "Having problems with the door?" Vila asked.
"No. I’m fine. Thanks," said Argus. He tried to look casual. "She must be asleep."
"Yes. She must be," said Vila without an ounce of sarcasm. "Good night then."
Argus walked slowly towards his own cabin. He waited until Vila had entered his cabin and the door slid closed; then he came back to Reya's door.
"Reya," he said.
"Why are you still out there? I told you to go away," was the response.
"Tell me that you don't hate me. Then I will go," said Argus.
The door slid open. Argus wanted to throw his arms around her and hug her, but the look on her face stopped him. It was the look of hurt and disappointment. He wished the door had stayed closed.
"You're right, I don't hate you," Reya told him. "But right now I don't think I like you very much. Now go away and be your rebel leader and leave me alone." She closed the door in his face.
Argus stood unmoving. At least you don't hate me, he thought.He was at a loss at what to do next.
He didn't have to think too long, the door slid open again.
Reya asked, "You don't even know why I'm angry with you, do you?"
Argus had thought that it was because he had decided to push her away, without talking things over with her first. But standing there, he wasn't sure anymore. He was afraid to ask if it was because of what he had revealed to her under the Investigator's influence.
Reya could see the uncertainty in his eyes. You are so full of doubt about yourself. So unlike the leader on the flight deck. Reya sighed. This was not what she had intended.
"We had better discuss this inside," she said as she stepped aside to let him in.
After he entered her cabin, Reya deliberately kept her distance from him. She wanted to make sure that they would only concentrate on what was important.
"You were going to push me away without even talking it over with me; without even telling me why," she told him.
Argus looked guilty. That was exactly what he had planned to do.
"Did you have so little faith in me that you didn't even want to risk giving me the chance to decide for myself? So you made the decision for me?"
It had not occurred to Argus that she would see it that way. He realized how serious an error he had made.
"That wasn't why I did it," he told her.
"I know that wasn't. It never even occurred to you what the implications of your actions could be from my perspective, did you?"
"No," he admitted.
"That is why I am angry with you. Now that you know. You can leave," she pointed to the door.
"What can I do to make it up to you?" he asked. He moved towards her.
She backed away, keeping the same distance away from him. He stopped.
Reya asked, "Do you think that we can just sleep together and things will be better?"
"I was thinking that was one of the things we could do."
"That is always your fallback, isn't it? Doing something you know you're good at. And yes, you are very good at it. But it won't work this time, Argus. You have to become much better at something you are not good at. Until then, I don't think we have much more to discuss. Will you leave now?"
"You are going to give me a chance then?" he asked.
"Don't be happy so soon Argus."
I have every reason to be happy, he thought. "You're staying."
"Really Argus, that should have been evident by now. If I was leaving, I would have done it before we left Sector Ten. But I will have to leave soon. I still have duties. The conflict with Ellis and the aliens is not over yet. And I need to speak with Borel."
Argus nodded. They both had responsibilities.
"I will ask Cally to arrange it for you. I will leave you alone then," he told her. He headed towards the door. Just as he was exiting, Argus stopped and turned around. He said, "I will be better at this. I promise." He left.
I know you will, thought Reya. That's all I needed you to do. And you would never do it unless you were pushed.
As he headed back to the flight deck, Argus knew he was in for a long period of reparation. But he didn't care; he knew what was expected of him now. He was feeling much better.
"Vila, I have no interest in your latest gastronomic misadventure," said Avon. "I prefer something plain. With as little sweetener as humanly possible."
They were both in the dining area. Vila, as usual, had been tasked with ordering Avon's food. It was morning and time for some breakfast. To Avon's increasing annoyance, this had meant putting up with whatever Vila's favourite food of the moment was. And in Vila's still-unfinished self-appointed mission to explore all the possibilities the food dispenser was capable of, the palatability of the food had been highly variable. Vila had a leaning towards things which had, what Avon considered, an abnormally high sugar content.
Vila's last choice of food had been so sweet that it had almost made Avon ill.
"You'll like this one. It's not as sweet as the last one and it's got nuts in it," said Vila as he put a plate down in front of the analyst and one at his own place. The colour and texture of the item gave Avon no confidence as to Vila's claims. It was another cake; this one had lots of light green and purple icing.
Why would an Altan crew have this item in their menu? wondered Avon.
Avon's stomach was already feeling queasy even though he hadn't taken a bite yet. "I can't eat this," he said, pushing the plate away.
"What's wrong with it?" mumbled Vila; as he put a forkful of the cake into his mouth. He was obviously enjoying it.
"It is disgusting," said Avon.
"How would you know if you don’t try it?" asked Vila.
Unfortunately Avon was feeling hungry. But not hungry enough to eat this abomination. Avon decided that he was already feeling ill enough without having to be subjected to more nauseating food choices.
Avon got up, went over to the food dispenser and punched up the code for an order of plain toast with a little bit of sim-butter and coffee, black. Avon brought the plate of toast and the cup of steaming coffee over to the table and sat down again. Vila was staring at him.
"Is there something wrong?" asked Avon, as he picked up a slice of toast.
"Avon! You're eating breakfast!"
"Your powers of observation are astounding," said Avon sarcastically.
"I mean. You just picked your own breakfast and you're eating it!"
Avon looked down in astonishment at the plate and cup of coffee he had just chosen.
"So it would seem," he said wryly.
Vila was beaming. "I knew it would work."
"Vila, if your idea was to annoy me until I was forced to make my own decision, I am surprised it took you so long to think of it. I would have thought being annoying would come naturally to you."
"You're welcome," said Vila. He had an even bigger grin on his face. "Although if Cally were here she would probably say something like your choice of food lacked the proper nutritional requirements for a balanced morning meal."
"She would not be highly impressed with your choice as well," remarked Avon.
"We won't tell her then," said Vila, as he took another forkful of cake.
Avon took a bite of his toast, and enjoyed the lack of any kind of sugar or nutritional value.
Psychostrategist Sester leaned back in his chair as he brought up the next page of a report on his datapad.
Why is it that small minded bureaucrats always assume that the volume of words can substitute for actual useful content?
After reaching the last page of the report, Sester put the datapad down in disgust.
I am going to have to scout out my own information. He disliked having to do his own legwork but the Federation President expected results and it was the only way to obtain them. Sester did not trust in the ability of security personnel at this outpost. Or rather he trusted in the inability of the people here.
He sighed. Servalan had him chasing all over the Federation, tracking down leads of possible alien activity. Some of the leads were so tenuous as to be ridiculous but she still insisted on sending him and expecting a thorough analysis and report. Sester was certain it was because he was still under censure for defying her. He had not had a days respite since being released from the Detention Centre. She kept him constantly busy and following her orders.
Sester headed towards the senior controller's office. Controller Dayto was not only a fool, he was an incompetent fool. This was nothing new to Sester, in his role as psychostrategist, he had occasion to meet many of them. He thought how ironic it was that people who tended to gravitate to the top of the Federation command structure were either self-protective fools like Dayto, or ruthlessly cold-blooded like Servalan.
The report Sester had been given had been curious in its lack of actual useful detailed information. Sester was certain that the controller had edited some of the material. He was determined to find out what it was. Sester did not suffer fools gladly; and especially not fools who wasted his valuable time.