Avon, Vila, Cally, Jenna and Ture returned to the residence they were using as a hideout. They had to avoid several Federation patrols but there were no incidents.
"You're back," said Allren with relief as he opened the door for them.
They all filed in and introductions were made.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you," Allren said to Avon. Avon looked at him but didn't respond.
Allren looked at them all with a puzzled expression. The tension in the air was palpable. "What's going on?"
"I think we're all tired," said Cally. "Whatever issues need to be resolved can wait until tomorrow." She had been hoping that the strain would have lessened by now but it was clear that it had not.
Jenna and Avon were staring at each other. Jenna clearly wanted to deal with things now.
"You're only postponing this," said Jenna. She was speaking to Cally but her eyes never left Avon's.
"By all means, let's postpone it. Postponing works for me," said Vila.
"When did you need someone else to run interference for you, Avon? First Vila and now Cally," said Jenna mockingly.
"I need no one," said Avon coldly.
"Did Servalan do that to you? Can you not fight your own battles now?" asked Jenna mockingly.
"When did this become a battle?" asked Vila. "Aren't we all on the same side?"
"Do not interfere, Vila," said Avon.
Vila looked at the two combatants nervously but didn't say any more.
"Vila's right," said Cally as she stepped between them. "We are all on the same side. We have more important problems to deal with now. Avon? Jenna?"
Avon and Jenna continued to stare at each other. There was no expression on Avon's face but there was no question that there was something very unfriendly in Jenna's.
"I want to know what happened on the ship, Avon," demanded Jenna. "Vila told me about Malodar. How you tried to kill him to save your own neck. What happened to Argus? Why he didn't come down with you?"
"Jenna!" exclaimed Vila.
Allren interjected, "Jenna, Argus was still alive when the life capsules came down. Remember? He contacted us."
"Yes, but I want to know why he stayed. Why wasn't it you, Avon? Vila told me that you never explained why it was Tarrant who stayed on the Scorpio when it crashed. Convenient, isn't it? All these people risking their lives so that you can be safe? "
They all seemed to be holding their breaths as they waited for Avon to respond. Avon's face was unreadable and showed no emotions other than the tension around his eyes.
He looked at her appraisingly. There was a deep hatred in Jenna's eyes; and something else he was very familiar with. His stomach seemed to twist; his jaw tightened at the pain.
Avon knew that they had not reached the main source of Jenna's bitterness towards him yet. This was just a prelude.
"You have a weapon. What are you waiting for?" asked Avon coldly.
"Avon!" Cally cried out.
"That's where this is leading, isn't it?" Avon asked Jenna in a cynical voice. "I thought I would save us the time."
"You don't think I will? Then you're a fool," said Jenna.
Avon studied her carefully. There was no doubt what her intentions were but she had made no movement towards the handgun tucked inside her jacket.
He told her, "On the contrary, I know you will. But as long as I am useful to you, you won't. Otherwise you would have already killed me by now."
"You think that being smart will save you?"
Avon smiled cynically but didn't respond. He ignored her and turned to Cally. "I'm tired, is there a place to rest?"
"Yes, over here," said Cally as she led the way to one of the beds. Avon followed her. Jenna made no moves to either stop or follow them.
Everyone else found their own places to rest. They all walked carefully around Jenna, giving her a wide berth. She was left standing alone, still watching Avon. Shortly afterwards she made her way towards the door.
"Where are you going, Jenna?" asked Vila.
"I'm going to take a walk. Do you have a problem with that?" asked Jenna.
"No. Just asking. It's dark outside."
"It's dark in here," said Jenna. Vila noticed that she was still watching Avon. Without another word Jenna turned her back to them all and left the room. Vila also noticed that she still had the handgun with her.
Cally had led the way to one of the beds in the corner of the room. Avon handed her the equipment satchel he had been carrying.
"You might find some items of interest to you," said Avon as he slowly settled himself on the bed and leaned back tiredly against the wall.
Cally opened up the bag and began rummaging through it.
"I could have done with some of this days ago," said Cally as she pulled out some of the medical equipment and supplies Avon had brought with him. She took out a bio-injector and studied it.
"Good. You didn't forget," said Cally as she registered that it contained the drugs which Avon needed.
"No. As much as I would like to," said Avon. He closed his eyes.
"One day you won't need them."
"You must know something I don't then," said Avon.
"Do you want to talk about what just happened?" asked Cally in a quiet voice.
"Not particularly," said Avon without opening his eyes. His face was pale and drawn. He did not look like he had the energy to deal with anything at the moment; never mind something as serious as what nearly just happened with Jenna.
"Alright. You should get some rest," she told him. "Although, it might be a good idea if you get cleaned up first. Both you and Vila. And I'll try to find you changes of clothing."
"You don't need to take care of me, Cally." It had galled Avon that everyone seemed to feel that he needed to be helped. What Jenna had said earlier about the others having to defend him because he could no longer protect himself, had filled him with anger.
"You don't need anyone? Again? That is getting old, Avon. Believe me, it's not just for you," said Cally.
Avon gave a short cynical laugh, "Alright."
Vila protested vigorously that his washing could wait until the morning since he could not possibly smell as bad as Avon; considering he hadn't fallen into the water. A sharp look from Avon made him change his mind.
By the time he and Vila were more presentable, Avon was so drained of energy that he didn't even bother protesting when Cally helped him into bed. Using the bio-injector, Cally applied the sedative mixture that would give him the rest he needed without the nightmares.
Cally watched Avon as he slept. She had an uneasy feeling that she could not express. In his confrontation with Jenna, Avon seemed like the old Avon; but Cally knew that there was something disturbingly different. She didn't know what it was yet but she knew it wasn't good.
What was even more worrying was that neither she nor Vila seemed to have been able to stop either one of them.
The next morning, they were all worried. Jenna still had not returned from the night before.
"Did anyone see her come back?" asked Cally as she checked Vila's wound. It was almost completely healed.
"I was sleeping." Vila rubbed his eyes and yawned. He had not liked being awoken from a very entertaining dream. It involved several shapely singers in a lounge. They had all been very interested in his magic tricks.
Allren and Ture shook their heads.
"I'm sure she will make an appearance. When she's done what she needs to do," said Avon. He was working on ORAC at a table nearby.
"Doesn't it worry you what she might be planning?" asked Cally.
"Why should it?" asked Avon. He still looked tired even after a night of rest.
"Well, there's a little matter of her wanting to kill you," said Vila.
"There is a difference between wanting to and actually doing it," said Avon impassively as he picked up small hand scanner from the table and made several adjustments.
"You don't think she will?" asked Cally.
"No. She can't afford to yet."
"Why are you so confident?" asked Cally. She could see that he was.
"She needs me to fix ORAC," said Avon with a slight cynical smile as he passed the scanner over ORAC's interior workings.
"What?" exclaimed Vila. "Then what are you doing? Stop fixing it!" He reached for the scanner Avon was using. It seemed like he wanted to grab it out of Avon's hands.
Avon blocked his hand. "No. We need ORAC," said Avon.
"We need you even more," said Cally.
"Don't let sentiment cloud your reason, Cally. With ORAC we have a much better chance of surviving," said Avon.
"You mean a better chance than with you?" asked Cally. "I don't believe that. And as much as I hate Servalan, she knew that you were more valuable than ORAC too."
"Cally's right, Avon," said Vila. In a choice between Avon and ORAC, Vila had no hesitations.
"Do not mention that woman's name again," said Avon. There was a cold, tight anger in his voice. "I have work to do. I wish to be left alone." There was a hard look on his face. It was not a request.
Sester's mind was recovering along with his body. Thought was no longer a painful struggle. Following the med-tech's suggestion, his captors appeared to have allowed him time to heal before attempting more interrogations.
This did tell him one thing. They considered him a valuable resource. This gave him some leverage.
Sester hated having no information. It put him at a severe disadvantage. He resolved to correct that lack as soon as possible.
He was still restrained to the bio-bed but other than for the medical attendants, he was generally left alone. Senior Controller Dayto had not made reappearance since that first day when he had tortured him.
Sester didn't know how long he had been there or how he had ended up on the planet with these people again. His mind ran through numerous possible scenarios which fit the few facts that he possessed. The med-techs were not very helpful and he dared not ask too many questions for fear they would realize how little he knew. He was in a precarious position.
There were also two other possibilities which were disturbing.
The first was that Dayto did have the others captive and was going to use them against him at a later time. The second was that he had discovered whom they were and was going to use them too.
"Good. You're awake," one of the med-techs said when he noticed Sester's eyes were open.
"That interests you?" asked Sester.
"It will interest the Senior Controller," the med-tech replied.
Good. It is time I get some answers of my own, thought Sester. Now that his mind was functioning again, he was up to playing some games.
"All you have to do is tell me your name," said Croft reasonably.
Reya was strapped into an inclined board while they worked on her in the interrogation room. She was exhausted and had been without sleep for almost three days. The pressure and interrogations had been non-stop since they had brought her to this new facility.
A continuous flow of drugs entered her body through a bio-line inserted into her arm. Maintaining coherent thought was a constant struggle as they kept her disoriented. She tried to focus on why she was there and what she had to do.
At her continued silence, Croft said, "I don't want to do this but you leave me no choice." He nodded to the tech specialist seated at a panel nearby. The man entered in a code for the next drug sequence.
"Really? You don't have a choice."
Croft looked at her in surprise. This prisoner rarely spoke. He signaled the technician to stop.
"I don't. But I have to get answers. That is my job," he told her.
Reya lifted her head and studied Croft. She gave him a cynical smile.
"You enjoy this too much. You don't need a choice," she said simply before she put her head back down. Even that little movement seemed to drain what energy she had.
Croft stared at her. She should not have been able to guess that. He was wondering if he had given anything away. He could not imagine that he had. He was too good.
There was only one way she would know. The Senior Controller was right. She was a professional. That meant the standard approaches would not work with her. She would know all of them. Croft indicated for the technician to continue.
"Very well. Let's assume that is true."
"Let's not assume."
"Alright. I will not insult your intelligence."
"Are you going to lie to me now? Tell me that this will stop if I tell you my name? We both know it won't. You need something more from me than just that."
She could not prevent herself from moaning as the sensation of fire began to race through her veins.
"You're right. We are after something more. But for now, I just want a name," Croft told her. "Then you can rest for a few hours. Re-gather your strength."
Reya could barely think now. Breathing was coming in short agonized gasps.
"No!" Her refusal came out in a shout of agony. Reya felt like she was being burned alive. She strained against her bonds.
I can't give them what they want. Not yet.
The only thing she had to bargain with was to deny them what they wanted. She began to scream as the drugs took over and overrode all thought.