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This is a remix of [livejournal.com profile] megpie71's 'Avon 'splashdance silver' double drabble'


Blake was annoyed. Avon never wanted to do anything helpful. It was easy enough to point out the flaws in the book code after Blake had spent twenty minutes paging through 'Coriolanus' only to come up with a nonsensical request for women's undergarments. But Avon must have realized the problem long before, or how else would he have known that Avalon's copy of the Collected Works of Shakespeare had 'The Tempest' where 'Coriolanus' was in Blake's?

For that matter, how the hell had Avon known what play Avalon was using? Or even which one Blake was looking up? Avon hadn't come within five feet of the book while Blake pored over it, and Blake knew for a fact that the man was myopic in the extreme. He'd missed far too many targets that were shooting at him for anyone with normal distance vision. At least, he'd missed them until he'd rigged his gun with a metal-detecting and aim-correcting sight so he could hit guns, metal bits of mutoids, and buckles on trooper's uniforms. And metallic ore outcrops.

No, Avon hadn't figured it out the way an ordinary person would do. Avon was being smart-arse again, and Blake was quite tired of Avon keeping tricks up his sleeves and only revealing them when he could humiliate Blake. He gnawed at his knuckle for a few moments, and considered ways of possibly discovering Avon's secret. He could ask Orac. He could send a message in the clear to Avalon. He could beat the truth out of Avon... no, he really couldn't. He suspected Avon would actually enjoy it, and was more than a little afraid that he might also, even though for different reasons.

"Aren't you going to ask Avalon to retransmit the message in the old cipher?" Avon asked, breaking Blake's chain of thought.

"No, I don't think I am."

Avon blinked, with a startled expression on his face. "But it's a vital message."

"How do you know?"

"Well, why else would it be in code?"

"Not good enough, Avon." Blake stared straight into Avon's eyes. "Do you know the message Avalon actually sent?"

"How could I?"

"You're evading the question."

Avon looked at Blake and was silent for a long moment before speaking, "Yes. And before you ask, she asks you to rescue a rebel leader whose cover has been blown, before the Federation assassins can reach her. Here's the full information." Avon wrote rapidly on a data-pad and handed it to Blake, then looked away.

"Thank you." Blake glanced at the data-pad and ordered Zen to set a course for the planet listed on it. Blake spread his arms across the back of the flight deck couch and relaxed, leaning back.

After a few moments, Avon said, "Aren't you going to verify the information?"

"I trust you, Avon." Blake smiled lazily.

Avon looked even more uncomfortable. He got up. "Well, as it will be some time before we arrive..."

Blake interrupted him. "I would like to know how you did it. Just for my personal satisfaction."

Avon cleared his throat. "I haven't been interfering with your messages."

"I'm not accusing you of anything, Avon." Blake's lazy smile remained the same. "I'm just curious how you did it."

Avon was definitely embarrassed now. Blake could even see a tinge of colour in his cheeks. "It was a joke," he mumbled at last.

"Excuse me, I couldn't quite hear that?"

Avon looked up at Blake. "A joke on my name! The Federation interrogators implanted a memory chip with all the versions of 'the bard of Avon's' works in my brain! I saw the cover of your book so I knew which version you were working from. I heard the coded message when it arrived. The only version of the Collected Works that made sense was the one I decoded for you." Avon turned back towards the exit, while Blake was still trying to make sense of what the Federation had done to Avon. What sort of torture was that?

Avon said softly, "For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin?"

Blake thought over the various plots Shakespeare used and became more than a little concerned. He shook himself back to reality as Avon's bootsteps faded down the passageway. Nonsense. He couldn't see Avon playing a 'Romeo and Juliet' tragedy any more than he'd reenact 'Julius Caesar'. Blake laughed and settled back to enjoy the quiet of the watch.

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December 2011

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