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Written for the Blakes 7 Birthday Buffet Ficathon


"It's not fair! I always did my duty! I deserve better than this!"

Avon laughed. "What has that got to do with anything, Arlen?" Avon 'looked' around him. He didn't actually have light to see with, or eyes to gather information, or a brain to process the information, but he did the equivalent of scanning his environment at a distance. And 'saw' nothing except Arlen. "We're here. Accept it. Or don't, but in either case, be quiet."

Arlen was silent for a while, seconds, minutes, or possibly millennia. There was no way to tell. "Are we going to be here forever?"

Avon would have shrugged, but having been reduced to a point in a space, he had nothing to shrug. "Probably. According to all the physics I ever learned, matter on the event horizon of a black hole cannot ever escape. Of course, according to all that, we also should have crashed into the singularity almost simultaneously with contact with the event horizon."

Arlen made the equivalent of an angry growl. "You're extremely annoying, Avon. I can see why Blake abandoned the Liberator, just to get shut of you!"

Avon was silent now for an indeterminable length of non-time. Galaxies might have spun while he thought. Or a living heart beat once. It was all the same. "No, I don't think that was it."

"What was it, then?" After a while, Arlen's voice softened. "I can't tell anyone, you know. I'm... after everything I did... I'm nothing and nobody...more nothing than I ever was."

Avon got the impression Arlen was weeping. "Stop that!" He hesitated. "I don't know for certain, but I suspect Blake felt that separating our forces would enable us to work against the Federation more efficiently. He ...trusted me, you see. Unfortunately, things never... my plans never quite succeeded."

"Of course not. You had a traitor among your crew."

Avon snarled, "Who?"

"I don't know. All I knew was the code-name, 'Rat'. I came across it in a report on Blake's activities before the War, when I was tracking him."

" 'Rat'...colloquial term for a traitor. Or..." Avon bared his nonexistent teeth. "A 'rat in a box'. Orac. But why would a computer betray its own... ah. Ensor intended to sell it to the Federation. Orac's loyalty was to the Federation all along. Suddenly it makes sense. Blake never relied utterly on Orac, as I did... he didn't quite trust it. I used to call him a fool for double-checking Orac's information with Zen. I was the fool. I was always the fool." Avon's non-voice was harsh and bitter. "I trusted the machine, and doubted the man. I should have shot Orac instead of Blake."

Arlen was silent for a long time. "Is that why we're here? Because of Blake?"

"How should I know? I thought death was simply an end. I never... I never believed in an afterlife, a heaven or a hell... or whatever this is. It's impossible. I don't believe in it now."

"I do." Arlen's speck of not-quite-nothing moved in a way impossible to describe, closer to Avon. "And I don't like it. I don't want to be here."

"What does it matter what you like? Or what I like, for that matter?"

"It has to matter! There's got to be a reason for all this, or I'll go mad!"

Avon gave another non-shrug. "Go mad, then."

Arlen screamed and threw herself at Avon with all her force. Avon snarled and met her. Two specks of violently opposed non-matter collided in the heart of the singularity. The singularity built matter up about the irritant, like a pearl, growing until it could no longer contain it. The black hole inverted and spewed itself into the vastness of nothing that comes at the end of time.

And there was light.


(I used prompt #20. Avon and Arlen are stranded in a black hole.)

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December 2011

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