my_b7_fic: Avon karate chopping (Default)
[personal profile] my_b7_fic
written for the AU/AR ficathon for [livejournal.com profile] mistraltoes



"Tarrant! We've broken the sand's hold on the ship," Dayna shouted triumphantly into the comm. "We're coming to get you."

The monitor flickered, then steadied into a static-filled image of the base on Virn as Tarrant replied, "No. It's no good." He sat on the sand-covered floor beside Servalan's corpse. "It's too late for me." He smiled wanly. "I killed Servalan. I did it for Deeta... and I did it for you..." Tarrant felt himself weakening further, and he reached out for the control he'd rigged on the base's power plant. It was a simple thing- too simple for the sand to affect. He pressed it.

"No!" Dayna screamed as the screen went blank.

Soolin checked the sensors. "He's gone. The whole base is gone."

Dayna went over to a chair and sat down, tears blinding her as she sobbed. Vila stared at the monitor in shock, and Avon's eyes went cold as his features hardened.

After a moment, Avon said, "Let's get the hell out of here."

**

Dayna was silent for most of the flight back. Late in the night after their return to base, she found Avon in the main room of the base.

She told him, "I've packed up Tarrant's things. There wasn't much."

"You didn't have to do that."

"I don't know why I did it. It's not as if he had anyone..." Dayna's face twitched, but she didn't cry, and her voice was steady as she resumed. "Maybe I did it because he killed Servalan. I almost wish he hadn't." Dayna put her arms around herself. "I don't know what I'll do now. I've known for a long time that we're all going to die fighting the Federation, and I didn't mind so long as I got a chance at Servalan. But she's dead. And Tarrant's dead."

Avon stood and walked closer to her. "Servalan was only the human face of the Federation. The system created her. It will continue creating Servalans until it's destroyed."

Dayna lifted her head and looked straight into Avon's face. "Do you promise that we'll destroy it or die fighting?"

"Are those the only alternatives?"

"The only honourable ones."

Avon nodded. "I give you my word."

Dayna smiled. "Thank you." She kissed Avon lightly on the cheek. "I think I can sleep now." She left the room.

Avon stared after her for a while, and then put Orac's actuator into place.

**

"Avon, are you sure about this?" Soolin finished putting her hair into an intricate knot and then turned towards him.

"No." Avon walked past her and poured himself a glass of water. "According to Orac the odds are... not good."

"Then why do it? At least-- why do it this way? Inviting these people here, letting them see how few resources we have..."

Avon whirled. "I know Tarrant's gone because of my miscalculation. You needn't remind me."

"That wasn't what I meant, but yes, there are only four of us. Four of us and a battered planet-hopper." Out of a sense of delicacy, Soolin didn't mention that Vila had obviously not been 'gung-ho' since Malodaar and their effective 'force' was three. "We should at least meet them in neutral territory, put up some show of strength-- we could hire..."

"No!" Avon's fingers tightened on the edge of the table until his nails went white. "A false front would do no good. The truth is the only thing we can rely on. I have the facts. I have the antitoxin. I have Orac."

"Laying your cards on the table is only a good idea when you have the winning hand."

Avon smiled suddenly. "Servalan's policies are still being enforced, and her replacement is far less seductive a manipulator. He's our best ally. Every planet in the sector is in danger of losing their freedom, and they know it. Are you with me?"

Soolin hesitated, then smiled. "Yes. But this time, let's not have secrets between us... not about the mission, at least."

"Oh, now, Soolin, you know me." He walked out of the room.

Soolin laughed shortly, and followed him.

**

"I don’t want to go. I've heard about that Zukan. Not exactly a charmer, is he?" Vila grumbled as Avon led the way to Scorpio a few weeks after losing Tarrant.

"We're not in the market for charm, Vila. Zukan is essential to the alliance. Without him, we have nothing."

Vila muttered, "And I particularly don't want to go with you."

Avon paused and looked back at Vila, blankly. "Either you get over Malodaar or you leave, Vila. The choice is up to you. I haven't the time or inclination to soothe your hurt feelings."

"Hurt feelings! You would have killed me and tossed me out without a second's hesitation!"

"Would it have made a difference if I'd wept and wailed and felt terrible about it? You didn't die, and neither did I, that's all that matters."

"What about trust! What about you betraying me!"

Avon growled and body-slammed Vila up against the door. "I never asked for your trust, nor promised I would preserve your life at the expense of my own. If you require that, you're in the wrong place. I strongly suggest you accompany me to Betafarl, and go on from there. Scorpio is going to be far too busy to drop you off on a pleasure-planet of your choosing once the alliance begins. This will be your last chance. Make up your mind."

Vila straightened to his full height and pushed Avon back. "Maybe I will go. I'm not wanted here." Vila paused. "You don't have to worry about me telling anyone about Xenon base. I wouldn't betray Dayna or Soolin."

"How very noble of you. Don't worry about it. You wouldn't have time to betray us. Either the alliance succeeds and we leave Xenon base, or it goes up in smoke and... well, I have one last option. In any event, the base's location will be revealed once the alliance meets here."

"You don't trust them?"

Avon smiled at Vila. "No. I don't trust anyone. You should have learned that by now, Vila."

"Not even Soolin?"

Avon gazed at Vila coldly. "No more than she does me." Avon turned and continued walking to the ship.

**

Vila shuffled off of Scorpio and looked around. Betafarl was hot. He found a place selling cold drinks and fumbled with the local currency, trying to find the right change. "Is one quodlop equal to twelve snippecks, or is it the other way 'round?"

A slender hand reached over his shoulder and pushed his money back towards him. A young, interestingly accented voice said, "You're one of Avon's crew, aren't you? Let me buy you a drink."

Vila turned, frowning, intending to declare that he was nothing to do with Avon, but stopped when he saw the pretty and exotic features of the young woman. "Oh, well, that's very kind of you. Yes, I'm Vila Restal, Avon's right-hand man."

"I’m Zeeona... Zukan is my father." She grinned at Vila's involuntary step back. "Oh, he's not such an ogre as all that!" Zeeona ordered two frosty, multicolored fruity drinks and led Vila to a table set under a thick-leafed tree. "Tell me all about your adventures. Nothing ever happens here."

**

"So," Soolin remarked when she was helping Avon with the post-flight checks of Scorpio on its return from Betafarl, "Vila didn't leave us."

"No, not yet." Avon studied a console.

"He's a survivor and decided to stay where he saw his best chance?"

Avon laughed. The sound was frightening. Soolin was glad when he cut it short. "I doubt that, I doubt that very much." He shook his head. "I don’t know why he stayed. He didn't explain, and I didn't ask. It doesn't matter."

"Doesn't it? You and Vila were friends once. Whatever happened on Malodaar..."

"Friendship became too expensive a commodity. Now, can you see if this reading is within the normal limits?"

**

"Zeeona," Vila said, startled as he looked at the monitor showing the workers unloading Zukan's contribution to the alliance. "That's Zukan's daughter. What's she doing here?"

Soolin glanced at the young woman on the screen. "Perhaps she shares her father's interest in domination."

"No, she doesn't!"

Soolin looked at Vila and laughed when he blushed.

"I know what you're thinking, but she prefers older men." Vila turned towards the door. "I'm going to bring her back here, so you can meet her."

**

Zeeona smiled shyly at Soolin and Dayna. "Please don't tell my father I'm here. I came aboard the freighter out of curiosity."

Vila stood possessively at her elbow. "She's a biogenetic engineer. She could help with all that... we're short-handed, we could use another crew-member." Dayna scowled and stalked out of the room. Vila muttered, "For my next trick, I'll put my other foot in my mouth. I'd better go talk to her."

Soolin took pity on Zeeona's confusion. "Tarrant was our pilot. He took Servalan with him when he died, giving us a real chance if we strike quickly, before the Federation can find a more capable replacement for her." Soolin assessed Zeeona coolly. "Don't let Vila talk you into anything. Decide for yourself."

Zeeona smiled again. "I am my father's daughter. No one decides for me."

Soolin nodded. "Well, if the alliance..."

There was a cheer from the monitor, and both women turned back to see Avon, Zukan, and the other leaders clashing their goblets together to seal the alliance.

"You were saying?" Zeeona said.

Soolin smiled. "You'll have to talk to Avon."

Vila returned with Dayna in a few minutes. The atmosphere was tense at first, but Vila brought out the pyramids game, and they all sat down at a table to play.

They were well into the game when Avon entered with Zukan, both of them frowning. "Zeeona, your father would like a word with you."

Zeeona glanced at Vila, then got up and faced her father.

Vila stood up. "Now, wait a minute, Avon, she's got a right..."

Avon pushed Vila back against the wall. "Let Zeeona speak for herself."

Zeeona said to Zukan, "I apologize for going against your wishes, father, but I'm glad I came. I think I can be useful here."

Zukan paused. "You came for him?" He glared at Vila.

"In part. But only in part." Zeeona stood toe-to-toe with Zukan. "You are my father and my leader. I wish to serve you and my people as well as myself."

Zukan hesitated. "The Federation would be a far more powerful ally. Perhaps..."

"You don't harness a dire-beast to the plow without expecting it to savage you."

Zukan considered a moment longer, then nodded. "Betafarl will be at the forefront of the alliance. You can better serve your people there."

Zeeona looked at Vila in appeal. Vila pushed away from Avon. "Maybe I could better serve the alliance on Betafarl, too."

Zukan hesitated, then nodded curtly once more. He didn't look very pleased about it. "Very well." He left the room with Zeeona and Vila trailing behind him.

Dayna stared at them in shock. "Vila... Avon, go talk to him, make him change his mind."

Avon shook his head. "We all make decisions, Dayna." He sat down and closed his eyes. Dayna shook her head and ran off after Vila.

Soolin stood behind Avon, hands resting on the back of his chair. "Yes, we do."

([livejournal.com profile] mistraltoes request was: Avon Soolin, and include Vila. She wanted to know what happens with the rebel alliance if Tarrant and Servalan get left permanently on Virn in 'Sand'? She also wanted an argument, preferably about the menu or protocols for a meeting of potential allies.)

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December 2011

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