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(Many aren't 100-word drabbles, but merely very short fic)

Deceptively Soft
One Man's Meat
Love at First Sight
Rearmament
B7 Bulwer-Lytton
Kerriffic
A Sweet Love Story
Relatively speaking, Things could be Worse
The Garden Burned
The Wrong Box

Hands-On Science
Isn't that Charming?
Landing Party
Meal Deal
A Proper Reward
For Once, Vila isn't the Fall Guy
A Novel Approach
Good Taste (entirely different from the other Good Taste drabble)
Easy as 1-2-3
Zombie

Lost Sheep
Pressure
Sleep Tight
Neither Black nor White
The Real Monster
Homeward Bound
Freedom for Some
Improbable
Dark
Outsiders

If I tell you, I have to kill you
Ermine
Golden Apples of the Sun
Somewhere in the Galaxy
Hard Words
On the Other Hand
Good Taste
Unwitting
All the World
Tastes Like Chicken?

What Goes Around
Worthless
Red Letter Day
Red Shift
Sunshine
Fade to Black
Brown Study
Sound and Fury
Seventy-two
Chilling Effect





Deceptively Soft mistraltoes request: I really think you need to try some Jarriere. Preferably with a maiden aunt and marshmallows.

Jarriere always enjoyed summers with his aunt. She cooked whatever he wanted to eat and took him places without wondering if they were suitable for a child. Or even legal.

"Now, tie your shoes properly, Jarriere, the ground is rough Outside." She casually shoved her basket through a gaping hole in a dark, dirty area of the Dome outer wall and wriggled through.

Jarriere followed, curious and excited. They made a small fire of twigs and toasted marshmallows. That impressed him nearly as much as the Istanbul Twist she applied to the neck of the guard who caught them returning.

One Man's Meat executrix requested Vila, Cally (or Vila/Cally), shredded wheat (100 words- including title)

"Here you go, a genuine healthy breakfast!" Vila said as he poured skim milk over a bowl of what looked like wood shavings. "I thought with your vitamins and yoga that you'd like this."

Cally stared dubiously at it, but, being polite, ate the bowlful. When she finished she said, "Thank you, Vila. What type of meat was that?"

"Meat?" Vila was shocked. "That was shredded wheat! I'm a vegetarian."

Cally glared. "Oh, Vila, you idiot!" She ran out of the room. "My people have a saying, 'Eat meat, not wheat!"

Vila sighed. " Damn gluten intolerance."


Love at First Sight (B7 Fic, gen, 100 words)
(This was meant for the B7 Friday challenge, 'The first time I saw', but I missed the deadline.)


The first time I saw Blake, I knew he was someone special. My heart went out to him. I could see how lost and confused he was. I did my best to help him, which wasn't easy because he was stubborn and impractical.

But, oh, how beautiful he was. How pure he shone. I was as proud of him as if he were mine. Maybe he was, I couldn't tell.

He was slow, but loyal to me. I tried to tell him to leave me, to save himself, but he wouldn't do that.

Perhaps he managed to escape the Host.

Rearmament (100 word gen)

The first time I saw my arm it was lying on a cart. The technician ran the standard testing procedures. The fingers gripped and crushed, the wrist turned and twisted, the forearm slanted across Blake's windpipe...

"Yes," I said. "That will do. Don't bother about the cosmetics."

"It will only take a day to cover it with flex-plas color-matched to your own skin tones, sir."

"I don't give a damn what it looks like." I scowled at the inert, clumsy-looking machinery. "I need a gun arm, not a toy."

"Sir, it can be fitted with a laseron destroyer."

I smiled.


My entry in a fannish Bulwer-Lytton contest

Avon noticed that it was a dark and stormy night, but since they were in space in the middle of an asteroid field this really wasn't worth bringing to the attention of the pilot desperately trying to save all their lives by heroics of piloting skill acquired- nay, stolen- during the long years he had served the Federation before observing for himself first-hand not only how cruel and sadistic they were, but that his immediate supervisors were unworthy of him and really hadn't what it took to keep him properly in his place-- fortunately for Avon, he had what it took, but then, he also knew better than to give it away-- life was cheap, but Avon was expensive.


Kerriffic
[info]blakefancier gave me 3 possible stories I wouldn't write. I chose this one:
3. Avon is a MarySue!


Kerr Avon listened politely to Blake's plans for taking over the London, and smiled, showing his perfect, brilliant teeth. "You haven't got the timing right, Blake. You might wind up with some poor soul stuck in the access way, and what would happen if the ship was holed by a meteorite?" Avon whipped out his notepad and graphite writing stick and came up with a complete plan, taking into account all the personalities involved. "Now Vila is liable to panic under stress, but he's very good at a line of patter, so he can distract the guards. Raiker will be out for revenge against Jenna, so she can lure him in. Once Gan grabs Raiker, we can use his hand-print to override the doors."

Blake's mouth was open in awe as Avon's smoothly seductive voice continued. Avon would take care of everything. All Blake had to do was admire him, and follow his orders slavishly.

Avon's anthracite eyes glittered as he became excited, and his raven-wing hair cast back blue highlights that dazzled Blake. How could any one man be so wonderful, so clever and insightful, and talented, and drop-dead gorgeous to boot?

Everything went just as Avon said, and they captured the London without loss of life and immediately changed course as Avon advised.

A month later Travis, commanding the alien ship (which he'd named the Revenge) that he'd found floating in space when he went after the London, blew London and all of the escaped convicts to atoms.

A Sweet Love Story

Avon looked down and smiled. Smooth as satin, Zulu warrior brown, so cool at first touch, then warming as his tongue caressed the object of his desire. He had to hide his lust behind locked doors; he was far too old to make such a fool of himself, but he didn't care.

He breathed in sharply as he forced his way in through reluctantly yielding tenderness, gazing mesmerized at the delicate wrinkling patterns formed by the pressure of his instrument.

He closed his eyes in ecstasy. Yes, it was worth it, worth every minute he had sneaked away to prepare for this, worth every sacrifice, and all the mockery he knew he'd let himself in for if Tarrant or Vila discovered his weakness. He should have programmed Scorpio's food processors for gourmet chocolate ice cream ages ago.

Relatively speaking, Things could be Worse (100-words topic –'Visitors')

"Why are we here?" The big-nosed, elderly scientist demanded from the teleport platform.

The large-eyed woman beside him glared at Blake. "It's obvious. These terrorists are holding us for ransom, Alva."

Blake said, "No, of course not. After your base is destroyed, we'll take you to a neutral planet."

"He's quite mad, Sido," Alva remarked.

Avon entered the room.

"This was all your idea, wasn't it?" Sido slapped Avon across the face. "All because we wouldn't buy you that computronic pony!"

Avon lifted his hand to his reddening cheek. He sighed. "Blake, I'd like you to meet my parents."

The Garden Burned (topic-Fire, 100 words)

The fire came from the sky, as the wise ones had predicted eons ago. We had obeyed the ancient rulings and stayed out of the sun, but there was no avoiding this. Radiation sleeted into our physical forms; cellular bonds dissolved. We were free!

We rose, traveling along the lines of force back to those who had purified us, cleansed us of evil. No longer would our bodies be used to poison other beings. In gratitude we would watch over our emancipators. When their earthly bonds were broken, we would make them like us, pure in spirit, eternal and innocent.



The Wrong Box 100 words from the [community profile] b7friday topic Substitutions)

Servalan waited in her ship a few hours after Scorpio's departure. Hoffal's radiation was as short-lived as the unfortunate organisms exposed to it. Once it was safe, she returned to Malodaar.

She directed the auto-loader to take the false Orac to her ship. Her scientists could place a transmitter in it along with a receiver that would change her voice to Orac's.

Zukan could switch it for Orac when Avon went to Betafarl. Servalan could then tell Avon where to find Blake, and drop hints about Blake's 'betrayal'. Everyone who might guess she possessed Orac would die. She smiled.


Hands-On Science (from the [community profile] b7friday topic Mad science) 100 words

Travis looked down at his left arm and scowled. The experimental medical therapy wasn't working out the way he'd intended at all.

"What's the matter?" the doctor asked after disconnecting his apparatus from Travis's arm. "It worked, didn't it? Your arm is re-grown. The nerve readings are well within accepted norms. You should be able to use the hand normally."

"Yes." Travis used his four orange fingers to squeeze the doctor's throat. "But I didn't want to be a bloody newt!" His tongue stretched out and licked his own eyeball. "Yarrgh!" Travis screamed and threw the doctor to the floor.


Isn't that Charming?(from the [community profile] b7friday topic Stealing's Quicker) 100 words

Avon lay in the stasis tube with his hands folded over his breast. Dayna, Soolin, Vila, Jenna, Deva, Klyn, and Tarrant carried the tube solemnly and laid it at Blake's feet.

Vila said, "The massacre was Tarrant's idea. He thought the shock would bring Avon to his senses."

Tarrant scowled. "You all agreed."

Jenna shook her head. "I didn't. It's bad enough I have to play dead so Blake could collect my bounty. But how's a dead Blake going to recruit anyone?"

Blake opened the stasis tube and leaned down to kiss Avon. Avon's eyelids fluttered. Jenna rolled her eyes.


(I think you can guess where the plot was stolen from)


Landing Party(from the [community profile] b7friday topic 'Party'.) 100 words

Vila had a thoughtful look on his face after watching Sarkoff's ancient vids of a fantasy Federation. The captain on that programme had been just as lucky as Blake, but somehow, not all of his crew were so lucky.

The more he thought about it, the more he felt that the landing party crew who snuffed it had only one thing in common. He glanced over at Avon, and thought harder.

Well, if fate needed someone to die... Vila walked over to Avon. "You know, that red suit looks really good on you, Avon. You should wear it more often."


Meal Deal (from the [community profile] b7friday topic- Strange alien customs and/or food.)100 words

"I'm going to be sick."

"No you, won't," Avon whispered to Tarrant. "We had the bad luck to arrive during their Alloee festival. Betafarl ritual demands we show our courage by participating in the traditional meal."

"But Avon, it's... bloody worms." Tarrant shuddered. "Blind men's eyeballs. And...oh, no...boiled brains."

Avon picked up his fork and ate. Later that evening, he declined the honour of being made up as a clown, complete with pink wig.

It had been bad enough eating spaghetti, peeled baby onions and cauliflower. Even after they told him what it was. Maybe he should have told Tarrant.


A Proper Reward 150 words

"Oh, Lord," Meegat cried. "I wish you would give me a proper reward!" She fell to her knees and looked up at Avon worshipfully. "In my living quarters." Avon hesitated.

"Avon," Gan said reproachfully.

Avon glared and then he took Meegat by the hands."Yes, Meegat, I will give you a proper reward."

The others teleported up, disgusted. Twelve hours later, Avon returned to Liberator. His face was drawn, with black circles around his eyes. His hands shook as he removed his bracelet. "I'm exhausted."

"You swine," Jenna said.

Avon looked at her, wild-eyed. "She had me re-wire the whole suite!"

(that was for the [community profile] b7friday topic 'Home Improvement'>


For Once, Vila isn't the Fall Guy(100 word gen B7 fic)

"I swear I didn't put those coordinates into the teleport," Vila protested while holding onto Avon's well-polished boot.

"Yes, you did! Vila, I am going to..."

"I'm losing my grip!" Vila's hands slipped. There was a brief, despairing scream. Vila put his hands over his ears, not wanting to hear the 'splat'. Then he cautiously crept backwards until he could climb down. "I never liked heights, never. Not my fault."

When he reached the ground, Blake glared at him while giving Avon CPR. Avon gagged and coughed up water.

The judges in the high-dive competition held up cards reading 'zero'.



A Novel Approach (100 word gen B7 fic)

(Based on a writing challenge in which you are to choose a random sentence from a book nearby. The closest book to my computer was 'Blake's 7- The Programme Guide, by Tony Attwood.' I didn't really think it was usable as most of it is episode synopsis of the very show I'd be writing about, but I tried, using a random bit taken from a non-episode summary part of the book. Here's the result.)

Terry started out as a comedian, but on being told that his jokes were all right, but he wasn't funny, he turned to writing.

He glanced at his to-do list. He noted with relief that he'd finished rewriting recent history for this year's textdisks. That was a boring job, mostly global changes to reflect the shifting list of who's in and who's purged. Kasabi was on the way out, while Servalan was on her way up.

Next assignment... ah, he brightened. A rebel recantation. That was lovely, an opportunity to write original fiction. He typed, "My name is Roj Blake..."


Good Taste
(written to a random song challenge)

"Some species even have an intelligence rating."

Both shape-lure and vibration-lure had failed, but an intelligent plant adapts. These food-units were very large, well worth expending every effort to ensnare.

It tuned its tendrils to the mental emanations of the departing prey and followed them.

--

Servalan glared at the rubble of the base, kicking petulantly at the weed growing from a corpse. A blood-red blossom stroked her hand releasing a drug into her skin. She gasped with orgasmic delight. "Well, it hasn't been a total loss," she said before ordering her men to dig up her new office plant.


I don't have any sort of musical device which can generate a random playlist, but google gave me a Random Songs generator
http://wfmu.org/randomsongs.php

I couldn't find the lyrics to the first song, so I listened to it and transcribed what I *think* it said.

Stimulant by Workdogs

You stimulant
to my appetite
Oh, yeah, I'm hungry
Whoo, I want a bite

You uptight, outta sight
All right, you stimulant to my appetite
You a turn-on to my tastebuds

I put out my tongue on you
Yeah there's the rub
You've got me talking crazy out of my mind

Hey, hey, ho, ho, hey, hey, ho, ho
Don't say no!

All right,
you're just a stimulant to my appetite

I seen you walkin' home from school
I'm a workdog- you make me start to drool

You've got me wondering about what's wrong and right
You're a stimulant to my appetite

Hey, hey, ho, ho, hey, hey, ho, ho
Let's go!
All right

You're just a stimulant to my appetite
I mean you're stimulant to my appetite
Just a little bit of stimulant



Easy as 1,2,3 Word Count:300


Avon totted up the lengthy line of numbers instantly, arriving at the sum without thinking about it. He resented the term 'idiot savant' for his instinctive talent and preferred to think of himself as a 'subconscious summer'. Not that it was much use in the modern world, with computers handling... wait a moment. He looked at the computer's total. It was off! Fractionally, adding up to only a few centicreds, but still, it shouldn't have happened. He used his hand-held datapad and the result matched his, but when he tried the main computer it once more returned the error. Why?

Over the next few weeks, Avon became increasingly engrossed in the puzzle. His job was so boring he welcomed the distraction. Eventually, he found the answer. The latest model Federation Banking Computer, shipped to all branches six months ago, had been touted for the magnificence of its Pentium tarriel processor. But the processor was flawed. Certain combinations of numbers when added resulted in incorrect summary totals. Dutifully, Avon turned in the report of his findings to his superior, expecting a small bonus for his diligence, and orders for the defective tarriel processor to be replaced.

Instead he was called into the office the next day and docked two days pay for 'misuse of company time'. The manufacturer had sent back a memo stating that the flaw was rare and data-dependent and the reduction in precision was far too small to warrant the expense of replacing all the processors in use.

Burning inwardly after his futile protests brought nothing more than threatened dismissal, Avon returned to his desk. Idiots. Couldn't they see that flaw could be exploited? In the hands of an intelligent man it could be used to steal millions, even billions of... Avon's anger evaporated and he slowly grinned.


Zombie Word Count:127


Vila called it a 'corpse-reviver'. Truer words were never spoken. In his youth, Avon had amassed quite a collection of 'horror-vids'; he'd been rather a blood-thirsty child. He knew what a risen corpse was like. He drank the zombie and felt it slide down his throat cold as embalming fluid.

Cold flesh, moving. Cold heart, pumping. Cold brain, still...wanting. That was all that was left to a zombie- staggering, but unstoppable motion in search of what its lost, what it must have.

What has Avon lost? What must he have? Anna was a lie. All he lost were illusions.

Illusions... well, then, perhaps he'll look for Blake again. Blake was the master of illusions, of dreams and hopes. Avon hasn't any left; maybe he can use Blake's.


Lost Sheep Word Count:122


Where can Blake be? The black sheep of the Federation should be making a row that could be heard on Earth, and yet, I couldn't locate him. I've looked through volcanoes and snow, without getting hotter or colder. Yes, Vila, that's a joke. There are only rumours, rumours that lead to Federation traps half the time.

Blake knows how to contact me, but he hasn't.

Which means one of two things. Either he's dead, or he doesn't want me to find him. In either case, I should let it rest, that's the only sensible thing to do.

I lost Cally and the Liberator, looking for him.

I can't afford to lose anything else.

But still, I can't help wondering where he is.


Pressure Word Count:117

Every time I think of those diamonds my blood pressure rises. Blake used me to put his proposition to the Terra Nostra, allowing me, for the moment, to act as his spokesman. You'd almost think he trusted me.

But you'd be wrong. Yes, I'm a thief, but he needn't have insulted me by showing his distrust in front of Largo. There was nothing I could do with the diamonds; Blake knew that as well as I.

He could have allowed me the illusion of wealth and power; of freedom. We're all trapped on his ship, squeezed between the Federation and all the other hostiles we attract. Pressure makes diamonds, they say.

Yes, well, it also shatters things.


Sleep Tight (100 words)

Avon scowled at the lumpy duvet on his bed.

"Oh, give it a try," Vila said. "The merchant said it was a guaranteed cure for insomnia. You get under that and you'll sleep like a baby."

"Babies, in my limited experience, tend to wake up squalling every few hours, in sodden garments."

Vila grinned. "But they're sleeping first."

"All right, since you've gone to the trouble." Avon nudged Vila to the door, undressed and went to bed.

After a few minutes shrieking, the tribbles in the duvet decided Avon wasn't a Klingon, curled up around his fainting body and purred.

(for [profile] shimere277 who requested tribbles on the Liberator.)


Neither Black nor White: Word Count:245

Avon slid Orac's key in place and then gripped the sides of the computer fiercely. "Blake is going to do it. He sees no contradiction between saving the masses and slaughtering them by destroying Star One. He must be mad."

"Is that a question? If so, kindly rephrase it properly."

Avon frowned at Orac. "Here's a question for you, Orac. What does Blake mean?"

"Black or white. It is impossible to determine which."

"What?" Avon hadn't really expected an answer, certainly not a philosophical one.

"The name 'Blake' ultimately derives from the Old English word 'blaec' which apparently referred to a type of colourlessness, and thereby became the common ancestor of the seemingly irreconcilable modern words 'black' and 'bleach'. The byform of 'blaec', 'blac' meaning 'black', was applied to swarthy or dark-haired people, whilst ' bla¯c' , meaning 'white' was applied to fair-skinned or blond-haired people. In the absence of independent evidence as to whether the person referred to was dark or fair, it is now impossible to tell which sense was originally meant."

Avon blinked. "Well, thank you for the etymological lesson, Orac."

"Either that, or it is a corruption of the British family name, Ap Lake. Ap Lake was one of the knights of Arthur's Round Table and the name was later corrupted to Blake."

Avon pulled the key, silencing the computer. He said softly, "Even a knight can be corrupted when he can no longer tell the difference between black and white."


The Real Monster Word Count:204

Avon looked at the corpse in Dorian's 'basement' and felt a nagging sense of not-quite familiarity. He'd never met the young man who'd been tormented with Dorian's sins, tortured and twisted into a monstrous, agonized form until Avon's gun released him to die as a human.

But still, he was familiar. While the others were distracted, Avon took a tissue sample for Orac to analyze.

*******


"You are absolutely certain? There can be no mistake?"

Orac sounded insulted. "None! The sample was an eighty-five percent match with Roj Blake's gene structure. That man was Blake's brother."

Blake had told Avon his siblings had been killed the moment they landed on the planet meant for their exile. Even then, he had wondered, why would the Federation spend the money to transport, instead of executing them on Earth? Now he had the answer. They'd been sold. Blake's sister might still... no, they would have been sure to sell them to people who considered human life a consumable commodity. Blake had mourned their relatively clean and painless deaths once. That was enough.

"Orac! This is an order, you will never tell anyone what you have just told me." Avon pulled the key out and left the room.




Homeward Bound Word Count:120

"For a home you need a family," Soolin said.

Avon agreed with her, silently. He often agreed with Soolin, but seldom out loud. The others clung to sentiment and wishful thinking, but he and Soolin knew better. 'Home' was a word rife with sentiment, along with 'family'.

He'd heard home defined as 'the place where, when you go there, they have to let you in'. Yes, well, showing a gun commands entrance to more places, and it also gets you out again afterward.

Avon glanced around the Scorpio's flight deck at the people who always let him in, even when he didn't want it. He'd be glad to turn them over to Blake. Avon made a very poor family man.

Freedom for Some Word Count:305


"Come on, Kerr. All of Albian is expecting the hero of the hour at the Independence banquet."

"You can have my share of the adulation, Del."

Del Grant moved close to Avon and said quietly, "I think Anna would have liked us to be there together."

Avon straightened, staring blankly ahead for a few seconds. "All right. Vila, teleport us."

*******


Grant poured more wine for Avon, who was quietly, but acutely, uncomfortable at being put on public display at the head of a table full of Albian's most influential citizens. "You know, I almost feel I should give you part of my pay for this job. Almost."

That got a smile from Avon. "You're not that drunk."

"You could join me, you know. We'd work well together."

Avon's smile widened. "I'm not that drunk."

"No, really." The more Grant thought of it, the better he liked the idea. "You and I have complementary skills. We could command more than twice what I ask, and do a better job of kicking the Federation's arse."

"I already do that on a regular basis." Avon helped himself to more wine.

"For free! And you'd be a full partner." Grant had seen how Avon chafed under Blake's command. "Think of it."

Avon was silent, toying with the ring on his finger. He and Grant looked up at the distinctive sound of the teleport, and saw Blake arriving. Blake looked annoyed; he'd not wanted to waste any time following Provine's lead. "I've thought of it. And the answer is 'no', but thanks." Avon swallowed the last of his wine, made his excuses to the President of Albian and left with Blake.

"So. That's the way it is." Grant smiled, and lifted his glass in a toast to thin air. "Good luck, Kerr, I hope you find your freedom someday."


Improbable Word Count:313

I can't sleep, and I do not feel like working. Not that there's much I can do here on Xenon base, bar routine maintenance, and my mind and hands are too restless for that. I could consult Orac... I think not. I want to do something myself.

Perhaps probability squares will pass a few hours. Let's see what free association will do. "Fact: The Federation is rapidly growing. Fact: None of my attempts to recruit scientific expertise have borne fruit. Fact: I have Orac, the universe's greatest computer, which frequently gives me the worst advice. Fact: I have at my disposal a very fast ship, and a highly competent crew of four who have managed to accomplish nothing. Fact: Servalan and I cross swords with astounding frequency."

Avon looked at the last square. "It rather stretches the laws of probability, when you consider how many of these meetings were sought by neither of us."

"Fact: Roj Blake has vanished." Avon touched two fingers to the square marked 'Blake' and pushed it until it nudged 'Servalan' against 'Scorpio'. Avon stared at the conjunction. He said, softly, "Inference: So long as my ship draws Servalan's attention, Blake is free to act without hindrance." He moved the 'Orac' square and the 'failed missions' squares to flank 'Blake'. "Fact: Orac was alone in the medical unit with Blake at Star One. Inference: He could have given Orac orders to ensure I would serve as temptingly vulnerable bait, just the sort Servalan couldn't resist."

After a long moment, Avon shook his head and jumbled the squares together. "No. Not Blake. He wouldn't use me that way. He wouldn't betray me." Avon threw the squares into the disposer. "I'm just going at it the wrong way. Instead of recruiting scientists, I should be making an alliance with militants." Avon nodded. "Yes. I'll ask Orac tomorrow who would be best."


Dark Side Word Count:100

When you live on the permanent dark side of a planet, nobody cares too much what you look like. You can be a living rock, cold, hard, and featureless, showing no emotion, feeling no pain.

You can be a mirror, reflecting and magnifying whoever encounters you. You can frighten away your enemies and friends alike. You can be safe in the dark.

No one asked me what I felt when I touched the sopron, how I knew it when I'd found it.

Just as well, really. I doubt they would have understood if I had said that I recognized it.



Outsiders Word Count:160

I can't say exactly when I woke, because it wasn't a clearly defined process. I slowly realized that I was drugged and there was pain in my body, somewhere nebulously in contact with me. The next revelation was that I wasn't inside the Dome. The wall beside my bed was roughly textured, and the off-white colour variegated in an apparently random fashion. On close observation, I could see handprints impressed in it.

Anna might find it interes... Anna! I made it to the door before they picked me up and returned me to the bed. They explained it, several times, until I was forced to believe.

Anna was... gone. The Outsiders had found me outside the Dome, staggering from blood loss and incoherent with shock. They told me they'd given me their blood and therefore I was now an Outsider, no matter where I went, or what I did.

I agreed. I didn't tell them I'd always been an outsider.


If I tell you, I have to kill you Word Count:100


A telepath! That's the last thing I want on this ship. She says she can't read our minds. She'd be an idiot to confess it.

Blake is sure she can't read minds, or he would never have been able to trick her on Saurian Major. All that proves is that she can't understand Blake. Who can?

I should have shot her the moment she broke cover. Unfortunately, she was too close to Blake and I'm not the universe's most accurate shot. I couldn't risk him... stop it. Don't think about it.

If you're reading my mind, Cally, you're dead meat.

Ermine Word Count:300

At first I thought Servalan wore white simply because it set off her hair and eyes well, but after studying the biographical information available through Orac, that seemed too facile a motivation. Her elaborate outfits shrieked 'wealth' of course, and the difficulty of keeping them clean added to that. Your average Dome-raised citizen wears drab, dingy clothes for a reason. Water rationing makes it imperative to get as many wearings as possible in between launderings.

So, she dresses to impress. That much was obvious. No doubt there are also subtler psychological implications behind her choice. The association of Servalan with virginity is ... ah, fortunately I'd finished my coffee before it occurred to me. Curiosity is my besetting sin -- amongst others. I asked Orac to provide a printout of common mental associations with white.

In commercial applications it leads the consumer to think of cleanliness, simplicity, and purity. Cross those off. Also hospitals and sterility. In heraldry (whatever that was), white depicted faith. Faith is even more amusing in context with Servalan than virginity.

What else, umm... in some cultures it's associated with death. That's too honest for her.

Hmm... here's a fragment of old calendar history. The White Army opposed the Red Army, also the nationalist Green Army and the anarchist Black Army. They must have been ambitious. Well, that suits her.

There's an asterisk... ah, 'White' had two meanings. First it stood in contradistinction to the Reds—the revolutionary Red Army who supported the soviets and Communism. Second, the word "white" had monarchist associations: historically each Russian Tsar was called the white tsar, and the monarchist ideal during the civil war was known as the white idea.

So, that's it! And Blake of course is the Green Army. I must see what I can find in black.


Golden Apples of the Sun Word Count:258

Oranges are obscenely overpriced, particularly for such poor specimens. Avon picks one up, and can tell from the weight that it had shriveled on the tree without a chance to ripen.

The vendor looks shriveled, too. "It's the weather on Palmero," she says as she polishes an undersized melon. "It's been far too cold this season. But next season will be better," she says as if consoling herself. "It must be."

Avon blinks. Palmero is the top tropical fruit-producing planet in the Federation. The computer-controlled climate never... Avon looks up into Blake's eyes. Blake picks up a sack of oranges and pays the woman.

"They're worthless," Avon tells Blake quietly.

"No, they're not. They're as valuable as the golden apples of the sun."

"What?"

"A legend. They enabled a hero to win a race by distracting his opponent." Blake smiles. "She was a beautiful, heartless woman."

Avon follows Blake. If Federation computer-control is failing, it will indeed be a race to reach it first. "And if you win the race, what will you do with the prize?"

Blake looks at Avon briefly. "Destroy it."

Avon stops and watches Blake walk away. Billions would die. Is that the price of victory? He knows himself to be a hard man, but he couldn't have done that. How could Blake, the bleeding-heart defender of the masses? Avon's stomach clenches. Has Blake finally learned pragmatism from him, only to surpass his teacher? If that is it... then Avon will leave. He doesn't want to see his eyes looking out of Blake's face.


Somewhere in the Galaxy Word Count:257

Tynus and I had very little in common, beyond a disdain for poverty. I don't know exactly how we became friends.

Oh, perhaps I do recall the beginning. His computer had malfunctioned and our superior sent for me to put it right - another unpaid, unacknowledged task I'd perform to make his section look good on the productivity tables. I should have joined the IT team in the first place; I spent enough time doing their job. I would have, except that I'd have to listen to people complaining all day long, and I would rather deal with computers, data input, and programming.

Tynus had a graphite rod in his hand when I approached. He was using it on a notepad. "There's no need to perform computations by hand," I told him. "I'm sure this repair won't take long."

He looked up, startled, apparently having been concentrating to the exclusion of all else. I knew that feeling well, and, out of curiosity, I glanced at the paper he held. It wasn't figures. I laughed. The caricature of our superior wasn't technically very good, but the caption made up for the lack of artistic ability.

He grinned at me and told me he had others, at home. He even understood the joke I made about 'seeing his etchings'. We never did actually have sex. After I saw his drawings, it was obvious I had too few limbs to attract him, and personally, I find gingers too emotional for my tastes. Still, after our own fashions, we were friends.


Hard Words word Count: 210


Avon's hands were behind his back in the approved fashion, spine straight and heart racing as the Interrogator finished with the person ahead of him. It was his turn.

"Love."

Avon sneered inwardly. Love was so easy; he handled that with disdain. The Interrogator noted his response and went on to the next victim.

"Friend." Oh, that was possibly tricky, but not for Avon.

People dropped, and the remaining ones moved to close their ranks. The questions would become harder, now.

"Liaison." Avon looked at the Interrogator, controlling his urge to panic. Had the man found his weakness? No, Avon managed a reply that sent the man away. For the moment. He would be back. Under the harsh lights, Avon felt sweat run down his back, pooling beneath his clasped hands.

"Rendezvous." Avon stumbled, but caught himself before making a fatal flaw. He watched out of the corner of his eyes as Tarrant was led away, weeping. Arrogance had been his downfall.

"Relationship." Avon smiled. That was easy. He replied quickly, and the chamber went silent. Then a loud buzzer rang, making him jump.

The Interrogator shook his head. "There is only one 'L' in 'relationship'."

Shocked, Avon burst out sobbing. He'd so wanted to win the Dome Spelling Bee.


On the Other Hand Word Count:200

One of the things I most appreciate about life on the Liberator is that I am seldom at a loss for useful activity. It amuses Vila to see me going from one job of work to another as his definition of success is the ability to comfortably exist whilst doing as little as possible.

It would drive me quite mad to lounge about all day with nothing to do. It very nearly did drive me mad on the London. I could feel my brain shriveling from lack of use, my hands stiffening.

And looking forward to life on a primitive penal colony... no, that wasn't something to dwell on. Blake knew it, of course. When he referred to me as a 'civilized' man, he was acknowledging my need for structure and order, and to perform productive tasks to fuel my sense of worth.

So here I am, creating electronic marvels and investigating alien technology to my heart's content. On an unpaid basis. When Blake issues orders to repair something I didn't even know existed two months ago his calm assumption that I can do it pleases me, despite my outward show of complaint.

And Blake knows it well. Damn him.


Good Taste Word Count:117

As an Alpha-elite I am a connoisseur of the art of fine living, but at first, I resisted displaying my good taste before Blake's crew.

The competition began when Jenna showed her preference for flowery concoctions that made my nose wrinkle. Vila entered the fray next with earthy mixtures. Cally came up with something red that had us all wincing politely. Gan... well, honestly, I wouldn't have expected froth from a man of his build. When Blake produced that overflowing green mess I stopped fighting the inevitable and showed them how it should be done. Black, rich, sophisticated.

They all admitted my superiority. No one else will ever again be permitted to make the coffee on Liberator.

Unwitting Word Count:107


They all think I'm going mad. I can see it in their eyes. In what they say, and in what they don't say. Not that it matters. None of them can stop me from doing what I must do.

Even if they're right. They could be, you know. I realize my behaviour verges on the bizarre at times. And those times are becoming increasingly more frequent. It's particularly bad when I play Servalan's pawn yet again.

I've no false modesty concerning my intellect or my drive, or my courage. I've simply run out of ideas to try. I suppose you could say I'm at my wits' end.

All the World Word Count:169

Anna is dead. She should have spoken, should have given me up. Didn't she know I'd come back for her, no matter what?

She's dead because she was faithful to me. Nothing they will do to me can hurt half as much as that. They've left me in here in a delta holding cell, wounded and vulnerable, to let my fellow inmates soften me up for interrogation, I presume.

The guards had overlooked my laser probe. It's not much of a weapon, but it's enough to give the few aggressive types pause. For a while, at least. I turn the probe on and set the point to the wall. Futile if I was attempting to burn my way out, but the heat is sufficient to discolor the metal, and I am satisfied.

I inscribe 'Anna Grant and Kerr Avon' on the wall out of an atavistic desire to leave some memento of our existence. Oddly enough, the deltas look at it, and the hostility level decreases. I wonder why?


Tastes Like Chicken? Word Count:350

Oh, joy, more pastel blobs of gel and primary-coloured squares of paste. What I wouldn't give for a piece of real meat, but unfortunately, Liberator's replicators have never heard of it. I push aside my half-eaten portion, leaving two squares untouched.

"If you're not going to eat that, can I have it?"

"Eat it in good health." As I leave the room, I'm mildly intrigued to see Vila wrap up the squares and put them in his pocket. Blake calls then, and it's some hours before I can spare the time to think about it.

Knowing Vila as I unfortunately do, I wait until he's attempting to ingratiate himself with Cally before I enter his quarters to find out why he's hoarding food. We have an unwritten agreement; for each time he helps himself to my wine, I may help myself to some possession of his. For the most part, I've limited myself to various of his lock-picking tools (which he generally reclaims in a few days.) I have perhaps not mentioned how bored two thieves become aboard an enclosed shipboard community of six?

It only takes a few minutes to discover the cage under his bed. The little animal inside the cage stares back at me under a silken shower of tri-coloured fur. I take my prize, gloating inwardly.

*******


Vila bursts into the room, his face twisted in what looks very like anger. "What have you done with Fluffy!" Then he looks down at the roast meat on my plate and screams.

I decide the joke has gone far enough and I put the cage containing a perfectly healthy 'Fluffy' on the table. "I had the replicators analyze a tissue sample and use it as a basis for protein synthesis."

"Cannibal!" Vila opens the cage and picks up the animal, which appears pleased to see him, squealing and nuzzling him.

"Hardly. People have been eating guinea pig for more than 2,000 years, Vila. Mmm... delicious." I dip another bite in tomato ketchup and bring it to my lips.

Vila flees with Fluffy, and I return to my meal, content.


What goes AroundWord Count:191


"I'm the pilot, and I say it's stupid!" Jenna shouted at Blake before striding off the flight deck. "Do it yourself!"

I couldn't resist grinning at Blake. "Then you'll take care of it, Avon! Now!" Blake growled and left the flight deck, going after Jenna, either to cajole or to seduce -if he had any common sense.

Vila had the nerve to chuckle at me. I whirled on him, laser probe in hand. "You do it, Vila!" I turned my back on him and busied myself with my own console.

Vila scowled and went over to Orac. "Well, you heard Blake, Orac! Go on. Do it!"

Orac sputtered in annoyance. "That is not one of my functions! Zen! Carry out the command!"

Zen's fascia flickered brighter than normal. Just then Jenna returned with Blake. She was still glowering, but quiet. She went over to the pilot's console and put her hand on it for a second, and then she blushed. She turned to Blake, smiling sweetly. "Zen says 'no'."

Blake looked at me.

I'm still not sure how I wound up spending six hours recircuiting the navigation display to Blake's specifications.

Worthless Word Count:100

Five hundred million credits. It's so vast a sum, people always assumed they'd heard it wrong. The Ultra are the only ones who believed it. But then, they worshipped knowledge, and accepted an organic 'computer' as their god.

Vila went around the holding cells, and later, the London, telling everyone that I'd embezzled five million credits. I didn't bother to correct him. It wasn't as if I could do anything with it.

It couldn't buy my freedom. At the time I thought it couldn't buy Anna's life. And now... it couldn't buy back the dreams I had for that money.


Red Letter Day Word Count:272

I hadn't been keeping a calendar, but Vila announced that we'd been on Liberator for a year and therefore it was incumbent upon us to celebrate.

We argued back and forth for a while about the definition of a 'year' when you're no longer on the planet whose orbit defines it, and are frequently subject to time-dilation due to Liberators 'speed', for lack of a better word.

Vila said he'd counted each time he woke as a new day, and of course I responded that considering the frequency of his naps, he could go through a year in less than a month. The argument was becoming heated on both sides, with Cally and Jenna tossing in comments whenever it began to abate and I was quite enjoying myself. Blake watched us with amusement, but refrained from interfering.

Then Gan spoke up. "We should make resolutions, then, if it's a New Year."

That went around the flight deck with a dull thud. Visions of Blake dedicating us all to the Goddess Rebellion went through my mind. "Ah, Gan, the majority of Earth's population follow Chinese New Year."

Vila was quick to take my meaning. "Yes! Presents, and papercuts and poems about happiness, wealth, and longevity. And a feast where all the food means good things! And money in red envelopes!"

That should have been my clue to withdraw my support. Unfortunately, I'd forgot one important component of the holiday. No one wears black or white, as they are associated with mourning.

Still, I don't think I looked all that amusing in red leather. But it had better ward off evil spirits, as advertised.


Red shift Word Count:149

When first I saw Cally, everything was red, due to the atmospheric conditions on Saurian Major. It suited her. Despite myself, I was impressed. Impressed, and perhaps a little threatened. It was immediately apparent that she was a warrior, utterly resolute and fearless.

I felt at the time the last thing Blake needed was someone to egg him on in his mad attempt to (for all practical purposes) single-handedly take on an empire. After a while relative motion changed my perception of her and I came to value her as a companion.

It was an understated relationship. Neither of us wanted fire; we'd both been singed enough to prefer a quiet word, an undemanding presence, an unspoken support. We gave each other what we needed, and didn't expect the others to understand. It isn't always fireworks and roses, you know.

The last time I saw Cally, everything was red.


Sunshine Word Count:106

Xenon base is a drab place. Even the clothing Dorian provided for most of us is shades of grey. Except for my own... costume. I sometimes wonder if it was meant to serve as a focal point for the gestalt creature he intended to make of us.

The only bright spot is Soolin, not only because of her sunlit hair. For all that she's seen and done, she remains remarkably sane and stable. I spoke more rightly than I knew when I admired Dorian's taste in women.

When everything becomes grey and meaningless, I look at her. And, for a few seconds, I bask in sunlight.


Fade to Black word count:114


Orac aimed us at a black hole today, purely out of scientific curiosity. Now, I’m all in favour of a healthy curiosity, but that strikes me as unhealthy. Being spread along with the Liberator and her crew in a layer one atom deep over the surface of a collapsed sun is a far more intimate relationship than I care for.

To stay alive, one must move quickly, and alone, according to a parasite Blake once met. Tarrant doesn't understand that; I believe he still resents my instinctive (and pointless) attempt to don a survival suit. "We all go together," he said. He's full of gallant and absurd ideas like that.

We all die alone.

Brown Study Word Count:159


Avon scanned the list with increasing dismay. "You're certain of your facts, Orac?"

"Of course I am!" The computer sounded insulted. "This is the latest data. It is inarguable."

"Festivus, Kiwi Midori, Skor Bar; all gone?"

"The people didn't fight for them. Naturally, they're gone."

Avon's jaw firmed with resolution as he read the rest of the lengthy list. There was a chance, a small chance for some. He would have to choose those most likely to be saved by rabid partisans and personally organize their defense. "Very well, I shall form an alliance."

After considerable weighing of pros and cons, Avon produced the final list of those he considered worth being saved, no matter the effort required. "Orac, you will submit the following list to Benanjeriz :

"Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Swirl, Chunky Choc Choc Mousse, Deep Dark Chocolate, Double Chocolate Fudge Swirl, and World's Best® Chocolate.

"Direct it to their 'Resurrect Your Favourite Flavour' department."


Sound and Fury Word Count:200

Even in the Domes you could sometimes hear thunder. If you were close enough to the Dome itself, you could sometimes see the lightning flash, diffuse and pale, seemingly harmless.

As a child I found the concept of 'wild' electricity fascinating. I thought my observation that the strike is seen before the thunder is heard was all my own. After the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound in one atmosphere of air was explained I was gratified to find that mysteries do have logical solutions, complete with neat and tidy formulas.

When you see the strike, begin counting. One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three...When you hear the rumble, divide your count by three to arrive at the number of kilometers between you and the lightning.

But what do you do when you hear the thunder and you're trying to find the lightning? I've followed the rumours of Blake for months, and got nowhere. Some are false. Some are true, but I simply arrive too late. The rebel who hangs about after he's made a loud noise is likely to hang about by the neck.

I can't count backwards from your thunder, Blake.


Seventy-Two Word Count:469

My stomach does another acrobatic pirouette, and I reluctantly admit that I have not been miraculously granted a dispensation from the Terran Ague. I look at my chronometer and note the time. I have seventy-two hours during which I must disguise my weakness. Nearly all of the other inhabitants of the London have been in space before, and are now immune. Despite the higher than normal level of suppressants in the food and water, I suspect the opportunity to torment a helpless alpha would be irresistible to at least some of my fellow convicts.

Fortunately, I have a reputation as a loner. No one suspects anything when I return to the deserted launch seats. No one suspects, but Blake follows me. It's easier to agree to aid his mutiny than to argue. I've got a splitting headache, and am keeping the dubious contents of my most recent meal where it belongs by sheer willpower.

*******


What a fiasco. My weakness made me hesitate to attack the man in the computer section. When I finally did fight him, I took far too long to overcome him. Of course, I couldn't admit that to Blake. Showing him weakness would be even less bearable than letting the lower grades, or even Jenna, realize it. An alpha male is never weak. Never. There are no excuses.

I blame Blake as we sit trapped, awaiting the captain's decision as to our disposal. I have to be angry; it's the only thing that's keeping me from vomiting all over myself. No. I will die with dignity.

*******


I leave the flight deck of our newly captured ship, hands trembling with relief... and chills. So, I won't die just yet. I'm safe and relief is loosening my control. I make my way down the corridor, hoping to find a small chamber with something approximating a bed or better yet, toilet facilities. My bones ache and the walls are showing a disconcerting tendency to pulse and contract with each of my heartbeats. I stumble, and go down on one knee. Maybe I will rest here for a moment.

"Avon?"

No.

"What's wrong?" A large hand touches my forehead before I can pull away. "You're burning up, man." There is a pause, then a sudden note of understanding and sympathy in Blake's voice. "First time in space? Come on."

Blake strips me down to my undergarments and lays me on a bed. I don't recall how we got there. He puts a pitcher of water and a glass on a shelf within reach of the bed, and a basin on the floor beside it. I glare at him. He looks back at me with understanding. Damn him.

"I'll be on the flight deck if you need anything." Blake leaves.

I look at my chronometer. Thirty-one hours to go.


Chilling Effect Word Count:127

Now is the winter of our discontent, indeed. I prod uselessly at Orac; perhaps later I will try once more to explore the ruins for tools. It's unlikely I'll find anything, and the weight of the snow increases the likelihood of further collapse, but the alternatives aren't particularly rosy, either.

Anna is dead by my own hand, Cally by my own stupidity, and Blake... well, at least my hands are clean, there, but he is still dead. They are all gone, and I remain, cold settling into my bones until I imagine the wind freezing the marrow.

I may not be deformed outwardly, as was Shakespeare's Richard, but I do empathize with his decision to prove a villain since love was denied him. Winter is for villains.

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