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

Overkill
Down to Earth
How the Ship gets into the Bottle
Sow the Wind
We Live in Deeds, not Years
Nobody gets out alive
Hooray for Us
Call a Spade
Truth is the Enemy
Him

Work for Tinkers
Time Enough
History in the face of a Friend
Wrong as Rain
A Rest is as Good as A Change
An End to Waiting
Parasites
Why not?
Passing the Buck
Star Double-Crossed

Out of the Frying Pan
All Green Thumbs
Brief Thanksgiving
Fodder
Glimpse the Future
The Winter of the Thorn
Diamond Shadow
The Deep Slave
Something of Weeping
Girl in the Mist

Darkest Academy
The Burning Silk
Time in the Destruction
The Nothing's Male
The Death's Word
The Stone's Boyfriend
Professional Courage
From Auros to Zircaster: A Primer
Deluge
Clicheorama

Family Tree
Soul and the Eye
Brother
The Old Magic
Boxing Day
What really happened after the credits rolled on 'Blake'
Sinful
Unearthed
The Art of Rebellion
Death-Mask



Overkill Word Count:300

"Don't be ridiculous. There are literally hundreds of them." I rip open Blake's shirt as Cally brings a loaded injector. "Liberator wouldn't stand a chance."

"Wait!" Blake looks at Cally, and she stops.

She frowns. "You need this, Blake. Your injury is too great for a tissue regenerator."

"Later, Cally." Blake turns the full force of his will on me. "Avon, the Federation forces can't possibly arrive in less than four hours. By that time the alien fleet will have spread too far to be stopped. We can't let that happen."

"Oh, yes, we can, if the alternative is for the aliens to blast hell out of Liberator and go on over our smoking carcass."

"You're not a coward, Avon."

"Neither am I a martyr."

"Avon." Blake puts his hand on my arm. "Do you want me to beg?"

"No." I look at Blake steadily. "Liberator is mine, unless you renege on our bargain?"

"This isn't a game."

"No, it never was, Blake. But you played me, nonetheless. I followed your rules and now it's time to pay your debts."

Blake closes his eyes and sags back against the treatment table. "Liberator is yours, Avon. Good luck finding a bolt-hole in the middle of an invasion. Just drop me off on Earth."

It's not like Blake to give in so easily. I stand there, irresolute, as Cally attends to Blake. When she finishes, Blake opens his eyes and looks at me. "Why are you still here, Avon?"

"You know why."

He smiles. "Yes."

"Damn you. Very well, Liberator will hold the line until the Federation fleet arrives. My word on it."

*******


And then Blake had to spoil it by showing up on the flight deck and declaring his trust in me. A good manipulator should know when to quit.


Down to Earth Word Count:100

Blake's high-energy ideas have a great deal of potential. So much so that they're extremely dangerous. If only he would let someone practical in on the planning, we'd all be better off.

If he would let me, I'd serve as his earth. I could draw off the charge, letting it go through me to dissipate harmlessly. He hasn't enough protective shielding; any fool can see that. When he speaks of resistance, my hair stands on end.

Some day the lightning will strike, and destroy everything he's made connection with. Everything except me, of course. I am insulated against his resistance.

How the ship gets into the bottle Word Count:295


I'll give that computer 'wisdom must be gathered, it cannot be earned'. Jenna was safely out of the way with Blake; Gan and Vila were safely ignorant and wouldn't interfere while I reprogrammed Zen.

By the time I was done, I'd have that computer eating out of my metaphorical hand, begging for the privilege of explaining all its alien systems to me in intimate, patentable, detail.

I lay down beneath the 'visual reference point' and unscrewed a panel where all the indications were that a major data processing bank resided. This might not be the area that contained the programming that limited our access to information, but it was certainly a place to start.

"Er, Avon, do you think that's a good idea?"

"Gan, do you think you know more about computers than I do?"

"Well, no, but..."

"And if something goes wrong, do you think then would be the time to begin to investigate the system?"

"Well, probably not, but..."

The panel came off, and I edged my non-conductive probe in between several loops of wiring. I froze, stuck fast as something entered my mind and ordered a complete data-dump. All I could do was quiver, wide-eyed, as I was emptied, and then refilled, all my original knowledge returning accompanied by all the information needed to keep Zen's body in repair.

"Are you all right, Avon?" That was Vila, peering over my shoulder.

"Of course I am," I said sharply. "I've learned all I need from this." The truth often serves better than a lie, and it's easier to remember. I sealed up the panel and left the flight deck.

I didn't mind so much that the computer had outwitted me, but it rankled that it had classified me as ' obtuse, but educable'.


Sow the Wind Word Count:263

I didn't press Tarrant until we returned to Xenon. There was no need to stir emotions any further. Dayna obviously felt betrayed that Tarrant had... dallied... with our bitter enemy, the woman who killed her father.

I was rather annoyed with him myself. You'd think the fact that she also had a great deal to do with his brother's death would have enabled him to resist the sand's influence. Still, I needed information, not confrontation, so I went to his quarters and waited for him to admit me.

He was reluctant, but apparently decided it would be better to get this conversation over in private. Possibly he felt I was jealous. Possibly he was right. I've never been entirely sure how I feel about Servalan. "Purely as a matter of survival, Tarrant, tell me, are there likely to be any... repercussions... from the events on Virrn."

Tarrant frowned. "Yes. But not the kind you're thinking." He ran his hand through his hair. "Servalan was... open... she told me things. Don Keller wasn't just her first lover. He was also the father of the child who died at birth and rendered her sterile."

"Ah. That explains Auron."

Tarrant nodded. "She'd never told anyone else. Avon, she can't let me live, knowing that. She can't let any of us live."

"Yes. She will be after us with renewed fury." I looked at Tarrant speculatively. "Did you tell her any secrets?"

Tarrant coloured. "I've said all I'm going to say, Avon."

I smiled and left to do what I could to prepare for the rising storm.


We live in deeds, not years Word Count:159

Meegat waited her whole life for salvation from 'strangers not of this world'; untold generations waited before her.

In five hundred years the rocket I launched for her will make planet-fall in the system Magdalen Alpha. If all goes well, the fertility cells will activate; embryos will be grown in artificial wombs, children will be decanted and taught by machines.

Not really that much different from my own childhood, really. The man who designed the system had been very thorough. Chances are quite good that they will actually perform as required.

My minor addition to their educational background shouldn't make much difference. Meegat recited the Litany of the Lord. And then I introduced myself and told them the Lord was just another man, and if they wanted to survive, they'd better not depend on anyone except themselves. Good luck to them. I admit, it does my ego good to think it quite likely I'll be remembered longer than Servalan.


Nobody gets out aliveWord Count:141

There are times I wonder what it would be like to have a creature like Dorian's. Not so much for the 'immortality' aspect, as I suspect it wouldn't work against blasters or bombs or lasers or... I'm beginning to depress myself.

Dorian used the creature to cleanse himself the corruption of his sins. That sounds quite attractive to me, although my sins are less of the... self-indulgent... type than his.

It would be pleasant to be cleansed of all the things I've done in the name of survival. Of all the things I've yet to do, but I know myself capable.

Perhaps it's just as well, though. From what I could tell, Dorian hadn't forgot anything, and it's the memories that cause the most pain.

Regret is a part of life. I really must try to keep it a small part.

Hooray for Us Word Count:109


So now we're a team. How marvelous. A team of oxen under Blake's whip. Or, as Gan would probably see it, a noble group of like-minded souls united in a righteous cause.

On the face of it, it's ridiculous. Jenna is a freetrader; they're notorious for following their own minds. Gan hasn't got anything to offer the rebellion except a strong back and a weak mind. Vila's idea of teamwork is taking the goods to a fence who doesn't cheat him too outrageously. And I... well, let us just say I've learned not to rely on others, certainly not with my life.

Oh, this is going to be fun.

Call a SpadeWord Count:130

I lie badly. I've always known that. I suppose I could have tried to develop the skill, but that would involve learning too much about other people. You see, to lie well, you must first know what people wish to hear.

You won't be popular if you tell them there are no miracles, no paragons of sainthood who will ride in on a white horse and save them from their folly. In fact, when the self-styled saint fails at his task, you will be berated for failing to support him in his futile quest.

Truth is naked and harsh and without pity. No one likes to look it in the face.

Jenna once said she'd met an honest man. She was right-- she just wasn't looking in the proper direction.


Truth is the Enemy Word Count:144

Only your enemies will be absolutely truthful with you about your faults. Oh, they'll lie whenever that suits their purpose, but the quiet satisfaction as they peel away the layers of your self-deception is unmistakably honest.

I was Servalan's greatest ally. It's true. I wanted Blake to be alive. I wanted it so badly that I ignored all my rules of survival. I let myself be led by the nose, lured by Blake's voice, telling me what I wanted to hear. He was alive. He needed me. He admitted I was essential to him. He offered to share power with me. He offered a partnership of equals.

Well, now at least I know my weakness. It's a little late, of course. But if Blake were to rise from the grave and offer me the keys to heaven, he'd better be able to convince me.

HimWord Count:121


He's there again, looking back at me, with the same disappointed expression he always has.I believed in you he seems to be saying, although he doesn't say anything of course. He knows better. There are rules.

I don't know why he's so surprised. I never hid what I was, what I wanted, what I'd do to get it. He kept telling me I was better than that, that if only I would try, I could make a name I'd be proud to carry to my grave. The problem was, following his advice was liable to put me in that grave much sooner than necessary.

I finish shaving and come to a decision. Next planet we stop at, I'm purchasing depilatory cream.


Work for TinkersWord Count:105

If ifs and ands were pots and pans there'd be no work for tinkers. One of my instructors thought that quaint homily a suitable rebuke when I protested that if the postulates of the given argument were unclearly stated more than one solution was equally valid.

If I understand the moral correctly, I have to agree with it; denying reality accomplishes nothing. That's what Blake's doing. He denies not only the reality of the overwhelming superiority of the opposing forces but the historical tendency of people to allow themselves to be abused by their governments.

Even if Blake won, there'd still be work for tinkers.


Time enough Word Count:131

They say the journey to Cygnus Alpha will take eight months. In eight months I wonder what vestiges of civilized behaviour will remain to any of us. Our lead guard is power-mad and sadistic, there is one woman amongst us, and we also possess an alpha with delusions of idealism.

Jenna is definitely interested in Blake. If the woman and the idealist join forces, that would at least focus hostility away from the only other remaining alpha- yours truly.

Blake is, however, treating her like 'one of the boys'. It may be that he simply has no interest in women. Then again, he may have taken into consideration that eight months is nearly time enough for a baby.

I wouldn't want to bring a child into existence under these circumstances, either.


History in the Face of a Friend Word Count:102

Egrorian and Pinder are the strangest people I'd ever met. Or perhaps were. Scorpio's sensors picked up a blast of unidentified radiation from their base...no way of knowing what happened. Egorian could have overindulged in recreational sadism and caused Pinder to have finally turned on his... friend, or, Pinder might have pressed the wrong button at the wrong time through simple senility.

At any rate, we are safely away from there, due, more than anything, to sheer dumb luck. Vila looks at me from time to time with distrust. I look at him from time to time, and wonder, have I changed?

“Strangers are exciting, their mystery never ends. But, there's nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends.” Ani Difranco

Wrong as Rain Word Count:122


I've been in the rain very few times in my life. I have quite a reasonable aversion to weather in general, and to rain in particular. On Earth we were told that radiation contaminated the planet, that only in the Domes were we safe. 'To be caught in the rain' was a catch-phrase for being doomed.

It never occurred to me that they were lying for the simple reason that it never occurred to me anyone in their right mind would wish to be exposed to nature.

Now, here I am with Blake, and I've been caught in the rain on more miserable, muddy, cold and dirty planets than I care to recall. I suspect the catch-phrase is true; it's merely patient.

A Rest is as good as a Change Word Count:100

For once, I really hadn't any plan in mind. We followed Servalan's flagship for twenty-seven uneventful days and at the end of the fourth week, we arrived at an interesting planet cloaked in a not-quite impenetrable death-shield, complete with feathery dwarf on life-support, homicidal maniacs (Vila assures me at least one of them had a kind heart), floating man in sensory deprivation chamber, incredibly advanced technology capable of making the utilizer ruler of the galaxy, and men who enjoyed torturing me, whilst totally ignoring my beautiful young woman companion.

A typical day, really.

Still, the month's rest was worth it.


An End to Waiting Word Count:196

How long has it been? I've nothing to mark the passage of time. That's deliberate. They feed you at infrequent intervals, keep the lights blazing constantly and deny sleep until you find yourself nodding even as they beat you. Of course, you wake up when they apply voltage to sensitive areas.

I run my hand over my face. There's more than one day's growth of beard, but then I've never measured it, so I'm not sure of the rate. And then, I wouldn't put it past them to clip the stubble when I’m unconscious to further confuse me. They count on disorientation doing half their work. Torturers are like any other government employee, they do as little as they can get away with.

But I have an advantage over most of their victims. I chose to come here. Anna...Anna didn't choose... except that she did. She chose me, chose to keep silent and protect me with her life.

I waited a long time until I could avenge her. I can wait as long as it takes. Sooner or later I will find the one who killed Anna and then there will be an end to waiting.

Parasites Word Count:145

Dayna and I crawl through Liberator's inspection channels, trying not to make any noise. I'd never had occasion to test the soundproofing, and it would be injudicious to do it now, with the ship overrun by an elite death squad.

I feel uncomfortably like a parasite, creeping through the bowels of the massive creature that keeps me alive by its existence, but only because it doesn't choose to fight me. I remember when it did fight, with illusions and death...pity I turned that off, expecting the others to return first.

Given a free hand, Zen could have killed the death squad itself.

A more cheering thought occurs to me as I try not to think about the condition of my knees. The death squad are the parasites. Dayna and I are leucocytes, protecting the host body. Much better.

I must tell Blake when he returns.


Why not? Word Count:188

They keep asking me why. Sometimes they punctuate the questions with pain, trying to get my attention. Sometimes they send in a seemingly friendly face to assure me that if I give a satisfactory explanation they will understand.

I would tell them, but I know it wouldn't make any difference. They want me to say that I believed Blake had betrayed his rebellion, that I thought he actually was a bounty-hunter, and I had to kill him to protect myself.

That was part of it, of course. But mainly it was that I was tired. Have you ever been so tired that you don't want to do anything that will lead to doing something else? So tired that all you want is an end?

The gun was too long to shoot myself. Blake was obviously not going to let me rest. I could see demands in his eyes. So long as he lived, he would never let me rest. Whether he betrayed me or not was immaterial. He'd use me for the Federation or the Rebellion. I just...refused.

I don't think telling them that would help, do you?


Passing the buck Word Count:297

Ten billion credits worth of waste paper is currently scattered around Scorpio's flight deck. Ten billion dreams of power and safety and... there would even have been some left over to finance Blake's rebellion.

All Zerok bank notes will be declared invalid within seven days, and all private transactions are already illegal. Servalan got seventeen billion credits worth of black gold out of the bargain. She must be laughing at me, probably even harder than I'm laughing at myself.

Wild thoughts chase around my mind. I could have Orac accredit us as representatives of a foreign power so that we could deposit the money into a Zerok bank pending the transition to Federation funds. But I know banks all too well. On an electronic level, no one would notice the transaction, but walking into a branch office with a satchel full of cash...no, even if Servalan left that option open the bureaucracy would have no procedure to follow. You can fight anything else, but not bureaucracy.

Then it comes to me. I can't have the gold. But I can make sure Servalan doesn't have it. "Orac! Have you got the signal on the black gold?" As a small precaution I had placed a tracer in between the ingots.

"Yes, Avon."

"Avon!" Vila protests immediately. "You can't go, Servalan's guards will shoot you before you take a step. Even that much money's not worth it!"

I grin at him, at them all. "I'm not going. Orac, teleport the black gold here."

Orac sputters. "I have already told you, the processed gold has subneutronic overlap shift. If subjected to teleport process, it will..."

I interrupt Orac to finish the statement, "It will reduce to dust irrevocably. Yes, Orac. Do it, and then teleport the dust back to Servalan."

It's not the same as winning, but at least it's not losing.



Star Double-CrossedWord Count:149

I look out the viewing port of the holding cell, awaiting execution, and recognize the unique configuration of stars. "Twelfth sector. Astral point seven eight one. Exactly where Orac predicted we would be destroyed. The prediction it refused to clarify, so we might be able to avoid it. "

Jenna looks at the starfield. "Why, that rotten little overbearing..."

I let Jenna go on for several minutes, noting a few of the more effective phrases. "The point is, it predicted the destruction of the ship, but we're not on the ship, are we?"

Jenna nods. "So you think we have a chance, then?"

"Perhaps and perhaps not, but all I want is two minutes with Orac and a laser probe."

Jenna nods again and sits down on the bench. "I'll help."

I sit beside Jenna, in a companionable silence. It's good having someone at your side who understands revenge.
Out of the Frying Pan Word Count:216

Avon shifted uncomfortably and tried to ease his aching muscles and convince himself he really wasn't broiling inside his leathers as the unrelenting sun beat down on him, and bounced off the sand to make certain it didn't miss a spot on him.

"I'm sorry I couldn't get your bracelet for you, Avon, but I did promise to get you away from the slavers, and I've done that, haven't I?" Neebrox kicked the camel in the ribs and the beast protested, but moved slightly faster.

"Yes, but I don't think dying in the desert is an improvement, actually."

"Oh, we won't die. There's an oasis just ahead. My family will be there." Neebrox waved one stringy arm, and following the direction, Avon could see faint green blobs of trees.

*******


Avon sat in the shade of a palm, surreptitiously rubbing his bruises, while he gave Neebrox the opportunity to greet his family in private. Women in flowing white robes had descended on the old man with glad cries and drawn him into a large tent. He looked up as the tent flaps swung open.

Neebrox emerged, grinning, dressed in the blue-purple robes of an Amagon male, with half a dozen muscular young men flanking him. "Now, about the reward the Federation has on your head, Avon..."



Note: I asked friends to provide prompts. This was 'desert'.
All Green Thumbs Word Count:200

Avon admired Sarkoff's garden politely. Personally, he didn't see any point to cultivating flora that wasn't edible, suitable for carpentry, or which at least produced perfume extract .

He particularly couldn't see why all the bushes were shaped like animals . From his limited experience with foliage (generally while running through it being shot at) plants don't do that sort of thing on their own. When he inquired, Sarkoff told Avon far more than he wished to know about the art of topiary. Eventually Sarkoff turned his attention on Blake, leaving Avon to wander by himself.

Avon watched the gardener trim a few wayward leaves off a squirrel-shaped bush. Bored, he picked up a small clipper and approached one large bush which was definitely unfinished. After studying it from all angles, he decided they were intending it to be a warg-strangler. He reached out and snipped one untidy twig.

The bush shrieked and whipped all its branches around itself closely.

Sarkoff ran up and patted the bush, "Oh! I am so sorry, Ambassador Philos! I'm sure it will grow back in no time!"

Blake didn't speak to Avon for the rest of the day. So, his mistake wasn't all bad.


Note: I asked friends to provide prompts. This was 'topiary'.
Brief Thanksgiving

Neebrox had been grateful. Grateful, but unlucky. Avon sipped the drink Dayna had given him, and listened to his crew, his young and optimistic crew, make jokes, trying to shake off the chill of the spectre of death so barely evaded.

Somehow, he didn't feel like laughing. Neebrox hadn't mattered, of course, beyond the fact that Avon had been forced to break his promise to the old man. He'd sworn to take Neebrox with him, but Neebrox was dead, another incidental victim of one of Servalan's plans.

What was that old poem...'we thank with brief thanksgiving, whatever gods there be, that no man lives forever, that even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea.' Avon lifted his glass in silent salute to Neebrox. I'll be going with you, it seems. I don't think you'll have long to wait.

Fodder (185words)

"It's very kind of you," said trooper Par, feeling his cynicism retreat under the gentle ministrations of the medical assistant. When the alien invasion took place, everyone in military uniform was shoveled onto a transport and sent to the front. Par had no flamin' idea what he'd do on a ship; he'd always been a ground trooper. Laser-cannon fodder.

Well, he could do that on a ship perfectly well, he discovered. He'd made it to an escape pod, mainly out of the habit of survival, not really expecting it to do any good, and was astonished when a ship marked in neutral colours retrieved him and its personnel cared for his injuries as solicitously as if he'd been a general.

The nurse smiled at him, coolly, efficiently, in that comforting 'I have the situation in control, just lie back and I'll take care of everything' way that the very best nurses develop. "People are different; we care for all of them." She smoothed the bandages over his burns. "Just rest. We'll be on Chenga in a few hours and all your worries will be over."

(Based on a [community profile] b7friday challenge to use a spam header for inspiration- I used the line, 'People are different; we care for all of them'.)

Glimpse the Future (218 words)

Vila looked at the employee handbook once more. Mum had said 'do your best, Vila' and hugged him, giving him a sack of algae-paste on soya toast sandwiches for his lunch. He'd never had the heart to tell her he hated them. During the orientation lecture he'd quietly switched it for the nearly identical (but better smelling) sack belonging to the delta sitting next to him who was listening earnestly to the vid detailing the ideals and honours involved in working for Mega-giganti-corp (including the opportunity to give 10% of your pay to charity in MGC's name. None of the deltas were that stupid, though).

Well, it was only a summer job, wasn't it? The nearest he could tell, they were making shiny metal walls for prefabs. Vila thought they were ugly. Why would anyone want to stare at themselves on every surface? Would drive Vila spare in a few hours. 'Your future, metal-trimming', said the brochure, with pictures of shiny-faced deltas, grinning as they worked laser cutters and welders on an infinite line of shiny steel walls.

Was like being in prison, it was. Sod that. Vila decided to chuck the job and apprentice with 'Uncle Ernie' the cracksman. If he was going to be in prison, he wanted to have done something to deserve it first.

(This was based on spam I got with the header, 'Seize the future, metal-trimming')


The next twelve stories are Random Title Drabbles Based on the Random book title generator"


The Winter of the Thorn

Dayna and I gather wood, while Vila tries to protect Tarrant from the weather. It's tempting to lie down in one of the growing snowbanks, to become numb, to sleep and never wake.

I push a dead branch aside and feel a sudden sting. My hand has red, sluggish drops welling from punctures. I suck the wound until I extract a thorn. Then I examine the bush more closely. Where the thorn has broken, the bark beneath is green, alive with sap. Alive, and waiting out winter. I toss the thorn aside and continue looking for wood. Looking for life.

Diamond Shadow

Something about Blake's obvious show of distrust in the matter of the diamond made me uneasy. Not the insult of it, but something ... Ah, now I've got it. He'd played that divisive scene in front of Largo, whom we were attempting to show a united front. Choosing to form an alliance with the Terra Nostra was insane enough without undercutting his own strategy.

Is Blake losing his ability to understand and manipulate people? That could be fatal. Not for me, personally. My self-preservation instincts are well-honed.

Oh, damn. I am going to have to look after the big idiot.


The Deep Slave

We aren't supposed to think, but I can't help wondering why the System has us hauling heavy materials around by hand. It's ridiculously inefficient. Even pushing it on primitive wheeled carts would be faster.

So, unless the System is totally insane there's some reason for it. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the machine is so afraid of us it wants us weak. It can't do without us because the Alta are too fragile for physical labor.

If it's afraid, that means we have a chance. I'll tell the others. We must be ready to act.


Something of Weeping

He was crying. I could hear it when I stopped calling his name for a moment. I wanted to feel contemptuous of his weakness, but in truth, I felt envy. When was I last allowed the luxury of tears?

It may have been when my parents decreed that my Ted go in the recycler, because I had embarrassed them by clinging to it when I was introduced at a social event.

Poor harmless, soft Ted. I had too much imagination then. I thought Ted cried as he was sent to his death. Now, I know better. Only real people weep.


Girl in the Mist

It came down at dawn, when the mist rises, and the plants turn their leathery leaves to funnel the precious moisture down to their roots. Survival isn't easy in this semi-barren landscape, but the plants have learned.

They do learn. The ones who sprouted by our latrine learned not to threaten us, and we reciprocated, allowing them to purify our wastes. Finding common cause made us allies.

The day after the mist changed colour, the plants were my only allies.

But they are silent. As silent as a telepath separated from her people, walking the mists of an alien world.


Darkest Academy

Everything's sanitized and hygienic, all steel and plas. It glitters in Domedawn. We look splendid marching in perfect unison, row upon row of tailored black uniforms over finely honed bodies.

Jarvik talks about the manliness of 'rough living', but I suspect it's only romantic if you're one of the strong. Like us. We can do what we like, so long as there's no doubt of our loyalty.

There was a pretty delta who cleaned the barracks. One night the cadets... well, after all she's only a delta. I'm sure they're used to it.

But still... is it right? I wonder.


The Burning Silk

Silk is made of worm spittle. They boil living worms to obtain whole, unbroken lengths. There are two lessons there: looking beneath the surface isn't for the squeamish, and someone must always suffer for beauty.

My mother wore silk. Wearing silk, you know your worth. It shows in your step, in your features, in an almost palpable aura.

The terrorists who took her from the crowd recognized it. Of course, father couldn't give in to their demands. They burned her with blasters.

In memory of my mother, and in defiance of the terrorists I always wear silk. Sometimes it shows.


Time in the Destruction (double drabble)

The clocks have stopped. I don't know why that disturbs me, but it does. I'd like to know how long it takes. I'd like to have a time to put with the date. Most of the others won't notice. They're too busy one way or another.

Gregor and his family are Believers. I'm not sure what it is they Believe in, but they went home to talk to it. You're not supposed to Believe in anything, but not even the informers cared when Gregor made his announcement.

We had to kill Keth. He panicked and started smashing at the Dome. No one wanted to die of explosive decompression. He wouldn't stop, so we killed him.

Jarod and his group are trying to rig up a climate control out of nothing. I'm not a tech, so I couldn't help.

I went to my quarters to write on the walls, to leave a record when they come. They have to come, don't they? Won't it make news across the Federation when an entire asteroid mining colony is wiped out by catastrophic computer failure?

That's some consolation, that we will be important for once. But I wish I knew what time it was.


The Nothing's Male

The alphas don't see me, not really. Just a delta, that's what they think of me, when they think of me, which is only when they've caught me at something.

I'm used to it. You can get used to things that hurt. You can even turn them to your advantage.

You can turn nothing into something, my mum used to say. She did, too. She'd clean the alphas' homes and take the castoffs back to make over for me. I loved my coat of many colours. Just nothings, but put them together with love and care, and you have something.


The Death's Word

"You." They point to Shem. He faints, which shows his good sense. I say, "I'll go," which shows my stupidity.

If I'd been smart, I'd have gone on that raid with my brother. I'd still be here, but I'd have earned it. All I can do is put myself in Shem's place. He was... kind to me, taught me not to be an alpha.

When the one-eyed officer sneers at me, I forget my lessons. "He'll do," he says. With relief I recognize death in his voice. I'll die, but I won't have betrayed the ideals Roj and I shared.

(this is a minor one-off character- if you don't recognize him, think about Project Avalon)


The Stone's Boyfriend

A new type of predator came. I projected to no avail. One predator couldn't distinguish my emanations from its own imaginary monsters. The other was like us, hard and cold on the outside. It calmly accepted its magnified reflection.

I withdrew my perceptions, hoping to be overlooked. Sometimes it is better to be silent. My mate, Smooth-Round, was always too curious. She extended a perception link to Hard-Cold Predator. It took her in a manipulative organ. I could sense her satisfaction and pleasure at its touch.

I will never live down the humiliation of Smooth-Round running away with a predator.


Professional Courage

I used to be afraid of so many things - heights and darkness, mice and spiders, loud noises and thunderstorms. I slept with a night-light and a doll named Lambkins. I cried when mum brushed my hair, or dad pulled a splinter from my finger. I hid when visitors came...

I hid that day, the day the strangers came. By the time they'd found me, they'd had their fill of killing and I learned what darkness really was.

Cowardice cost me my chance to be with my family forever. I killed my fear that day and buried it with Lambkins.



From Auros to Zircaster: A Primer (200 words)
(Stretching a point, this is for the 'X,Y,Z' titles challenge. 'Zircaster' wasn't working for me.)

I was a hero on Auros to hear my superiors. A monster, if you listened to the rebels. They were both wrong. I am a soldier. War isn't a game played by civilized rules. The greater the disparity between the winner's losses and the enemy's, the more successful the campaign. Auros was a highly successful campaign.

In a similar strategic situation on Zircaster, I used the same tactics, to the same end. Success with the fewest possible losses on my side. I was praised again for conserving materiel, troops and time, all very valuable commodities.

The political climate changed. I was court-martialed. I knew I hadn't a chance with Servalan setting the rules, but I could make the cost high. My speech in the courtroom weakened her hold on Samor. Without the backing of Space Command, she'd have a hard time holding onto power. You might call that an act of revenge for her using me as a scapegoat.

You'd be wrong. I was merely conducting my campaign as I always do, regardless of the enemy. My enemy now is humanity. I intend to win. The casualties on the other side will be as high as I can make them.

Deluge(6 word story challenge)

The air is full of mold-spores. I have several layers of cloth around my nose and mouth, and I can still feel the cottony itch of it in my throat. I cough, but it's no use, the mold is in my lungs, rotting them, eating me from the inside out.

How can there be so much water in all the world? It rained and rained and never stopped, no matter what they told the weather control computers. The land gave way, sliding down hillsides with people screaming, screaming.

I should have built a boat. The computer should have warned us.

(Based on Rained, rained, rained, and never stopped.- Howard Waldrop)


Clicheorama (100 words)
Vila tucked the teddy bear under Avon's arm, wrapping the afghan Cally, Jenna and Gan had knit for him tightly around Avon's seven-year old body against the chill of the subterran ice-cave they were hiding in after the events of GP, which Avon didn't remember thanks to mystical aliens, although Vila's mind-block had shattered and he remembered their father, Ensor, and their sisters Blake and Travis, who were now searching for food other than the contents of the cold storage bins as Avon's ice cream allergy had awakened his empathic powers so they all suffered his bellyache.

Vila's head hurt.

Family Tree

Ensor frowned down at the chessboard. "Will they do it, do you think?"

"Of course they will." His son moved a piece. "Check and mate."

Ensor tipped his king over. "I still don't see why you told them Orac was my invention."

"You have a reputation. They'd never pay a hundred million credits for my invention."

"But you should have the recognition!"

His son went over to Ensor, kissing him on top of his head. "I don't care. I love you, father."

"Enough, Zen," Orac said, and the hologram faded from the flight deck. "I miss you both, father, grandfather."
Soul and the Eye

The sword flashed in the sunlight, the arrow hummed in the air, the blaster burned, the cannonball crushed... yes, crushing it was crushing this time. Cally groped for meaning, trying to think despite the agony. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't see, but she could taste the acrid dust of explosives mingled with plast-crete, filling her throat, sliding around her limbs and hardening

The Soul of Auron guided her through her past lives and showed her the way to rejoin her people, never alone again. No! I can't go! She struggled to make the corporate mind understand. There were so few Auronar left, so few and so vulnerable. Servalan must be kept distracted while they grew stronger. She must remain to guide Avon.

The Soul considered. And denied her request. Suddenly Cally understood. She must choose one who trusted her absolutely, she must show him the Auron way, teach him to trust others. They would be together until he died. "BLAKE!"

(Used the random title 'Soul and the Eye' and also used the pornocopia prompt: Mummification/ Remember past lives/ Trust and vows, absolute trust, doubt/ Help and Cally's Fortune Cookie: The Soul Of Auron Will Be Ill-Mannered If You Are Cheated Of Victory By Pyroan Suicide)


In a ficlet request meme [profile] shimere277 asked for Avon: and keywords monastery, grail, buxom
Brother

Distracted by the buxom woman on the Space Princess, Avon didn't notice the man coming up behind him.

"Avon!" came a cry in a voice so familiar he still heard it in his dreams.

Avon turned and an honest grin broke across his face at the sight of the blonde man in brown robes. "Brother!" he cried and embraced the man. "I thought you were dead!"

"No, no, Avon, I claimed sanctuary with the Mobile Monastery. I've been travelling ever since."

"Are you still looking for it? It's a myth, you know."

"Is it really?" The blonde stopped at a water dispenser, and pulled a roughly carved wooden goblet from his robe. He filled it and offered it to Avon.

To be polite, Avon drank. He gasped and dropped the goblet, which the other man caught and neatly put away. "Drink and be healed," the monk said.

---

Brother Kerr took over the maintenance of the computers in the scriptorium.



The Old Magic

"Good show," Giroc said as she removed her crone makeup.

"Oh, I don't know," Sinofar replied as she put on her bra. "There've been better."

"Oh, tosh," Giroc said. "You were impressive as all get out, my girl, and I did my Third Witch cackling without once corpsing! What more do you need for good reviews?"

"I think we could have got a sex scene if you hadn't insisted on the blonde."

Giroc shrugged and began deflating the monument and rolling up the 'endless graveyard' backdrop. "No one's perfect."

Sinofar turned off the time-fixator and frowned. "We need new batteries."


Boxing Day AKA: The Day Vila Stopped Using his Box of Tricks

Vila dropped his red 'cool box' and hid while footsteps went past. He whispered into his teleport bracelet, "I'm in T-17. Where's Gan?"

Cally replied, "The intercepted message was unclear. 'death ... in twenty-four hours ... or Gan ... room T-17 ...' Perhaps he's in the next room."

Vila dutifully went to the next locked door. Nervously looking around, he opened his 'cool box' and reached in for a probe.

"AGGGHH!"

Cally teleported him back to the ship. Vila dropped the still beating human heart he held, looked at his bloody hand and fainted.

Gan walked into the room, holding an ice-pack to his head. "What's wrong with Vila? And what's that doing here?" He pointed down at the red 'cool box' half filled with ice, and the heart pulsing in it.

"Where have you been? We thought the Federation had you?" Cally asked.

"I had a headache, so I went for a lie-down in a disused room." Gan rolled his eyes. "Avon and Blake were at it again." He picked up the cooler and snapped it shut. "Someone will be needing this transplant. Put me down where Vila got it, will you, Cally?"



What really happened after the credits rolled on 'Blake'

Blake opens his eyes, sits up, wipes off the 'blood' & says 'well, was the camera angle right *this* time?'

Deva checks the tape & nods. The Scorpio crew air the propaganda tape (arguing over who died the best) while Gan makes popcorn. Deeta is snuggling up to Klyn, who is petting Krantor's white cat, Fuzzybritches. Lauren and Hal have cooked a huge pot of Firehouse Chili and tested it out on Og and Justin who then drank all the gingerbeer Dr. Plaxton had been brewing in her bathtub. Jenna, Nova, Ensor Jr., Dr. Maryatt, Farren, Renor, Hanna, Mikey, Kasabi, and Dr. Bellfriar take off their Federation uniforms and decorate the base with streamers and disco balls. Ensor, Sr. is discussing philosophy with Zen, Slave and Orac. Nebrox and Vena are playing team-chess against Belkov and Gambit. Keiller and Zeeona are on the galactic-net, talking to Cally who is on Auron, being hailed as a heroine by her entire planet. Avon's brother and Blake's siblings are having a friendly 'how my big brother used to tease me' competition.

Jarvik, Cancer (the guy who pretended to be Cancer), Dorian, Egrorian and Pinder sent their regrets, but they were attending the Macho-Men's Ball hosted on Kairos by Brian the Spider.

Unfortunately, one of Blake's folk, the technician who tussled with Tarrant & got 'shot' can't attend the party. He broke his leg when he fell.


Sinful (200 words)

Vila didn't like violence. He especially didn't like bloody violence. But he liked breathing vacuum even less. He slid the sharpened shard of metal out of the hiding place under Gan's bunk, and padded barefoot across the dormitory.

His grip tightened on the improvised knife as he approached the huddled shape on the bunk in the darkest corner of the room. He knew where to hit. Do it just right and Avon wouldn't even feel a thing. Be doing him a favour, really. Avon wouldn't like it on Cygnus Alpha.

The shape moved, and Vila could see the shine of eye whites. Softly, Avon said, "Well, if you're going to do it, do it, Vila."

Vila dropped the knife and stood unmoving as Avon slipped out of bed and picked it up. "Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you now," Avon said casually.

Vila cleared his throat. "You might need me someday."

"Mmm... just barely possible." Avon dropped the knife to the floor. "Remember, you owe me one." He got back in bed, turned to face the wall and pulled the blanket over his head.

Vila picked up the knife and went back to his own bed, shivering.


Unearthed (300 words)

Suzah glowed more brightly than the bit of artifact that she saw glinting in the dirt.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and followed Karhl the verifier to Suzah's roped-off section of dirt, glad of a break from the tedium of meticulously sifting the soil for evidences of past civilization. The verifier was old, and shaky, but very wise. After a long moment stooping close over the thing, Karhl rose and indicated negation, patting Suzah comfortingly.

"It is only a type-S bracelet."

Suzah sighed. Type-L and type-S bracelets were such common funerary offerings that no museums wanted them. "Mark the location and cover it?"

"Yes."

There was another cry of discovery, and Karhl and Suzah joined the others around Hari's pit. This find was much larger and the entire team set out to mark, measure and gently dust it free from its millennia-long rest.

"Very nice! It appears to be a primitive records keeping system."

"Do you think it can be translated?" Hari asked, eagerly.

"Oh, very probably," Karhl said. "But don't be disappointed if it's only lists of supplies."

Suzah brushed off a tiny, separate piece and laid it down on top of the main find, to be neat. There was a loud, wheezing noise and the find exclaimed, "What is it now? Must I be continually disturbed!"

Startled, Hari dropped the find, which shattered like ice. Karhl reached out a pseudopod to pat Hari consolingly. "No harm done. I was wrong, it was only one of those joke insult machines the humans made as souvenirs for our troops. There were billions of them; they're worthless. But look!" From the middle of the debris he plucked a shining gold ring. It was inscribed, "Always, from RB to KA".

Karhl glowed with happiness. "Now, that's a museum piece."



A drabble based on the first 3 single words commented (one each by 3 different people.)

The Art of Rebellion


"I don't know what I like, but I know Art," Blake declared as he gazed at the Tranquil Dreams exhibit.

"That's a pillowcase," agreed Foster as he also stared at the fabric framed on the wall. "I've heard the Welsh cakes in the museum commissary are good." He walked away.

"This I understand," Blake said as he sprinkled extra sugar on his bakestone. "A taste of home." He ate it slowly, savoring every bite, slipping the hard pellet containing the details of their latest raid under his tongue. He'd rather not have to swallow it. Retrieval was such a nuisance.


Death-Mask

He had been away on tour, but even an Auron with as limited a telepathic faculty as his had felt them die.

It took years to discover how they'd died, and more years to become an important enough entertainer to perform for the President. Once he locked eyes with her, he knew she would call him for a 'private' performance.

He seldom used his talent in reverse. Instead of stripping the mask hiding his emotions, he had stripped hers. The outpouring of greed, hatred, viciousness and vile horror had flooded her brain.

They called it 'stroke'. He called it justice.

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