Why do you stay with Blake?
VILA: I like him.
AVON: That isn't a good enough reason.
VILA: It is for me.
been thinking about it ever since Avon asked me why I stayed and I did tell him
the truth. It comes down to the
fact I like Blake. I think I can
trust him and I don't trust many people. He's
about the only Alpha I've ever known who didn't treat me like I was beneath
contempt, or like a piece of equipment to be used then discarded.
knew there was something different about him right from the first time I met
him. Jenna liked him from the get
go, and she's not one who gives her trust easily either.
I wasn't much interested in analysing his personality though.
I had more immediate concerns. Like
being packed off to Cygnus Alpha for a start.
So far the trip was not looking like it was going to be a lot of fun, the
guards were the wrong sort, even there on Earth before we got to the London.
Sometimes you can jolly them along if you're harmless enough and amusing
enough, but these guards worried me. The
other prisoners were not a nice bunch either.
Real hard cases, mostly violent crimes.
A couple of politicals, and me and Jenna.
I don't know how she ended up with a life sentence just from a bit of
smuggling, I never asked her. Me
they just didn't know what else to do with I suppose, so they disposed of the
problem. It could have been worse I suppose. They've killed people for
Blake gets dumped in our cell, out cold, drugged I guessed. I stole his watch, just for practice, or out of habit,
whatever. It wasn't any use to me
really, the guards were not the bribeable sort and it wasn't the sort of thing
that's good for trade among the prisoners.
I was going to check for more useful stuff but he woke up.
He clearly had no idea of where he was headed or what that meant.
I thought it must be his first time and wondered what he did to get life
for a first offence. He didn't look
like one of the hard cases and the politicals were usually younger and more
starry eyed. I introduced myself
and made friendly with him. He was
big enough to be a useful ally and you need allies in a place like Cygnus
otherwise you're just fodder. I was
careful to drop in about my conditioning, just in case - if anyone's going to
give you trouble that tends to make them think twice - they worry about what you
his lawyer came round we found out he was a political but apparently that wasn't
what he was locked up for. He was
insistent that he was innocent - but then most people talk it up whether they
are or not. He wanted out badly,
and was sure he would be released - terribly na´ve. The rest of us were pretty resigned, though I admit I was
getting pretty jumpy by the time they got us on the ship. There's nowhere to go on a ship like that if you upset
someone and I seem to be pretty good at opening my gob when I'd have done better
to leave it shut.
heard Blake as we left, telling the guard he'd be back. I remember thinking he was mad, a melodramatic line like
that. No one had ever come back
from Cygnus. Once we got going
Raiker came and did his spiel about doing what we were told or else.
I knew he was going to be trouble, was probably looking forward to
someone putting a foot wrong so he could punish them.
Jenna annoyed him right away even though she could see what he was like,
Alpha pride I suppose. I told her
she should keep him happy but when does anyone ever listen to me?
I hung around after Raiker dismissed us and Blake didn't budge.
I wanted to hear what they had to say to each other.
Blake was going to be stubborn I could tell, and I was having second
thoughts about his use as an ally - it's usually not good to be round people the
guards dislike. It gets you noticed
and I did not want to be noticed. It
was then I found out what the charges against him were.
I was pretty shocked, he certainly didn't seem like the type.
But then he was a political so it was perfectly plausible that he'd been
from the beginning Blake was thinking about escape.
That first day out he was asking me about the door locks.
I told him I couldn't work them. A
lie, but I had no desire to get myself 'killed while attempting escape' before
we even reached the colony. As soon
as he met Avon he was trying to enlist him.
Now Avon really is a prime example of an Alpha.
So self confident as to be insufferably arrogant, intelligent no denying,
but smug with it, and looks with the appropriate disdain on anyone lower in the
hierarchy than himself. I still
wonder if he would have helped the ship's crew dump us and fake the logs if he
could have got away with it. I
really don't know the answer.
was obvious from pretty soon into the trip that the food was thoroughly doped,
most of the rest were out of it. The
drugs have never really worked properly on me for some reason.
I got to know which of the guards could be worked with and which to
avoid. Raiker, as I expected was a
nasty bit of work, enjoyed his job far too much.
That sort always find someone to amuse themselves with and like I said,
there's nowhere to hide on those transports.
He'd have liked Jenna to be his new plaything but she put up too much of
a fight and I got the impression the captain didn't approve.
He found other ways to amuse himself though.
I don't know why he had to pick on me, my luck has never been good, but I
usually manage to slip beneath people's notice.
Not this time though. I
think he saw me and Jenna talking together, maybe he was jealous, maybe he
thought there was more going on there - I should be so lucky! Whatever the reasons, I got the worst of it.
Nothing I couldn't survive, it's not like it was the first time I'd been
roughed up by a prison guard or the rest of it for that matter and I never put
up enough of a fight to antagonise him into hurting me badly.
Even so it was a pretty miserable few months.
hadn't shut up about trying to escape for the whole first half of the trip.
I kept telling him I wasn't interested.
Things were bad enough without getting caught trying to escape.
He didn't give in though. I
don't know who it was who told him about my particular expertise but somehow he
found out I probably knew more about the locks on the London than I was letting
must have been quite late in the evening, ship-time, I'd had a 'visit' from
Raiker and gone to bed early. I
wasn't asleep, just laying on my bunk, still sore and feeling sorry for myself.
It was dark. Raiker put the light out because he knew it bothered me, and
I didn't have the energy to move to put it back on. When I heard someone come in I pretended to be asleep
Everyone else was still in the rec room or mess and I wasn't in the mood
for company. Blake can move
amazingly quietly. I didn't hear
him until he was right next to me and nearly jumped out of my skin when he shook
my shoulder. I was still pretty
bruised there from Raiker's ministrations anyway.
I gave quite a yelp with fright and he put his hand over my mouth to shut
me up. Oh I know now he just didn't
want the guards to come and overhear us but at the time it was dark, I was
frightened, hurt, belly down on the bed with someone holding my shoulder and a
hand over my mouth. I recognised Blake's voice as he told me to be quiet.
I remembered the charges against him that I'd overheard and jumped to
what seemed like the obvious conclusion, after all a man who would molest kids
would hardly baulk at using a Delta the same way.
A lot of the Alphas think they can do what they like to the lower grades
and get away with it, and they're usually right.
I felt betrayed somehow. I had been
pretty much convinced the charges were false, and allowed myself to like him,
even start to trust him, even if he did keep nagging me to help plan an escape.
you going to be quiet?" he asked me. "I
don't want the guards coming."
nodded, resigned, and he let go of me and sat on the edge of the bunk.
I lay still.
think you lied to me about the locks, Vila."
was confused, this wasn't exactly what I'd expected.
been talking to some people and I think you may be more useful than you pretend
was still confused but I thought he must be angry with me for lying to him, that
maybe this was his way of punishing me. I
wished he'd get on with it if that was what he had in mind.
The waiting was doing my nerves in worse than the actual thing would
have. I was shivering now and he
must have felt it, he put his hand on my shoulder again and I flinched away.
I didn't mean to, it annoyed Raiker when I tried to get away from him and
just made things worse but I was so jumpy by this time I couldn't help myself.
what's wrong?" His voice was
gentle but I just thought he was making fun of me.
you sick? What's the matter?"
started babbling then telling him to just get on with it, that I'd do whatever
he wanted if he'd please not hurt me.
I'm putting the lights on."
sat up then as he moved from the bunk. I
wasn't wearing very much of anything - Raiker liked to see the results of his
handiwork and I sat in a huddle at the corner of the bunk with the cover up to
my chin. I was pretty close to
hysterical by now.
hurt me," I said, not that I expected him to take any notice of that.
won't." He reached to shake my
shoulder again, "Vila? Are you
listening to me? I'm not going to
don't know how many times he repeated that before I heard him and understood
what he was saying. I'd worked
myself up into quite a state. Eventually
I lifted my head to look him in the face though, "You won't?" He shook
his head. "I won't." He
looked at the traces of blood on the cover then back at me.
"What happened?" he asked.
shook my head. I was not to tell
anyone about Raiker's visits. He'd
made it clear what would happen if I did.
was still clinging to the cover, my hands holding it under my chin. Blake reached to push my hands down so he could see the
bruises on my arms and shoulders.
happened?" he asked again. "Who did this?"
shook my head again but he kept asking and I had no energy left to put up much
I finally said, and added, "You mustn't tell. Please. He'll
hurt me if he knows I told you."
looked angrier than I'd ever seen him. "He
already hurt you!"
I repeated. "There are worse
things than a beating and..." I
stopped there. Blake looked sick
enough at the bruises, I couldn't bring myself to tell him the rest.
everything, he'd still for the most part had the sheltered life of an Alpha and
probably had no idea such things went on in Federation facilities.
he guessed, I don't know. Maybe he
figured out what I was afraid he'd wanted that night.
I do know that he didn't keep quiet about it, that he confronted Raiker.
I don't know what went on between them but I know that when Blake was
around Raiker left me alone after that.
one had ever put their own safety at risk for my sake before. The least I could do in return was distract the guards now
and then and open a few doors. I
drew the line at crawling through service tunnels though. Not my idea of fun, wriggling through the dark with who knows
what the other end - guards with guns most likely. I hate guns. How
I ended up looking for the armoury and waving a gun around I'll never know.
It didn't work of course. I
told them it wouldn't, not that I expected them to listen.
Blake, Avon and Jenna legged it on the Liberator things were pretty dismal.
At least there was no Raiker, but the guards I'd been working on, knew
I'd been involved in the escape attempt so that was my chances of getting cut
some slack out the airlock. The other prisoners were no company, doped to the eyeballs.
By the time we got to Cygnus I was almost looking forward to it.
I'd been in prisons before, how much worse could it be?
It was worse. Not so much the
planet, though it was pretty rough living and controlled by those loony
religious types, but I got sick almost immediately.
Everyone did. They told us
we needed their drug to survive it.
I couldn't believe it when Blake turned up.
I couldn't understand why he'd bother to come back for us. I don't know how he persuaded everyone to fight the priests,
we were ready to just go along with them but Blake somehow had them all willing
to fight and die on his say- so, Selman, Arco, even me. I stabbed that priest. I'd
never killed anyone before in my life. I didn't know what to do.
I don't know how long I'd have just stood there if Blake hadn't shouted
at me to run. And after all that,
he went back in, told us to get away without him.
I'll never understand him. Me,
I'd have been running for my life. Well,
no, that's not true. I just
wouldn't have come back in the first place.
I don't understand him, but I do trust him.
I like him. And so I'm still
here. Even though it's probably going to get me killed .
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