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Ask the Right Question
Death of an Enemy, Death of a Friend
The Politics of Embezzlement
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Death of an Enemy, Death of a Friend

Originally published in Dr. Bellfriar's Memorial Journal #3 printed 1989

Sirens began to sound, breaking the eerie silence of the palace cellar. Tarrant glanced warily up the stairs at the sound. "Looks as it he did get through."


"Avon--we've got to get out of here," Cally insisted gently, stretching a hand towards his shoulder. Avon remained crouched, numb with grief and shock, over the corpse of Anna Grant.


The group heard footsteps on the stone staircase. "Time to leave," Dayna announced as she reached her crewmates.


"Vila, Vila, can you hear me?"

"Teleporting now," the thief responded, matching action to words.


Cally looked around at her companions as they materialized in the teleport chamber. "You IDIOT, Vila!"


"What do you mean, idiot? That was a very fast pickup." He looked aggrievedly at the group on the teleport platform, then realized what was wrong. "Where's Avon?"


"EXACTLY!I" Dayna loaded every syllable of the word with contempt.


"You should have all come up together! Something happen to his bracelet?"


"We would have all come up together--IF we'd been ready to teleport."


"You gave me the signal!" Vila shot back, his shoulders hunching defensively.


"I asked if you could hear me," Tarrant responded, glaring at the man behind the teleport console. "Put me back down," he ordered, checking his gun.


Outside the house like before?


Put me back where you just took us from.  The pilots words were slow and precise with exasperation.


Uh, well, I cant.  The outward coordinates are still set.


Cally strode over to the teleport terminal.  Why didnt you check the inward coordinates as we came up?



"You forgot. Avon's trapped down there with Servalan and without a teleport bracelet, shock troops are invading the house-­and you forgot!" Dayna's words dripped with sarcasm and contempt as she shoved the Delta out of the way and began working at the teleport terminal. "It'll take a few minutes to realign the coordinates." She spared a moment to look up and glare at the hapless Delta. "Time he probably hasn't got."


"Cally, what about the transmitter in his neck? You never took it out, did you? Can't that useless bucket of bolts set the coordinates from that?"


Callys reply was softened by the obvious misery and guilt on Vilas face.  Unless the transmitter was triggered, it will take just as long.  And after what happened to him down there, I doubt hes in any condition to remember it.


Avon.  The computer tech raised his eyes to see the muzzle of Servalan's weapon pointing at him. His conscious mind regis­tered the gravity of his situation quite clearly, but somehow it seemed unimportant.


"You really think I care?"

"Put the bracelet on."


"Why?" he challenged sharply, his interest piqued. Their eyes met and locked.


"Just do it." Her voice was uncharacteristically soft and gentle, caressing him like a lover.


He bent over and snapped the bracelet back around his wrist, his eyes never leaving Servalan's as she headed closer. Those eyes were the only signs of life in his face as he crouched over the body of his dead lover, staring into infinity as Servalan circled behind him. Cold steel brushed his cheek. He leant into the caress as her hand followed the path of the gun. The blood ­red fingernails cupped his face once more, then headed down to trail delicately around his neck, then around the nape to the other side. He turned his head to follow he as she came around his other side.


"I'm going to send your friends a corpse." Her voice was quietly triumphant as she smiled, savoring her power over the unresisting man before her. "Tell them to bring you up."


Avon struck the communicator on his bracelet with the flat of one hand. "Liberator."


She drew back a step and met his eyes as he stared unwaver­ingly at her.


"Bring me..." As he was about to complete the command, she fired. For a moment he remained upright, as if the shot had had no effect. His eyes flickered sideways, and an ironic smile formed on his face as he accordioned slowly to the floor. A sound behind her caught her attention and she began to turn, then col­lapsed across Avon in an obscene sprawl, caught by the blast of a Liberator gun.


Vila stared at the gun still clasped tightly in his hands, then at the woman sprawled before him, as if he couldn't quite believe what he had just done. Cally rushed over to Avon, check­ing for signs of life, careful first to pry the gun out or Serva­lan's hand.


"How is he, Cally?" Tarrant asked in a voice so gentle it was hard to believe it was his. She shook her head. "Whatever triggered the transmitter was not quick enough." She glanced from one to the other of the women sprawled on the cellar floor. "At least he has fitting companions for his death."


"So, Avon, you win after all." Servalan's voice was barely audible as she made the effort to speak. She was oblivious to the others, oblivious to the open and fixed pupils of the man beneath her. "You got what you wanted--everything you wanted." Cally whirled and shot the woman again. "Now you WILL die alone and silent." She shoved the corpse roughly off that of her friend. "Tarrant, Vila--help me with him."


"But Cally..."

"He deserves better than to be left here with those creatures; fitting companions though they were for his death."

In a final show of respect for their dead crewmate, they hoisted his body between them.


"Liberator. Teleport now."