Nico (vilakins) wrote,
Nico
vilakins

Ficlet: Rumours of Death Watch

For the recent episode mix-and-match challenge on b7friday. I liked the title combination, but I wasn't sure where it was going till I started writing.

Rumours of Death Watch

"Servalan's a logical choice," said Tarrant. "After all, the Federation borders on both systems."

"Yes. Precisely." Avon got up and went over to his station.

"This looks like one of the champions," Vila said through a mouthful of cheesy twists. "Let's hear it for the woman!"

On screen, Servalan was saying, "Sula Bartolomew, combatant for the United Planets of Teal, will you abide by the Convention?"

"I will," said the slight, fair woman in the grey jumpsuit.

Avon looked up, his face pale with shock. He walked towards the screen as if mesmerised.

"Oi, you're blocking our view!" Vila paused, frowning. "You seen her before?"

"Oh, yes." Avon turned and walked out.

***

"Hello, Anna. Or whatever name you're going by now."

"Avon!" She jumped up from her chair, her eyes wide. "How did you get here?"

"Teleport. Then Max let me in. I said I knew you." Avon smiled without warmth. "Obviously a lie."

She watched him warily.

"Rumours of your death seem to have been slightly exaggerated."

"It was part of the deal."

"Oh, I can imagine. Sula."

"A change of name was politic. Being connected to a well-known criminal--and a mercenary brother--was rather a handicap."

"Not a very recent change though. Shrinker," said Avon very softly," told me about Bartolomew."

Anna's hand shot to her hip, then her face twisted in frustration.

"Oh, you're fast. Pity you're not armed until the combat." Avon nodded coolly. "Your opponent may however be faster. I'd wish you luck but I'm not sure that I do." He lifted his bracelet to speak into it.

"But I didn't tell you--" Anna sighed as he was outlined briefly in light and disappeared, "--what the deal was."

***

"Where've you been?" asked Vila.

"Visiting a sick friend."

"Eh?" Vila examined this statement, and failing to detect a Vila-related insult, shrugged and went on. "Bartolomew's got nice form if you know what I mean, but I've got my money on that Vinni. Orac did a search on him and he's unbeaten. Said he had inhumanly fast reflexes."

Avon stopped still. "Did he?" He raised his eyebrows. "Well, now. Orac is usually very precise."

"Hey, where're you off to now?"

"To see a man about a robot."

***

"I'm from the manufacturer of your android," Avon said to Vinni's second, holding a conspiratorial finger to his lips, "I have a small modification that should improve its performance."

***

"Bloody hell!" said Vila, almost spilling his drink. The after-image of the explosion faded to show a dazed-looking Anna, still blinking from the searing light. "Nothing left of him. What the hell did she have that gun loaded with?"

"If I didn't know any better," said Dayna, "I'd say one of the new charges I'm working on took him out."

"Very perspicacious of you, Dayna." Avon leaned back on the couch looking very pleased with himself. "It was obvious that Servalan set the Vandor Confederacy up with an android so when the Teal champion was killed, she could call for a medical examination and all hell would break loose. She already has a fleet waiting to mop up. However she now has no evidence."

Vila handed Tarrant his winnings (several hundred Teal thalers, amusingly coloured teal as well, but not negotiable in most of the galaxy) with outward regret. "Well, aren't you the clever clogs?"

"Not always," Avon said obscurely.

"Where're you going now?"

"To make someone an offer."

***

"I turned you in."

"I know."

"Then what are you doing here?"

"I wanted to find out what sort of hold Servalan had over you that made you her willing puppet and wolf to the slaughter."

"Ah." Anna smiled for the first time. "A life for a life. Yours for mine. I lasted longer than I thought I would."

Avon held out a teleport bracelet. "Care for another career change?"

"Even though I betrayed you?"

Avon smiled back. "Nobody's perfect."
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