Fandom: Blake's 7
Characters: Vila, Avon, Travis, Servalan
Length: ~1300 words
A Matter of Time
"Really? It does that? How much?"
"For you, 100 credits."
"Hmm." Vila feigned doubt. "How old?"
"About ten to twelve years."
"I dunno. Why would anyone even want to do that?"
The stall-holder smiled ingratiatingly. "Of course it's a great party trick, sir, but a lot of people buy it for themselves. A wonderful way of relaxing, they say."
"I can think of a lot better."
"It can also make you appreciate things more."
"Don't need much help at that." Vila sauntered along, picking up and discarding other devices of mysterious function. "Fifty," he said at last.
"Nope. Too much." Vila turned to go.
"Seventy!" said the vendor, and Vila kept on walking. "Sixty!" she yelled.
Vila stopped and looked back. "Done."
"Daylight robbery," the woman grumbled as she took his money.
"No," said Vila and gave her a sudden grin. "Not even close."
He had the thing in his pocket when Travis leaped out on Avon and bore him to the ground. Uncertainly, Vila wove his Liberator gun around, unable to get a clear shot at Travis as they wrestled, then remembered the device. He pulled it out and triumphantly fired it; after all, it didn't matter if it hit Avon too.
And it obviously did. Travis, his arm pulled back to get a bead on Avon with his lazeron destroyer, stopped and looked disoriented.
"Get off me, you great oaf!" said Avon, pushing him away. "You're making me all dirty."
"Sorry." Travis got to his feet. "Anyway, that taught you."
"Taught me what, exactly? That gravity exerts a certain pull?" Avon brushed himself down resentfully. "I suspect you had nothing more interesting in your tiny brain than most bullies."
Travis pushed his lower lip out. "You think you're so smart, don't you."
"I know I am."
Vila wasn't surprised that Travis took a wild swing at Avon; that smug tone of voice was extraordinarily annoying.
"Avon? Vila?" Cally's voice came from his bracelet. "We're back on station. Do you need--"
"Teleport!" yelled Vila.
"Where'd he go? He just disappeared." Travis was still looking about puzzled when Servalan found him.
"You've lost them again?" she asked in disgust.
"Lost what?" Travis blinked (or more accurately, winked) at her. "Who are you?"
"Oh, Travis. I do hope that whatever they've done to you is temporary. Because if not, I shall regret taking you with me." Servalan turned her back. "Come along."
"Wait!" But Travis found to his surprised that he had no problems keeping up. He looked down at his long, long legs in their so very grown-up looking leather. "I'm tall!" he said to himself with delight.
And when he caught sight of himself in the full-length mirror on the spaceship (spaceship!) she led him to, he stopped and stared, overcome with joy. "Cool! I grew up to be a pirate!" He turned to Servalan. "D'you know why pirates wore eye patches back in the old days? It wasn't because they only had one eye, you know. It was so when they boarded a ship and went down in the dark hold, they could take it off and see properly." He peeled his away, and his face fell. "Oh."
Servalan leaned against the bulkhead and smiled, not entirely nicely, he thought.
"My mum always said it was all fun and games till someone had an eye out," he said mournfully, then brightened. "I must've been having a lot of fun."
"Oh, I'm sure you were."
Travis put his eye patch back to hide the rather scary-looking expense of skin where his other eye should have been, and peeled off a leather glove. The other one seemed not to want to come however and he tugged crossly at it.
"That, Travis, is permanent. It hides the artificial hand."
"Really?" Travis pulled his sleeve up and tapped his cold and unyielding limb. "Mega-cool! I've got a cyber arm! What does it do?" He aimed it experimentally at the opposite bulkhead. "Pew, pew, pew!"
Servalan grabbed his hand hastily and removed the energy crystal. "I'll just have that for the moment," she said smoothly. "You wouldn't want to scratch it, would you."
Her mouth tightened. "Supreme commander."
"So I'm not a pirate?"
"You're a space commander."
Travis cheered up. "That's pretty good, isn't it?"
"Why, yes, it is. And if you behave, it will stay that way." Servalan considered her options. These things never lasted longer than three or four hours. The best thing to do was to distract him until it wore off. "If you ask one of the mutoids, they'll put a vid on for you to watch and if you're very lucky, make you a nice hot cocoa."
"Interesting!" said Avon as they appeared in the Liberator teleport bay. "We're suddenly somewhere else. How?"
"Dunno. It's teleport. You said it used the quantum properties of the brain or something."
"Did I?" Avon tilted his head. "Perhaps I did. I'm the same height as you so I have to assume I'm an adult too and that I've lost my memory."
Cally came out from behind the teleport controls, concerned. "What's happened to him?"
"It would have to be a brain injury," Avon went on. "I don't remember either of you." He looked suddenly so uncertain that Vila felt sorry for him.
"No, it was me. I used a de-ager on you."
"Why?" Avon screwed up his face. "Is that supposed to be funny?"
"Well... it was when I bought the thing, but it was all I could think of using when Travis was about to shoot you."
"So you hit Travis too?" Cally suddenly grinned. "I'd give a lot to see how Servalan's coping with that."
"I wish," said Avon," that you lot would tell me what's going on and who you are."
"So I'm a freedom fighter on the most powerful spaceship in the galaxy?" Avon gave Vila a suspicious look. "That doesn't seem very likely."
On the whole, Vila was glad that Cally had suggested not letting Blake see Avon until the effects wore off--for Vila's own good, she had pointed out--and they were now in Vila's cabin which after all had the best security. "And one of the top computer experts in the Federation!" he pointed out.
"That's more like it." Avon frowned. "But only one of them?"
"Well, there was the bloke that caught you."
"Caught me doing what?"
"Um." Vila was unsure how child-Avon would like being a criminal. "Logging on to computers that weren't yours?"
"Oh!" Avon's face cleared. "Hackings always lots of fun. That and the chess club."
"I was in one too." Vila got out the board and started setting it up.
"CF1. Learned the game from the other inmates."
"Well, it was a boarding school." Vila pulled a second chair up to the table. "Want a game?"
Avon grinned. "Do I!"
"And maybe some ice cream?"
"You've just defined perfection!"
Avon was a very grown-up child, Vila thought, as he got out some double-chocolate-and-caramel. Not that different from the usual Avon, what with all the logic, except for not being so cynical and snarky. He shuddered to think how much those particular traits would come to the fore when Avon got his memory back. "Extra chocolate sauce and nut sprinkles?"
"It was that bastard Restal!" Travis looked up from his mug. "I'll kill him!" He licked the froth moustache off, and paused. He'd forgotten how much he enjoyed hot cocoa. "Get me another one of these. Now."
Avon just glared at Vila.
"Look, I won't say anything if you won't."
Avon considered the three empty bowls of ice-cream. "Well, now. Provided I take possession of the rest of your seemingly illicit supply."
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