Last week's b7friday topic was crossovers. I wrote two:
- The Force, a crossover with Star Wars; set just after Gauda Prime with references to several eps.
- Pleasure, a crossover with Red Dwarf; a missing scene from Shadow.
The surviving members of the Scorpio crew sat silent and defeated in their cell, waiting for transport to Earth. The main prison on Gauda Prime used the clear herculaneum of space ship windows, inset with two-way comms, for the walls facing onto the main corridor so that nothing they did or said could escape the attention of the guards.
So when the old woman walked in wearing long robes and a serene expression, they all noticed. She made an odd circular hand movement to the guards and said, "You don't see me. You don't see anything for half an hour."
"We don't see anything," they both muttered dully.
The woman was about to walk on, but she stopped and looked into their cell, straight at Vila. "Well, well. Why are you still there?"
Vila, who had hardly said a word since their capture, blinked at her. Did she know him? "I don't have any tools."
"Yes, you do. You have the Force, and you've used it before."
Just then, another guard came into the corridor. Vila opened his mouth to warn her, but the old woman pulled a weapon from her belt, turned it on, whirled, and sliced the guard in two, all in one fluid movement, her weapon glowing and thrumming. She flicked it off and began to walk away.
"Wait!" Vila ran to the window and stared; the guard was cleanly cut and there was, he was relieved to see, no blood. "What's that, a laser cutter?"
"You could get us out!"
"I could, but I will have no part in releasing one who has turned to the dark side."
"You mean me? I never robbed anyone who couldn’t afford it, and anyone'd get a bit depressed and turn to booze after--"
"I mean him." She nodded towards Avon.
"Oh, well, Avon was born with a black spoon in his mouth, but--" She was walking away. Damn. Vila turned back to the others. "What're you all looking at?"
"You could always sense danger," Avon said slowly. "And I've never seen anyone so fast on the neutron blasters."
"If that was so, why did you put Dayna on them?" Tarrant demanded.
"Because he used to have nightmares about the people on the ships he blew up. Dayna wasn't quite as good, but she had the killer instinct." Avon turned back to Vila. "Blake--" his face twisted in pain for an instant "--Blake told me you got through a physio-psycho lock on Centero. The confirmation from the computer isn't instantaneous. It comes back at a random time interval. But it didn't foil you, did it?"
Vila swallowed. It was true; he just knew when to stop the signal. And change it to a positive response. He hadn't told Blake that bit.
Avon grabbed Vila and brought his face unnervingly close. "So how about giving it a try? Now."
Vila put his hand on the door lock. As always, he could 'see' the insides, and exactly where to put the pick he didn't have.
"You can do it," Soolin said softly beside him. "I believe in you."
I'm not sure I do, though. Vila tried to imagine he held a pick, but failed. Then he remembered how it was on Centero, and later, on Earth at Central Control. There isn't a lock I can't open if I'm scared enough. He never knew how he did it those times; it was a haze and too fast for him to have really used tools. Maybe the thought of spending the rest of a probably very short life with Avon would galvanise him. Pretend he was trapped on the shuttle with him and there was one way out. He could see the inside of the lock; all he had to do this and this and... it was open.
"Well done, Vila." There was a strange look in Avon's eyes, almost like fear, then it was gone. "Hurry up."
They all piled out as the old woman returned, two other people behind her. She nodded at Vila. "The force is strong in him," she said to her companions.
"Yes, well," said Avon. "It's the only thing that is."
"Vila took his teleport bracelet off, but I've got his location."
"Right." Avon set the coordinates, looking grim. "I'll get him."
Cally bared her teeth. "Tell him I want my present."
Vila was sprawled over a table in the White Hart, with a collection of people more motley than the Liberator's crew, which Avon hadn't thought possible.
"Avon!" Vila grinned and tried to raise his glass. "Good ol' Ave. Meet my friends. This one here--" he burped and flung an arm around the scruffiest specimen"--we're almost anagrams. He's called--" Vila went goggle-eyed with concentration "--Lister! An' it's funny 'cause he..." They both dissolved into giggles.
"Yeah," Lister made it sound more like 'yer'. "We're all listin' to port, see." He pointed to a decanter of the same.
"Speak for yourself, sir," the metallic android behind him said stiffly. "They don't sell machine oil here."
"They'll have some at the port. Ha!" the one with the H on his forehead seemed to think that was witty. He smiled at Avon "Care for some port of this sort?"
Avon shook his head. Undoubtedly they'd bought the cheapest in the place.
"Good to see someone with a modicum of sense." The man stood up, smoothed his tunic, and offered his hand. "Arnold Rimmer."
Wondering whether all their names were examples of nominative determinism, Avon looked at it with distaste. "Kerr Avon."
Lister snorted. "Say it fast and it's Craven!" He and Vila fell against each other, helpless with laughter.
"Yeow, like your threads, man!" The last member of the group got up and pranced around Avon admiringly. "Basic silver and black, nice statement, but a tad conservative. Ever considered a touch of apricot?"
His teeth looked as if they'd been filed to points. Avon took an involuntary step back.
"Or a line of studs down the torso, like a queen's nipples? Nothing says sympathetic and sensitive like male tits. Pulls all the fur."
"Hey, Ave. Wait'll you hear this." Vila said. "Me mate Lister here an' the--"
"Gelfs, yeah!" Lister drained a large mug of ale. "Funny model with plastic heads and no bloody sense of humour at all."
"Bloody! Mutoids!" Vila doubled up with laughter.
"Definitely not pleasure gelfs," Lister said.
"Gelfs?" Avon frowned.
"Genetically engineered life forms, sir," the android said.
"Yes." Avon put his hand on his gun but there were none in sight.
"That woman with the short black hair and the long white dress though, she were a right goer." Lister grinned, and dug his elbow into Vila's side.
Vila banged his hand on the table, almost unable to speak for laughter. "Serv... Serv..."
"Servalot, yeah, that was her name."
Avon stared at Lister and tried to suppress the image in his mind. He attempted to lift Vila to his feet, but he was too limp and drunk to stand. Disgusted, he snapped a bracelet on Vila's wrist and let him drop. "Teleport!"
One day he'd show Servalan some class. With studs on.