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Me, a spy?

  • Oct. 10th, 2008 at 3:32 PM

From theatrical_muse: Would you make a good spy?

I don't think so. Thing is, I'm a bit too honest. You might think that's an odd thing for a thief to say, but I've always been hopeless at telling lies, mainly because everything I think and feel shows on my face, so I gave up as a bad job early on. I could do you a few security breaches and safe-crackings though, usual rates.

I know a bloke once who said he'd applied for the Secret Intelligence Service (and no, it's not for those who keep their intelligence well hidden, thank you Avon) also known as Grassers Anonymous. They told him he'd spend most of his time checking and filing data and would have to call himself a government clerk (no impressing people at school reunions or wearing long black coats and a mysterious expression, then). Besides, he said, they only offered retirement or death, deciding you'd like a change of career not being an option. So he said no. Last I heard, he was flying a pursuit ship for Space Fleet which was giving him the adrenaline fix he liked.

Me, I prefer my adrenaline with some soma in a glass, thanks. So I think your answer's no.

The first thing I remember

  • Sep. 14th, 2008 at 9:21 PM

From theatrical_muse: What's the first thing you remember?

My mum making toast.

She was standing at the bench, humming to herself, long gold-blonde hair falling forward to hide her face. I sat there in the warm kitchen, swinging my little legs happily as I savoured the wonderful smell.

"Toast," Mum, said to me, smiling. "Hot toast for me and my little man." She picked me up, swung me towards the ceiling, then hugged me tightly before putting me on her hip. She picked up the slice of thick brown toast. "One bite for me," she took a little nibble, "and one for you."

I grinned at her and bit into it. "Mmm, yum."

She kissed me, tasting all warm and nutty and buttery like the toast.

It makes me smile to remember it, and it hurts too because I wish I could go back to that time and recapture that whole feeling of being safe and loved and happy. My mum died when I was on CF1 (that's Correction Facility 1) when I was 15. I got back to Earth too late. I never said goodbye, but she knew I loved her as much as she did me.

Toast is still my favourite comfort food.

I do have 'em, you know!

  • Aug. 4th, 2008 at 6:19 PM

From theatrical_muse: What principles are sacrosanct in your opinion?

Never steal anything from anyone who can't afford to lose it. Banks, corporations, rich bastards though? It's open season on that lot.

Don't piss in your own tent. In other words, don't nick stuff from people you know. Well, unless it's Avon and you're teasing him.

Never take anything personal. Even if it's a rich bastard. You never know, they might have feelings.

Never grass on your mates. Exception granted for torture or mind draining and wiping.

Never leave your mates in the lurch. Even if you think they'd do the same to you. Many's the time I thought about it, but I knew I'd feel bad about myself if I did. Sometimes I wish I had though.

Assume everyone's out to get you. Because they are.

And my old favourite: live forever--or die trying. :-)

Perfect birthday

  • Jul. 4th, 2008 at 6:40 PM

From theatrical_muse: If anything were possible, what would be your perfect way to celebrate your birthday?

At 110 with wine and my woman, of course!

Oh, all right. I suppose must of all I'd like to be alive. Oh, and free too. Anything else is a bonus, but since you're asking, I'll go for a slap-up dinner with my friends accompanied by some decent plonk. Wine, mates, food, a good party, and someone who loves me to spend the night with--and the rest of my life for that matter. My very long life, that is. Look, you did say "perfect".

And since I'd have all that, gifts would be an extra. I'd be happy with anything because I haven't had enough presents in my life for it not to be a novelty that someone would want to give me any. Mind you, I'd be careful opening Avon's.

It's true!

  • Jun. 30th, 2008 at 2:01 PM

First one I got, too!

red fur is love
brought to you by the isLove Generator


  • Jun. 20th, 2008 at 1:53 PM
faint smile

From theatrical_muse: utopia

You what? No such place, mate. Me. I'd settle for somewhere quiet with good pubs and friendly people in them. And you know what? That means the closest I've come to it is the Delta levels on Earth. Sad indictment on the universe, that is.

Besides, shouldn't that be spelled 'eutopia'? I mean, words that mean something good start like that, like euphony and euphoria and euphemism and eunuch (no, not that one!) and eulogy (means good words itself, and me, I'd rather live a very long time and have bad ones at my send-off). Wait, I'll look it up. Nah, it’s spelled right, and I was right too, first time. It means 'no such place', not 'good place'.

Might've known.

Black and white, but mostly black

  • May. 20th, 2008 at 11:31 PM
black blue

From theatrical_muse: black and white.

Ha! I bet you're think I'm going to write about morality or skin colour, though people are usually brown and beige come to that. Actually the first image that springs to mind is Avon's clothes. Always fancied the old black and white, he has (or black and silver) and if I remember right, he even started out in shades of grey. I still have a bit of a snigger when I remember that sailor suit. Actually the grey wasn't bad, but I think all that black leather got to him in the end. I mean, some clothes wear you, don't they? Especially with all those studs and thigh boots. Had to live up to them, didn't he? I'm just surprised he never got one of those spiked dog collars; he needed one to worn people off, especially after we lost Cally and the Liberator.

I suppose it's a sign of hope that there's always a bit of white or silver in all that black though. You know what though? Never thought I'd say it, but I miss the old red lobster suit.

Three things I'm looking forward to

  • Apr. 14th, 2008 at 10:50 PM

From theatrical_muse: Name three things that you're looking forward to in the near future and why.

Three things?

Well, first up is my dinner, and why? Because I'm getting a bit peckish of course, and because my watch on the flight deck'll be over, and because the others will be there and I can have a nice chat. I like a bit of conversation with my food. And vice versa for that matter.

A game of chess with Avon. It's accompanied by insults, but funny thing--they're never about my game and I win often enough to make us fairly evenly matched. I'm not bad at chess either.

Avon's face when he finds out that some of his proddy tools are actually made of rubber painted to look like metal. Ah, Avon's a great source of amusement. He reacts so well.

Teleports through time

  • Apr. 2nd, 2008 at 7:08 PM

From theatrical_muse: Sleeping on the couch

Let me tell you, the worst thing about shipboard life is night watch, especially for a sociable fellow like me.. Eight hours that stretch into the far distance like a dry and wide desert (just like most of the planets we visit in fact), and about as hard to cross.

I've tried talking to myself (a bit predictable really); pacing the deck as Rebel Captain Restal, hero of the space ways; getting Zen to display viscasts from local systems; playing chess against myself (too evenly matched), but nothing quite fills the silence and emptiness. The hours crawl. Funny, really, when they rush by if you're on a bank job or one of Blake's lunatic missions.
So I feel justified in resorting to naps. They're like teleports through time: make yourself comfortable on the flight-deck couch and close your eyes, and suddenly you're a couple of hours in the future. It's not that risky either: I've had plenty of practice sleeping lightly in prison, and besides, I ask Zen to warn me of any danger, no matter how small, after all, I have a healthy sense of self-preservation. And you know, I think he likes being in charge for a while.

And now it's time for a snooze on the old white leather. Tired me out, writing all that.


  • Feb. 25th, 2008 at 11:06 PM

From theatrical_muse: Headlines

One of the consolations for getting caught, headlines are. Well, all right, the only one. See, if I never got arrested, I'd've been well known only to assorted fences and cracksmen, but a headline like "MASTER THIEF RESTAL NABBED" almost makes it worthwhile. I collected them: "TOP SAFE MAN CAUGHT" (not that it was a particularly safe life, mind), "JEWEL THIEF SENT TO CF1", "ART GALLERIES SAFE: RESTAL IN CUSTODY (bit wordy, the old Londondome Crier, or the Londondrone Weeper as we called it), and "RESTAL EXILED". Very pithy that last one.

Funny thing though: you only get your name in print as a thief when you're nicked or sent down, but turn rebel and it's always up in caps. "RESTAL LEAVES SIGNATURE" (well, I like to scratch my initials on the hard ones), "ACE RESTAL" (a favourite one, that, from the Lindor Times, after I told Tyce I'd got Zen to put well over the minimum 25 little pursuit ships on the side of the Liberator), but the best one of all is "RESTAL STILL AT LARGE".

And long may it remain so.


  • Feb. 2nd, 2008 at 8:31 AM

From theatrical_muse: Have you ever seduced someone or has anyone ever seduced you?

I've flirted with people--it's a game I never expect to win--but I've never seriously tried to seduce anyone. See, my self-esteem isn't that healthy anyway, so I prefer not to be the one who makes the move. Just setting yourself up for rejection there.So I just flirt in a joking way in the faint hope that someone may actually show a spark of interest.

As for being seduced, yes!

Masha was the first. It was after a successful job we were both on, and she was so hyped up and excited and impressed with my safe-cracking, she wanted me. And why not? She was beautiful—tiny and lively with long shining straight blonde hair—and she had a wild reputation so I was both flattered and terrified. Only lasted three months in the end--when the novelty went, so did she. I don't think I was as upset as people expected me to be, it was nice to get my independence back, do what I wanted without always thinking about what Masha wanted. Besides, we hadn’t been friends, not what I call friends, someone you could tell anything to, someone who was just happy to be with you and not do anything.

Same with the other girls, both of them, Sal—great sense of humour, Sal--and Klivia, bright girl, but ambitious, wanted to be—and have—a somebody. Nice enough while it lasted, but no tragedy when it ended. Never meant anything, see, not like with Serrin and Doty next door to my mum, skinny little Serrin and big plump Doty who loved each other so much they couldn’t live without each other. Mind you, it'd be frightening to care that much.

And then there was Kerril. She made the move of course. I thought it was because we were about to die, and me the only bloke on the planet and all that, but she said she loved me. Not enough, mind you--she loved her big dream of going back to nature on a new untouched world and living the simple life more than me. She chose it without even thinking, then thought about asking me. Sometimes I regret not going (well, Bayban had a bloody great laser cannon on me at the time) but it's just as well. Not cut out for the pioneer life, me, and I’d have had to live up to what she’d already seen of me, doing what I do best. I'd rather miss her than to see her stop loving me.

Not settling for less next time though.

They can stay well away from me

  • Jan. 26th, 2008 at 1:15 PM

From theatrical_muse: Old acquaintance

I think I'm about the only one who hasn't run across an old friend or acquaintance since I left Earth. No, I tell a lie, there was poor old Gan too. And you know what, I'm relieved. I mean, look at how it's gone for the others. Avon's 'old friends' all tried to turn him in, kill him, or cheat him. No wonder he stopped trusting people, even me who'd only ever do the last and only in a game. Cally's meeting with an insane old god and her sister (not at the same time I might add) didn't go well in either case, Jenna's old pirate mate collared us--literally. I'd rather not think about the time we had to rescue Blake's cousin from Travis and his crimmos, and Tarrant apparently once knew that nutter Bayban the Butcher (well, he would be if he was compared to Tarrant, wouldn't he?). As for running into Blake again, I still have nightmares about that.

So on the whole, I'd rather not have any, thanks.

What am I afraid of?

  • Dec. 28th, 2007 at 11:19 AM

From theatrical_muse: What are you afraid of?

Hahaha, you've come to the right person here. Let me give you a list.

  • might as well get the big ones out of the way first: death
  • pain
  • work
  • being shot at by people I haven't even met (so impolite!)
  • being alone
  • catching a disease (you wouldn't believe how many showers and vitamins I took after that Fosforon business)
  • looking stupid, and yes, you'd think I'd be used to that
  • carnivorous plants with designs on my body
  • Avon, sometimes
  • bent mutters in black leather in general (that covers several)
  • the dark--I like to see what I'm afraid of
  • missions; I mean, they always go wrong at some point
  • sharks
  • spiders bigger than me
  • Orac (go on, look at the little plastic bastard's record. I'm beginning to think he's playing for the opposition)
  • plasma bolts
  • wolf snakes
  • airlocks
  • Tarsian warg-stranglers
  • balloons that have mostly gone down--look, touching them just gives me the creeps!
  • food with fur, especially green
Right, I think that's enough to be getting on with!


  • Dec. 26th, 2007 at 10:24 PM

From theatrical_muse: What do you live for?

Eh? Well, it beats the alternative! Seriously, what sort of a question is that? You mean what's the point? Lots of things!

I'm at the top of my profession, I'm fairly well known, he says modestly, and thanks to the Federation's policy of not turning naughty rebels into poster boys and girls, I can go anywhere without being recognised. Not very well thought out, that one, Servie old thing. And then there's the small things in life, like cheesy toast, a good hot vege vindaloo, a nice drop of vintage wine (anything older than a week'll do it), hot cocoa before bed, adrenaline and soma to calm the nerves after a space battle, fast stardives and strong forcewalls, safes with challenging locks, a cup of tea and a nice sit down...

And you know, when things are going badly, a good sleep, which I'm sure Avon would tell you reorganises and defrags the brain, usually makes things look a bit better in the morning. Or what passes for one in space.


  • Nov. 14th, 2007 at 5:11 PM

From theatrical_muse: If life's a game who do you think is winning?

"Well, not me" is my immediate reaction.

Mind you, I don't think anyone does for long. I mean, look at Servalan--and why not? She's a sight for sore eyes if she's not actually trying to kill you. Once supreme commander then president of the Federation (and all those other titles she probably made up) and now a minor commissioner in one of the more unfashionable sectors (and I know because we lived there on Xenon, raising the tone considerably) and having to kill of anyone who remembers her in her glory is a bit of a come down. Blake certainly didn't win. Now I think of it, just about everyone we've met in the last few years came to a bad end and we almost did too.

I remember when the Pyroans blew up their planet, Cally thought they were the only ones who won that particular little stuff-up. I said at the time that if that was winning, I'd take losing, and you know what? Being around and not in prison or in front of a firing squad feels pretty close to winning to me.

Anyway, depends on what you call a winner. If it's the rich bastards with all their things, or the guys who give the orders, then I'm a loser. But I'm here on this ship with Kerril and my friends and that feels all right to me.


  • Oct. 12th, 2007 at 11:18 PM

From theatrical_muse: If you could have any mutant/super power, which one would it be?

Ah yes. We had a discussion about that once, after watching one of those take-your-mind-off-the state-of-the state vids that Blake calls opiate for the masses...

PowersCollapse )

Heroes and villains

  • Sep. 15th, 2007 at 4:31 PM
faint smile

From theatrical_muse: What makes someone a hero? What makes someone a villain?

Um, hard to tell. I mean, Blake once said we were the good guys which was a bit worrying considering our criminal records and general bloody-mindedness. It's all relative, isn't it?

To the Federation, we're rebels and outlaws and terrorists, but to us, they're oppressive bastards who like to mess about with your mind, exile, kill, or sell you into slavery if you or even a relative steps out of line. But then you meet people who think that's all right because it makes for an orderly galaxy with the transporters running on time and all that. And then there are those who think we're some sort of romantic and brave heroes of the revolution which is almost funny when you know what a bunch of in-fighting bad-tempered, trapped by circs, space-going bastards we are.

Take Servalan too, and I don't mean it the way that Space Fleet song "Serving under Servalan does; far too dangerous. A lot of people think she's the best military commander since Genghis Khan and is all that stands between proper society and chaos. We know her a bit better. She's a cold-blooded snake who'd bite anyone who crosses her, and as beautiful.

Anyway, a hero is someone on your side who's not too incompetent, and a villain's against you. Easy.

Just in case

  • Sep. 14th, 2007 at 6:12 PM

Thought I'd have a go at this just in case I decided to go in for something a bit more legal. I mean you never know.

1. Go to this this site.
2. Put in Username: nycareers, Password: landmark.
3. Take their "Career Matchmaker" questions.
4. Post the top fifteen results.

1. Optical / Ophthalmic Lab Technician
2. Special Effects Technician
3. Electrician
4. Jeweller
5. Dental Lab Tech
6. Electronics Assembler
7. Actor
8. Office Machine Repairer
9. Electronics Engineering Tech
10. Electrical Engineering Tech
11. Magician
12. Musical Instrument Builder and Repairer
13. Upholsterer
14. Comedian
15. Composer

Eh? A third are techs! Must be all the time I've spent helping Avon while annoying the hell out of him. Nah, if I ever decide to go straight, I'd pick 4, 7, 11, or 14.

Upholsterer? Dunno about that, but I'll test the products out if they like. :-) I'm a bit disappointed publican's not in there though.


  • Aug. 19th, 2007 at 3:41 PM

From theatrical_muse: Where do you see yourself in twenty years?

Alive would be nice.

Certainly not being chased about the galaxy anyway. I mean, either this rebellion succeeds (unlikely) or I retire from the profession (more likely every day, frankly). Let's see, I'd be about 55, and I'd hope I was settled down somewhere safe and warm by then, on some planet with good weather, palm trees. scantily-clad women (and me) on the beaches, and a distinct lack of storm troopers with a predilection for shooting at me. I rather fancy running a bar actually. Maybe one by the sea that serves cocktails with fruit and coloured paper umbrellas in them: tourists are usually a happy lot.
I'd keep my hand in, mind you (in the occasional rich bastard's safe, I mean) but not too close to home. Don't want to piss in my own tent as Blake used to say.

It would be nice to have someone to come home to as well, but I'll be happy with being safe--and cracking a few.

Relief rules

  • Aug. 6th, 2007 at 5:49 PM

From theatrical_muse: Which is the more exquisite sensation: revenge, relief, or vindication?

Well, this one's easy!

I've never been much for revenge. Don't really see the point. It just causes more of the same, you see. People revenge themselves on you for the revenge you took on them and so on and so forth, and before you know where you are, you've got a family feud or a series of wars that run for centuries. I'm not saying to turn your cheek so the fist can slam into the other one, mind you. It's best just to laugh it off right then like I do, with a smart remark, a practical joke like bolting all their furniture to the ceiling of their cabin, or a few strong drinks to dull the pain if it's too dangerous to do either. Sitting on it, then serving them a stale meal they won't swallow just isn't worth it.

You'll probably live longer too. And that can't be bad.

Vindication usually means I was right about something nasty happening (I can always sense danger, you know) and I can't say it brings me much pleasure. Saying "I told you so" is another good way to shorten your life for that matter, especially around Avon.

Why would anyone pick anything but relief? I mean, relief feels good! I just wish it happened more often.


  • Jul. 13th, 2007 at 10:33 PM

From theatrical_muse: Religion

Well, religion's banned on all Federated worlds, you know, but they can't stop you believing in what you like. Well, they can actually if they muck about with your mind, but with me it never took.

They let us Deltas have our Festival of Light at the end of the year though because it keeps us happy. First you light a candle every night for eight days from a special candle called the servant (fair enough, Deltas are service grades, not that I ever went along with that) and eat good food and play games. After that, for the last four of the Twelve Days, we have lights blazing everywhere and markets and hot food stalls, and people give each other presents, and forget their worries and laugh. It's a good time and it's one of the few things I miss about Earth.

Underneath it all, where the authorites can't see it though, there are old stories about a lamp burning for longer than it should have in a temple, and freedom from oppression, and a baby being born who grew up into someone who said everyone was equal. He got killed for it--well, you could see that one coming, couldn't you?--but you know, there was a thief there with him too who was promised a place in paradise. I like that. A man can hope.

For me? Really?

  • Jun. 17th, 2007 at 2:37 PM

From theatrical_muse: You've just won an award! What would it be and why?

Best thief in the galaxy of course! After all, they said Central Control was impregnable (sounds like it had a chastity belt on) but I got through that lock in a minute flat. A doddle if you don't count having to run through a minefield first which almost did me ticker in. Not that I boast about it a lot, even if it was an act of dazzling brilliance, because it was there that me old mate Gan died, holding a blown-up (blown-down, really) door up so we could escape.

I still miss him.

Then there was the force field on Kezarn that I cracked and found a new world for a whole race of people. "Brave and clever" old Norl said I was, and it's not often I've heard those words used about me. Not that I like to think about that time all that often, even if I'm a planetary hero to those weirdoes, because then I think of Kerril who said she loved me but loved a new life more or she'd've stayed with me. wouldn't she? Mind you, if she had, she'd've found out I wasn't a hero at all but just the comic relief on and token Delta, though not as fast as she would've if I'd gone with her. Not your tough sinewy pioneer type, me.

I still wouldn't say no to a nice award though, preferably something stolen and exchangeable for cash.

Another meme

  • Jun. 6th, 2007 at 7:18 PM

So, vila_restal, your LiveJournal reveals...

You are... 2% unique
(blame, for example, your interest in adrenaline and soma)
and 12% herdlike
(partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy writing).
When it comes to friends you are normal. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are wary of trusting strangers.

Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is conventional.

Your overall weirdness is: 33

(The average level of weirdness is: 27.
You are weirder than 72% of other LJers.)

Find out what your weirdness level is!

What do they mean? I'm 100% unique!


  • May. 20th, 2007 at 6:21 PM

From theatrical_muse: Mummy

This is what my mum told me once.

I was too young to have a baby. I was only eighteen, no more than a child myself. It wasn't fair. It was probably the same for my mother - she left me outside an orphanage at only a week old, and I never blamed her. You have to make your own way in this world.

"Do you want to see your baby?" the nurse asked. She held out a little bundle.

I shrugged. It wouldn't make much difference. I wasn't keeping it. The nurse laid it in my arms and I frowned at the tiny face. Wide eyes looked back at me and a small fist opened and closed. I caught my breath and touched the perfect little fingers, then the button of a nose. The mouth opened in a smile.

"What are you going to call him?"

I knew she was lost. "Vila," I said shyly, and smiled.
She used to say I stole hearts from the beginning, but I've really only managed it twice: my mum and Kerril.

Painting meme thingy

  • May. 13th, 2007 at 3:05 PM

Here you go: a painting to match my personality, apparently.

Click here to create your own painting.

by Vila Restal aged 3[3] :-P

Daemonic memey fun

  • Apr. 26th, 2007 at 7:43 PM

Apparently this is based on a book I haven't read, but my daemon is a female whippet called Lysandra. I think if you disagree about my personality, it changes.

See my animalCollapse )

Not handy with guns

  • Apr. 15th, 2007 at 6:32 PM

From theatrical_muse: Would you ever kill a human being?

Not face-to-face. I couldn't bring myself to. I mean, I'd see the life going out of them, and probably for the rest of mine.

That aside, I'm not sure how many people (and mutoids) I've killed using the Liberator's neutron blasters, and I don't much like thinking about it either. I always thought of pursuit ships as targets and I'd like it to stay that way.

Soolin said that was illogical and that if I didn't learn to shoot people at point blank range, I'd probably die that way (and I almost did, come to think of it, down there on Gauda Prime though the unsporting bastards got me from behind). In the end she gave me a lot of stun clips and said I could practise with those, and I did. On Mecron, I dropped the last trooper in a pack of them running by, though even then I shut my eyes when I pulled the trigger. The fellow had crawled off by the time I'd rescued the others (with the help of poor Gambit) so I didn't have any evidence to show her how well I'd done.

She still says that taking them down with the whites of their eyes showing is the best adrenaline rush you can get, but give me a glass of month-old red any day.

Doing time

  • Apr. 15th, 2007 at 5:58 PM

From theatrical_muse: Time

Time, eh? Well, whether you call it time or porridge or hard or jug, or even 'the penal experience' like that litererery (never know when to stop with that word) classics character Tony Soprano, it's all the same: you got nicked.

Jugs I have known include:

  • the JD wards / juvie / Juvenile Detention Wards - called wards because they try to reprogram you into a nice brainless little citizen who'll never had a thought of their own again.

  • CF1 in other words Correctional Facility One, a planet where they send first-time offenders and white collar crims who steal from the doubtful comfort of a cramped office cubicle. Lots of petties and embezzlers, and not a bad place because it's only for a few years and you get a bit of an education, the official courses and various others they might not know about. I officially did metal work and jewellery making, and off the record also taught an after-hours class in lock-picking even though I was only 14, plus learned how to fly a spaceship from some manuals I found in the library. I have fond memories of CF1, despite the female Space Rats who tried to adopt me as a mascot. I was on the escape committee and ended up breaking us out and nicking a supply ship which was all good for the CV.

  • Cygnus Alpha. I didn't get to see much of that, but what I did put me right off being caught again. Nasty place full of religious nutters, thugs, and bad architecture. It made being a rebel an attractive career choice.
Ha! Now I think of it, I suppose penal colonies count as time travel.

Bozhe moi!

  • Feb. 9th, 2007 at 7:26 AM

Which trouser role would I play in opera?Collapse )

Endless? I've only got about six.

Old Avon

  • Feb. 6th, 2007 at 1:12 PM

I'm finding it really hard to answer these things lately because they're so uninspiring, but apparently I have to do one in four or be kicked out. This one's not too bad, so here you go.

From theatrical_muse: I never thought I'd say this, but..

I miss Avon.

The one I knew back in the Blake days, I mean. We used to insult each other and I think some of the others didn't get it, but I could see the look of amusement in his eyes. If we really didn't like each other, I wouldn't have spent all that time playing chess with him, or helping (and annoying) him while he worked on his gadgets, or just sitting with him on the flight deck during the quiet times. Say what you like, we understood each other. All right, he was an Alpha and went to university and all that, but we had a lot in common: both thieves (though he preferred the term 'embezzler'), both not natural rebels and revolutionaries, both there because we liked Blake and maybe just a bit, underneath all the cynicism, we thought he might stand for something worthwhile.

All changed after he left, didn't it? First it was like he didn't want to admit he was friends with the rank and file like me, maybe because it'd undermine him with Tarrant and Dayna, and after we lost the Liberator, well, it wasn't the Avon I knew at all. No humour, no secret warmth in his eyes, no give and take.

I'm glad I don't know that Avon any more, but I still miss the old one.