Ana - Punch and Circumstance
Blake's 7 in five minutes: Blake formed a band of freedom fighters against the overbearing and tyrannical Federation. During the four years it ran, the crew changed a few times and members died. At the time I've set this, the crew consists of: Avon, Vila, Tarrant, Dayna, and Soolin. Fourth season, natch.

Punch and Circumstance
by Ana Lyssie Cotton

The first time Kerr Avon woke up, it was with a splitting headache and a vague recollection of drinking a glass of 'Christmas punch' as Vila had called it. Punch that had obviously packed more than just fruity alchohol. He winced and tried to ignore the throbbing in his brain. A rustling sound that came way too loud for the pain in his skull alerted him to someone's approach.

"He's awake!" Someone shouted. Dayna Mellenby, his mind recognised vaguely. Dayna whom he had known for a few years. Gorgeous young woman with that chocolate brown skin, and those eyes... Ah, those eyes...

"Well, give him another syringe, then." Impatient, this one. But then, Soolin was always somewhat impatient. Soolin with her blonde hair and quick hands, ready to pull a gun and kill you as soon as say a cordial hello.

As a pinprick slipped into his arm, and something burned into his blood stream, Avon found himself wondering what Vila was doing...

The second time Avon woke up, the headache was gone to be replaced by a gnawing in his gut. Food... The word floated through his mind and tried to connect with something. His normal sardonic personality began reasserting itself a second later and he opened his eyes.

He was laying on the floor of the flight deck on Scorpio. Right next to the teleport alcove. It arched over him in a white gridwork in steel. He paused for a moment to get his bearings then carefully sat up. From his vantage point on the ground, the flight deck was deserted.

Avon passed a hand over his face and rubbed at his eyes, wincing ever so softly. He froze. There was something scratchy on his arm. Something that had just been half-run over his face. Slowly he pulled back his hand and stared. He closed his eyes.

And opened them again. Red. It was red. Lots of it, and a bit of white, and some sort of--there was a fluffy white beard hanging from his face.



Five hours earlier.

"You know, when Blake was around, he would have enjoyed celebrating a holiday like this." Vila Restal noted gloomily. his current companions paid him little to no attention, all engaged in various tasks on the bridge of the planet hopper, Scorpio. Even Slave was ignoring him, engrossed in some navigational chore put to it by Avon. or Del Tarrant, as the case might have been.

"Yes, Blake would have liked this holiday."

"Would he have?" Soolin looked up at him impatiently. She'd reached her limit of Vila-angst. It was time to smite him or get him talking.

"Yes, he would have. Let me tell you something about Blake. He wasn't as snobby as your normal Alpha-grades. he was quite... Generous, in a way." Vila paused, searching. "He was... Almost noble."

"Vila, we've already drunk the last of the wine, so how is it you're sounding drunk?"

"It's not that difficult, Vila always sounds like a fool." Avon interjected from in front of them.

"I didn't ask you." Soolin snapped back, her eyebrow arching in annoyance.

"No, but I'm getting bored. Vila, what is this holiday."

"It's called 'Christmas'." Vila replied with as much dignity as he could muster.

"Oh, Christmas, I remember hearing of that, back when I was at the Academy," Tarrant commented from behind them. He and Dayna were working on the flight console while Soolin and Vila overhauled the communications and Avon, well... What did Avon always do but direct the action? "Still, Vila, if you want to celebrate an antiquated and outdated holiday--"

"I don't see why he shouldn't." Avon interrupted him, smiling sardonically. "After all, forbidden fruit is something we all should have once in a while."

"Oh, I agree." Tarrant replied mockingly.

Vila stifled a snort and reflected on their last adventure. Tarrant had done the unthinkable and felt sympathy for--most likely more than sympathy--their arch-enemy, Servalan. Ol' Servy had killed more people in their lives than the rest of the Federation combined. From Dayna's father to Cally.

Cally. Vila winced a bit, missing the lovely telepath. The explosion that took her life had nearly taken his and Tarrant's as well. It had destroyed Orac for a while. Still, that useless bunch of junk was back in working order, thanks to Avon. nd the Liberator, that most proud and glorious of ships... Gone. Well, they had the Scorpio, now.

Shaking his head, Vila turned back to the monitor.

"Vila, are all the circuits checked out?" Soolin asked.


"Good. Orac?"

"The circuits are within working parameters to 99.999% efficiency." The talking box of lights replied testily.

"Thank you, Orac." Soolin replied dryly. She stood up and stretched, wincing as muscles that had been sitting so long cramped slightly, then released. "That's the lot."

"Dayna, why don't you and Soolin--"

"Why don't I and Soolin go get some rest." Dayna interrupted Tarrant. "That was what you were going to suggest, wasn't it?" She smiled sweetly at him. The sweetness tinged with anger. She'd still not forgiven him for what he'd done.

"Yes, that too."

"And I'll go with them." Vila looked between Avon and Tarrant. I'd rather that than stay here with THEM. Stupid Tarrant.

"You do that, Vila. Try not to drink all the wine." Tarrant huffed out, then shrugged. "Avon, could you bring Orac up here?"

"He already *has* drunk it all." Soolin muttered as she led the way to the airlock. The three stepped through it and out into the docking bay. "Vila, we really need to have a discussion on your consumption rate--"

"I know, Soolin. I'll try to step it up. Since you two lovelies don't want any." He smiled cheekily at them and sauntered down a side corridor.

"Vila, that's not what I meant!"

"I know, I know. You can't keep your hands off of me, drunk, so you're glad-- Look, I'll make some punch, would that work?"

"Vila?" Dayna was watching Soolin's hands which were tensing and sort-of reaching for her blaster. "I really think you should go have a lie down."

"Will you come with me, then?"


"Okay, okay, only joking, making a suggestion." He smiled. "Now, about that Christmas punch..."


Del Tarrant regarded the control panel in front of him with intense concentration. At least, he was hoping it looked like intense concentration. In reality, he was trying not to think of the night before. The night he compromised his own morals and maybe irrevocably wrecked his standing within the group. Dayna would barely speak to him, Soolin seemed indifferent... And Vila and Avon... Well, Vila didn't seem to care. Avon, on the other hand...


"Vila, you're acting very strangely." Sooling noted, snorting as she sniffed the concoction he was stirring.

"Very." Dayna agreed. The two women had followed the strange smell from their quarters into the main living space. The walls were a peach shade, the furniture matching it in beige. A few plants were scattered here and there, providing a nice dash of green in the otherwise warm room.

Vila shrugged and dumped something else into the large punch bowl. "Am I? It's Christmas."

"Christmas." Soolin blinked.

"What IS this Christmas thing, anyway?" Dayna asked.

"It's a holiday--you see, back on Earth, there was this guy, this great guy, and he was a saviour--or something. And, we liked to celebrate his birth by not fighting for one day." Vila shrugged. "At least, that's what us Deltas did."

"Well, why the strange attitude then?"

"Because. It was a time of extreme boredom."

Soolin shook her head, puzzled. "You weren't fighting? That caused boredom?"


"So, you're remembering the boredom and acting it out here?" Dayna shook her head. "Vila, that really is, is..."

"Stupid." Soolin completed for her.


"That's all right. I've gotten past that stage." Vila smiled sweetly. "I'm into the prank stage, now."

"Prank?" Soolin's eyebrow went up.

"Yes. One of the traditions was to prank."

"I take it you enjoyed that." Dayna said. She absently sat down in the chair.

"Oh, yes." Vila smiled even more, a sort of reminiscing glow pervading him.

"Well, then. Where shall we start?" Soolin grinned evilly. "After all, we can't be too careful of the time."

"Besides, we need to decide what to do to him." None of them had to voice which 'him' Dayna was referring to.


"So, Tarrant."

Avon's voice broke Tarrant's feigned concentration and he looked up at him. "Yes?"

"You've felt sympathy for our enemy." Avon looked away, appearing tothink on something.

Time passed as Tarrant waited for Avon to say something else. When he didn't, Tarrant began feeling agitated, frustrated. Finally, he couldn't take the silence any longer. "If you want to say something to me, just say it, Avon."

"Say anything?" Avon's tone was mocking. "Why would I want to?"

"Well, you said it yourself--I felt sympathy for our greatest enemy. Someone who killed Dayna's father, has killed thousands to stay in her position, routinely attempts to kill us..." Tarrant's voice trailed away and he looked oddly pensive.

There was silence for a time and he went back to fixing the last of the drive functions. A few wires soldered and he locked the panel back into place. "Orac, are the circuits complete?"

"Yes." The computer replied. "The ciruits should continue to function at peak efficiency-as long as the ship is not damaged again."

"Yes, well, we'll try to avoid that." Tarrant said dryly.

"You'll try to avoid that." Avon replied from his post by the teleport console.

"Yes, *I'll* try to avoid that, thank you." Tarrant stood up. "I'm going to get some rest. You might do the same yourself."

"I might." Avon replied.

Tarrant restrained himself from replying sarcastically, deciding it was too much trouble to do so. He quickly exited the ship and made his way towards the common room. As he stepped in the door he noted an odd smell and stopped. Vila, Dayna and Soolin were sitting companionably in chairs around the low coffee table.

"--So, the next day, the Purser comes looking for us, and--Oh, hallo Tarrant."

"No need to stop on my account."

"That's okay, I was going to get some sleep." Soolin stood up and stretched, exchanging a glance with Dayna.

"Me too." The young black woman stood as well and followed the blonde past Tarrant. "We'll see you in the morning."

And they were gone. Tarrant looked at Vila. "That was rather odd. Think they're planning something?"

"Why would they be?" Vila shook his head. "Would you like some punch, Tarrant?"

"Punch?" Tarrant blinked then looked at the bowl in front of Vila. "Ah. Some sort of Christmas punch. yes, I think I shall."

Vila smiled and ladled a glass for him. "Here you go, Tarrant, me lad."

He tentatively sipped the concoction and blinked. "Vila, this is good." Somewhat fruity, with a mint aftertaste, the liquid slid down the throat sweetly. Tarrant closed his eyes and took another sip. It tasted better then the first.

Less than a minute later he held out the glass to Vila. "Some more, please."

"Certainly." Vila smiled as he ladled out another glass. "Glad to know you like it. You see, I made it especially for you."

"You did?" Tarrant was taking another sip when the warning bell sounded in his head. Had Vila just looked a little... vindictive when he'd said that? Another sip, and the room was suddenly swaying slightly.

"Yes, I did." Vila sounded terribly pleased with himself. His voice was coming from such a distance away. Tarrant found himself laying on the floor and blinked.

"Vila?" He croaked. Everything went black.



Avon stopped his headlong charge and looked around the flight deck. Someone had decorated it. Tinsel and greenery of some sort--apparently from the woods outside of Base--and blinking lights. On second look, the blinking lights were Orac.


"Yes, master?" The computer asked subserviently.

"How long have I been unconscious?" Avon looked down at the red suit he was wearing. He shuddered.

"About four hours, master."

"Four." Avon rubbed a hand over his face. The beard got in the way. Yanking on it, he pulled it off and tossed it to the floor. "Slave are any of the other crew aboard?"


"Then they must be on Base."

"That is the location of your colleagues." Orac chimed in.

"So, they came in and--"

"Gave you a drugged drink." Orac supplied. "Then dressed you and took several vids of you."

"There is VIDEO of this--this..." Avon stared down at the red suit in horror. "Where did you say my colleagues were?"



Dayna leaned against the tree giggling uncontrollably. Soolin was doubled over next to her. "Did you-ever-see-such-a--" Dayna gasped out, then snickered anew, unable to finish.

"No, I haven't." Soolin replied, holding her middle and laughing.

"If you ladies are finished, can we get back to Base before either of our two targets awakes?" Vila looked at the two, then darted a glance at the woods around them, nervously. They were about twenty minutes walk from Base, over one of the southwwest ridges. As far away as they dared hide the film they'd taken.

"Yes, just a moment, let me catch my breath." Soolin wheezed.

Within a few moments the three were starting back towards Base.


Waking up from drugged sleep is always hard to do. Tarrant groaned and forced his eyes open. The main room floated around his vision, the colours mixing into an indecipherable beige-ish mishmash. He groaned again and closed them. "Vila." He croaked, "Vila, you're dead."

"Is he?" A voice said off to his side. Avon.

"He drugged me." Tarrant replied without opening his eyes.

"And Dayna and Soolin drugged me." Avon retorted. "I'm not asking for their deaths, just..."

"A bit of suffering." Tarrant suggested, still not opening his eyes.


Dayna stepped back from the door to the lounge and slipped back around the corner. "They're plotting against us, now." She whispered to Vila and Soolin.

"I'm so scared." Soolin replied sardonically.

"Well if you aren't, I am." Vila shuddered. "As soon as Tarrant sees his clothing..."

He left the statement unfinished as there was a scream of shock from the room.

"He's found out." Soolin noted.

"I say we go into hiding. Long hiding." Vila announced, turning to flee.

Dayna grabbed his collar. "Not so fast, Vila. We're going to go in there and calmly explain."

"Yes, and they're not going to ever know about the vids." Soolin nodded.

"I don't like this plan."

"Noted, Soolin, lead the way?"

The blonde nodded and straightened, then turned and began leading them to the lounge.

As they entered, Avon and Tarrant were looking murderous. Avon looked quite odd in his red Santa suit. Tarrant, on the other hand, looked oddly dashing in the kelly green leggings, and bright green tunic. The blonde wig that lay discarded on the floor had added the final touch. "Tarrant, you did make a very good Maid Marion-dressed-as-Robin-Hood." Dayna said as the three ranged themselves in front of the door.

"Oh, did I?" Anger flashed in the pilot's hazel eyes.

"She's right, you did." Avon looked at the three conspirators.

"Look, why don't the two of you get changed, and then--" Before Dayna could finish her comment, the intercomm buzzed.

"Keeler calling Avon, Keeler calling Avon. Are you there, old friend? I've a good proposition on for you..."

the end.

Notes: This fic falls between two episodes of Blake's 7, in the fourth season. The crew were: Avon and Vila, left over from the very first, they ran with Blake. Tarrant and Dayna joined at the beginning of the third season. Soolin at the start of the fourth. Cally, who was mentioned, died at the beginning of the fourth. The episode preceeding this was 'Sand' and had Tarrant trapped on a planet with their arch-enemy, Servalan. And ol' Servy pulled a sympathy trick on him. And possibly more.
The episode following this little descent into madness was 'Gold.' Keeler is an old 'friend' of Avon's who lures them into stealing, and ultimately giving to Servalan, a shipment of black gold.

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© 1999 Ana Cotton