Blake is dead.
Blake is not dead.
Blake is... not Blake. Not our Blake, not the Blake I remember from the old days, not the Blake I thought we'd found.
But then, I'm not his thief, his lockpick, his little tame crook any more, am I? And Avon... if I have to talk about Avon at all, and honestly I'd rather not, but then who cares what I'd rather? Not Avon, or we wouldn't even be in this mess; not Blake, or our Blake wouldn't have vanished all that time ago and left us to make the mess in the first place.
Not my so-called teammates, they never did care much.
Not Blake's people... well yes, actually, Blake's people do care. They seem to care a lot.
Because Blake is not dead, and I'm a hero. And the word from the galaxy outside is that the revolution goes on, with or without both of us.
I need a drink.
Look, I still don't remember what happened in that tracking gallery - they say I never will and that's fine with me. But I do remember Avon firing at Blake, once, twice... and then I couldn't take it, couldn't stand there gaping at them both like a spaced leporid on double soma, I hit his arm before the third shot...
And honestly, I really really really don't remember anything more, but Soolin says the little ratfaced woman next to Blake shot me before Avon's shot hit her and people came from all directions and it all got nasty and lethal and I'm really really really glad I missed it all.
So here we are, somewhere else entirely - I saved Blake, and Blake's people saved me - us - well, most of us. Me and Soolin and... and yes, Avon, because Blake might have been dying, but being Blake he still gave the orders, and his order was that the little ratfaced woman did all the shooting. Who are we to argue -? No one knows the truth except us, after all.
Me, the hero who saved Blake. And Soolin, who is too bright to argue. And Tarrant and Dayna, who might be dead. And Orac, and Blake's computer expert friend Deva, who made Orac come up with a story that sounds at least a little like it might even be the truth, maybe, if you don't think too hard.
The story makes him a hero too... a bit of a hero, anyway. Never mind that he was the one... no. If I have to talk about Avon and honestly, I'd rather not, so maybe I'll find something else to talk about. Like that drink I really need.
Or like the fact that we're here. Wherever here is, no one tells me anything except that we're safe, sort of safe, Blake is actually not dead, he's getting better, and I'm getting the credit for saving him from ratfaced Arlen who shot him with Avon's gun, honestly she did, who is there to argue? Hell, from what I'm told the story is that Avon stood over Blake and kept shooting, shooting anyone and everyone, until they took him down. He was protecting Blake, so that makes him a bit of a hero too.
A dead hero, the story is. Like Blake. Avon is dead, and Avon is not dead, and somehow I know Avon will spend the rest of whatever his life is now being whatever Blake wants of what's left of his... soul.
But I'd rather not talk about Avon, wouldn't I? We're here, in a secret base that might and might not be on the same world and which is a lot less comfortable than Xenon but which is - they say - safe. Safe is good, safe will do. Soolin and I, we're quite all right with being safe for the minute, and now that Blake has stopped dying, we can decide how much we want to stay safe...
She means to stay. I can feel it. She doesn't trust him or any of his people, but then she never trusted us either, really. She just liked us. Some of us. Okay, Dayna. And maybe Tarrant, just a little. And maybe me, just a even littler little.
She'll stay, I really can feel it. She likes Deva, and I think she almost likes Blake, this Blake. Me, I don't know. He's not the Blake I remember, the one I missed, and I don't think I can find that Blake again, I think that Blake really is dead, not dead like Gan, and Cally, and Tarrant and Dayna and even Jenna... but if our Blake isn't dead, if Blake's still our Blake, even just a little, I can't find him.
Avon couldn't, Avon didn't, Avon just thought he had. And that's why I won't talk about Avon unless I have to... well that, and I'm the hero so if I want, I don't have to talk about him ever again.
Or to him.
I've found where they keep the drinks, and late at night I drink to Blake who is dead, to Blake who is not dead, to Soolin, to Gan, Cally, Dayna, Tarrant, Jenna... and maybe even to Avon, the Avon I remember from the old days. And to the revolution which, big surprise, goes on without all of us...