It's Gauda Prime Day...

"So tell us the story again, please..."

"Come on, I've done it four times, what more do you want?"

"Tell us again!"

Old Restal sighed and looked down at the sea of small faces, shining with excitement and anticipation of the morrow's festivity - presents, sweets, parties, and a million amateur recreations of Blake's Heroic Last Stand, with six- and seven-year-olds, who lived too far away from Earth to know what it was like under the Federation's rule, relishing the chance to play at battles and very long, epic and badly acted deaths.

The Federation's crumbling rule, he reminded himself. He recalled all of it well enough himself and oddly better when drunk, but was not sorry for the now-fading edges of memory, or for the fact that his oft-told tale was beginning to blur the cold reality.

Avon would have hated this, he thought fleetingly. Or laughed ironically at the number of people emulating his loyal death by his Leader's side after, of course, he shot the evil and treacherous Servalan and her lackeys. (Servalan - wherever she was hiding these days - could hardly protest, since the penalty on her head for the cold-blooded shooting of the galaxy's Rebel Hero was now rather more than all the Zerok gold she had stolen so long ago, and that he, Soolin and Lom Deva had stolen back).

Yes, Avon would have hated what he, Soolin and Deva - the only survivors of the that bleak and bloodstained day so long ago - had made and broadcast of the whole with Orac's help, but he might have understood. Old Restal liked to tell himself that Avon would have understood, and his Soolin, who had known Avon, simply smiled and nodded when he told her, and that was enough.

And Blake would have seen the fillip it gave to the dictatorship's decline, and approved. Old Restal knew that and Deva, who had known Blake, agreed.

And Old Restal, who had known them both and believed with all his now-computerised heart that they would not have stopped him, looked down at the group of free-born Outer World children, and began again.

"'Twas the night before Gauda Prime Day, and all through the base, not a rebel was stirring..."

-the end-