Star Four

113 pages of fiction including the following:

Under the Influence - Una McCormack

The first time I saw him he was curled on the floor, his arms clasped around his chest for protection. As I entered, he raised his head to look at me. The bruising was severe; his face puffy and eyes red. He looked no worse than is usual at this stage.

"You will answer my questions promptly and truthfully. Failure to co-operate will result in punishment, co-operation will be rewarded. Do you understand?"

The Quality of Mercy - Natasa Tuscev

The Federation man was taking his time, studying my face, pointing his gun at me and then lowering it again. I didn't curse him, I cursed Blake. I couldn't believe I'd done something so irrational. Why hadn't I just fired? Was it my fault Blake had got himself into a mess? What an ironic way to die, giving my life for my 'leader'! A cold sensation crept over me, but I was still too angry to feel real fear. Suddenly, his weapon flashed, and the shot cut a few inches above my knee cap.

I fell down, holding back the cry, my teeth still clenched in anger. Mist drew across my gaze, as I watched him fling Blake's body on his back with astonishing ease and run off. Pain nauseated me and I was sweating horribly. He must have hit a major artery, for I was loosing blood rapidly. Soon the mist became much thicker.

Trap of Glass - Penny Dreadful

"You look upon yourself as a body that has been given a new mind," said Doctor Bright. "Have you ever, just as an experiment, tried thinking of yourself as a mind that's been given a new body?"

Trade - Morrigan

"Let us speak with Cally as well."

Avon dug blunt fingertips into the muscles that ran the back of his neck. All of the tension and fatigue had concentrated in that one location and despite his best efforts he was unable to unknot the muscles.

"Avon, it's Cally."

"It is good to hear your voice, Cally. Are you all right?"

He tried to remain open for non-verbal contact, for telepathic instructions - but none came.

"Yes, we're both all right. Avon, I-"

"That's enough. You've had your proof. No need to make this a reunion."

Avon watched Jenna's face darken in anger and gave her a half-smile as he replied coolly.

"Fine, then get on with the details."

"Four million credits in a tote bag. You deliver the bag with the credits to Malo Public Park, at the statue of Aron Lewis, and then back off. When we recover the bag, we'll give your friends their teleport bracelets and they'll contact you."

Even Vila rolled his eyes.

"No deal, Simon. We'll do it the same way the Federation would. We swap the credits for Blake and Cally, delivered unharmed at an arranged location. Except, of course, we won't arrest you afterwards."

"Right, you'll shoot me instead. Try again."

"No drop-off, Simon. You're a professional. So are we. Drop-offs are for amateurs."

London's Burning - Nicky Barnard

"Look, Artix. Don't think of it as murder. It isn't at all. Think of it more as... disposal."

Leylan stopped, barely breathing. The air about him seemed to congeal. Mutiny? He had known Raiker was ambitious, but...

"It may be disposal to you, sir. But to me, you are cold-bloodedly proposing the deaths of fifty men and women. I won't do it."

"Convicted men and women, remember, the dregs of the Domes. Who'll miss them? Not the State, we're shipping them like so much rubbish. Not even their mothers probably!" There was a thin chuckle, obviously his own witticism had amused Raiker.

"Look at it this way, they'll probably die of hunger or disease on Cygnus, if they don't murder each other first - we'll be doing them a favour. At least explosive decompression is quick."

Other People's Problems Cally switched to automatic, lowered the lights and leaned back in her flight seat. Usually she liked the night watch, when quiet descended on the ship, only interrupted by the gentle purr of the engines, the ship's heartbeat. Yet tonight she was troubled - conscious that something at the back of her mind was worrying her...

How to be Topp on the Liberator - Neil Faulkner

This is me eg Ker Avon superwhizzo computer-feend of the Liberatar which is the spaceship I am on. Here I wish to shair with you some of the prescious nuggets of wisdom hem-hem I hav gleened from working with a fanatic revolushonary.


Small Revenge - Marian de Haan

He almost started when his teleport bracelet chimed, immediately followed by Avon's distinctive voice: "Zen's registering three Federation craft approaching."

Kentor gave a gasp, eyeing Blake's bracelet as if it had bitten him.

"Keep still," Cally warned, struggling to keep the pad pressed to his back.

"Just what we need," Jenna murmured.

Blake brought his bracelet up to his mouth. "Are they heading for this planet?"

"It looks like it. They probably want to investigate that homing signal. Why don't you switch it off?"

Jenna was already addressing Kentor: "Where is it?"

He lay staring at Blake, seemingly oblivious of the question. His pale complexion had gone deadly white.

"Kentor!" Blake urged, kneeling at his other side. "Where is the homing device?"

That brought on a reaction: "In my pocket."

"Deactivate it!"

Carefully avoiding straining his back, Kentor worked his hand inside his hip pocket.

"The signal's stopped," Avon told them. "But you'd better hurry. Their scanners will pick us up in twenty minutes."

"We'll be as quick as we can." Breaking the connection, Blake asked Kentor: "What's the matter?"

Kentor swallowed. "That voice..."

"That's Avon," Blake said. "One of my crew."

"He wouldn't agree with that," Jenna murmured.

Cally smiled in amused concurrence.

"He's the swine from Central Security," Kentor hissed. "The brute who interrogated me after my arrest."

I Know You All - Dana Shilling

"If you kill me now, Avon, you will be signing the warrant for your own damnation. It's going to be bloody cold in Hell, and you'll never get a moment's privacy."

Avon disengaged Anna from his arm and raised the gun in his right hand, with his left hand crossing over it, the fingers fanned out. "I suppose that's why I had already decided not to kill you." He fired, and one of Servalan's manacles splintered. Like everyone else in the room, she routinely carried a Federation standard handcuff key, so she was able to unlock the other in short order. Avon crossed to her side, put his left hand on her shoulder, and kissed her lightly but comprehensively.

Rehabilitation - Gillian Taylor

There was no point in fighting her. Vila had found that if he refused to take the drugs, or palmed them away, the doctors would just give him injections instead. He nodded, and obediently took the pill she fed him.

When that was over, the woman moved to examine one of the displays on the medical equipment, and Vila looked about the room. It was functional, almost stark, and lacking in colour. Some walls were dark grey and others had strange white panels. The door was dark grey too and a funny shape, more like a stretched hexagon than a rectangle. It wasn't like anything he had seen before and he got scared again. "Where? Have you moved me?" he asked anxiously. He lifted his head, trying to see a window or something familiar, but a wave of dizziness made him fall back.

The woman hurried back to his bedside. "You're just in the surgical unit."

"Not Doctor Zombie? Brain place?" He was still violently dizzy; his vision had almost blacked out which only fuelled his panic.

"No, Vila. You're quite safe here." She bent over, resting her hands on his shoulders. "No one's going to hurt you."

Four Little Words - Gillian Taylor

Avon fell asleep with surprising ease. No doubt the impact would sink in later, but for now all he felt was a sense of relief and satisfaction. He rolled over on his bunk, closed his eyes and drifted off. Some time later, a faint light woke him. Avon raised his head and slid one hand under the silver pillow to the gun there.

"Guilty conscience?" asked a familiar voice.

Avon whipped the gun out and sat up in one move, even as he realised what was wrong. Vila had spoken but Vila was dead. The dead man was standing near the locked door of Avon's cabin, his arms folded and his head on one side in characteristic pose as he stared at his old companion.

A Price to Pay - Julia Stamford

He hurt, and the cell was cold, and the bench was hard, but it didn't really matter. Very little mattered any more, and certainly not a few hours of minor discomfort before he was either taken back to Earth for trial, or executed here and now. Not that he'd be left on Gauda Prime, either way. Too valuable a showpiece, dead or alive. Too bad Servalan wasn't here. At least she had an incentive to kill him, unlike this motley gang of troopers who couldn't believe their luck.

There was a sound at the door, and then it slid open, revealing a small, delicate figure in clothes quite out of keeping with the battlefield. "Avon. How nice to see you again."

He should have known. No possible reason for Servalan to know he would be here, so here she was. "Hello, Sleer. News travels fast, I see." A Christmas Canto - Sally Manton

"Can anyone think of a way we can make him join in?" Tarrant said after a moment. "Short of at gunpoint, that is."

"Or a reason to want him to?" Soolin crooked an eyebrow at him.

"The spectre at the feast he may be, but he is our spectre." Tarrant shrugged. "And I've never seen him drunk, but the mental picture is appealing."

The darkness by the door seemed to contract and swirl and form into the slender blue-clad shape of a woman. A woman whose face he hadn't thought of in years.

Avon smiled. Somehow, he wasn't even surprised.


"Hello, Avon," she said in a light, attenuated voice, like a sigh. "You look quite well."

"I'm sorry, I can't say the same. You look..." He paused, gazing at her. The golden hair was as pale as winter sunlight, the skin marble white, the hazel eyes deep and hollow.

"Dead?" She smiled slightly, coolly, as he inclined his head. "I am dead, Avon. Ten weeks dead, as I understand it."

Logic Puzzle - Susan Beth

"I've bought us each an hour in the Chamber of the Ages." Vila bustled about the room, handing each of them a small bronze dodecahedron.

"'Chamber of Ages'?" Avon drawled. "Is that the booth in the side show between the Dog-faced Boy and the Living Skeleton?"

"No, I've actually heard of it. It's part of an alien ship that was discovered wrecked on an asteroid some years back." Tarrant was examining his token curiously. "There was nothing interesting about the ship itself, or its technology in general, but there was a single large room that used laser holography to depict any setting on earth."

"Not just holography," Cally put in. "They showed us a demo tape about it. It's like you are really there. You can touch things, smell the flowers, eat the food, swim in the water-"

"Kiss the ladies," Vila supplied.

Dayna wrinkled her nose at him. "And the men?"

"I suppose." Vila shrugged. "At any rate, each of us has to call down and set up an appointment for a particular hour, and pick out what scenario we want to have. Anything from cave men to the Space Age - they have agents to help you find what you want."

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Last updated on 18th of May 2006.