Blake's 7 fandom. Snakes on the Liberator - exactly what you would expect!!!
“You know this isn’t a good idea!” Vila
was desperately trying to get the attention of his crewmates.
“We have to, Vila
,” Cally countered.
“Zen says there are multiple life-signs.”
“Alien goons in suspended animation.” Vila
“That ship has some completely alien design principles.
We might learn something by examining it,” Avon
“Having your mind sucked into a giant brain,” Vila
“And it is completely unarmed,” he finished.
“There might be something on it worth salvaging,” added Tarrant.
“A graveyard for a hostile alien telepath!” Vila
Dayna said, making it clear that the discussion had ended.
Avon bent over the unfamiliar instrumentation. “There are data-banks. Multiple data-banks – a wealth of information. I’m going to remove them. We’ll see what Orac makes of them.”
Tarrant emerged from the hold of the tiny ship, grinning. “Look at this,” he said, proffering a large golden lozenge. “The ship is full of them. There’s a fortune here.”
Avon smiled avariciously. “It will be easier to offload if we fly it into the landing bay. The controls seem fully operational.” He frowned. “I wonder what happened to the crew? One doesn’t just abandon a wealth of gold and information.”
“Cally said there were life signs. But I haven’t seen anyone, have you?”
Avon considered. “I haven’t seen any weaponry or snares either. It’s worth the risk.”
“I can’t find any trace of the crew,” Cally said. She looked worried.
“It’s too easy, isn’t it?” Avon replied. “I’m taking these data-banks directly to Orac. Perhaps he can come up with a theory that makes some sense of this.”
“Well, it’s not a Federation ship,” Dayna chimed in. “And I haven’t found any obvious booby-traps. Maybe there was a temporary malfunction in life-support and the crew abandoned it.”
“There are no storage bays for life-capsules. There was no way for them to leave.” Avon pressed a sequence of flashing buttons near the main hatch. There was a click followed by a hiss, and the door of the tiny ship slid open.
As they exited the landing bay, none of the Liberator’s crew noticed a panel opening inconspicuously on the side of the alien ship.
Dayna heard a blood-curdling scream. She raced into the rest room. “Tarrant!”
Tarrant was ghostly pale, pointing at a corner of the room. “It’s all right, Dayna. I was just startled, that’s all.”
“What the…?” Dayna saw the object of Tarrant’s surprise. It was a large, venomous snake. “How did that get on board?” She pulled a small pistol from its hiding place in her boot, and blasted the snake out of existence.
“Who cares? Just as long as it’s gone. I really dislike snakes.”
Vila was happily puttering about in the mess. He finished chopping the carrots and vulcabbages, and opened a package of synth-cheez. Picking up the cutting board, he returned to the dough he had already spread upon the ceramic plate. Suddenly he jumped, scattering carrot and vulcabbage everywhere. There, nestled in the tomato sauce on his pizza-to-be, was a small viper.
“Hey! Ger’ off! I’m a vegetarian!” He swatted at the reptile. It responded with a hiss and a lunge at his finger.
“Ow! It bit me!”
Cally was heading down the corridor when she heard Vila yell. She rushed to attend to the wounded man. “That’s a poisonous snake. We had better get you to medical immediately for an antitoxin.” Gingerly, Cally dumped the uncooked pizza, snake included, into the waste disposal unit and hit the flush button.
“Vila was right,” Avon muttered as Tarrant returned to the flight deck.
“Orac has identified the ship as being of a design used by Venthonese pirates. It’s bait. The strategy is to eliminate the crew of the target ship. Then the pirates stroll in and take what they want when it’s safe.”
“Dayna said there were no booby-traps.”
“But Cally said there were life-signs. What if the trap was biological – a plague, perhaps...”
Tarrant turned three shades of green. “Snakes.”
Avon and Tarrant cautiously opened the door to the landing bay. In the low light, the floor seemed to undulate. As their eyes adjusted, it became clear that it was no trick of the light – the floor was moving. It was covered by hundreds of writhing serpents.
Avon slammed his fist against the button activating the door. Tarrant leaned back against the wall in the hallway. “Come on,” Avon instructed. “We’ll open the hatch and shut down the atmosphere. The vacuum should dispose of the snakes effectively.”
Tarrant tried to control his shaking as he followed Avon back to the flight deck. “Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy,” he brooded.
“Information,” Zen came to life. “Auto-repair circuits are malfunctioning.”
“What?” Now Avon was worried. The Liberator’s regenerative capacity was a major factor in their safety from attack. “Why, Zen? Give me the source of the malfunction.”
“Unknown agency is interfering with the circuits,” Zen replied. “Situation will reach critical levels in two point three hours.”
Avon ran to the panel covering the section of the computer that housed the auto-repair controller. He looked back at Tarrant, his face contorted with disgust. “It’s full of snakes.”
The world reeled. Tarrant staggered over to the couch and plopped himself down.
“Are you going to help me, you…”
“What the hell?”
Tarrant collapsed onto the floor. He had sat directly on a fat, satisfied serpent.
“This is getting out of hand,” Cally grumbled, wiping Tarrant’s arse with antiseptic. He grunted as she shoved a needle full of antivenom into his posterior. How many snakes are there?”
“Zen is running an analysis.” Avon informed her. “We should be able to determine the number of life-signs suiting the parameters for the snakes. Unfortunately, Zen is running a bit more slowly than usual. We haven’t quite finished cleaning the mess out of his circuitry.”
In the meantime, Dayna was happily running all over the ship, clubbing snakes as she found them. She enjoyed hunting with ancient weapons.
After a long day of dealing with the infestation, Avon was hot, tired and sweaty. He needed a shower. Carefully, he examined the shower to make sure it was free of the vermin. He shook out his towel and hung it on a nearby hook.
The gush of warm water felt good against his skin. Thirty-three to go, according to Zen, he sighed. But as they haven’t yet been caught, they are probably the clever ones.
Avon emerged, refreshed, and toweled off the water beading on him. He wrapped his hair in the towel and rubbed vigorously. Returning to the main section of his quarters, he sat on the bed and pulled on his leathers. In his tightly-fitting trousers, he felt something slither against his shin. A snake tumbled out of the leg-hole onto his floor.
On the flight deck, Vila had taken the watch. He looked up idly when he heard footsteps tromping loudly in his direction. Avon stood in the doorway, framed by darkness. His voice was ice. Death was in his eyes. Slowly, he raised his arm. A mangled viper dangled limply from his fingers.
“I want these bloody snakes off my bloody ship.”
“That’s the last of them,” Dayna reported, a touch of disappointment in her voice. She really had been bored.
“Good,” Vila said with relief. “I thought Tarrant was going to drink up our whole supply of adrenaline and soma before we were done.”
“Or worse, that we would run out of antitoxin,” Cally added. “I’m quite happy that all the snakes are off the Liberator.”
The three of them looked up as Avon returned to the flight deck. “Well, not quite all of them,” Vila concluded.