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Jarriere ficathon

Here's my contribution to the Jarriere ficathon, written for kalypso_v, who requested:
Characters desired:
This is the one I'm finding most difficult. I'd like a strong woman who isn't Servalan. It could be Jenna or Cally, or even Dayna or Soolin, but I'm leaning away from crew (below) and towards occasional characters. Given my later requests, I may have requested myself into a corner where I get Avalon, but [hopefully] have you considered Kasabi or Sula? Or an original female character? I think I'd like at least one one-off (or two-off) character apart from Jarriere himself, and this other character may or may not be the strong woman.

Requested elements:
1) Jarriere working for a rebel group (the Liberator crew if you really want to, but that seems to be emerging as a popular option so maybe another lot?)
2) The death of at least one significant character within the story (this may include the man himself).
3) Jarriere's socks.
4) The rapid ascent or descent (or both) of a flight of stairs.

Excluded elements:
1) Servalan. Though a couple of the other participants have suggested interesting things to do on that front... hey, but that doesn't mean all the stories have to involve her.
2) Freedom City.

Teacher’s Pet

Author: Sandy Claws
Series: Blake’s 7
Rating: PG-13 (SLASH)
Parts: 1 (1/1)
Words: 1,680
Feedback: Sandy Claws

Psychostrategy 301 never raises itself above the level of “truly awful” but the absolute worst moments are when Space Major Zinnia hands back the marked assignments.

The Space Major from Hell wore the same black uniform as all the other instructors but somehow it looked different on her. It always seemed unusually tight. Yet she was tall and thin and should have slid easily into the standard size. It was more like there was energy inside her which her skirt struggled to contain. Her hair was the same, bound tightly in the regulation manner but constantly struggling to break free and, all too often, succeeding, leaving a wild lock or two dancing across her forehead and down her sharp cheekbones. Her boots were Government Issue too but they seemed to gleam brighter than those of other instructors and the heels made this chilling noise as she walked.

“Not quite as bad as your usual effort, Rana,” she said, “I almost gave it an ‘E’ but then I thought, ‘Why break such a long losing streak?’ So I gave you another ‘F’.”

Then she leaned over and said: “Pout like that again and you can spend the rest of the day with a mouthful of fish tank gravel. And I’ll make sure that it’s a mouthful with plenty of algae growing on it.”

And she would have too. Rana had seen her make some of the boys eat wormy dirt from the terrarium. I was just the sort of degrading punishment Space Major Zinnia enjoying immensely.

Then she turned to address the class.

“Well, that assignment was really, truly, execrable,” she declared. She had this strange way of pronouncing her T’s in which she placed the tip of her tongue against her front teeth, almost poking it out.

“Honestly,” she told them, “I wish that I could simply execute the lower third of the class. The rest of you aren’t much good either but maybe it might provide the encouragement that you need. As it is, I might as well paint bull’s eyes on your foreheads for the rebels. I ask you, why would that be a bad thing?”

“Um, because you don’t want us to die?” offered Rana.

“I wouldn’t be staking my life on that thin reed if I were you. Anybody got cognitive support for that theorem, hmmm, anybody?” she said as she casually clipped the ear of a student she didn’t think was paying sufficient attention.

“Because it’s your job?” offered one student.

She rolled her eyes. The remote control for the classroom screen flew across the room and struck someone trying to avoid giving an answer.

Her response was drowned out by the end of class siren. The class breathed a sigh of relief.

“You’re all going to die,” she told them, in a very cheerful voice.

“You’re going to put someone’s eye out,” Rana muttered. But not quietly enough; the Space Major from Hell seized her by the hair and moved in close so Rana could inhale the scent of the Space Major’s makeup, mixed with that of the sweat of her own fear.

“The sexiest Federation officer I know,” she told Rana with a gleam in her eyes, “wears an eye patch.”

Then she turned back to the class, all waiting apprehensively for the magic word.
"This week's assignment: " she said, "an officer whose cooperation you require wants to address your staff concerning a pyramid scheme that she is running. Explain how you avoid this ridiculous engagement while still securing her cooperation."

The class groaned.

"Dismissed," she said.

On that word, the class suddenly sprang to life and scrambled out the door like the room was on fire.

It was abundantly clear to Rana that the Space Major was a lunatic. And she was going to fail Psycho. She had one F to many. A passing grade was nearly impossible. And she needed a passing grade. A pass in Psycho wasn’t necessary to graduate but you needed a reasonable grade for anything but the most lethal assignments.

And that was now impossible. That is, by the conventional route. Sometimes, you had to think outside the box and take the nuclear option. She had found out from a friend of a friend that Ferd in records was willing to fix things for her. For a price. He was a complete sicko and what he wanted turned her stomach and made her feel physically ill. But sometimes you had to do what was necessary.

She ran up the fire stairs, eager not to be seen and particularly, not to be asked about the bag of grapefruit. While most people had never seen the stairwells and many were unaware even of their very existence, you could never be certain about who might be in there and what might be going on. Sometimes the stairwells were dark and spooky became the lights had failed (or been smashed or stolen) and no one had reported them out or checked on them yet. She had heard strange noises and there were weird rumours. And always the faint smell of vomit, a sure sign of dreamheads.

Records was a labyrinth, with miles of pipes storing data in liquid form. It was better lit but otherwise nearly as creepy as the stairwell. Rana gingerly threaded her way through, trying to be as quiet as possible. The chance of encountering someone at this hour was slim but there was no need to draw attention to herself.

Suddenly, she froze. Ahead she heard a voice. The unmistakable voice of the Space Major from Hell herself. Rana approached slowly. Ferd was on the ground and there was blood. A lot of blood. It was on the floor, the walls. Everywhere. And there was the Space Major. It was her, unmistakably, although her hair was no longer tied down but let loose in wavy, brown locks. She was kicking a bloody Ferd and complaining about how a man begging for his life should be able to crawl a lot better.

Jarriere, she told him, could crawl a lot better but Jarriere suggested that the reason that Ferd was crawling so badly was that he was, in fact, dead.

Rana began to back up. Clearly, when people start dying, it is time to turn on your heels and run for your life and why she had not done so already would be hard to explain.

But as she was moving backwards, she bumped into someone behind her. She started to scream but her cry was muffled by a block-gloved hand gripping her mouth tightly. She felt the urgent warmth of another woman’s body pressing up against her own. Rana sensed softness in her touch tempered by a steely core of certainty and forcefulness. She felt aroused in way she had never felt before and, in spite of a heady rush of adrenaline, strangely relaxed, wanting not to flee but nothing more than the gentle touch and heady scent of this mysterious woman, to explore this slim body and strong will.

The small cry was enough, though, to alert the Space Major from Hell, whose senses could detect the faintest movement or muttering in the classroom.

“Is there someone there?” she asked. “Come on out. I shan’t hurt you.”

Fear coursed through Rana’s veins, making her heart pump harder. She felt the stranger she lightly, drawing a pistol from a hip holster. With their bodies pressed together so tightly, Rana’s mimicked the slow, deliberate movement.

“Run!” she whispered in Rana’s ear. The voice was soft and sultry as the body but it seemed to boom through Rana’s head like a cannon had been fired. Rana took to her heels, getting only a brief look at her saviour. Her short brown hair and fair features were breathtaking to behold and instantly seared into her memory in the pose she assumed with her pistol drawn but the word of command was almost hypnotic. Rana did not wish to run but it was the only coherent thought in her head.

Behind her, Rana could just glimpse the Space Major out the corner of her eye, pistol in hand. As she ran, she could hear them exchange mutual recognition. Zinnia. Thuvia, or Avalon.

Suddenly, Rana was stopped in her tracks by the silver gleam of a third pistol. It seemed that she had blundered by being the only one not packing tonight.

“Drop it!” cried Jarriere.

Rana raised her hands.

“I said drop it!”

“It’s not a weapon. It’s just a bag of grapefruit.”

Jarriere seemed to think about this for a moment. Weapon. Grapefruit.

“Well, drop it anyway.”

Rana dropped the bag. A grapefruit rolled across the floor.

There was a long pause.

“Are you going to shoot me?” she asked.

“No, of course not,” said Jarriere, lowering the weapon slightly.

Rana lunged at him but he was quick. He grabbed her arm, one foot tripped her up and she could feel herself falling to the floor, with Jarriere on top, holding one arm behind her back, his weight pinned her to the floor. He was fast.

“Now, what did you do that for?” he asked. “You might have got yourself killed if the gun had been loaded.”

“Get off me!”

“You want me to shove one of my socks in your mouth?”

Rana glanced at Jarriere’s socks.

“Please, no.”

“Well, just be quiet and wait until the mistress returns.”

They waited. Rana’s thought’s were still entirely of that vision of Avalon, lingering on her bewitching beauty.

But it was only a minute before she heard the familiar sound off the Space Major’s heels.

“What happened?” Jarriere asked.

“Just a meeting of minds.” She looked down a Rana. “Now, what to do about you…”

“I want to pass Pyscho,” Rana declared.

“You think you’re in a position to bargain with me?”

“Yes,” said Rana.

Zinnia nuzzled Rana’s cheek. Once again, the scent of her makeup, mixed with that of the sweat of her own fear.

“Done. Of course, you’re still going to die but then, in the end, everyone does.”

END

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
kalypso_v
7th Jun, 2005 08:01 (UTC)
Thank you! I do like Zinnia, particularly the energy that her skirt struggles to contain. Did you have a particular actor in mind?

And the data being kept in liquid form.

I didn't quite understand why Zinnia recognised the stranger as "Thuvia, or Avalon"? Is it that Thuvia's her real name, and Avalon a cover name, and Zinnia knows both?

And Jarriere's quite right to stop and think about that grapefruit. What could be more lethal than a spurt of grapefruit juice directed into the eye?
hawkeye7
7th Jun, 2005 21:33 (UTC)
Thank you!
You're welcome! I had to bring a lot of ingenuity to bear on touching base with all the story elements you requested. I began writing another story and then couldn't complete it without breaking one of the rules, so I had to start over.

I do like Zinnia, particularly the energy that her skirt struggles to contain. Did you have a particular actor in mind?
Jean Kitson. The skirt I had in mind was one like the one worn by Thania in Trial.

And the data being kept in liquid form.
I love throwing in stuff like that!

I didn't quite understand why Zinnia recognised the stranger as "Thuvia, or Avalon"? Is it that Thuvia's her real name, and Avalon a cover name, and Zinnia knows both?
Yes, Avalon is her nom de guerre. Obviously, there's a lot of backstory going on here and Jarriere is probably not up to speed with it all. What always struck me about Jarriere is the degree to which he got himself in over his head. Like starting an intergalactic war. To me, he's Blake's 7's answer to Rosencrantz & Guildenstern.
kalypso_v
8th Jun, 2005 03:53 (UTC)
This woman? Mm, nice!
hawkeye7
8th Jun, 2005 15:57 (UTC)
Yes, that's her
kalypso_v
8th Jun, 2005 04:01 (UTC)
What always struck me about Jarriere is the degree to which he got himself in over his head.

Thing is, he always bobs back to the surface! I think he's the ultimate survivor.
entropy_house
7th Jun, 2005 10:32 (UTC)
*grin* Now I *am* wondering if Zinnia was the real reason behind Travis's eyepatch, and he just blamed Blake because it sounded more macho than 'my teacher did it with textbook'. :^)
kalypso_v
7th Jun, 2005 16:24 (UTC)
Bet she did!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )