B7 Classic - Anna Grant, A Demon to Take Down the Devil

Susan Bowden

“Is there anyone who thinks that you're worth dying for?” Shrinker taunts Avon in his prison cell.
Avon: “Not anymore, not since Anna.”

Avon is shell-shocked at the end of Rumours of Death. He has just discovered that the lover he thought had died at the hands of the Federation agent Bartolomew is alive and was herself the formidable ‘Bartolomew’. He can’t see past Anna’s deception; we never see him wonder what she was doing on Earth at that exact moment, in that precise location.

Who is Anna? What is she?
We know that she led a triple life: She was Anna Grant - Avon's lover and sister of Del Grant. She was Bartolomew, Central Security's top agent. And she was Sula Chesku - wife to one of Servalan's closest advisors, but also a rebel leader.

Rebel Cause
The Grant siblings may have been drawn to the rebel cause in their adolescence. You don't have to be born a Delta Grade in order to loathe the Federation. Cruel, heartless and oppressive; suppressing individuality across all the planets they control. There is nothing in my mind to dispute the theory that Anna was always loyal to the Rebellion… everything else she did was a smokescreen.

It may have been a fantasy, perhaps, for the Grants to hope they could bring about change and create a fairer system. Del becomes a mercenary, fighting for the rebels. Anna is bright, dedicated and skilled - she resolutely adheres to her reasons for becoming involved with the rebellion. It’s entirely plausible that she never switched allegiances from rebel to pro-Federation, despite her activities as Bartolomew.

We see in Rumours of Death that she displays all the essential qualities required of a rebel leader. It is likely that she was tasked with a leadership position on important field operations during her early rebel career, with those abilities coming to the attention of those in charge.

Who was in charge?
Bran Foster? Perhaps! He would keep his ear to the ground and have a spy network that would be on the look-out for people who are working against the Federation on Earth and other planets.

What’s the best way to destroy the Federation?
In Rumours of Death, Anna earnestly reveals that she never loved her husband. However, she was a respected rebel operative on the inside. In marrying Councillor Chesku, a member of the High Council and a ‘rich personal friend of the President’ Anna is afforded influence and trust. This allows her to infiltrate the ranks in order to fulfil her long-terms plans; biding her time to strike at the heart of the Federation.

Anna plays the role of a good citizen, making her disdain for the rebellion well known… she could have been headhunted by Central Security and will most certainly have been encouraged to supply information in order to secure a position as a Federation Agent.

Directing her handler to a weapons cache could have been considered a good start, and with a guarantee from Foster that they would be empty, she releases information about rebellion safe houses on colony worlds.

As she becomes immersed in her role as Bartolomew, Anna would halt direct interaction with the rebellion. As a Federation agent, she does anything she’s assigned to do… she does everything she’s assigned to do – her success rate would have been impressive. At the same time, she would be gathering intelligence and occasionally finds herself in a position to save rebel lives in ways that cannot be tracked back to her true identity.

Falling in Love
Bartolomew is instructed to shadow a computer technician called Kerr Avon. He is someone the Federation has been interested in since his attempted fraud with Tynus. How many citizens has Anna/Bartolomew turned in at this point? The way in which she initially regards Avon wouldn’t be any different.

But it soon ceases to be about following orders. Anna spends time with Avon and gets to know him. He captivates her with his smile; his eyes, his mouth, his hands… she experiences how tender he can be when they are alone in his apartment. She falls in love with the man she was sent to betray.

Their relationship goes beyond physical attraction - she is drawn towards his keen intelligence and pragmatic nature. They share personality traits; he makes her laugh with his dry wit and refusal to suffer fools gladly. She discovers how the strength he outwardly displays masks a touching vulnerability which she would be forced to exploit.

Falling in love results in Anna devoting more time with Avon than ‘running him’ requires. It starts to arouse suspicions with her superiors. It is likely she feigns his political involvement, informing her controller that in addition to Avon’s known fraudulent activities, she suspects he is a political threat.

Shrinker tells Avon: “Central Security were convinced you were political. Bartolomew stayed close and let you run.”

Bartolomew’s ruse is successful. She is permitted to continue monitoring/running Avon and ordered to stay close, which in turn allows Anna to spend all the time she desires with her lover.

Where did that leave her husband?
Councillor Chesku was not au fait with Anna’s position within the Federation. Enquiries relating to Sula Chesku were probably redirected through Central Security. Too preoccupied with climbing the social ladder, he doesn’t concern himself with his wife’s protracted absences, just as long as she is dutifully hanging on his arm at important functions.

Avon wouldn’t know that she was married – a fling isn’t in his personality. His commitment to their relationship is absolute. But they couldn’t socialise in the traditional sense; it would be too risky for Anna to be seen with another man in the same public places occupied by the high-ranking group she and her husband mixed with.

But there are alternatives …

I'm sure they would have talked, laughed, dined, argued, made love, indulged in leisurely breakfasts, took walks in the Dome’s leisure areas and relaxed on the couch. They were a couple, and regardless of time and place, romances will always be conducted in a similar manner.

How much did Del know?
Did he meet up with his sister frequently? We’ll assume that he didn’t know about her marriage, because surely he wouldn’t have approved of his sister indulging in extra-marital activities. Anna compartmentalised her life; Del would not have known that she was either Bartolomew or Mrs Sula Chesku.

Avon tells Grant in Countdown that he had saved him ‘because Anna was your sister’, not ‘because we were once friends. But why shouldn’t Del Grant and Avon have been friends?

At this point, Anna and Avon are involved in a serious relationship, enough to risk introducing him to her brother, over dinner. She would not have allowed them to meet if she wasn’t in love with him. It wasn’t a dirty little secret in her mind, even though, strictly speaking she is committing adultery.

I doubt whether Anna cooked; she probably had food delivered. Whilst eating dinner, Del casually mentions he is experiencing computer problems.

Avon isn't trying to impress his girlfriend's brother (he's more a take me as I am person), but I imagine he would at least offer to assist Del. This would give them the opportunity to talk, and discover a common interest such as computer-assisted gambling. This could lead to them attending a day at a casino, which in turn develops into a genuine friendship.

What about Betrayal?
Anna may have tried to resist falling in love; attempted to suppress her feelings considering her position in the rebellion. She’d have lain awake at night with thoughts running chaotically inside her head.

What impact would leaving her husband to run away with Avon have on her future? Bringing down the Federation banking system would have been approved by the Rebellion, but she knew her lover wanted the credits for his own reasons - he wasn’t interested in fighting the Federation.

I’m sure she felt like a traitor to the man she loved for not telling him he was being monitored by the Federation. But it would be foolish to assume that she wasn't scared of what Central Security could do to her. And always at the forefront of her mind was the fear about how Avon would react; she was terrified of him discovering the real reason they had met.

Would he believe her if she confessed? Omitting important facts about her background, finding out she was Bartolomew … what she’d done for the sake of the rebellion. Maybe she knew then that he wouldn’t forgive her deceitful behaviour.

It’s crunch time with the imminent fraud, and I can imagine Anna pacing in her apartment, anxiously rubbing her hands - a habit she’d picked up from her lover - waiting for him to return with the exit visas. She is now equally committed to their relationship and whatever difficulties they encounter, she fully intends to run away and start a fresh life with the man she loves.

Avon is running late. Anna calls in a favour (it’s reasonable to assume that she’s owed many) and finds out that he’s been ‘shot whilst acquiring the exit visas.’ Anna’s contact informs her that Avon is dead.

She experiences numbing shock, fear; loss … her grief threatens to overwhelm her completely. And then all her training comes to the fore; her head clears enough for her to make the decision to return to her husband. Chesku is neither aware of her liaison with Kerr Avon, nor of her roles as rebel leader and Federation agent.

“I waited for you, and when you didn't come back, I ran.”

Anna/Bartolomew reports Kerr Avon’s death to her controller, who registers this as a failure on her record. Could her controller have been Servalan? In Rumours, she appears to know about Anna’s triple identities.

Information relating to Anna’s arrest is released. Avon believes the patrols found her because she came looking for him. Del Grant is under the impression his sister was kept under interrogation for nearly a week.

It isn’t too much of a leap to assume that the news of Anna’s death could have been leaked by Central Security, principally to protect their agent in case Avon isn’t dead.

Why wouldn’t they believe her? Anna/Bartolomew has just reported him dead. But she didn’t witness his murder; Central Security wouldn’t take any chances without a body in the morgue and a report confirming his identity.

Anna/Sula is affiliated with the insurrectionists; this much is indisputable, and when we meet her in Rumours, she is organising them from a rabble into an effective force. How did she resume her involvement? It’s conceivable that after losing Avon, Anna couldn’t face another day working for the Federation. But what crucial factor afforded her the opportunity to walk away from her role as Bartolomew?

Shrinker discloses how the rebels, during the Galactic War had been obsessed with revenge. “By the time they’d finished kicking the corpses at Central Security, the President had regrouped her forces.”
He didn’t believe Bartolomew was one of the corpses, but the attack on Central Security would have proved fortuitous. It allowed Anna to resume her activities with the rebellion under the guise that she/Bartolomew had been killed.

Anna’s Motivations
Servalan hosting a dinner party at her Presidential Palace is the ideal opportunity for the rebels to strike.
Sula’s right hand man, Hob, informs her that the men want Servalan dead. Anna/Sula wants to keep Servalan alive. She is completely unfazed with Hob’s aggressive banging on the desk. Sula/Anna is done with death and corpses. "Haven’t we got enough of those?" And with Servalan as their prisoner, the rebels will be able to extract valuable intelligence from the president. “She’s useful”

What about greed?
This is what Sula had to say in regards to the Presidential Palace: “A grotesque anachronism, like its owner. We could have built two cities for what it cost to reconstruct that absurdity.” Hardly the words of a woman with materialistic intentions.

What about power… ambition?
Sula/Anna makes it clear she doesn't have any personal regard for Servalan. She isn't interested in taking Servalan's place.

Weighing her words with her actions, I believe Anna’s motivations for leading the charge against Servalan’s presidency were laudable. She was doing the same as Blake, but more effectively.

Blake is all about the grand gesture - he loves the attention. Sula/Anna’s mission isn’t about ambition. She isn’t seeking to become a household name; it isn’t about achieving legendary status in homes across the colonies. She is encouraging the rebellion to set up a people’s council – which they, not her, will lead.

Finding a way to extract information from the President isn’t impossible. Anna’s role as Bartolomew would have taught her every trick in the Federation’s bloody book, which would include torture and execution. Anna isn’t a trained torturer but she would be aware of such methods, witnessed them without having participated, heard prisoners’ terrified screams, pleading desperately. Who is to say Servalan wouldn’t crack like a nut anyway? Chained to a wall should be enough to break down her defences. Servalan is used to pulling the strings, giving the orders; always one step ahead – now that she’s on the receiving end, her resolve would be put to the test. And in stark contrast to the way she behaves around men - Avon is a prime example – trying to flirt her way out a tricky situation wouldn’t cut any ice with Anna Grant.

Anna: “She'll do everything we say, and that, my friends, is real revenge”.

Anna would most assuredly have a working knowledge on how to threaten Servalan (who is possibly her former handler), making it clear that she would resort to other persuasive methods if Servalan failed to comply with the rebels’ request. Assuming Servalan’s nerve held – if not her dignity - then I would certainly understand the rebels’ decision to use torture as a last resort to extract information.

It’s harsh… it’s brutal… it’s necessary!

Would the rebels place Servalan on trial, discredit her personally, highlight the corruption within the Federation and publically execute her for all the atrocities she has perpetrated in its name?

That decision would be down to the People’s Council.

Paying the price
Anna Grant is a complex protagonist: she is cool, calm and in control; confident, adaptable and a highly skilled tactician. In Rumours she is dressed in grey, mirroring the ‘shades of grey’ clothing Avon chooses to wear in Series 1 – perhaps indicating that just like her former lover, there are multiple layers to her personality.

Shrinker informs Avon: “Anyone that you so much as looked at was marked for collection.”

I don’t believe Anna had any option – those decisions were made by a higher authority. She had to learn to live with the hard choices made in the name of rebellion, and the horror she caused as Bartolomew.

Shrinker further tells Avon: “… all your contacts were pulled in.”

But it wasn’t all his contacts, was it? Would Central Security’s best agent ignore her own brother’s mercenary activities?

Strictly speaking, Del isn’t one of Avon’s contacts... but they did know each other and may have been friends. If Anna had truly been dedicated to the Federation cause, she could have brought Del in at any time for questioning without caring about the fact he was her sibling.

But she didn’t.

There weren't any conflicting ideologies; it’s more likely she protected her brother from Central Security investigating his dubious occupation. Bartolomew was always a cover for the rebellion and the familial ties she maintained throughout her triple life as Anna/Sula/Bartolomew are bravely severed when she allows herself to be reported dead.

It’s all about the timing
Avon is seen reading a personal item in Spacefall: was it the last note he ever received from Anna? It could have been something as mundane as a shopping list in her handwriting. Exactly what it contained is irrelevant; it's the little things that people hold onto - a tangible memory is all that counted during those long days and nights on the prisoner transport ship, London.

The way he feels about Anna doesn’t change during his time on the Liberator. As soon as possible, Avon sets the wheels in motion, allowing himself to be captured and tortured, paralleling what he imagines happened to Anna. His goal is to facilitate a meeting with Shrinker, the notorious Federation torturer who specialises in uncooperative prisoners. Avon wants to force him to reveal all he knows about Anna Grant’s murderer, in order to exact revenge on the person responsible.

Fuelled by his tenacious desire to avenge Anna’s death, and armed with the information he has extracted from Shrinker, Avon arrives on Earth, at the Presidential Palace.

He cautiously moves away from the banqueting room to find a cellar where the rebels have chained President Servalan to the wall. Avon promises to set her free in return for information relating to Bartolomew. Servalan’s interest is piqued; she’s certainly familiar with the name “Anna”. She’s practically itching to tell Avon anything he wants to know, no doubt hoping it will destroy him in the process.

Their conversation is brought to a temporary halt as Anna’s introduction into the scene is established. She pockets the gun she’s holding, and we are treated to her exchange with Avon.

“Hello Anna.” Avon knows exactly who it is they have encountered in the cellar.

“Avon ... Avon!” Anna calls out his name without turning. “Oh! I was afraid they'd killed you, I heard there was someone with Blake, but I didn't know for sure, and I didn't dare let myself hope.”

I’m sure Anna knew exactly which “someone” travelled with Blake. Maybe she learned about his survival in the weeks following her return to her husband. It’s too late to seek Avon out, because he is in detention awaiting transport to a penal colony, and Central Security has her under close scrutiny, demanding to know how their suspect escaped.

Anna entwines her hands around the back of Avon's head, kissing him on his cheek. “Oh, Avon,” she repeats. He doesn’t return her embrace, and is barely touching her. Ripples of fear course through her body. “Why didn't you come back for me?” she demands, scared in case he is starting to work out the puzzle.

Avon is rooted to the spot - he thought she'd died, a cold trail he couldn't follow. He’d decided to use his exit visa, which had cost him dearly, to leave his traumatic past behind. He is staring at Anna, reeling from shock, processing the facts. He isn’t quite there yet... isn't willing to accept the truth. “I didn't come back, because you were dead.”

“Well, as you can see, I'm not!” Anna's thoughts are muddled. Contemplating her next move whilst attempting to sound normal is futile - the realisation in Avon's defeated features tells her all she needs to know.

“As I can see,” he says huskily.

“I suppose there’s someone else, is that it? Is there someone else, Avon?” I imagine she’s desperate to convey her true feelings, wanting to scream, “It isn’t what you think!”. Anna is doing more than just playing for time. The idea that she could have been replaced in his heart was painful. It had hurt the same way when she’d returned to her husband, and looking in from the outside, knew that there was nothing she could do to help release Avon from his internment.

Having resumed her activities with the rebellion, perhaps she contemplated contacting him on the Liberator; he'd carved out a life with Blake - all the Federation propaganda viscasts were labelling him a rebel.

She'd smiled at the irony... it was either that or cry and she rarely cried, preferring to focus all her emotions on the task at hand. Could they resume their relationship? She barely allowed herself to think along those lines … and then there was Blake. His tactics weren't met with applause from all those in the Rebellion.

Anna reluctantly maintained her distance, in case any involvement with the Liberator crew jeopardised her campaign. Her plans were less showy and destructive compared to blowing up Federation facilities - but then she wasn’t playing at rebellion … she was leading a revolution.

While Avon assures Anna that there isn't anyone else, he doesn't respond to her attempt to kiss him. “Perhaps because I can’t believe it’s you,” he replies to Anna’s query about ‘why won’t you touch me.’

It must seem like a dream to Avon, yet terrifying real. Turning away, his eyes cast downwards, he responds to Anna’s “Have I changed so much?” with a heartbreaking, “I don't know. Have you, Anna?”

“Not the way I feel for you. Nothing's changed since you left me. There hasn't been one single moment when I wasn't alone; I want you to know that.” I don’t have any reason to dispute Anna’s candid declaration.

Her life had changed as far as returning to the rebellion was concerned, and naturally she has matured. But her feelings for Avon... those haven't changed, and loneliness isn't always on display for the outside world to see.

Avon isn't looking directly at Anna in the dank cellar, but she is watching him intently, pleading for him to look at her, dread pumping through her veins. Avon is probably wishing that they could pick up where they left off, rather than picking at the bones of their relationship. Shrinker’s words are running through his head, he's ordering his thoughts... he knows... he just has to accept what his mind is silently screaming. He’s finally fathoming out her miraculous survival, as he asks Anna how she got away on the day he was shot.

Anna: “I waited for you, and when you didn't come back, I ran.”

Avon: “Not to your brother. He thinks you’re dead. Who hid you, Anna?”

Anna: “My husband. I didn't love him, he knew that. There was only you.”

Marrying Chesku was a rebellion artifice, perhaps even a directive from Foster, in order to infiltrate the Federation hierarchy. There isn't any reason to believe that the marriage didn’t benefit all concerned. "He wanted me" works on more than one level.

Was Chesku in love with Sula? A man in a position of power would require a woman’s presence. It’s doubtful whether love ever entered into their union. Anna wouldn't engage in protracted marital arguments, neither would she let on about her affair with Avon. But further into their marriage, bitter and finding it increasingly hard to hide her feelings, maybe she and her husband simply stopped pretending.

Anna’s persuasive defence isn’t enough to convince Avon. All the pieces are slamming into place. His slow burning pain is palpable and emotionally harrowing to watch. His dawning realisation tears at your soul, as every word he utters leads him to the only inevitable conclusion.

“He... wasn't Bartolomew, was he?” whispers Avon, his heart shattering into tiny fragments.

Servalan: “Not even Chesku knew who Bartolomew was. But you do, don’t you, Avon?” - merely confirming what he’d probably known from the moment he saw Anna in the cellar.

A warning from Cally - Anna has pulled her gun! Avon’s back still turned, but he never turns his back on anyone. Does he still trust Anna? Split-second timing is all it takes, his aim is accurate and Anna starts to collapse. Avon doesn't hesitate; he rushes to catch his former lover, sinking to his knees, the nightmare playing out as he cradles her, knowing she is dying.

“At least that was honest,” Avon tells her succinctly.

But how could she have been honest without risking exposure? The challenges associated with such a perilous lifestyle would have been enough to break most people. I admire her mental strength. Was it cruel to let Avon think she had died? It would have been infinitely worse to give him false hope. The events playing out in the Presidential Palace surely prove how crucial it had been to protect her identity.

Anna: “I knew when you found out, you would kill me.”

Avon: “Unless you killed me first!”

Sula/Anna had maintained a level head with her men; she’s cool, calm and in control. She foresees victory in keeping Servalan alive. “She can order her forces to disarm, announce she is standing down.” It’s a measured response.

But tensions are running high in the cellar, everyone is hyper-aware; it creates a trigger happy atmosphere. Anna shares similar personality traits with Avon, they are cast from the same mould: ruthless, pragmatic and flawed. Her observation about how they were 'well matched' includes instincts honed to perfection – it all contributes towards succumbing to the moment and firing their weapons.

It didn’t have to end this way!

Avon is finally touching Anna, and he doesn't relax his hold even when he says: “You weren't even real. Bartolomew, Central Security's best agent, one of your colleagues told me that.”

“Anna Grant. I was only ever Anna Grant with you,” she insists, slumping further. This was her first and only 'real identity'.

Avon: “Of all the things I have known myself to be, I never recognised the fool.” He knows there isn't long; she will soon be lost to him forever.

“It wasn't all lies,” she says, looking at him. Anna’s words are simple, honest, as she takes her final breath: “I let you go … my love.”

Bartolomew/Anna's experiences with death were brutal. She wouldn't have allowed anyone to escape without good reason. Anna genuinely fell in love with Kerr Avon, and a harsh society such as theirs may have reduced their relationship to a bubble in time, memories to cherish.

She never had the chance to start a fresh life with Avon, wasn't able to do anything except helplessly surrender the man she loved – forced to accept he was lost to her as their fates diverged at a crossroads, destined to meet in the future at the Presidential Palace on Earth.

“Oh, no, you never let me go!” Lightly kissing her temple, Avon makes the decision to remove his teleport bracelet. He is crushed … broken, still holding her hand, prepared to remain with the only woman he had ever loved.

Anna will never know the courage Avon displayed in order to avenge her death. He would have given his life to save Anna, and he will love her until the day he dies.

Likewise, Avon will never know what she sacrificed for the rebellion. Anna became a demon, Bartolomew, to take down the devil - the Federation. Avon will forever regard her as nothing more than a ruthless Federation Agent, while the cause ultimately consumed her own happiness.

Anna couldn't have been sure that Central Security wouldn't take further action following her decision to let Avon go. If she had endured more intensive questioning from her superiors, I believe that she too would have decided that he was worth dying for.

No one should lose the person they love in such appalling circumstances. Everything Avon had believed is destroyed! But this isn't only about Avon's broken heart, his raw emotion and personal loss.

Federation troops claimed that the rebels in the mansion were surrounded, but there were other ways things could have played out if had Anna survived - scenarios ending in success, with teleporting assistance from the Liberator crew and Servalan as their ultimate bargaining chip. Nobody would have been able to touch them.

Anna's death... Sula's death... this resilient woman's death, irrespective of what name she used, is a massive blow to the rebellion.

Avon is not a fool - his instincts to trust Anna were always correct. In another time and place, the outcome could have been very different. The rational computer expert would have learned the truth about his lover, and part of him would not have died in that cellar with Anna's corpse growing cold in his arms.

Illustrations by Lurena

All original fan writing and artwork hosted on Horizon is copyright to the individual authors and artists. No attempt is intended to supersede the copyright held by the estate of Terry Nation, the BBC, B7 Media, Big Finish or any other licensees or holders of copyright on Blake's 7 material.
· Posted by Travisina on 04 July 2016 4183 Reads ·