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June 2024 Ficlet Challenge
The word prompt this month is...


And for the second challenge:

One of our characters has been eavesdropping...

“We’re clear about this? Their launch failed, and the missile is set to detonate. Avon, once we are down there, get Orac to tap into its programming. Jenna – you’re in charge up here. Gan, operate the teleport and then you’re on watch with Jenna. Cally, bring the medical kit, just in case. Vila – are you ready?”
“No! It’s all right for you, standing there telling everyone else what to do!” Vila shouted. Blake turned back,
“I don’t have time to argue, Vila. Get your tools.”
“I’m not going. Let’s see the teleport set you down in something nasty, for once. I’m sick of it.”
The two stared at each other. Then, to Vila’s surprise, Blake strode back to the crew area.
“So am I,” he snarled furiously, “Sick of all the moaning and whining. Sick of the snide comments and clever put-downs. Oh, it’s not just you, Vila. It’s everyone. If you lot don’t like me telling you what to do – fine. I resign.”
“What?” Vila was shaken. It sounded as if Roj really meant it, “I didn’t mean – “
“Maybe not, but you’re in control for this one, Vila. Let’s see how you like it!” the other man shouted back. He sat down and folded his arms.
Avon said nothing. He’d seen this coming for a while now. The strain of being on the run was getting to them all. He was interested to see what Vila would do next.
Jenna, meanwhile, was having her own minor meltdown.
“Stop it!” she grumbled, “Stop it, both of you. If we don’t get down there soon, there won’t be any point going. That thing’s going to explode!”
Gan and Cally exchanged a glance, but neither spoke. Vila looked from Blake to Avon and back again, stumped.
“Well, Vila, what’s the plan?” Avon asked, pleasantly enough, but there was an edge to it that everyone heard and understood: there was no way Avon was going to step in to help.
“Er…give me a minute,” Vila managed, retreating to his station on the flight deck. They waited.

“Yes – do call in! Whenever you’re passing – and thanks, “ the rebel leader smiled and waved as they left.
The crew of the Liberator returned to the ship in silence.
“That went quite well, I thought, “ Vila commented as the others replaced their teleport bracelets in the rack. Everyone but Avon rapidly disappeared. The computer expert nodded agreement,
“Surprisingly well,” he commented, “Especially the part where they paid you in Tyhrrian brandy.”
They had reached Vila’s cabin. Vila heaved the crate of brandy onto the table,
“Well, once I found the combination, the rest was easy. Credit where credit’s due, though, you were the one that isolated the mechanism. Personally, I thought the best bit was when Blake crawled out of that tunnel covered in mud.”
“Especially since he didn’t need to,” Avon nodded. Orac had accessed the missile’s controls remotely.
“Oh, he needed to,” Vila replied, “I was in control for this one, remember?”
"You're not sulking, I hope?"
That was absolutely brilliant, M1…Virn! I love the bit about Blake crawling through a muddy tunnel. Grin
The Blake’s 7 section of my blog, where I post fics, art, essays, etcetera.
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Wonderfully satisfying!
Play the hand fate deals you.
After hearing of Gary’s passing, I was stunned and couldn’t bring myself to write anything for this month’s prompt, but after talking to Purple Cleric (Fiona) at Seek, Locate, Celebrate, I decided to give it a go.
Nothing serious, I told her, but maybe something lighthearted. So here it is, both prompts in one story.

Out of Control

“It would appear that our enimagic gun slinger for hire is not happy,” Tarrant murmured.
“I had noticed a distinct chill in the air,” replied Avon.
“And she is interrogating Vila about it.”
“How do you know?”
“Unfortunately, it’s difficult to hear conversations properly through a solid wall,” Tarrant admitted.
“Eavesdropping again?” Avon asked.
“Purely to make sure that you, or I, are not on the receiving end of Soolin’s anger.”
“Very wise...”

“It isn’t me!” Vila insisted.
“You are the only one on this base who knows how to unlock a locked door. Or did you think I hadn’t noticed?” Soolin asked.
“Notice what? And besides, there are others on this base who know how to unlock doors.”
“Somehow I can’t imagine Orac having any interest in what my cabin contains.”
“Your cabin? I wouldn’t dare.”
“Well someone has dared. Because this was full two days ago and it isn’t now.”
“Hairspray? What on Earth would I want with hairspray?”

“I think now would be a good time to leave,” Tarrant suggested.
“An urgent supply run?”

Soolin was still fuming as Dayna informed her that Scorpio has just left Xenon and was heading off to...she had no idea!
“I have an idea that the culprits are aboard that ship...just wait until they get back!”

“So what sort are we looking for?” Tarrant asked.
“Didn’t you look when you were using it?” Avon replied.
“I might ask you the same question.”
“Point taken. Maybe we should ask one of the assistants.”
“Oh yes, draw attention to ourselves, why not?”
“Well maybe a selection? Light control; medium control etc”
“May I be of assistance gentlemen?”
It was a small service robot; one that was obviously designed to eavesdrop on potential customers.
“Well yes,” Tarrant mumbled,” Hairspray.”
“For yourselves?”
“Yes...”uttered Tarrant.
”” replied Avon, equally uneasy about the whole situation.
“Oh, I see.”
“You do?” Tarrant said.
“Of course, you need supplies for your Hair Salon.”
Avon nudged Tarrant quickly in the ribs. “Yes, precisely.”
The service robot cast its one eye over the two men who were obviously out of their comfort zone and looked the most unlikely pair of hairdressers ever.
“Well, it takes all sorts...Come with me please gentlemen.”
“What does it mean ‘it takes all sorts’?” Tarrant asked.
“Just follow it before any more customers start looking at us...”

“Oh, are you two in trouble! “Vila announced as they entered Xenon base, “Soolin is furious.”
“Not for long,” Tarrant said.
“I wouldn’t bet on that,” Dayna smiled,” In fact, she could well shoot you on sight. What on Earth were you thinking of using her hairspray?”
“Yes,” purred Soolin, “Maybe you should explain that before I shoot you.”
“Perhaps we should have asked you first, but neither Tarrant, or I, were aware that we were both...”
“Both of you. Trying to control your blow away hair?”
“Before you continue, perhaps you should see what we have bought for you. Shouldn’t she Tarrant?”
Tarrant was still nervously eyeing Soolin’s gun pointed unerringly at him...and Avon.
He reached into the box placed on the floor and produced several cans of hairspray.
“Look all different types of control for fine, permed, flyaway....”
“Not control..hold.”
“Hold.” Soolin replaced her gun and picked the box up, “Oh good.”
“And there are more boxes in Scorpio’s hold,” Avon informed her.
“Including enough for you two?” Soolin smiled slyly.
“More than enough!” declared the little service robot, as it appeared in the doorway with its trolley piled high with assorted boxes of hairspray....
Cold! You don't know the meaning of the word cold!
Cold is when you have ice on the INSIDE of your window!!

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