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Clocks and Boxes — Part 28: Accompli

"Donna, I have to hand it to you and your Grampy," Carol said. "That massive prison break went like clockwork."

"Of course it went like clockwork!" Grampy Erik said.

"No offense meant," Carol said. "It's just that you see prison breaks on TV, you read about them in the paper, and it seems like there's usually some exciting incident during the escape that raises the tension and drama."

"Not with me in charge!" Erik said, squaring his skinny shoulders beneath his brown cardigan.

Donna nodded in satisfaction as she looked around the assembled Pavilionites. They were all there – mostly the ones whose names she couldn't remember, but also a very uncertain looking Laura Cho, and Axel Platzoff who was still strapped into his Hannibal Lechter gurney, in spite of being catatonic.

"Zorbar still have doubts about Zorbar's role in whole affair," Zorbar said, adjusting his silk ballgown.

"If your plan A is good, you don't really need a plan B," Erik said. "And yet, a sensible man still has a plan B ready to go. You were plan B. If the guards had found that gun made of soap that I baked into the cake, or noticed any of those bedsheets I made out of rope, you would have had to make the warden fall in love with you, then drug him and steal the keys."

"But there several actual attractive women in our group, so why Zorbar dressed…"

"So did we get everyone?" Donna said. It was good getting the whole Pavilion together, but on the other hand she knew it would surely lead to a vast uptick in the number of rambling conversations that didn't really drive events.

Carol and Zorbar began counting everyone. It looked like it was going to take a while, because Zorbar's counting skills were a little rudimentary. But it gave Donna time to think.

They were hidden in a new building at the Harrison Food Preserving company. The structure had only recently been completed and the building hadn't yet been fitted out. It wasn't an ideal hiding place, but it would have to do until something better came along.

Donna leaned against a concrete pillar and sighed. The escape might have gone without a single hitch, but even the act of doing something so flagrantly illegal had caused her heart to race and her blood pressure to rise. Now that she was relaxing, she found herself filled with a sudden and inexplicable sense of jealousy at the sight of her former workmates counting badly and having various other comical misunderstandings. Why couldn't she get in on any of that action? Why was it her role to do the serious work while others played the clown?

"Yours is a more deadpan style of comedy," said Sadie.

Donna did a quick double-take. "Sadie! You're alive after all!"

"Nope," Sadie said. "Dead. "

"Oh. This is like Obi-Wan Kenobi, isn't it?" Donna said. "My dead mentor telling me to stay the course?"

"I don't know who Obi-Wan Kenobi is."

"No!" Donna sneered. "You're doing it wrong. You're meant to say 'Obi-Wan Kenobi? Isn't he the guy from the Seven Samurai who beat up Yul Brynner or something."

"Donna, I'm not even deadpan funny," Sadie said. "I'm just here to give you some help. No one else can see me. I'm just a picture conjured from your memories, but…"

"Glow blue."


"You heard me. If you're an illusion of yourself that you're creating in my mind, add a blue glow."

With a very deep sigh, Sadie suddenly acquired a blue aura. "Better?"


Sadie took a moment, seeming to assemble her remarks. Donna folded her arms and waited for her to speak. Amongst the milling Pavilionites in their prison uniforms, she noticed Nalda in her omnipresent leather jacket, looking around the structure with as confused a look as an impassive cyborg is capable of.

"I'd keep an eye on what's going on there," Sadie said. "Nalda is a troubled soul. For certain values of 'soul', of course."

Donna had so many questions for her fallen mentor, and yet she said nothing. Why was that? she wondered. Perhaps she felt… resentful of Sadie? Sadie had saved Donna from her worst instincts and then just gone. Gone away and left her to make her own way in this wicked world.

"You never told me what you were," Donna said. "A saint? An angel?"

"Angel will do. It's not quite right, but its close enough. I am an eternal servant of the light and enemy of the darkness. But I also was a real, solid, living woman and that woman is now dead."

"Well what do you think of your protégé fomenting a jailbreak?"

Sadie looked at the floor, then up to the ceiling. "If I learned anything in my time with the Pavilion, it is that even a dim and faltering light is an enemy of the darkness. No less so than the brightest beacon."

A lump formed in Donna's throat and a tear ran down her cheek. "I missed you. I still miss you. And I miss Fiona."

"Fiona will return to the light soon. I am sure of it. And you will continue doing what you do. Preparing for the battle to come. If Ms Shan can't be found, then you may have to lead. Yes, you. I know you doubt yourself. You have experienced setbacks. Made mistakes. But you have also grown in your power. Your role in the coming battle will be a vital one."

Donna rubbed her eyes. Was she more proud of this? Or more disappointed that she would not be allowed to bow out of the battle after her victories? Donna had been fighting for the light, but at least in part that had been because she lacked something else to do.

This was her life. This was her life now. Warrior of the light, God help her.

"What about the Brownie?" she said as she reopened her eyes. But Sadie was not there and where she had been now Zorbar stood.

"What matter Donna?" Zorbar said. "You stare at empty space. You cry. That bad sign. You need help? Zorbar think talk feelings much im-por-tant..."

Donna screwed up her face. "Zorbar, why are you still wearing the ballgown?"

"Zorbar find all clothes bad," the ape-man said. "Also Carol, wife of Zorbar, keep giving Zorbar looks. Could be interesting. Perhaps it not Zorbar cup tea," he added with a waggle of his hand, "but Zorbar remain open to new experiences…"

"Ok, monkey-man, that's TMI," Donna sighed. "Just T… M… I."

Next: Part 29 -- Homewards

Previously: Part 27 -- Occupants

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