Monday, 24 October 2016


SUBJECT: Room on top?

Dear Servalan,

Hope you are quite well. Or, to be absolutely consistent, quite mad, bad and dangerous to know as ever you were. Sorry to have missed you on down there on the planet Malodar, a world that lived up to its name by stinking to high heaven. And yes, I got your scent, right enough, amidst the stench of deceit, regret, frustrated eroticism and Deep Heat. That evil genius Egrorian had certainly pressed against somebody who wears ‘Suspiria’ perfume, and in these circumstances at least, it wasn’t his ex-boyfriend Pinder (it was him with the Deep Heat). I wouldn’t have thought Professor E. was your type, but I can hardly talk, having taken myself and my colleagues to Malodar and the brink of destruction on nothing more than the promise of his giant weapon.

So yes, I got away, and more than that, I know it was you who tried to kill me, and more than that, I know that you know that I know, in fact: you know that I know that you knew that I know that you knew that I know that you knew, and so ad infinitum. I don’t think there’s anything we don’t know about each other. Never was the chance of a mate allowed to grow so stale.

For a long time we’ve been in the same orbit, you and I, going around and around. To an observer, it might look as if you were in pursuit; to a political theorist, it might seem that I’ve been deliberately giving you the runaround. Only an astrophysicist would know the truth: we’re both swinging in circles because that’s how the universe holds together. But whose orbit is holding us, Servalan, and if he’s not around anymore – are we free to go our own way?

To be frank, I’m writing to see if you’ve got any jobs going free at the Federation, or wherever it is you work at the moment. If you can get away with an assumed name, not even growing your hair out, I’m pretty sure I could slip into some secret niche. No, it’s not a trap. What would be the point?

Once upon a time, I’d have scorned to ask such a question. You were the enemy, pure and simple – well, not at first. Servalan, you were a target. You made yourself our opposition, pursuing and antagonising us and generally looming large. You and Travis put a face on the forces that Blake and Jenna were set against. We all came to obsess over that face, one way or another.

Nowadays, I’ve no idea what you stand for or what you want. You’re hardly in power any more, and all your schemes generally come to naught since my leather-trousered arse is still sitting safe and sound on board the Scorpio as I write this. You’re no opposition and certainly no target. If you want to get anywhere, you’re going to need better allies than Pinder and Egrorian.

More to the point, and speaking off the record, I’m not entirely sure what my place in the universe is any more. I don’t need money or glory. The woman I loved, as you know, is dead. My old friends sell me out, my new friends make me sick. Somewhere in the middle is Vila. I’ve never quite been able to make up my mind about Vila, but last Monday evening in the heat of the moment, everything to play for… to my surprise, I found my mind was made up. Oh, we laughed about it afterward, but since then, it’s given me pause. I’ve caught myself staring into space with even more gravity and melodrama than usual.

I can’t keep flying around in circles, Serv. Something has to give. You know what I’m talking about: you nearly made it out, left for dead twice, and you clambered back onto the horse and where did it get you? Pressing yourself against Egrorian, hatching another pointless scheme. I know you know what I’m talking about. You know I know, and I know that you know that I know.

Sooner or later there has to be a decisive move on someone’s part. I could send along my CV but I suspect you have all the salient details.

See you next Monday,

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