I woke up this morning to the news that Gareth Thomas, who played Roj Blake in Blake's 7, died yesterday at the age of 71.
In memory of him, I am posting this short story I wrote a while ago, in which Jenna Stannis, Blake's pilot and lover, mourns him after his death on Gauda Prime.
I told you not to do it, Roj - I begged you not to do it. Gauda Prime was never going to be a good place to start the revolution - too far gone, too sunk in its own corruption. I could see that after two weeks, Roj - and you could as well, don't pretend that you couldn't. But you were always so stubborn. You kept saying that they were criminals, just as we on the Liberator had been criminals, and we could make a team of them, just as we had been a team on the Liberator.
Seriously, Roj, the Liberator? A team? Who in that crew proved trustworthy? Gan, going beserk with that malfunctioning limiter - and who knows what he would have been without it? Vila? Very clever, certainly, very useful - but what a pathetic snivelling coward! Hold a gun against his head and he would do anything! When you left, did he look for you? No, always one to take the path of least resistance, was Vila - and that meant staying with Avon. Cally - the famous revolutionary? Well, she abandoned you too, didn't she? I always told you you couldn't trust aliens. Besides, she was besotted with Avon, anyone with half an eye could see that! And as for Avon - well, you found out the hard way, my poor darling, that Kerr Avon was never interested in anyone but Kerr Avon. He put himself first, second, and third - always. After Star One, after the war - did he come after you? Not him! He lost no time in picking up a new crew - and using the LIberator for petty piracy, as far as I could see. He only came when his base was discovered, his allies gone - when he had no other option at all. And did he come to join you, as you hoped? No, he came to betray you, came in the Federation's pay - that's what they're saying now - that he shot you and left his crew to rot and saved his own wretched skin. Oh, I know that they say on the viscasts that there was a body - but I've heard differently. And when I catch up with that stinking Judas he will wish he had never been born, I swear that on your grave, Roj.
Dearest Roj, you always saw the best in everyone, even when it wasn't there. I loved you for that - for that and for so many other things - but it was a weakness, in the end. I wish so much that you had known how well I was doing - how I went back to Jevron after my faked death and got in touch with Nordhaus again, and how we started up a smuggling network in the Harmony system - smuggling food and medicine to the squatters, and spreading the message too. I kept the faith, Roj, and would have done, even if no-one else had. And I was just going to get in touch with you again, when he beat me to it. Avon. And now what am I left with? The cause? You were my cause, Roj, my hope, my life, my only love - and what in this wide empty universe can I possibly do without you?