"Now that that's over--" Avon began.
"And we really ought to have known it was Travis under all the mummy wrappings, what with that single eye."
"As I was saying, Vila, now that that regrettable incident is behind us, I should like to point out that among a singularly weak-minded crew who seem to be open to any mental influence, I am the only one to remain unaffected by telepathy or mind control."
"And me," Vila said indignantly.
"You'd be in the weak-minded category anyway, but may I remind you of how the trans-dimensional alien induced you to hide Orac, sneak off to Space City despite the Terra Nostra and the bounty on your head, and get yourself helplessly drunk? Or would you prefer to assert that it was all your own idea?"
"Precisely. I need hardly mention the number of times someone has taken Cally over--"
"Thank you, Avon." Cally said icily.
"Or," Avon continued, looking at Jenna who wriggled with embarrassment, "the extraordinary episode of The Lost. You proved to be such a memorable mouthpiece, and the expression you wore was an entertaining bonus."
"Leave it alone, Avon."
Blake folded his arms. "You're getting to me next, aren't you."
"Do I need to?"
"The only reason you have never been affected," Cally said, "is that you have the most closed mind I have ever encountered."
"Whereas yours is open to the extreme." Avon looked around at them all, nodded in satisfaction, and walked out.
"He needs to be taken down a peg," said Jenna.
"Several, in fact," said Vila.
Blake sighed and got up. "Just ignore him. I'll be in my cabin."
"I'd say," Cally said thoughtfully, watching Blake leave, "that a demonstration that Avon can be influenced mentally is called for."
"Can you do that?" Vila asked eagerly. "How, if his mind is all locked down?"
"I have an idea."
"We've all been under pressure and stress lately," said Cally the next day, ignoring Vila's "So what's new?"
"We are on course to Del 10," Blake said heavily, still resenting how the crew had, very vocally, demanded it.
"Yes, but the break will be so much more effective if we use the time to relax."
"Don’t tell me." Avon said. "Not more yoga."
"It would have helped if we'd been able to finish the session."
"It would have helped if Vila hadn't laughed at me in that pose."
"The 'child'!" Vila sniggered. "That just made it doubly funny!"
"Vila will once again be excluded," Cally said firmly.
"He'll be on watch," Blake growled.
"May fate help us all," Avon muttered.
"Relax," Cally said softly. "Empty your mind."
"Ready for a new tenant," Avon said.
"Avon!" Cally closed her eyes to calm herself again. "Please be silent, all of you. Your mind," she continued quietly, "is never empty, but just try to still all conscious thoughts. There may be some random ones, as when you're drifting off to sleep, but that shows how relaxed you are. Just think of how your body feels as you relax more and more, tensing and releasing each muscle." She leaned to one side and turned the music on, a contemplative, wandering Auronar piece. "And as each muscle relaxes, let yourself fall deeper into peace."
Blake, already asleep, snored softly. Cally opened an eye to check on Avon, but he didn't move or comment. "You're all doing very well," she murmured, and began her own mental exercise.
After about 15 minutes, she said, "And now gently come out of the relaxation. Now that you have released all that tension, you are ready to move on to some poses. This time I will leave the choice of pose to you."
Jenna sighed and stretched, rolled over, and arched her back into the 'cobra'. Blake remained lying on his back with his arms loose at his side, in the 'corpse' pose. Cally gave Avon a sidelong look, watching as he knelt facing the wall, put his forearms and head on the ground, and lifted his body to rest upright against the wall. She smiled triumphantly. "Very good. Hold as long as you like, then release the pose."
Blake stayed where he was, Jenna sat up, and Avon dropped his knees to the floor and turned, his face reddened.
"May I ask why you chose that particular pose, Avon?" Cally said. "One you've never done before?"
"It occurred to me the increased blood flow to the brain to be beneficial."
"Oh, it occurred to you? There's a note under your mat. I suggest you read it."
Avon felt for it and stared disbelievingly. In Vila's handwriting it said, "Make Avon stand on his big head." He screwed it up and threw it at Cally. "That's the last time you get me involved in your silliness," he said as he stalked out.
Vila stuck his head round the door. "Must've worked! Wish I'd seen it, but the look on his face was worth it. Thanks, Cally."
Cally smirked. "The pleasure was mine."