Duty (Blake's 7 story)

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Title: Duty
Author(s): Pat Jacquerie
Date(s): 1996
Genre: slash
Fandom: Blake's 7
External Links: on AO3 here and in 2 parts here and here, previously hosted online here via WBM

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Duty is a Blake's 7 Avon/Tarrant story by Pat Jacquerie.

It was published in Southern Comfort #9.5.

Author's Notes

From online:
This is a special story for me, for several reasons: It was my first slash story, started before I was even sure I liked slash (I began it basically as an experiment to see if I could write slash). It was the longest piece I'd done thus far and living with a piece of fiction for five months definitely brought me close to the characters. And, as noted elsewhere on this site, it was the story that prompted me to create, with Lexa's help, the society of Fargone, which has been a pleasant place for me to visit ever since.
From the print zine:
This story was more of a group effort than most and a big chunk of the credit should go to Erika Bloom and Lexa Reiss, who helped me construct the plot, figure out the social, political, and economic structure of Fargone and, with Aurora, patiently read every scene as it came hot out of the word processor. Thanks also to Ashley McC, who told me how to humiliate Tarrant (and thus birthed the Del Subplot) and the whole gang on GEnie's Jacquerie Press topic, who provided both moral support and practical information on such subjects as how to crash a spaceship, the possible composition of futuristic plastics, and much more.

Regarding Authorial Insertion -- A Conversation Between Two Fans (Contains Spoilers)

The only minus (IMHO) is the revelation about Fargone's rulers at the end (cringe)

SPOILER WARNING: don't read on if you don't want 'em....

But the reason you cringe, m'dear, is surely the same reason I did - Fargone's rulers are you, the reader and her, the writer. Who else has been invisible but secretly empowered, observing, recording and ultimately directing the action throughout? (And fairly early in the unfinished sequel, there's a casual remark that makes it clear that said observers were cheating; visitors from off-planet were not subject to the rules). I'd say that ending was one of the most subtle authorial interventions in fanfic: the ultimate but completely subverted Mary-Sue.[1]
Yeah, of *course* I realised that when I read it, but it just provoked a big "arrrgh" reaction from me. It was something that I really didn't need in a story, because I know we're the voyeurs, thankyouverymuch, dear ficcer. It just came across as trying to be terribly clever (and being bleeding obvious instead). Authorial self-insertion (hurk) with oh-so-deep metatextual "points" (double hurk) is *not* what I want to read in a fanfic.[2]
Authorial self-insertion (hurk) with oh-so-deep metatextual "points" (double hurk) is *not* what I want to read in a fanfic. You must have to pass over an awful lot then, because one thing I've been really interested by is the amount of authorial self-insertion that goes on in this genre.[3]
Wish-fullfilment lends itself well to Mary Sues, yes. Personally I prefer to read fic about the canon characters, not the writer...[4]
I didn't mean accidental Mary Sues so much as conscious author-intervention, which can be quite interesting. Authors talking to characters can be fun in litfic ir fanfic, IMO.[5]

Reactions and Reviews

Pat Got It about slash on August 9, 1995, at about 2:00 PM on a Wednesday afternoon - very inconvenient timing, since she was at work at the time! She had already been working on "Duty," just to see if she could write a slash story without actually being a slash fan; but it was slow going, because Avon and Tarrant are such stubborn types. For quite some time they both told their Writer, "I won't do it, and you can't make me!" Then, all of a sudden, they changed their minds in a big way, and the rest is history. The story that resulted has become one of the classics of B7 fandom.[6]
Long and hot and hits nearly every kink I've got; this is one of my most-often-re-read stories.[7]
Pat Jacquerie's "Duty" is an epic tale of Avon and Tarrant coming to terms with each other and the culture of Fargone, an agricultural planet where (you guessed it) homosexuality between men under fifty is the norm. Having said that, this is quite different from the usual "Our Heroes On A Gay Planet" story, in that we get to see the culture of the planet in depth, get to know its people and their joys and sorrows. I don't usually care much for long and winding plots and OCs, but here they work quite well--it isn't just a story of two guys, but of more complex interactions between them and the people of Fargone. Avon and Tarrant are clearly recogniseable and believeable. Avon's dry wit and Tarrant's youthful impetuousness are both here in evidence, and the relationship between them is just as difficult as you could imagine. Good Tarrant stories are hard to find, and here, I think, we have Tufty characterisation at its best. I can see the twinkle of the blue eyes when I read what he's saying and doing here. Conflicting emotions, thoughts and actions, sizzlingly hot and desperate sex (and lovemaking), then denial and conflict again... the boys go through a lot during the course of this story and it's all good. The only minus (IMHO) is the revelation about Fargone's rulers at the end (cringe), but thankfully that is at the very end and doesn't spoil the main thread of the A/Tness.[8]
The centerpiece of the zine, and my own favorite by far. My MediaWest roommates laughed at me because I kept rereading this one even though I'd already done so many times already. This is Pat's slash debut, an A/T novella. Stranded on a distant planet with unusual customs, Avon and Tarrant must perform certain social duties in order to get the help they need. There is lots of hot explicit sex (with some yummy illos by Randym of two of the best bits, the shower scene and the dream), a plot with some surprising twists as well, and a tearjerking bittersweet ending. (But don't worry, there will be a sequel!) [contains explicit sex] [9]
Stranded on a distant planet with unusual customs, Avon and Tarrant find that they must perform certain obligatory social duties in order to get the help they need. But all is not quite as it seems, either on the planet Fargone or in the shifting emotional dynamics between the initially reluctant lovers. A nice balance between plot and extremely hot sex, with a tearjerking bittersweet ending." [10]


  1. ^ from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  2. ^ from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  3. ^ from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  4. ^ from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  5. ^ from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  6. ^ Sarah T. at In Memory: Pat's friends and fans share their memories of her.; Webcite
  7. ^ Alien Recs by Resonant, 2005
  8. ^ from Crack Van, recced by snowgrouse, July 4, 2004
  9. ^ from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  10. ^ Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories