Vila Restal was a career criminal and recidivist who was rescued from Cygnus Alpha by Roj Blake. Although apolitical and cautious to the point of cowardice, Vila's enormous skill at penetrating security systems made him a valuable member of the crew.
History[edit | edit source]
Early life[edit | edit source]
Vila was an unreliable witness when it came to his own background, mentioning his time in juvenile detention wards and how he was first sent to a penal colony at the age of 14. He claimed to have been a wanted man all his life.
However, on other occasions he claimed to have intellectual ability of an Alpha-grade worker, only having bought his Delta-grade status to avoid being sent to Federation Space Academy (he also described his status as "grade-4 ignorant").
He claimed the Federation authorities had tried on a number of occasions to remove his criminal tendencies through psycho-surgery, but it had never taken. He was eventually sentenced to permanent exile on Cygnus Alpha.
A reluctant rebel[edit | edit source]
Vila was a part of Blake's original attempt to take the London, an attempt which failed when he himself panicked and threw down his gun, allowing the crew to take the rebels prisoner again.(A: Space Fall)
He later opted to join Blake's escape bid from Cygnus Alpha itself and joined the Liberator crew. His lockpicking and safecracking skills came in handy on numerous occasions, even if the others occasionally found his timidity, carelessness and occasional drunkeness irritating. He made no effort to leave the ship even after being offered the chance of a new and probably happier life on "Vilaworld".
Personality[edit | edit source]
Most people assumed Vila was simply foolish, a belief he seemed quite happy to encourage, but his technical skill if nothing else showed he had a high intelligence. On occasions, however, he was prone to making very bad judgements - trusting the Hitechs on Chenga, for instance.
He himself once said 'there isn't a lock I can't pick - if I'm scared enough' and this seems to have been true, as no Federation security system seemed capable of keeping him out. Alien locks such as those on Spaceworld posed him no difficulties either, though he at one point said he thought voice-print recognition systems were foolproof and that the lock on the Scorpio hangar door was 'very difficult'. Criminal activity seemed almost instinctive for him, to the extent of stealing Blake's watch while awaiting deportation from Earth.
Vila liked a drink, and was prone to respond to a difficult situation by heading for the nearest bottle. Dorian's wine cellar did not last long once Vila had taken up residence in Xenon Base. He was not above using his boozy reputation to his own ends, once pretending to be drunk in order to propose a dangerous scheme he himself would seem too inebriated to be pressganged into executing.
Vila was nervous about direct personal combat and rarely fired a shot in anger. He was a little more enthusiastic when it came to ship-to-ship combat. He could handle himself in a pinch, for example he knocked out Arlen immediately prior to the massacre on Gauda Prime, but in general preferred to keep out of the action.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
With Avon[edit | edit source]
Vila had a complex relationship with Avon, based on a surprisingly deep mutual understanding. Both were well aware of the others' abilities and sensibilities, and the two were surprisingly similar - both deeply pragmatic, ultimately motivated by their own self-interest rather than any great ideology. The two could work together with great efficiency, as in their attempt to defraud the casinos of Freedom City. They had an understanding of each others characters, but this cannot really be described as a "friendship" as some try to claim. Although they had some similarities, there were also many differences not least their social class.
Avon treated Vila with frequently contemptuous indulgence, but the two appeared to trust each other on at least some level. However, their bond was severely damaged following their visit to the planet Malodar. Trapped together aboard a shuttlecraft in a decaying orbit, it was necessary to shed weight to survive - and Avon was informed that Vila weighed enough to save the ship. Genuinely believing Avon meant to kill him in order to save his own life, Vila went into hiding. Even after they were both saved, Vila remained wary and suspicious of Avon.
With others[edit | edit source]
His other crewmates seemed to disregard Vila and his abilities. Tarrant occasionally bullied him, even to the point where Avon interceded on his behalf. Dayna appeared to find him rather obnoxious.
His only real friend appeared to be Gan, whom Vila seemed to admire for simply being different: "He was straightforward, wasn't always expecting to be cheated and double-crossed - not like us". When Gan's failed limiter threatened to kill him, Vila was provoked to the extent of taking up a gun and threatening to kill Kahn unless he operated.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
- Vila was the only character to appear in all 52 episodes.
- Michael Keating's least favourite episode was Ultraworld, due to Vila's exaggerated silliness.
- The storyline of City at the Edge of the World was inspired by a comment made by Michael Keating's daughter, who admonished his father's character of being too cowardly. As such, the episode features Vila in a rare heroic role.
- In Tony Attwood's non-canonical novel Afterlife, Vila survives the shootout on Gauda Prime and continues travelling with fellow survivor Avon and Federation agent Korell.