Date: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 12:18 AM Title: Five Things that Never Happened to Aeryn Sun [Farscape] Author: cofax Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Summary: These things have not happened. But... Notes: Blame it on Shrift and Nestra, and the multi-fandom meme about "five things". Spoilers through to Hot to Katratzi.
The creche on level dekka-six is, like all the others, dark and silent at this arn in the sleep period. The bunks are narrow and evenly-spaced, the occupants identical in the dim light.
Officer Sun enters the room, one hand reflexively on her weapon. It wouldn't do to be caught here: too many questions would be asked, questions she is not free to answer. She has something to do, a message to convey, and then she will be gone. Another assignment, another task, the price she pays for her continued existence hidden deep inside.
The price is high; but she will pay any price for love.
He was horrified, and he fought her in the end, but he was too slow, too old. He couldn't believe she had it in her, although he'd known her for cycles, known the way she could harden herself for combat. His anger and despair weren't enough to change her mind.
She left him bleeding on the floor, and came away.
The dark-haired child is at the end of the row, closest to the wall. Officer Sun sees nothing of herself in her, nothing of Talyn. She draws her combat knife as the girl begins to stir, and puts her hand over the small mouth, crouching now next to the bed.
The blade slides in smoothly. The girl wrenches at her hand for a moment, but it's over quickly. Sun wipes her hand on the blanket and steps back.
Talyn will be waiting for her.
They have little time for goodbyes; according to Talyn's sensors, the wormhole is destabilizing rapidly. And while Furlow had lied about the frequency of the solar flares, John isn't about to wait.
Rygel hovers in the cabin doorway, an expression on his face that Aeryn can almost believe is regret. John stuffs another shirt into the bag on the bunk, talking all the while. "Don't forget to tell D'Argo about Xhalax and Crais, Sparky -- we never saw her body."
Aeryn picks her pack up from the floor. It is light; she has little she can use where they are going. John looks up, and a frown creases his brow. "Sorry, babe, but --"
"No," she interrupts, and looks away through the viewscreen. "It doesn't matter." The debris of the dreadnought, what little there is, spins slowly past them in the blue light cast by the wormhole.
His packing finished, John slings his bag over his shoulder, and grabs the long coat. He turns toward the door where Aeryn and Rygel wait, and then stops and looks down again. Runs his hand gently over Wynona's grip, hesitates, and then throws the coat back on the bed. "Make sure he gets that, will ya, Ryge?"
Rygel lifts a hand as they pass into the corridor. "On my word as Dominar, Crichton."
Aeryn can't resist pausing in the hangar bay, and turns slowly in a circle. Crais has been mercifully silent in his cabin, recovering from the flare-induced blindness. But Talyn knows what is happening, and Aeryn can tell he resents it. The lights in the bay are dim, blood-red, and flickering irregularly.
"Talyn," she says at last, and puts her hand on the warm bulkhead. The panel by the door blinks twice. "You are grown, now, and you don't need me anymore. Learn, and live, and become wise, like your mother. I know -- " and her voice catches on it, on the fear she carries for this tortured creature she has nursed and guided. "I know you will make her, and me, proud."
"Aeryn!" hisses John from his seat in the module. The phase stabilizer warps the small craft's familiar silhouette. "If we're going, we gotta go now!" So close, now, after nearly four cycles; she cannot ask him to choose. She saw what such a choice did to her mother.
She nods, and throws her bag up to John before climbing in herself.
They did what they had to do, and now they will go.
Stark leaves immediately after the funeral. It's not Crichton's fault; everyone knows this. Zhaan always made her own decisions. But Stark has never been rational, even by Moya's lax standards.
And now Zhaan is dead, and Aeryn is still dead, and the cold spreads outwards from the canisters in the cargo bays.
Within a month more will die, and some will leave, and when John Crichton's journey ends only Pilot will be there to say farewell.
She loves best the arns just before the crew awakens, when it is only the two of them, and the stars. They soar then, glide, spin, wheel through the infinite like the flying creatures Crichton used to tell her of, those first weekens before everything changed.
Everything is simple, and Talyn's voice is loving and warm.
When the crew awakens they lose that. There are always demands: to send more DRDs to the galley where the Interion has broken the heating mechanism again, to provide more water to Rygel's quarters, to print out schematics for Crichton in his never-ending work on Talyn's power systems.
Talyn grows restless and unsettled without her full attention, but she must attend to their passengers. When Crichton arrives, as he does every day, carrying his breakfast and a cup of something he claims is "almost kahvee", she is arguing with Talyn about the proper power ratio in the hammand-side gravity bladders.
"Yo, Aeryn! How you doin' today?"
She blinks at him for a moment before responding. Sometimes, when she has been deep in communion with Talyn, it is difficult to return to mere words, meaning carried by forcing air through a narrow passageway in her throat. How inefficient it all is.
"We are fine, Crichton," she says, and tilts her head forward. "Did you sleep well?"
"Like a baby," he replies with a grin, and rests a familiar hand on her carapace. She can feel the heat faintly, like a bit of debris at the edge of Talyn's senses. She remembers a time -- but no. There is no point in thinking about it. This is where she is, what she is.
She and Talyn are responsible for this crew, and they fulfill their responsibility well, she believes. No one has died under her watch, the Peacekeepers have not discovered them, and Moya is free of the violence the escaped prisoners draw to them.
Crichton pulls a stool up next to her console and spreads out the diagrams he'd been working on yesterday. It's time to plan the day's work. This is what she does, this is who she is.
This, this, is what she was bred for. She knows it now.
He comes for her, as she knew he would. He always comes for her. She wonders sometimes if it would be possible to go so far that he could not find her.
This time she didn't run, she was taken. A new twist, but the outcome is the same. He comes for her, and carries her away, and all is as it should be. As she was promised.
He sleeps beside her, and it is clear he has not slept since she was taken. She gets up very carefully, cautious of the pain in her abdomen. He does not stir but for a mumble that might be her name. His eyelids twitch as he dreams. She touches his hair, very softly, and steps back from the bed, watching him sleep.
They had barely touched since leaving Earth, but for some stolen moments in the upper tiers. She dreamed of the warmth of his hands, in the Scarran cell. Couldn't stop herself thinking of the way his twin had buried himself in her, of the taste of him, the way the blankets had reeked and Stark had listened in.
The child is John's. This man -- this is John but not John, and despite all his talk of DNA and twinning, it is not his child. He did not die in her arms, he was not with her night after night, making her body arch and swell and curve to meet his. Taking her heart into his and giving it back doubled. The child is John's child; and she touches her belly softly, the way she once saw a woman in a marketplace touch herself. She knows now why.
The child itself is a promise, to John. And she made a promise, to the child. To John. To a god she knew would not listen.
I will do anything to save my child.
Someone had heard that rash offer. She should have remembered the cost of promises.
She leaves through the open door, and walks slowly down the long halls. What she has to do is simple, and the price they paid to rescue her was too high for any of her crewmates to suspect her. By the time Pilot realizes what has happened it will be too late for any repairs to make a difference.
Moya will stop, and the Scarrans will follow the beacon in her womb, and they will take him. And they will give her child back.
That was the deal, and she loves him, but she has lived without him before.
And she made a promise.
Farscape: Where Even the Muppets Get Some. Weeknights on SciFi.
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to cofax
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