Captain, you shouldn't be here.
The child is moving within her.
Joy and fear flood through her in equal measures, and she cries out. The others respond, whispering words of comfort. We are with you. You are not alone. They are crooning the old songs. Rhythms older than the stars, echoes from an age when families stayed together and children were born free. The one they welcome with these songs today will live and die a slave.
But still they will sing, though no one listens.
I will be the judge of that. Is your team ready?
Her Pilot is frightened. They are both young, and they have not been joined long. She reaches for him, trying to be brave for them both. Through his eyes she sees her corridors, always filled with armored troopers, are nearly empty.
Yes, sir. The only voices on board are loud in the sudden silence. Sir, if this time is anything like the last one, there could be massive failure of all vital systems in less than five hundred microts, including life support. One hull breach in the wrong place, and this whole deck could collapse. The danger is . . .
Pain rips through her lower tiers, an involuntary shudder rocking her.
Your opinion is noted, Lieutenant! Now get your team working! It's almost time.
She recognizes the Captain's voice, though his face is invisible to the surveillance cameras, hidden behind his helmet. The Peacekeeper female is leaving Command, running to join the other Peacekeepers on the lower levels. They are moving toward her child.
The pain returns, like a cannon blast against her skin. Hull plates part, air rushing out of the opening and taking all warmth with it. The cold burns inside her, and her entire body shakes.
The others behind her can see the child, and the song grows louder. Control collars will not allow them to break formation. They cannot move toward her or assist her, here under the carrier's guns.
Cold fire deep inside her, tearing through sensitive flesh. Something is wrong. Now they are telling her he is different, he does not look like the others. A discordant note enters the song. His shape is all wrong, his side fins will catch against her walls, he cannot emerge without wounding her . . .
Pilot's wild terror batters against her mind, but she has no strength left to soothe him. The child is panicking, too, his movements growing frantic. She cannot see him, but she can feel him, battering against torn bulkheads. Her anguished howls drown their songs, and she thrashes from side to side.
The others tell her the pain will pass. But it doesn't, and she cannot stop shaking, and now the control collar is activating.
Captain, we've got a problem . . .
We are with you. She can hardly hear the others' voices. You are not alone. But they cannot help her. Agony burns through her bow, the pulse from the collar growing stronger as her child's guns rake along her walls.
Half an arn, and it is over.
Lieutenant? Lieutenant Larell, report!
She is silent. The others listen, but the only signals they can sense are Peacekeeper comms.
Captain? Are you all right?
Her child lies beside her, dull red and strangely shaped. He has not made a sound, either.
I'm . . . alive, Lieutenant. What happened? What went wrong?
Frozen amnexus particles gather behind her, a faint white cloud surrounding the offspring.
They're both dead, sir. Complete system failure. I don't understand. Her injuries were severe, but it shouldn't have killed her.
They call to her, but she does not answer. The songs have stopped.
Pull the gunship into docking bay fourteen. And send another tech team over here. I want a full report on both of them.
On frequencies far below the Peacekeeper channels, the armada mourns.
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Title: Failed Experiment #3
Author: Flora [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | gen | 3k | 04/11/04
Summary: 654 words on an original character. Inspired by "Family Ties".
Notes: For the Farscape Friday original characters challenge.
Disclaimer/Other: I don't own any of these characters. I'm not making any money off this, please don't sue.
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