Setting: Immediately after Scratch and Sniff
Characters: John,D'Argo, Ccri (OC)
Disclaimer: Not mine. If it was, we'd have a Farscape channel.
Three solar days ago:
She woke to someone in the bed beside her. Or rather some thing. It was a doll done up in a one-piece white jumper that was too big for it, little lips blowing a kiss frame by long black curls that draped over its shoulders.
“I had to buy it a different outfit since it was originally sold wearing a dress with the company’s insignia on the hem.” John stood in the door, arms stretched out, palms resting on the frame. “Now isn’t that the silliest thing you ever heard of?”
She nodded in agreement and sat up in bed as he asked, “How’re you feeling there?
Ccri touched the knot. “It’s hurts, but not as badly as last night and I don’t feel sick.”
“Can I check it?” He stepped in and knelt on the bed.
She turned her head so he could examine the back. “Yes, sir.”
“You don’t have to address me, either one of us, by ‘sir’ - makes me feel old.” He pushed aside her hair, running the palm of his hand gently over it. “Looks like the swelling is going down.” He dropped his hands onto his knees. “You let us know if you start feeling sick, okay.”
John climbed off of the bed. “Ccri…”
“We are taught that children aren’t allowed to address our elders by their prezk name,” she explains.
“Prezk name? That’s their given name, right? The one their parents gave them.”
“Yes, sir. We can address them by this name after we’ve reached adulthood.”
“At fifty cycles.”
“That is one hell of a long childhood.” He shook his head in disbelief before patting her on the shoulder. “Come on, I’m going to show you a favorite of my childhood. It’s called Christmas. Figured you were due one.”
Ccri and John waited in the room while D’Argo attempted to set up a meeting with Ysberin, passing the time playing with the toys that had been given to her a few arns before.
A beep alerted them that someone was coming in the door and John jumped up, hand reaching down to his gun as D’Argo opened the door. Seeing the familiar face, his hand stops and she can see him visibly relax.
“Oh. Hey. How’d it go?”
Shutting the door behind him, D’Argo faced them, hands resting on his hips as he glanced at the mess they’d made of the floor and single table. “It went well, they didn’t recognize me. Looks like you two are having fun.”
“And they know your name and were expecting to hear from you. I was able to find the slave workstations.” He looked over at Ccri. “Your mother and sisters are alive. I was able to tell them to be ready in three days time. The fencing was reinforced after your escape, but that won’t be a problem.”
Thank the beautiful goddess Sirla.
Ccri jumped up, excited at the good news and bursting for more information.
She didn’t get the first question out before John spoke. “That’s great…wait… What? You used my name? You are completely frelling nuts. It’s not like we’re going to be leaving this place on friendly terms.”
“I am friends with you, of course I’m nuts. Don’t worry about it. They actually think you’re some renegade militant leader. So I went with it.”
“Okay,” John stretched out the word. “I’ve gone off the deep end now. They thought I was some psycho general and you figured,” he shrugged his shoulders, spreading his arms out at his sides, “’what the hell’ - it’s not me.”
“John…” D’Argo dragged the name out slowly, coming closer to the other man, looming. “There is someone a bit more important than you here at the moment.”
They both glanced at her and smiled.
“Yeah, you’re right.” John clapped his hands together and he tried to sound cheerful. “I feel like lunch, how about you guys? I’ll order the food then while you tell Ccri about her mom and sisters I think she’s going to burst there.”
“Try this, John.”
His mouth dropped. “You said my name.” He looked at his friend. “D’Argo she said my name!”
“Yes, John. Ccri has said a lot of things since we met her,” D’Argo stated sarcastically.
She laughed at his reaction.
“What made you change your mind about the prezk name?”
Ccri passed him the last korash and blushed. “You don’t act like an elder.”
He snorted a laugh as he reached across the table. “I’ll take that as a compliment then.” He picked up the rolled food gingerly. “Do I want to know what it is?”
D’Argo looked across the table at her; she smiled and shook her head. “I think there is your answer, John.”
It’s a spicy meat, fried in kakis leaf and it’s not for everyone. She watched his eyes tear as he took a large bite.
“Ah…ah…ah…Don’t waste it. Eat.” John glared in his friend’s direction and swallowed quickly, grabbing for his drink, waving the other hand in front of his face.
“Hey – language. There’s a child here, remember?”
“She isn’t a child; she’s a Luxan in training.” His face has turned a bright red and that makes her laugh harder. “Baah… I need more to drink.” Crichton squinted his eyes in the direction of D’Argo’s cup. “Give me that.”
She could hear them arguing again. This time they’ve closed the door separating the rooms so that they could discuss things and Ccri could tell this time was much different than the others that she’d seen in the previous days. There was a thickness in the air that not even the hotel’s scrubbers could dissipate.
“You know what, D’Argo it doesn’t take a frelling rocket scientist to figure out what the hell is going on here and guess what – I am a rocket scientist. Remember?
"Oh, sure. Yeah, John, you're the genius around here and I'm just a dumb Luxan who only thinks with his mivonks and doesn't think anything through. Why don't you just show me the way *oh fearless leader*."
“Dammit, D'Argo, you know that's not what I meant. All I'm asking is that we walk into this cautiously. Think things through. 'Cause you know what - there's only the two of us. The girls are on Moya, Pilot is still throwing a hissy fit and out of comms range. If we are going to back each other up we need to not go in blind.”
“We’re not. While you’re chatting up Ysberin and brokering a deal, I’ll be inspecting the merchandise again since you don’t want to be around the dregs. I plant the explosives, things go boom, I get Ccri’s family and meet you at the pod. We fly off this waste of a planet before they can sight their guns on us.”
“That sounds frelling blind to me.”
“Well it is the best we’ve got.”
“What if Pilot isn’t there? What if they’ve got gunships that make Talyn look like a pony ride?”
She could hear John grow louder, more frantic, as he continued spouting what-ifs until D’Argo cut him off.
“Lower – your – voice before Ccri hears you. We have to do...this no matter what. I will not fail that little girl like…”
“Like?” John was silent for several microts. “Like the little girl at the memorial - Cyntrina.” The sadness as he speaks the words carried easily through the door.
“Yeah, like Cyntrina.”
“You didn’t fail her, D’Argo.”
“No – you’re right - you did.” Something loud hit the wall and Ccri sat up in bed.
“D... we – I did everything I could.”
“It wasn't frelling enough and this time you'll help me get it right and we will reunite this child with her mother. No matter what. Do you hear me, Crichton?”
“I hear you – we’ll save them no matter what.”
They grew quite – quieter than before at least as they talked about the drawing she’d given John earlier in the day. Whatever had happened to them in the past, ill feelings they harbored for one another were temporarily put aside as they attempted to work out the details of her family’s rescue and their escape from this world.
Two solar days ago :
John keyed in the code to their transport pod after they’ve finished putting away all of the things they’d purchased during their stay planetside. “Once you’ve put in this chip,” he held it up for her to focus on and placed it in her hand, “you’ll hear the seal unlock. Go inside and hit the bottom button on the panel next to the door. Do not open it for anyone. D’Argo has already gone through pre-flight and set the engine controls to start up a quarter arn after you lock it…”
“But – I want to go with you and help my mother.”
He shook his head. “It’s too dangerous,” he said forcefully.
“John,” the Luxan warned.
“D’Argo.” He looked up from where he was kneeling in front of Ccri. “Are you going to suggest that we bring her with us?”
“No. Never. But I think you’re scaring her.”
D’Argo took her hand, she looked at them and was surprised to find that she was trembling. All she could think was that something was going to go wrong and she would never see her mother or sister’s faces again. She started to cry.
John touched her shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. “Listen to me, Ccri, you’ve already done enough.” His eyes softened even further, understanding in them. “And besides this is helping your family. Without you inside and hitting the locks, the program that D set up won’t start and it’ll take that much longer to get off this flytrap.”
She agreed and tried not to show him how terrified she was at that moment.
“Crichton, D’Argo, you two still in one piece?” A female voice asked over their comms.
John jumped up, smiling. “Yeah, Chi, glad to hear your voice.”
“Happy to hear that you guys haven’t killed each other yet. We’re going to be within orbit in about twelve arns.”
Looking over at Ccri, he winked before answering, “Had a bit of help from a new friend. I need to talk to Pilot real quick and then he can fill you girls in with our trip to Disney.”
The next voice was male, calm and soothing as he sent his greeting over to his friends. “Hello, Commander. Moya and I are relieved to hear that you and D’Argo are working on your differences.”
“Yeah, we’re doing that alright. I need to give you a heads up about when we come back tomorrow…”
She sat at the table next to John, chin resting on her arms, listening as he recounted their plans.
“How do I look?”
John looks up from the table where his pistol was spread out while he cleaned each piece methodically. “Like Liberace. Where did you get that thing?”
“I bought it for when Chi… never mind where I bought the frelling thing. Do I look like someone who’d be a liaison?”
Ccri watched as John started assembling the pieces without looking down at them. Gone was the good natured smile that Ccri had become familiar with over the last couple days. This was not the same man who had given her the doll clutched preciously in her arms.
He frightened her. As much as D’Argo had the first day when he’d confronted the hotel’s proprietor.
“You going to tell me about this guy I’m supposed to be?”
D’Argo went over and sat in the chair on the opposite side of the table. “Volki Jenkaro, captain of the Nilas.”
“I thought you said he was some general.”
The Luxan shrugged his shoulders. “Same as - his brother, Jobin, is the leader of the group.”
“Ever hear of them before?”
“No, but I asked around. The Nilas are very elite. Both brothers are ex-Peacekeeper.”
“Figures. So I go in, play Captain Badass, while you ‘open the door’.”
D’Argo watched his friend for several microts and poured himself a drink from a flask sitting on the table. “The important thing to keep in mind is that this guy has also supposedly been out on his own, away from the group for cycles. Some say dead, others seem to think he’s the reason why so many ships disappear in the territories. I suggest playing it as if you’re evil incarnate.”
“Well according to not more than a few people I’m that anyway. So it shouldn’t be too hard to work that angle,” he remarked, placing the assembled pistol slowly on the tabletop with D’Argo watching the movement and nodding in agreement.
She waited between two buildings, clutching the spare comm badge that John had pressed into her hand and remembering the look of D’Argo standing just inside the door of their rooms before they’d separated. They weren’t sure how long they’d been watched; long enough was D’Argo’s reasoning. They’d told her to wait half an arn after they separated before heading toward the transport pod.
Just in case.
- D’Argo stands just inside the office doors, at ease in the room. “You requested a meeting with my commanding officer, Captain Jenkaro,” he states confidently, shoulders squared, head held high as he looks back slightly at the door. “Well, I brought him.
John enters, eyes scanning the room for any danger and giving the impression that he doesn’t trust his own ‘subordinate’. Seeing no threat, he steps fully into the room and takes up a place dead center. –
Her hand tingled and she opened it, surprised to see tiny lines cut into the flesh.
Ccri knew enough about remaining unseen that they didn’t have to warn her about the precautions she needed to take.
- “You didn’t care for touring my factory, Captain? It’s received the highest ratings and is the most efficient in five sectors.” His pride is apparent in the booming of his voice as Ysberin circles the wide table separating them.
“Would you care for some refreshment?” He reaches behind him and a bell sounds. A small woman enters through a side door, head bowed. John only gives her a glance before Ysberin sends her away. “If you’d prefer a male, I can certainly oblige someone of your stature…” -
The way was clear; no ground transports were on the road for the moment.
Crossing over to the fencing, she ducked through a small opening. There were hundreds of ships lined up in the docking port, belonging to both to off-worlders and contractors from various factions seeking out products created specifically for war and death. She could see the outline of the transport pod. D’Argo had made sure that she memorized the berthing number in case she became lost amongst all of the ships. Quickly she inserted the chip to unlock the door before she was spotted on top of the stairs. It wasn’t until it was shut and re-sealed that she sighed with relief and started to pray that her friends’ plan worked.
- “I’m not interested in your trash. Since you know who I am and had the gall to interrupt my vacation … Tell me why I should buy from you,” John states coldly, turning his back on Ysberin and toward the window overlooking the shipyard of never before flown craft.
“The alloy of your ships, how well do they withstand a full assault?”
Ysberin’s head tilts, waiting for John to continue.
“Rumor has it that Scarran forces are encroaching further into these territories.”
Eyes narrowing, Ysberin states, lying badly in the process, “I haven’t heard any such rumor…”
John cuts him off merely by holding up a gloved hand. “We need ships with the capability to hold off multiple Strykers at any given time.”
Straightening his shoulders, Aktmi’s owner ignores the interruption by both answering John’s question and ignoring the insult. “The majority of my ships are produced of a composite of metals, the measure of which being madium steel, capable of resisting the strongest armaments.
Considering his words carefully, John asks, “Refinement of medium produces a gas - Cerephant gas, if I’m not mistaken…”-
- Walking just behind two of Ysberin’s office personnel, D’Argo has the air of someone bored with his task. They treat him as if he’s royalty, pushing ‘lessers’ out of their path, making them bow in supplication. The Luxan’s face grows more and more fierce the further they go into the factory.-
- “Your – people,” he sneers at the word, “are slowly poisoned by this gas are they not?” There is nothing showing on his face, body movement controlled, as if he’s another person entirely.
“Well – yes. What does that…”
“You use slaves then. I don’t want deficients touching any equipment that may determine the success of one of my campaigns,” John tilts his head down slightly; “I have a very good record that I plan on keeping.”
“So you want me to sacrifice the lives of hard working, honest Medyrs to produce your weapons and ships?”
“I believe I’ve made myself clear enough.”
Ysberin’s forehead furrows at that for several microts, narrowing his eyes at John. “It will cost you.”
“You doubt that I have the means?” John growls, stepping closer, gun hand twitching.
He makes Ysberin step back nervously. “No. No. I simply…”
An explosion interrupts him and both men turn sharply in the direction of the wide, vibrating, window. -
- One wall, connecting a portion of the factory to slave housing blows outward. Screams and dust are the only things distinguishable for several microts before a large figure cuts through. D’Argo rushes through the busted crevice as several women and children overcome some of their shock and run past him. He waves the smoke that has begun pouring in away from his face and yells Ccri’s mother’s name. She and her two oldest daughters run toward him. They immediately follow his gesture to follow and the Luxan begins leading them out, taking the mother gently by the arm when she loses her balance on the loose rubble.
He gives one last, brief, look behind them, and you can see anger and frustration on his face, looking upon those who are still locked behind metal bars, before they resume their escape. –
Ccri heard the explosions even within the protected walls of the transport and tried not to cry, telling herself that it only meant that things were working. That her family was going to be with her soon. There was no time more than now that she felt so alone, wishing that she had someone there to tell her that everything was going to be all right. She held onto the doll that John had given her and decided to think of home, of better times, of all the things she’d chosen to push aside for so long.
- A shocked, animated voice, shouts over intercom on the desk, “Ysberin, sir, we have…”
He rushes over to the side and hits one of the buttons. “I hear them, I’ll be right down. Instate immediate safety protocols,” he orders looking in John’s direction.
“I’m sorry but I have to take care of matters personally. To make sure things are done right.”
“Understandable. Good help is hard to find,” John drawls out, cold smile playing at the edge of his lips as he steps aside to give the obviously startled man a clear path to the door.
Alone in the room, John’s body language changes, still tense but it’s obvious this is more natural to him as gives a glance out the window and hits his comm. “D’Argo. Everything okay on your end?” he asks as he turns from the glass and runs out the door himself. -
After the pod docked and the doors cycled open, Ccri’s mother looked at her daughter and their two rescuers with gratitude, uncertainty, and sadness for those left behind. They all could feel the subtle pulsation of starburst as John talked to the ship’s Pilot.
Soon two others joined them after they’ve exited the smaller craft. They introduced themselves as Chiana and Joolushko Tunai Fenta Hovalis.
D’Argo came up behind the women and quipped, “Just call her Jool because it takes an arn for everyone but her to say it.” He smiled and reached for Ccri’s hand as ‘Jool’ whipped her long hair around and gave him a look.
“Welcome to Moya, ladies. Let’s get you all cleaned up and fed.”
It was the middle of the sleep cycle, arns after they’d left the world that had held them prisoner for so long, the female members of the crew long gone after fussing over the food and clothes and proper medicinal needs. D’Argo had left shortly after their arrival when Jool had chastised him for his taste in clothing for the children and their mother. He’d missed how she’d quickly quieted down once their guests had proclaimed that they found the garments beautiful and were happy with what he’d given.
Ccri fell asleep in her mother’s arms, her hand touching her sibling’s, all three resting on top of their mother’s stomach. It was the first time, in Sirla knows how long, that she truly felt at peace.
Epilogue: One hundred seventy cycles later:
She looked across at the room full of children as they waited for dinner to finish. “And that is how I met the great Ka D’Argo and John Crichton.”
“How did you know what Crichton said in Ysberin’s office?”
Paper-thin soft hands cupped the inquisitive child’s face. “The answer is simple my dear, Thailla. They stole the surveillance recordings. You see, my family discovered this much later, but Crichton and Ka D’Argo were wanted men. Deemed evil criminals by the Peacekeepers.”
“Aww, Nessia, you made this all up. The Peacekeepers wouldn’t do that.”
“Child, shush and remember yourself around your elders. It’s good to question, but when the time is right. Do you think I would lie to you about the men that saved me, this family? You would not even exist if not for Ka D’Argo – taking the time to spare a meal for someone others thought of as worthless and listening to the truth about them.”
Properly chastised, the boy looks down at his feet shuffling them. Ccri cuffed him under the chin. “I will overlook it this once and not tell your father.”
She looked out the window at the gathering members of their village and smiled down at her grandchildren and their friends. “Now let’s all go and greet the others. It’s time for the homecoming anniversary celebrations to being.”
Following after the children Ccri thought once more of that long ago day that was marked each cycle, of seeing D’Argo, John and their friends talking with the remaining members of the village elders, her mother standing amongst them taking father’s place. She had tried to hear what they were discussing, not ready to say goodbye to her new friends, but her mother’s younger sister had whisked Ccri away to dote on her and her two siblings. It wasn’t until much later, after being joined with her life-mate, Dai, that mother told her that beacons were placed around the planet. Transmitting a warning, they instilled enough fear to keep unsavory types away from this world. They remained in orbit for almost forty cycles.
When they began making their way out into the galaxy, she learned why D’Argo never returned as he’d promised. The news both saddened her, but also filled her with pride. Her friend was a hero and every cycle she made sure that the children knew the truth of the man who not only helped save a galaxy but saved them as well.
Note: Nessia is their term for grandmother.