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Chapter Four

It Has Begun


Approximately an arn later, John had finished explaining what was supposed to happen, and had released everyone from Pilot's den. They were all discussing the situation in small groups as they made their way to their respective destinations.

Aeryn and D'Argo headed the line of people. The Luxan, despite agreeing to go along with the idea, did not sound particularly impressed.

"This all sounds completely pointless," he complained. "As are most of Crichton's ideas. I can't believe I let Chiana rope me into this."

"It'll all be over in a weeken, D'Argo," said Aeryn, attempting to keep the peace. "You know how he gets. Just humour him; it'll make everyone's lives easier."

"You're right, I suppose." There was a pause. "Of course, you know why he's doing this, don't you?"

"Unfortunately, I do"

Further back, Jool and Chiana were similarly discussing the situation, with the same confusion and disdain evident in their voices.

"I don't get it," admitted the Interon.

"Me neither. All I know is, I could get a present outta this." Chiana grinned. "Hey, sorry about kicking you before."

"It's okay."

"My foot slipped." At which point, Jool kicked her in the shin. "Hey!"

"Sorry. So did mine."

Jool smiled and walked on ahead, putting enough distance between them should Chiana decide to give chase.

Crais was discussing the situation with Rygel.

"Have you noticed" said the Hynerian, "how all of Crichton's 'traditions' involve the giving and receiving of gifts?"

"I had indeed. His must be a very generous culture."

"Generous!" he scoffed. "I think not! They're all money-grabbing and power-hungry."

"In that case, Dominar why do you two not get along?"

Rygel harrumphed, and speeded up his throne sled away from Crais.

Bringing up the rear of the group was Zhaan, Stark and John. The Delvian Pa'u seemed to be the most interested in the plan.

"It sounds like a wonderful tradition, John." She smiled. "A celebration of love. I can see why you wanted us to partake in this."

"Actually, I just figured it would stop the overhanging boredom around here," he said. "But I'm glad you like it, Blue. I thought you would, actually."

"I like it, too," said Stark, somewhat indignantly. "My something is going to go to Zhaan."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!! You're not meant to tell me" Seeing the hurt look on his face, John added. "But I guess your choice was pretty obvious, Stark, so I'll let you off."

"In all fairness, John," laughed Zhaan. "I think your choice is obvious, too." John said nothing, looking for all the world like he wanted a hole to appear in Moya's floor and suck him into oblivion. "Don't worry," she reassured him. "I'm sure Aeryn will appreciate the gesture."

John could do nothing but stand there and let the two of them walk on ahead. He wondered when he'd become quite so transparent. His question was answered almost immediately.

"I think it was oh, about three months ago."

"Shut up, Harvey."

"I'm very hurt that you didn't even think to include me in the proceedings."

"Who'd give you a Valentine?"

"I don't know. But it's the principle of the thing."


"For all you know, I might have a Valentine of my own in mind."

"You don't have a mind, you're a figment of my imagination."

"Oh, really. Well would a figment be able to do this?" Harvey punched the inside of John's skull, hard, causing him to wince. Then he did it again, harder.

John nursed his head and tried to rub away the ache that seemed to emanate from his brain. "Hey! Stop it! I get the idea." Harvey ignored him and started kicking, petulantly, like a small child who'd been refused a toffee. John very quickly thought himself inside his head. "I said," he repeated, "stop it." With that, he hurled Harvey into the dumpster again, brushed off his hands, and started to think about what he was going to create for Aeryn


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