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Chapter Five



Zhaan and Crais

John had given everybody a weeken in which to find, prepare, cajole, snurch, or make whatever present they were going to hand to whoever they had chosen. He had provided them with very strict rules - they were only allowed to make one thing, for one person, and there were to be no exceptions.

Zhaan, being Zhaan, was completely unable to decide who to give her present to. She supposed it ought to go to Stark; they were soul mates, after all, and she now knew that she was going to receive something from him. She should, therefore, return the gesture. That would be the courteous and expected thing to do.

Her thoughts then turned to D'Argo. Sweet D'Argo, who had always been there for her, and who was so much more than met the eye. Should she make something for him? She loved Stark, but, in an entirely different way, she adored D'Argo, and thought she ought to show her appreciation for him.

But then again there was John. They had shared Unity, after all. Would it be more appropriate to offer him a gift? Perhaps something that reflected the bond they shared?

The Delvian sighed, the indecision confusing her. What about Pilot? Everyone would be sure to forget him, no matter how much they claimed to value him. Or Moya? She dearly loved Moya. In fact Zhaan loved everyone: John, D'Argo, Stark, Pilot, Aeryn, Chiana, Moya, Jool she was even becoming fond of Rygel and Crais.

Zhaan moved to the window of her quarters and looked out. The stars always calmed her and cleared her head. The ritual John had described was meant to be fun, just something to pass the time for a weeken but where matters of the heart were concerned for Zhaan, it was not to be taken lightly. John had strictly told them that they were only allowed to give one gift to one person, otherwise it defeated the point of the exercise. She wanted to give a gift to everybody!

Just when she was beginning to think "Sunt Fahllentyn's Day" was a very silly tradition, she was struck by a brainwave.

She smiled to herself and positioned herself, cross-legged, on the floor. The recipient had been decided on. All she had to do now was come up with an appropriate gift

Crais was pacing again. He had absolutely no idea what had possessed him to agree with Crichton's idea. Boredom could make a man do strange things. Truth be told, he hadn't really been paying attention; all he really knew was that he had to give something to someone, and, apparently, the someone had to be a person he liked.

So, he was pacing, trying to work out who he liked enough to give them a present. His immediate thought was Aeryn. At least there was mutual respect (or, at the very least, he thought there was.) Then, he considered that Crichton would have had the exact same idea, and he didn't feel like getting into yet another argument with him over the subject of Officer Sun. Besides he knew Aeryn wouldn't return the gesture.

So who? The Delvian? He didn't not like her. Well, everyone liked Zhaan. Zhaan liked everyone. Therefore, she should have been the obvious choice but she seemed somehow too obvious.

Crais turned and walked back across the room again, frustrated. Silly human rituals.

The Nebari. She was certainly appealing. However, he refused to lower himself to act on those kind of feelings. Perhaps he could simply 'forget' about it, and get out of it later He was a Captain! He shouldn't be obligated to follow Crichton's orders!

The next time he turned, something caught his eye in a nearby box. It made him stop, suddenly, in his tracks, and move over to examine it more closely. Once he'd pulled it free, careful not to damage it, he began to rethink his options


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