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Chapter Six

Stark, Rygel and Pilot


Two tiers down, Stark was pacing along one of Moya's corridors, muttering to a DRD. He was worried. John knew that he was going to give Zhaan a gift, and so did she but now, he had no idea what that gift was going to be. Nothing would be grand enough, nor beautiful enough, nor mystical enough for Zhaan. Anything he might give would pale in comparison to anything she might give. He was a poor Bannick slave, he knew nothing of grandeur or riches. What does one give to a ninth level Pa'u to show how much one appreciates her? Present-giving was not something he was accustomed to.

He did, however, know about love. And he knew that he loved Zhaan. He was pretty sure that Zhaan loved him back, too. He was hoping that, perhaps, Zhaan would give him a present, that maybe all the love she had inside her would focus primarily on him. He thought, however, that this was probably a vast over-assumption on his part.

Stark had create a little game for himself in the corridor. Every time he paced and completed a lap, he would utter either "She loves me," or "She loves me not," alternating between the two. If he accidentally tripped over the DRD that was patrolling the area, he would assume that whatever he said last was the truth. If Fate meant for Zhaan to love him, then it would tell him in such a manner.

The fact remained, though, that he had no idea what he was going to give her

Rygel had all but forgotten about Crichton's plan, and it only came back to him when he saw the blurred form of Stark running past his door, shouting something about "She doesn't love me no, it can't be true!" He laughed gruffly, then hovered his Throne Sled over to shut the door.

So, Crichton expected him, Rygel XVI, Dominar of over a billion subjects, to get someone else a present? Ridiculous. He did not give presents, he received them.

In fact, he was certain that his high political status meant that everybody on board Moya would be humble enough to succumb and give him something from each of them. Suddenly, Crichton's plan seemed a lot more palatable.

Rygel smiled, imagining all the gifts he was going to be rolling in come a weeken's time

Everything was quiet in Pilot's Den, just how he liked it. Of course, he could hear Moya. He could always hear Moya, but her sounds were pleasurable to his senses unlike the harsh voices of the crew when they gathered near his panel. He had to be in the correct mood to cope with them, and his moods depended entirely on Moya's moods. She was apparently as bored as the rest of them, which is why Pilot had agreed to partake in the Commander's strange Erp ritual.

He moved his entire body to the right, keeping one of his left arms in contact with the panel, compensating for the changes and movements of the Leviathan. At least, he supposed, this ritual did not involve being decorated with "tins-ul" and "bar-bulls"; he could never figure out why Crichton had found it so amusing to pretend he was some kind of foliage, and had gone along with it in the end to keep the peace.

Pilot already knew whom he was going to bestow his gift upon. As with everybody else, however, he was having trouble coming up with the gift in question, even with hundreds of DRDs at his disposable

His reverie was broken by Stark running into the Den with one of the DRDs in his hands, apparently frantic about something. The Bannick ambled forwards and dropped the little robot in front of Pilot on the panel.

"What is the matter, Stark?" he asked.

"She doesn't love me" came the moaned reply.

Pilot looked suspiciously at the DRD, and decided to humour him. "Um by what means did you discover this?"

Stark looked pained and indicated the DRD, which was trundling along the top of the panel trying to find a way down. "Fate told me so. Fate yes fate knows everything" He trailed off.

Pilot continued to watch the DRD; it was now attempting to lower itself to the ground by some kind of rope, making it resemble a sort of arachnid without legs. The rope snapped, and there was a crunch as it hit the ground. It rolled away, unfazed. Pilot returned his gaze to Stark, and waved a clawed hand in front of his eyes to stop him mumbling. Stark focussed. "You believe that Pa'u Zotoh no longer loves you?" A nod. "And you say that Fate told you this?" Another nod. Pilot sighed. This was unproductive. Then, Moya relayed back to him what the little DRD had told her, and he understood. "Well I'm not an expert in these matters, but I do know Zhaan very well, and I believe she would never lie to anyone especially not someone who is as special to her as you are, Stark."

Something brightened in Stark's devastated eyes and he looked almost gleeful. "She loves me? She still loves me?"

"To the best of my knowledge, yes."

"Thank you, Pilot. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!"

With that, he ran back out of the Den, leaving a very bewildered Pilot behind him. When the silence descended again, he breathed a sigh of relief and returned to what he was doing. Between all the myriadsounds and sensations, Moya transferred a feeling reserved only for Pilot. He smiled.

"Yes, Moya. The feeling is mutual."


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