Hoo, boy Okay um John is having a very bad day. Everyone keeps
stealing his underwear. Crais does something very naughty, Jool
becomes Moya's resident pathologist, Harvey finds a new career
path, Chiana makes a little mistake, Rygel gets hungry, Stark
does his job, Zhaan uses all her Delvian powers for the greater
good, and Aeryn gets framed. I'm tempted to say it'll make more
sense when you read it, but it probably won't
RATING: We're going PG-13 on this to be safe, for frightening
randomness if nothing else. Also language and very odd situations
And it's very, very silly.
DISCLAIMER: The characters are not ours, we are merely borrowing
them for our own perverted uses. However, we have also stolen
John's pants. If Aeryn can get away with it, so can we
SETTING: AU again, and set after "My Funny Valentine",
using the same cast (that is, everyone)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Before I go any further with this, can I just
say something? Thank you. *clears throat* First of all, IT WAS
FOUR IN THE MORNING!! Secondly, it was her fault. *points to
Naomi* Right. Okay, this really stemmed from two things - too
much frelling cola, too damn early in the morning, and "Rhapsody
In Blue" with that wonderful opening scene where Aeryn steals
John's Calvins Combine these things, and this is the end result.
(Also add in excessive and addictive re-watching of "Meltdown")
we have an unhealthy obsession with underwear (or so it would
appear) and I feel it is my duty to explain the usage of "pants"
in this fic for our trans-Atlantic friends. We mean the Calvins.
All the time. When we want to say 'trousers', we will say 'trousers'
Just to save on confusion later
This is a two-author
fic. We hope you enjoy the foray into the insane. Many thanks
to Ennixeve for her random quote-throwing and ideas-generating
The fic ©
T'eyla Minh and Naomi
Darkness. That was all he could see. It permeated the room, filled
every crevice and corner, and fell like a blanket around him.
It was a deafening sort of blackness, the kind that absorbed
every sound it came in contact with. Silence, ebony air, and
very little else, in a small room that tasted of sleep and was
the dark. He especially liked it after the Solar day he'd just
experienced. It was well into the sleep cycle, almost four arns,
and he couldn't sleep. As usual at times like this, he began
to mutter to himself. He directed his ramblings at the ceiling
of his quarters, pondering on the past events as he did so, and
feigning an English accent. For once, he could pop-culture himself
to death without fear of receiving a line of confused expressions.
are the voyages of John Crichton's Calvins on their continuing
journey through the Uncharted Territories. To seek out strange
new behinds, and to boldly go-"
an infinitive, John."
He rolled his
eyes as Harvey interrupted him. "I'll split you if you don't
leave me alone."
him and continued his ramblings, losing the accent completely.
"To boldly go - don't you frelling dare! - where no Calvins
have gone before"
Yup, it had been a frelling weird few days
reached his ears. "John I hope you don't mind me asking,
but what are you on about?"
Aeryn just babbling." He turned in her direction, seeking
her out in the darkness.
noticed." There was a sigh. "Look, if this whole thing
has really left you head-frelled I mean, you'd tell me, wouldn't
It may have been pitch black, but it didn't stop her from hitting
him with a damn good aim. "Hey!"
I'd tell you, and no, I'm not crazy"
She rolled over, deliberately ignoring him. "Now shut up."
realised he was actually tired, and closed his eyes. Just before
he drifted off to sleep, he ran through the events of the previous
weeken one last time
One of these
days, Crichton was going to learn not to provoke Peacekeepers.
In fact, he was going to learn to avoid them at all costs, even
if he was pretending to be one. It just wasn't worth the aggravation.It
was one of the many things on his "List of Things I Shouldn't
Attempt", beneath "Flirt With Alien Women", "Sing
In Public", "Fend Off A Pantak Jab", "Talk
To/Touch/Approach/Look At Aeryn When She's Pissed At Me"
and "Find Out Why Aeryn's Pissed At Me" amongst others.
Now he'd added a very definite "Provoke Peacekeepers"
to the list in bold red marker (or, at the very least, he pretended
it was red, since he didn't have a red marker.)
He'd been having
such a good day, too. The food cubes actually tasted of something,
Rygel wasn't stealing things, Chiana and Jool weren't fighting,
D'Argo was all sweetness and light, with absolutely no sign of
an impending hyper-rage (which actually scared him for a while),
Stark was being remarkably sane for once, Zhaan was deeply involved
in her quest to take up the Seek again, and Crais was being Crais
but in a good way. To top all of this off, ever since the Valentine's
ploy a monen ago he'd been happily 'together' with Aeryn. Life
was, very definitely, good.
started when he went to Command. Aeryn and Crais were already
in there, compensating for whatever trivial problem Pilot couldn't
be bothered to deal with this time, and he figured they could
probably use some extra help. When he walked in, the first thing
he saw was Crais at one panel and Aeryn at another, both with
their heads down, studiously examining the readouts. Aeryn spotted
him first and looked up, smiling in greeting. Crais ignored him.
That wasn't unusual, and he didn't take it to heart.
baby," he said, partly because he knew she wasn't particularly
keen on the nickname, and partly because he liked it. "What's
little," she told him. John ambled over and stood behind
her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and looked over her shoulder.
She tried to look annoyed, but it didn't last long; close proximity
to John for any period of time immediately meant that her Peacekeeper
traits got buried. Crais looked up for the briefest of moments,
looked in their direction, sighed in obvious distaste, and returned
his gaze to his console.
that?" John asked, pointing to a flashing, bleeping light
on her panel.
it's gotta be something, Aeryn. I mean, what's the point of a
light if it doesn't mean anything?" Apparently, he was in
one of those moods where everything was new and interesting,
even if he'd seen it countless times before, and even if it did
nothing, like this particular little light. Crais found it incredibly
irritating. Aeryn was putting up with it, and actually humouring
him."Would you like me to go and ask Pilot?"
the situation, wondered briefly if it was worth it, and instantly
discounted it. He was enjoying this, and Aeryn wasn't going to
go anywhere. "Nah" He squeezed her tighter for no reason
other than he enjoyed it. Aeryn seemed to enjoy it too until
she caught Crais glaring at her with his "you are a Peacekeeper"
look, and removed John's arms before they could start to wander,
which they had a tendency to do.
placed both hands on either side of her on top of the console,
effectively trapping her. She could feel Crais' eyes boring into
her skull, even through John's body, so she attempted to concentrate
on her work. It wasn't easy.
to glare in the hope he might melt the back of Crichton's head
if he looked at it long enough. It wasn't working, power of the
mind over matter not being one of his special talents, so instead,
he ignored them. As if it wasn't bad enough they had to flaunt
what they had every day of every weeken in every room on the
Leviathan, but no they had to do it in front of him. It was,
it had suddenly gotten very quiet on the other side of Command,
and he looked across again, cautiously. As he suspected, they
were engaged in a less than productive activity. He held back
a groan at the sight of them, and rolled his eyes.
attempt to ignore them lasted all of five microts, when Aeryn
giggled and the last shred of his self-control completely disintegrated.
Peacekeepers did not giggle He stormed into the middle of Command,
stomping as he went.
you two desist?!"
It took a while,
but they eventually extricated themselves and stood side by side,
examining him with equally amused expressions.
havin' a little fun, Crais," ventured John. "No need
to blow your top."
John, and directed his words at Aeryn. "This behaviour is
completely unacceptable, Officer Sun. You are a Peacekeeper,
leave off her, Crais. She's not a Peacekeeper any more, and you're
not her Captain."
not, but that's no excuse to disregard her breeding."
me, but-" started Aeryn, only to be cut off by the argument.
about you? Last I heard, you were sniffing around Jool's door."
"One gift, one time. And that was before I realised how
absolutely frelling annoying she is" It must have been bad
- he hardly ever swore. Aeryn watched the sparring with interest
and some amusement, and laughed when John noted that she used
to think the exact same thing about him. "Aeryn, I hardly
think this is a laughing matter."
again. "And she doesn't answer to you. If she wants to laugh,
you answer for her, Crichton," said Crais, scowling. Aeryn
have a point."
hon." He grinned and directed his next comment at Crais.
"So what you're saying is that Aeryn is her own woman and
neither of us can tell her what to do?"
The comment came through tightly clenched teeth.
can do what she likes?"
your damn problem?"
Crais was utterly
exasperated. "I you but" He was unable to form anything
even remotely coherent to say, so he screamed instead and ran
out of Command. This was the final straw. The Human had gone
too far. He must seek revenge but how?
thoughts were tumultuous and furious as he stomped through Moya's
corridors revenge Must. Get. Revenge. Eventually, he collapsed
against a bulkhead and slid to the floor, kicking the DRD out
of the way which came to stare at him. It felt all the better
for the fact that it was 'DRD Pike', infamous on the ship for
being John's personal favourite. That was something else he didn't
understand - the need to favour a drone. They were all the same
- useful, but ultimately annoying.
came full circle again back to Crichton and the need for vengeance.
He forced himself to his feet again and began to make his way
towards Crichton's quarters. He would steal one of his personal
effects. Yes. Perfect. But what? It would have to be something
important to him. His first few ideas, he decided, were stupid.
Aeryn - that would be impossible, or at the very least, very
difficult, and potentially dangerous. The primitive Farscape
module - well, it was easier, but he couldn't exactly hide it
under his bed, or smuggle it off under his coat. Something smaller,
then that strange silver recording device? Feasible except that
Crichton hadn't used the thing for monens and probably wouldn't
notice it was gone.
the room, but stopped before entering. What if he got caught?
What if Crichton and Aeryn decided to no, he wasn't going to
think about that. However, the brief, fleeting mental image was
enough to drive him inside the darkened converted cell. He didn't
turn the lights on. He could work in the dark, and it would make
his little ploy all the more covert. He began to regret this
decision when he tripped over something hard, and landed on something
equally hard, and twice as sharp. He muttered a personal pledge
to kill the next defenceless living thing he saw, and persevered.
Crichton had far too many pointless possessions; how could he
decide which to snerch?
Just when he
was beginning to think he should have had an in-depth conversation
with Aeryn over the associated values of all the objects, he
spotted it. The perfect item. It was lying on the floor, defenceless
and unaware, just ready for the kill. He only found it because
it was white, and was reflecting what little light seeped in
from the corridor. John's pants!! What better thing to steal?
It was a connection to his Erp, part of what made him who he
was and not having any underwear was sure to drive him slowly
gleefully, Crais snatched up the pants, bundled them up, and
stuffed them into his pocket. Then, whistling rather too nonchalantly,
he sauntered back out of Crichton's quarters.
the lower levels, Chiana was, once again, knee-deep in amnexus
fluid, playing the laundress for the rest of Moya's inhabitants.
She wasn't entirely sure why - she had been down there, trying
to get something disgusting and probably Rygel's fault out of
one of D'argo's shirts, and somehow word had got around. The
crew had, one at a time, wandered down to toss clothes and miscellaneous
items of underwear onto the pile that was now a quite appreciable
and very soggy, but relatively clean, heap in the corner.
Well, at least
she had nearly finished. She reached into the fluid and swirled
her hand around the bottom, looking for any escaped bits, and
came up with one sock. One extremely brightly-coloured, stripy
sock. She blinked at it, trying to work out if she had ever seen
the thing before and, upon deciding that she quite definitely
hadn't, why the frell anybody on board would have anything quite
so...odd. The sock made her uncomfortable. It had a definite
feeling of foreboding about it, something that didn't belong
on Moya. She stared at it for a few more microts, before deciding
that it was almost certainly John's and not worth worrying about.
Wring. Toss. "Finally!"
her back carefully and stretched, then clambered out of the fluid
and gathered together the various bits of wet fabric into one
bundle and lifted it, muttering as it soaked her entire front
and poured water into her boots. She turned, staggered a few
dripping steps to the door, opened it, and gasped, losing her
balance and pitching forward into Crais, who had been coming
to see if the funny orange stain had come out of his trousers,
and now found himself lying beneath first a large quantity of
soaking wet clothing and, on top of that, a hysterical and unhealthily
she stuttered. "Had...v-vision...M-M-Moya... s-s-s-swallowed...
She couldn't know, could she? He had been so careful! What did
she mean, Moya swallowed the pants? He had the pants! He surreptitiously
tried to check that they were still in the pocket, but was trapped
by the weight of Chiana and the laundry.
see. Well, I think" He trailed off, scanning the corridor
nervously for signs of Crichton, and panicked. Pushing the heap
off his chest, he scrambled to his feet and ran for it. Chiana
watched him in utter confusion, wondering if covering him in
laundry and Nebari had scared him off. It must have, she decided.
Despite the overwhelming importance of pants at the moment, they
were not frightening unless by some very long stretch of a very
twisted imagination. On the other hand...this was Crais...no.
Not even Crais could have been chased away by the prospect of
visions of pants. Must have been the laundry. Yeah. Shaking her
head to try and clear it a little, she gathered up the clothes
again and stumbled down the corridor in the opposite direction,
dripping, and shedding socks.
next was probably unfair to inflict on a somewhat fragile Chiana.
There was a loud squelch some distance behind her, and something
short and loud hurtled past in a flurry of frighteningly large
hair, screaming: "Socks! My socks! Must have my socks!"
It descended on Chiana's laundry-bundle, knocking it to the floor
for the second time, and scrabbled among the clothes until it
found the sock that had so troubled her when she had found it
in the amnexus fluid. It cackled and, waving the sock triumphantly,
pounded round the corner and headed for Command.
a somewhat delayed reaction. Long after the mass of hair-monster
had vanished, she was still staring down the corridor. She thought
she really ought to tell Pilot, or someone, but she wasn't entirely
sure if she'd imagined the whole thing. She shook herself and
got busy picking up the pile of laundry for what felt like the
fiftieth frelling time, pondered what had happened with Crais,
wondered if her vision meant something, and tried to ignore the
harrowing experience she'd just been through.
was getting heavier every time, and seemed to be getting wetter
rather than drier, and she staggered down the corridor. Why did
everyone quarters have to be so frelling far away from the amnexus
chamber anyway? She stopped dead still when she thought she heard
a familiar cackle some way behind her. No. She was going fahrbot.
There was nothing there. She started to move again, slightly
quicker, and then faster still, and, finally, broke into a run,
screaming. If there was a hair-monster on Moya, she didn't want
to be the first thing it ate.
a panting and now completely fraught Crais had reached his quarters,
and was safely behind a closed door, gazing in slightly dazed
triumph at Crichton's underpants, still safely in his possession.
He was exhausted, shaking from the after-effects of adrenaline,
and sitting with his back against the door in a pointless attempt
to ensure no-one walked in on him. His hair, always a reliable
indicator of his level of sanity, was rapidly losing any semblance
of control and dissolving into a wispy, sweat-streaked halo.
However, he had achieved his goal. He had the pants. Now to carry
out the rest of his plan.
He pulled himself
to his feet and crossed to the cupboard where he had secreted
a few bits and pieces of Peacekeeper technology he had managed
to filch before fleeing his command carrier, and fished out something
smallish, rectangular and shiny with a slot through the middle,
in which rows of little steel blades glinted. It was originally
intended for disposing of...well, anything, really...in circumstances
where it needed to be obliterated and fire wasn't an option.
Crais had the perfect use for it. He knew just what he wanted
to obliterate, and he had it right here. The pants were going
to go. Crais smiled evilly, poked the waistband of Crichton's
pants into the slot, and flicked a switch.
The teeth of
the little device began to move ponderously, tugging at the fabric
of the pants. Crais held on. He had expended too much effort
on this plan to let them go all at once. He intended to really
enjoy this - Crichton had made him suffer enough, hadn't he?
He kept hold of the fabric, letting it run achingly slowly through
his fingers, watching, entranced, as the label in the back covered
with strange alien symbols caught and perished in the device's
jaws. There went (although Crais was, of course, unaware of this)
John Crichton, hand wash only. The little plastic buttons at
the front were crunched as they succumbed, and Crais leaned closer,
every hurt he had suffered at Crichton's hands surfacing to becleansed
in the death of the pants. Hezmana, the first thing the human
had done when he dropped into Crais's life was cause the death
of his brother. However accidentally, Tauvo was dead, and it
was Crichton's fault.
was gone. The machine gnawed its way through the fabric of the
main part of the pants, reducing it to a mass of tangled cotton.
Crais smiled again. The Peacekeepers, there was another thing.
Until Crichton, he had had a life with the Peacekeepers. He had
been a captain; successful, powerful, just where he wanted to
be. And now what did he have? A ship full of escaped prisoners
and nothing much else. Of course, that was partially that half-breed
tralk Scorpius' fault, but these weren't his pants. His pants
would have to wait, but Crais vowed that one day he would have
And then there
was Aeryn, of course. That was the final straw. Crichton fawned
over her like a pet and she loved it. He could tell. It was obscene,
ridiculous. The woman was a Peacekeeper, born and raised! What
she saw in some weak creature like Crichton was anybody's guess.
The pants were
gone. Crais reached inside the device and extracted the mass
of threads that they had become, and studied it. He definitely
felt better, could feel his hair settling itself back into its
correct sleek arrangement. Now all he had to do was hide the
evidence, and so long as that idiot Nebari hadn't really seen
something, nobody need ever know what had happened to the pants.
Stuffing the ball of cotton into his pocket, he stalked out of
the room and through Moya's corridors, maintaining an expression
of smiling innocence that would have terrified anyone he met
(had he met anyone.) Finally, he arrived in front of a wall panel
in a far corner of the ship, which he carefully removed to reveal
a small space. Inside was a heap of socks, explanation of odd-socked
plague that had swept Moya of late, and testimony to Crais' frequent
need for revenge. He carefully buried the threads near the back
of the pile, replaced the panel and made his way toward Command.
Deep in Moya,
in the room recently vacated by Chiana and her laundry, something
gurgled. The surface of the pool of amnexus fluid she had been
using as a washbasin quivered and broke into ripples. There was
another organic rumble from somewhere below, and the fluid began
to swirl gently towards the centre of the pool, disappearing
into the vortex that had appeared in its centre as Moya pulled
The pool drained
quickly, revealing a small, soggy heap of white cloth moving
with the current. For a moment the pants stuck in the plughole,
making a noise like the dregs of a milkshake, and then disappeared,
sucked into the ship's innards.
were the last stop on Chiana's drop-off route, but, even though
she was nearly finished returning everyone's now clean clothing,
she wasn't very pleased about it. At the far end of the corridor
was another awaiting pile of dirty laundry which had gotten thrown
upon her as she did her rounds. She was praying by this point
that John had managed to keep what few things he owned relatively
the room and dumped the remains of the pile on the end of the
bed. At the other end, John was scribbling in his notebook. He
looked up as she was leaving, and called her back.
a smile before turning around. "Yeah?"
became more natural. John was the first (and only, usually) person
to thank her for what she did, and it made the chore seem a little
more worthwhile. "No problem for you, Old Man."
then threw a shirt at her head. She glowered at him. "Sorry,
Pip. That's the last one, I promise"
nodded, and made her way out of the room again to her awaiting
pile of new laundry. John put down his notebook and started to
sort through the pile of clean stuff, making a mental note of
the contents. He put it all away carefully, and then realised
something. His underpants weren't there
to the door and stuck his head out to see Chiana struggling with
her latest bundle. She kept continually dropping various items
of underwear, bending to pick them up, and losing yet more in
the process until, exponentially, the trail on the floor became
larger than what she had in her arms. Cautiously, somewhat scared
of the Nebari when she was getting irritated, John coughed.
seemed to explode as the sheet which was holding most of them
together fell apart and dumped everything on the floor. Chiana
uh just wondering if you happened to see my Calvins today I'm
sure I put them to be washed but they weren't in with the stuff
you brought up."
began to place everything in the middle of the sheet with deliberate,
sharp movements, attempting to look in control of her rapidly
diminishing patience. "You know what? I don't know. I don't
know, and I don't care. I am not your frellin' wash-tralk."
I never said you were but you were the last person to have them"
left them in the amnexus chamber, then. If you can wait a microt,
I will go and find them." The washing pile seemed to have
bred as well as spread down the corridor, and she was getting
very frustrated with finding yet more of the damn stuff whenever
she turned around. "But right now, I kinda have a bigger
probl- look, could you just help me?"
up the remaining anomalous socks from his vicinity and placed
them on top of the collection so she could wrap everything in
the sheet again. She tied it up, hauled it over her shoulder,
and got to her feet. With a final grunt, she marched off towards
the amnexus chamber again, putting on her very best dejected-and-unloved
Chi" called John. He heard a very quiet "yeah, whatever"
from the vanishing form ahead of him, and then returned to his
quarters. It couldn't hurt to have another look around, but he
was absolutely certain that he'd definitely given them to Chiana
the last time to be washed. That was when he realised. His other
pair was missing as well He widened his search but was continually
unsuccessful in turning up his spare pants. This was not a good
thing. He couldn't go around Moya with no pants; he refused to.
He sat down
to think. There was only one other place they could be. He activated
his comms. "Aeryn?"
She appeared at his doorway. "Problem?"
He cleared his throat. "Chiana lost my underwear and I can't
find my spares you didn't steal 'em again, did you?"
Aeryn entered the room, realising this probably wasn't something
they should discuss while she was in the corridor. "Did
you look everywhere?" she asked, lifting up various things
in a pathetic attempt to help.
mother" he replied, somewhat sarcastically. "Look,
I don't mind if you've got them, but I really need them back."
got them!" she said, vehemently. "For once"
went up at that, but he didn't pursue the matter. He had more
important things to worry about than any of the other times she
might have snerched his Calvins. Which brought him back to the
fact that he didn't believe her. "Dammit, Aeryn, just give
had them, I would." She sighed. "They must be somewhere"
She started searching, going over all the same places he'd already
tried twice. He watched with some interest, with his head tilted
to one side. When she stretched up to feel along the top of a
particularly high shelf, he ambled over to stand much too close
behind her, and trapped her against the wall. "John?"
wearing them now, aren't you?"
entirely certain how to react. She could either kill him, or
play along she chose to play along. "What if I am?"
you like to check?"
to briefly consider the offer for several microts, and then he
stepped back, releasing her. "Nah. If you were really wearing
them, you wouldn't say that"
"Exactly" She checked a few more places and then gave
up. "Are you sure they were even in here?"
"Yeah, they were right there, on the floor." He indicated
the general area. "You don't suppose the DRDs woulda cleaned
them up, or anything, do you?"
it." She sighed. Then, she seemed to realise something.
"Just a microt"
There was no immediate answer, and he looked across to see her
staring at him with some interest. "What now?"
you said that you gave one pair to Chiana, and she lost them
and your spares were in here, and you lost them so" A pause.
"John, you're not wearing any underwear, are you?"
"Nope" Off her half-amused and half-incredulous look,
he attempted to justify himself. "Oh, come on! I thought
it would only be for a day!"
beside the point"
Just don't tell anyone please?"
as though that was the very thing she was going to do, but she
agreed not to. "You'd better hope they turn up soon, then"
With that, she wandered off, leaving John with a certain sense
of dread that she might go back on her word, and the entire crew
would know of his pantless predicament within a few arns. He
removed the thought from his mind. He'd just pretend everything
was normal. With this as his plan for however long it took for
the Calvins (either pair, preferably both) to reappear, he left
his quarters and made his way towards the Mess.
Moya was getting
slightly irritated. Usually when she drained her amnexus fluid,
there was nothing but that to drain however, this time, there
appeared to be something else there. The amnexus fluid itself
had long since been recycled, but she could feel something. It
wasn't very big, but it was definitely stuck, and it was incredibly
In an attempt
to shift it, she performed the Leviathan equivalent of a sneeze,
and the blockage shifted slightly. Within a few microts, however,
it was stuck in another conduit. If she could have sighed, she
would have done. Instead, she resigned to keep sneezing until
the thing was gone.
In one of the
converted cells, the familiar, short, blob-like shape of Rygel
on his Throne Sled hovered around, searching for something. He'd
run out of food. In fact, everyone had run out of food, other
than a few emergency rations of food cubes that he'd been forbidden
to touch; to make sure he didn't, they were hidden in a place
only Pilot knew about, and were periodically handed out whenever
it was time to eat. Nobody else was complaining, and he knew
there had to be a commerce planet somewhere up ahead. Nevertheless,
he was hungry now. He needed food, and there had to be something
in the room for him to eat.
He was sure
he'd hidden some marhjols inside a panel under his bed, but then,
when he went to look for them, he remembered that he'd eaten
them the last time there was a food shortage. In desperation,
he hopped off his Sled, shuffled under the bed, and laughed triumphantly
when he found some crumbs. He scooped them up, and added them
to the pathetically small pile in the middle of a plate - the
few bits he'd already managed to scrounge. Sometimes, being a
very messy eater paid off.
himself back out from under the bed again, gathered up his plate,
and sat down to eat it. It didn't take long, and it didn't quell
his hunger, either. He was getting annoyed; he was a Dominar,
he shouldn't have to live like this! This was the final straw.
He was going to march (well, fly) up to Pilot's Den, and demand
he give him the rest of the food cubes.
He got halfway
to the door, when a strange rumbling, gurgling, blowing sound
alerted him on the other side of the room. It seemed to be coming
from inside the wall. He'd already taken the cover off the access
panel to see if there was any food in there, and he could clearly
hear the noise was coming from that panel. He ventured a little
closer, but not too close, just to see if he could catch a glimpse
of anything that might be awry. The noise stopped, just as suddenly
as it had begun. After a few microts, he shrugged, and turned
to leave again.
As soon as
his back was turned, something small, white, and fabric-y came
flying out of the access shaft, sailed gracefully across the
room, and landed squarely on Rygel's head. His Throne Sled briefly
wobbled in his shock, and, once he'd managed to stabilise it,
he reached up to pull the offensive article from his head. He
didn't recognise it, but it looked vaguely clothing shaped. He
sniffed it, suspiciously.
It smelt of
amnexus fluid, which further persuaded him that it was probably
clothing-related, but his sensitive Hynerian nose also picked
out a distinctly organic smell. There appeared to be some kind
of label in the back covered in strange symbols he didn't recognise.
That clinched it - whatever this thing was, it obviously belonged
to Crichton, and, if he'd been careless enough to lose it, it
obviously wasn't important. And it was organic. That meant it
was edible. He examined one of the more picturesque symbols and
attempted to identify it. It looked like a child's picture (which
confirmed his belief that Humans were most definitely inferior)
of what could have been a bowl, with what might, at a push, have
been a hand, inside it. Perhaps it was a temperature guide
In a matter
of minutes, Rygel had set up a bowl of water and a heat source,
and was happily boiling away. He muttered a brief "thank
you" to Moya for favouring him with the gift of food, then
dropped the white item into the water.
At that moment,
John rounded the corner and rapped on his door before sticking
his head through.
okay, Sparky, I'm just wondering if you happened to see Chiana
He picked up the fabric with a stick, plopped it back into the
bowl, and stirred it. "And if you're here to steal my food-"
So, no Chi?"
John vanished again and continued his search for Chiana. Rygel
resumed stirring, and several microts later, the Nebari herself
you seen Crichton anywhere?"
just looking for you."
didja see which way he went?"
not." Rygel repeated the picking-up-dropping-and-stirring
process a second time, attempting to ignore the Nebari.
doin'?" asked Chiana, suspiciously.
that concerns you."
further into the room and grabbed Rygel's meal. "What's
off! It's mine. I found it fair and square!"
you get this?"
out of that access panel there," he said, gesturing vaguely
in the direction of the wall. "I must be in Moya's favour
if she's bestowing gifts on me."
decide whether to laugh or be disgusted. She chose laughing.
"This isn't food, ya yotz! It's John's frellin' underpants."
nauseated. "You mean I nearly ate his undergarments?"
Chiana nodded, and he paled slightly, his greenish skin going
slightly greener. "Excuse me" He swiftly disappeared
behind a screen and promptly threw up, as Chiana giggled and
pocketed the pants, trying to figure out which direction John
had gone in. She turned back the way she'd come, and headed towards
the corridor, a little way behind Chiana, John suddenly realised
something, and headed back towards Rygel's quarters. He was absolutely
sure he'd just seen the Hynerian attempting to boil his pants,
but he knew that was insane the only way he was going to know
for sure would be to go back and check, just in case he was going
crazy. He arrived back there just as Rygel re-emerged from behind
the screen looking flushed and very ill, not to mention incredibly
Ryge?" He received a scowl in reply. The pants were nowhere
in sight, so he assumed he must have been dreaming. "Are
you sure you haven't seen Chiana?"
just here," he managed to mutter. "Frelling Nebari
tralk she stole my food and lied about it. Came up with some
ridiculous story. I hope if you find her you repay her in kind
said John, and, thinking Rygel had completely lost it at last,
headed off towards the amnexus chamber to find Chiana.
all but forgotten about her vision by the time she'd recovered
Crichton's pants. Perhaps she was losing her curious ability
to preminisce things. Well, that was fine by her; she'd had quite
enough of seeing, hearing, smelling, and generally pre-experiencing
Bad Things Which Had Yet To Occur.
So, now, she
had the pants back, the latest batch of laundry was soaking nicely,
she could return the damn underwear, and get back to whatever
passed as her normal routine. Then, just as she was almost at
John's door, Pilot's voice came sifting through her comms.
now" she muttered, then feigned something she hoped passed
as interest. "Yeah, Pilot?"
your immediate assistance. Please come to the Den."
"On my way." She turned on her heel and headed towards
Pilot's chamber, John's underwear still about her person and
Ka D'Argo had
just returned to his quarters, having been messing about (or,
as he called it, "investigating") in his recently acquired
ship. He was pleased to find a lovely pile of clean laundry waiting
on his bed - Chiana had evidently finished her first round -
and even more pleased to find she'd taken the hint and collected
the rather obvious pile he'd left in the doorway. Although, on
reflection, he thought perhaps the "clean me" sign
was going a little far
to sort through the clean pile, putting things away. After a
few minutes, he got to the bottom of the pile and the final shirt.
He picked it up, moved to a shelf to fold it up, then stopped,
stared, and dropped it on the floor. He picked up his Qualta
blade and ran out of the door, suddenly very irritated
in Pilot's Den in a matter of microts. The scene which greeted
her instinctually made her panic. Pilot was well freaking out,
if she was going to be honest about it. He was controlling Moya's
myriad systems with one hand, while his other three limbs flailed
around frantically, as he apparently tried to do something and
I can't I need ah! Help"
over to him. He looked to be in a great deal of pain and she
was wondering what he expected her to do. "What? What is
it? Where does it hurt?" Pilot winced, and waved his arms
again, this time just narrowly missing her head. "Should
I get Aeryn?"
be necessary" he managed to say. "Just need scratching"
itchy back" he confirmed, writhing as he did so.
a microt. You're telling me you called me all the way up here
just to scratch your frelling back?!"
Chiana let out what felt her hundredth heavy sigh that day, then
clambered on top of Pilot's console for better access. She barely
dodged another flying claw.
still. Where?" She began to scratch, following his directions.
a bit a dench to the left no, the other left, Chiana up a little
ahhhh much better."
go now?" she asked. "I have laundry to do. Again."
to climb down again, but stopped when she spotted D'Argo. He
didn't look happy.
you 'Hey, D'Argo' me"
puzzled, wondering what she'd done to upset him this time.
I done now?"
what you haven't done. My favourite shirt is still filthy!"
Take it down to the amnexus chamber and I'll do it again."
is beside the point. When I ask you to do something, I expect
it to be done properly!"
reaching the end of her proverbial rope. "Fine. Next time,
do it your-frelling-self!"
and that was when she suddenly realised he was verging very close
to a hyper-rage. Pathetically, and far too late, she tried to
calm him down.
D'Argo. Nothin' to get upset-" He cut her off with a loud
snarl, and she yelped. He unsheathed his Qualta blade and held
it in an attack position. Just as he was about to charge, Chiana
remembered the pants, and whipped them out of her pocket, holding
them in front of her like some kind of shield. Briefly stunned
and a tad confused, D'Argo halted.
the Hezmana are you doing now?"
she floundered. "I'm surrendering. Yeah. That's it. Like
Crichton said, when you hold out a white flag"
Just when she
thought it was working, D'Argo recovered from his confusion and
started to run, Qualta blade directed at her head. Chiana screamed,
jumped off the console, and ran for it, leaping high over the
Luxan's head and accidentally letting go of the pants in the
process. As D'Argo spun to give chase, his blade caught them
and sent them flying through Moya's manufactured air, before
they landed silently on Pilot's head.
Chiana's screams and D'Argo's yelling faded into the distance,
Pilot noticed a cluster of DRDs hovering around him. He shooed
them away but they refused to budge, and when, after the tenth
try, they became more persistent, he said, "Please desist.
My itch is gone now." Then he sent them off to do utterly
pointless and menial tasks.
back into command, exasperated beyond belief. He had been wandering
around the ship for arns, and had completely failed to find either
Chiana or his pants. The crew had collectively denied any knowledge
of them, and, in what must have been some kind of bizarre hallucination,
he was certain he had seen Rygel cooking the things. At any other
time, the image of the Hynerian gnawing on his underpants would
have been hysterically funny. Now it was merely irritating.
it have been a hallucination. Tell me Rygel hasn't eaten my only
into Crais, too, but as soon as he enquired as to whether Crais
had, perhaps, any idea where any of his underwear might be, the
ex-Captain had looked utterly terrified, stammered something
about a broken conduit and run away. Either Crais had a hitherto
unrealised pathological fear of other people's underwear, or
something very odd was going on. Although it could quite easily
have been the generalised insanity that was Crais.
I don't suppose you would like to tell me where my underpants
are?" he demanded, tapping irritably at the console.
know. Have you asked the rest of the crew?"
They 'didn't know' either."
you not have simply... lost them?"
It was a possibility,
John thought. He could merely, by some freakish coincidence,
have lost both pairs of pants at the same time. And things did
go missing in the wash. The crew were rapidly running out of
socks, since one of almost every pair had taken to disappearing
searched his whole room, several times, and there wasn't all
that much stuff in there. His pants really weren't among it.
Maybe he could ask Pilot to...
Wait a microt.
Pilot. The clamshell.
He looked round.
Yes, Pilot was still there. Still transparent, still purple,
still...wearing his underwear. Well, wearing was probably too
strong a term. His pants were hanging forlornly from one of the
odd protuberances on Pilot's head, and Pilot was apparently unaware
he managed to get out. Pilot looked at him with an expression
that suggested raised eyebrows despite his lack of eyebrows.
John gaped, giving a fairly accurate impression of a goldfish
in distress. This was mad. They were plotting to drive him insane.
dadadadum, dah, dadadadum, dah, dadadadum, DAAAAAAAHHH!"
humming 'The Ride of the Valkyries' in the corridor outside,
somewhat off-key. John turned round, wondering if this was part
of the generalised determination to drive him out of his mind.
through the door, stopped singing and struck a heroic pose, hands
on his hips and chest stuck out.
festooned with pants. John's pants. There was absolutely no doubt
that they were John's pants; nobody else on the ship owned white
Calvin Klein underwear. He was wearing one pair over his leather,
in the normally accepted legs-through-the-legholes fashion. Another
adorned his head, falling rakishly over one eye, and yet more
were draped over his arms and shoulders and tucked into his boots,
trailing on the floor. And, buttoned round his neck, he wore
a billowing cape made of perhaps twenty pairs of Calvins sewn
together. To top off the ensemble, on his chest was a large,
erratically flashing red letter 'H'.
he cried. "Do you like it, John? I think it suits me, you
know. Maybe I should change career path, become a superhero,
cope. He sat down, put his head on the table and wished fervently
that Harvey would go away. After a while he looked up again.
Harvey was now sitting opposite him, still dressed in his pants-man
he said. "They really are trying to drive me insane, aren't
forward to pat his shoulder.
fret, John. They're only pants, after all. You can get more.
Don't let them do this to you."
but they were my Calvins, man. I like having them there, I need
Earth close to my...er...heart. Anyway, why're you so worried?
You're a figment of my imagination. If I was sane, you wouldn't
You know that's not true."
I'm sorry. But why are you so concerned for my sanity?"
I want to look like this forever?"
There was a
reflective silence. Harvey reached up and removed John's pants
from his head, holding them up for examination. Something occurred
have two pairs of pants. You've lost them both."
What's your point?"
not wearing any pants, are you?"
a food cube at him. Unfortunately, Harvey being Harvey and therefore
not, in the strictest sense of the word, 'existing', the food
cube hit thin air. Or rather, it hit Aeryn as she entered Command.
She looked mildly unimpressed.
reason why you just did that?"
He could hardly mention Harvey. "Nope"
A sigh. "I
see" She walked further into Command and, after a brief
examination of his backside, added. "Still haven't found
how do you even know?!"
He was rewarded
with a knowing silence, and before he could pursue the matter
further, Chiana came racing into Command, breathless and apparently
terrified. She saw that the room was occupied and tried to stop,
instead skidding on the floor and sliding towards them at top
speed. John caught her before she hit the wall.
Pip!! Calm down, girl!"
the matter, Chiana?" asked Aeryn, as the two of them struggled
to calm her down. The Nebari twitched, and finally sat on the
floor, wrapped her arms around her knees, and began to rock back
and forth. One more twitch later, and she finally managed to
explain herself, rather disjointedly.
he hyper-rage and I got away or h-he lost me n-not sure which"
She took a deep breath. "I I was g-going back to to amnexus
chamber and and" She whimpered. "It ran at me! I thought
thought I was d-dreaming but it's real out there" She gestured
at the door and the corridor ahead.
catch any of that?" asked Aeryn.
much" said John, then knelt to Chiana's level. "What's
out there, Chi?"
He attempted to humour her, but his voice was lingering on disbelieving.
"What kind of monster?"
know all hair." Chiana was starting to calm down and had
stopped rocking. She took another healthy breath and attempted
to sound coherent. "I saw it earlier on one of the lower
levels it said it was looking for socks. It scared the dren outta
did it look like?" asked Aeryn, already in full kill-the-alien
it was Sebacean, but it had a LOT of hair and I have no idea
where it came from It sounded female" She shrugged. "If
you find it uh just be careful. It might be dangerous."
and stood up again. "Just what we need. Another critter.
I'll have Pilot look into it. Why don't you go back to your quarters
and rest, Chi?" She nodded and stood, and the three of them
headed out of Command. Chiana was decidedly jumpy. "Aeryn,
I think you'd better go with her. I'm gonna see if I can find
uh you know."
and, somewhat grudgingly, escorted the still trembling Nebari
towards her quarters. The group separated at a junction as John
headed off towards the amnexus chamber. He didn't get very far.
He stopped dead in the corridor when something short, cackling,
and composed almost entirely of hair met him halfway travelling
in the other direction. He pulled his gun on it almost immediately.
Apparently, Chiana hadn't been lying, and there really was a
monster on board.
right there, Rapunzel!" he yelled, training the gun on the
creature. It obeyed and came to a halt, holding its arms up in
surrender - one hand was adorned with a very stripey and frighteningly
bright sock - and looking up to face him. Some of the hair fell
back to reveal the face - Chiana was right again, it, or rather
she, was definitely Sebacean. Or Human, if he was going to be
optimistic. Whichever. "Okay.Good. Now, who are you?"
There was no reply. "Okay, what are you doing here?"
there was an answer. "Socks!"
A nod. "My
socks! Must have them!"
the gun. Whoever this was, she was obviously harmless, if mildly
insane. He really didn't have the time, patience, or energy to
figure out how she'd got on board, or why, or even who she was,
and as far as he was concerned she could have every goddamn sock
in the galaxy so long as he found his underwear very soon. The
sock-lady lowered her arms and walked past him, cautiously, then
turned to face him again, apparently able to read his thoughts.
worry. You shall find your pants!" With that, she cackled
again, and ran off. John briefly considered warning Aeryn that
the sock-lady/hair-monster was in her area (or even vice versa,
since only one of the two would survive a surprise encounter
and he was willing to bet on it being Aeryn), but he really couldn't
be bothered. He was going mad. Or paranoid. Or possibly both.
Someone had stolen his underwear, replicated it, and dispersed
it around Moya, with the sole purpose of driving him completely
nuts. He wouldn't be at all surprised if the strange creature
he'd just met was part of the plan.
briefly to rub away the headache he could feel forming, then
carried on towards the amnexus chamber. If that didn't work,
he'd go to the Den and rip the damn things off Pilot's head,
just to prove he wasn't imagining it but then he reconsidered.
What if he had been imagining it? He really didn't want to go
there and find Pilot sitting there in his usual, pants-not-on-the-head
state. Instead, he went to find somewhere secluded and preferably
dark, where he could sit and mope until such time as what passed
as sanity returned to Moya. He could search for his pants in
the process, too
The DRDs skittered
into the centre of the den's floor, having finally got close
enough to remove the pants from Pilot's head. Since they now
had them, and hadn't got a clue what they were, or what their
relevance was to Moya, they decided to make use of them for themselves.
It was time for something recreational - even DRDs needed time
one edge of the pants' waistband, another took the other side
and the two stretched them out, holding it in the air between
them. Two more took up position on either side and produced arms
onto which they had attached large, flat paddles. In the side
of one, a small panel slid back and extruded a shorter arm, this
one ending in a scoop containing a small, shiny black ball, which
it tossed into the air and lobbed over the pants, now serving
as a net. The other DRD darted sideways, catching it and flicking
it back over. The game had begun...
John was sitting,
moping, as per his plan, in a dark corner of Moya. There was,
as yet, no sign of his underwear. And people were beginning to
put two and two together. Only Harvey and Aeryn so far, but soon
absolutely everybody would know that he was going pantless. There
was no way he was going to face that.
There was only
one solution, then. The only other human-shaped, similarly-sized
male on the ship.
It was not
going to be pretty.
proudly and faced his destiny, ready for this new challenge.
The universe had thrown its worst at him and he was still alive
and relatively sane. He could do this. Chin up, he marched boldly
towards Crais' quarters.
The door was
shut. John knocked tentatively, then, getting no reply, pressed
the pad by its side and looked in as it opened. Crais was seated
on the bed, staring moodily at the wall. He looked irritated,
but the idea of Crais not looking irritated was more alien than
most of the various critters that John had been eaten, savaged,
head-frelled and seduced by since being catapulted to this side
of the galaxy. He didn't seem to have heard the swish of the
he began, cautiously.
have been incredibly tightly-wound. At the sound of John's voice
he leapt to his feet, almost falling over in the process, and
whirled round. Then, apparently realising he wasn't going to
be attacked just yet, he relaxed a fraction and attempted to
smile. It was a bad move.
all right, Crais?"
I'm fine! Just fine. Hah, of course I'm all right. Why would
I not be all right? Everything's perfectly normal. Yes. Perfectly
yes. So long as...oh, never mind. Look, Crais, I need to ask
well, you see Chiana was, ah, doing the laundry earlier and,
well... the fact is, Crais, she lost my underwear. Are you sure
you're all right?" John was, by now, blushing deep crimson,
his manhood thoroughly affronted. But he was better off than
Crais, who had gone grey and looked like he was about to be sick.
He tried for the smile again, achieving the sort of watery grimace
normally associated with sharp kicks in personal regions.
John," he choked. "Wonderful. Do carry on.'
Well, as I say, she lost my underwear. And I do have other underwear,
but that... seems to have gone missing too. And so... well, I
was wondering if... just for a while, I could, ah"
his head round the door, grinning and still wearing his pants-man
stop beating about the bush, John. Be a man!"
there!" he snarled, shoving Harvey out into the corridor
and turning back to Crais. Right. Stop beating about the bush.
Be a man.
can I borrow some of your underwear?"
visibly, and returned to something close to his normal expression
of annoyed superiority.
what you came here for? To borrow my underwear?"
said so, didn't I?" John was in no mood for banter.
I suppose... if you need it. All right. I'll find you some. Wait
here." He walked to the back of the room and rummaged in
now, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
and held out something made of black leather, the peacekeeper
logo emblazoned in red on the hem. John stared, forcing himself
to maintain a straight face.
are your, ah, pants?"
peacekeeper issue. Take them or leave them."
John took the
things gingerly and backed away.
man, you're a dude"
He legged it,
and made it round the corner before collapsing in helpless giggles.
I don't know what you're laughing about, I think they're quite
I do not want to frelling know."
I can just see you in"
fine. I'll go."
his head and made his way back to his own quarters, wondering
if there was any possible way he could face actually wearing
the things. Since the alternative was to stay pantless, he decided
he probably could. He reached his quarters and stepped inside,
closing the door firmly behind him. The crew didn't have to know
about his solution to the pant problem, even if he did.
Pilot! What's happening? Are you all right? Is Moya all right?
What's happening? I sensed a great evil! Deception and lies!
which reverberated with complete and utter panic, had begun some
distance away and was accompanied by the sound of running feet.
The scream, however, was not, as it has resulted from its owner
hurtling through the door of the Den, failing to notice the game
of DRD tennis in progress, tripping over the net and landing
heavily on his face. It was, of course, Stark.
and I are quite all right, Stark," said Pilot, addressing
the fallen Banik's back. "Are you sure you sensed something?"
himself to his feet, slightly stunned, and looked at Pilot.
he muttered. "I... was sure I... well, if you're all right.
Maybe I was wrong...could have been wrong, I suppose"
He fell silent,
gazed at Pilot suspiciously for a few microts, then turned to
leave. However, as he turned he caught sight of John's pants.
They were lying, alone and lost-looking, on the floor, the DRDs
having scarpered when they found Stark bearing down on them.
They were, quite evidently, dying. Stark moaned softly and fell
to his knees in front of them, eye filling with tears, and reached
out to stroke theirfabric.
friends," he whispered. "What have I done? Oh, I have
brought death to you, my friends. I am...so sorry. So sorry."
He choked on
his sobs and couldn't speak for a time, but sat, mouth twisted
in shame and tears dripping from the end of his nose. Finally,
he managed to regain his composure and remembered his duty to
the dying pants. He reached up and pulled off his mask, bathing
them in the glow of his energy.
my friends," he murmured. "Take my thoughts, be at
peace. Cross over now, find the other side. Peace, peace"
Stark, what are you doing?"
Zhaan was crouching
in front of him, looking at him and the pants curiously.
the pants...to cross over."
are dying, then? Stark, perhaps I can save them! I can share
unity with the pants, bring them back from the brink. Let me
a tearstained face towards her, eye full of desperate hope. He
held out the pants with one hand, and with the other pulled the
mask back over the glowing right half of his face. Zhaan gently
grasped the pants and studied them. They lacked a head, so she
would have to try something a little different. Seating herself
cross-legged on the floor, she wrapped the pants around her head
and closed her eyes, feeling her way into their clothy consciousness.
her for a few microts with obvious respect and adoration, and
then he got bored. He'd seen Unity performed enough times now
to know what it entailed, and he therefore knew she'd probably
be there a while, so he could leave her to it and find something
more interesting to do.
out of his quarters again, somewhat cautiously, and found Stark
sitting on the floor opposite the door, eyeing him. He stopped,
are you doing, Stark?"
you, you know. I heard you, and I saw you. You needed his pants.
You took his pants. You took pants from a Peacekeeper. Have you
no shame, John?"
wearing them now! I can sense it!"
to his feet and grabbed John by the chin, bringing their faces
pants, John. Peacekeeper pants," he snarled, then pushed
John away. "PEACEKEEPER PANTS!"
For the second
time in ten minutes, John ran, Stark's cries of "Peacekeeper
pants! Peacekeeper pants!" echoing down the corridor behind
feel better any more.
Yes, he had
taken great pleasure in the destruction of John's Calvins, and
had safely hidden the remains. But the effect had worn off, and
now he needed something else.
He needed to
know what, exactly, the Human had been doing with Officer Sun.
Needed to reassure himself that their adolescent flirting was
not becoming something more sordid. He didn't want to know, but
he had to know. He couldn't keep wondering.
The pants could
give him his answer. But he needed a scientist; he couldn't carry
out the tests himself. Zhaan was too perceptive by half, and
was certain to ask awkward questions. That left only one option.
In her semi-comatose
state of Unity, Zhaan was only vaguely aware of how ridiculous
she looked. However, it didn't matter; this was for the good
of the pants, and she could, therefore, forego her vanity. She
was persevering with all her spiritual might, but nothing seemed
to be happening. Wherever Stark had sent the pants, they were
obviously quite happy there and didn't want to leave, and, on
top of this, she couldn't find them on any of the astral planes.
herself out of it to think more clearly. She only just caught
a glimpse of what could have been John as he bolted out of the
Den, apparently terrified, but she didn't think much of it. Instead,
she decided to try one last time to bring the pants back to the
world of the living, closing her eyes and slipping into unconsciousness.
higher on Moya than Zhaan, John was running as fast as he could
away from the Den, in a state of total, complete panic. This
was the final straw. Zhaan was wearing his underwear now? And
as a hat, of all things? Enough was enough. If they wanted to
drive him crazy, fine, just so long as they did it quietly and
without him knowing about it. All he wanted was his Calvins back.
Was that too much to ask?
a corner and ran straight into Aeryn, knocking them both to the
floor. She was the first to recover, and stood up to offer him
a hand. He took it and got to his feet.
are you all right?"
He gave up.
He fell forward, grabbing her in a hug for his own support and
taking her quite by surprise. She patted his back, nervously.
it" he muttered. "I concede. Just take me to the nice
padded room and let me die quietly" Aeryn said nothing at
first, just let him lean on her. Eventually, he pulled back again,
looking sheepish. "Sorry" He looked down. "I can't
cope any more why is it always me everyone's trying to drive
you're an easy target?"
That got a
smile. Unfortunately, at that point, Stark happened to wander
past; he looked at John dubiously, then carried on his way. That
would have been enough for John, but Crais followed almost immediately
after, heading in the direction of the apothecary, throwing him
a knowing and holier-than-thou smile while he was at it. The
last person to pass him was, naturally, Harvey, who skidded past
on roller blades, still in his pants-man outfit, still singing
'The Ride of the Valkyries', with his arms outstretched to resemble
Superman. He grinned, before rounding the corner. John immediately
recoiled into himself and clung to Aeryn again, his brain and
emotions now thoroughly mangled.
him back, attempting to make him focus on reality. "John,
come on. It's not all that bad. I'm sure your pants will turn
up eventually." He groaned. The pants were the least of
his worries. He could feel himself slowly slipping into complete
insanity, he could sense it his mind was getting exponentially
smaller, his judgement was clouding, his grasp of the real and
unreal becoming gradually merged
getting worried by the lost and far-away look on his face, repeated
his name in an effort to bring him back. John was only partially
aware of this, but he could definitely hear her and knew that
something must be wrong. He had to focus. So, he did what he
usually did in these situations - he kissed her. She pushed him
off almost immediately, but it worked. He was back.
"Yeah. 'Mokay Just weirded out there for a second"
He took a deep breath. "I can't wait for this day to be
over it seems like the entire ship is conspiring to drive me
outta my frelling mind I need to sleep. I'll wake up, and everything'll
be normal" He stopped, and shook his head to clear it a
little more. Aeryn still looked concerned. "I'm okay, Aeryn.
Honest. I'm going to the Terrace clear my head."
and they parted ways. Just before either of them moved, off,
though, he added: "Oh, before I forget. That thing Chiana
mentioned? It turns out to be real. I have no idea what the frell
it is, but just be careful. It she seems harmless, but well,
thought I'd better warn you."
Aeryn checked her pulse pistol, nodded, and the two of them headed
round from her table in the apothecary, and faced a strange vision.
Crais looked nervous, his hair was once again slipping out of
its braid, and he was clutching a wad of cotton threads as if
his life depended on it. In fact, she noted, he looked even more
nervous than he had that day on the Terrace when he failed to
give her the pendant in front of everyone. But no she wouldn't
think about that again. They had been doomed for failure before
they even began
Most of her time on this ship seemed to have been spent doing
favours for one or other of the crew, often quite disgusting
or downright dangerous.
it involve bat dren?"
No. No...bat dren." Now he remembered why it hadn't worked
Jool's remarkable ability to confuse and befuddle him within
about ten seconds of any conversation.
All right, what do you want?"
you to run some tests for me. On this." He held up the handful
kind of tests? And is it worth asking why?"
Body fluids. Can you do that?"
yes, but why, Crais?"
ah... I can't tell you. But do it for me, please?" He looked
so expectant that she conceded.
so. But I'll need some kind of database to match it up to if
you want any kind of usable result."
problem. The Peacekeepers have DNA profiles most of their files,
and if it isn't in there it probably isn't worth worrying about.
Bring the me the data and I'll find you a match."
I'm going back to my quarters. Find me when you have something."
He turned on
his heel and marched out of the room, leaving Jool to pick apart
the threads and start her tests, wondering why she allowed herself
to be used like this. One of these days, she'd just learn to
say no, especially where Bialar Crais was concerned. Then, apparently,
Crais thought of something else and darted back into the room.
A sigh. "Yes?
you mind not telling anyone else about this until we know the
yes. I doubt they'd be interested anyway."
Zhaan had finally
decided to give up on Unity. Obviously, the pants did not want
to be brought back. It didn't occur to her, obviously, that they
were never alive to begin with - for Zhaan, everything had a
soul, everything could be redeemed, and everything had a right
to exist. Even John's underpants. She sighed, and returned herself
to the usual level of existence. When she opened her eyes, she
received a shock, and nearly toppled over backwards - in front
of her, mere microts from her face, was a possibly Sebacean,
possibly female, and incredibly frightening entity. Zhaan regained
her composure and addressed her.
No answer. "I am Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan. And you are?" Still
no answer. "Do you have a name, child?" she asked,
smiling warmly. The Sebacean cackled (which it seemed to enjoy
doing), and snapped its be-socked hand at her like some kind
of puppet. Zhaan started, but remained outwardly calm.
strange female leapt forwards, ripped the underpants from Zhaan's
head, and took off again, yelling at the top of her voice: "I
have the pants!! Ahahahaha! Pants!!" Briefly dazed and slightly
confused, Zhaan pulled herself to her feet, and turned to look
at Pilot, who had been doing his very best trying not to laugh
at her. He was still wearing something resembling an amused smile.
what was that?"
entirely sure but I think there have been several other sightings
the others been informed?"
Chiana was in the process of doing that."
then made her way to Command, just for the sheer fact that she
had nothing better to do, Jool was in charge of the apothecary,
and everyone was bound to congregate there eventually.
Half an arn
later, Crais was still standing in the corridor, poring over
his sock collection. He was just picking up a grey argyle that
he was particularly proud of acquiring when he heard footsteps,
and Jool'sexasperated squawk, shouting "Crais! Crais! Where
the hezmana are you, you idiot?"
again. He shoved the socks back into the cupboard and swung the
door closed, in too much of a hurry to check it had closed all
the way, turned and walked nonchalantly in the direction of Jool's
voice. She stamped round the corner, flushed and breathless,
There you are, frellnik! You weren't in your quarters, and I
have been all over the frelling ship. This is the last place
I expected anyone to be! What were you doing here?"
did the woman never shut up? "I...er..."
bother. I've got your precious result, shall we get on with it?"
yes... right... good. This way, then."
towards the nearest console and began punching buttons, Jool
trailing behind and wondering if he always seemed this unstable
and she had merely failed to notice.
yes. There. Results, please?"
him the chip with the results on and watched him plug it into
the console, punch a button and stand back to wait for a match.
ever get to find out what I was testing, then?"
Oh. Yes, yes, yes. Just...aha!"
He was pushing
buttons again, leaning forward eagerly.
Rygel was still
starving, and Pilot was steadfastly refusing his demands for
food. But there was hope. He had finally realised why it was
that nobody else was as hideously, unbearably hungry as he was,
and it wasn't because they had two less stomachs than him.
They had all
been hiding food.
Rygel had no
idea why this hadn't occurred to him sooner. Obviously they were
all living out of private supplies, since there was no way that
anyone could possibly live on the pittance that Pilot had been
doling out. Well, their game was up. He was going to search every
square dench of this ship until he had rooted out their stores,
one at a time, and then he was going to...
At this point,
his thoughts were interrupted. His search had taken him into
the far corners of the ship, and Moya had chosen this precise
moment to lurch to one side, flipping open the door of Crais's
secret compartment and showering Rygel in stolen socks.
Aeryn was beginning
to think John was right, and everybody was conspiring against
him. She hadn't seen a single person around since they'd parted
ways, and it was, frankly, bizarre. She shrugged and turned back
the way she had come, heading towards the Terrace to find John
(assuming he hadn't vanished as well), and then spotted something
on the floor. She bent down for closer scrutiny.
It was a hair
Her first thought was that it was Jool's, but on examination,
it wasn't fuzzy enough or orange enough to be Jool's. It was
long, brown, wavy, and decidedly odd. She stood again, and barely
had time to react when she heard footsteps come pounding down
the corridor behind her, and someone who obviously wasn't looking
where they were going come slamming into her back. Pride wouldn't
let her fall over, even if she did stumble slightly.
to face the heap on the floor and immediately trained her weapon
on it. Suddenly, the hair made a whole lot more sense - whatever
had bumped into her was apparently nothing but hair. John, and
Chiana, apparently, had been right, and now the hair-monster
was after her, too. Well, she was an ex-Peacekeeper. She'd taken
on Scarrans, Tavleks, Sheyangs, and D'Argo in a hyper-rage -
this was nothing compared to that or so she thought.
listen carefully, and don't do any sudden moves, and you might
just come out of this alive," she said, as the (now obviously
female) creature stood up. "Who are you?" Naturally,
there was no reply. Aeryn sighed. "Look, whoever, or whatever
you are. I don't have time for this. So either get out of my
way, tell me what you want, or-" She stopped. "Is that
can talk" Hair-girl nodded again.
Pants!! I found them!"
see" said Aeryn, trying as hard as she could to be civil,
and putting her pulse pistol away. "Now, how about you just
hand them over, hm?"
John's pants," she said, clutching the white clothing to
they're John's pants. I'm going to give them back to him."
Aeryn held out a hand in an attempt to take them, then very quickly
recoiled it when her companion snarled. "All right all right,
just calm down. I'm not going to hurt them. I know John very
well I promise, the pants will get to him intact"
After a few
microts' procrastination, the pants were handed over. Aeryn nodded
in thanks, and then turned to find Crichton. She felt her hand
being tugged before she could move, however, and looked back
to find her new friend pulling on her hand determinedly. She
raised an eyebrow, questioningly.
She held up
the hand wearing the stripey sock. "Socks! Need socks!"
Well um run along, then and find your socks" Then, she vacated
the area before anything else strange could happen, and hair-girl
cackled (again) and ran off in the opposite direction.
two separate matches... yes, that one is Crichton's..."
this is, ah, what the frell??"
but why? It can't..."
Giving up on
an answer, Jool peered over his shoulder at the image on the
screen. It was definitely familiar. Sebacean male... hang on...
that... that Peacekeeper. Thing."
was a battleground of expressions, of which 'incredulous horror'
seemed to be gaining the upper hand.
ship is insane, I would have you know! It is trying to drive
us to distraction! Not content with continually subjecting us
to its bizarre diseases and bodily functions, it now conspires
to attack me with undergarments!"
round the corner, glaring furiously out from under his new suit
of socks. The reactions of the two aliens his tirade was directed
at were quite different.
one look, turned white and stood absolutely still, whimpering
at Rygel, blinked in an attempt to convince herself that he could
not possibly be real, and then spotted one of her own socks dangling
from his left earbrow and grabbed it, failing completely to suppress
her giggles. The fact that Rygel was glaring at her in furiously
affronted dignity only made it that bit harder.
are quite finished", he growled, "I am going to find
out what the hezmana is going on. Excuse me."
Aeryn found John on the Terrace. He was curled into a protective
little ball on his side, in a futile attempt to keep himself
away from the various Bad Things on Moya. He looked so innocent
and childlike, she couldn't help but smile. In fact, she thought
he might be asleep, so she approached him quietly and sat herself
down next to him.
he was quite awake, and, without rolling over, he said, "Hey,
you do that?"
Know it's me."
Just do." He sat up, stretched, and looked at her. "So
is the Mad Ship Moya starting to get any saner yet, or shall
I just curl up and go back to pretending this is all some horrible
say, I haven't seen anyone." John nodded, then stood up
to stretch his legs out. Aeryn joined him. "I did, however,
find your curious monster."
so it was real"
so. I also found these" She held out the pants and he grabbed
them and stuffed them in his jacket pocket, zipping it up for
those are the ones Chiana lost."
they seem clean wait just a cotton pickin' minute!" he said,
his thoughts suddenly taking a U-turn. "You had 'em all
along, didn't you? You were in on this!"
found them, John!"
it, Aeryn, just admit it. You had them in your quarters the whole
time and you just wanted to see how long it would be before I
It had been a long day, and John wasn't helping to make it any
shorter. "I did not steal your underwear. Which brings us
back to the fact that you still only have one pair. I'm assuming
the others haven't turned up yet?" He shook his head. "Right.
Why don't we gather everyone in Command and hold a meeting? If
anyone's seen them, they'll tell you, yes?" A nod. "Good.
before he could react, she grabbed his hand and pulled him off
the Terrace, comming the crew as the two of them made their way
One by one,
the crew drifted into command. Chiana edged round the door, still
twitching and on the alert for sock-monsters. D'argo followed
her, more or less down from his hyper-rage. Zhaan walked in slowly,
looking drained from her efforts to share Unity with the pants.
Rygel floated in, still furious and draped in socks, closely
followed by Jool. He glared furiously around the room, daring
the rest of its occupants to say something. Suddenly, everyone's
expression was very blank.
Last, of course,
came Harvey, never willing to miss out on the fun. He was now
clad in a judge's wig and gown, having finally abandoned the
pants, but had kept the rollerblades. The overall effect was
enough to tip John over the edge, sending him into paroxysms
of laughter. This set off the rest of the crew in sequence, Rygel
sitting, seething, in the centre of it all. John finally brought
himself under some kind of control, only snorting occasionally
when the sight of a small, angry green alien sitting on a floating
chair and draped with socks of all shapes and sizes became too
what the frell happened to you? Hey, hang on..."
forward, scrutinising Rygel closely, and grabbed something threadbare
and grey-brown off his shoulder.
he said quietly. "Sparky, sweetheart? Do you know what this
is, hmm? Any ideas? Want to know what it is? This, Rygel, is
my frelling sock. My. Frelling. Sock!"
He spun round,
brandishing the sock at the rest of the room.
is it with you people, huh?!" he demanded. "Why are
you so frelling determined to drive me insane? What have I done?"
John by the shoulders.
I promise, none of us are trying to do anything to you. Look,
Rygel doesn't just have your socks. For instance, that one there--"
she indicated one of the less worn items, blue and faintly shimmery,
"--is mine. Actually... Rygel, why do you have all our socks?"
Ryge! Hey, you got mine there too?" Chiana detached herself
from the floor and began picking through the sock debris, coming
away triumphantly with a shiny black creation with individual
the hint, and descended, Rygel's diminutive form disappearing
under a multi-species scrum determined to retrieve its collective
socks. D'argo, having a size advantage, emerged first, holding
one fluffy orange and one red with white polka-dots. Next came
Aeryn, expert in violence at a point, with several, all identically
black and neatly-ironed. Jool came out with a single sock, striped
in green and orange. And, finally, Zhaan, who had waited relatively
calmly for everyone else to get theirs, took her blue one, along
with another with interesting gold swirly patterns on.
even angry any more. He found it impossible to believe that a
Dominar of his status could possibly be treated with such disrespect,
and most of his higher brain functions had shut down. He still
had two socks adhering to his head, one gold and full of holes
and mended tears, the other - Chiana had noticed it, and was
retreating to a far corner of the room as a precaution - neon-striped.
happening? Why did you call us? Is it the peacekeepers? It must
be peacekeepers! Don't let them get- is that my sock?"
through the door and skidded to a halt in front of Rygel. He
reached down, removed his sock from the Hynerian's head with
two fastidious fingers, slapped him once across the cheek and
scuttled off to hide behind Zhaan.
John said, trying to work out if Rygel was still actually conscious.
"Rygel? Why the socks?"
Rygel was suddenly
wide awake, and once again bristling with rage.
John", he said in the most determinedly icy, imperious,
Dominar's voice he could muster, "that you ask the person
who collected these these garments, and following that I would
think that your most productive line of enquiry would be to ask
this ship, who apparently found something amusing in dropping
them on my extremely sensitive head."
incredulous. "Collected them? Someone has been collecting
odd," murmured Zhaan.
say that again. But why?"
would have to be so twisted. So determined to have control. The
need must have been terrible"
With an interesting
domino effect, realisation dawned. He wasn't here. Rygel did
not appear to have had any of his socks in his coating. And he
was, without a doubt, as twisted as they come. John replayed
the last couple of solar days mentally, circling incidents of
odd behaviour, specifically a tendency to bolt at the mention
of underwear. Suddenly everything made a sort of horribly bizarre
sense. He turned to the clamshell.
Crais is on tier six."
you get him to come up here?"
There was a
get some DRDs to drag him here, then!"
may be difficult. What are we going to do with him?"
growled D'argo, "to rip out his intestines and weave them
into chair-backs. I am going to suck his brains out of his nose
and use his ribs as"
sweet D'argo. We cannot do such harm to another for merely stealing
said Aeryn, "I'm inclined to agree with D'argo on this one.
Let's just kill him, save ourselves the trouble of having to
guard our frelling underwear."
which looked like being quite an interesting one, was cut short
by the sudden appearance of two figures at the other end of command.
They were both apparently young and female, and of the Sebacean/human
mould, but were marked out by a faint bluish glow as something
John muttered. "Wonderful. Fabulous. Just what today needed.
I mean, I was just thinking it was getting better, you know?
It was all starting to make sense. And now this."
what are you talking about?" Aeryn hissed, eyes still fixed
on the two new arrivals.
John put his
head on the console. "God-like aliens. God-like frelling
aliens. I hate god-like aliens."
of the two glowing blue things smiled serenely. "Greetings,"
she said. "Do not be alarmed. We mean you no harm."
John groaned and tried to burrow into the console. The alien
ignored him. "I am Minh. This is Ennixeve. We sensed that
you had need of us."
said Aeryn. "And what, exactly, do we need you for?"
ship is in turmoil. You have aboard a man who cannot be trusted,
the one called 'Crais'. You do not know what is to be done with
him. Your difficulty is tearing apart your friendships. We can
act as mediators. Instruments of justice. We can find suitable
atonement for his crimes, prevent this dissonance. Please, permit
us to help you."
looked sceptical and D'argo merely looked murderous. Stark, however,
was suddenly ecstatically happy. He jumped to his feet.
Zhaan! Isn't it wonderful? They are full of light, Zhaan!"
all see that much, Stark. They're glowing."
on her. "Inner light, Peacekeeper! They are filled with
kindness! They will help us!"
again. "He is right, Aeryn. They mean us no harm."
Zhaan was slightly
saner than Stark, at least most of the time. Aeryn relaxed a
through the doorway, four DRDs poking at his ankles, and stopped,
swaying gently, in the middle of command. He looked around muzzily,
noting that the entire crew was standing around him and many
of them seemed to be holding socks. There were also some glowing
people. This did not seem terribly important.
cautiously. Crais looked fragile, and she didn't want to damage
we know what you did. We know about the socks. And we know about
There was no point denying it. He'd known they would find out
sooner or later. Now there was nothing for it but to face the
inevitable: court-marshall and execution.
forward and snapped her fingers. The room instantly rearranged
itself, confirming John's suspicions of god-like-ness. The two
aliens stood on either side of a console, Harvey perched between
them, still in his judge's robes but gagged to prevent any undue
contributions. Evidently their powers extended beyond the realm
of the physical. John found himself intensely irritated by this;
however hideously annoying Harvey could be at times, he belonged
to John, and it was not for anybody else to gag him.
Crais had not
moved, but he had been rotated to face the console. Behind him
were the rest of the crew, standing or, in Rygel's case, floating,
in a semicircle. Ennixeve raised her hand and a scroll appeared,
which she read from.
Bialar Crais, you are hereby charged with the theft of socks
from the inhabitants of the ship known as Moya, and with the
theft and destruction-"
Destruction?? He destroyed my Calvins?"
Crichton. I destroyed them and had Jool run tests on them."
"That was John's underwear?" she demanded. "You
didn't say! And if it was, that means that"
Can we concentrate on the matter in hand? You will have due time
for discussion when this trial is complete. Bialar Crais, how
do you plead?"
I made that clear? Guilty."
anyone else wish to speak?"
I want to know what Jool was going to say about my pants."
ran tests. DNA tests. I didn't know it was your underwear and
uh. We found other DNA. Not yours. Someone else's."
her fingers. "Kindly reach your point."
The DNA. It was that guy's. Scorpius' guy. Lieutenant Braca."
As one, every
pair of eyes in the room swivelled to focus on John. He winced.
Right. Well, okay, carry on, carry on." He stared straight
ahead, trying to avoid looking at anyone. Nothing happened. "Come
Yes. Bialar Crais, in view of the nature of your crimes, and
that those crimes could have been attributed to the incompetence
of the one known as Chiana, and that, indeed, her incompetence
has caused suffering in conjunction with your thefts"
That's right, blame Chiana, that's what she's here for. Not as
if I work my hands raw, oh no"
permit me to finish. In view of the nature of your crimes, we
have devised a fitting punishment. You are, for as long as this
crew shall remain aboard this vessel, to fulfil the role of Chiana
as the ship's washer of clothes."
"No more laundry? Ever?"
Crais had been
expecting to be sentenced to death. He looked up incredulously.
"That's my punishment? Laundry duty? That's all?"
Oh, andwe have a request. We believe that a pet of ours is aboard
your vessel. Have you seen her? She is quite small and has a
great deal of hair. Oh, and she is very fond of socks."
monsteris your pet?" demanded Chiana in disbelief.
burst through the door, panting. It spotted its other sock, still
dangling from Rygel, snatched it and pulled it over its other
hand and waved them happily. "Socks!" it cried. "Soooooocks!
called Minh quietly. "Come, Io-Nim!"
spun round, saw the aliens and dashed towards them, jumping into
Ennixeve's arms and wrapping its legs round her waist. Aeryn,
always a sucker for the cute and fawning, grinned, as did almost
everyone else. Rygel glared, feeling that nobody was paying nearly
enough attention to the indignities he had suffered, and floated
sulkily out of the room as the aliens vanished, smiling, taking
the hair-monster with them. Crais followed, wearing an expression
of combined guilt and extreme relief, not having any desire at
all to speak to anyone else just yet. Zhaan and Stark linked
arms and wandered out, smiling knowingly at one another. Chiana
jumped up and trotted cheerfully towards her quarters. D'argo
glanced at John curiously but refrained from saying anything
and left, shaking his head at the apparent insanity of absolutely
everyone on board.
at John and opened her mouth as if to say something.
and walked through the door and down the corridor. John waited
until she was well and truly gone, then sighed, flopped into
a chair and closed his eyes. Harvey was, naturally, still there,
but now sitting on a table in the bar that John's subconscious
had decided on for scenery. For some reason, he was also still
wearing the gag that the aliens had put on him. John reached
across and stripped the tape from his mouth.
Thank you. That was not a pleasant experience."
"Shut you up for a while, though."
take offence, you know."
but you won't. Have a drink."
at the pint in front of him.
Harv, is something you will never know. Just because you live
in my head, doesn't mean I have to share everything with you.
I make the rules in here, remember?"
So, are you going to talk to Aeryn?"
I guess. Be stupid not to."
stood up, grinned, and planted a kiss on Harvey's forehead. Harvey
blinked, then grinned back.
Biting the bullet. Wish me luck."
done! It's all over!!! And um if anyone can still see and hasn't
been put off by all the random insanity, please review and order
us not to do this again. Ever. Thank you. Oh, and I say againIT
WAS FOUR IN THE MORNING!!! Flying frelling bananas make sense
at four in the morning Over and out