Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Farscape belong to others and are used without permission. The plot is of course, entirely original with me. Would I lie to you?
Rating: Definitely PG.
Time: Christmas, of course.
Archiving: Be my guest. But a little Christmas cheer would be appreciated.
Five food cubes, four frelling roast garza birds, three lumps of dorogg, two jugs of hot Xannerian ale, and an monstrous ache in my stomach. I mean, really, with only five miserable food cubes, of course I came back to my quarters for a small snack from my emergency food supply. Now I was lying on my bed in the middle of the night, feeling like my stomach was going to explode.
Suddenly I heard a voice bellowing in my ear. "Get up! Wakey, wakey. Hands off your mivocks and into your socks. Time to be on our way you horrible little Hynerian."
I sat up and turned to my tormentor. "Aeryn. Get the frell out of my quarters. I'm ill and I don't have time for your Peacekeeper foolishness."
She strode up to my bed and ripped the covers off. "I'm not Aeryn, you frelling yotz. Weren't you listening to anything John was saying tonight?"
Now this was bizarre even for Aeryn and the rest of the asylum here on Moya. "Of course I didn't listen to Crichton tonight. I don't listen to Crichton at every opportunity. On those rare occasions that I have, I've regretted it. Now go away, Aeryn Sun. I don't have to time or the strength for whatever this is."
"Don't you listen to anything, Your Sluggishness? I told you, I'm not Aeryn Sun, I'm the Peacekeeper of Christmas Past. Now get your behind out of that bed. We have to acquaint you with peace on Earth and good will to men and a lot of other dren. And I have another fantasy to do tonight. So, MOVE IT."
"Christmas? That's the human holiday Crichton was boring everyone about tonight. The only part that was the slightest bit interesting was the part about getting presents. But giving presents? That's hardly something the Dominar of Hyneria would do."
Aeryn, or whoever she thought she was, picked me up and slung me over her shoulder. "The Ruler of Creation, or the Goddess, or whoever, sent me, in Aeryn's form, to you tonight for a purpose. Now shut up and pay attention. I don't have all night."
I turned to bite her, but stopped in shock. I was home in my palace in Hyneria. My servants were carrying huge platters of the choicest Hynerian viands towards the throne room. I leaped down ran after them. "Halt. It is I, your beloved Dominar. I'm starved." But they ignored me. Me! Their beloved Dominar.
Suddenly, Aeryn picked me up and carried me toward the throne room. "We don't have time for this. And don't think of me as Aeryn."
She put me down and I looked up into my own face. Yes, it was me. Younger, slimmer, and more handsome, but me. Sitting comfortably on my throne, surrounded by my family, friends and loyal servants, just as I had for so many nights. Then I saw him, my despised cousin, Bishan. I turned to Herbot, the Commander of the Dominar's Guards. "Arrest that traitor. At last, Bishan, I have you in my power." But that moron Herbot did nothing. I ran up to Herbot and grabbed him, but my hand went through him.
Aeryn, or whoever, came up to me. "I'm not Aeryn, remember? Don't you ever listen? This is your past. You're not here. You are on Moya, a hundred cycles in the future. You can't interfere with the past."
I kept raging. "Commander of the Dominar's Guards. Some commander. Some guards. When the Peacekeepers landed, you ran. Your Guards hid, and like everything else they did, they even hid poorly. And you didn't even take me with you."
Not-Aeryn laughed. "What did you expect Hynerian soldiers would do when faced with a real army?"
Well, I wasn't through. "And you, Prekle, Minister of State Security. I remember when you first told me that we might have a problem with the Peacekeepers. What was it that attracted that drink-sodden mind of your to that fact? Was it the Peacekeeper tanks parked in my throne room? The Commandos kicking your useless behind into my presence? The Peacekeeper pulse rifle in your ear? I suppose I'm lucky you ever noticed anything."
"And my own cousin, Bishan. How could you betray me? Didn't I show you every sign of my Imperial favor? Didn't I allow you to begin eating as soon as I had finished? Didn't I allow you to drink anything from the Imperial Cellars that I didn't like? And when I was done with a wife, didn't I graciously permit you to use her next? Weren't your first toys as a little nipper the ones I had broken? You have no idea how deeply your ingratitude hurt me."
Then I saw her. That wrinkled gray skin, those brown teeth, those warm eyes, and that magnificent ear brow. "Dissi? It's you. Oh, my love. I have missed you so much." Beautiful Dissi sat next to my younger self. I watched as my younger self took her Festival present from a hidden compartment in the hover throne. "No you yotz." I screamed. "You could buy a regiment of mercenaries that actually like to fight for the price of that gem." But I knew it was no use. Dissi got her present again, as I knew she would.
Worse was to come. My younger self gave valuable presents to Bishan, Herbot and even Prekle. It got even worse. I watched myself pass out Festival gifts to my entire family and members of the government. Well, one and the same, really. I sat and calculated the money I had spent on people who would stand by and let my idiot cousin take my throne. I could have hired the Peacekeepers myself for the money I had spent, no misspent, on my family.
The Woman in Black approached me. "The lesson here, is that you know the price of everything and the value of nothing, Hynerian. You've tried to buy everything in your life. Friends, love, loyalty, even military competence. And it never worked. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a two-person fantasy to do. I'm visiting John and Aeryn tonight. I've been working on getting Aeryn to sleepwalk. Believe me, your fantasy is not a measure of my abilities, Hynerian. So, I doubt that you'll see the two of them much before the Fourth of July. And, no, I don't know the meaning of that human cultural reference, either."
I turned to Not-Aeryn, but found myself facing my pillow aboard Moya. Hezmana! My stomach felt like it would melt and pour down onto Moya's deckplates. Suddenly, I heard the soft sound of bells. I looked up and saw Zhaan.
"Zhaan! What the frell is that on your head and what are you wearing? And most importantly, what the frell are you doing in my quarters. Don't answer any of those questions. Just get out."
Zhaan strolled over to a small mirror I had set up to check my appearance. It is important to look the part of a Dominar. Especially if one is temporarily surrounded by those who are too dull to appreciate the magnificence of a Dominar.
"I'm the Pa'u of Christmas Present. I'm only taking the form of Zhaan for a while. Do you think my hair is too short?"
Zhaan, or whoever she was, had silver hair like those other Delvians on the New Moon of Delvia. It was slightly longer than Chiana's hair and Zhaan was pushing it around while admiring the effect in the mirror. I couldn't think of anything to say, so I just harrumphed at her.
"I'm not Zhaan, and I don't know why I'd ask you anything about hair. But I do like the new dress. Not many women who are 812 cycles old have the legs for this." She turned around in front of me, displaying more of her blue flesh than I was accustomed to or cared to see. Her dress was bright red and was trimmed with some sort of white fur. Around her waist was a shiny black leather belt with bells on it. The dress itself only went down to the middle of her thighs. I was trying to think of something that would express how ghastly she looked when she grabbed my hand and walked through the wall with me.
I found myself looking at myself again. This time I was dead and gutted in that horrible false Earth prison. Aeryn was talking. "I don't think we can conclude that humans are barbarians just because they disemboweled Rygel. Half the beings in the Universe have wanted to do that. I think we have to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one."
D'Argo didn't look convinced. "Easy for you to say Peacekeeper. You look enough like these humans to pass for one, and John did say humans fear those who are different. Although, the desire to slice open Rygel could be considered a Universal constant, almost a mark of true civilization."
Crichton entered and stopped when he saw me. "Ooooh. They got Spanky, did they? Well, win some, lose some, I always say." Crichton crossed over to Aeryn and put his arms around her. Aeryn seemed disgustingly eager to wrap herself around that huge human barbarian. Crichton mumbled in her ear, "Don't worry, Babe, I won't let anything happen to you. Or to you, Big Guy. And guess what? We have more company."
The prison door opened and in came Zhaan and Chiana. Chiana immediately came over to the table my remains were lying on. "Yuck. I don't believe it. He looks worse on the inside than he did on the outside. These humans have more courage than I do to face that."
Zhaan looked briefly and then turned away. "I suppose we must admit what humans really are. Intelligent beings, driven over the edge by Rygel. If only he had listened to me, the humans might have only locked him away. But, you know, er, knew Rygel."
I turned to the Zhaan who had brought me here. She was busy admiring herself in the reflections in the glass of the prison.
I screamed at her. "Nothing like this never happened! Those aliens were kind to me and fed my better than I've been fed in cycles. None of us were ever near Earth. Why are you showing this to me?"
Zhaan, or whoever, turned to me. " I do think a green bow in my hair would set off this outfit perfectly. I'll have to try to communicate with Zhaan about that. And maybe some black patent leather boots. Or perhaps fishnet stockings…"
Suddenly the door opened and in came Cobb. I rushed over to him. "YOU! You monster, you murderer, you criminal, you assassin, you savage, you uncivilized buffoon, You REGICIDE! How dare you." But, of course he paid no attention to me.
Cobb looked apologetically at the others. "I'm authorized by the United Nations of Earth to apologize to you for putting you in jail, but we had to make sure you were not like, well, you, know…." He motioned to my corpse.
Aeryn somehow managed to detach herself from Crichton, "I think I speak for all of us when I say that you humans did the best you could under trying circumstances. Think nothing of it." The rest of Moya's crew agreed with her. All except Crichton. For a moment I felt I had seriously underestimated the dear boys' respect for a Dominar.
"Wait just a minute, Cobb. We have a serious problem here. And I'm not going to let you just sweep this under the rug."
I looked at Not-Zhaan, but she was lifting the hem of her skirt even higher and I quickly turned away. I turned back to Crichton. "You tell him, John, even a seriously brain deficient savage like yourself can see that this crime just cannot go unpunished."
John put his face right into Cobb's. Cobb backed up. John shook his finger in Cobb's face and said," Rygel could be toxic. How are you going to dispose of that mess without endangering innocent humans?"
Cobb smiled. "No problem, a crew from the University will be her to clean that up and stuff him for a new exhibit. In the meantime, we have a party to go to. The best of everything Earth has is at your feet, Commander. And, of course, for your friends, too. After all, it's Christmas."
With that they all headed out the door, leaving me and Not-Zhaan alone. I was too shocked to say a word. I needn't have worried. Big Blue was happy to fill up any silence. "Rygel, you have remembered everything and learned nothing. Those beings are the closest things you have ever had to friends, and you see what they think of you."
I started to reply, but found myself with my mouth around my bed sheet. I was back on Moya again. I wrapped the sheet around me and tried to get comfortable and get back to sleep.
"No can do, Sluggo. I have miles to go before I sleep." I turned over and saw Chiana smiling at me. "It's me, the Thief of Christmas Future. I've been reading ahead in the fantasy. I'm really going to enjoy this." She reached out and took my hand. I tried to avoid her, but….
I was back in my palace. No, it was magnificent, huge and stuffed with treasures, but it was too gaudy even for me. And covering one huge wall was a gigantic pornographic mural featuring a suspiciously familiar Nabari female. "Rygel!" I jumped and looked around at Chiana as it had been her voice. She just pointed to the figure coming down the staircase. I looked and then looked again. It was Chiana. She was wearing a floor length gown that seemed to be made of gems strung together. The dress so blazed in the light that it was hard to see her, but I was sure she was larger in the chest area than I remembered.
I turned to the Chiana I had come with. "How come she can see me? Am I visible in the future?"
Chiana laughed. "She's not talking to you, she's talking to you."
I turned and for the third time that night, I saw myself. I was old and dressed in a patched old coat obviously made for an anthropoid much larger than myself. I had been hidden from sight by a huge package wrapped in bright colored paper.
"Yes, Lady Chiana?" I heard my other self say.
"Rygel, haven't you taken the presents to the transport yet? We're supposed to be at the Crichton's in less than an arn. You know I hate to be late."
"I'm so sorry Lady Chiana, but the package is so heavy and I'm hungry. All I've had today is five food cubes."
"Really Rygel. I've done so much for you and all you do is complain. When I snurchled that treasure map years ago, didn't I share with all of Moya's crew. And didn't everyone get enough money to, as John says, live happily ever after?"
I saw myself reply to her. "You needed our help to get the treasure away from where it was hidden, after all."
The future Chiana stiffened. "And what did you do with your share, may I ask you? Hired those useless mercenaries to try to reclaim your throne. And what happened? I'll tell you what happened. The first group of Hynerian peasants you ran into chased off your so called army and held you for your cousin, Bishan the Magnificent. And who was kind enough to bribe you out of prison?"
My older self was staring at the floor and twisting the hem of his coat in his hands. "You were, Lady Chiana."
"And who has cared for you here, when no one else wanted you around, out of the goodness of her heart, and for old times sake?"
I could see tears in my older self's eyes. "You did, Lady Chiana."
"And when I ask for a little help, I get insolence. Really Rygel. Oh, never mind, I'll have Da Boyz take care of that little package."
Coming down the staircase behind Chiana were a half a dozen young Nabari men. They seemed to all quite muscular and were dressed in brief, tight clothing. Two of them picked up the package and headed off with it. My older self started following them.
"Rygel, where do you think you're going?"
My older self turned, "To the transport Lady Chiana. You said we have less than an arn or so to get to the Crichton's home. And it is Christmas and John is so generous. He always has plenty of food and always tries to get me some Hynerian delicacies. Why I remember last Christmas…."
"Really, Rygel! Don't you remember what happened at little Zhaan's birthday party last summer when you stole her cookies and then tried to blame it on John, Junior? Aeryn absolutely barred you from ever entering their house again."
"But Lady Chiana. It's Christmas, and the Crichtons are my friends. John and Aeryn are almost like family to me."
But, Lady Chiana and the rest of her friends swept past my older self. Her voice floated back, "And remember, I've counted the food cubes."
I turned and looked at what I suppose I must call the Thief of Christmas Future, an apt name. She was looking furiously through her pockets. Finally, she gave up." I had one of those kewl little saying that just perfectly summed up your situation, but I must have left it in my other pants. But, the gist of it was that if you don't change you'll end up a poor, old, lonely unloved slug. But, you'll still have me."
I stomped over to her and found that I had walked off of my bed and crashed to the floor. I wrapped myself up in the sheets and once again drifted off to sleep.
Later, I woke up and went to get some breakfast. I entered the dining area and saw Chiana, Zhaan and D'Argo sitting at one table with their heads together and smirks on their faces. Chiana was in the middle of a conversation "…and at the end of the tier I could still here her screaming, so I had to go down three tiers to escape the noise. I don't think that woman has ever..." Zhaan nudged Chiana and she stopped talking.
"Good morning all, where are Aeryn and John?" I asked.
D'Argo grinned, "There was an, er, emergency of sorts last night. I think John and Aeryn are still in bed." All three grinned and looked at each other. Chiana turned away from me, but I could see her shaking with laughter. Zhaan asked, "How are you today, Rygel. Did you sleep well?"
I thought quickly. Apparently, the Peacekeeper of Christmas Past's second fantasy had come true. Which meant, when I got rich on Chiana's treasure, I had to hang onto every bit of my share and leave Bishan on my throne. "As if you care. But I slept like an innocent babe, of course. Bah. Humbug."