Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Farscape belong to others. As with my last Christmas fic, the plot is all mine.
Time: Would you believe Christmas Eve?
Rating: Rather more violent that your average Christmas tale, I'm afraid.
Spoilers: Any Jimmy Stewart or Frank Capra fans in the house?
My human was standing on the terrace looking out through the force field at the stars. As usual, he was staring in the complete opposite direction from Earth. I made a mental note not to make any plans for this millenium if he had to guide me home. And he was talking to his father again.
"Dad, I just don't know how we're going to hold together. Chiana and Rygel seem to take a perverse delight in causing trouble. Zhaan spends more and more time on the Seek. D'Argo seems to be mad at the entire Universe between finding out Jothee has been sold as a slave and then his breakup with Pip. And Aeryn.... is still Aeryn. I honestly have no idea where I stand with that woman. And the more confused I get, the more she confuses me. And, of course, there's the Uncharted Territories itself. They have more critters, alien vampires, and leather clad psychopaths than I think I can handle. There are times I wish I had flown into that rock and not Tuavo Crais. Everybody'd probably have an easier time of it all around, including me. At least we wouldn't have to spend the rest of our lives running from Scorpy and the Peacekeepers."
Okay, okay. I know the rules. I can recite them backwards and in any language you can think of. It comes with the territory. But here I am a gazillion light years from nowhere, on Christmas Eve and I have to listen to this self indulgent, self pitying crap? No way! I dematerialized right behind him.
"John. We have to have us a little chat."
He whirled around and had his pistol out in a flash. "You make one move and I'll...."
Before he could finish the threat, I stepped forward so that his arm went through my body and his gun was sticking out of my back.
"You're going to do what, Johnny?"
He lowered his pistol and stared at me for a while. "White robe, white wings and a halo. Well, I'm just going to finally go completely out of my frelling mind, right here and now."
He looked like he was about to come unglued, so I had to act fast.
"You are as sane as any human running around the Uncharted Territories, John. Trust me."
We both thought about that line for a few seconds but I managed to speak first.
"Okay, bad choice of words. But, you are not loco. I am exactly what I appear to be. An angel. I am your very own personal guardian angel. Name's Clarence. Shake?"
He holstered his weapon and slowly reached for my hand. "You're an angel?"
"You bet. And not just any angel, I'm your personal guardian angel." Sometimes the boy could be so slow.
He grinned. That was a lot better. "You are doing the worst job of guardian angeling I've ever heard of, Clarence."
I grinned back at him. "Well, to misquote a buddy of mine back at the shop, I know you think you got a pretty rotten deal, but one day, you'll realize you're the luckiest man on the face of the Earth."
"That'll take some doing, Clarence."
With that a burst of pulse rifle fire zipped past us.
"Christ, Moya's being invaded. Who the frell is it?"
"John, look around you, amigo. We aren't in Kansas, or on Moya, anymore."
John looked around and saw I was right. We were in a poorly lit, narrow passageway of a nonliving spaceship. A lime green alien was lying in front of us and staring at a hole where his stomach had been a few seconds ago. We could hear weapons fire and yelling all around us, but couldn't see anyone yet.
"Where are we, Clarence. And how the frell do we get out of here?"
"John, we're in the Universe that would have existed if you had died instead of Tuavo. And don't worry, no one here can see us, hear us or hurt us." To emphasize my point a pair of humanoids came running down the passageway firing their weapons. Their fire and then their bodies passed right through us.
"Clarence, those guys had black face paint or tattoos or something. I think they're Zenetian pirates that Zhaan told us about."
I laughed. "Give the lucky human a cigar. Right the first time. Zenetian pirates are taking the ship Grievous Error, named, for your information, for the worst possible hand in a local card game." These little trips should be educational, I've always thought.
The two Zenetians ran back up the passageway. "Captain. Captain. We found 'em. One's hurt bad, so you'd better hurry."
We could see the pirate captain moving down the passageway. He was a tall, muscular being dressed in maroon, his tentacles flapping around his head and a qualta blade in his hand.
John's face lit up. "D'Argo. Damn, am I glad to see you...."
John stopped talking as D'Argo walked right through him.
"John, as far as anyone else is concerned, we don't exist, pal."
D'Argo yelled at one of the pirates. "Where the frell are they Bhertt?"
The pirate Bhertt grinned and pointed down the passageway.
As we followed D'Argo through the passageways, the extent of the battle became apparent. Bodies were sprawled on the deck, holes blasted in the bulkheads and electrical fires burned unchecked. I brought John up to date on this Universe.
"Stark eventually died on the Gammack Base. Being dead, he couldn't bring D'Argo news of Jothee's capture and sale as a slave. By the time D'Argo found out about it, Jothee had been sent to a particularly unsafe mine and got killed in a cave-in his third day there. All D'Argo lives for now is to kill Macton Tal and his family."
We finally came to a small room. Two humanoids were sprawled on the deck, an injured woman and a man. The man was trying to comfort the woman.
"Those are Peacekeeper techs, Clarence. What are they doing here?"
"They got themselves into the wrong place at the wrong time. Happens all the time in every Universe, John."
D'Argo leaned down and slapped the man aside. He grabbed the woman and pulled her to her feet. She screamed in pain.
"Where is Macton Tal, Peacekeeper?" he bellowed.
The man screamed at D'Argo. "She doesn't know anything about Macton Tal. We're med techs, not warriors."
One of the Zenetians kicked the man, hard. "Shut up, Peacekeeper."
D'Argo grabbed the woman by the front of her jumpsuit and held her off the deck. "I asked you a question, Peacekeeper."
John tried to grab D'Argo's shoulder, but his hand went right through D'Argo. "D'Argo, for God's sakes. She's hurt, she's a woman and she's only a damned med tech. There's no reason to hurt her."
The woman whimpered in pain as D'Argo held her. "Answer me, Peacekeeper. Where is Macton Tal?" he roared.
The woman finally managed to get an answer out. " D--don't... know... Macton Tal---"
D'Argo took a step back and threw the woman against the bulkhead. There was a sickening crack as her head hit the bulkhead and then she slid lifelessly to the floor.
D'Argo turned on the man. "Where is Macton Tal?"
John knelt by the woman's body, but could do no good. "D'Argo, what the hell do you think you're doing, man?" he whispered.
The male Peacekeeper couldn't answer D'Argo either. Tiring of the interrogation, D'Argo drove his qualta blade into the man's chest.
"Two less frelling Peacekeepers in the Universe.
D'Argo walked away from the two, shouting orders to his pirates.
"Johnny, it doesn't look like D'Argo has done too well in a Chritonless Universe."
John just glared at me. "Clarence, just get me the Hell out of---
We stood on a rocky plain under a swollen sun. Against a rocky wall, three cat-like aliens were pulling some sort of reeds out of a small pool of water.
"Okay, Clarence. Where's here now?"
"Taran Rau. Name sound familiar, John?"
John thought for a microt or two until I decided to enlighten him. "Moya's original destination. The Peacekeeper prison colony of Taran Rau. It has a highly eccentric orbit. When it's close to its primary sun, as it is now, it's unbearably hot. At it's furthest, it's unbearably cold. Most of the "lifers" find there life spans are about a cycle or so here. Those three are an exception. They're smart enough to realize that working as a team gives them a better chance--"
"Skip it, Clarence. I don't need a geography lesson or a sociology lecture. Get me the.."
Suddenly one of the aliens staggered backwards, clutching his head. The other two looked up at a figure crouching above them. A thrown rock slammed into another alien's shoulder. The one uninjured alien grabbed his two companions and ran for it. A few seconds later a familiar blue figure dropped down to the pool and began to drink the stagnant water while pulling the reeds into a length of blue cloth.
"Zhaan!" John started to walk toward her, but remembered what I'd said earlier. He turned to me, "She can't hear me, can she?"
"How could she, John? You're dead right now."
John grimaced. "Okay, Clarence. What happened to Zhaan?"
"She was lured to the New Moon of Delvia by Tahleen and they shared Unity as she did when you were with her. But she went mad with no perpetually optimistic human around to convince her she could regain her sanity in anything less than a few hundred cycles. A mad Delvian priestess was much easier for Peacekeepers to recapture. They just sent her to where she was going when you arrived. Or should I now say when you failed to survive arrival."
John tried to look optimistic. "Clarence, there has to be something we can do. Right?"
"I don't know what two dead humans can do, John. Zhaan is starting to starve, as she did on Moya. Unless she can catch and eat one of the aliens over there, she'll be dead in about a weeken."
The three aliens seemed to have gotten themselves organized again. They had armloads of rocks and a couple of large branches to use as clubs. Zhaan saw them and started running. The aliens ran past us in pursuit of Zhaan.
John took off after the aliens. "Clarence, we can't---"
We stood on the bridge of a Peacekeeper command carrier. Three familiar Peacekeepers were in front of us.
Crais smiled and gestured to the ship in the view screen. "There he is, Muroc. My Leviathan gunship hybrid. My dream. My future."
John frowned. "Aeryn never named him Talyn. So in this Universe he's Muroc?"
I nodded. "When Talyn was born he almost panicked and shot his way out of Moya. She was not built to give birth to a gunship. However, Chiana was able to calm him and help him make a small cut in Moya so he could be born. In this Universe, Muroc seriously injured Moya in being born and she died soon after, taking Pilot with her. Muroc was all alone, so he began to search for his father. In his mind, his father was Crais."
Crais was again talking. "I have been advised by Peacekeeper Command that after the successful pacification of the rebellious world of Tenoctitlan, I can assume the rank of Commodore and the command a squadron. When that happens, Captain Teeg will assume command of this command carrier and Lieutenant Commander Tauvo Crais will command Muroc."
The two soon to be promoted Peacekeepers beamed with joy.
Crais walked to a communications panel. "Muroc. You will destroy the rebels. Destroy them utterly."
In the view screen we could see Muroc destroying orbital installations and ships around the rebellious planet.
"There are some seven million beings down there, John. They'll die today."
"I know, Clarence. They'll die because of John Crichton. Is there some good reason you want me to watch this butchery?"
I sighed. "Since you put it that way, yes, there is. Those beings are dying because the Peacekeepers made a conscious decision to exterminate them. Not because John Crichton failed them."
"But they're still dead because I'm not here in this Universe."
John could be so difficult at times. "They died in the Universe where you lived, too. A different Peacekeeper captain in a different ship destroyed them with different weapons. You just never heard about it. "
"Is that supposed to make me feel better?"
"No, John. It's supposed to make you feel like you're not guilty of genocide."
The three Peacekeepers had their attention riveted on the view screen.
"Can we get out of here?"
I started to walk into Crais's quarters. "One more thing, John. Were you aware that Crais used to have two Hynerian heads mounted in his quarters?"
John stepped by me and walked on into the quarters. Three Hynerian heads were present now. "Spanky. Damn it. What happened to him?"
"His Excellency Rygel XVI could never quite learn not to double cross his friends. Soon he had no friends, and his former friends double crossed him. But Crais decided to save himself a trip to the nearest prison planet."
The Peacekeepers were starting to laugh and cheer as the destruction of Tenoctitlan proceeded.
"Clarence, I want out of here and I want out right..."
We were in a crowded, noisy spaceport bar. It was so crowded that beings were almost constantly walking through us, or even standing where we were. The place was full of happy, loud spacers, busy spending their wages. The place was also full of those people who depended on well paid spacers for their living. One of these was making her way towards the door as we entered.
"Pip. Pip." John yelled." Dammit I keep forgetting she can't hear me."
John walked through the patrons of the bar and soon caught up with Chiana. He turned to me. "Pip seems to be doing all right. She was the one I'd pick to always land on her feet."
Chiana made it out of the bar and onto the street. Before she had gone a block, two burly thugs grabbed her and pulled her into an alley. Her screams went unnoticed by the passersby. It was that kind of a neighborhood. Finally, one thug drove his fist into Chiana's stomach. Chiana bent over and the second thug slammed his fist into the side of her head. The two then dragged her to the end of the alley where a large black ground vehicle was stopped.
The rear window of the vehicle slid down to reveal a wolf-like being, dressed in a powder blue robe.
"Chiana, my dear," he rumbled. "I do appreciate you. I really do. Your intelligence, your persistence and your not inconsiderable abilities as a criminal. But I cannot permit freelances to operate in my territories. It would set an unfortunate precedent."
The vicious looking being glanced at his two henchmen and nodded. One put his hand down the front of Chiana's blouse and pulled out a small pile of currency. He handed it to his boss.
Chiana managed to pull herself upright. "I was just coming to see you, sir, really I was. I have an idea…"
"No more lies, please, Chiana. I'm confiscating your night's earnings and giving you a warning. If you come into my territory at any time in the future, my people have orders to kill you on sight." The window slid back up and the vehicle pulled noiselessly away.
The two thugs walked Chiana to a wide street, crowded with well dressed people.
"You come back into our territory again, Chiana and you're dead. Understand?"
Chaina nodded and walked away. In five microns, Chiana had found a well dressed, older man who was somewhat impaired from alcohol. Chiana bumped into him and left with his wallet in her hand. She was no more than a few steps away when the man screamed at her.
"Planetary Constabulary. Freeze!"
Chiana could see four other plainclothes police approaching her. She turned to the man she had pickpocketed and smiled at him. "Okay, no problem. You got me. No reason to get hostile."
The policeman relaxed. That's when Chiana kneed him in the crotch. He went down and Chiana took off down the street with the four policemen in hot pursuit.
John laughed as we followed the police. "That's Chiana. She'll find a way out of anything. I knew I could count on her."
Suddenly one of the police fell and screamed in pain. Another knelt beside him. "Chaddo's broken his damned ankle. Get that bitch."
Chaina was almost to an old and overgrown city park. Once over the wall she could hide for days from almost any number of police. Just as she leapt to grab the top of the wall, a yellow bolt of light hit her in the arm and she fell to the ground.
In a few microts the police had caught up with her.
She lay on the ground and looked up at them. "Frell you, cop."
The cop fired a single pulse pistol bolt into her head. "Frell you, thief."
John stood with a look of horror on his face.
"Forget it, Clarence. I'm not going anywhere else. I'm going to close my eyes and not look. There no way I'm going to watch who's up next. No frelling---"
"Ehrni! Didn't I tell you to keep my frelling glass full?"
In spite of his words to me, John opened his eyes and turned to look at Aeryn Sun. Aeryn was dressed in a pair of dirty black Peacekeeper issue pants and a black tee shirt. She had a pulse pistol riding on each thigh and a pulse rifle lying on the bar she was standing at. A short, almost globular being, raced over to refill her glass. When she turned, John saw the patch over her left eye and the scar running from the patch, down her cheek almost to the corner of her mouth.
John was nearly in tears as he raised his hand to Aeryn's face. "Christ, Aeryn. What happened to you, honey?"
He turned on me. "Clarence, what happened to her? What the frell happened to Aeryn?"
I walked over to stand by them. "Aeryn was pulled along by Moya's starburst, just as she was when you lived and were brought aboard Moya. But, no handy human was able to steal a fork and help her escape from Moya. She remained on Moya for over a cycle as a prisoner. D'Argo voted to kill her at once, but Zhaan and Rygel, for different reasons opposed that. Zhaan felt a killing would be a bad way to start her freedom and return to the Seek and Rygel thought that a Peacekeeper hostage might come in handy. By the time she managed to escape, she knew that the Peacekeepers would have long considered her to be irreversibly contaminated. She has survived as a mercenary, bounty hunter and hired gun in the Uncharted Territories. And spends most of her spare time in places like this."
I gestured to my surroundings. A shabby bar on a poor planet somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Daylight shone through the poorly made wooden plank walls and the floor was packed dirt. Fortunately, it rarely rained here.
"What happened to her eye, Clarence?"
"D'Argo happened. Aeryn tried to escape by insulting D'Argo's dead wife and his son. She hoped he would lose his temper and enter her cell. Then she would defeat him and escape. He entered her cell, but Aeryn lost the fight. Zhaan heard the noise of the fight and managed to keep D'Argo from killing her. But she did lose the eye and she's been in a great deal of pain ever since. She consumes a great deal of alcohol and other central nervous system depressants."
John stood in front of Aeryn. "Honey, I swear this won't happen to you. I'll get back to Moya and everything will be alright. Won't it, Clarence."
I shrugged. "It's hard to keep changing the Universe just to suit one man, John. You should have thought about that before you made your wish."
"SUN!" The scream surprised us all.
A young girl stood in the doorway of the bar. She was dressed in ragged clothes, but had an embroidered scarf wrapped around her head. At her hip was a pulse pistol.
"You killed my whole clan, you Peacekeeper bitch. I'm all that's left but I'm here to kill you."
Aeryn turned to face the girl. "Go away, little girl. The S'Fanta clan didn't want to pay to kill off children. And I hate to kill and not get paid for it."
The two stood facing each other. John stepped in front of Aeryn, but of course she couldn't see him. "Aeryn, babe, please don't do this. You were more before I ever met you and you still can be more. Don't kill the girl, Aeryn. You can figure out something. If we can't change this back, I'll get to you somehow and we'll...."
Neither of us saw Aeryn draw. Suddenly a bolt of yellow light passed through John. He spun around in time to see the girl's gun clatter to the floor. The girl followed it.
Ehrni peeked around the end of the bar. "She's dead."
Aeryn snorted. "Of course she is. I don't miss."
"No you don't, Officer Sun. That's why I need to hire you."
Aeryn turned to face the speaker. He was a tall Sebacean, seated at a table near a window. The man opened his coat to show he was unarmed. "Will you allow me to buy you a drink, Officer Sun and propose a business deal to you."
Aeryn walked over and sat by the man.
"My name is Macton Tal and I have a problem with a Luxan. I believe we'd both be happier if he was dead."
Aeryn smiled and the man started running his hand over the inside of her thigh and outlining his plan.
John stood right behind Aeryn and watched.
"Yes, Aeryn. Who did you think it was, Crichton?"
John spun around to find himself alone on the terrace except for Aeryn Sun.
"Is there something wrong with your communicator, John? I've been trying to contact you for five microns."
"Sorry, I just sort of lost track of time, or something."
Aeryn walked over to John and put a hand to his forehead. "You're not having any sort of problems, are you John?"
John smiled at her. "No, no problems at all, Aeryn."
"Good. I've finished the maintenance on the secure communications array on my Prowler, but I'm having trouble reinstalling it. Can you help me?"
"Sure. No problem."
Aeryn started to walk away, but John caught her hand and drew her back to him. He put his hand on her cheek just below her left eye. "Aeryn, did I ever tell you that you have the most beautiful eyes?"
Aeryn had learned a little about taking a compliment since meeting John. She looked confused for a microt and then smiled briefly. "No, you never mentioned my eyes before." She stopped, and then, "But compliments won't fix my Prowler, will they."
Like I said, she has learned a little.
As the two of them headed for the maintenance bay, I felt her dematerialize beside me. I glanced over at her. Black hair in a ponytail, gorgeous blue eyes, a black robe, black wings and a dark red halo.
"I'll never figure out how you humans manage to accomplish anything. Any rational being would have figured out that you couldn't change the entire Universe just for him. The paperwork alone would take longer than his lifespan."
I smiled at her. "Must be terrible, being a guardian angel to a race that doesn't believe in any sort of afterlife, or supreme being. Don't you ever feel a sense of futility?"
She smiled back. "Okay, enough. I don't want to argue again. Besides, we have work to do."
"Work? Sure. How much help does Aeryn need reinstalling her communications array?"
She started walking toward the door and turned back to me. "None at all. She could reinstall that array blindfolded and with one hand tied behind her." Then she turned and smiled at me. Several thousand cycles from now, an amphibian race's first astronomer, using his race's first telescope would mistake it for a supernova. "But Aeryn did scent her hair again."
As she left the terrace she called back to me. "And so did I."
I'm out of here.
TO A WEBSITE IN YOUR GALAXY
LARRY THE RAZOR TOOTH VORLAG
Will Larry get the Letters of Transit and grab the last plane out of Casablanca only to find the in-light meal is a frelling bag of peanuts?
Will UCSBmom find out that the words "nude beach volleyball" appear in Dad's next fanfic?
Will Larry manage to appropriate EVERY copyrighted character in the Universe for his version of events?
Will John and Aeryn do a little smooching in Dad's next fanfic? (You have read my stuff, right?)
DAD CASSIDY AND THE VORLAG KID