Author's Note: The following fic is a Larraq soliloquy while he's aboard Moya, before he's taken over by the virus. Now, before I get a million, gazillion posts accusing me of hating John Crichton, being a traitor to the 'shipper cause, and screwing up my facts: remember, this is *Larraq's* point of view and is based only on what he sees from the time he steps foot on the ship -- and what he remembers from thirteen years ago; also remember that he's been in deep space for almost a full cycle. Therefore, he doesn't know about John&Aeryn (if, indeed, at this point there is anything to know about), he doesn't know that John's not a nurfer, and he doesn't know that Tauvo Crais is dead.
As for the rest of it, these are *his* thoughts, which he is as entitled to as the next man -- er, Sebacean.
Spoilers up to "A Bug's Life."
This vignette is dedicated to Natalie, who loves Larraq almost as much as I do!
What was it you said? "I can handle big." Yeah, girl, I *know* you can. You can handle any size dren the universe throws in your path, sweep it up, then go on to take the Harler Prize or win the Warrang War.
I knew you right away, even before you gave name, rank, and regiment. It might have been thirteen years, and those the difference between kit and cat, but you haven't changed. Not deep under, where it matters. Not where *you* really live. Down there, you haven't changed at all, Aeryn Sun.
You didn't recognize me, though, did you? No reason you should, really. I was what, one of seven guest instructors brought in by the High Command to train that year's batch of newt cadets. The fleet's best pilot, for sure, but nothing else to set me apart, make anyone take a second glance, nothing to make sure anyone'd remember after thirteen years.
I was... just me.
But you. Ah, now, that was another story quite. There you were, one of twenty-four bred-to-the-bone newts. At least, that's what the class *should* have been, according to academic rosters. Twenty-four newts.
So why was it always twenty-three newts and you?
You were the one took everyone's eye. Best damn pilot, for your age and size, I ever saw, and no reason not to think you'd grow to be even more. I could tell that the minute I saw you in that beat-up KL-81 they had you practising loops on. Any one who could get that antiquated piece of junk to fly even a *straight* line, much less the zigzag course you put her through...
So of *course* you were in Prowler flight school at sixteen. Was me put you in the driver's seat, girl. Or near as much as to make no mistake. Told Sergeant Gordina you were ready, and she trusted me. You showed 'em all the day she tested you for readiness. Showed 'em what flying means when heart and mind and body mesh with glass and metal and power to be one.
And you only sixteen.
Oh, and in case you think I'm biased? I wasn't the only one, saw your style. Madrais said if she had only five more like you, full grown, she could have ended the Siege of Limdall a full monen earlier, saved the *Ralthsrake* from being destroyed, saved all hands aboard her.
And Marron said time and again you were a warrior's warrior, you *became* your weapon and your ship, as he'd never seen another do, not since... not since the day his Ssushil flew his Prowler into a sun.
Don't get me wrong, though. It's not like you were all smooth perfection and no flaws, little girl. You always *did* treat strategy meets with too much free abandon. And I could never convince you how important intell was in ferreting out what needed to be done. But still and all, you stood apart. Challenging, daring, defying.
Bred-to-the-bone. The High Command's greatest weapon.
Ironic, isn't it, that you were the one seemed, surface way, at least, slightly damaged. Smaller than the others, prompting jealous whispers of deficient genes, a tired strain, a bad splicing. Too bad for the whisperers that the slightness of you put you in everyone's eye -- where you shone.
A tired strain? Girl, your breeding should be shouted to Council rafters. *You* are what this race needs if it is to survive.
But no, we look to the vivos for our leadership -- and what do we get? Prongated, arrogant nurfers like your captain, men who sneer at you for being what you are while not seeing just how little *they* are by contrast.
Does he appreciate you, this nurfer captain of yours? Does he know how little his kind matter in the universe? Worn out, blood thinned, courage all a sham. He is not worthy to be your liege. Does he know this, Aeryn Sun? Does he know the honor you bring to him?
And to Ustar Regiment?
Girl, you were the guardian of Pleisar's honor. Who forced you here?
And I know you were forced. I taught you for one whole cycle. I know the love you had for creche and kind, for kin and friends. So why did you leave Pleisar?
I could give a guess, summed up in just two words. Bialar Crais. If ever the weakness of vivo dependency needed proof, it's to be found in Crais. Or better, in that pup brother of his. I hear the good captain finally pulled the right Councilman's strings and Tauvo will join him this cycle. What a waste of a good berth *that'll* be. Boy's more farmer than fighter any day, and Crais too full of family to own or admit it.
So what'd he do, to force you to Ustar? Tell you Tauvo would be squadron leader? Could be. You never were one to follow fools graciously. And Tauvo's a fool, there's no getting around that.
Not to mention one of the worst pilots I've ever seen. Get someone killed someday, he will, and if we're lucky it'll just be him, and not his whole damn squad.
But yeah, I can see you transferring if Tauvo got the nod ahead of you. You know your worth, girl, none can say you don't. So now Ustar has you. A command full of deadheads and rejects, those who never will and those who used to be.
Frell. This's no place for you, Aeryn Sun.
Lousy timing, girl. I gotta get this cargo back. But after.
Have they drained all the life out, Aeryn? All the spit and fire that could go up against a Command-Slayer and still come back for more? Are you still there, Aeryn?
And if you are...
You ever think about going Special Ops, Aeryn Sun?
F I N