Categories > TV > Farscape
PASS IT ON
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Farscape or any of the characters from the show, and I earn no profit in writing this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This may not be an original idea, but its one that has been knocking around in my head since I saw the Farscape episode Family Ties. I finally decided to put it down.
Chiana: "You saved my life."
John: "Pass it on... when someone else needs it, return the favor. You pass it on."
- FAMILY TIES
EmNari was a pit. That was the nicest thing Chiana could say about it. As commerce planets went, it was the worst of the worst, but as Crichton had put it, beggars couldn't be choosers. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, those human sayings hit the target dead center.
With Scorpius snapping at their heels, another Human expression, and both crew and ship still reeling after the incidents with T'raltixx and that recording of Aeryn, they were in a worse position than ever to pick and choose. Hence, the need to avoid the busier trade routes and commerce planets and get what they needed at places like EmNari.
Normally one to thrive in places where many 'respectable'people wouldn't be caught dead, Chiana found herself spending more time keeping an eye on her own belongings and fending off thieves than looking for things to steal for herself. Twice in the last quarter-arn, there had been attempts to swipe her purse and there had been three attempts to steal her packages.
It was becoming tiresome, and she couldn't wait to get back to Moya. With her errands almost complete and the others already headed back to the pod, Chiana glanced around impatiently. "Where is it? If that blob at the bazaar got the directions wrong I'll-" she brightened as the sign caught her eye. "Finally."
Sima was running. Her entire world seemed to be about running lately. Running herself ragged for her slob of shipmaster, running from the ship's engineer when he was drunk and wanted her company in his bunk, running errands for every member of the crew when they stopped at a commerce planet, running for her life. The last was new.
It had started simply enough, with the cargo master sending her to pick up a package for him. As the most junior member of the crew, she always got the most menial jobs. Knowing that every one else, up to the shipmaster himself, had been through the same wasn't much comfort, at least not at the moment.
EmNari's port facilities were not the cleanest Sima had ever seen, but they almost sterile when compared to the narrow street off the bazaar where the shop was located. After checking the address, she pushed open the door. "Hello?"
"Who's there?" The voice was high and fluting, carrying an accent that Sima didn't recognize.
"My name is Sima. Shipmaster Haisis of the Turlak'ri sent me. I'm to pick up a package here."
"Ah, yes, come in," the voice called. Sima obeyed, moving around shelves and racks full of unidentifiable components until she was face to face with the owner of the voice. "I am Ee'tA. Did you bring payment?" Ee'tA was of an unfamiliar species. Built low to the ground, the alien, whose alabaster skin seemed to almost glow in the dim light, moved on four limbs, the upper two doubling as manipulative appendages. It rose to its hind legs and regarded her with small, close-set eyes.
"Yes, of course. Do you have the package?"
The alien made a gesture she assumed was an affirmative and dropped to all fours to scurry behind the counter. It reappeared a microt later with an unadorned box. "The payment?"
Sima pulled the currency and authentication Haisis had provided out of her pouch and set them on the counter. "Here you are."
"My thanks, youngling," Ee'tA fluted before raising a pulse pistol and taking aim.
Sima had never been shot at before, and had never been in asituation that had put her at risk of being shot. That being the case, she was amazed that she reacted so well to the threat.
Dropping into a crouch, she gave the counter before her ahard shove. There was a piercing whistle from the alien with the pistol and a series of words that Sima's microbes refused to translate as the free standing counter slid back, knocking the alien off its feet. Sima grabbed the box from the counter, although she wasn't sure why, and ran for the exit. More untranslatable words and two shots followed her out into the street.
Making a sharp right, Sima barreled into a Nebari woman, nearly knocking the other off her feet.
"Frell!" the Nebari swore, stumbling. "What do you thi-?" She stopped, taking in Sima's shaking form and terrified face. Another pulse blast cut off whatever she might have planned to say next. "Whoa! Okay, never mind." Taking Sima by the arm, she pulled her down the street and ducked into an alley.
"Help! Please help!" Sima babbled. "It's trying to kill me!"
"Any idea why?" the Nebari asked, peeking around the corner.
"I just went to pick up a package for my shipmaster, and it started shooting at me!" Sima could feel herself panicking but was unable to do anything about it. She found herself shaking with reaction. "I don't know!" she pleaded. "Help me!"
"Okay," the other woman answered almost calmly. "Just fall apart later, huh? Now's not really the best time for it." She pulled away from the mouth of the alley and led Sima to the other end and out into the next street. "Follow me," the Nebari instructed, setting a brisk pace as she crossed that street and then another before turning back toward the port.
"Name's Chiana by the way. What's yours?"
"Well, Sim-, Dren!" She pulled Sima down as a volley of pulse blasts scattered the people on the street. Ducking into the first open door, practically dragging Sima behind her, Chiana led the way through the shop and past a protesting shopkeeper before exiting into another alley.
"Why are they trying to kill me?" Sima demanded.
"If you don't know, how should I? What's in the package?"
"I don't know," Sima answered, her breath starting to come in gasps as they hurried down the alley. "I paid the alien in the shop, and it tried to shoot me."
"What was it?"
"I've never seen one before, but it...looked like that." A larger version of Ee'tA appeared at the end of the alley.
"Give us the package," it demanded in the same high voice.
"I paid for it!" Sima protested, and immediately felt stupid, being reasonably certain that the answer wouldn't placate the alien.
"Put it down now, and we'll let you walk away."
Chiana cocked her head, as if considering. "Why do I doubt that?" The alien shifted its gaze to her.
"Who are you?"
"Nobody. Just trying to help."
"Stupid," the creature fluted switching its aim to her. Sima drew breath to shout a warning, possibly to scream, she wasn't sure. A single shot was fired and the alien before her toppled backwards, eyes wide.
"Eenji," Chiana commented, holstering her own weapon."They're big in the drug trade. Produce a lot of designer stuff, tailored to specific species." After a moment's thought, the Nebari grabbed Sima's arm and pulled her along the alley, away from the dead Eenji.
"That doesn't make sense," Sima panted, thinking out loud. My ship doesn't run contraband and certainly not drugs."
The Nebari shrugged. "Whatever, down this way." They took a sharp right, followed by three more random turns. Before Sima realized it, they were back at the port. "They'll be looking for you here. Where's your ship?"
Sima pointed the way and Chiana managed to get her there without being seen, a feat that amazed the frightened young female, given the number of Eenji that seemed to have materialized at the port.
Shipmaster Haisis greeted them warmly enough, once he saw that Sima had the package. The /Turlak'ri/lifted off immediately, with the Nebari aboard, as the Eenji were looking for her as well. A quick call to the Leviathan she served on and a transport pod was dispatched to retrieve her. The Sebacean male who piloted that pod seemed unsurprised that 'Pip' had gotten into trouble, but didn't seem at all angry about it, unlike Haisis who had had to cut his business on EmNari short.
Before she had left, Sima had grabbed the Nebari's arm and thanked her again. "I wish there was something I could do for you, to repay you for helping me."
The Nebari considered for a microt and then glanced at the Sebacean and smiled. "Just pass it on. Someone else needs the favor? Pass it on."
F'vani Stesel glanced up as the chime on the outer door sounded. Business at mid-morning was always a bit slow. His regular customers tended to come in on a set schedule. That meant that this was probably someone new. He put special effort into catering to new customers, knowing that drop in business could drop out again over the tiniest of irritations. Casting an eye to the displays and assuring himself that everything was neatly stacked and easily accessible, just as he liked it, the old shopkeeper straightened up, got all four legs under him and put on the most welcoming face he knew how.
The woman who entered was of a species he vaguely recognized, Taralin, he thought and off of a freighter judging by her clothes. She nodded at him before moving back through the shelves to where some of his more exotic, not to mention expensive, items were stored. She seemed to know what she was after and waved off an offer of assistance.
He cast an eye over the counter and shelves nearest him, just to be sure everything was in order before turning his attention to his record keeping. The routine tasks of maintaining his shop were always a comfort to him. Where some might crave adventure, all he wanted was a quiet life where everything was orderly and predictable. His older siblings had mocked him as they joined the merchant fleet or the security forces or struggled for recognition and advancement in the service of the Oligarchy. He was content to run his small shop and provide for his mate and their brood. Dull, it might be, but he was happy.
Only a few microts had passed before his door opened again to admit a new customer. A genuine smile split his features this time. Two customers in under an arn at mid-morning. It was shaping up to be a very good day. The smile vanished when his new customer aimed a pulse pistol at his face and demanded his cash box.
F'vani kept little cash on hand, the new credit chips were really safer and more convenient, but not all of his customers saw the changes expanded contact with aliens had brought as a good thing and insisted on conducting their business in the old fashioned way.
His unwanted visitor was shaking badly, and his eyes had an unhealthy blue tint to them. F'vani recognized the signs of withdrawal from Kithri spice and knew that no excuses or delays would be tolerated. Pulling the cash box from under his counter, he set it in front of the addict, hoping that he would be in too much of a hurry to check inside.
Instead, he practically ripped the lid off to get at the money, frowning when he saw how little there was. "You're holding out on me! Where's the rest?!"
"That is all I have," F'vani told him calmly. "I don't do much business in cash anymo-"
"Words! Words! No more words, just money! Where?" The shaking stranger's finger began to tighten on the trigger.
"I have no more," the shopkeeper insisted, panic creeping into his voice, despite his best efforts. He had always heard that remaining calm was the best way to deal with people high on spice. Remain calm, give them what they want, and let them get on their way. Then call for the constables.
His visitor wasn't high, though. He was in withdrawal and desperate to acquire money for another dosage. The shaking of the hand only increased. "You're lying," he decided. "Give me all of it or I'll kill you!"
"How rude," a female voice interrupted, and F'vani suddenly remembered his other customer. The addict swung around, trying to bring the gun to bear on her. She was faster. Grabbing his wrist with one hand, she kept the gun pointed away from both of them as she grabbed his elbow with the other and shoved.
The addict's reaction was dictated by physiological response, reflex. To keep his arm from being broken he leaned forward, trying to twist away. This brought his head into violent contact with the counter. He slumped unconscious, and the female Taralin carefully removed the pulse pistol from his unresisting hand.
"Here," she handed it to F'vani with a look of distaste. "The constables will want that."
"Th-thank you," he stuttered. "He was going to kill me."
"You are welcome." She put several items on the counter. "Can you total these for me?"
F'vani blinked in surprise. She was behaving as if nothing unusual had happened. He shook his head and waved her away. "Please. Take them with my compliments. If there is anything I can do to repay you.... Just ask."
She smiled and gathered up the items on the counter before stopping to consider a moment. "Just pass it on." At his blank look, she elaborated. "When someone else needs the favor, pass it on." She then turned and left the store without another word.
It was impossible to blend in with the crowd. Being the only biped on the street that didn't have gray skin tended to make one stand out. It would have been nice if hooded robes were in fashion, as they always seemed to be in those old sci-fi movies when the hero needed to hide. He smiled at the memory of watching those films with his dad while his mother made fun of the science, or lack thereof, in the movie. D'Argo promised himself that if he managed to get home safely, he'd arrange another family movie night featuring the Star Wars trilogy. For the moment, though, there were more pressing matters.
Since the Establishment had completed their conquest of this planet, getting supplies in and refugees out had become almost impossible. Why this planet had been of special interest to the Nebari was a mystery, and he had been sent to solve it. The Establishment had seriously overextended themselves in grabbing this world, so far beyond their borders. It must be something important.
Ducking down an alley, the dark, moonless night being his only real protection, he quickened his pace and made the turn at the end before the people following him had reached the mouth of the narrow passage.
The genetic modification that had been used to alter his appearance should have lasted longer, and he would definitely be having words with that diagnosan about it. There was no sense, however, in griping about what he couldn't change, and he had more immediate problems than shoddy genetic engineering.
The street he found himself in was almost empty; most of the shops closed and locked up tight at this time of night. Not an ideal place to hide. He hurried along, scanning each side of the street, looking for another alley. He knew he only had microts before the patrol caught sight of him.
"In here." D'Argo turned and saw one of the locals, having just emerged from his shop, gesturing him into the darkened entry. With no other obvious choices, he ducked inside, and the owner, an old male of the species, quickly locked the door and gestured him behind the counter to a back room.
"Thanks," he ventured, but the shopkeeper made a dismissive gesture.
"Don't thank me yet. They may come in here looking for you." He led the way to his desk and shoved it aside. "I have a hidey hole here that dates back to the time of my sire's sire. It is not big but it is nearly undetectable." He pressed at a seemingly random spot on the floor and a section of it raised up and slid away. "Hurry. They will be knocking on doors soon."
D'Argo lowered himself awkwardly into the space, and the shopkeeper quickly closed the opening. Despite this, he could clearly hear what was happening in the shop above. Microts after he had been hidden away, someone was pounding on the door.
"Good evening gentle sirs," the shopkeeper said, opening the front door of the shop. "I'm afraid Iam closed for the evening, but-"
"We are looking for a Sebacean male," an unfamiliar voice interrupted. "He may have passed this way. He may have tried the door to your shop."
"I am sorry, sirs. I have been in the back of the shop, closing out the day's business. I saw no one."
"Be certain. This Sebacean is a threat to the greater good. He would undo the Establishment's good works, not just on your world, but across the galaxy."
D'Argo frowned in frustration. The Nebari knew far more of his business on this world than he liked.
"Sirs!" The old shopkeeper sounded slightly shaken by the notion. "If I knew of such an individual I would surely report him! My small shop was robbed three times in the cycle before the Establishment brought peace to us. I have no desire for a return to those times."
"It is a quarter arn until curfew. Why are you here?"
"Alas, good sir, my business has suffered of late, requiring me to work many long arns. To avoid violating curfew I have on occasion had to sleep here."
The Nebari soldier paused, apparently weighing the old one's words. D'Argo sighed with relief when he spoke again. "Very well. Be vigilant. The greater good demands that we be on guard against those who have not been shown the truth."
"Always, sir," the shopkeeper assured him. The sounds of several pairs of boots receding down the street and the door closing reached D'Argo in his hiding place. A few microts passed before the relieved voice reached him. "They are gone. In a short time, it will be safe for you to depart."
The cover popped up and D'Argo stuck his head out hesitantly. "I'll leave as soon as Ican. I don't want to put you at risk again."
"My pleasure. Anything done to frustrate the Establishment, I consider a service for the greater good." This made D'Argo smile.
"Still, it was a risk. Anything I can do to..."
F'vani Stesel shook his head. "If you wish to repay me, simply... pass it on."