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The Flame and the Figment (PG-13)
Warnings: This fic might be described as Melrose Place meets Farscape. At least if I’d seen more than one ep of MP it might. Hence this fic IS most definitely a PG-13! It contains a lot of innuendo and smut. Although there is a lot of smuttiness, I have tried to avoid graphical descriptions and keep it within what might have been acceptable on the show: I hope that I haven’t overstepped the mark and strayed into R territory.

Setting: Shortly after Into The Lions Den. May be AU or filler, depending on your preference. Suffice it to say that if you regard this fic as filler rather than AU it goes someway to explaining a lot of loose ends and contradictions in the show, including how Noranti came aboard and THAT Jool/John scene from PKW.

Written for Nebari Rebel (aka Arevhat), to whom I owe many thanks. She wrote me a little challenge containing the basis of the plot (see the end of the fic. If I show it now, it might spoil the fun for you). She even gave me the title. She also beta’d it, although all mistakes and outrages remain my responsibility. And I warn you, there are a LOT of outrageous things in this fic.

If anyone works out how many ‘ships are in this fic, maybe you could post a note? I lost count about 3 pages in. I toyed with the idea of using miniature figures to keep track of everyone, whilst Arevhat talked about how a diagram might have helped.

Lastly I need to apologize on several fronts: I’m not really familiar with romantic fiction or soaps, so I’ve just done my best. Plus I really, really need to apologize for what I’ve done to the characters. All of them. I don’t think this fic will win any awards for ‘Best Characterisation’ of anyone:  So I’m Very Sorry for what I’ve done to/with your favourite character.

Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine, as though you need me to tell you that.
Word count:  10,308. So you’ll need some time to read this.
The Flame and the Figment PG-13

“Cats and dogs living together. No no!” John Crichton, A Bugs Life.

“No! No no! I mean bad frell!” Aeryn Sun, Meltdown.

Part 1
 “Come with me if you want to live…” Lieutenant Miklo Braca intoned with authority, reaching his hand into Jool’s cell on the command carrier. D’Argo, Rygel and Chiana had needed no further encouragement to leave and head for their transport pod once Braca had opened the cell door for them. Jool, however, was reluctant to go. She wanted answers and she wanted them right now. She stood in the middle of the cell, arms crossed, glaring at the hapless lieutenant for a few microts before tossing her head with a harrumph and turning haughtily to inspect the ceiling.

“So, why are you letting us go, then?” she demanded. “Again?”

 “Scorpius’ orders, ma’am. He is most upset that Commandant Grayza ordered you imprisoned,” he beckoned urgently with his fingers and his voice. Was the Interon woman really crazy enough to risk staying here at Grayza’s mercy, he wondered? “Come on!”

“And where is Captain Crais?”  There was no way that Jool was going to leave without Bialar. After all, the only reason she’d come on this fahrbot expedition in the first place was because of her growing romantic feelings for him, feelings which she was sure he reciprocated.

Captain Crais?” Braca frowned, taken aback. He’d heard Crais called many things in the last two cycles, but Captain was not one of them.

 “Yes, Bialar!” Jool stamped her foot petulantly. “I want to see him NOW!” she pouted. “And if you don’t let me see him I’m going to scream.”

“Oh, for frell’s sake…. Ma’am…  Very well…. This way…”


“I’m so glad we didn’t go through with the original plan of starbursting whilst inside the carrier,” Bialar explained as he and Jool watched the imploding command carrier through Talyn’s view portal. She clung to him for reassurance whilst he threw a protective arm around her shoulder. If he and Talyn had survived the starburst, the original plan was then to continue the attack on the carrier from outside at close quarters.

 “You came aboard just in time to stop us.” He smiled and pulled her closer, before kissing her delicately and chastely on her brow. Once Jool had come aboard Talyn she had angrily rubbished Crais’ seemingly suicidal plan, suggesting that instead that they should escape from the hangar bay in a more controlled manner and then attack from outside, at such close quarters that the carrier would not be able to bring its main weapons to bear. Crais had soon come round to her plan once she had started to get upset. Maybe he had been scared that she was going to scream, maybe he just didn’t want to see her cry? She didn’t care: She’d won the argument and had kept them alive to love another day.

“It was a pretty stupid plan,” Jool replied contentedly. “Was it one of Crichton’s?”

Once Talyn had begun his attack the Peacekeepers had fought back, but only light weapons could be brought to bear on him, and those only briefly. Soon Talyn, guided by Crais’ expert insight, had torn through to a critical system on the carrier, cutting a swathe of destruction as he went. Once the engine power cores had begun to explode, the carrier was doomed. Jool’s simple idea had, probably, saved them all. She certainly thought so.

Another explosion aboard the wreckage of the carrier rocked Talyn. Braca, who was lying on the floor behind them, stirred with a groan.

“What about him?” Jool asked, indicating the semi-conscious lieutenant.

“Braca?” Crais smiled mischievously. Jool’s heart fluttered. She loved Bialar’s rakish smile. “Don’t worry about him. In my experience lieutenant Braca is always very swift to assess a situation and to conclude what lies in the best interests of his own safety.”

At that moment the main door to Talyn’s command swung open and two female Sebaceans, both dressed as Peacekeepers entered the chamber. Crais turned to greet them.

“It’s good to see you, Aeryn,” Crais said. “I take it your prowler is safely secured?” Aeryn nodded perfunctorily and without further ado made for what appeared to Jool to be a random console. Aeryn’s companion looked around Talyn’s bridge in wide-eyed wonder. It was obvious from her expression that she had not been aboard before. “And Officer Henta? To what do we owe the unexpected pleasure?” Crais brusquely added, latching a beady eye onto the newcomer.

“It’s good to see you, too, Crais,” Officer Yal Henta replied sarcastically. She looked as though she’d already had quite a difficult day. Her uniform and hair looked as though it had been slightly burnt in places and her eyebrows seemed to have been singed off entirely.  Crais’ attitude, combined with what had been quite a trying afternoon for her, was enough to make her blood boil. “Aeryn finally persuaded me that our leadership might be a bit lacking…  Of course if I’d have known that you were in charge here, I might have thought that through a bit more carefully…” Henta smiled sweetly at Crais. Aeryn and Crais both responded with wan smiles. Yal was obviously not in the mood to be pushed further.

“He’s not in charge,” Aeryn began, trying to appease her, as Crais held his hands up in a symbol of combined protest and pacification. But events overtook them.

“One microt… Crichton is hailing us…” Crais remarked, touching a finger to his forehead as Talyn relayed a message to him via the neural interface. “He’s afraid something is going to explode…  He says he can’t hold out much longer… He wants to dock his module!”

Aeryn rolled her eyes and sighed heavily. “Frell! Is Moya nearby? Can’t she pick him up?”

“I’m afraid there is no sign of Moya. Talyn thinks that she might have starburst away as soon as she picked up the others’ transport pod.”

“Frell!” Aeryn expostulated. “I suppose we’d better let Crichton dock his frelling module, then.”


Talyn pitched and soared, the turbulence seemingly ignored by Bialar Crais as he stood on Talyn’s bridge, his bearing proud and erect. Jool hung on tightly to the nearest console. She’d have preferred to have been hanging on tightly to Bialar, but she hadn’t been close enough when the pursuit had started.

One of these days Jool would have to ask someone what all of the different consoles were for, as no matter how much she observed the crew working, it never seemed to be clear to her. But for now her eyes were only for The Captain. He looked magnificent in his tight Peacekeeper leathers, but that was not all that attracted her to him. Jool loved the way he took charge, commanding his mighty vessel as though it were an extension of his own body. She flicked a lock of her tumbling red hair out of her eyes so that she could gaze at him unimpeded. She was just grateful that none of the others were present, crowding the command and interrupting her view of him. For so much of the last weeken the others had gotten between her and Bialar making her doubly grateful now that she had him to herself.

Talyn was a crowded ship. He was still growing, and so far had only developed four crew quarters: Once they had escaped from the destruction of the command carrier, Crais had taken one, well, he had kept the quarters which had always been his, really. Aeryn had stoically gone along with Henta’s suggestion that they should share another. Jool had initially taken the third room, leaving Crichton, Crais and Braca to argue about who should have to share and who they should share with.

All three men had seemed greatly relieved when, after a couple of days, Jool had finally succumbed to her growing feelings and moved in with Crais. This had allowed Crichton and Braca a cabin each. She couldn’t help but notice how the stress levels of all three men had seemed much reduced the next morning at first meal.

Henta’s suggestion to share quarters with Aeryn had seemed surprisingly enthusiastic to Jool, at least at the time, as the two female Peacekeepers were equally frosty whenever Jool was in their company. It was a few days later that Jool began to realise that Henta likely had more in mind than simply spending nights swapping make-up and fashion tips with her old wing-mate. If Jool lived to be 30 cycles old she still didn’t think she’d fully understand the Peacekeeper mind when it came to what they called ‘recreation’. Any partner seemed to do, so long as they were available. Being attractive didn’t seem to be a problem in their ranks. Jool suspected that anyone who was less than thoroughly pretty was assigned to some unusually hazardous or invisible duty.

Jool gasped, nearly loosing her footing again as Talyn darted into an asteroid field. They were broadly heading towards the sacred Leviathan Burial Ground, in hot pursuit of a small, single-person pod. The ship they were chasing had been identified as a scout ship for Grudeks, toubray hunters. When Talyn had discovered the tiny craft, there had been no holding him back. He hated them with a passion that even Crais struggled to control. It was all he could do to prevent the gunship blasting the smaller vessel into a million pieces.
“We must capture them, gather intelligence. Then we can go after their main vessel,” Crais had explained to Talyn, who, it seemed, had grudgingly accepted.


Crais stood outside the docking bay, urgently pacing back and forth whilst he waited for the air pressure to cycle back up. As soon as Talyn allowed, he strode purposefully inside towards the captured pod. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on the luckless pilot.
Aeryn and Braca, their guns at the ready, covered him from the doorway, carefully moving inside and seeking cover like the professional soldiers that they were.

The pod cracked open and a slim hand emerged, followed by a slight, female cough.

“Step out of the pod NOW!” Aeryn barked. Crais sniggered at Braca’s discomfort as the lieutenant winced slightly at Aeryn’s harsh, loud voice.

A waif-like female, her tightly braided red hair matching her tight rust-red leather outfit, warily climbed from the pod. She was definitely not a Grudek. At first glance she appeared to be Kalish. Crais felt a hitch in his breathing as the female emerged. Despite her coming from a race aligned to the Scarrans, for all that she represented the hated toubray hunters, and for all that he shared Talyn’s child-like fury at her, she was surely still the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She would have even counted as the most beautiful creature he had ever seen, had not Talyn already taken that place in his heart.

Bialar Crais approached the pod, as though drawn to its occupant by an invisible force.

As the female emerged from the pod she stumbled slightly, falling to her knees and seeming as though she were about to faint. One delicate hand stretched out, allowing her to brace herself against Crais’ firm, muscular thigh.

“Oh!” she breathed, her striking bright blue-green eyes slowly scanning upwards, taking in every stimulating detail on the way, until they locked with Crais’ own. “Peacekeepers! Thank Cholak! I was worried that those horrible Grudeks had caught up with me!”

“We’re not Peacekeepers!” Aeryn protested.

“Are you sure? You’ve got the guns and the clothes and everything…” the newcomer seemed a bit confused as she looked pointedly from Crais to Aeryn and Braca, taking in their race, clothing and weaponry.

“We are NOT Peacekeepers!” Aeryn restated adamantly, her cheeks flushing slightly.

The red female arched an eyebrow. “If you say so….” She said, still swaying a little unsteadily, almost as though she were drunk.

“Strictly speaking, Officer Sun is correct,” Crais began, but his throat dried up as peered down at her, watching her eyes taking in her surroundings whilst he took in the bravura view. As he did so she pulled herself upright, using his body as a ladder for her hands. They finally came to rest on his shoulders. Her lips parted invitingly and he felt her excited breath, cool on his face.

“Is there something wrong with the air in here?” she asked, swooning slightly. Crais frowned for a moment, consulting Talyn through the neural interface.

“All of Talyn’s life support systems are within normal limits.”

“Talyn…  The famous Leviathan….  Gunship!” the woman gasped excitedly, her pupils dilating and cheeks reddening. “How exciting!”
Crais was impressed with how quickly she had identified Talyn, despite him being unique. “And you are the Captain of this magnificent creature?” the woman asked, her voice husky and low. Crais nodded, suddenly finding he had lost the gift of speech. “Fascinating,” she purred, her wide, green eyes fixed on his darker ones and she ran a finger along his collarbone.

Crais felt a sudden change in his demeanour, as though he were uplifted by her very touch. He nodded. He could feel that Talyn seemed unusually taken with her, too.

Aeryn cleared her throat with a cough. “Umm, Crais…..” She called, trying to get his attention before it was too late.


It was too late.

Jool entered the docking bay without a care in the universe. After all, with Braca and Aeryn acting as Bialar’s back-up, their weapons at the ready, what could possibly threaten her and the Gallant Captain?

Her comfortable idyll was cruelly dashed on the rocks of disappointment and betrayal as her eyes took in her lover, Bialar Crais, in the arms of an attractive female newcomer. The interloper was slimmer, younger and, the horror! She was a red-head. Bialar and the tralk stood, toe to toe, her hands resting on his shoulders, his on her waist, staring into each others eyes. Suddenly, Crais responded to Aeryn’s cough and noticed Jool’s arrival. As he turned his eyes towards Jool he almost immediately started backwards from the strange woman. His mouth opened, as though to try to explain and placate Jool, but his guilty thoughts were clear for all to see.

“Jool, it’s not….” Bialar began to protest, somewhat against all of the evidence to the contrary.

“NOOOO!” Jool cried. “I don’t want to hear……….” And with that, eyes streaming tears, she fled from the docking bay.

Sikozu’s fingertips gently turned Crais’ face back towards her. “What was THAT all about?” she asked. “And who’s the drama-queen?”


Crichton was beside himself, driven to distraction by a combination of angst and backlogged bodily fluids.  Aeryn had scarcely acknowledged his existence since they had all escaped from the command carrier and his module and her prowler had been picked up by Talyn. On their first meeting, after he had landed on Talyn, she had directed her briefest, angriest glare towards him and then stalked off without a backwards glance. He suspected that if Aeryn had her way there would have been no chance of him docking his module.

Now he was back in the docking bay, but instead of Aeryn, who he had hoped to corner and talk to, there was only Officer Yal Henta. Still, all was not lost: Aeryn and Henta had been remarkably close these last few days. Maybe she could help him get Aeryn back?

He walked up behind her and gently took hold of her elbow. She rounded on him, holding a spanner like a cudgel. Was that a growl? Geez, were all Sebacean women so short-fused? How did their race survive?

“What do you want?” she snarled, shaking off his hand.

“Henta, you gotta help me get Aeryn back,” John whined. “Please!” Why did he suddenly feel like a kid in the playground? ‘Can you tell your friend I fancy her? I’m too scared!’ He dismissed the thought.

“Back?” She snorted disdainfully. “Look, you might have helped her service her prowler for a while, but she’s got Peacekeepers for company now. What the frell would she want with a deficient specimen like you?”

“Sorry?” John floundered, reeling from the blows to his ego and to his most cherished fantasies. Had Aeryn really been this obnoxious when they had first met? Probably. She was not exactly that much improved now. He shrugged. She was still Aeryn, the object of his deepest desires and fantasies.

 “I mean, you’re not bad, you look Sebacean. I’d probably end up frelling you myself if I’d been stuck with you for monens on end. But now she’s got plenty of choices. She doesn’t need you. So why don’t you just frell off?”

And with that Henta pushed passed him and stomped away. John watched her departing back open-mouthed, as a mixture of surprise and despair played themselves out in his head.

Mmm-mmmm. That sure is a tasty burger!” Harvey exclaimed, swiping a lump of cheesy mayonnaise off of his chin with one leather-clad finger before gulping it down. John frowned, momentarily confused by the dislocation. They were seated in an old, scruffy sedan, were dressed in cheap dark suits and Harvey was sporting a preposterous looking afro-style wig. “Ever have a Big Kahuna Burger?

“Frell no!” John shook his head vigorously, finally getting his head around Harvey’s little fantasy. “Get out of my head Harv, this isn’t a good time!”

Harvey smiled disarmingly. “Is it ever?” John didn’t answer with more than a grunt, so Harvey pressed on. “You really need to stop seeing our little chats in terms of linear narratives, John. Time is an illusion…”

“Lunchtime doubly so. Yeah yeah, whaddya want, Harv? I’m busy”

“What do I want? No no no, John. Surely this is all about what you want and what you cannot have?”

“Stop being so negative or get outta my head!” John demanded, snatching the burger from Harvey and biting down on it viciously. It tasted like food cubes. Why couldn’t something, just for once, taste like it should? Or failing that, like chicken would do.

“How about pursuing a romantic liaison with one of the other females aboard? Maybe even Officer Henta? Isn’t she your type? Tall, slim, dark-haired……” John was still trying to ignore him, chomping on the burger. A wicked gleam entered Harvey’s eye. “Flat-butted? Officious? Rude?  Unpleasant?” John flailed around, forcing the burger back on Harvey and then fruitlessly trying to open the car door and get out, to escape from his tormentor. But the door wouldn’t budge, so he subsided.

“She’s not even remotely my type, Harv.” John breathed, rubbing his face with his hand.

“Oh, come now John,” Harvey snorted his disbelief. “You cannot deny that you have had sexual thoughts about her, about all of them.” John refused to be drawn. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, you’re a male, that’s just the way you’re made.”

“Frell you!” John snarled.

Harvey arched a non-existent eyebrow. “An interesting proposal, John, but you will pardon me if I decline on this occasion. But we digress: We were discussing you and Officer Henta.”

“Drop it, Harv!”

“Oh John, you know you can’t fool me, remember?” Harvey tapped his temple with one finger and grinned. When John didn’t respond, the grin evaporated.

“She’s giving Officer Sun back rubs, you know?” Harvey continued after a few microts, breaking the brief, silent calm.

“Oh, for frell’s sake!” John exploded, becoming agitated again, trying to force the car door open. It was still unyielding. “Back rubs don’t mean nothing!”

“And foot massages.” Harvey continued. John spluttered

“Don’t you dare go there, Harvey!”John shouted, apoplectic now, threatening to strike Harvey.

“I’m just the messenger!” Harvey protested, trying to portray himself as the innocent party. “But hey, it’s like they say. A Big Mac’s a Big Mac wherever you go….”


Crais had been following Sikozu around all morning like a lovestruck puppy. Sikozu, unaccustomed to anything very much, including having a stalker of her very own, was thoroughly enjoying it. Finally, Crais managed to arrange matters so that he and the Kalish were together in confined and relatively private space.

“It’s over between Jool and me,” Crais confessed to Sikozu huskily, leaning one hand against the wall by her head, thus bringing them even closer together and reducing her options to avoid him.

“I’m so sorry,” she replied with a coy smile.

“No you’re not.”  Crais replied, gently touching her face with his finger. “And neither am I.”  Sikozu nodded knowingly in agreement. “Ever since I first saw you….”

“I feel the same. Ever since I first stepped aboard Talyn….” Sikozu replied with a giggle. “I felt giddy… almost light headed, as soon as I saw…”

“Would you like to….” Bialar blushed, shy about saying what he wanted to say to her. She encouraged him with a broad smile and flashing, keen eyes. “Would you like to come back to my quarters?”

She grinned and nodded, licking her lips. His breath caught at the sight.

“Erm, would you be interested in the hand of friendship?” Her eyes went wide with surprise. Maybe he’d said too much too soon? “Umm, not quite yet, of course,” he backpedalled, worried at her reaction.

“Well, I’ve never heard it called that before,” Sikozu sniggered, grabbing his arm and dragging him out of the alcove. “Maybe we should just start with the finger of friendship and see where it leads?”


Jool stomped into the galley, putting on a graphic and audible display of her displeasure for anyone present. She had just come from spotting Crais and Sikozu entering the captain’s private quarters, and from their boisterous yet furtive behaviour it didn’t look as though they were intent on anything as innocent as a game of Rock Paper Scissors.

“That shameless, red-headed TRALK!” Jool squealed, dabbing at the corners of her eyes with a small cloth to soak up the tears which were starting to bead there. She glanced around, pouting disappointedly as she realised that precisely no one seemed to be present in the dimly lit room to see her performance. “Ooooh!” she exclaimed, fisting her hands through the air in frustration. What was the point of throwing a scene if there was no audience to appreciate it and give you their sympathy?

It was then that a black-clad figure detached itself from one of the shadowy alcoves and swaggered toward her. Jool gasped as she realised she was not, in fact, alone, and then gasped again as the handsome face of Miklo Braca was illuminated by a shaft of light spilling from the corridor outside. He wore a knowing smile, almost a smirk, as he closed the last few denches between them. Stopping before her his hand, fingers splayed, rose to her shoulder before gently running down to her elbow. She shivered at his electric touch.

“You should forget about Crais,” Braca whispered into her ear, his breath hot and thrilling on her neck and cheek. “Let me help you,” he added, moving closer, his body pressing up against her as he nibbled her earlobe. “Show you what a real man…”

“It’s just so hard,” she sobbed.

“I know,” Braca sympathised, grinding his hips against hers.

“If only…” But she couldn’t seem to remember ‘if only what.’ Something else seemed to have come up now, distracting her.

“I’ve heard people say that I often look a little bit stiff,” he whispered in her ear. “Let me show you why …”


“There’s something I have to tell you, Bialar,” Sikozu whispered into his ear. They lay on their backs in post-coital abandon. Her head rested gently on his shoulder as they snuggled beneath the black, latex-like sheets in the captain’s cabin.

“You do not need to say anything,” Bialar purred back, toying with one of her ringlets.

“I do,” she insisted breathily. “You see, I’m, I’m not like other girls.”

Bialar grinned broadly and laughed. It was a deep luxurious sound which Sikozu found put her at ease. “I know,” he growled and squeezed that bit of her which was under his right hand at that moment. Her breath caught and she punched him playfully on his shoulder.

“Not like that,” she explained, rolling on top of him and starting to rock gently back and forth. “Well, not just like that.”

“No, don’t tell me,” he whispered, touching her lips with his fingers. “Secrets make things more fun.”

Crais looked up into her beautiful green-blue eyes, framed by her cascading, copper-coloured tresses. He began to rock his own hips gently in time with her. Yes, thought Crais, she was certainly more energized than most females. He could honestly say that no lover he had ever known had lasted longer. He was not sure why, but she reminded him somewhat of a small animated toy that he had had before the Peacekeepers had abducted him and his brother: The plaything was shaped like a small furry animal which endlessly beat out a rhythm on a small drum.

Actually, she was also quite adept at endlessly beating out a rhythm, but he decided that that was as far as he wanted to pursue the similarities.

Sikozu arched an eyebrow and decided that, if keeping secrets was what he wanted, then she wouldn’t tell him that she had more in common with Talyn than Crais could possibly imagine. She had been programmed to think that a relationship required trust and a lack of secrets, but now, here was a fleshling telling her something else. Relationships were so confusing, so illogical: She sighed softly and continued to beat out her rhythm on him.


 “Really, John!” Harvey scolded. “I cannot see your problem!”

John looked around him. He should have been in one Talyn’s maintenance bays. He was fairly certain his body still was. Instead, though, he and Harvey were seated in a snug in what appeared to be a 1950’s diner, all chrome, white tile and milkshakes. Both were wearing blue jeans and white T-shirts. A leather bomber jacket lay on the red upholstery between them, the T-Birds logo just visible, emblazoned across the back. Harvey, naturally, was still wearing his jacket, with the collar turned up. A cigarette dangled from his lower lip. If he had hair it would have been greased back.

“There are…. “ Harvey ticked off his fingers, “three males on this ship, not counting myself and Talyn.” Harvey swapped hands. John suddenly remembered his remark to Aeryn, monens before, about swapping hands and blushed. “And one, two, three, four eligible young females…” Harvey waved at the booth opposite, where Aeryn, Henta and Jool sat. They were dressed in flouncy, lacy pink 1950-style dresses, their hair done up in beehives and be-ribbonned ponytails. Henta and Jool looked at John and Harvey, whispered something to each other and then giggled. Jool looked down momentarily then back at them, screwed up her nose with a cutesy smile and then waved.

“Now, take Joolushku. She is attractive, intelligent…”

“But I love Aeryn!” John snapped.

“Available….” Harvey emphasized. John glowered at him. At that moment, Crais, Braca and Sikozu entered the diner. Crais and Braca were, naturally, also dressed in denim and leather, whilst Sikozu was in the tightest black leather outfit John recalled seeing since, well, since he’d last seen the final scene of Grease. Her hair was in the tight braids she had worn when she had first arrived on Talyn, completing her contrast to the other three females. Crais and Sikozu, joined at the hip, hand, buttock and every which way, squirmed into another booth and ostentatiously began to make out. Braca, chewing gum all the while, strutted like a peacock across to where the Pink Ladies sat and invited himself in, climbing across Aeryn before throwing an arm around both Jool and Aeryn’s shoulder. He flashed Harvey and John a dren-eating grin before turning his lascivious smile and attentions towards Jool.

“John, let me be frank. In all the time we have known each other, your chances of enjoying what you term ‘a relationship’,” Harvey punctuated the phrase by waggling a finger of each hand in the air, “with Officer Sun have never seemed slimmer. If you take MY advice…..”

“Don’t want or need your advice, Harv!” John interrupted. Aeryn chose that moment to glower resentfully at John for a couple of microts before detaching herself from beneath Braca’s arm and making her way round the booth to Henta’s side. Once there Aeryn engaged Henta in conversation, studiously ignoring both John and Harvey.

“You see what is going on here, John?”

“No! You tell me,” John remained defiant.

“Because of your stubbornness a Universe of possibilities is passing you by. You should instigate ‘a relationship’,” here he emphasized the quotation with his fingers again, “with the delightful Joolushku whilst you still can.”

John shook his head. Harvey harrumphed impatiently. “Well if you don’t have the… the stones…? I reckon someone else will,” Harvey commented with a sly grin.

“Watcha mean by that, Harv?” John snapped.

But he was already back in the maintenance bay. Henta was also there, looking at him strangely.

“What?” John demanded testily. She arched an eyebrow, turned around and left.

Continued in Part 2:


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