by Chaym, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Basic Necessities
Summary: John Crichton discovers he's out of one very basic necessity. Moya's crew must find work in order to buy supplies. (It's more entertaining than it sounds.) Takes place early-mid Season One.
Rated PG-13 for content.
Spoilers: Season One
Copyright Notice/Disclaimers: Farscape and all its wonderful characters are the property of Jim Henson Productions, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network Australia and the Sci-Fi Channel. The Galactic Hussies and its band members (Chaym, Mitzi, Aeeyyii, Ladee, and Sasha) are the property of Rosemary "Mitzi" Culver and myself. The songs, titles and lyrics that the Galactic Hussies sing are also property of Ms. Culver and myself. If you wish to use them and/or the Galactic Hussies, please ask first. It's my first fan fic, so be kind and send words of praise and boxes of chocolate cookies to: email@example.com. Written in October 2000.
Commander John Crichton jogged uncomfortably through the corridors of the living ship. The irritation was becoming unbearable. Something had to be done. Stopping, he tilted his head towards one of Moya's speakers, "Pilot, where's Aeryn?"
"Officer Sun is in the Mess Hall."
"Thanks." Resuming his pace through sheer willpower, the astronaut headed off in the appropriate direction.
As only his luck could have it, all of Moya's crew was there, sitting at the table, eating breakfast. John beckoned from the doorway, "Uh, Aeryn, could I see you for a second… in private?"
The black-haired Sebacean sighed, "What is it now John?"
"Please, it won't take long. I promise."
Resignedly, the Peacekeeper put down her spoon and got up from the table. "Frelling Human," she thought to herself.
Once she was next to him, John began, desperate to get the whole ordeal over with. "I, um, I…I need to borrow some underwear."
"What?! Are you frelling perverse?"
"No…Mine wore out and I can't find any in any of the officers' quarters."
"Look, it's not like I exactly packed for this little adventure and the boys are getting upset. So can I borrow some or not?"
"I'm sorry; I don't have any."
"What? Don't Sebaceans wear…?"
"Of course we do! Remember, I got here as unprepared as you. Deal with it"
Exasperated, John followed her to the table, only to discover that the rest of his shipmates were staring at him, trying to hide their amusement.
Not unexpectedly, Chiana was the first to comment, "Does Johnny Boy need a diaper?"
Crichton groaned and turned to leave. Zhaan, ever the mediator, stopped him. "John, if your anatomy truly requires additional support, you might be able to purchase some at the next trading colony. Moya's stores are running low and I could use some additional medicinal herbs. We are completely out of creatis root."
Trying to hold on to what was left of his dignity, he stammered out, "Sounds good. Thanks." Quickly, he left the room.
Days later, Moya and her crew were orbiting a rather bleak-looking planet in an insignificant part of the Belis System. "Insignificant" implying "not worth the Peacekeeper's time." And going unnoticed was exactly what the crew wanted.
Safely down on the planet, known locally as Ginargi, Aeryn, John, D'Argo, Chiana, and Zhaan, paid the landing yard's "parking fee" and made their way to the nearest town.
Moh'na was like any other back-water settlement - a few streets, small shops, and an open marketplace with booths selling produce, leather goods, weaponry, and other necessities of life. Its populace consisted mainly of burgundy-furred quadrupeds and an assortment of bipedal humanoids, all dressed in what could only be described as "Shabby Chic Trader."
On the advice of Chiana, the group entered the local bar. Dim lighting only emphasizing its aging bluewood walls and tables.
The Nebari slithed her way up to the counter, "Hey barkeep, could ‘ya get me a raslak?"
While the bartender poured, John couldn't help but stare. It was like he was looking at a real live Mr. Ed, except this one was a pretty shade of purple.
Pushing the Ignorant Human aside, Officer Sun took charge. "Would you happen to know of any jobs that might be available?"
The being studied them, "I could use a new busboy and a waitress." He turned to D'Argo, "Maybe a bouncer. Otherwise, I hear the sewage treatment plant needs a few hands."
"Busboy it is!" The Human held out his hand. "Hi. I'm John."
The barkeep sniffed and then licked his hand. "Call me Na."
John barely suppressed a shudder, "Nice custom they got here."
"And you would be?"
"D'Argo. When can we start?"
"You? Come back tonight around 6. You two can start now if you'd like." He took the now-empty glass from the Nebari. "The treatment plant is on the other side of town, across the river."
Chiana slid off the stool and titled her head, "Thanks, but I've got other plans. Come on Zhaan, we'll scout out the local wares."
Busboying and waitressing on Ginargi was just like busboying and waitressing on Earth, except nobody licked you every time you said, "Hi." The hours were long, the work was exhausting, and the uniforms uncomfortable.
"This is embarrassing, John." Aeryn said, looking down at her bosom-emphasizing blouse and skimpy pleated skirt.
"Looks fine to me," he replied, grinning.
"You would say that. How are you…holding up?"
"My mivonks are on fire! This frelling planet would have to invent polyester."
A shout came from one of the tables,"Hey, babe! We could use some service."
Aeryn sighed deeply and turned to go. "Not you. Him!" The quadruped waggled her tongue suggestively.
As evening fell, a band came up on stage. They were a motley group consisting of two felinoids, one lupo-felinoid, an avian, and a four-armed lizard. Their costumes were an assortment of leather, jewelry, and lots and lots of mousse.
Headpiece microphones and instruments were quickly adjusted. Finally, the band's leader, a lithe, white and purple furred female spoke up. "Good evening gentle beings. My name's Mitzi and we are The Galactic Hussies! Why don't we warm you up with one of our top-selling singles, ‘If You're a Shape Shifter, Why Are You So Ugly?'"
To John, the music could only be described as "heavy metal." And to give them credit, the ladies weren't half bad, just really, really twisted.
Eventually, the night ended and the crew of Moya was allowed to go home. Chiana and Zhaan had gone back to the ship some arns earlier. Wanting to conserve fuel, the trio found a room at a nearby motel.
The Sheraton, it wasn't. Two rusty beds with dingy mattresses and threadbare blankets, a primitive vid-screen, and a bureau were all the furniture adorning the spartan room.
John entered the small bathroom and after relieving himself, checked out the cleaning facilities. Turning the knobs on the wall of a small enclave, he let out a loud shout. "Whoo hoo! Hey guys, check this out! It's an honest-to-God real water running shower! And it's even hot!"
In the next room, the others merely looked at each other. "What's up with Crichton?"
"Do you really want to find out, D'Argo?"
"Neither do I."
The Human popped his head into the room, "Hey guys, do you mind if I take the first? Great! Thanks!"
A few microts later, Aeryn turned on the vid-screen, desperate to drown out the Human's wailings about being "home on a field, where food beasts engaged in recreation."
The next morning, dressed in black leather pants, T-shirt, and jacket, John Crichton strolled through the streets of Moh'na. Finding the particular kind of shop that he was looking for, he entered.
"Hi. Do you take special requests?"
The clerk, an olive skinned humanoid, smiled, "Certainly. What do you need?"
Bolstering up all the nerve he possessed, John pulled a pair of white briefs from his jacket's pocket. "Something like this, but without all the extra holes."
The clerk smiled again. "Don't be embarrassed sir. You aren't the first traveler who's found himself in need of undergarments. If you'll step this way, Gogl will take your measurements."
The Commander went into the back room nearly running into an amorphous mound of lemon Jell-O - only this one was wearing a watch and holding a tape measure. "What the hell sneezed him out?"
The being began by first measuring John's waist, hips, and inseam.
"Whoa, hold on there, not so close!"
Gogl's outer membrane writhed in exasperation. Some beings could be so uptight. "Could I see the original garment please?" Forming an appendage, he took the item and examined it. "Would you like any modifications?"
"Nope. That's pretty much it; without the extra little holes of course."
"Umm, three or four I guess."
"Go back to the clerk and pick out a fabric. They will be ready in two days."
"Thanks." Relieved that his ordeal would soon be over, he didn't notice the shop's other customer until he bumped into one. "Sorry…Aeryn? What are you doing here?"
"Same thing as you obviously."
Crichton looked over at the garment his crewmate had in her hand. "Black huh?"
"Yes, but mine don't have a flap."
"No, I suppose they wouldn't."
The ensuing uncomfortable silence was interrupted by the clerk, "Ma'am? Gogl can measure you now."
Buy the time Aeryn returned, John had picked out his fabric and paid the deposit. "You wanna go get breakfast, Aeryn?"
The two left; each sighing in relief that the embarrassment was over.
Disgustedly, John dropped the spoon back into the container of beige custard, and looked out over the river and mountains beyond. "You ever miss the little things, Aeryn? Like the openness and freedom of being on a planet? Or music? Food? Man, I would kill for a pepperoni and sausage pizza, a nice cold beer…sit back and listen to the Stones."
Aeryn, giving him an odd look, shifted her weight on the rock they shared. "I've lived on a ship most of my life. For me, life in outer space is normal. As for music, there were patriotic songs piped through our quarters and the mess hall."
"That's right, keep the troops in line."
"It's an effective use of resources. A solder who isn't distracted by outside influences is more loyal to his unit and is able to concentrate on the mission."
John let the topic drop. They'd had this discussion plenty of times. She was a Peacekeeper, born and bred. He was a Stupid Human, ignorant of the ways of the galaxy.
"There is one thing I miss."
"I miss the order - of being part of a team. All my life each minute of my day has been structured. I was told when to wake up, when to eat, when to work, when to sleep. I was part of a team and our duty was to perform each mission flawlessly, for the sake of the Whole. I had a purpose."
"I thought you were starting to enjoy your new life here…your freedom."
"What kind of a life is running away from the people you once called your family?"
"You're right. It's not much of one, but it's all some of us have right now. At least you're not floundering around just trying to figure out how to use to the toilet every time we stop. You're used to all this Aeryn – the people, the food, the smells. Even after a cycle, I'm still just a hick from ‘ol Backwater Earth.‘
Aeryn thought of telling him that he wasn't that much of an idiot anymore, but decided it would only serve to inflate his ego. Instead, she stood up and jumped down from the boulder. "We'd better head back and check on the others. Make sure Rygel hasn't gone off and sold Moya."
Naturally, they found Chiana in an alley, running the Uncharted Territories version of Three Card Monty. "Hey Little Girl" John whispered nudging her ear, "How they hangin'?"
"Better than yours I hear."
"You making any skin?"
"I have plenty of skin John."
"No, I mean, cash…money."
"I'm making do. Go away, you're making the marks uneasy. I'll meet you back at the bar."
When the two were out of earshot, Aeryn tapped her communicator, "Pilot, how is everything?"
"All is well Officer Sun."
Crichton leaned over, interrupting, "Great. Make sure Rygel doesn't declare us dead and start going through our stuff."
"He's decided to be generous and give you another few arns."
Sun pushed John away from her, "Pilot, we expect to be here another day or two. The pay isn't what we had hoped. Is this alright?"
"Do what must be done. Moya trusts your judgment."
"Thank you." Aeryn looked at her watch. "We'd better get back to the motel and change. Our shift is about to start."
Upon entering the bar, the two crewmates couldn't help but notice a very heated argument at one of the tables. Sitting around it were the members of the band from the night before. The loudest two were a rust furred lupo-felinoid and the white and purple furred felinoid John remembered as being named, Mitzi.
"How many times do I have to tell you Mitzi? It's not my fault the ship had to make an emergency landing! The ion drive transistor was faulty."
"But you just replaced it."
"With a part that you got from Sasha's uncle."
The gray-striped felinoid joined the frey, "Hey! Leave my uncle out of this!"
She pounded her tail on the floor, "Why should I? That transistor was older than my first incisors."
Mitzi tried to regain some control, "Which is why you should've known better Chaym. You said you were a mechanic."
"And you believed me?! Everybody lies on their resume'! I needed the frelling work."
"You nearly crashed the ship into a river."
"I wrote you four songs that helped sell six trillion copies of your second album. "
The lizard laughed, "Hu hu. ‘Wake Up & Get Out.' I liked that one."
"Really, Ladee? I wrote it to get revenge on this guy I knew back in college..."
The felinoid stroked her tail, trying to control her frustration. "Can you fix the ship or not, Chaym?"
She shrugged, "By myself? Four days, six at the max."
"Six days?! Aeeyyii's got to get back to the Sisle system by then for the election."
The lupine turned on the percussionist, "Election? Is that what your people are calling it these days? You've been the All High Domineering Ruler for over 40 cycles. No one is going vote against you."
The avian ruffled her golden-hued wings, "You never know…"
John Crichton had heard enough. They were scarring away customers and tips. "We could help. I mean, she could help." He pointed to Aeryn. "She's real good with ships."
The band's leader eyed him suspiciously, "What's in it for you?"
"Couple hundred creds."
Mitzi sniffed behind him and then satisfied, rubbed her neck against the inside of his, leaving an oily streak of musk.
John shuddered in disgust. "I have got to get out of this galaxy!"
The deal sealed, Officer Sun pulled him aside, "What was that all about?"
"We need money. We're getting money. So if you'll excuse me, I have tables to buss."
That night was like any other night in a bar on an out-of-the way planet. D'Argo broke up two fights, threw four people out, and picked up a "date" for the evening. Apparently, Luxans liked four-armed lizards.
Their shift having ended, John and Aeryn went back to the motel room.
"Did you make a lot in tips tonight?"
"Yeh, apparently my new found scent drives the local women wild. How did you make out?"
"Unfortunately, only eighty creds."
"Eighty?! Man, it's amazing what a pair of….of….female parts…can get you."
"Well, my parts and I are going to go take a shower." She turned, leaving John alone on the bed.
A few minutes later, John got up to answer the call of his species' nature. Bleary-eyed he stumbled into the bathroom, only too late realizing his crewmate was already in there. "Oh my God, I am so sorry Aeryn!"
An arm reached out from the steam, "It's alright, John. I don't mind. Sebaceans don't have such strict rules of modesty. Why don't you come join me? There's plenty of room…"
"I've been waiting a long time for this John…John…John…"
Something struck him in the leg…hard.
"Huh?" He reached out, caressing her, smiling, "So you like that do you?" The pain happened again and suddenly, reality hit him in the shoulder.
"John! It's your turn for the shower."
Startled, he sat up, rubbing his face. "Ahh Frell!" He was having that dream again. Obediently, he headed for the bathroom.
At a time in the morning when even the hard-core drinkers had gone to sleep, Aeryn Sun walked along the dusty roads towards the landing yard and the Galactic Hussies's ship. Suddenly, a familiar gray and white skinned figure dashed past, running obviously, from the four-legged Moh'nan chasing her. With finely honed reflexes born of years serving as a faithful Peacekeeper, Officer Sun smashed the being's muzzle into the nearest building and watched as he slid to the ground.
She caught up to Chiana and grabbed her arm. "Come with me." Without another word, Aeryn led the Nebari to the bar. Shoving her in front of the owner, she barked out, "Here's your new waitress. I quit."
The door barely had a chance to slam shut before Aeryn was on the road again heading back to the landing yard. "Frelling planet! If I get licked or groped or hit on again, I swear I'll blast every last….Well, at least I got a chance to stock up on underwear."
Minutes later, she was at the band's multi-colored ship, being greeted by Chaym. "Hi. I'm so glad you could come. But before we get started, I need to ask you something…What's an ‘ion drive transistor'?"
"This day is never going to end." Aeryn groaned quietly to herself.
Luckily for John, his workday didn't start until evening. "Time for the boys to get a new home!" The Human practically skipped with glee to the shop. "Boy I miss the days of just being able to go to Wal-Mart and pick up a pack of Hanes."
In the back room, trying on his new briefs, John moaned with pleasure, "Oh yeh, this feels so good! We are back in business again."
"Having fun are we, Crichton?"
Scared out of his wits, John poked his head between the curtains. "Aeryn! What are you doing here?"
"Not having as good a time as you obviously. Hurry up, it's my turn next."
Pants and boots back on, he tried to look casual as he strode into the outer room of the shop.
"Sir?" The clerk inquired, "We've just received a shipment of foot coverings if you're interested."
"I get socks too? Well this is my lucky day! Lead the way."
The literally doe-eyed clerk, showed him to a bin filled with woven tubes of such odd proportions that he didn't even want to think about the feet that would fit in them.
Finally, John was able to find four pairs of relatively normal looking black socks. He waited for Aeryn to pick out some for herself, and together, they paid their respective bills. "You wanna get some lunch?"
"Can't, I've got a ship to repair, remember?"
"Yeh. Sorry ‘bout that."
"Like you said, we need the money." With that, she jogged off, leaving Crichton alone.
Shrugging, John went off in search of lunch and to maybe find a souvenir for his dad. "I wonder if they have those little snow globes that you shake up…"
A few arns later, John was back at the bar, only half surprised to see Chiana there instead of Aeryn. "Got drafted, did you?"
"Something like that. Say, could you handle table #3 for me? The guy has a notion that I ripped him off or something."
"Depends on what you mean by ripped off. He got exactly what he paid for."
"Uh huh." Shaking his head and grinning wistfully, Crichton took an order padd out of his pocket and walked away.
As John handled table 3, 8 and 10, as well as his normal lot, the Galactic Hussies came up on stage.
Chaym, normally the band's base player, took the mic, "Evening folks. Couple of cycles ago, I wrote a song while sitting in a bar much like this one, over in the R'oa'K Asteroid Belt. It's called, ‘Merchant Trader, Can You Sell Me Some Love Tonight?' And it goes exactly like this…"
The song was a sad one, of a lonely miner, struggling just to get by. And yet all she wanted was one night to feel needed, loved, "whole again." By the time the mournful melody ended, there wasn't a single dry eye, or similarly affected organ, in the place.
Mitzi took to the mic. "Well, now that we've gotten you depressed, how ‘bout we scare you a little with a lively ditty called, ‘Are the Voices in My Head Bothering You Too?' And don't forget folks, all four of our albums are on sale for only 25 creds each."
It was nearing closing time when Aeryn came in. The ship was fixed and she wanted her pay. Mitzi, noticing her entrance, tapped her tail in acknowledgement. A man, almost as handsome as Crichton, approached, handing her a bag of coins.
Ever suspicious, Sun questioned him, "How do you know I did the job?"
"Mitzi said your mate smelled trustworthy."
Aeryn was about to explain that Crichton was not her mate, when a Luxan burst through the door, "Aeryn, get Chiana and John. We need to leave. Now!"
Making a hasty exit, the foursome ran for the landing yard.
Beating the Human to the punch, the Sebacean took charge, "Report."
"The Hussies' ship you were working on? It was stolen from a Peacekeeper outpost. We need to get out of here before someone comes looking for it."
"How do you know this?"
"Ladee, was bragging about it when we were…"
Crichton tapped his comm. badge. "Zhaan, were you able to get the supplies?"
"They're already aboard, John. Thanks to you and Aeryn, we were able to purchase what we needed."
He smiled as he heard Chiana extort, "Hey, what about me? I wasn't exactly on a holiday either."
Safely in the transport, the crewmates took off. Back to Moya. Back to space travel. Back to ever hoping that one day, they'd get home.