|Keep On Truckin', Part 2|
by ExquisiteIrony and TheThinGray
About Keep On Truckin', Part 2
Feedback: pweeze? Me at TheThinGrayChi@yahoo.com he at ExquisiteIrony@hotmail.com Enjoy! - TTGC
Rating: Mature themes; language.
Notes: This is part two of a three part tale. As you shall see, the storytelling is not as a conventional three part continuation…
Disclaimer: Farscape and stuffs Farscape "belong" to The Jim Henson Productions. Just making some profitless writings that can't hurt and are if anything maybe adding to the enthuse for Farscape, so please don't sue :(
Credit: cowritten by me, TheThinGrayChi, and ExquisiteIrony. As you know, that means, if it ain't great, it's probably my part, and if it's great it's probably his *g*
Special credit: thanks & appreciation to pwrhug, ChianaWannabe and Dani Moure for their thoughtful beta reading, feedback and priceless encouragement :)
Shian fell behind Iachi, with her pulse pistol up at the ready in her hands, hidden under her dark gray robe. Iachi stands seemingly sleepily silent, keeping her unseen even to the old cleaning lady walking past on the sidewalk. Shian is in a crouch, a disadvantage of being very tall, even taller than fairly tall Iachi. Finally Shian gets the door open, and both slip unobserved into the darkness of the warehouse.
The moment the basement hatch opens, all sound within ceases until they speak. Then all resumes as it was: Rich Old Tunis is here, seated on a crate opposite Nerri; big Chuda is making a meal on the makeshift stove behind Nerri; little Minui is struggling with the pile of supplies in the far corner trying to get a blanket out; Minyit is watching out of the vent opening to the street above the sidewalk to keep that doorway guarded. Everyone is busy with his or her tasks.
Iachi takes her robe and Shian grins back at him; it's clear he enjoys the favor, to say nothing of the view of the very generous cleavage of her very generous bust. As she walks from him towards Nerri, Iachi's eyes linger on her surprisingly slim bare waist, then on her equally fancifully proportioned behind, she knows. She puts her hands in the tattered pockets in back of the tattered, snug black leather shorts over her tattered black stockings. Her fingers slide through a hole or four, but her thumbs rest in a couple of the holes along the top of the pockets. She has to grin, thinking of Iachi's interest.
Now if only Nerri would notice her that way.
Shian approaches unnoticed. Well, except by old Tunis who doesn't miss an opportunity to appreciate a great body, however anti-wealthy and anti-conformist it may be bedecked. Very used to that leer. Then she notices the conversation: not of the groups' forthcoming trip to Jynac, but a tale of Nerri's, when he was with Chiana! Curses, she would be late on one of the rare times he talks of then!
"... There I was killing time at Hume's talking-", he quirks his head and looks down, "... smack with the sympathizers, with no idea what was happening. I think she didn't get the currency she must have promised someone."
Tunis looks levelly at Nerri, clearly feeling for his tale. "How did she end up escaping them?"
"Oh, I, I don't know. She didn't really I guess. At first. They, um," he clears his throat, "they took their turns at her, and um, they were very rough with her. Wasn't the only time. She, she just somehow survived, out-endured them all, and when they laxed up she fought back and got away."
"Then she found an early break", Tunis assumes aloud.
Nerri tilts his head in a downcast negative, looking slightly aside: "It... went on for some time. Very long time. All day and maybe all the last night. That's how I heard. A guy came in telling some of the guys about this great little trelk the Hashassies gang was still going at, were... " he takes a difficult breath "inviting others to pay for a, a go. I- ...Bastards." His struggle to maintain composure is interrupted by double taking at Shian's professed mug of hot Helbit tea.
"Shian. Thanks." he reaches up as she squats alongside, and runs a few fingers among her braided orange dyed hair. He turns to his Helbit. Shian pulls over a barrel to sit alongside. Her smooth forehead wrinkles a bit in thought, her very small lower lip forming an unwitting pout over the metal clip she pierced through it. She's conscious of it a lot these days, she felt so thrilled and, yes, even wild, to get it in rebellion back then, but Nerri always teases he's afraid to kiss her for fear of getting his accidentally pierced... and he so seldom kisses her.
"But that wasn't the last time you saw her?" Tunis asks.
"No, no that was a cycle or so before that. I um, something in me just, just went off. I grabbed that zeltic by his collar, behind him, and helped him outside. I made him take me to where the Hashassies gang had her, after I got our pulse pistol from the um, where we were 'living'. She never took it, I always thought she should, she's really tiny too. Anyway I was worried, but I um-", he smiles and shakes his head, "... I worried about the odd thug, I didn't realize what kind of danger she was usually in. I always thought well, she, she can take care of herself anyway." He makes a bitter exhale.
"You got her from those zeltics?" Shian presses. She has always been captivated by hearing of Chiana. She feels she associates with her. How many times she has wondered if she'll be able to meet her, how many times she's tried to get Nerri to speak more of Chiana.
"No," he seems amused, "she got away."
"Hah!" Tunis declares gleefully and claps his hands once.
"After all that?" big Chuda remarks from behind Nerri, looking pained and amazed as he absently stirs a pot on the stove.
"Sis, she... she never thinks of the toll on her, she just... 'If you're not running fast enough and get beaten up, get back up and run harder', that's her."
"Hmm! What a spirit", Tunis sincerely muses.
"Yeah, she somehow took all that and ran away! She'd led them in a chase across the city, but by the time I tracked them down, she was trapped in a lot at the end of an alley. So I snuck up and shot the boss, he was threatening her, he had a chain around her neck. Others were holding her. That wasn't, wasn't very smart, they could've killed her. Guess I've came a long way since! Boy, I," he smacks his forehead with his palm, "really lost it, I ran over to this huge construction vehicle, they were on the opposite side, so went I up to the side door, shot out the lock, got in and jammed it shut. Smart huh?"
"Well you were going to take it." Shian almost meekly reasons.
Tunis' attention is on Shian's astounding form, a substantial view, what with her shoulder strap sliding off one shoulder; and it's dazzlingly enhanced with wonderful lighting from the harsh single overhead light between them, casting a beautiful sheen on her lovely silvery skin. Nerri stifles a grin, observing. Tunis pries his attention from her: "Good, I hope you ran the trash over on the way out."
Nerri makes a silent laugh at that. "No... no, I didn't, um, sis, she um, she races over, she'd fought her way out, and I open the other door. I couldn't have stolen it without her if I'd wanted to! I was hiding, and a lousy choice at that. Anyway, she gets in, nearly shot a few times, I think one even grazed her, then once in she tells me to give her the pulse pistol. So I'm feeling like a big shot and saying 'oh you're hurt, I'll get them', as if I were the one that won bets for marksmanship."
"She did?" Shian, a great shot and proud of it, sits farther forwards.
"Yeah, that's, that's another story", Nerri shoos the notion, conscientiously trying not to look at the further enhanced view of Shian.
Tunis, making no such attempt, meanwhile pins him: "I'll hold you to it".
"So I'm looking at her and… she's really frazzled, eyes wild, bleeding from the damage those chains did to her neck, nasty bruising, gash on her shoulder, very beat up. The clothes are tattered, britches missing a leg, bared lummas, a frelling mess. Her voice was raw, barely controlled... just been through hezmona too long. Had to take an awful lot to show like that. Guess it didn’t… didn’t actually hit me until then so… so I wouldn't give her the gun."
"Who would?" Tunis reasons; Shian's face seems troubled, her small mouth tight; why, he can't figure.
"So this incredible energy she can draw on, and on, fires up, and she's yelling at me to give her the gun. Next microt the window next to her gets shot out and she's sitting there, mouth slack, looking down to her lap as this blood drips from the side of her head, I guess the glass scratched her in that mop somewhere, she looks at me... 'there are you satisfied?!' Her jaw is set and her eyes are just fire! I could have died from that look!"
Shian stifles the "I bet!" Agreeing with Chiana...
"I gave her the gun".
"Ah. A little slow, but not hopeless", Tunis declares.
Nerri modestly smiles and looks down, making an amused exhale that Shian finds awesomely fetching. "This chain comes in, wraps around her wrist, the hand with the gun in it, and the brute starts pulling her out. So sis tries pulling him in! The guy is twice her weight and has the leverage, and she's pulling-" he illustrates with a determined face "- oh, Chiana", he shakes his head. "So I grabbed the chain and we smacked him into the door. Knocked him out. Next second, sis is shooting thugs virtually without looking. Then passes the gun to me saying 'make your shots count'! Now I'm over this marksman idea", he smirks. "She grabs me and covers my head just as the window blows out."
Nerri is lost a moment, transported, to see Chiana's deep, hurt, fearful yet loving, driven eyes, and to hear her as she releases his head and is sitting up... 'Yeah. Uh, c-cover me, sweet.'
"Aww." Shian smirks dryly.
He snaps back to the story, and holds a hand up: "Don't ask me how. I didn't realize what she was doing until the motor roars to life. Y-you don't know my sis. When she fired that up and this wicked smile possessed her face, I-I just froze. Tiny sis behind the wheels of an enormous construction vehicle?"
"Recipe for disaster", big Chuda quips from behind the stove.
"Few beings have witnessed such a sight and survived to tell, eh?" Tunis laughs.
Shian, Chuda, Tunis and Nerri are laughing. Minui wonders why a moment, then resumes trying to get a blanket free without knocking everything over and getting yelled at. Silan sees her fumbling to pull a blanket from the pile of supplies, and the young woman frees one for the little girl.
Minui likes Silan. She's very nice, too nice: she'd been mind-cleansed. Despite this she knows she was altered; she resents it still. No one knows why she should not be contented with perceiving it as an "improvement" as all other "treated" persons anyone knows of assert. Although she cannot bear to participate directly, or condone anything the resistance does, she lives with them, haunted and quiet, helping in small ways, a living reminder of why they resist. Her black eyes, for all their tranquil warmth, hold a frighteningly shallow but persistent sadness. Minui perceives and gives her legs a hug.
Minui is fancying the neat, elegant black leather Silan wears, until the laughter is "shushed" by Minyit; all listen to the sounds of footsteps crunching on the damp, filthy sidewalk outside. Soon everyone springs into action, most grouping around Nerri, Shian and Iachi on guard behind the door. Silan moves Minui behind her legs and picks up the pulse pistol on a crate aside her. Minui feels safe; Silan looks tough and ready.
The adrenaline is relieved at the sound of Minister Heisal's voice; a wave of exuberant chatter passes around the room. Silan's hand moves over the crate and releases the pulse pistol, letting it fall the few inches and quickly pulling her hand close to herself, as though it were infected. Silan sits, blank yet sad; she begins talking soundlessly to herself. Minui knows she'll be silent and withdrawn again for a while.
Minui wonders over to where Nerri, Tunis and Shian are talking loudly with the Minister man. Heisal. Nerri eagerly clasps Heisal's hands. Shian hugs them, each with one arm, to their surprise and mirth. Heisal puts a finger under the metal clip Shian suffices for an earring: "Dear: I bear a gift. If Nerri will allow me to give it?"
"No," Shian insists, "Heisal, if it is the earrings you have been miserably failing at keeping a surprise from me, I insist you give it to Nerri first, so that he may give it to me; then I may get as thrilled as I please, yet cause", she drops to a loud whisper, the outer ends of her orange-dyed eyebrows raising wickedly, "no scandal!"
With caricatured formality, Heisal hands a bag to Nerri; Nerri likewise hands it to Shian. "Lovely", Nerri addresses with a bow of his head, sharp upward stare, and a smirk she finds very sexy. Far more desirable to her than any earrings.
"Do I get anything?" Minui pipes up.
Nerri gently grins and runs a hand over her silvery mop: "How's my little girl?"
"I'm not little. Were you telling a story? Was it about your sister? Will you tell the story to me?"
Shian bends over: "Yes you are. Yes he was. Yes it was. No".
"Just because my lummas are little doesn't mean I'm little to you. And howcome?"
Nerri winces at her verbatim recitation of a line of Chiana's she evidently heard him quote.
Heisal laughs, not missing the view of Shian's amazing lummas as he sits on a crate placed under him just in time: "The only time I really feel alive is in your company. And definite highlights are your stories of that card, Chiana. We can get to serious matters later. Oh do allow me", Heisal sets to helping an awkward Shian with donning her first pair of real earrings.
Tunis is nodding agreement of Heisal's sentiments, his attention still on a somewhat lower area. Nerri is meanwhile fondly watching Minui go over, get herself a crate, drag it over and sit very casually, much as Chiana might have.
"So... ?" Minui prompts.
Nerri just finishes recapping as big Chuda emerges from cooking at the makeshift stove behind Nerri, producing a plate for Heisal and Nerri: "Isun Dacra and boiled Rethin".
Heisal accepts the plate of food with delight: "At least all of you eat well!"
"Yes, we manage to raid of the best", big Chuda laughs.
Nerri grins and gestures to him, after taking a mouthful, "Chuda can smell a big meal from orbit".
"A good meal", Shian compliments, receiving her plate and a bashful smile from big Chuda. She whacks his substantial behind - flirtily. Old Tunis gives Chuda an encouraging wink as he's handed his plate.
"So", Minui clears her throat.
"Mm. Well, little sis roars forwards then back, running over or scattering the gang. Of course if they'd seen that face on my sweet little sis, they'd have been off world by then".
"Visage of ill omen", Tunis quips.
Nerri misses it; his mind is back in the vehicle, seeing her head heavily, wearily settle on the vehicle control wheel. Deeply exhausted. All he'd said was they almost 'had it' that time... and her head tensely lifts again with an obsessed fire in her eyes: "Yeah." She looks straight ahead: "They almost killed my Ner-", her shouting drowned out as she shifts into forwards and guns the accelerator...
He snaps out of the nightmare: "This enormous vehicle is flattening waste receptacle bins... other normal vehicles... zeltics... I'm standing, looking out from the open window frame... Little sis is careening this monstrosity right towards a group of the zeltics, over vehicles, everything, the motor roaring and the crushing vehicles are deafening! Everything's bouncing around like mad, I'm hanging onto the window frame with totally bloodless knuckles, and I'm watching this dreg looking back over his shoulder up at me as this monstrosity is roaring after him, he's running for his life, scared crotless, screaming, and I'm up there screaming with him! And over there to my left, matter-of-factly firmly in control behind the control wheel, sis is all 'Brother: Sit down! Sit your arse down! Right now!'"
The group laughs at his edgy impersonation of her indignant scolding. "Sit down! I'm not going to tell you again!" he furthers with increasing animation.
Shian is nearly choking on her boiled Rethin, sending a few white seeds flying from her mouth as she fights the laughter. Heisal urgently double takes and sets to patting her back. Tunis is busy laughing, and watching in the event the exposure of Shian should increase. Which it decidedly does, to his evident delight. Dirty old man, Shian notes to herself as she recovers. But she doesn’t trouble with it: it gets an impressed glance from Nerri...
Nerri shakes his head to himself as he eats some more, picking up after a minute: "So she ends up with a wad of the back of my britches", he relates as Shian is amused anew, "but I'm sort of distracted by our um... plight. Well, until she pokes my arse with some hot object: I sat down in a hurry."
'Darn I love that gal', Shian wants to blurt out, only her mouth is stuffed.
"I'm feeling my..."
"Ascertaining the extent of the damage", Tunis helpfully fills in.
"Uh, yeah. Now we're madly careening for a building wall, and she's obliviously lecturing me."
"What did you do?" Minui pipes up.
"About then I'm checking to see if the door might open. I think I was screaming..."
"Oh no", Tunis comments, as absorbed as wide-eyed Minui. Shian covers her mouth, finally interrupting her customary shoveling.
"Well we plow through the wall..."
Minui makes a tense cackle that reminds him so keenly of Chiana.
"I think I stopped screaming when we realize we're actually still alive", he pauses as big Chuda slaps more on his plate before doing the same for Shian, who absently resumes shoveling, her attention rapt on Nerri.
"Right smack into the huge gambling hall", he describes with a broad gesture across of his hand, then quick short motions with a twisted smile: "Aliens, gambling tables, machine parts, chandeliers, gambling agents, trelks, respectable Nebari personages, Sheyang fireballs, all flying about in every direction..."
Tunis is laughing with relish, as the sighting of 'respectable Nebari personages' among the seedy colonies vice hall patrons hits Heisal as plenty entertaining.
"I look over to Chiana: she's covered in the dust of the building material, blood runs on her bare shoulders and chest, a wiring harness decorating her mop, but: one hand on the control wheel and one hand over on the gear lever, frighteningly undaunted. We run right over the bar... all the way down the long rows of gambling machines... Now sis is maniacally giggling..."
They all fall silent for the passing of another pedestrian.
"Can nothing stop her?" Shian poses with conspicuous relish.
"We came, excuse me, crashed, to a stop at the building's far wall. It was stronger than the side ones."
"Aww", both Minui and Shian whine, giggling at each other.
"Oh I made it under the vehicles' bench seat by then, and sis is going: 'Nerri? Nerri? Where are you?'", he shakes his head. "I very reluctantly show myself, and she starts fussing about me. She is the one with a drop of blood falling from her nose. Then we hear the shriek of the cops!"
"So it ends as many grand things have ended... in the jail." Tunis shakes his head.
"With the wrong ones arrested", Shian defensively adds.
"Not at all", Nerri starts chuckling. "Sis slammed the thing in reverse and busted right out of there!" he relates to a chorus of 'whoops': the crowd has grown. "She left them and the headquarters of the Hashassies gang in her wake."
"The poor frelling cops", Shian empathizes.
"Oh, no, no. Naw that's Chi, she tried furiously not to hurt anyone, including the cops. She was after the gang, and excitement. Unless they shot at us. She went through the display wall, come to think of it, no one would have been too near it they couldn't scatter."
"So there is good method to her madness", Tunis remarks wryly.
"Madness, yeah", he laughs. "So this thing is flying apart, the engine on fire, roaring through and out of town, until the thing finally died and crashed into a ditch way out nowhere. None too soon... She gets out, storms over, opens up the engine compartment: this thing is in ruins, parts, fluids everywhere, glowing, clouds of smoke billowing... and she looks to me: 'Can we fix it?' Oh..." he shakes his head.
"So sis grabs the first aid kit, rips out the bench, hands it to me and we wander off through the countryside along a farm road, a couple wrecks toting a wrecked bench from a wreck. About halfway across the frelling planet, we eventually stop under a tree and sit on the bench. I took care of her wounds best I could, and at sunrise we set off to find the nearest spaceport. Or, that was the idea."
"You got picked up?" Heisal presumes.
Nerri hardly hears. In his mind's eye, he sees the image of her as he tends her neck in the direct light of the early morning sun. The sun casts a deep blue and lavender sheen on the depthless black iris and pupil of her bravely unflinching but tearing dulled, gray-blue-shot eyes, as she wearily, subtly smiles. To know how sweet and loving she is, seemingly irreconcilable to the demon driving that vehicle, or even the person he knows so many see her as... and gaunt and filthy or not, she looks so beautiful. She took even his breath away... how she could get to him.
"You were picked up?" Heisal repeats.
Nerri snaps out of it. "No... along this road" he looks upwards sharply to Tunis, Heisal and Shian with his hand out before him, "we spotted this huge vehicle...", the crowd begins to laugh. Nerri's hand sinks as his face blanks: "She got there first... " The crowd bursts into an uproar.
The crowd disperses as Nerri gets up. Heisal and Tunis fall into conversation at once; Nerri goes to the corner of the basement to open a supply crate of drink. He works ineffectively at it until Shian appears and easily opens it for him. He takes out a bottle, not acknowledging. Accustomed to help, Shian knows. Chiana's 'fault', she smiles to herself. Oh, how this Chiana piques her!
"So how did we get to that anyway?"
"Jynac. Where we're going. That's where that happened."
"Oh!" she watches his distant face. "Miss her?" Shian asks.
Nerri is startled from thought, and smiles almost sheepishly. "Yeah." He tilts his head a tad. "Sometimes. I just know she's better off safe and secure, surrounded by good, loving people who can appreciate her as she is, can give her the attention and support she was needing. On a safe, neutral trade vessel. Moya."
"She's probably got a solid partner?"
"Oh, yes, a 'Human' I'm told, some primitive, obscure species. Looks Sebation."
"Oh yes... Jon... Critin, wasn't it? But aren't the PeaceKeepers, Scarrans and bounty hunters after him? To say nothing of the Establishment?"
"I think we got the Establishment off of them. As for the rest, Meelak reported it was a passive trade ship, a Leviathan. So the stories must be at least greatly exaggerated. If they're not, then he must also be quite capable of handling himself. She couldn't have a better partner."
"At least she's having a fulfilling life", Shian agrees comfortingly.
"Yeah, she's got a solid, real thing there I guess. I'd rather have her fulfilled and safe with the... 'Jon Critin', than ever be in here. This is no life."
He takes a long swig and wonders back over to talk 'serious matters' with Heisal.
Shian holds no real envy of Chiana. In fact, she thinks that's great, Chiana having such a partner who cares for her. To mutually protect one another, to love each other. An intimate lover to open up to, perhaps for a lifetime. What with her own "wild" ways, she supposes no one would think she'd appreciate the concept. She just can't do it, that's all. Not as things are... not that she has anyone who'd be right for it anyway.
Iachi takes a bottle, hands her one and nuzzles her neck with his sharply handsome face. She arouses at the promise of pleasure. But her sigh isn't happiness. She looks again towards the oblivious Nerri, merely tolerant and, at best, appreciative of her attractiveness. But never the complete partner she really wants.
She puts her arm around behind Iachi's back and they walk to his spread of blankets. They check the blankets for vermin or insects a moment, then Iachi sets his hands to roughly working her tattered shorts down. She throws a leg over him and he settles under her.
This will be living at least. So be it a poorly nourishing feast. She'll take what she can get, relish it. Never gets what she wants, she always hungers for more. The next day there will be one thing to do, then another; something will happen, then another. She keeps on.