Spelling Lesson
(First posted February 4, 2003)
Rating: G
Disclaimer:  The characters and vision of Farscape belong to Henson, Co.  I’m only playing with them a little bit
in order to keep us all amused.  
Time Frame/Spoilers:  Terra Firma.  
Beta-Readers:  The beta-readers from heaven -- Scrubschick and Angel.

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John Crichton took a sip of his beer, then allowed a small smile to creep into place.  He set the bottle down,
rubbed his hands together, and leaned forward to inspect the view before him.  

“He’s stumped this time,” his sister decided, watching him examine the board in the middle of the kitchen table.  
“Another turn with no score.”  

“I certainly hope so,” Jack contributed.  “Because he’s killing us so far.  He’s got over three hundred points, and
you and I have less than a hundred each.”  

John grabbed a small fistful of popcorn from the large bowl between him and his sister, munching as he
contemplated his options.  “All right.  I can use Sebacean this time, right?” he asked, washing the snack down
with another swallow of beer.  

“Every fourth turn, that’s what we agreed on,” Jack confirmed somewhat gloomily.

“I still say it gives him an unfair advantage,” Livvie argued.  “One turn in ten maybe, but every time he uses
Sebacean or Luxan or Hynerian, he kills us.”  

“The word is ‘arxowaiterisc’,” John gloated, laying his Scrabble tiles into place on the board.  “Adding on to
‘waiter’.  That’s one, two, three plus eight and four is fifteen, another seven letters worth one and three for the
C is twenty-five and a double word score makes fifty points.”  He pushed the last letter into place triumphantly
and relaxed back into his chair.  

“Arxowaiterisc?” Livvie challenged.  “What does it mean?  It sounds mostly English to me.  I think
you’re making these words up.”

“It’s part of the hetch drive on my ship.  If you don’t believe me, we can drive down to the hangar and
I’ll show it to you.”  John swallowed the last of his beer and got up for another one, turning his back on the pair
leaning over the Scrabble board eyeing his word.  

“I think we need to adjust the rules,” Jack agreed.  “Sebacean seems to have an inordinate number of X’s and
Q’s in the language.  How about …”  His proposal was interrupted by the doorbell.  “I’ll get it.”  He disappeared
from the room before anyone else could offer to take care of the small errand.

“You always used to cheat,” Olivia started in on John again.  She accepted an offered bottle agreeably,
cheerful despite her accusations.  “I say you’re … now we’ll find out!”  Her look changed to one of gleeful
expectation as Jack ushered Aeryn into the kitchen.  She barely greeted their guest, demanding, “Aeryn, come
tell us if this is a real word.”  

John was peering into his bottle as though looking for something as Aeryn bent over the game board, slowly
sounding out the syllables of the indicated word.  “This is in English,” she determined after several seconds.  
“Why are you asking me?”

“John claims it’s the English spelling for a Sebacean word.”  Despite his usual calm tones, Jack’s hovering
proximity suggested that he was even more eager than Olivia to hear Aeryn’s answer.  “We’d like to know if you
recognize the term he’s trying to use.”  

Aeryn glanced at Jack and Livvie’s expectant expressions, then surveyed John’s apparently disinterested
stance.  He was leaning against the sink, slowly peeling the label off his beer bottle, but she could see him
sneaking fast looks at her and the board almost every other microt.  She went back to examining the word,
wondering why he was working so hard to cover up his concern when he was with his own family.  “I’m not sure
how to pronounce this one,” she admitted, pointing at the X.  

“Arxowaiterisc,” John provided the entire word.  “You know, Aeryn.  The piece from the hetch drive.”  

“There’s nothing in that system called an arxowaiterisc,” Aeryn said firmly, straightening up to look more
carefully at the three Crichtons in the kitchen.  John rolled his eyes a split-microt before Olivia opened her
mouth to say something, and Aeryn dove back in again, recognizing his look of dismay.  “That’s the … um, the
pre-ignition decompression recoil device in the … Prowler’s main cannon,” she finished quickly, glancing at
John out of the corner of her eye for his reaction.  Livvie subsided in disappointment, and Jack slumped into his
chair, reviewing the score sheet glumly.  

“Why are you putting words out here like this?” Aeryn asked, gesturing at the colorful board and its pieces.

“It’s a game.  Each letter gets a certain number of points depending on how you use it.”  John stepped forward
offering her the untouched beer, and explained the process as Livvie took her turn, yielding a mere two points
by adding a single letter to an existing word.

“A game,” Aeryn reiterated slowly.  She sipped at John’s beer, sniffed at it and then took a longer swallow
before handing it back to him.  He held it to the light, shook his head in humorous disbelief and handed the half-
empty bottle back to her before heading toward the fridge to get another for himself.  

“Aeryn, come give this a try with my letters,” Jack encouraged her, moving a chair so she could sit down next to
him.  “John’s been kicking our butts all evening.  We need to even the score.”    

“The more letters the better, yes?” she confirmed.  Jack nodded.  She peered at the board then back at the
rack in front of her.  “Well, here’s one,” she said happily, picking up all seven tiles and arranging them on either
side of the word ‘fun’ that someone had built earlier.    

“Zlexfunyoq,” John read out when she’d finished.  He scratched his temple with one finger.  “And you managed
to get it on a triple word score, too.  I, um … Aeryn, I don’t recognize that term.”  

Aeryn propped her chin on her hand and smiled mildly at him, raising her eyebrows in a silent invitation to
expose the deception.  “Of course you know that word, John,” she assured him.  “It’s part of Moya’s amnexus
system.  Is there a problem?”  

“No.  No problem at all,” he muttered, looking glumly at his own tiles.  

“Remember, you have to use English this time!” Livvie laughed as she beckoned for Aeryn to come help her
next.


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