(First posted December 2, 2003)
Disclaimer: Not mine. No profit.
Spoilers/Time Frame: No particular time frame. Just Farscape. Take your pick.
Beta-readers: Scrubschick, as always.
Note to the reader: Just before writing this story, I read a fanfic called ‘Midnight Snack’ by pktechgirlus, which
involved John and Aeryn and food. It didn’t involve a food fight, but it aimed me in that direction. As usual, my
mind took it in a slightly different direction.
* * * * *
John Crichton was tired, hungry, and thirsty, and it was making him short tempered. He’d been trailing along
behind D’Argo and Aeryn for more than three arns, doing his best to contain his irritation while they drifted from
one shop to the next focusing almost entirely on the weapons for sale. His few attempts to redirect their interest
had been entirely futile. The two soldiers were operating in harmony, sharing one mayhem-filled anecdote after
another as the sight of various weapons triggered the memories.
“Trivillarian battle ax,” D’Argo said, pointing at yet another long handled, razor-edged killing tool. “A poor
specimen. Most likely a reproduction.”
“The genuine ones have that spring-loaded blade hidden in the butt of the handle,” Aeryn agreed. She leaned
in close to make sure the additional bit of metal was missing from the defective piece, then turned toward
Crichton. “If you ever come up against one of these, watch out for that. Even if you dodge the initial swing,
they’ll come back at you with the other end that you don’t think is dangerous and skewer you. There’s a spike
a half-motra long inside the real ones.” She indicated the length with her hands.
“I’ll keep that in mind.” His response sounded disinterested even to him. His stomach chose that microt to let
out an extended rolling growl, punctuating the brief silence following his dispirited reply. Aeryn glanced down at
his midsection, raised an eyebrow, and started to turn away. “That means I need something to eat, Aeryn. I
don’t want to put a damper on your love fest here, but if we don’t stop for food pretty soon, you’re going to have
to carry me back to Moya.”
“We ate barely --” Aeryn’s gaze became vague as she cast back in her mind, searching for when they’d last
eaten a meal.
“Barely ten or twelve arns ago, Aeryn,” John said, allowing a full supply of sarcasm to enter his voice. “We
need to find food. Not weapons. Food. No more guns, stunners, grenades, blades, maces, pistols, rifles,
launchers, bombs, mines --”
“We get it, Crichton,” D’Argo interjected.
The stream continued without so much as a hiccup. “-- flame throwers, knives, swords, brass
“Try in here,” Aeryn said, pointing toward a shabby building set back an extra two motras from the street.
“Maybe that will shut him up.”
Crichton’s lengthening spiel ended as soon as D’Argo waved his hand across the door actuator. Hydrosteel
doors slid into their recesses in the wall and a wave of odors flooded into the street. “Gravy!” John exclaimed,
and elbowed his way past his friends to enter first.
The shop was a disappointment. From the aroma wafting to greet him, he’d expected some sort of restaurant
or an alien version of a delicatessen. For five microts he’d been positive he’d smelled beef gravy and roasting
potatoes, or at least an intergalactic version of them. It had been a nice change from the ever-present scent of
chicken that all foods in the Uncharted Territories seem to exude. Over the past cycle he’d begun to wonder if
some leftover trauma from either the Aurora Chair or Tocot’s cranial exploration had permanently altered his
perception of smell. His first lungful of warm air from the shop had convinced him that perhaps he hadn’t
suffered any damage after all. The sight that greeted him dissipated his confidence.
The interior of the building was nearly empty. There was nothing resembling either tables or chairs where
customers could sit and eat, and little evidence of anything that he could identify as foodstuffs. His stomach
grumbled more loudly than before, testifying to the need to find the source of the tantalizing odors.
“No luck,” D’Argo grumbled behind him. “Let’s move on.”
“What are those?” Crichton asked, pointing at a single display case on an otherwise empty counter. He moved
closer, leaning down to look into the transparent box. Nearly two dozen fist-sized items were arranged along
four shelves. He placed his nose close to the seam along the case’s door and sniffed. “Meat pies!”
A small alien, no more than a motra in height with dark leathery skin, appeared from a narrow doorway in the
back of the shop. He was wiping a dark viscous liquid off his hands with a rag, more runnels dripping down the
front of a thick leather apron. More gravy, John assumed.
“Is this self-serve?” John asked, and flipped the latch to the lid open. Aeryn and D’Argo moved up alongside
him to see what he was retrieving. He reached in, headed for the largest and plumpest of the treats.
“NO!” three voices yelled at him at once. In a flash, the ‘meat pie’ darted toward his advancing hand, the two
layers of ‘crust’ parting to reveal ranked rows of flashing, needle-sharp teeth.
“Crap!” John snatched his hand away from the small beast and grabbed for the lid of what he now knew was a
cage. His knuckles ran into those of the proprietor, accompanied by a loud crack and a bellow of pain.
“Damn!” He tried again. This time he missed the hinged lid because D’Argo was shoving him to the side in an
attempt to get to it himself.
“Close it! Close it!” Aeryn yelled. She was backing away and had her pulse pistol drawn.
As all three males lunged at the case, the contents came alive. There was a wild turmoil of shimmering teeth,
dark brown carapaces, and hundreds of tiny legs, and the entire mass of creatures headed for the opening.
D’Argo, John and the alien collided, jostling each other in their frantic attempts to close the clear-sided
container, and they watched as it toppled off the counter and crashed to the floor.
Before he could fumble Winona out of its holster, one of the escaping beasts levitated from the floor and
arrowed toward his groin. He twisted to the side at the last moment and tiny teeth imbedded into the thick
leather covering his hip instead. “OW! Get it off! Get it off!” D’Argo and Aeryn were busy with miniscule
attackers of their own. John reached around, grasped the creature no differently than he would the supposed
meat pie, and ripped it loose. “How do you kill these things?” he yelled over the crack of Aeryn’s weapon.
When he didn’t get an answer, he tried slapping it down on the counter with all his strength. The results were
pretty much the same as if he’d slapped down one of the baked snacks he’d mistaken them for -- it was
“Watch out!” D’Argo yelled. “Behind you!”
A meat pie whizzed off the counter toward John’s head. He ducked and it sailed past him. “They FLY?! Why
doesn’t anyone ever tell me these things?”
D’Argo, caught midway through converting his Qualta blade into a rifle, took a step back to give himself room,
and smacked the fast approaching creature with all the vigor of a batter trying for a home run. It traversed the
room and hit the far wall with a soggy crunch. A motra to the right of the now oozing carcass, the shop owner
ran into the room at the rear of the shop and slammed the door shut behind him, leaving the three crewmates
to fight off the attack of the small carnivores.
The room was filled with the roar of weapons, ricocheting pulse blasts, and the squeals of stricken creatures.
Hitting the fast moving animals without accidentally shooting each other made their job harder -- as did trying to
fend off the ones scrambling around on the floor while trying to shoot the ones that were airborne. D’Argo was
cursing and hopping around on one foot, trying to dislodge one from the ankle of his boot while continuing to
fire at any in the air or on the walls.
“Aeryn! Duck!” Crichton aimed directly at her head, waited for her to drop … and missed the gaping jaws that
had been coming in behind her. “Whoa! Oh no!”
It swooped, pulled what looked to him like an Immelman turn, and leveled out at slightly below waist level. He
dodged to the side as Aeryn’s shot missed it as well -- nearly catching him in the stomach instead -- and tripped
as his foot came down on one of the ‘pies’.
“Look out!” Aeryn cried.
The airborne creature arrowed straight for him and drove its teeth into the inside of his thigh a mere dench to
the side of his crotch. The initial pinch of its bite turned into something more voracious as it began gnawing on
the leather. “Get it off!” Crichton screamed. It wasn’t painful, but it was moving sideways as it chewed.
“DON’T SHOOT IT!!!” he bellowed. “For God’s sake, Aeryn --”
“You’re aiming at my --”
Her hand flicked down to the power setting on her pistol, twisted it hard, and she fired before he could finish his
protest. The smell of burnt gravy filled the shop. Aeryn cranked the pistol back up to full power and turned
away even before his knees had a chance to give out. John grabbed at the counter, mindful to first check that
there were no toothy creatures scuttling about there, and gingerly felt his anatomy to ensure that everything
was intact. There was only a fist-sized, incinerated corpse that crumbled into flakes when he brushed his hand
across it, and a warm spot spreading outward across his pants from Aeryn’s blast. “Peacekeeper vasectomy,”
he mumbled, feeling a little faint, then took a deep breath and straightened up.
By the time he returned to the melee, only eight of the voracious creatures remained. The three besieged
crewmates edged together in the center of the floor, stood back to back, and picked them off one by one.
“Crichton, you idiot. Those were Eldrian sand weasels,” Aeryn said when the last one was blown into a
scorched smear on the wall.
“How would I know?” he yelled back. “I’ve never seen one before! What the frell does anyone use those things
“Cycles ago, they were used to clean out an enemy’s underground positions. They tunnel in and attack
anything that’s alive. They’re banned by most species because they’re too difficult to control, and will kill
anything they can get their jaws on. This must be an illegal breeding operation.”
“They looked harmless,” he countered in a weak defense for his foolishness. “And they smelled like food.”
D’Argo snorted in derision. “They smelled like sand weasel dren. It is more evidence of your deficient sense of
smell that you thought that stench resembled anything edible.” He shook his head, wiped his Qualta blade
clean with a piece of rag he’d found on the counter, and slid it into its scabbard. “Let’s get out of here before
someone tries to make us pay for these beasts.”
“Then that gravy all over the short guy’s apron?” John asked, dreading the answer.
“Weasel dren,” D’Argo answered.
Crichton’s stomach lurched at the thought. The brief nausea wasn’t enough to dispel his hunger, however.
Falling in behind his friends, he called, “I’m still hungry, but how about you guys choose the food this time?” He
took one last look at the devastated shop and the array of charred or dripping bodies. “Or maybe I’ll just stick
with chicken from now on.”
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *