(First posted October 23, 2012)
Spoilers/Time Frame: Future Fic, set well after PK Wars.
Disclaimer: The characters and universe of Farscape are the property of the Henson Co. I have not made
any profit off this tale, and I am giving the characters back the way I found them.
Betareader/Test Driver: None. Written quickly, poorly edited. I beg everyone’s forgiveness for any errors,
grammatical travesties, or oversights.
Starburst Challenge 66 (hosted by vinegardog): Wiles. The challenge was to write a story where one or
more characters employ wiles to get his/her/their way or, alternatively, one or more of the characters are fooled
by someone else's wiles.
I hope you enjoy it.
* * * * *
John Crichton craned his neck, attempting to spot Aeryn in the crowd. After several microts worth of futile
scanning, he eased his seat away from the table and slowly got to his feet. He stretched and adjusted the way
his holster sat against his leg, attempting to mask his true intentions. Across the table, his companion looked
up at him. Her eyes flickered to one side then the other, and a moment later a smile appeared, suggesting that
she had seen through the subterfuge.
“Hush up,” he said, waggling a finger at her. “I’m going to be in a lot of trouble because of you, so don’t you
say a word.”
The smile widened into a grin of delight for several moments, as if his comments had amused her in some way,
and then she turned her attention back to the table and what lay on it.
John scanned the marketplace again, easing up onto his toes from time to time in order to get a better view.
Several dozen microts worth of surveillance yielded the familiar sight of sleekly-restrained, glossy black hair
gliding through the crowds of pedestrians. There was no mistaking that it was Aeryn. If the hair was not
enough to identify the person beneath it, the gait would have clinched it. No one moved like Aeryn, not even
another Peacekeeper. He had never seen another person, male or female, with the same stride -- smooth,
athletic, laden with a subdued aggression that moved people out of her way, possibly without their ever noticing
that they had stepped aside. She could have disguised herself in bulky padding covered with a billowing,
shape-smothering sack, and he would still be able to tell that it was Aeryn based on her walk alone.
“Here she comes,” he said in a half-whisper. “She is going to kill me.”
His companion merely grinned.
John stayed on his feet, most of his attention trained on the female sitting across the table but half turned so he
could watch Aeryn’s approach. The fingers of his right hand tapped a light, absentminded staccato against the
side of his pulse pistol. “She is going to kill me,” he repeated, this time quietly enough so no one else could
It did not take long for Aeryn to reach the table. All too soon she was ten motras away and almost in sight. She
took three long steps, slid smoothly around a small cluster of people blocking her way, and was in clear view at
last. She spotted John, smiled, and then her gaze slid past him to the table. For the first time, her stride
faltered. Her right foot hesitated for a moment before landing; the left took even longer. It took an almost
unendurable ten microts for her to cross the final four motras.
“I thought we talked about this,” she said a little too calmly.
“We did,” John said. “This is entirely my fault. No excuses. I screwed up, Aeryn.”
“I warned you about this planet and what was on it.”
“Yes, you did.” He debated whether a hug would defuse the situation, and decided he was more likely to
receive a sharply delivered elbow to his ribs or a knee to the groin than forgiveness.
“This entire economy is based on providing every imaginable type of sensory pleasure,” she said. “I told you
“I know. You warned me,” he said.
“You said you could handle it,” she said before he could offer up an apology or an explanation.
“I thought I could,” he said. “I listened. Honest, I did. I listened to you, and I really thought I could deal with
Aeryn took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, clearly struggling to contain her temper. “What did she say to
“The usual,” he said. “She used her feminine wiles on me.”
“Feminine wiles,” Aeryn repeated as one eyebrow twitched upward.
He risked a quick kiss on her cheek. “You know me. I’m a sucker for feminine wiles.”
“That is an understatement.”
The pair turned as one toward the table where their six-cycle-old daughter, liberally smeared with streaks of the
multicolored confection sitting on the table before her, was engaged in an aggressive assault on the largest
frozen treat the planet had to offer. The intergalactic version of a banana-split, it undoubtedly contained
enough calories to keep his daughter on a sugar-generated high for several arns. Possibly for several
“You said, ‘I love you, Daddy’, didn’t you?” Aeryn asked her.
Their daughter shoveled an enormous glob of the sugary delight into her mouth, smiled around it, and nodded
enthusiastically. “I wuv oo ‘addy,” emerged from the overstuffed mouth.
John beamed down at his syrup-coated child.
“You are such a sap,” Aeryn said.
John did not try to argue for the simple reason that Aeryn was correct. When it came to his daughter, he was a
lost cause. She could get him to do almost anything. She could get him to treat her to any extravagance, give
in to the most absurd requests, tolerate her tantrums, forgive her when she misbehaved. All it took was a smile
and the magical four-word incantation.
“It’s part of being a father,” he said eventually. “It’s genetic. Blame the Y-chromosone.”
“Are you ever going to learn how to say no to her?” Aeryn asked.
John decided it was finally safe to try a hug. He wrapped an arm around Aeryn’s shoulder and pulled her in
against his side with caution. “Not until she’s old enough to start dating.”
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *