In The Company of Women
Okay, here it is, finally, the Farscape TUTU story. Sorry it took quite so
long. But as we all know, life happens. I hope to have the Brimstone one
done soon. And I am working on the Brimstone/B5. Really I am.
Oh, and beware, my Beta Reader is out of town, so this is unBetaed.
Not my characters, please don't sue me, you won't get anything anyway.
Rated: Mild PG - the beginning had some promise of smut, but, oh well.
Archives: TRIS, don't know where else to send it.
Commander John Crichton thought he'd seen it all by now. He was the only
human on a living ship crewed by fugitives from five different worlds. The
ship itself had just given birth to the only Leviathan/Peacekeeper hybrid
ship in existence. He was the only human to be hunted by psychotic aliens
who took obsession and torture to all new heights.
He'd seen creatures of great beauty and integrity and creatures of stomach
turning ugliness and evil, and every combination in between. John Crichton
had seen the universe and survived. Nothing could surprise him now. God
and the universe had done their number on him. It was time he was given a
He was about to be so wrong.
"Moya's picking up a commerce planet in the next system," Moya reported.
"We're changing course now."
There was a minor swell of positive reaction from the crew of Moya. They
all been cooped up on the Leviathan for too long looking for a planet where
Scorpius might not have saturated every public place with wanted beacons.
Though, you really had to give him credit, he was much more doggedly
persistent than Crais had been. But at least Crais had a legitimate,
tangible reason to hate Moya's crew. Scorpius merely enjoyed inflicting
pain and hated to lose. John almost wished to have the days of Crais back.
That had to be the crackers and food cubes talking. Moya's ragtag crew had
been reduced to the flavorless things ever since they'd succeeded in killing
T'ralltix. It was time for some new food, fresh food and soon. Which was
why Moya was already heading to the commerce planet.
As soon as they were in range, Crichton and Sebacean, Aeryn Sun, formerly
an officer in the Peacekeeper commandos, took her Prowler and headed for the
planet surface. John's liberated Peacekeeper uniform made it easier for
them to blend into almost any society.
They were wrong. Just as soon as they stepped out of the ship, something
felt wrong, at least to John. Then he noticed the stares they were getting
as they walked through the marketplace.
"Uh, Aeryn, we're drawing attention," John muttered.
"It's the uniform, Crichton. Learn to live with it."
"No, I don't think so..."
John Crichton was realizing they weren't getting the stares. He was
getting stares. His male ego was stroked for a moment until reality
reasserted itself. John wasn't getting stares because he was unbelievably
handsome, but merely because he was male.
"I think we've made a mistake."
"What're you talking about, Crichton?" Aeryn asked. "I don't see anything
"You wouldn't. They're not looking at you like you're some kind of
They paused at a market stall with appetizing smells. As Aeryn was
checking out their sources, the vendor, an interesting looking woman with
multiple facial and body piercings and purplish skin leaned over the table.
"How much you want for him?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"The side of grade A prime kizbah over there. How much?"
"I still don't know what you're talking about."
"Listen, honey, I like a little man bit appetizers as much as the next gal,
but it's not like you get attached to them. They're males! Use 'em and
lose 'em. Disposable, you know. So how about it, honey? I'll give you top
dollar for the stud fees alone."
Aeryn had a hard time following the woman's pitch at first, but
understanding, when it came, hit clear and bright. "You want to buy
"If the price is right, oh yeah."
Aeryn began to laugh. Fortunately, the male in question was examining a
clothing stall just out of casual earshot. If he was aware of being ignored
or avoided, he didn't show it. Aeryn was glad he wasn't close enough to
know he was being negotiated for.
"You really want to buy Crichton?" Aeryn asked again.
"You've really named him? He must be pretty special."
"Yes, he is...unique."
"Unique? How unique can he be? He's Sebacean, right? And aren't most
males all pretty much hung the same? Don't they exist for only one major
"Well, okay, two major functions."
Aeryn lifted an eyebrow. "Indeed?"
John picked that moment to approach. "Hey, Aeryn? How's it coming? If we
don't check in soon, the others will be here soon."
The stall keeper's eyes grew big. "You let him speak? And in public? And
there are others? Are they like him?"
"Let?" John asked incredulously. "Let? Aeryn doesn't let me speak. I'm
a free man. I do what I like."
The stall keeper gasped in shock. "No man is free on Virgus. A man is not
even allowed out on the streets without a female escort. To be found in
public alone is legally actionable and punishable."
"Oh," John scoffed. "and what would the consequences be? Death?"
"Yes. Breaking this law can be punishable by death. For the man for
breaking the law, and for the woman who allowed him to break it. It's been
so for generations." The stall keeper turned to Aeryn. "He is strong.
You've allowed him to be educated."
"Allowed?" John persisted angrily. "Look, lady..."
"Opinionated, too." The stall keeper looked him up and down, slowly,
longingly, and with a significant pause in a vital area. Her gaze lingered
long enough for John to squirm uncomfortably. "Well endowed, too. My offer
is still open if you want to take me up on it. I"ll be here all day. Think
Aeryn agreed and pulled John away. He kept looking back and sputtering.
"Shut up, Crichton," Aeryn hissed. "We're going back to Moya."
"Wha...what was that all about?"
"She was negotiating a price."
John stopped abruptly. His shock expressed in a dropped jaw. "Excuse me?"
Aeryn turned back. "She offered me money four you, or just your services."
"You were pimping me?!" John all but roared indignantly. Several female
heads turned their way.
"Come on, you're drawing attention."
"I don't care. You were about to sell me!"
"I wasn't about to sell you," Aeryn said with a snort. "Rent you out a bit
perhaps, but sell? Never. You're apparently a very valuable commodity on
"Is that all I am to you? A commodity?" John demanded.
"On this planet, yeah," Aeryn said with a smug smile as she strutted toward
the Prowler. She turned a moment later. "Come along, John."
"You're enjoying this way too much," John growled.
"Yes, I am. Come along, John, or I'll give you to that woman at the food
John followed the former Peacekeeper meekly through the crowd. But he did
it while muttering under his breath. This was not what he had in mind when
he woke up this morning. But then, lately, he'd had a lot of days where
things hadn't turned out the way he thought when he woke up. Why should
this day be any different?
The trip back to Moya was quiet, but for very different reasons. Aeryn
smugly flew the Prowler back to the Leviathan. John sat behind her,
sulking. They both knew it to be sulking, so there was no fun drawing
attention to it. Chianna and Rigel waited for their return. They all but
attacked the two as they came out of the Prowler.
"So, how was it? Did you bring back food?" These were just the tip of the
inane questions iceberg.
"Not this time, but we can go back." It was the only answer the other two
Later, when everyone gathered in Moya's command center, Aeryn and John gave
their reports from two very different perspectives. The rest of the crew,
especially D'Argo were highly amused by the turn of events. John was not.
"Hey, man, you weren't there," he protested. "They talked to me like I was
meat. I've never felt so cheap before."
"Try being a Peacekeeper prisoner for a few cycles," Rigel snorted. "You
get a whole new appreciation for cheap."
"Don't pull that one on me, Sparky," John warned dangerously. "I was in
Scorpius' chair. You weren't. I've paid my dues."
"So, what are we going to do?" Zahaan asked, almost always the true peace
keeper. Or rather more accurately, she was the peace maker. "We need
supplies, and we don't have much in resources."
"Well, it seems pretty obvious to me," Chianna chimed in. "That it's up to
us girls to save the day. Why don't' Aeryn and I..."
"No, no, no," Rigel protested. "The last time the two of you went on a
supply run, we ended up with the crackers."
"Actually," John added. "We all ended up going crackers, but that's beside
"Then what is the point?" Chianna demanded.
"Whoever goes back down to the planet to take Zahaan. Some calm and reason
in our negotiations."
"You flatter me, John."
"Just looking out for my best...interests, Blue," John replied. "I don't
know if I trust these other two not to sell my ass to the highest bidder.
Aeryn's already had an offer. And Chianna..."
"What? What did I do?" the woman in question asked innocently and fooling
"Don't get me started, darlin'."
"Aeryn and I will go again in the morning," Zahaan said before Chianna
could bristle further.
"Did you at least bring back dinner?" Rigel demanded.
"Sorry, Sparky. It's crackers and food cubes one more night."
Rigel huffed in disgust.
The next day, while Aeryn and Zahaan planet side, Moya and Pilot had the
rest of the crew cleaning. D'Argo grumbled almost as much as Rigel.
Why do we have to do this?" the Luxan warrior demanded. "This is a job for
"The DRDs can't reach that high on the walls," Pilot responded. " Besides,
Moya is insistent."
"Understandable," John said, earning a glare from D'Argo. "Come on, think
about it. Moya's just had her baby. I don't know of any woman of any
species, who doesn't go through a spurt right after childbirth where she
wants to be beautiful again and get her figure back."
"Moya's a ship. She doesn't have a figure," D'Argo pointed out.
"But she's female, probably feeling fat and ugly still. She just wants to
feel pretty again. If that means scrubbing walls, that means scrubbing
"Pilot?" D'Argo asked in exasperation.
"What? Don't believe me?"
"Actually, Crichton is right," Pilot answered in amusement. "Moya confirms
most of the work is aesthetic. It makes her feel better."
"See. Told ya."
D'Argo merely grunted his response.
Later the Prowler returned. Aeryn and Zahaan were all but empty handed as
they emerged. John was immediately suspicious.
"What did you do?" he wanted to know.
"Where's the food?" Rigel demanded. "All these are are scraps."
"We have a slight problem..." Aeryn began.
"I knew it..."
"We can get everything we need and some extra, but the person we're dealing
with isn't interested in money."
"Here it comes," John muttered.
"What is she interested in?" D'Argo asked slowly.
"Novelty?" Rigel snorted. "Then give over and have done."
"Can't you find someone else to deal with?" John asked, mentally cursing
"This is the head of the merchants' association, John," Zahaan explained.
"We deal through her or with on one."
"What kind of novelty?" D'Argo wanted to know.
"I was afraid to ask," Aeryn replied.
"You? A Peacekeeper was afraid to ask?"
"You weren't there, but she was awfully excited to know we had a Luxan
warrior on board."
"Excited, how?" John asked. "Excited as in, 'wow, what a great business
opportunity between cultures,' or 'oh, goody, here's lunch?'"
Zahaan and Aeryn found fascinating new aspects to their footwear. John
reacted. "You see! You see! I told you they'd sell us to the highest
"We didn't SELL you, John," Zahaan answered. "Not really. The deal isn't
final yet. And it's only for one night."
"Funny, but I think that's what the Black Widow tells all her
mates...before she EATS them!" John exploded. "Sorry, not gonna do it.
Not gonna happen."
"Come on, Crichton, be reasonable..." Aeryn began.
"Reasonable? Reasonable?!" John cried. "You want me to be reasonable
when you want to turn me into a whore?! I don't think so." He turned to
D'Argo. "You're being awfully quiet. Doesn't this bother you?"
D'Argo shrugged. "A warrior learns to do what needs to be done. Besides
it has been many, many cycles."
John Crichton sputtered wordlessly a moment. "I...I...you...now wait just
a micron. Are you saying you're willing to go through with this?"
"I don't know about you, Crichton, but I can't eat crackers and food cubes
until Moya can find another suitable planet, John."
"I'm with D'Argo," Rigel answered.
"You just may be, Rigel," John replied. "Novelty may not be pleasuring
this woman. Did you think of that? And no offense to either one of you
two, but I personally don't swing that way. I like girls."
That particular line of thought clearly hadn't occurred to anyone else.
D'Argo looked at him. "A warrior does what needs to be done."
"Yeah, well, you're not doing me, pal." With that, Crichton turned on his
heel and stormed off.
"Humans," someone muttered.
"Someone better go talk to him, or we're never getting out of here."
They all looked at each other and then at the ceiling. "Pilot?"
After what seemed like hours of cajoling and talking, arguing and
persuading, John finally rejoined the rest of the crew. He was sullen and
beaten. "All right, all right, I'll go. But if it's weird, kinky stuff,
I'm outta there."
An ahn later, Aeryn and Zahaan delivered their end of the bargain to a huge
home not far from the marketplace. In fact it was on the top of the hill
overlooking it. It was impressive house. They were greeted, the men led
off by an effeminate male. Aeryn and Zahaan were told to return in the
D'Argo, John and Rigel were deposited in a room full of odd costumes. They
looked at each other in chagrin. The male who'd brought them pointed to a
cabinet. "The mistress whish you to wear the outfits in there. She will
receive you shortly."
Before any could question or protest, the little man was gone. There was
nothing to do but open the cabinet. If John was half expecting, half
fearing to see a closet full of leather and chains, he was sorely mistaken.
When the door opened, they were met by a froth of pink tulle and netting.
Sparkles danced in the light. D'Argo reached in an pulled out a hangar.
"A TUTU!" John exploded. "She wants us to wear tutus? Ain't no way!"
"For the good of Moya, Crichton, you will," Rigel warned. "Remember."
"Right back at ya, Sparky," John replied, digging in the closet and pulling
out a much smaller hanger. "They have one in your size."
It was a bigger challenge to get into the tutus than it first appeared.
D'Argo's tentacles kept getting fouled with the feathers on the matching
head dress. He had to keep tugging at the shoulder straps to keep them in
"How do people wear these things?" he growled.
"WOMEN usually have anatomical help in holding the bodices up," John
replied, then he looked at the Luxan. "Nice legs."
D'Argo growled. "I thought you didn't swing that way." But the large
warrior tugged at the skirt which didn't quite make the top of his knees.
The result of which was to expose more chest.
John shrugged. "Whoever this woman is, she's gonna love you."
"Look who's talking, Crichton," D'Argo commented. "What gorgan did you
steal those pasty legs from?"
John glared at him. "I happen to have very nice legs, thank you. And it's
not my fault I can't get a tan on Moya. It's just this neck thing tickles."
John fingered the feathered and sequined choker as he tried to blow one of
the head dress feathers out of his eyes. At least his skirt came past his
Both men heard Rigel snickering. The turned on the former Hyperion
dominar. "What're you laughing at, Shorty?" John demanded. "You look more
like a trained poodle than the rest of us."
Rigel huffed but couldn't really defend himself. One, he had no idea what
a poodle was, trained or not; and two, he did look more ridiculous than the
other two. The small sovereign on his float resembled little more than a
pink, sparkling, befeathered cloud.
But they were ready when they were called before the mistress of the house.
So, astronaut, warrior and king gathered the shreds of their dignity with
the folds of their skirts, and followed their guide, moving soundlessly in
the pink satin ballet slippers.
John fought a shudder when they were presented to the lady of the house.
She was a very large woman lounging on a thrown like contraption similar to
Rigel's float, on much bigger. Her very need was being attended to by
scantily clad males of several species. The parallels between this person
and Jabba the Hutt made John search for trap doors in the floor leading to
the hunger crazed monster pits. And seeing those similarities, it wasn't
hard for him to make the leap of seeing the very scantily clad young man
attached to his mistress by an ornate collar and leash as Han Solo rather
than Princess Leia.
"I am Mistress Honai. You are mind for the evening. All of you. To do my
bidding, to fulfill my every desire and fantasy."
Honai levered herself to her feet - something Jabba never did - and came
toward them. She didn't spend much time on Rigel. But she inspected every
centimeter, ever nook and cranny of John Crichton. He fidgeted self
"See anything you like?" he asked in nervous desperation.
For a moment there wasn't a reply until he heard something distinctly akin
to...purring? "They say you are not Sebacean."
"No. I'm Human. Homo homo sapian. From a galaxy far, far away. I only
look Sebacean. Honest mistake."
A hand ran down his arm. John found himself wonder where the other had as.
"You are one of a kind? The only one of your species in this part of the
"Yes!" The word came out as a squeak. He found out where the other hand
was. He squirmed a bit. "You want to find another place for your hand?"
Suddenly John jumped. "Uh...not that one."
"You have spirit. I like that," Honai said. "Within reason and in
certain...attributes. But I have limits. You would be well advised to take
that into consideration. Now, you were brought here to entertain. Let the
The transport settled heavily when it returned to Moya. Chianna fairly
vibrated with impatience as she waited for the transport doors to open. The
three men were the first to exit the ship. They blew past her without so
much as a hello. Chianna was way too curious to allow that to pass. She
hurried to stop them. She got them all to stop before they left the launch
"So, what happened down there?" Chianna demanded. "What did you have to
"We took a vow to never speak of it," Rigel stated pompously, and sailed on
by in his float.
"I need a shower," John added under his breath. "A long hot shower."
"And sleep," D'Argo growled. "Hopefully without nightmares."
"Was it that bad? What did she do to you?" Chianna asked.
"The vow!" Rigel responded curtly.
"Sleep!" added D'Argo.
"Shower!" finished John. "For a month."
Chianna watched the men stalk away. She resisted the urge to follow and
demand a more acceptable explanation. She even let herself take a step
after them. Her resolve was bolstered by Aeryn demanding her assistance in
off loading the transport's cargo. She joined the other two women to do her
"What is all this?" Chianna asked, "I thought we were just getting basic
"Yeah, well, "Aeryn replied. "They were...appreciative...of what happened
"Do either one of you know what happened down there?" she demanded. "The
guys wouldn't talk."
"You'll find, Chianna," Zahaan replied serenely. "That if someone doesn't
wish to talk about something, there's generally a good reason."
"But don't you...weren't you curious at all?"
"We don't have time for curiosity right now," Aeryn told her. "These
supplies won't unload themselves."
Chianna shut up after that. She bent to the task until a holocrystal fell
out of one of the bundles. She picked it up and studied it intently. "Hey,
guys, what do you suppose this is?"
Aeryn and Zahaan didn't seem to be all that interested in it. Chianna
secreted it on her person. She had the strangest feeling it had something
important on it. Maybe even about what happened on the planet.
A couple of arns later, Chianna was finally alone in Command. The supplies
were unloaded, and everyone else was in their quarters. She pulled out the
holocrystal and slid it into the viewer.
"Chianna?" a voice asked. "What are you doing?"
She jumped guiltily, even though she was guilty of nothing. She looked
around, finding herself still alone. "Pilot! You scared me."
She went back to the viewer. "This crystal fell out of the supplies the
men brought back from Virgus. I thought it might be important, but no one
else seems to care."
"But you do."
"Yeah, I do," she answered a little defiantly, pushing the play command.
"You can watch with me if you like."
She settled back in her chair to watch the show. As the images unfolded,
she sat up and watched more carefully. "What the frel?" She had the
appearance of someone watching a horrible accident and not being able to
look away. "Pilot? Are you watching this?"
"Sadly, no. Moya has me working on one of her navigational subsystems.
Why? Is it something of value?"
"In the right hands, yeah," Chianna breathed, pretty much to herself. She
"Hey, blue girl, whatcha watching?" John asked, suddenly appearing in the
doorway to Command.
Chianna jumped up, quickly slapping off the viewer. She wheeled in a
defensive crouch. "Crichton! Don't you know than to sneak up on someone
"Sorry. Geesh, what's gotten you so jumpy?" he asked, heading over to her.
"Uh, nothing. Just don't like being snuck up on," she answered nervously.
John studied her suspiciously. "You are a horrible liar, Chianna.
Sometimes I don't understand how you survived so long."
"I have my ways."
John suddenly moved around Chianna. She made a half-hearted attempt to
block him, but it was no use. He got around her and hit the play button on
the viewer. The music came first, then the image registered. John went
pale and slowly sank into a chair.
"She...she recorded..." John muttered in shock and disbelief. Then he
turned on Chianna with a murderous gleam in his eyes. She edged away from
him. "Where did you get this? How did you get this?" For emphasis, he
ripped the holocrystal out of the viewer and used it as a prop. "Where did
this come from?"
"I found it, Crichton," Chianna squeaked quickly. "Honest. It fell out of
one of the supply bundles! I promise! Aeryn and Zahaan were there! They
"Do they know what's on this?" he demanded.
"No! They didn't care. I waited until we were done to see what it was. I
had no idea..."
"Good. Then this subject is closed," John told her, waving a warning
finger under her nose. "Got it?"
"Whatever you say, Crichton," she agreed earnestly.
The human astronaut was nearly out of the room before Chianna stopped him.
He turned back slowly. "What?"
"Before we close this issue for good, can I ask a question?"
"What exactly is a teapot and why should it be short and stout?"
John's outrage reverberated down several of Moya's corridors.
Moya broke orbit the next day. Her crew sat around the table in Command.
A small feast laid out on the table. After many long days of privation, the
crew was treating themselves to a bit of a party.
"I've got to hand it to you fellows," Aeryn said around a large mouthful.
"You really came through for us."
"And don't you forget it," John replied, saluting her with a glass.
"Though we'll try."
"You can say that again," D'Argo muttered.
"You never told us..." Zahaan began.
"You're right, and we never will," Rigel interrupted.
"D'Argo?" Zahaan turned back to the Luxan.
"Let's just say there are some horrors which haunt even the most seasoned
warrior in his nightmares. This was one of them."
"So, ladies," John added quickly. "Eat, drink, and be merry, for we will
never do THAT again."
Aeryn turned to Chianna. "Didn't you find a holocrystal? What was on it?"
Chianna tried not to throw a frightened look toward John. "No...nothing.
IT was blank. It must've fallen in the bundle by mistake.":
Aeryn and Zahaan exchanged looks. "Are we going to accept that?"
"We'll have to," Zahaan replied. "At least whatever occurred didn't spoil
them for the company of women. That would've been awkward."
"No," John answered. "It did come close, but this is a company of women
"Everyone, Moya's ready to starburst. Prepare yourselves."
As Moya's crew braced for the spatial shift, the mystery of Virgus was left
well behind them.