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Written for [community profile] fic_promptly prompts. Thanks to [personal profile] scribblesinink, who betaed all the pieces. Lengths are 345, 370, 205, 560, 345 and 575 words.

Prompt: Dark Angel, Alec and any in Terminal City, trying to get the power on

Knowledge is Power

"Dammit!" Alec snatches his hand back and shakes it, his fingers still tingling from however many thousands of volts just zapped through him. Okay, maybe not thousands; he knows it's not thousands, even if it is a main conduit he's trying to tap into. But he definitely doesn't know enough. Manticore taught them how to cut the power and how to deactivate an alarm, but not how to connect power or reroute it safely. A few classes in trade skills would be way more useful than freakin' piano lessons at this point. Especially as one of the things Alec does know is that he could walk a hundred yards, throw a switch in a breaker box and turn the power off while he works—and disrupt the supply sufficiently for the authorities to notice immediately that TC is stealing power. So that's not an option. He'll just have to—.

"Alec hurt. Joshua help."

Alec, peering intently at the wiring, still flexing his hand, senses Joshua stepping up next to him. He shakes his head. "It's too dangerous. You'll—."

Joshua reaches past him, manipulating wires and connectors deftly, even though he's wearing rubber gloves he's found somewhere. There's a sudden gleam of light from behind them, shining out through the perimeter fence. Turning, Alec can see a thumbs up from the group around the lamp, before the light is quickly doused. His eyes take only a few moments to adjust again, but already he sees a flurry of activity, with cables being rolled out in several directions.

"Nice work, Joshua, my man!" Alec turns back and punches Joshua in the arm. "Where d'you learn to do that?"

Joshua is beaming. "Father teach Joshua. And Joshua read. Joshua need power for house, so Joshua learn how to get power."

"Right." Alec remembers taking for granted that Joshua's place still had power. There's a lot about Joshua he takes for granted—like still not giving Joshua enough credit for how smart he is. "So what else did you get working in your house?" Maybe Joshua has some other skills they can use.



Any, any, "Don't be daft, Triffids aren't real."

Day of the Triffids

"Don't be daft." Duke rolls his eyes as Audrey presses him back against the wall with her arm. "Triffids aren't real."

"Try telling that to that." Audrey jerks her head toward where the wall ends.

Cautiously—he still thinks she's talking nonsense, but he's not an idiot—Duke leans out past her and takes a look.

In the middle of the field behind the outbuilding, something is lurching across the grass with an ungainly gait. A little like an overgrown stalk of celery crossed with a venus flytrap. As Duke watches, it whips out a long tongue, but finds no target. The whoosh of the tongue's passing is clearly audible across the thirty yards separating them from its sting.

"Crap!" Duke flings himself back against the wall.

"But Triffids aren't real." Nathan, on his other side, makes the same point, but as if he's reasoning it out rather than scoffing. "Which means someone's making them appear. It's a Trouble."

"Like that guy who made all the plagues appear?" Duke suggests.

Nathan nods. "TJ Smith. Or maybe like the guy with the aliens. Toomey."

"Right." Audrey grimaces as they watch what looks like a large jellyfish—all waving pallid tentacles—bowl across the field after the triffid. "So we just need to figure out who's doing it."

"Good luck with that," Duke mutters. That narrows down the list of suspects to, oh, just half the town.

Audrey isn't listening, She's scrabbling in her pocket for her phone and scrolling through the contacts. She holds up her hand for silence as she puts the phone to her ear. "Vince? I need a little bit of help with some local history. Can you tell me if the Smiths and the Toomeys are related? Sisters? Right. And their maiden name was...? Pendleton? Got it."

"That's Pendleton Cove at the bottom of the cliff," Nathan points out in a stage whisper.

Audrey nods at him to show she's heard, though she's still listening to Vince, too. "Yes, it might be a Trouble. I'll let you know if it turns out that way. Make sure the Herald puts out the right story." She snaps the phone shut. "Well, I guess we've found a place to start. Any Pendletons still living nearby?"



Prompt: Haven, any, genetics

If only it were that simple

"Troubles run in families? So it's genetic?" Audrey's trying to figure things out and Eleanor is supposed to be helping, except Audrey's gotten the feeling Eleanor knows a lot more than she's telling. If Audrey asks the right questions, Eleanor will give her the answers, but she's not volunteering anything.

And if Audrey asks the wrong questions....

Eleanor chuckles. "Oh, kiddo, if only it were that simple." She flaps a hand. "Don't you think with all these modern advances in mapping genes and finding the ones that cause certain diseases, I've wondered if I can isolate the ones that make people Troubled or Not Troubled? The ones that separate the Driscolls from the Taylors? But this isn't about eye color or even hemophilia. Dreams that come to life? Drawings that affect real objects? Science can't explain that—or not the science we have right now."

"So I should just give up looking for an explanation? For a root cause?" Audrey scrubs her hair back from her face in frustration.

"I didn't say that. But me and Garland and—. And a few others. We've been talking about this for years. And if there's one thing I can tell you: Troubles run in families, but they ain't just genetic...."



Prompt: Any, Any, Cheating Death."

Even cats only have nine lives

While it waits for Death to finally claim him, John's comatose brain amuses itself by trying to count how many near misses he's had before.

Should it count all the times when he might have died but for random chance sending him down one path and not another? When he came out of that first wormhole, and it was Crais Junior's Prowler that spun off into an asteroid, and not his module? In a billion other possible realities, it was John who didn't survive. Or the many occasions when fast thinking, fast talking or a good old-fashioned firefight spared him from getting better acquainted with Death?

The trapped and sparking neurons in his brain decide against it. No need to number those near-misses, unless his dying drags on and he needs to occupy himself a while longer. Plenty enough occasions when he really did have one foot, and sometimes both, across Death's threshold.

So, how many times has John Crichton almost died already? The first time, surely, was hanging in space above the beautiful, terrible, burning ocean of oil consuming the Gammak base. When Aeryn's rescue was only moments from being too late. Hanging on grimly to D'Argo's arm while his oxygen supply ran out and he slowly faded into suffocation and—.

No, not the first time. Before that, when Aeryn injected him with the kill shot when they were stuck in the Zenetan Flax and stopped his heart. That was the first time. Probably.

And after that? Scorpius and Harvey have had a hand in a couple of his near-deaths, too. Scorpius chopping his head off and dunking it in acid after John was turned into a statue. Harvey helping him fool that Scarran by stopping John's heart and brain for a few seconds. Another two to be added to the total.

Then there was managing to get himself cloned and not eaten, so one version on himself could survive the other receiving a lethal dose of radiation—even if he doesn't have the memories from that other life.

The part of him still clinging to the world and caring about the people he is leaving behind realizes that this is the second time Aeryn has sat beside him to watch him die. He hopes that their son will give him the comfort and courage she needs to go on once he is truly gone.

That's five.

Number six would be... the first time he was in coma, after D'Argo attacked him. Number seven: being stranded in his module after the goddamned Ancients sucked Moya down a wormhole and he was lucky to be rescued by Elack and his pilot. Number eight: fading into invisibility on his first trip back to Earth, when his attempts to repair the past—aided by Noranti's miscalculations—had nearly made everything so much worse.

Number nine: crystallized by the Eidelons. Which, on reflection, was the one he really shouldn't have come back from. But he did. And got a chance to see his son born, and to hold him, and to know he would grow up in peace, before Death staked this final claim.

Somewhere near at hand is the cry of that new life, to balance out the old life slipping away. So many days when John's cheated Death. But even cats have only nine lives. And today—.

Today, Death can wait one more time.



Prompt: Author's choice, author's choice, independence day

Liberators

"It was all down to me that the planet was liberated, of course." Rygel waved an imperious hand in the direction of his audience of Hynerian princelings. "It was I who discovered the properties of the tannot root and I who forced Volmae to listen and I who persuaded her to act to free her people. Really, the whole place owes its current independence to me. I'm really quite surprised, after all I did for them, not to have received a delegation from Sykar since my reinstatement, to ask if they can become a subject world in the Hynerian Empire."

oOo


"Yes, that was the first time we saw D'Argo in Luxan hyper-rage." Aeryn handed Chiana another bottle of fellip nectar and popped the cap off her own. "Before you came on board. I remember John hid himself so well we couldn't find him for three solar days. But he was the one who realized there was something seriously wrong with D'Argo. After D'Argo went down to the planet, I mean. And he was the one who made contact with the Resistance and got Volmae to show him the warehouse. He always did have a knack for being in the right place—or the wrong place, depending on how you look at it—at the right time. Really, without John, that place wouldn't have its independence."

oOo


"Your mother was the one who figured it out. Spanner, please." John reached out a hand so his son could pass the tool to him without him having to back out of the crawlspace. "Hard to remember now that she used to think tech stuff was beneath her. Though we all picked up new skills quick enough, I guess. We had to. Anyway, she was the one who worked out not only what was wrong with Rygel, and how to neutralise the effects of the tannot root on his digestive system, but also what the tannot root had been turned into. And how to use Rygel to open the Sykarans' eyes to what was going on. Really, without your mom, that planet wouldn't be free."



Prompt: any, any, "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it"

My kind of place

Chiana, trailing after John and Aeryn as they entered the bar, with D'Argo a step behind her, watching all their backs, grinned as she looked around. This was her kind of place. She liked living on Moya, sure enough; and when push came to shove, she'd be there for her crewmates. But frell could it be boring sometimes. Whereas this place....

Bottles glittered on the shelves behind the long curve of the bar; bartenders were busy mixing drinks; waiters with trays moved around smoothly delivering them; and at one end of the room, dancers were twining themselves about each other to slow and sensuous music.

"There's an empty booth over there." Aeryn pointed to a seating area at the other end of the room from the dancers.

"I'll get the drinks." D'Argo inclined his head in the direction of the bar.

"I'm with D'Argo." Chiana pushed forward.

John caught her arm as she passed him. "Just don't get into any trouble. We're here to do business, remember?"

"Yeah, right." Chiana shook him off and bounced on toward the bar, zeroing in on a good-looking Sebacean sitting on a stool and apparently drinking alone. She felt D'Argo come up on her other side, but she ignored him as she slid onto a stool herself, making sure she nudged the guy so he got a good look at her loomas as she settled into place. "You looking for company?"

The Sebacean, who'd definitely not missed the chance to check her out as he swiveled slightly in her direction, raised his gaze to look over her head at D'Argo. "She with you?"

"Hey!" Chiana sat up straighter, chin tipped up defiantly. "I'm my own woman."

She felt D'Argo shrug in agreement. The Sebacean, apparently reassured D'Argo wasn't going to make trouble, brought his gaze back down to her.

She leaned forward and ran her finger around the top of his glass—something potent, by its size—before dipping a finger in to wet it and then slowly sucking the liquid off her fingertip. The drink was sweeter than she'd expected, but clearly had a bit of a kick. "I'll have what you're having," she told the guy.

Behind her, D'Argo sighed heavily, but the Sebacean was looking back at her with eyes that said he was quite happy to share all kinds of fluids with her. He waved over one of the bartenders and pointed to his glass. "Two more."

By the time the drinks were in front of them, D'Argo was heading away from her and toward John and Aeryn with a hissed, "Just don't—!" right before he left. Chiana waved a lazy hand in acknowledgment and dismissal, before picking up her glass and saluting her new friend, her gaze locked with his. She wasn't sure she much liked the taste, but she did like being bought drinks.

Putting down the glass, she ran a finger down the guy's arm. "You like dancing?" She tilted her head toward the writhing bodies.

oOo


Of course, it ended in a brawl between the three guys she'd flirted with and danced with—separately and together—over the course of a couple of hours; and with Aeryn marching her out the door, arm twisted up behind her back, while John and D'Argo tried to smooth things over with the head barman and finish the deal they'd been in the middle of. But, despite Aeryn's muttered curses and threats, Chiana had no regrets. Definitely her kind of place....
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