Something I’m working on …

So I asked on Twitter if people would rather read a bit of my Farscape but gayer thing, or my drunken time travel thing. Farscape won, so here we go, the “introducing most of the gang” moment. Keep in mind, this is still rough. But I wanted to prove I was still writing, contrary to all the evidence.

And as of now, I have no title. Titles always seem like the last things to appear.

**

Sayeed woke up with a huge pain in his neck, and a chalky taste in his mouth. That was usually the end result of being hit with a nerve disruptor. Also, having a shunt jammed into his nexus cluster to prevent it from operating.

He sat up, and the shunt began broadcasting its canned message straight into his brain: “Sayeed Jackson Singh, you have been tried and convicted of impersonation of a station officer; theft of Conclave equipment; attempted theft of Conclave equipment; seditious behavior; resisting arrest. You will –“

“Bullshit!” Sayeed exclaimed, rubbing the back of his neck. “How the fuck did I display “seditious behavior”?” The message continued, but Sayeed ignored it. They were just making shit up now.

“You were working contrary to the good order of the Conclave,” a voice said. It was an odd voice. Kind of high, but not really identifiable as male or female. Almost a child’s voice.

Sayeed knew he was alone in the tiny box of his cell, which was the pale blue of most of the station’s open areas. It was a supposedly soothing color, although Sayeed found it annoying.

The cell was small, barely the size of a secondary utility closet, and when he stood up from the cot, he could have touched both walls by stretching out his arms. The doors were physical, but there was also a forcefield – the physical door was in case of a power failure. The Conclave was nothing but sensible.

Speaking of which, most of the door was translucent, so the guards always knew where you were. But it also allowed the prisoners to look out and see your fellow convicts. Sayeed was in the human cells, and across from him, he could see the alien cells. One looked empty, while another held a very large, violet skinned Skratari, and the third was holding what looked like a synthetic’s power cradle, but the coffin shaped box was opaque, so he couldn’t see if anything was in it. But why the hell would a synthetic’s power cradle be in a cell? That made no sense at all.

While he was puzzling over that, he caught a small movement out of the corner of his eye, inside the empty cell. It wasn’t, as it turned out. It was just that the inhabitant was quite small. To his shock, it was a Braca.

The Braca were the best known of the non-humanoid aliens, and they looked not unlike octopi, but with a sort of spiny cartilage over its body that didn’t extend to its six tentacles like legs. They were, at their largest, the size of a medium dog, and came in a rainbow of colors, but the one who slapped two of its tentacles against the door was a sort of pearlescent teal. You wouldn’t really know by looking at them, but they were actually one of the more advanced species in the universe, and were supposedly the first aliens to make contact with most of the Concave members. But, for some reason, they weren’t members of the Conclave themselves.

The Braca waved with the end of its tentacle, and that child-like voice piped up again. “It’s a charge they throw at anyone who breaks a law. The thinking goes anyone breaking the peace is subversive by deed if not by nature.”

Wow, what a weird translator module it had. It must have been damaged, because Sayeed couldn’t imagine any adult ever picking it on purpose. “That sounds kinda illegal,” Sayeed finally responded.

Its teal skin rippled slightly, and he knew that was what passed for laughter among their kind. That, and this high pitched noise that sounded like air being released from a balloon. “By my laws, it’s very illegal, but none of that stops the Conclave.”

“You really wanna get more subversion charges added to your list, squid?” A deep female voice asked. Sayeed guessed it could only be the Skratari.

“Like they need a reason to do that,” the Braca said, its skin rippling. “What’s your designation, hoo-man? You are a hoo-man, yes?”

“Yeah.” He wondered why he should answer a helium voiced Braca who might have a screw loose, but what else did he have to do? He was very much a captive audience. “Sayeed.”

“Say – eed? Oh, that’s pretty!” the Braca squeaked. “I’m Caf’kaa Ied M’harafal.”

“Well, wish we were meeting under different circumstances, Caf’kaa.” The Braca had very complicated name structures. Supposedly there was some way to tell gender from it, but since they had no obvious sex characteristics, and voice translators could reflect any gender as well as none, it was always a minefield. Of course, the Braca were painfully honest, so you could ask, but Sayeed wasn’t really interested. A squid was a squid, male or female or other.

“Me too. The purple slab of muscle next to me is Zal Kolak, and the guy in the box is Kai 3221-LXI-RHO.”

“The guy in the box? Hold it a second. It isn’t a-“

“Sex bot?” Zal said. “Yeah, it’s a sex bot.”

“Oh, it’s fascinating!” Caf’kaa squealed. “I overheard the guards when they carted him in. Supposedly he has illegal AI uploaded to his system by a rogue scientist who was working on artificial intelligence in contravention of Conclave rules, and gave it to him because he loved the bot. Can you imagine?”

“Loving a bot? Not really.” They were very pretty, but in those creepy, too perfect ways. If he was high, he could get past it, but sober, not at all. You could get them scent free, though; that was kind of nice.

“But they follow orders,” another voice said. It sounded smooth and feminine. “That’s like my number one demand of lovers.”

Zal made a noise of disgust, and Caf’kaa waved a tentacle. “Negotiation can be fun,” the squid said, which was more information that he ever wanted to know.

There was something beyond the empty cell containing Kai’s box, but Sayeed couldn’t see it. When he got too close to the door’s forcefield, it crackled, and he could feel the hair standing up on his neck. They never turned them up too high, but they could still stun the fuck out of your ass.

**

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