my_b7_fic: Avon karate chopping (Default)
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This was a Valentine story for [livejournal.com profile] lizamanynames (1,606 words)



"Vila, come with me." Cally appeared on the flight deck during Vila's watch, kitted up for a mission, which didn't surprise him, as they were orbiting a planet. Which planet he didn't know. He hadn't been consulted, but neither had he been told he'd be needed.

"Avon didn't say I had to go."

Cally looked at Vila. "You don't have to go, Vila. I'm asking you. As a friend."

"Really?"

"Yes." Cally held out her hand. Vila was about to take it when he saw that she was holding the moondisk. "This moondisk is ripe. I've been talking to it, and it's responded by budding. It needs a safe place to grow."

"And that's not here, is it." Vila looked at Cally shrewdly. "Avon doesn't know you're planning to plant that plant, does he?"

Cally winced at Vila's wordplay. "No, he doesn't. He only agreed to come here because I... well, I... lied about this planet."

"Really?" Vila grinned. "What did you tell him?"

"I didn't exactly. I merely suggested to Orac that it could tell Avon communications aimed at Blake had been sent to that planet."

"Blake's here?"

"I doubt it. I sent the communications myself." Cally put the lumpy moondisk back into a padded pouch she had slung across her hip. "It will take Avon some time to realize it's yet another false trail. We should have found a suitable place for the moondisk by then."

"We? I mean, you don't need me, you're just going to find it a nice shady patch of sand and plant it, or whatever you do with moondisks."

"Moondisks are telepathic in a limited sense, and they are dependent on continued friendly telepathic contact for good health. I told Avon you have to 'talk' to them. There are telepathic beings on this planet, but they are shy and retiring. I'll need your help to contact them and get them to accept the care of the moondisk and its offspring."

"Why me?"

Cally smiled. "Because the only successful contact humans have made with these beings came about by accident. Two of the surveyors were bored, and telling each other jokes. Laughter was the key, Vila." Cally took Vila's hand. "Come and make me laugh."

"Is it dangerous?" Vila noticed that Cally wore a gun.

"The telepathic beings aren't, but there are some large carnivores."

"How large?"

"Vila," Cally said patiently. "If we do not leave soon, Avon will find out what we intend."

"We?" Vila hastily got a gun. "All right, you've convinced me, I'd rather face a hungry whatsit than an annoyed Avon."

Vila landed on top of a mound of tiny silvery particles, all perfectly round. "Hey!" he yelped and slid down the mound, landing on his back on a pile of something snow-white and fluffy. A long-nosed beast jumped out of the white pile, honked at Vila in an annoyed way, and began sucking up silver particles with its nose, snorting them back onto the mound.

Vila scrabbled out of the fluff pile and made his way over to Cally who was standing on more or less normal-seeming ground, except that the plants covering it were flowers with large, blinking black eyes, one to a flower. The flowers turned to watch them. Vila could have sworn one winked at him.

"Vila, tell me a riddle."

"Erm... all I can think of are knock-knock jokes at the moment." Vila kept turning around, nervously watching the fuzzy purple things that flew up to the flowers and curled the flowers' eyelashes, and then flew off humming what sounded a lot like an old Delta drinking song.

"Well, tell me one of them, then." Cally put her moondisk on the ground, where it crept a few inches and then came to rest at the base of an eye-flower.

"You have to work with me on this. Whenever I say 'knock, knock', you say, 'Who's there'."

Cally nodded, gun still drawn as she observed the not-quite-distant-enough jungle to suit him.

"Will you remember me in a day?" Vila asked. He waggled his eyebrows until Cally smiled and replied, "Yes."

"Will you remember me in a week?"

"Yes."

"Will you remember me in a month?"

"Yes."

"Will you remember me in a year?"

"Yes."

"Will you remember me for your whole life?"

"Yes."

"Knock, knock"

"Who's there?"

"You've forgotten me already!"

Cally laughed and Vila was quite pleased with himself. "You didn't have knock-knock jokes on Kaarn?"

"No, Vila." Cally tilted her head as if listening. "Perhaps we had better try somewhere else." She picked up the moondisk, and strode off in the direction of the jungle, which was mainly blue, with streaks of green and white. When they got closer, Vila noticed that many of the plants had antennae. A furry black thing with far too many legs saw them, bleated, and stabbed its feet into purple pods bobbing along a length of blue vine. It shot up to the top of a tree, kicked the pods loose to float slowly back to the ground as they deflated with flatulent noises, dove into a hole in the trunk, and pushed a round wooden plug into the hole from the inside. Vila could almost swear he heard a tiny lock being clicked shut.

"Another joke, Vila, please." Cally set the moondisk down in the soil which had an orange tinge here.

"Who's there?"

"Banana!"

"Banana?" Cally asked, baffled.

"No, you say 'banana who'."

Obediently Cally replied, "Banana who?"

"Banana split so ice creamed!"

Cally frowned in puzzlement, she had never found Terran humour particularly amusing. Now, on Auron, they had lightpod jokes! She 'listened' for a moment, then shook her head. "No, there's no response here, either. Are you certain that joke was humorous?"

"It was the last time I told it!" Vila didn't mention the fact that he'd been eight years old at the time.

Vila was slightly less nervous when Cally led him from the forest to a marshy area green-coated water full of red and white striped hollow reeds and metallic red insects that held hands and formed bridges to let metallic blue insects cross the water on their backs. So far nothing threatening had appeared, just... strange things. It seemed quite odd to him to have so many different environments so close together. Why, just from here he could see a hill covered with fruit trees bordered by a desert full of spiky plants, bordered by a meadow full of hopping, grazing beasts three times Vila's size.

Cally nodded, and Vila prepared to pull out another joke. "Now, this time, after you ask 'who's there' and I tell you, remember you have to repeat what I say and add 'Who'."

"Why?"

"No, not why, who."

"What is the point of that, Vila?"

"Not what, who!"

"Why is who what?"

"No, who is what you say!" Vila stamped his foot on the ground. "When I say what I say, you're to say what I say and who!"

Cally blinked. "Someone's listening."

Vila drew his gun and looked nervously around. All he saw were the insects building bridges, and the reeds... tilting towards them. He yelped and jumped back towards solid land. The reeds rustled, and wriggled up and down, and then slowly pulled bright green... legs? out of the water and walked after Vila.

"It's all right, Vila. These are the beings! I can tell." Cally smiled as the striped reeds bowed down in front of Vila, and began weaving themselves into a pair of comfortable looking chairs. Cally sat in one and leaned back. After a moment, Vila sat in the next, and leaned back also. Cally spoke telepathically, Vila and I are friends.

Vila couldn't hear any words in the response, but he had a sense of warmth and closeness, even of security, as the reeds shaped themselves to his body.

We have brought a little one to your world. It needs a safe home. Cally put the moondisk on the ground. After a few seconds it crawled over to the nearest freestanding reed, which bent over as if to examine it, although Vila couldn't see any eyes. One of the red stripes peeled away from the reed and stroked the moondisk, which quivered and made a soft purring sound.

Cally smiled. You will take care of it?

The reed stroked the moondisk again. One of the little lumps broke off the moondisk and added a thin purr of its own to its parent. The reed planted its green feet in the ground and opened up the top of its body like a parasol. Other reeds planted and parasoled themselves as more baby moondisks emerged, purring and moving into their new homes.

Cally sighed in relief. Thank you.

The first reed nodded and continued to stroke the moondisk with its stripe.

"The moondisks will do well here," Cally told Vila as she rose from the reed chair, which broke apart into individual reeds and planted themselves in a protective parasol garden around the moondisks.

"Yes," Vila said as he joined her. "Everyone needs a friend." He sighed, and Cally smiled at him.

"Vila would you like to tell me one more joke before we return to the ship?"

"Yes." Vila smiled at her. "Knock, knock."

"Who's there?" Cally said, smiling back at him.

"Olive."

"Olive who?"

"Olive you!"

Cally smiled and reached out to take Vila's free hand. "Yes, Vila, and so do I. Teleport, now, Orac."

The reeds looked up as Cally and Vila vanished, then shrugged non-existent shoulders and returned to playing with their new pets.

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December 2011

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