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"Secrets"
by Ligrim

Part I
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"Chiana, could you wash these for me?" asked D'argo, handing a basket of
dirty clothes to the young Nebari.
"You know, you could do it yourself once" she replied with resignation.
The Luxan ignored this and returned to his room. Chiana shook her head, and
slowly headed towards the laundry room. She didn't like washing clothes,
but it was better than doing nothing. She was so bored... If she could just
talk to somebody.
She, of course, tried many times. John would be her first choice, but he
was usually busy or unreachable. D'argo was her friend, and when he was in
a good mood he even listened to her, but he never had anything interesting
to say. Luxan stories were very, very boring. Zhaan had her own unshakable
view of the world, which was completely different from rebel Nebari ideas.
She simply refused to accept anything that Chiana tried to prove, and their
discussions were usually fruitless. Aeryn... Aeryn wasn't the person Chiana
would like to talk to anyway. There was also Rygel, but torturing him was
getting boring lately. He was so predictable, that it wasn't even worth an
effort. If only there was someone to talk to, or something interesting to
do her life would be much better.
Each day, is the same as the day before.
"John... What the frell are you doing?" she asked.
"Not now Chi... I'm quite busy, can you ask me whatever you want to ask me
later?"
He would never learn... Yet, she got used to being ignored by John. He
often acted like a jerk, but there was something in him that made her
forgive him every time. She didn't even want to talk to him. She just
wanted to kill some time with a pointless conversation. She walked away...
Another day, the same as the day before.
"Anyone knows any good jokes?" she tried to initiate a conversation during
dinner.
D'argo talked with Zhaan, and didn't even hear her. John after thinking for
a while replied:
"Nope. Nothing comes to me right now."
"I know one about 3 Hynerian donkeys..." said Rygel.
"No, I don't want to hear it again! You have no sense of humor, Sparky, so
be quiet!"
"What's the point in all of this?" she asked.
"What do you mean?"
"You wouldn't understand..."
"Ok..." said John rising his eyebrows, and returned to his conversation
with Aeryn.
"Are you sure you don't want to hear my joke? It's pretty funny..." Rygel
moved a little closer.
"Nope!" she replied mimicking John's voice.
Another day, as boring as the day before.
She found a little box in the pile of junk in one of the chambers. It was a
little puzzle box - the one you must twist and turn to get the pattern
lined up on each of the sides. She played with things like that once. She
remembered her brother teaching her the right way to do it. She never
listened to him, and she always solved the puzzle in her own way. The fact
that her way was faster, and easier was always making him angry. Chiana
sighed. He was always so shortsighted, as everybody else. He could not see
beyond the Nebari propaganda. She solved the puzzle, but this time she did
it the way he taught her. As she expected, it took her longer that usual.
Pointless... She was away from the rest of the crew the entire day. They
didn't even ask where she was when she returned... She didn't pay much
attention to the strange vibrations she sensed. They were probably changing
course or something...
Another day... How many more can she take?
She woke up early. It was different. She felt something was wrong. The
walls vibrated a bit differently than usual - Moya was obviously nervous.
She heard noises on the corridor. Soft and quiet steps - it was Zhaan. Few
minutes later she was followed by a barrage of loud and noisy steps. She
would recognize those PK shoes anywhere. Aeryn and John were racing through
the corridors. Their steps were quick and uneven - they were nervous.
Chiana smiled to herself. Finally, something was going on. She left her
room, and followed the noises. Everyone except D'argo and Rygel were
sitting around the table. She decided to stay in the shadows and listen to
what they are saying. But they were strangely silent. They sat there
shaking their heads, waiting for something. Chiana finally decided to get
out of her hiding place. When they saw her, they all smiled and greeted
her. They reacted too fast to be sincere.
"What's going on?" she asked curiously.
"What do you mean?"
"I know that something is going on!"
"You're imagining stuff, Chiana!"
"Why don't you tell me? Is it a secret?"
"Everything is all right!" said Zhaan authoritatively.
"Ok! You don't want to tell me, I will find it out myself!"
She left the chamber. Behind her back she heard John's voice.
"We should tell her..."
"Quiet!" Aeryn interrupted him. "She has a great sense of hearing - she
hears the vibrations in the walls... Pilot, close the chamber doors!"
She heard nothing else - the doors were closed and the walls started to
vibrate rhythmically. No sounds could get through...
She didn't like it. Something was obviously going on, and they wanted to
keep it in secret.
She saw D'argo walking towards the chamber. He had the same troubled look
as the rest of the crew. Rygel followed him. He wasn't as disturbed as
others. The door opened, and they both went inside.
She felt anger. They were sharing their secret with the slimy toad, but not
with her... She went to the navigational panel. She didn't know how to use
it, but she could read some of the parameters there. If there was some
danger near by she could figure it out. DRD spotted her as she was leaning
over to read the signs on the console. The console lights were suddenly
turned off.
"Pilot! What's wrong with the console?!"
"Nothing is wrong, I turned it off for maintenance..." Pilot replied - too
quickly. Some DRD's started to clean the console.
"I want to check something!"
"There's nothing out there, just space. What do you want to see?"
Pilot obviously was a part of this conspiracy. She laughed...
"This is getting more and more interesting!" She ran out of the room.
She knew an old ventilation shaft just above the chamber where everyone
gathered. It was bit tight, but she managed to crawl into it. Here the
walls weren't soundproof - only thick. No Sebacean could hear anything from
here... Nebari, however, had better ears. She was able to catch fragments
of her conversation.
"...ant Starburst?" It was John's voice.
"They ... shoot us before we..." replied Aeryn. "Nebari ships.......guns!
We need to be careful!"
"Should ..... turn her in?"
"...et's vote!"
She couldn't believe it this. She heard enough to figure out what was going
on. Nebari ship or ships were close. How did they track her? Was it the
link with her brother that led the pursuit. Or maybe Moya was marked by
those who imprisoned her here. Either way they found her, and wanted her
back. They needed her to show others how easily rebels can be captured and
turned into slaves. To make an example! They probably gave them an
ultimatum to turn her in, or face the consequences of helping a criminal.
And those who she considered her friends now were voting against her. She
could not stop the tears - two streams flowed across her cheeks. She would
never trust anyone again! Never! How could she be so foolish! They never
were her friends - they simply tolerated her, but now they are going to
betray her.
She crawled out of the shaft. She decided to steal the prowler and try to
escape. She had little chance to survive but there was nothing else she
could do right now...
Docking bay was closed and all possible way inside were tightly sealed.
There was no way she could get to the prowler... She heard steps. It was
John.
"Chi, we need to talk!"
"We have nothing to talk about..."
"Listen this is really important!" he came closer and touched her hair.
He was hiding his left hand behind his back. A needle perhaps? She will
never fall for this trick again. One strong kick was enough to make him
collapse to his knees. He dropped the needle...
"Traitor!"
She turned away and ran... She found some hiding space and decided to wait
there.
Some time had passed, and finally she heard them coming. She leaped into
shadows.
D'argo stopped nearby.
"Chiana, where are you? Come out of there!!" Luxans had very good sense of
smell. She couldn't hide from him here...
She jumped from her cover.
"Traitors! I heard everything!" She wanted to run, but she knew that John
and Aeryn were behind her back. There was no way to go...
"What exactly did you heard?" asked Aeryn.
"That you want to hand me over to Nebari! I won't let you!"
"We won't turn you in against your will..." said Zhaan. Her voice was low
and sad. "You must make the right decision."
"There are two big Nebari ships behind us in firing range." explained John.

"They're faster than us, so we can't outmaneuver them, and they have more
firepower than a Peacekeeper Battleship!" Aeryn interrupted him.
"They can shoot us down before we Starburst... We have little time left to
make the decision."
"They promised that they'll let us go if we hand you over to them..."
finished Zhaan.
"And if I won't go?"
"Then we'll all die here..."
"Few microts ago Crichton tried to put me into sleep with this thing..."
she showed them the black syringe John wanted to use. "Now you all want to
die with me? You know what - I think we all should die!"
"That is my screwdriver Chiana..." said John.
She examined the object more closely - it wasn't the needle John used on
her once. She never saw anything like this before. It was probably made on
John's homeworld...

to be continued...