Excerpt from the Log of D’Argo Sun Crichton…
Location Moya Central Data Spools
Date 16.07.04 APKW
Data Type: Text of Dictation
—— Entry Begins 09:38 ——
I really don’t know why, but the universe, the fates, Serendipity, take your pick, they never really have been kind to me, like dad, they seem to have singled me out as there favorite whipping boy. My like seems to be nothing but a series of relatively peaceful momen’s that every so often are punctuated by something or some one trying to kill me.
Just reading back over that, goddess I sound jaded for a sixteen cycle old, I won’t say I’m worried but well i’m apprehensive, it been relatively quite these past few weaken’s. The sign in Xhalax’s workshop proudly displayed 32 Days with out accident. The thermal burn on her arm from yesterday morning apparently doesn’t count. Or so she told me when she the extra day to the sign.
But the rattlers in my guts are well rattling.. And to tell the truth i don’t even know why I’m recording this , just killing time, I suppose.
Sukozu has me taking her to a hole in the wall outpost planet to do something or other…
And here she comes… Just another day in the in the territories…
—— Entry Suspended 09:43 ——
Prologue: As Black as….
(the Ace of Spades)
“Dreaming, yep, I’m dreaming, I hate dreaming.”
D’Argo was sure of it; it was nothing obvious that told him this just a general feeling. He was sitting in at a round table, in the living area of his parents chambers, Moya bronze walls surrounding him. The table surface was skinned with a soft green felt and currency chips from various cultures were arranged in neat stacks in front of empty places at the table. A deck of playing cards had been tossed hap hazardly on the table, several spilling out on to the felt.
A weekenly game had been the standard for as long as he could remember a friendly game between members of the crew; apparently it had been a Crichton family tradition that is dad was keen to continue. D’Argo liked the these games, It was a chance to talk have a bit of fun, Xhalax, his sister viewed the games a little differently using them as a chance to get extra cash for whatever science project she was currently working on, and it was almost guaranteed that she would walk away with at least half the cash on the table. But she usually brought a couple of bottles of some tasty beverage her stills had produced.
Gathering up the cards he began to shuffle the deck, it was new the cards were cool and crisp under his fingers, and he attempting to shuffle and fan the deck with a flourish, like his dad always did when he started the game, another Crichton tradition, dad always dealt the first hand. But despite his dexterity D’Argo still couldn’t emulate is father’s easy control of the cards and during a ruffle a card slipped from the deck floating to the floor.
D’Argo let out an annoyed breath between his teeth, slouching in his chair sliding off it and to the ground beneath the table. His fingers slide along the cool surface of the deck plating for several microts before he felt the smooth shiny surface of the card beneath his fingers.
Yep, defiantly dreaming.
Their had been no footsteps no sound of chairs being pulled out or adjusted, John Crichton and Aeryn Sun, his parents were just there, sitting at their usual places at the table. John had the deck of cards, a slight rasp filled the air as he expertly shuffled the cards, launching them from one hand to the other in an enviable display of skill, his mouth set in a care free smile, that was just short of a the Crichton patented shitting eating grin.
“Nice of you to join us” His mother smiled, Aeryn was relaxed, slightly slouched in her seat with her elbows resting on the felt of the table. A round credit chip was being expertly rolled the coin over the fingers of her right hand, over and back in a steady smooth flow.
Almost out of nowhere an uneasy feeling settled on his skin, leaching its way in and settling in the pit of his stomach, D’Argo could almost feel the rattlers begin to squirm. Something wasn’t right.
He heard the chamber portcullis slide open, and felt the flow of air in the room change as someone entered.
Garren Geka entered hands clasped at his waist, the Scarren stopped just short of entering the room “Lady Sun, Lord Crichton, I must thank you, for your most gracious invention.” The scientist voice has a deep rasp to it, it should have been menacing, on any other Scarren it would have been, but when Garran spoke it was oddly comforting.
“Least we could do Doc. Now cut out that Lord crap and sit your scaly ass down.” John stated fanning the card out on the table in front of him in a single smooth motion.
This time there was a clatter and sliding of a chair that followed as the Scarren took his place at the table. “I am not familiar with this game of Poe-Kar, Lord Crichton is it native to your homeworld ?.”
“It’s called poker Doc. POE-K-ER.” John corrected, stretching out the syllables of the word.
“It is a deceptively simple game to learn, by any standards Garren.” Aeryn added. “It involves creating pairs based on values shown on the faces of the cards, wining however is greatly influenced the luck and skill of the player.”
“Ah yes, my people have similar game…..” Garren stated.
D’Argo stopped paying attention to the conversation as he felt his gut tighten as the uneasey feeling in his stomach turned in to something far more unsettling. He remembered this game, it was the first game Garren had been invited to after being on board for several weeken, and it was when mum and dad had asked him to stay on as Moya’s medical officer. That happened when he was eight, that happened nine cycles ago
That cycle wasn’t one that he liked to remember.
Swallowing thickly, D’Argo blinked repeatedly as if trying to bring his surrounding back into focus, as everything around him seamed to blur.
“It’s not blurring, it’s getting darker.” That came as a whisper, from a dark corner of his mind.
Fear well and truly gripped him as the rational part of his mind agreed with the whisper, it really was getting darker. It was like watching twilight give was to night, the light shadows cast on the table got darker and deeper as did the forms of those around him as they began to merge and blend together with the darkness that was slowly approaching him from all sides.
“I’ll take that little man.” The darkness spoke with his dad’s voice, a tendril of darkness jutting towards him grabbing the playing card he held tugging it from his tightly gripped fingers. The last thing he saw before the black consumed him was the face of the card.
The Ace of Spades, the skull motif in the centre of the spade seemed to grin mockingly at him, a final insult as darkness swallowed him whole.