"The power cells are prepared," Scorpius says, getting up, "and the detonator is rigged."
'How much time do we have left before the Command Carrier arrives?" she asks. She's lost track of time as they've been connecting the wires.
Sikozu looks down at the makeshift bomb, surprised to realize that she isn't afraid. Perhaps she will be, when the reality of the situation sinks in. Since they heard that Crichton had been captured on Earth, and that Grayza was coming to claim him, they've been busy making her transport pod fit to collapse a wormhole.
Having Scorpius here has helped – he has a way of facing any crisis with an air of calm deliberation that would make her feel ridiculous and embarrassed if she panicked in front of him. She's always known that her death would probably be violent. At least being blown to atoms inside a wormhole will be quick.
"Perhaps as long as two arns."
If it was longer, she knows that Scorpius would head for Earth, deal with Grayza's agent there, but there is no time. They can't take the risk that they will be killed or captured as well.
"Do you believe it possible that your spy will be able to stop her in that time?"
He hesitates before answering. "It does not seem likely. If he tries, she may simply have him killed, and that would not accomplish anything. The heppel oil gives her some control of the crew and good standing with High Command, or he would have taken control of the ship already."
His words give her more information about his spy than he has ever revealed before; perhaps Scorpius has decided to trust her fully now that it soon won't matter what she knows or suspects
"It may be still be possible to destabilize the wormhole with only a single detonation," he continues, voice neutral.
"In that case," she responds, "it might be best if you rode one of the pods through first - went to Earth and tried to retrieve Crichton. You would be stranded a long way from the Peacekeeper and Scarran territories, but with the information in his mind ..."
"That was not what I was considering."
She stands up straighter, and cannot help feeling hurt by the insulting implication that she would abandon their alliance now, of all moments. "I said that I would assist you, and I keep my word. You can't know in advance if one pod exploding will destroy the gateway – with two, we can be certain."
He accepts her irritation without rancour. "I only meant would not wish to waste your life needlessly – I understand that your commitment to stopping Grayza's plans is not equal to my own. To you, keeping Crichton out of her hands may not seem worth your death."
If Grayza's plan is to hand Crichton to the Scarrans in exchange for a treaty – and it makes as much sense as any other possibility – it would be worth Sikozu's death a hundred times over. Yet is isn't Scorpius's fault that she hasn't revealed herself to him fully.
"My life is unimportant." It would take too long, now, to explain to him why it doesn't matter - and that is not how she wishes to spend the rest of her all too brief existence.
He regards her thoughtfully. "I would hardly say that."
She isn't certain how to respond, so there's a moment of awkward silence before he speaks again. "Perhaps I should return to the other transport pod, to await Grayza's arrival."
"No need to go so soon," she says, annoyed to find her voice rising with nervousness. She doesn't know the precise cause – the prospect of imminent death, the thought of being left alone to think about it, or what she's about to suggest.
Sikozu doesn't usually doubt her own charms, but her flirting hasn't exactly been subtle, and it has yet to lead to anything more. She's been starting to think that Scorpius doesn't find her attractive, bewildering though that might be.
"If you would prefer company, then I shall stay."
"I'm sure we can find something to fill the time ..." she says, allowing her voice to trail off suggestively and stepping closer to him.
"Yes?" She can tell from his tone that he knows what she means, but he's standing very still, and remains so as she moves to stand near enough to touch him. Nothing else for it, then. The worst that can happen is a moment of awkwardness that will soon be wiped out of existence.
Wondering why men insist on being so annoyingly tall, she stretches up to wrap her arms around the back of his neck. He doesn't resist her as she pulls his head down to a more sensible level and kisses him, and after a moment he begins to reciprocate. She sees his bright blue eyes widen a little before she closes her own to enjoy the moment.
His mouth is wet – well, all mouths are, but moreso that she expected from the dry surface of his skin – and he tastes of something she can't place. Far from unpleasant, though. After a while his arms move to encircle her and his fingers start stroking her back.
It's some time before the awkward angle (they really need to sit down, so that she can reach better) becomes slightly uncomfortable and she pulls away. They both break the embrace with reluctance.
"Sikozu ..." Scorpius says. He sounds more disconcerted by this development than he was by the rest of their situation, and she can't help but feel slightly pleased. Not to mention sorry she didn't try this sooner.
"Can you think of anything better to do with the next arn?"
He smiles slightly. "Short of solving the riddle of wormhole creation in a way that would allow us to close the gateway to Earth safely ... no."
She takes his hand and leads him over toward the nearest seat – a transport pod isn't the most comfortable venue, but they'll manage.
"At least we'll go out with a bang," she says. Sikozu realises then that she's spoken in English, and the human idiom will not translate properly through his microbes, but he still smiles before he kisses her again.