(You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours! Part 3)

       "Oh, great..." Stan murmured as they cleared the dense mass of particles. The Lexx was hovering at the outskirts of a large asteroid field. He exchanged a worried look with Zev and knew from her expression that she had followed his train of thought. There were far too many handy scratching posts here for him to have any hope of keeping The Lexx under control.
       "Okay, Lexx. Where does it itch?" Stan asked, knowing they had to get this figured out, and fast.
       "Sections 41 anterior, 40 mid-line, 41 posterior," The Lexx informed them.
       Stan frowned and glanced at Zev to see if she had made any sense out of that. Zev answered with another shrug, for she had no idea where those parts of The Lexx were either. The Lexx twitched under their feet.
       "And section 42 posterior," The Lexx added.
       "Outside view of those sections, Lexx," Stan ordered.
       "I cannot see that part of myself, Stan," The Lexx informed them.
       "790?" Zev questioned, hoping the robot would be able to tell them what they needed to know.
       790 would have shrugged if he had shoulders to do so. "Sorry, love muffin. All files pertaining to The Lexx were available only on 'a need to know basis'. I didn't need to know."
       "We'll have to go outside and find them," Zev said into Stan's silence as he worked on trying to figure out how to extract the information they needed from the annoyingly literal minded insect. It would take over an hour to travel along both sides of The Lexx and the way their luck ran, the afflicted sections would be in the very last area they would look. He didn't want to be outside if The Lexx decided to go haring off into the asteroid field to scratch. Stan held up his hand in a 'wait a second gesture', on the mental verge of finding the answer.
       "Lexx, is there some way you can show us where those sections are?"
       "Yes, Stan," The Lexx answered.
       Both Zev and Stan looked expectantly at the view screen. Nothing changed. Stan and Zev frowned in unison.
       "Well?" Stan demanded.
       "'Well?' what, Stan? This itch is very, very uncomfortable."
       "Well, show me! ...where those itchy sections are!" he added in a rush to forestall another verbal go-round with his ship.
       "Yes, Stan."
       This time a line schematic of the gigantic bug/space ship popped into existence on the screen.
       Stan smirked to himself as the schematic rotated on its axis and the afflicted sections came into view, all four of them blinking yellow. "Well, aren't you going to say something?" he grinned with self-satisfaction at the robot on his stand.
       "It was a one in a billion fluke," 790 answered in a bored voice.
       You just can't stand to admit that I figured out something before you did!" Stan almost crowed.
       Zev stepped in before the verbal bullets could start flying in earnest and lifted the robot off his stand. "We still need to go outside and take a look."
       "We'll be right back, Lexx," Stan told his ship as Zev headed for the bridge exit with a determined stride.
       "No, Stan. You stay here," Zev told him.
       "The Lexx needs you in here," Zev interrupted without pausing or looking back , completely confident that Stan would acquiesce to her will.
       Stan's steps stuttered, then stopped as Zev disappeared through the arch. She was right. Though passing up a chance to share the cramped quarters of a Moth with Zev was a hard thing for him to agree to.
       "This itch is getting very, very, very uncomfortable, Stan," The Lexx informed him.
       "Hold on just a little while longer, Lexx. We'll fix it. I promise," Stan soothed and hoped very, very, very hard that they could as the view screen picked up the visual transmission from Zev's Moth.

       Zev guided the smaller insect ship with careless ease along the upper carapace of The Lexx. When she was over the general area that had been blinking on the schematic, she banked closer to the massive craft and started a close fly-by down his side. A flash of black zipped past and she leaned hard into the control protuberance. The Moth spun into a tight circle with a screech of protest and leveled out on a horizontal axis facing its mother craft. Zev moved her still muttering Moth back up until she was level with the dull black splotch against The Lexx's iridescent shell.
       "What is that?!" Stan voice questioned with a touch of panic from the Bugcom tucked into Zev's belt.
       Zev nudged the Moth closer and closer to the splotch until its eye portals were almost touching the stuff. She reached over and picked 790 up from the copilots seat and pressed him face first against her portal. "Well, what is it?"
       "It would appear to be some kind of fungal growth, love lollipop!" the robot answered cheerfully after a few seconds of analysis.
       Zev wrinkled her nose at the stuff, then her expression turned into one of surprise as the splotch shot out zigzagging tendrils and covered another large bit of The Lexx in seconds.
       "eeeeerrrggghhh..." The Lexx's distressed vocalization rang over the Bugcom. It gave Zev enough warning to slam the Moth into reverse and get out of the way as The Lexx dove for another asteroid.

       On the bridge, Stan held onto the sides of the control pedestal for dear life as The Lexx scratched himself frantically.
       "LEXX! Stop it!" The ship didn't respond and kept scratching. "Lexx! I COMMAND you to stop!!"
       "I can't, Stan," The Lexx answered as Stan lost his grip and tumbled out into the open space of the bridge.
       "Lexx, stop it! Please!" Stan yelled as he was thrown into the wall beyond the view screen. His ship appeared to ignore him again. "Lexx, please, please, please..." Stan wailed as he made a futile grab for 790's stand as he slid toward the opposing wall... "Stop it!!! You are going to hurt..." his 'me' never made it out as he hit the oncoming wall hard.

       "Stan?" Zev heard The Lexx ask as he froze in mid-scratch.
       "Stan?" Zev echoed, then shouted, "Stan!!" No one answered. "Lexx, is Stan all right?"
       "Stan, are you all right?" she heard the big bug question.
       "Stan? I need you, Stan. Stan?"
       Zev's features twisted into frustrated concern when Stan still didn't answer. She slammed the control protuberance forwards and sent the Moth arrowing back for The Lexx at its fastest speed, the massive ship's continuing queries for his pilot fueling her worry.

       In the part of the Lexx where the last of the Brunnen-G lay in frozen slumber, a green light on the cryo-units control console began to blink red as it started to cycle its occupant out of cryo-stasis. As always in that first instant when Kai's brain reactivated, his mental awareness of his 'self' spun in dizzy, almost painful, disorientation as a multitude of other minds and lives attempted to meld with his own. Then they were gone, in the same way a dream melted in ones awareness when one opened ones eyes on the sunrise. At least that was what Kai remembered of dreaming. It had been a very long time since he had experienced one, for the dead did not dream.
       The last of the Brunnen-G opened his eyes, fully awake and aware as the lid to the unit lifted. His usual somber expression darkened into one of concern as he as he scanned the area and discovered that neither Zev nor Stan was there to greet him. He stepped out of the cryo-chamber and moved with his feline stalk to examine the control monitor. There was no indication that the machine had malfunctioned, again. He crossed his arms against his chest and scowled at the console, perplexed. Then the whisper of a sound brushed against his brooding contemplation of the cryo-units strange behavior. He cocked his head and focused his artificially augmented senses to track it. The Lexx's voice became clear to him as he concentrated.
       "Stan? Are you all right? Stan! I need you. Please respond, Stan." and softer, just at the limit of his hearing and buzzy with the background hum of a Bugcom, he heard Zev's very concerned, "Stan? I'm coming! Hold on. I'm almost there. Just a few more minutes. Stan? Talk to me!" Kai headed for the bridge at a full run.
       He skidded to a stop just past the bridge entrance and his hands clenched into fists as his searching gaze lit upon the crumpled body of Stanley against the wall to his left. He didn't bother to ask The Lexx what had happened as he hurried toward his companion, for he knew that the ship could not answer him even if it wanted to. His hands opened and relaxed as he closed the distance between himself and the other man and observed that Stanley was still breathing. Kai made a slight detour to touch the medical glyph on the wall a few meters from where Stanley lay and collected the first aid kit, then went to tend his crew mate. He crouched down next to Stanley and did a careful visual examination. His companion was pale, but then that was normal for Stanley. Nothing appeared to be at strange angles, or bleeding. He rolled Stanley onto his back with gentle care and pressed his first two fingers softly against the artery at the man's neck. A flicker of old implanted, and unwanted, knowledge informed him that a few more ounces of pressure against this point would kill as Stanley's heart beat with strong, steady rhythm against the coldness of his own flesh. Flesh which no longer contained a heart to pump the warmth of life through his veins. Kai nodded to himself as he came to the conclusion that Stanley had simply been knocked unconscious.
       "He is all right, Lexx," Kai informed the ship, who had fallen silent at his arrival on the bridge.
       "Kai?!" Zev's surprised voice asked over the comlink.
       "Yes," he answered.
       "Is Stan all right?"
       "Yes. As far as I can tell, he has been knocked unconscious. What happened?"
       "I'm almost to the bridge. I'll tell you when I get there."
       Kai gave a nod and proceeded to straighten Stanley's legs into a more comfortable position as he waited for Zev's arrival.
       "What are you doing up?" Zev wore a delighted and at the same time sultry smile as she came through the bridge arch.
       "I don't know," Kai answered her as she came to them.
       She gave him a puzzled look, then followed it with a little shrug as she sank gracefully to her knees on the other side of Stan. She didn't really care, it was just wonderful to have him conscious and here! She forced her attention back to the problem at hand and held 790's head over Stan's chest. "790, check and make sure Stan is all right."
       "I'd rather continue to scan you, my most perfect profusion of proteins!"
       "Do it!" Zev ordered with a touch of exasperation.
       "If you insist, love light," 790 muttered around a very put upon sigh. "The unfortunate mating of molecules known as Stanley Tweedle has suffered a mild contusion to his rear cranial region. In no way will it interfere with his already weak and haphazardous brain functions."
       "Thanks, 790!" Zev told the robot with a relieved smile.
       "What happened?" Kai asked again.
       "The Lexx has been scratching himself."
       "Scratching himself?" Kai echoed with a raised eyebrow, certain that he hadn't heard Zev correctly.
       "Yes. Scratching himself. Rather violently. Here." She handed Kai the robot head. "790, show Kai what's been going on while I try to get our so-called Captain back on his feet."
       Kai took 790 back to his stand so the robot could access the view screen while Zev began to call Stanley's name and shook the unconscious pilots shoulder with much more gentleness than was in her tone.

       Tiny, teasingly naked Zev's were purring Stan's name as they whirled and danced across his eyesight. Stan blinked and the little visions were replaced with the real thing. He frowned with disappointment as he saw the real thing wasn't naked, then his features scrunched up with pain as he reached for the pounding throb on the back of his head. He rubbed at the raised bump on his skull and blinked in disoriented confusion at the woman on her knees next to him.
       "Zev! I was having the worst dream! The Lexx was..."
       "Stan? Make the itch stop now, Stan!" The Lexx chimed up as soon as he heard his pilot.
       Stan groaned mentally and verbally as reality caught up with him. "It wasn't a dream, was it?"
       "No, it isn't a dream, Stan," Zev answered with calm seriousness that was contradicted by the way she wiggled her upper body in an attempt to soothe that reoccurring itch that had started up between her shoulder blades again.
       Stan pushed himself up into a sitting position and frowned as he caught sight of the dead Brunnen-G. "What are you doing up?"
       "The cryo-chamber shut down," Kai answered in a distracted tone, for he was busy studying the recorded image of the fungal growth that filled the view-screen.
       "Lexx, what's wrong with the cryo-chambers?" Stan demanded.
       "Nothing, Stan. Kai is a good helper. I needed him to help you. Zev was too far away. Make the itch stop now, Stan."
       Stan could only blink, stunned that The Lexx had been able to wake Kai without specific orders. He decided he wasn't at all sure if it his ships evolving self-will was a good thing. From the troubled, sideways glance that the Brunnen-G gave him, he concluded that Kai wasn't certain it was either........

       Zev hadn't been paying much attention to the by-play going on around her because her itch had spread both up and down her back, and was driving her crazy! She reached around her sides and scratched at it as she stood up, but that wasn't enough. She turned so her back was facing her crew mate as Stan wobbled to his feet after her. "Scratch!" she asked.
       "huh?" Stan responded, hesitant to touch her. Zev tended to have violent reactions to his attempts at physical contact.
       "Scratch! NOW!!" Zev ordered as she reached over her shoulders to try a different angle of attack on the maddening sensation.
       Stan reached with the one hand that wasn't massaging the back of his head and tentatively rubbed at the fabric that covered her lower back.
       "Harder!" Zev demanded.
       Stan twitched and swallowed hard at the lizardish hiss that was woven into Zev's command. He knew that sound and what it boded all to well, and began to scratch with both hands as hard as he could........

You Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours, Part 4

Feedback, queries and comments to Windlily at: -


© 1999 WordWrights.

Windlily's FanFic Contents

Flare's FanFic Contents

Guest Index