Title: A Quiet Drink
Prompt: Vila Restal walks into a bar and meets... Aeryn Sun!
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Farscape
Word count: 1707 words
Rating/Warnings: G, no warnings needed
Author's Note: Vila met Vala in Nothing But A Vowel, and the Red Dwarf crew in Pleasure.
A Quiet Drink
It was surprising, Vila thought as he looked around the bar, how few aliens were actually hairy. Hardly any, in fact. Really, bare skin or scales or chitin seemed a lot more common than hair. Funny, that. Good, thick fur would make sense: a bit of decent insulation against cold or heat, or for that matter being thumped. Maybe the more intelligent a species got, the thinner its skin. Look at old Avon, a good example of that. Vila sniggered and considered storing that little observation up to tell him.
One his way to the bar, he edged past three large insects in passionate conversation and gesturing with their mandibles, and dodged a creature with several brimming glasses each held in a tentacle. Course, the thing in places like this was to make sure you didn't drink something that would burn your insides out or make your skin slough off. Vila scanned the patrons and headed for the most human-looking one. Very human in fact, he thought admiringly. Legs all the way up to her bum.
"This seat taken?"
"Does it look like it?"
"Well, you might be--" Vila's face lit up with joyful recognition. "Vala!"
"Fancy meeting you here! I mean, here I am in another galaxy altogether and I run into you of all people!"
"I have never seen you before in my life." The woman gave Vila a closer look. "I'm glad to say."
"Is this some sort of a joke, Vala? Or have I run into you before I did, if you get what I mean?"
She gave him a look that could have frozen lava. "My name is Aeryn."
"Well, if you're not Vala, you must be her twin."
Aeryn recoiled. "A naturally occurring clone? That's disgusting!" Her lip curled. "That's the worst pick-on line I've ever heard."
"Pick-up, you mean? No no, I wasn't trying to--"
"I suppose next you'll say you knew your parents."
"Well, one of 'em, yes. My mum. Why?"
Aeryn curled her lip and turned back to her drink. "Not a peacekeeper, then."
"Oh, I am, I am! I don't like personal violence." Vila eyed her well-furnished weapons belt. "And most of it is, come to think of it." He gave her his most friendly and harmless smile, and held out his hand. "Vila."
Aeryn looked at it. "I already told you, I'm not--"
"No, Vila's who I am."
"I thought you thought I was."
"No no, I'm Vila. She was Vala."
"I am beginning to see. Do they only have a limited number of syllables available for names where you come from?"
"Eh? Oh no, that's just coincidence." Vila closed his eyes for a moment. "Look, let's start again, um, Aeryn. I only wanted to know what was safe to drink here, you know, for humans."
"Humans?" Aeryn turned on her stool to face Vila. "You're a human? You're from Erp?"
"If you mean Earth."
"Then you know Crichton."
"Oh yeah, met him once in a bar on Space City. He was there with his friends. You know, Lister, Rimmer, the Cat. Nice bloke, Kryten. Bit stiff, but I suppose that goes with being metal."
Aeryn shook her head in disgust. "You really are fahrbot, aren't you."
"No, he was the 'bot." Vila held up a thoughtful finger. "Maybe it was another Kryten, you know, an alternate one. And you're the alternate Vala. Not that I really like that idea because that means there must be other Vilas too and I can't help but think they're all better off than me."
Aeryn drained her glass. "I would bet money on it."
Vila waved at the bartender. "Two of what she had." Well supplied with the local currency after a stroll through a crowded market, he paid for both drinks and took a sip. "Ooh, that packs a punch." He took a longer and appreciative draught. "That'll put hair on me insides."
"Is that a good thing?"
"It's just--" Just an expression which probably didn't translate. And anyway, people did have hairs in their intestines, come to think of it. Villi, they were called. Vila considered telling Aeryn this but decided it would just confuse things even more. "Yeah." He relaxed with a happy sigh. Good strong drink, a beautiful companion (or the other way round), could be worse.
"Bounty hunter! Bounty hunters!" someone yelled in a panicked voice.
And it was. Vila went pale and turned to look. The doorway was darkened by two bulky figures shaped rather like a certain other bounty hunter he'd seen on Gauda Prime, both armed with guns even larger than the one Avon had used there. The bigger one grunted and headed straight towards Vila, and he followed Aeryn over the bar, just as quickly but nowhere near as gracefully.
"Is there a bounty on your head too?" she asked, crouched on the other side as she checked her ammunition.
"Not in this galaxy, come to think of it. Sorry. Reflex action."
Aeryn peered over the bar and ducked down again. "Frell. One of them must have seen me."
Vila bit his lip and considered indulging in a brief panic. Why hadn't he just sat there with his drink? Look guilty and you're done for every time. He looked around, desperately hoping to see something he could hide behind or in. All right, perhaps something to distract the big brute with the gun while he got away? Ah! He nudged Aeryn and pointed up, Glasses hung upside-down from a wooden beam overhead which was suspended from the ceiling by a heavy chain at each end. "You take one end, I'll take the other," he said, drawing his blaster.
Aeryn simply glanced up, nodded, and rolled to the other end of the bar in one beautifully smooth motion. As the bounty hunter leaned over the bar to peer behind it, they both fired and the beam came down with a crash. Vila winced and eyed the unconscious creature. It had only shared Blake's physique; it didn't have the curly hair, nor had Blake had tusks. Must make kissing a bit difficult.
"You bastard!" shouted the bartender, grabbing the gun and beating the bounty hunter's dangling arm with it, blaming the closest person and, sensible woman, the one least likely to shoot her.
"Good move," said Aeryn over the sound of gently tinkling glass.
"I've seen a lot of pub brawls." Vila stood up, dusted glass fragments off himself, and slid the cash register open.
Aeryn stared in disbelief. "What the yotz are you doing?"
"You're using this as a diversion?"
"Nah. Creating one." Vila threw a handful of coins into the crowded pub. "Not sure where the other bounty hunter went." Tables and chair were pushed over as the patrons rushed to grab up the money. "Ah, there he is." Vila aimed and threw again. The man in the leather half-mask yelled and threw up a hand as he disappeared under the converging customers.
"Idiot! That was Stark."
"Sorry. I haven't had very warming experiences with one-eyed men. Um, sorry. Looks as if he's been nabbed." Vila hurled some more money; people were fighting each other for it now. "Quick! Out the back way!"
"There's a back way?"
"There always is."
They pounded into the kitchen and straight into a waiter carrying a bowl of bright pink ribbon-like things which were knocked upwards and onto his face. Vila skid to a stop, beguiled by the impressive adherence and the image of pink food sticking to Avon. "Hey, what're those things?"
"Krebbitz worms. Come on!" Aeryn grabbed Vila's arm and pulled him away.
Worms? Maybe not, then.
They ran out the back door, to the right past the rubbish tins, and down a narrow alley towards the street and the front of the bar.
"Right." Vila skidded to a stop and leaned against a wall. "Now you can grab your Stark when they bring him out."
"Yes. I already thought of that. And I notice you said 'you'."
"Well, you're an expert, aren't you? Wouldn't want to get in your way." Vila assumed the look of an innocent but interested bystander. "I'll just watch and learn, shall I?"
Aeryn gave him a dry look and strode over up to another tusked bloke--well, bloke as far as Vila could tell--emerging with Stark in custody. She said a few quiet words accompanied by some pointed gestures with her gun which induced him to let Stark go.
"Look!" said Stark, opening his fist to show her the gleam of metal. "Someone threw this money at me." He beamed with child-like wonder.
"Fancy that. Put it away before someone sees it." Aeryn nodded to Vila as she led Stark off by the arm.
That counted as approval from what Vila knew of her. He grinned, then froze as he saw Avon approaching. He shoved his hands into his pockets and tried to look casual while watching Avon out of the corner of his eye. Avon looked around, worried, then his face lightened briefly in relief as he caught sight of Vila, showing a flash of warmth just like in the old days. It was quickly replaced by annoyance, but it gave Vila an unreasonable surge of hope that things might be looking up on the Avon front.
"Were you the cause of that?" Avon asked, looking with disapproval at the melee which had spilled out of the bar onto the street.
"Course not!" Vila lowered his eyelids. "Might have been slightly involved though."
"So I assumed going by the nature of their business and the fact that you weren't in there." Avon looked at Vila critically. "You don't appear to be intoxicated."
"Just went in for a quiet drink, and didn't even finish it!"
"Good. Because I need you. Come along."
Vila rolled his eyes as he followed Avon down the street.
"We are going to take a depository."
"What? Look, the local food might have upset your digestion, but mine's perfectly fine, thank you!"
"A depository, Vila, is what they call a bank here."
"Ah." Maybe it was the old days back again. Or even better new ones. Vila grinned and sped up so that he was level with Avon. "Tell me more!"
Also posted on Dreamwidth, with comments.