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The Alien

Authors: Ariana
Categories: Tony/Maya
Characters: Maya, Tony Verdeschi
Episodes: Set after The Metamorph
Show Year: Y2
Rating: PG
Date: 2003
A very wary Tony stands guard over Alpha's new arrival.
Average Rating: 5.0/5 (based on 2 reviews)

"We're all aliens. Until we get to know one another."

John Koenig in "The Metamorph"

The alien was sitting perfectly still, her large blue eyes staring straight ahead, long eyelashes unblinking, lips pressed into a thin line, her chest barely rising and falling under the ridiculous costume she wore. Her dress was all sparkling sequins and feathers; the sort of thing favoured by figure skaters and really old divas who sang James Bond themes. For some reason, it made him want to sing Copacabana.

He wondered what had possessed John to bring this thing back with him from the planet. Aliens had never brought anything good to Alpha. Just about every one they'd encountered had been conniving, manipulative, and dangerous. You couldn't trust one as far as you threw it.

John had only given him a brief description of the day's events, making a point of the alien's part in saving the remaining Alphans and destroying her rotten rock of a planet. But he only remembered the most important part; this was the daughter of the man responsible for the death of two of their crew. The daughter of the crackpot who had tried to destroy Alpha, and damn nearly made him kill his best friends as well. His hand tightened on his sidearm.

Not that the alien was looking too dangerous right now, sitting bolt upright on one of the beds in the Medical Centre. She raised her arm obediently as Helena removed the armband for the pressure recorder.

"Well, your blood pressure is... unusual," said Helena, smiling at the alien as she put away the equipment. "If you were human... But I'll assume it's normal for someone of your species. I think I have enough data to create your medical record now." She placed her hand on the alien's arm. "Maya, are you all right?"

The alien turned her head towards Helena. "Yes, doctor. Thank you." Her voice was soft and unemotional.

"Good. I need to input all this data and get you a uniform from Supplies. We're preparing some quarters for you, but in the meantime, why don't you lie down and rest? It's been a hard day..." Helena's voice trailed off. "Tony here will look after you. I won't be long."

The alien turned towards him, taking in his grim expression and the weapon at his side. She said nothing and looked away. Her hands rose to the bun at the back of her head, pulling out the pins that held it in place. Her thick, wavy red hair fell down her back, catching the light as it swept over the transparent turquoise material of her dress. She lay down on her side with her back to Tony.

As she headed out of the Medical Centre, Helena stopped in the doorway and touched Tony's arm.

"Tony, she's in shock," she said softly. "Don't let anyone give her trouble. Not today."

Anyone including himself, presumably. Tony looked at the alien's sequin-sprinkled back, and gave Helena a reassuring smile. He wouldn't give the alien any trouble. Not unless she started it.

Helena's 'I won't be long' turned out to be pretty long after all. Tony stood by the doorway for a while, feeling the familiar boredom of sentry duty coming over him. He could have assigned one of his staff to watch the alien, but John had asked him to do it personally. The commander was concerned that the rest of the crew wouldn't be very understanding of the alien's situation. Tony didn't see why John expected him to be any more understanding, but complied with the request anyway. At least it meant that the commander trusted him, which was good news considering he'd only been second in command for a month now.

Bloody hell, the universe was a funny place. A few months ago, Tony wouldn't have bet a pile of hydroponics beans on his chances of survival, let alone being promoted to second in command. But John liked him, and with most of the old Main Mission staff wiped out by the asteroid... God, what a way to get a promotion. If only they'd deployed the Bergman shield a little sooner. If only he'd been able to get into his EVA suit a little faster. If only...

Tony shook off the memories. The 'ifs' were as numerous as the stars in the sky, but none of the wishing would bring back the good people they had lost that day. It had taken months for the Alphans to recover from that blow and rebuild their little world. And then, unexpectedly, John had heeded Helena's warnings about overwork, and picked a first officer to help him with his duties. Not everyone had agreed with his choice, but Tony was determined to prove John right.

He wasn't so sure about John's latest idea, though. Tony glanced at the alien. In the brief time they had spent together after the commander's return from Psychon, John had suggested that the alien might join the senior staff as a science officer, maybe even Victor's replacement. Tony could see that going down like a lead balloon. The base was packed with scientists who deserved that position far better than some alien tart with bumpy eyebrows. What did John think this was, bloody Star Trek?

Tony was lost in his thoughts when he was startled by a noise. A quiet, halting, keening noise. His heart skipped a beat when he realised what it was. The alien was crying. Brilliant. Tony stared ahead, calling on all his experience as a security guard to ignore the sound. The alien's misery was none of his business. After all, she was alive, which was more than could be said for Torrens and Picard. He'd arranged to play a game of foosball with Lew on Sunday, and now... He gritted his teeth and stared at the wall.

The alien's crying was getting worse. In spite of himself, Tony looked at her. She was sobbing without restraint now, her back shaking uncontrollably as she vented her sorrow. Good. Let the daft bint cry out the evil her father had done.

Not that her misery would bring anyone back to life. Tony drew a deep breath, his eyes still on her shimmering hair and his ears filled with her weeping. Alien or not, he couldn't exactly stand by the door like a lemon while she cried over there on the bed. It just wasn't the done thing. Tony sighed and approached her cautiously, still not entirely certain that this wasn't a trap.

"Are you okay?" he asked. Great line, Tony, he thought wryly. The girl is crying her eyes out and you ask if she's okay...

"Ye-es," she hiccoughed, her face still buried in her arms.

"Well, I don't know about your planet, but on mine, that's not what we call 'okay'. Can I get you something?"

The alien wiped her eyes and sat up, still sniffing. She breathed deeply, struggling to compose herself. After a moment, she lifted her tear-filled eyes to him and shook her head.

Well, yeah. What could he possibly get her? A new planet? Another father?

"I'm sorry," she said in a halting voice. "It's just that when I woke up this morning, I didn't- I didn't know--"

"Didn't know what a lousy day you were going to have?" filled in Tony. He could certainly sympathise with that feeling.

She nodded. Then her forehead suddenly creased with sorrow and she started crying again. Tony wished there was something he could do to console her. By now, he was pretty certain this wasn't some kind of trap. Not entirely certain, but she did seem genuinely upset, and had good cause to be as well. He sat on the bed beside her.

"If you turn into anything dangerous," he warned, shaking his finger at her, "the last thing you'll ever turn into is a pile of dust. Understand?" She nodded, still weeping. "Okay. Now come here."

Tony put his arm around her, pulling her head towards his shoulder. He had considered a mere pat on the back, but decided that a 'shoulder to cry on' would be more appropriate. The alien hesitated, and then collapsed onto his chest, sobbing into his jacket. Laundry would have a field day.

"It'll be okay," said Tony automatically, though he had no idea what he meant by 'it'. Even if John did give her a role as science officer, this creature was unlikely to have much of a life alone among nearly 300 humans. Or 295, to be precise. There had been 297 that morning...

His arm still around the sobbing alien, Tony wondered if this was the shape of their collective future. Picking up strays whenever they were lucky enough to get close to civilisation; never finding a planet to call home; drifting forever through the universe. Accidenti, what a destiny! Nothing better to look forward to than playing foosball and fighting aliens while fate picked off their friends one by one. He could almost cry himself.

The girl's sobs were getting weaker now. Tony thought she might fall asleep, but instead, she drew away, sitting up straight on the edge of the bed. She smoothed her hair off her face and tried to close the long split in her dress which revealed her shapely legs.

"I'm sorry," she said without looking at him. "I know you mustn't like me very much. After all, my father killed two of your people. And what he was planning to do with the people of Alpha-- You have good reason not to like me."

Tony wasn't sure what to say. Which meant the occasion called for a joke. "Well, I like you well enough to let you slobber all over my jacket. That's a start."

Maybe not the most diplomatic thing to say, he realised. But then he'd always made placing his foot in his mouth a speciality. He was about to withdraw from the conversation and go back to standing guard at the door, when the girl spoke again.

"I think I might have dribbled a little too," she said.

Amazed, Tony burst out laughing. The alien laughed as well. The smile lit up her large, bright eyes and made Tony realise that despite the bumps on her forehead and the brown marks on her cheeks, she was quite pretty. Very pretty, actually.

The thought sobered him. Pretty aliens were not good news, whether in science-fiction or in real life. Tony stood up.

"Helena will be back soon," he said, conscious of the coldness in his voice.

"Yes," responded the girl, as if she understood his reaction.

She lowered her eyes a moment, then raised them again to look at him. Tears still clung to her long lashes and sparkled like the sequins on her dress. Never mind pretty. This girl was beautiful.

"Thank you, Tony," she said softly.

He was taken aback by the use of his given name, but then realised that Helena had only introduced him to the girl as 'Tony here'. The man who was going to look after her.

"You're welcome," he said, "...Maya."

Picture courtesy of Diana Garcia

Copyright (c) 2003. Reprinted with permission.
Space:1999 is (c) 1976 by Carlton International Media.
All stories are the property of their respective authors.

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