Title: A Flutter In the Dark
Author: Karolyn Gray <kmgray3@aol.com>
ScifiBB/Chat Handle: Gray3
Rating: PG
Synopsis: "Watch out for the holian trill bats, they're vicious!"
Type: Ep. Filler/Humor
Spoilers: Possibly Season 4. Set between "Dog with Two Bones" and "Crichton Kicks"
Archiving: Yes
Disclaimers: All Farscape names, characters and other related indicia are the property of Jim Henson Productions, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Networks, the Scifi Channel and all associated parties. No copyright infringement is intended.


A Flutter In the Dark
by Karolyn Gray


"Damn! Jool wasn't kidding about this place." Crichton muttered as he waded deeper into the muck trying very hard to ignore the stench. He paused to allow some solidified waste to pass him, barely containing a shudder of revulsion.

He tapped his comm wincing slightly at the hiss of static. "Hey Pilot, I don't see anything wrong down here. Are you sure your scans are correct?"

"Apologies, Commander. My scans now show there is no malfunction," Pilot replied, her voice sounding even wearier than it had the past few days.

"It's ok, little lady. Better to be safe than sorry," he reassured her. "I'll just head on back up then."

"Thank you, Commander."

He smiled as she cut the comm and carefully waded back through the muck to the catwalk, noting that it barely cleared the liquid and refuse as he lifted himself out. Wrinkling his nose he shook some of the mess from his boots before giving up in disgust and started for the exit.

A soft trilling sound brought him to a halt, swiveling and looking behind him. Knowing a number of small creatures lived in symbiotic relationship with Leviathans he peered into the dim lighting trying to see what could have caused the noise. As far as he knew most of those life forms were dying out as Elack approached the end of his life cycle. Seeing nothing he shrugged, glancing up to briefly appreciate the size and beauty of the Leviathan before departing the chamber.

He was half way back to Pilot's den when the comm came to life. "Commander?"

"Yeah, Pilot, what's up?"

"I seem to be having fluctuations in the neural cluster on your tier. Could you..."

"Check it out?" Crichton finished, not really surprised at the request. It didn't really bother him, knowing that 1812 would not be finished with the latest batch of wine for another arn or so. "Sure, Pilot."

Five minutes later he found himself inside the neural cluster near one of the catwalks between synaptic nodes. He glanced down in concern noting a large portion of the neural cluster floor had deteriorated away completely and he could easily see down to the effluvium chamber.

"Long drop." He murmured to himself.

"Is something wrong, Commander?" Pilot asked over the comm, her concern evident in her tone.

"Everything's fine, darling." Crichton called back. "I don't see anything wrong down..."

Crichton paused as he heard the strange trilling followed by a rustling sound. Following the sound he cautiously walked down the catwalk to a darkened corner.

"Commander?"

"Critter." He whispered to himself. The trilling grew louder as did the rustling sound causing Crichton to stop.

"Commander, are you all right?"

Before he could even reply they struck, hundreds of them. Small, leathery wings battered into his body with a frenzy as he scrambled backwards to get away from the swarm. Waving his arms to shoo the creatures away, he felt his feet give away at the edge of the hole.

He shrieked all the way down, arms waving wildly as he could see the effluvium chamber fast approaching. He gave a quick prayer hoping the chamber's liquid levels were deep enough to break his fall moments before he struck the dark, murky liquid.

He came up for air, spitting out the gunk is his mouth. "Shit!"

"Commander! Commander are you all right?"

Crichton groaned, wiping ineffectively at the fluid that covered him. "Yeah, Pilot. I'm fine. Just a little run in with some of Elack's other residents. Bats, I think."

"I didn't realize any of the Holian trill bats were still present on Elack. I'm sorry." Pilot replied.

"Not your fault, Pilot. I think they might be responsible for some of the fluctuations you've been reading." Crichton replied.

"Of course, Commander. Again, I thank you."

"No problem."

Crichton looked down at himself. "Hey Pilot, is there enough water and amnexus fluid for me to get cleaned up?"

"Yes, Commander. I shall divert the requirements to the cleansing chamber near the maintenance bay for you."

"Thanks, Pilot."

As he reached the catwalk once again, he heard the soft trilling from above. If he didn't know better he'd say he was being mocked. Shaking his head he lifted himself out of the waste and made for the exit. "I hate critters."