Title:: Just

Author:: Lokaia

Summary:: The crew allows two new passengers onboard and learns that some secrets aren't meant to be told.

Rating:: PG-13

Disclaimer:: Non-SC characters and story plot are mine, show is Peter David, Bill Mumy, and Nickelodeon's.

(A/N) Credit where credit is due, this vaguely resembles a wonderful story by Mari Soo, whose works can be found at Kestrel's Space Cases Site.

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In space, there is a sector. In that sector, there is a star. Next to that star, there is a white circle. In that white circle, there is a ship. In that ship, there are two individuals, screaming like frightened children.

Probably because that is what they are.

---

"Commander?"

Seth Goddard turned to his navigator. "Yes, Radu?"

The young Andromedan looked troubled as he reviewed his console. "There's a...a ship out there. Damaged. But there's no distress signal."

Goddard frowned. "Screen on." In response to his words, the main wall of the Christa swirled to transparency to reveal a small starship. The ship's hull was covered in burns of varying degrees.

"Should I open a communications channel, Commander?" Rosie asked, always eager to meet new people.

No matter how dangerous it became afterwards.

Goddard thought about that for a moment. "Rosie, open audio-only channel." At her signal, the commander began his speech. "Alien vessel, this is the Starship Christa. Commander Seth Goddard speaking. Are you in need of assistance? Christa out." He made a cutting motion at his throat and Rosie disconnected the channel.

"What do we do if they answer, Commander?" Harlan wondered.

Goddard hesitated before answering. "Depending on what their answer is, we either help them or leave them alone. Oh, and Mr. Band?" Goddard turned a stern gaze on his helmsman. "Remember: I'm the commander, not the cook."

Harlan smiled sheepishly while Rosie giggled.

---

"They still haven't responded, Commander," Rosie reported.

Radu frowned, meeting Goddard's gaze. "What if they're too hurt to answer?"

"We can't take the risk of bringing them onboard without knowing anything about them, Radu," Goddard answered. "We'll just have to wait and--"

"Ooh! Incoming message!" Rosie squealed delightedly.

Goddard smiled at her actions. "Go ahead and play it, Rosie."

A broken recording began to play. "Commander Go--ard, thank you fo--in need--my sister--dock--bay. Er, we--Ra--on--out."

"Channel, Rosie." Rosie opened a link for the commander to speak. "Alien vessel, your message was damaged. We will open our docking bay. If you are in need of assistance, please enter and we will help you with our repairs. Christa out."

"Should we meet them at the bay?" Harlan asked, already stepping down from helm.

Goddard frowned at his impatience. "Harlan, you, Radu, and Suzee meet me down there. Don't do anything until I get there. Rosie, call Bova up here to help you monitor."

The Mercurian nodded, somewhat disappointed, as her crewmates disappeared down the jumptube.

---

"This should be interesting," Suzee remarked, standing beside the door to the docking bay. "It's been getting dull around here."

"You can say that again," Harlan muttered. "Ms. Davenport's been getting way too comfortable with that whole 'daily classes' thing again."

Radu rolled his eyes. "What do you want her to do, Harlan? Freak out like she did when Rosie's new pet ate her sweater, and not leave her room for two weeks?"

"Yes."

"They're in," Suzee announced, as Goddard walked up behind them all. "Depressurizing."

"Are you all ready?" Goddard asked, taking the lead. One by one, the three teenagers nodded. Goddard smiled. "Good." Stepping forward, the door reacted to his presence and slid open.

The ship looked worse up close. Not unfixable damage, but enough to keep them on the Christa for a while.

"Oh, this'll be easy," Suzee muttered, beginning to circle the ship. She began muttering to herself as she looked over the hull. "That could be done in five minutes. Oh, I could so do it. Fine, then I'll bet you. I'll let you keep that shirt you stole from me..."

"Why is it so much weirder when she talks to Cat than when Cat talked to her?" Harlan murmured. From the other two men, he received nothing but shrugs.

The hatch to the ship before them slowly unlatched. It began to lower, then fell to the floor with a clang loud enough that Radu cried out in unexpected pain.

"Damn! Sorry about that--it slipped..."

From the doorway emerged a dark young man. He looked to be in his late teens and wore a cap over bright blue hair. His uniform of a t-shirt and pants were wrinkled and crumpled, but he looked able enough. He smiled brightly and gave an awkward wave. "Er... hi."

Goddard stepped forward. "I'm Commander Goddard of the Starship Christa," he said, repeating his earlier message. He stuck out a hand. The boy met Goddard's gaze with a look of surprise before grinning again and seizing his hand. Shaking it vigorously, he said, "Thank you for your assistance, Commander. My sister and I appreciate it."

"Your sister?"

The boy's eyes went wide. "Shoot!" He yanked his hand from Goddard's grip and rushed to the doorway of his ship. "Lexi? You okay?"

"Fine!" THe boy helped his sister from the ship, letting her lean on him. The girl was his same skin tone, her hair black in fat dredlocks that fell to her shoulders. She looked to be no more than fifteen. Stretching her neck, she winced and shrugged the arm of her brother off of her shoulders. "I'm fine, don't worry about it." She looked up and met the gaze of four of the Christa's crew.

"H-hi..." Her eyes had suddenly grown wide and she was staring avidly at Harlan.

The human grinned, sending a cocky glance to Radu and walked up to the girl. He offered his hand to her. "Hi, I'm Harlan Band. And you are?"

The girl continued staring, and her brother took Harlan's hand instead, still grinning widely. "Oh, sorry, I should have said before--I'm Randy. Randy Banson. This is my sister, Lex."

Goddard placed a hand on Harlan's shoulder, and faced the newcomers. "Now that the introductions are over, I can ask you: what are you two doing out here? You're both much too young to be out this far in unidentified space on your own!"

"Er... yea," Randy said, scratching the back of his neck. "See, Lex and I, we were trying out this ship and--"

"Commander!" Suzee's voice came from behind the ship. "You'd better come and look at this."

Randy and Lex exchanged worried glances. Goddard narrowed his eyes. "Is there something you two need to tell us?"

"Well, ah..." Lex struggled for words, giving her brother another glance. Randy's answer was to grin at Goddard again.

Glaring at the two, Goddard made his way around the back of the ship to meet Suzee. "What is it?"

"This." The Yensidian pointed to an emblem near the bottom of the ship. It was, unmistakably, the symbol of the UPP.