Title: Ten Minutes

Author: Catherine Bruce

Rating: PG

Distribution: Ask, and ye shall receive!

Beta: Er, I had a friend skim it, but all he said was 'its good, now finish the others you started!' and refuses to say anymore until I comply to his wishes. -- Anyone wanna help? I promise to be a lazy procrastinator who needs some serious buttock-prodding!

Spoilers: 'Premier'

Disclaimer: If I owned them, I would never leave for work. In fact, I would quit my job because I would have enough money to do so! But I don't. They belong to Jim Henson and all the other Groovy People that own the show.

Author's Notes: When work has nothing for you to do but scan the radio and do stoopid details, you have time to write. Many short pieces. This is an example of the insanity that comes from long work hours and short breaks.

Author's Notes the Second: I have a couple other fics written, some longer and some shorter than this, that just need typed up. Should I?

Summary: "Come on Johnny Boy," the astronaut grumbled to himself. "You are IASA'a best and brightest! You should have no problem opening a damn door!"

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The large door, with its many bars and curves and turns, stood taunting him with its closedness. Through the many gaps and crevices - all of which too small to wedge his human body through - he could see his new alien bed, beckoning him with a siren's song that promised sleep and marshmallow dreams.

He'd left command a couple of minutes ago, eyelids drooping and limbs heavy with fatigue. After calling out a goodnight to the escaped convicts and crabby ex-Peacekeeper, the astronaut had carefully made his way back to the cell that would be his quarters-only getting lost twice in the process- where he realized one very important piece of information.

He had absolutely no idea how to open the door!

Crichton had watched as the others walked up to the doors and they just seemed to slide open as smoothly as the automatic doors at WalMart. He had figured it would be no different for him, but was proved wrong when his nose decided to punch the burned orange metal.

"Come on Johnny Boy," the astronaut grumbled to himself. "You are IASA'a best and brightest! You should have no problem opening a damn door!"

"Do all humans talk to themselves Crichton, or is that annoying personality trait one that only you were unfortunate enough to possess?" The smooth voice sounded mere inches from his ear, causing him to jump.

After he managed to peel himself from the ceiling (or so it seemed) he glared at the Sebacean, who in turn graced him with an enigmatic smile. "Jeeze, Aeryn! Don't you know you're supposed to make noises when you move? Yodel or something."

Turning, he began to prod the door for some secret latch or button. Looking at the woman made him feel a twang of homesickness he was able to avoid otherwise with her human-like appearance, and right now he really didn't really feel like remembering he was the only one of his species for a couple miles. "And no, where I come from it is a common trait to speak to yourself. Of course, if you do you're either insane or praying. And right now I definitely feel crazy."

"Well, I believe that goes without saying." He couldn't tell if she was being serious or attempting to be humorous. "Now what in hezmana are you doing standing outside your quarters for? I thought you said you were tired."

"Yes, well Ms. Sun, I've seemed to have run into a bit of a problem." Crichton continued his perusing of some knob he missed. Where was a bookshelf with the conveniently obvious novel poking out when he needed it?

"Why?" She scrunched her brows together, glancing at the control panel. "Its not locked."

John glowered at the panel, wondering how she could understand the complex buttonry. It too lacked the tell-tale button that had a pictogram of an unlocked padlock. "For some of us, it isn't. And by 'us,' I mean 'you.'"

Her silence caused him to turn around. The expression she wore was one he knew he hadn't seen the last one. It screamed out to him 'Human, you have got to be the stupidest creature alive.' Maybe that's not how she meant it, but it sure as hell looked like it. "You're telling me that you killed Captain Crais' brother, had me irreversibly contaminated, and then had this leviathan swingshut-"

"Slingshot," he corrected glumly.

"Whatever. Slingshot around a planet using a theory of your devising, all in one day, and you don't even know how to open a door?" She shook her head and crossed her arms. "Crichton, you have got to be from the most backwards species I have evercome across." She reached for the control panel.

"Hey, hey!" He batted her away. "I can figure this out by myself."

Aeryn shrugged, crossing her arms across her chest again. "Whatever you like."

He turned back around, glancing over his shoulder. "Don't you have elsewhere to be? You know, polishing your boots or something?"

The solder shook her head. "No, I'm fine here."

"Fine, suit yourself." Crichton wrapped his hands around two bars and pulled, trying to open the door with brute strength alone.

After several attempts, he stepped back panting and felt his face return to its normal pallor. He heard Aeryn stifling a laugh behind him, and shot her a withering look. "I bet you couldn't even program a VCR."

"Why would I need to program a Veezeeyar? That doesn't sound as important as opening doors."

"Well on my planet, VCR programming is a difficult skill to master, one of which I myself am quite adept to." For some reason, he wanted revert to his inner child and reach out to tug her ponytail before scampering off, sending back taunts like the witty 'neener neener neener!' Somehow he didn't think she'd been exposed to such playground games, and feared he would get shot before he even got through the first 'neener.'

"Gah!" Crying out, he began to pound his hand on the control panel. It hurt like hell, but felt good in a caveman kind of way.

"Hey, careful!" Aeryn grabbed his hand with her own, halting him mid- whack. "You could hurt something."

"Why Officer Sun! Are you expressing concern for my well being?" He cast her a teasing glance.

"I was talking about the ship," she teased back. Still holding his hand, she hovered it above the control panel. "Now watch." Moving their joined hands up, the door opened. Down, and the door closed.

"Hey, neat! That only took all of ten minutes." John practiced a couple times himself before stepping inside his room. He turned to face her as the door closed again. "Thanks! I still would have gotten it, you know."

"Don't thank me. And you're about to get your wish. You still to have to figure a way to open it from the inside." Flashing him that enigmatic smile, she turned and headed for her own quarters.

Looking around, John discovered she was right. "Hey," he called after her, "Hey Aeryn, come back!"

-End

9 June 2004 1010-1123