Title: At the Beginning
Disclaimers: All standard disclaimers apply. The characters do not belong to me unless they are original. Any original characters will be acknowledges when they come into the story.
Notes: For Nat, since she asked for a Zenon ficcie and I gave her a quickie Margie one J I hope that this one a little more to your taste.
I don't write kids much, so I don't have practice – so I wrote whatever Zenon said as she would if she weren't five, because kids talk phonetically and that's really really hard to write. I also happen to think that, given what we know from the films, Zenon Kar and her friends are much brighter than the average kids their age. Since their parents are obviously bright scientists, they can be as well. So please, keep that in mind and make allowances.
It's been over a year since I've seen the movies, okay?
This is unbeta'd, but has been read through, spell-checked, and grammar-checked. Any mistakes are mine alone – hopefully there aren't very many!
Summary: Once upon a time…
Zenon Kar stumbled as she hurried down the ramp from the shuttle that had carried both her and her parents to their new home. She stopped dead in her tracks, blue eyes widening as she took in the bustle of people before her. It was a melange of civilian-dressed and uniform-clad people; some were talking, some striding purposefully, some pushing carts or carrying luggage as they all went to where they belonged. A quick-silver smile graced elfin features before she gathered her energy and was about to dart off, wanting just to see what lay beyond those sliding doors that people were exiting out of. A strong hand grasping her shoulder stopped her attempt at flight before she even began it. She glanced up at the stern features of her mother and offered a slightly sheepish grin.
"I'll be good, Mommy," she promised. She reached up to hold her father's free hand, a tiny star-shaped hand grasping at three larger fingers in an unusual sight of uncertainty. "I won't go anywhere without you."
Astrid Kar raised one auburn brow at the promises made by her five-year-old daughter, not believing them for a moment. It wasn't that Zenon was a bad child, just that she was entirely too precocious and mischievous for her age. She shuddered to think what it would be like parenting a teenage Zenon. "I know you won't," she offered as she exchanged a small smile with her husband Mark. "But if you do get separated, just find a grown-up in a uniform, okay?"
"Just like the police officers on Earth," Zenon agreed. "Will the ones up here have doggies or horsies?"
"I don't think so, honey."
Zenon pouted for a brief moment. One of her favorite memories was from a month ago, when she had gone on a 'splore' and become separated from her day care class during a field trip. She had gone from a small petting zoo that occupied a corner of the park to the other side, following anything and everything that looked interested to her. She had been found by an officer who patrolled the park on horseback and had been fascinated by the large animals ever since. Unbeknownst to her, that was part of the reasoning behind her parents taking her on this great adventure and moving to a 'space station.'
They moved forward through the throng, Mark making sure to keep a hold of his daughter's hand as he juggled two carry-on bags they had needed for the shuttle flight to the station. They made their way to the relative quiet of the corridor and then walked the distance to where their quarters were located. Upon entering, Zenon immediately ran through to one of the rooms, raising herself up on the very tips of her toes as she looked out the window to see Earth spinning lazily against a backdrop of black space. "Ooh, Mommy, Daddy! It's beautiful!"
Mark went over to his daughter, lifting her up so she could press her nose against the portal. "I think we have a hit," he passed back to his wife.
Astrid smiled at the sight before making her way through the quarters. It was cozy, slightly smaller than the apartment that they had lived in on Earth, and contained mostly the furniture that they had requisitioned from the stations' stores. A few of the pieces were from their apartment; it had made more sense to get new on the station and then sell or donate their old furniture, but neither parent had wanted to drop their daughter into an environment that was completely alien. This way, there would be something familiar until Zenon got her bearings; although they doubted it would take long for her to become as rambunctious as ever.
"Mommy, Daddy says that we're going to live here now," her daughter said as she came into the room.
Astrid turned to the small voice. "We talked about that on Earth, remember, honey? Daddy and I are going to work up here, doing lots of experiments that we can't down there. You're going to live up here with us and go to school."
Zenon's lower lip trembled, her blue eyes clouding as they began to sheen with water. "But… what about my friends? I don't wanna live without Danny and Katie and Crystal and…"
Astrid bent down and picked her daughter up, setting the slight weight on the dinging table set off to one side. "Oh, honey, I thought you understood," she whispered as she pressed a kiss on the blonde hair.
"But I don't have any friends here," Zenon reminded her. "Why couldn't they come with us?"
"Their parents have to live on Earth, Zenon. That's where they go to work."
"You wouldn't want Danny's parents to be lonely, would you? Or Katie's? Crystal's?" Mark asked as he joined his family.
"No," Zenon allowed.
"You'll make lots of new friends here, Zee. I promise," Mark offered.
Zenon, her brave face coming forward, nodded in acceptance. "Can we go look now, Daddy? Please?"
Mark looked over at his wife for a nod of assent.
"Go ahead," she waved a hand. "I'll stay here and wait for the rest of our things."
Mark grinned and gave his wife a quick kiss before he pulled Zenon from the table and wrapped his arms around her.
"I wanna be down, Daddy."
Mark put her down to the admonishment from Astrid to be careful and keep an eye on her while they were out and about. He rolled his eyes and gave her another kiss before taking his daughter back out into the corridors. He watched her as carefully as his wife had told him too, knowing that she could run off without a moment's notice.
He was relieved to see that she was on her best behavior; avidly looking in every direction and smiling at the passing people, but refraining from slipping away to go on a 'splore' on her own. It was one thing to explore the space station that was now their home. It would be another thing entirely to have to search through the station as they looked for a missing-in-action little girl. Not the greatest way to make a good first impression.
They wandered until they came upon the cafeteria that provided food for the station. There were rows of tables, with food preparation units along one side. Along another side was a large raised stage, the cafeteria also doubling as what would undoubtedly be a meeting place. After getting some snacks, they ventured back out into the maze of corridors, finding the large rooms that were assigned as schools for the children on the station, the gyms for exercise and an entertainment hub where films could be played. They finally found their way to the labs where the civilian scientists would be working.
Mark showed Zenon the lab where he and Astrid would be working, wanting his daughter to be able to visualize where they would be when she wasn't with them. He explained some of the easier equipment, not knowing what Zenon understood but knowing that she was exceptionally bright and erring on the side of caution.
"What do you say we go home now?" he asked ruffled her hair.
"But we didn't meet any friends for me, Daddy." She giggled as he picked her up and swung her in a circle.
"You will," he promised.
They went back out to the corridor to go home, Zenon stopping in her tracks as she took in the sight of another little girl coming out through the door to the lab next door. She was dark-skinned and had even darker hair, brown eyes wide as she clutched at a woman's hand. This could be her new best friend!
Without another thought, she surged forward; feet moving quickly before coming to an abrupt stop a few inches away from the girl. "Hi! I'm Zenon Kar!"
The girl looked up at the woman, who nodded with encouragement. "My name is Nebula Wade," she answered, hand gripping her mother's even harder.
"I just moved here with my Mommy and Daddy and then Daddy took me out to look for more kids for me to play with. You're the first one I found!"
Almost despite herself, Nebula looked interested. "Really?" She looked up at her own mother.
"There are other children here, Nebula," she promised before holding out a hand to Mark. "I'm Nebula's mother, Sheila Wade."
"Mark Kar. My wife and I are working the next lab over."
She smiled, white teeth dazzling. "Something tells me that we'll be seeing a lot of each other." At his slightly baffled look, she gestured to where their children were sitting on the industrial carpet, heads bent together as they whispered.
"You might be right," he agreed. "Zenon, we have to go home, remember? We need to eat dinner."
"Okay." She climbed up and offered a hand to pull Nebula to her feet. "We have to go eat with my Mommy, but I'll see you later, ok?"
"We didn't eat dinner yet!" Nebula turned to her mother. "Can we eat with Zee and her Mommy and Daddy?"
Sheila looked from one pleading face to another. "I'll talk to your Daddy about it," she promised.
"Okay!" Nebula turned to Zenon. "The grown-ups can figure everything out."
Not wanting to leave it at that, Zenon turned pleading eyes on her father. "Please, Daddy? Nebula's going to be my bestest friend!"
Mark swung his daughter in another, abbreviated circle. "Who can argue with that argument?" He kept Zenon close, smiling at Sheila. "I'll have Astrid call you."
"I'm looking forward to it."
Mark left, taking his daughter back down the corridor in his arms, aware that she was carefully watching her new 'bestest friend' until they turned the corner and went out of sight. After they had, Zenon turned so that she was facing her father, small arms twined around his neck as she rubbed her nose against his cheek.
"I think I'm going to like it here, Daddy."
Reviews are welcome!
I wrote this figuring that it would be a one-shot. Now, I'm not so sure. I can't promise any additions, but I will say that my mind is open to the possibility of writing future adventures of mini!Zenon and mini!Nebula on the space station. Who knows what the future will bring?