Another Day, Another Misfit…

To be successful, every pair of intrepid entrepreneurs requires a faithful mode of transportation. For Vala and Samantha, that requirement took shape in the form of a Goa'uld tel'tac. How the ladies managed to get their hands on it was quite a tale in itself, of which Vala would often mysteriously say that the previous owner simply no longer had any need of it. Which was essentially true, though did not readily reveal the fact that it had been little more than a floating shell when they serendipitously happened upon it.

Luckily for them both, Samantha was a bit of a genius when it came to electronics and Goa'uld technology, otherwise the antiquated ship might have remained what some might affectionately call a rust-bucket. Under the careful ministrations of Samantha, however, the simple cargo ship now boasted more amenities and upgrades than was readily apparent from one's initial appraisal. Not only was the interior partitioned to create more personal space for the continually expanding crew, but the ship was also slick enough to maneuver its way out of the most hopeless of situations.

In a fit of whimsy and without the knowledge of Samantha, Vala had christened the evolving vessel Siren, a name that stuck with alarming tenacity, much to Samantha's continued annoyance. Fanciful name or not, the vessel was home, and both women were thankful to climb back on board and leave Meragan Prime and its pervasive dust behind as quickly as possible.

"Ladies," Taban greeted them as they entered the Siren. "I trust we had a successful time?"

Samantha smiled warmly at their crewmate, but Vala simply brushed by the man, mumbling something extremely unflattering along the lines of 'giant waste of space.' The rudeness of his employer did not bother Taban, and in fact caused him no small amount of amusement.

Taban was, simply put, an amazingly beautiful man. Samantha, who was not prone to the same whimsy as her cousin, still often caught herself comparing Taban to the great ancient statues carved out of marble that graced the planet of her birth. His physique was svelte, his face perfectly symmetrical. His glowing skin betrayed not a single line that could speak to his indeterminable and highly guarded age.

What was more, Taban was completely aware of his good fortune and had no compunction against using it to the best of his abilities. He was a playboy of the highest order, which simultaneously explained not only his presence on the Siren, but also Vala's never dying ire.

Vala could never quite forget that she, of all people, had been played by a player. So caught was she by Taban's beauty when she first beheld him on some long forgotten moon, that she had decided then and there that she deserved a little downtime for extracurricular activities. But Taban so expertly played her with innocent eyes and copious amounts of alcohol, that the next morning all Vala had to show for her evening was a massive hangover and a stowaway that had apparently never had any interest in her in the first place. Or in women at all, for that matter.

What Taban had truly been in need of was a hasty way off of that particular moon, which the Siren and her owners had unwittingly supplied.

When Samantha had stumbled upon him the next morning, resplendent in all his glory as he partook of some of the last of their precious coffee, she had decided that anyone talented enough to pull one over on Vala would be invaluable to their little enterprise. If she also secretly delighted in having someone around who made Vala just a little bit crazy, she never said so out loud. Whatever her motives, Samantha hired him on the spot.

As for Vala, she couldn't decide what was worse, that she had been made a fool of, or that a man of such magnificence was off limits, no matter how many times she tried to catch him off guard with a tactical seduction. Hence her common complaint that he was a giant waste of space. It wasn't that he was without his uses (he was a con-man of unparalleled heights and could charm the pants off of anyone: man, woman, child or animal), but that he was of no particular use to her.

Hence her rather brusque greeting to Taban. An unsatisfied Vala was a grumpy Vala. And she never let anyone forget it.

Upon greeting Taban and entering her beloved ship, the first thing Samantha noticed was Vala, now leaning against the nearest bulkhead, happily counting out a stack of credits. Samantha briefly thought of poor Boyd trying to pay their bill and finding himself light of funds. Suppressing a sigh that would do little more than add to Vala's immense delight, Samantha could only hope that Boyd was tempted enough by the deal not to bear them ill-will.

Undoubtedly reading Samantha's thoughts, Vala smirked and turned to the boy sitting at her feet, demonstrating the exact feint of hand she had used to rob poor Boyd.

The boy, Cody William Garret III, was Siren's fourth and final crewmate. Currently, he stared up at Vala, soaking in her every word, carefully storing the information for later use.

Cody was in…acquisitions. Or so that was what the ten year old lad had told Vala the first time they met, tripping rather endearingly over the word. Vala was in a particularly fine mood at the time, for while the boy had thoughtfully relieved Vala of her heavy purse, he only managed two blocks before he realized that not only had he succeeded in picking up nothing more than a sack of rocks, but that his own precious stack of hard earned currency had also mysteriously disappeared.

It took him no more than five minutes to track Vala back down. Looking up at her with near rapturous awe (of a completely different sort than Vala was used to), he had asked, "Lady! How did you do that?"

Vala, in an uncharacteristic spat of generosity or just capriciousness, took the lad to lunch and talked shop for long hours. After all, Samantha was off on a typically boring chore having to do with mechanical something or others that couldn't keep Vala's attention for the length of time it took Samantha to say 'compression coil.' She figured a lunch with a kid who aspired to nothing more than to be as much like Vala as he could was not a bad way to amuse herself.

Two hours later, Vala was once again exposed to the rather valuable lesson that no good deed goes unpunished: the young kid, running frantically after her, armed lawmen quick on his heels.

"Oh for goodness' sake," Vala had cursed before tucking the boy quickly into the safe haven of Siren.

"Think you could show me that lift one more time, lady?" Cody had asked, seemingly uncaring about his near escape. "I don't think I got it right."

Vala sighed and tried not to think what kept her from throwing the kid to the law. That was how Siren's crew became four.

The boy was useful in many ways, not the least of which was that while Vala was noticed everywhere she went, people had to literally step on Cody before they paid him any notice (and sometimes not even then).

With no inkling of self-pity, Cody often noted proudly that he was completely forgettable. It was apparent that his parents certainly thought so, or he never would have ended up living on the street plying his rather prodigious talent. Not that Vala would ever admit that soft feelings had anything to do with her decision to bring the boy along.

He was useful and would help them reach their desired end. Period.

Sympathy had no place on Siren. Or so the two ladies let themselves believe. If their two erstwhile crewmates believed any differently, they were at least smart enough not to say so.

So like any good cliché, the Siren had rapidly evolved from rust-bucket to beloved home to the most unlikely group of smugglers.

But such musings were far from Samantha's thoughts as she slid into the pilot's seat, her fingers running through an oft-rehearsed routine, pulling them gently off the surface of Meragan Prime. For her, there was nothing more precious than the moment the tenacious pull of gravity released the Siren from its grasp and they were once again racing through boundless open space.

It was time to see a man about a ship.