WORK IN PROGRESS
Disclaimer: Amblin and Universal: It's been almost fifteen years since Earth 2 was canceled. If you were going to sue, you should have done so way before now. But just in case... please don't.
Author's notes: Many thanks to FCB Kate and Manuela. You guys rock!
Timeline: After "Promises, Promises" (EA learns that Gaal has enslaved the Terrians.) but before "A Memory Play" (A virus fells Danziger and Baines after they locate survivors of the third escape pod.) and "Water" (Devon insists on accompanying Danziger on a search for water. Julia is revealed as a Council operative.)
Summary: Basically, it's just another one of my pointless, plotless Devon and Danziger stories. This is a short fic which speculates as to where D & D might have stood with one another toward the beginning of their journey, just a few weeks after the crash. It's mostly from Devon's POV. Hint: They don't exactly get along.
Devon: "We didn't come this far to stop now."
Danziger: "What, are you in shock, Adair? We have crashed onto this planet! We have lost most of our cargo! I just saw a man get killed by a rodent, for cryin' out loud! Maybe you haven't noticed it, but your plans have changed. New Pacifica's not the priority any more."
Devon: "It certainly is a priority for two hundred forty-eight families on our colony ship. Twenty-six months from now, they'll be here. And I promised them a fully operational outpost."
Danziger: "That's YOUR mission, Lady!... It's not about contracts or friendships. It's about survival."
-- First Contact
Another sweltering Summer day and a twenty click hike to no where. Another official call for a stop from their leader and then several more hours of monotonous, labor intensive work to set up their temporary campsite. Once completed, another much-too-short slumber for the weary travelers to rest their aching muscles and escape from the fears of their uncertain futures and of the unknown dangers of this new world. And then only to wake and have the process start all over again. Such had become the cycle of the rag-tag crew of Eden Advance.
The group had been planetside for just under three weeks and the sadness surrounding the senseless death of Commander O'Neill, the duplicitous and divisive tactics of Gaal, and the miraculous healing of Ulysses Adair by the mysterious Terrians were still fresh in their minds. Added to that was their feelings of heartbreak over the missing and feared dead crewmembers who had sought refuge on the Roanoke's other escape pod and the ever-growing anxiety regarding what possible hardships might lay ahead of them. There had even been a few rumblings among the crew speculating that the Roanoke had been drawn into G889's gravitational pull due to sabotage on the part of someone still within their midst.
It was clear that much of the group suffered from an overall feeling of unsettledness, both in the physical and in the emotional sense. Even their once devil-may-care pilot had seemingly surrendered to thoughts of hopelessness and depression after suffering a severe leg injury during their wild freefall to land. People were on edge and it was more than apparent to Devon Adair that some of her crew were handling the experience better than others.
And when it came instigating personal conflicts between the members of Eden Advance, there was little doubt in Devon's mind that John Danziger was one of the largest contributors. Of course, the majority of his hostilities seemed to be directed toward her and their government liaison. She wasn't certain of the reason for Danziger's obvious disdain of Morgan Martin, but she theorized that it might be because the latter man played a part, albeit a very small one, in the bureaucratic system on the Stations. And Danziger had made it very clear that he had nothing but contempt for anyone who bore even the slightest resemblance to authority, which was probably why he continued to give her such a difficult time.
Of course, Devon understood that Danziger had already proven himself to be a vital part of Eden Advance thanks to his adept skill in the mechanical arts. Moreover, the Ops crew who knew him best obviously respected him as a leader. And not only was Danziger a good father to True, he hadn't hesitated when it came to saving her own son after he had been taken by the Terrians on their second day on G889. Subsequently, when Gaal had enslaved a Terrian tribe, causing Uly's health to spiral downward, Danziger had led the charge in doing whatever was necessary to restore Uly back to health for a second time.
However, for every redeeming act of bravery and selflessness by Danziger, there seemed to be a dozen acts of insubordination, some of which bordered on mutiny. In Devon's opinion, the mechanic's hotheadedness, his bullying tactics, his foul mouth, and a distrustful nature that often more closely resembled paranoia, was a disruptive force that was increasing in speed at the rate of a freight train. How on earth was she supposed to keep her group together and working as a cohesive unit under these conditions?
Indeed, John Danziger had become such a concern to Devon that thoughts of him were becoming a constant interruption as she endeavored to organize the slew of details she'd planned for the forthcoming colony set in New Pacifica. Her concentration would be wrecked as she, instead, focused her attention on attempting to figure out who Danziger was and what made him tick. He had emerged as such a thorn in her side that a small part of her had even considered the idea that he might someday try his hand at overtaking her as leader of Eden Advance.
As such, she wondered if it might be in her best interest to get to know the mechanic a little better. After all, she was going to have to deal with his overbearing presence for the next two years until the Jamestown arrived and returned him to the Stations. Perhaps she should start accompanying him on scouts and making more attempts to engage him in conversation. Learning about him and his possible motivations would likely quell any lingering worries or, at least, better prepare her for any future antagonism on his part. Plus, she had to admit that she was simply curious to find out the reason as to why a man like John Danziger would sign up for a job like this.
It was just before supper and the sun was lazily setting in the distance as Devon toured the outskirts of their latest temporary campsite, performing her first of several nightly inspections. Her gaze fell upon the fleet of vehicles which had purposely been placed in the area which was exposed to the most lingering sunlight in order for the solar chargers to harness as much energy as possible for the next day's journey. Devon's eyes then drifted to an assortment of tools and small gadgets meticulously lined up along the edge of the Dunerail, as well as to the pair of legs jutting out from under the carriage. There was no doubt as to whom the body parts were attached to and Devon inwardly noted that she should have expected that Danziger would be found there, doting over the vehicles. Though she couldn't recall actually putting Danziger in charge of maintaining the equipment, he seemed to have elected himself to the position and Devon couldn't really find any fault in it. He appeared to be doing a capable job so far and she was glad to have one less thing to worry about.
She continued to watch Danziger intently as he shimmied himself out from beneath the Dunerail. He attempted to wipe several layers of grime and perspiration from his brow with an equally dirty rag as he exchanged several tools from the nearby pile of instruments. It was obvious that he'd noticed Devon's presence out of the corner of his eye, though he'd done his best to appear as if his full concentration had remained solely on the task at hand.
Never one to be ignored and against her better judgment, Devon decided to approach the mechanic, rationalizing that there was no time like the present to implement her strategy to increase her interaction with him. And who knows? Perhaps with the right mix of charm and finesse, she might be able to sway Danziger's outlook to the point that he eventually became one of her greatest advocates. Anything was possible.
To that end, she raised her chin and made her way toward the Dunerail with unwavering confidence. She was also certain to conjure up one of her patented smiles that never failed to melt the resolve of even the most stubborn of board members or anyone else who'd ever attempted to prevent her from accomplishing her goals. Unfortunately, her demeanor had yet to have the slightest effect on Danziger; except to royally piss him off due to the fact that he could see right through her facade.
Devon's smile tightened as she readied herself to make polite conversation. However, what Devon considered to be small talk, Danziger considered to be her roundabout way of either checking up on him to see what he was possibly doing wrong or to put him in his place. Or both.
"I wonder what you'd do all day if everything was in working order?" she asked with an air of whimsy.
He refused to meet her eyes and his tone was one of disinterest. "Until you all starting treatin' the vehicles with an ounce of respect, I guess that we'll never find out," he grunted, roughly tossing a spanner onto the dirt.
Ugh. The man is infuriating, Devon inwardly stewed. How could she have ever expected a normal, friendly response? Well, if Danziger wasn't going to make the slightest attempt to play nice then she might as well use the opportunity to address him about a matter that had yet again reared its ugly head.
"Speaking of 'respect,'" she began. There was no missing the irritated sigh from Danziger. He knew what was coming. "While I understand that there was no excuse for Morgan putting a dent in the ATV this morning, it was an accident. Don't you think that it would have been more considerate-- and certainly more conducive-- if you'd taken him aside and just talked to him instead of chewing him out in front of half of the crew?"
Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. You're Black, was the first thing to pop into Danziger's mind at hearing Devon's lesson in remedial communication skills.
He slowly craned toward her to address her directly and to ensure that she saw the displeasure in his eyes. "As soon as Martin shows some consideration for all of this equipment, I'll show some consideration for him."
"I'm just saying that-"
Danziger abruptly cut her off. "I heard what you said. No need for another lecture," he scowled, waving his hand at her as if she was a buzzing insect.
He immediately appeared to go into his 'this discussion is over and I'm no longer listening' mode and marched off in the direction of the neighboring Transrover. His annoyance intensified when he realized that Devon moved with him and was determined to keep up with his rapid pace.
As she scurried a half of a step behind him, Devon found it necessary to take several deep breaths and count to five before she was calm enough to respond.
"Well, unfortunately, I think that there is a need to lecture you because you obviously aren't getting the point," she relayed in an admonishing voice.
Danziger's temper crested. "I heard all I need to," he snapped back, digging both hands into his hips. "Look, it's up to me to keep these vehicles moving. But if you don't like the way I'm handling the job, give it to Walman or Magus or whoever else you think can fix these pieces of junk while whistling a happy tune with a smile plastered across their face. Until then, stop peckin' at me all the time and lemme do things my way."
Danziger yanked a 4 wrench from one of the Transrover's side compartments and successfully fought the urge to clobber Devon over the head with it, furthering, "Now, unless you gotta magic wand around here somewhere that I don't know about or you can rewire the Rail's shoddy transmission with that Midas touch of yours, get outta my way and let me get this done before somethin' else breaks that I'm gonna have to fix."
As he stomped back toward the Dunerail, Devon remained stationary. After a brief pause, the battle of wills continued and she called after him, purposely mispronouncing his name. "Danzinger."
"How on earth did you get to be such a jackass?"
The question caused John to halt in his tracks and he slowly pivoted back to face her, his arms locked securely across his chest.
"Years of practice," he gruffed.
It felt as though the temperature had suddenly dropped fifteen degrees as she returned his icy stare. "I've got two words for you, Danziger," she said snippily. "Anger management."
The mechanic's eyes narrowed to slits. "Oh yeah? Well I got two words for you, too, Adair: Fu-"
"There you are, John," came a much-needed interruption from across camp. Though her southern drawl seemed to be dissipating with each syllable, there was no mistaking the honeyed delivery.
"I thought I heard you two over here," Bess said brightly as she neared the pair.
The Earth-res nodded a brief hello to an obviously incensed Devon before returning her attention to Danziger. "Cameron sent me over here to find you. Could you come take a look at the condenser? The gage is stuck again and he can't get it to put out more than a trickle. And what little water that is coming out is scalding."
An 'I told you so' expression expanded across Danziger's face so wide that it could probably be viewed from New Pacifica. It felt good to be proven correct. However, it didn't feel so good to be overworked and stressed out all the time. But what else was new?
The mechanic was sure to soften his face and voice when he turned to address Bess. After all, he didn't have a personal beef with her and he certainly wasn't going to hold her responsible for her husband's various transgressions.
"Yeah, no problem," he assured, setting aside the wrench and collecting a few different tools at his feet, sliding them into the loops of his belt.
Without another word or look toward Devon, Danziger temporarily abandoned the 'Rail repairs and began the small hike toward the meal tent. Of course, John fully understood that it would be necessary to return later to complete the former project, even if it ended up taking him all night to do so. But for now, his services were needed elsewhere and his friends and family were depending upon him to restore the use of the much-needed condenser. He'd hate to think of what would happen if the equipment stopped working for good.
Bess watched Devon glare at John the entire way and her eyes remained fixated on the meal tent well after the mechanic had vanished into the dwelling.
"Is everything okay?" Bess asked sweetly, but with concern. "You two looked like you were about to start World War IV."
Devon finally met Bess' eyes. "I lost my temper," she relayed as calmly as she could, still struggling to return her breathing to a normal level.
"Sounds more like you found it," Bess replied with the barest hint of a smile.
"That man is impossible," the leader spat through gritted teeth.
Bess shrugged her shoulders noncommittally. "Well, Danziger's got a lot on his shoulders right now."
"We all do, Bess," Devon countered, definitely not appreciating others making excuses for what she'd considered to be Danziger's boorish behavior.
The Earth-res let out a sigh. She'd been watching the goings-on in Eden Advance since she and Morgan had rejoined the group on the second day planetside, and had witnessed several of Devon and Danziger's verbal jousting matches first-hand. It was really unfortunate that the pair fought so much, she thought. Because with their combination of intelligence, street-smarts, boundless energy and an unwavering willingness to tackle seemingly impossible tasks, as well as an extraordinary ability to motivate and inspire those around them, the two of them would no doubt be an unstoppable team if they ever joined forces. It was too bad that they couldn't agree on the most basic of subjects.
"I'm just saying that you shouldn't let him get under your skin," Bess offered, attempting to bridge whatever small gap that she could between the two temperamental personalities.
Devon's eyes drifted back to the meal tent of their own volition. "Too late," she scoffed, shaking her head in frustration as she stormed away.
Though she was determined to finish the camp inspection that she had already begun, Devon easily conceded that she was too upset with Danziger to perform any subsequent self-scheduled nightly checks. And thanks to the mechanic's uncanny ability to cloud
her overall thought process, it was highly unlikely that she'd be able to concentrate enough to expand upon the hundreds of pages of New Pacifica's engineering schematics that she'd planned to work on back in her tent for much of the remainder of the evening. To her, it looked as though it was going to be yet another wasted night; one which put her even further behind in her timetable than she already was.
Devon paused when a growl originating from her stomach reminded her that she'd only eaten a small breakfast and had skipped lunch entirely. A small groan escaped her lips as she revised her short-term plans and made a beeline back toward the meal tent for a bite to eat. Of course, she knew that Danziger would be there working to restore the condenser, but what other choice did she have? It wasn't as if either of them had the option of avoiding one another in a small group such as theirs. Plus, as much as it pained her to do so, sticking to her plan to get to know Danziger better was probably the best option available to her at the moment. After all, like it or not, she and Danziger were going to be seeing a lot of each other over the next several months.
Devon crossed the meal tent's threshold and viewed Danziger at the opposite end of the enclosure. True was now at his side, ever the diligent apprentice, and John was literally up to his elbows in a mess of wiring as he toiled away at returning the condenser to its former status. Inner conflict again arose within Devon because as infuriated as she remained with John, she truly appreciated his many efforts to keep Eden Advance's equipment in working order. While Walman, Magus and the other crew members were indeed competent, Danziger's gift of understanding the inner workings of the most complicated machinery was extraordinary. It was why she'd been willing to overlook the multitude of behavioral violations on his service record and had personally approved his application as the Roanoke's Ops Captain. Of course, she might have chosen differently had she known that she was going to be stuck on a two year long camping trip with him. But then again, he seemed to be just as well suited for his new responsibilities as he'd been at his old ones.
If only Danziger could somehow perform the tasks without the incessant complaining and continual challenges to her authority, Devon wished. Indeed, over the course of the leader's life, very few people had ever dared to speak to her in this fashion. And when it did occur, rarely did one get the second opportunity to repeat the offense because they were immediately fired and escorted from the building. However, on G889, there was no way to fire Danziger, short of banishing him from the group and forcing him to travel on his own. And of course, that was something that Devon could never ever do to anyone, no matter what crime they'd committed.
As she accepted the offered bowl of mashed fruit from Cameron and seated herself at the nearest table, Devon was only certain of one thing: With Danziger's present attitude, it was going to be a very long trip to New Pacifica.