CARPE DIEM

Author: Allison McDonnell

Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. They're Amblin's and Universal's. So there.

Rating: PG-13 (adult themes)

Timeline- Post All About Eve

Summary- D & D stuff. Devon decides to seize the day.

Author's note- I know that this subject has been done many times before, but this was my first attempt at fan-fiction (I've only written two stories). I wanted to start off with something pretty basic before diving into the longer and more detailed plotline of "Learning Experiences" which I posted a few weeks ago. I hope you like it. I'm still very much a novice when it comes to writing and reviews/comments are greatly appreciated regarding both stories.

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Another day, another 20k trek across the endless terrain, thought John Danziger as he trudged along behind the tracks of the Transrover. Bringing up the rear of the caravan gave him the opportunity to listen intently to the sounds of the vehicles. Had to make sure they weren't pushing them too hard. It was a miracle they had lasted this long and he attributed this fact to both his crack staff and a whole lot of silent prayer. He chuckled inwardly as he remembered overhearing True tell Devon that her father belonged to the Church of the 'Please God, let this piece of junk go just one more click.'

Devon... another good reason for him to be walking behind everyone. She can't annoy him if she can't find him. Squinting ahead into the sunlight, he catches sight of her conferring with Yale and Solace, probably about the route and how much further they should go before setting up camp. Maybe he should go join them and share his views on that. They could probably use another opinion, especially with Adair's overt optimism. Someone really needs to give a that woman a reality check.

Suddenly, Devon stopped and turned to face the rest of her tired crew. They immediately halted the vehicles as she began to address them in her typical CEO fashion. "Okay, people. I know you haven't had a break in several hours and it's getting late in the day. However, I think it would be best if-"

"Hold it right there, Adair," Danziger bellowed as he joined her at the head of the convoy. "Let me guess what you're gonna say."

The mechanic straightened his back, stuck out his chin defiantly and placed both hands on his hips. I wonder who he's imitating, Devon inwardly steamed.

With a slightly higher inflection, John mocked, "People, I know that it's late in the day, you're hungry and you're tired, but I think that it's best if we go-" At this point, he raised both hands and waved them back and forth as if conducting an orchestra. His voice was joined by the others. "JUST ONE MORE CLICK!" they shouted in unison. Laughter erupted from everyone as John smiled satisfactorily.

"Very funny, Danziger," Devon said as she leered in his direction. "But you happen to be wrong. I was going to say that we should travel another three clicks before setting up camp."

"You got a death wish, Adair?" John exclaimed amidst the many groans of the crowd.

Devon had the hint of a smile as she calmly answered, "No... at least not for myself."

"May I remind you that you can kill Danziger without sacrificing the rest of us?" chimed in Morgan. "Besides, three clicks should bring us about to the base of those hills up ahead. I don't think that I can make it. My feet are practically numb as it is."

"Good. Then your feet'll match that empty skull of yours," Danziger quipped before turning his attention back to Devon. "I assume that you have a good reason for this."

"As a matter of fact, I do. 'Lonz and Julia took the ATV earlier to scout ahead and survey the area. There are several acres of trees bearing fruit, some of which are edible. Even better, there's a large lake with drinkable water. We've been pushing ourselves to our limits these last few weeks. I figure this will be a good place to rest a day."

"You're kidding? You're actually agreeing to give us some R & R?" Danziger exclaimed incredulously.

"Yes, I am. Besides," the leader replied as she stepped directly in front of John with her back to him, "the lake will give you all a chance to soak those poor, tired feet of yours." She then pivoted to look directly at the dirt-covered mechanic and said loudly enough for all to hear, "And perhaps even take a much needed bath." And with that, she slid away with a bit more stride in her step than usual.

Danziger feigned an injured look and said to no one in particular, "You don't think she meant me, do you?" There were a few snickers from the crew as a grin crept across his face.

"Come on people," he yelled, shaking his head. "Her Highness wants us to get to those hills by sundown. Let's go."

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Everything is just perfect here, Devon thought as she toured the surrounding grounds of their campsite. She had patiently waited until everyone had fallen asleep and then made her way down the only path to the lake which was located a few hundred yards away. The territory around the water was thick with overgrown brush and large rocks. Luckily, there was a small grassy clearing on the east side which made the lake easily accessible to the colonists. She chose to forge ahead through the dense thicket and climbed the neighboring hill until she came across another small stretch of grass. She sat down and hugged her knees as she gazed wistfully at the twin moons as they illuminated the water below. She could barely see the flickering glow of the campfire through the patch of trees and momentarily contemplated whether or not she should be so far away from the others, but quickly came to the conclusion that everything was fine. After all, she was alive.

Ever since she had been released from the confines of the coldsleep chamber, Devon found that she had adopted a "Carpe Diem" attitude. No longer would she only look months, even years into the future. She was determined to enjoy the present. Staring death in the face and seeing the expressions of her loved ones when they thought they'd lost her had taught her a valuable lesson. It gave her an acute appreciation for what she has and for what could be. She was ready to grab life by its reigns and hold on tightly for the joyride of her life.

Devon smiled as she remembered when she and the others had crashed onto the planet. She'd been so frightened, though she would never have admitted it to herself or anyone else at the time. Looking skyward, she now couldn't imagine ever thinking negatively of G889. Sure it had its share of penal colonists, ZEDs, harsh winters and giant dirt creatures who could pop out of the ground at any second. And don't forget about the computer-driven satellite in orbit monitoring their life signs and possibly keeping them breathing. That thought seemed to be the most unsettling to Devon. However, the planet had a beauty that she could never have envisioned. It also had her son, now healed and looking forward to a healthy future. She had friends whom she could trust with her life. They had been steadfast, refusing to give up, even when Devon had resigned herself to her fate and embraced death. Julia had worked tirelessly until a cure was found and everyone had pitched in while Devon recovered. She didn't know what she would have done without their unconditional love and support. These memories brought her to one of the other greatest rewards of landing on G889- John Danziger.

Of course, in the beginning he was a constant source of aggravation to her. He threatened nearly all of her ideals, not to mention the authority that she felt she was entitled to. Thinking back, she didn't exactly exert the greatest diplomatic skills herself. Their arguments were loud and heated, often taking on a personal nature resulting in bruised egos and hurt feelings. Slowly, however, as they began to better understand one another, their stormy relationship evolved to something with more civility. As the months went by, Devon finally realized that Danziger's angry outbursts were not meant as direct threats that he was looking to take over leadership of the group. He was just trying to keep them alive. Trying to get her to focus on the here and now instead of what would happen in two years when the colony ship arrived. Once she understood that, their relationship improved greatly. John's temperament also mellowed somewhat as the crew became more familiar with their new surroundings and learned to work as a unit. Of course, she and Danziger could still fight like cats and dogs, but now they could both work together to attain their unified goal- stay alive and get to New Pacifica in as close to one piece as possible.

In actuality, Devon almost looked forward to her arguments with the mechanic. She realized that she was even starting small disputes just to get the chance to interact with him. Since she had returned to her role as leader of the Eden Project, their exchanges had become more of a 'one- upmanship' than actual fights and gone was the verbal warfare that had been displayed when they'd first begun their journey. Moreover, he seemed more than willing to engage in this new semi-rivalry for control. He could give it as good as he got it and Devon was loving every single minute of it. Yes, it was a strange way of flirting, but how long had it been since she'd been in a real relationship anyway? Perhaps this is how it's done now. No more holo-flowers or VR dates to another romantic time and place. Maybe it's just come down to two people pissing each other off enough until someone finally breaks down and admits that they can't possibly live without the other. Mission accomplished, Devon thought. But now what to do about it? At first, she thought she would be able to wait until they'd reached New Pacifica. There, she could bear her soul and confess to him what she feels in her heart. God knows that it would be less complicated if she could just hang on a few more months. But her sickness had changed everything and Devon's new outlook directly conflicted with the original plan to hold off on letting him know her true feelings.

Oh well, Devon sighed, there's no time like the present. It was time to show John how much he means to her. Lord help them both if he doesn't feel the same way, she thought as she began to amble back toward camp. Seize the day, Devon repeated as her mantra. Seize the day...

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Danziger had just sat down after completing a perimeter check when his attention was drawn to a rustling sound coming from the nearby woods. "Who's out there making all that noise?" he sternly demanded.

"Don't get trigger-happy. It's just me."

"Devon, what the hell are you doing wandering around at this hour?" he challenged as she strolled over and planted herself next to him on a fallen log.

"Nice to see you, too," Devon quipped back. "Are you saying that you don't want any company?"

"No, I'm not saying that," John said, trying not to notice how close she was to him. "Can't you sleep?" His brows furrowed as he added, "You aren't feeling sick, again, are you?"

"I feel fine. In fact, I feel great," she answered, inwardly pleased at his obvious concern for her well-being. "So, uh, when is your shift over?"

"Solace relieves me in about an hour," he replied. "Why don't you go back to bed? No offense, but you look tired." And she did. Nonetheless, even in her fatigued state, Danziger noted that she was still absolutely stunning. One of the most beautiful women he'd ever set his eyes on. But he couldn't exactly tell her that part. Plus, he was starting to feel uncomfortable at her nearness and figured it would be best if she just went away.

"Gee, thanks a lot for the compliment."

"You know that I didn't mean it like that. I'm just worried about you. You've only been fully recovered a couple of months. Don't push yourself too hard."

"I appreciate your concern, but I'm telling you that I've never felt better," Devon smiled as she stretched out her arms. "You're right though. I am a bit tired, but not enough to go back to my tent. Mind if I just stay out here with you for awhile?"

"You're the boss," he joked with a bit of apprehension in his voice.

Devon then closed the distance between them and laid her head against his shoulder. Danziger tried not to instinctually pull away and steadied his breathing to keep her from realizing how awkward he felt with her this close to him. Truth be told, he liked the feeling of Devon leaning against him. He really liked it and John didn't want her to know just how pleasant the sensation was for him. He couldn't let her find out that she was constantly occupying his thoughts, not to mention his dreams. Devon probably wouldn't share the same continent with him, much less the same log if she knew the content of some of Danziger's more unbridled nightly fantasies of her.

He had never met a woman that could drive him insane in so many different ways. She could go on and on about some ridiculous plan that didn't make an ounce of sense. Of course, he'd have to tell her that she was wrong. Somebody had to and it might as well be him. Apparently, Devon Adair wasn't used to being told that she was in error and, frankly, sometimes she didn't take it very well. John rolled his eyes as he thought about her other favorite tactic. Ask his opinion and do the polar opposite. He would never understand that one. It was lucky for Devon that she was a woman. It was often the only reason that he could think of to keep himself from knocking her flat on her ass. Yeah, John surmised, that and the fact that you're head over heels in love with her. That always seemed to get in the way of things, too. It was just too damn hard to stay mad at her. Like the way she would-

John was shaken out of his reverie by Devon's soft snores as she snuggled against his shoulder.

"Goodnight, Devon," John whispered. He leaned his head down with the intention of lightly kissing the top of her head, but lost his nerve at the last second and pulled back.



Just over an hour later, Alonzo came to relieve Danziger on watch. He didn't even try to suppress the huge smile that broke across his face when he spotted the couple.

Danziger mildly shrugged. "Would you believe that I found her this way?" he quietly asked.

"Somehow, I don't think that's how it happened," Solace countered back.

Trying not to disturb the sleeping form attached to his left side, John reached for the Mag-pro and was slightly embarrassed to find it outside his grasp.

"Um, John," the pilot inquired with a smirk. "What if there had been any trouble this evening? Your weapon isn't much help if it's nowhere near you."

Without missing a beat, Danziger chortled and answered, "You got it all wrong, Solace. I have a lethal weapon right here next to me." He looked at Devon and explained, "I see or hear anything that might be remotely threatening, I just point Devon in its direction and let her start talking. Whatever's out there will either run screaming the opposite way or just throw its hands up in the air and surrender just to get her to shut up."

Alonzo could barely contain his amusement and was joined by Danziger's suppressed snickers.

"Quite a secret weapon you got there, John. What do you call it or should I say her?"

The mechanic thought about it for a moment. He looked again at Devon and it came to him so easily.

"I call it a Nag-pro," he proudly announced.

At this, both Solace and Danziger burst out laughing, waking up Devon plus a few others in nearby tents.

"What happened?" Devon asked as she straightened up, flustered that she had fallen asleep for so long. And in front of Alonzo, too. Suddenly, her eyes narrowed. They were having a bit too much fun. "What did I miss?"

"Nothing, Adair," Danziger said as he regained his composure. "Time to go back to your tent."

He stood up and helped the leader to her feet. "See ya' in the morning, 'Lonz."

"Yeah, see you two in the morning," Solace answered with a chuckle and a raised eyebrow.



When John and Devon reached the threshold of her quarters, Devon began to speak, but was interrupted.

"Get some rest, Adair," he said firmly. As she raised her finger to protest, the mechanic gently grabbed hold of her hand. "Listen to me. You fell asleep almost the moment your head hit my shoulder. I know that you say you feel terrific, put please try to take care of yourself, okay? No more wandering around by yourself in the dark. The reason we have guard duty is because we have no idea what's out there. And we've all been through too much to lose anyone else. Got it?"

The old Devon would have probably reacted angrily at being told what to do. Actually, the new Devon didn't like it much better. But when she looked into John's eyes, she could see the raw emotion that he was feeling, even if the rest of his demeanor was calm and collected. He was truly worried about her. Maybe he felt the same way, too.

"Okay, you have a deal. And if I decide to go for an evening stroll, I promise to tell someone where I'm going or maybe even bring a friend with me. Good enough for you?" She smiled and looked downward at their fingers still intertwined.

"Good enough." Danziger followed her train of vision and realized that he was still holding her hand. Suddenly very embarrassed, he let go and made a hasty retreat. "'Night, Adair."

And he was gone before she could say anything else or see the redness in his face.

Yep, Devon thought, won't be long now.

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