Title: Move It Out
Author: marcicat

Fandom: Jupiter Ascending
Word Count: 3700

Characters: Jupiter Jones, Lang, Caine Wise, Susi Wise, Famulus, Kiza Apini, Deva, Okami, Kurt, Domenika Tsing, Stinger Apini, Aleksa Jones

Tags: happy ending, group cuddles, pack fic, space rescue

Summary: Jupiter and friends get kidnapped, then rescued.



"Off."  

The orb went dark and dropped to the carpet with a quiet thump.  Jupiter let her head fall back against the sofa.  "Dammit.  You're not actually asleep, right?"

Lang was curled up on the sofa behind her, but she reached out to tap Jupiter’s shoulder at the question. “Nope.”

“So?” They were slowly (very slowly) working their way through the information stored on the orb. It was a good way to pass the time while Caine and Susi were off on official Marshal business with Stinger.

She could feel the cushions shift as Lang shrugged. “She was crazy, but it could be true. Convoluted plans with an immense time horizon seems pretty typical based on what we’ve heard so far.”

"And you're -- okay with that?"  She wasn't sure she would be, if the situation were reversed.

"Sure.  Genetics is a map, not a set of rules written in stone.  Instincts aren't everything."  She flicked Jupiter's ear.

"Hey!"

"See?  Believe me, it's not some genetic inheritance that keeps us hanging around.  You should probably tell Caine, though.”

Lang sat up suddenly, one hand going to the micro-transmitter behind her ear. “Susi and Caine’s signals just dropped out. We’ve got trouble.”

Jupiter had time to do exactly nothing before the world went dark around her.

She woke up feeling warm, and wondered why they’d all decided to take a nap in the middle of the day. A voice she didn’t immediately recognize said, “She’s awake,” and it came crashing back into her awareness — Caine and Susi’s signals, the attack — was it an attack? She opened her eyes, and saw Caine reaching for her hand.

“Hey,” she said, unable to resist teasing. “Just like old times.”

“More than you know,” he said. “This is Titus’ ship.”

She heard Lang’s voice behind her. “How can you tell?”

Caine met her eyes and quirked a smile. “I’ve been held here before. It was — memorable.”

There were footsteps above them, and Famulus stepped into view. “I did mention that having a distinctive detention area wasn’t necessarily wise, but Titus could never see the point of that sort of subtlety.”

Jupiter didn’t bother standing up. There wasn’t exactly room for it even if she’d wanted to. “Famulus,” she said.

Famulus’ expression was one hundred percent unimpressed. “Her Majesty remembers me? I may swoon,” she said flatly.

“I remember you being a better liar. Why are we here?” Titus, she knew, was still planet-bound, in his own version of house arrest / protective custody. (No one really expected any charges against him to stick, but it was the latest excuse they were using to keep the Aegis standing guard for Earth, so it was at least a useful sham.)

"You can thank your friends for that.  Someone's been snooping around our archives, trying to follow the money trail, and we can’t have that.” Famulus tilted her head to the side, and narrowed her eyes.  “I had high hopes for you, you know — such a convenient distraction for the Abrasax heirs.  But now you've somewhat outlasted your usefulness. Perhaps not completely, though."

She held up a hand, and the lights went out.  "Enjoy your stay.  It won't be long, either way.  Best of luck, Your Majesty."

Well, that wasn't ominous at all.

"Why the lights, though?” Susi muttered.  "She can see in the dark.  We can see in the dark.  Kiza can see in the dark."

"Not 'see' exactly."

That was the fifth person, then. It was a tight fit in the small space, and she hadn’t exactly had time to do a full survey.  "Hi Kiza," she said, keeping a tight grip on Caine's hand.  "And I can't.  See in the dark. I mean."

If she had to guess, she'd say Famulus was hoping one of them would do her in while they were trapped.

"She's probably hoping one of them will take the opportunity to rip out your throat while they have the advantage," Kiza said.

Lang snorted out a laugh. “Still working on tact, huh? Also, I think I’m insulted that you don’t think we always have the advantage.”

“Not helpful,” Caine said. There were a few seconds of silence, and she tried to breathe normally.  It wasn't that she was afraid of the dark, exactly.  Any more. But then again, it never really got that dark in Chicago, did it?  

"Susi," Caine said, and she felt Susi crowd in against her right side.  Caine leaned in on her left, and wiggled his fingers in her hand.  "May I?" he asked.  She uncurled her fingers one by one.  

He did -- something, that seemed very loud in the darkness, and then suddenly it wasn't quite so dark.  He found her hand again easily, and dropped what looked like a glowing marble into her palm.  "It's a power cell."

It was cool to the touch, and she wondered what technological gadget he'd been left with that he'd just cannibalized for a nightlight.  "It glows in the dark."

She was pretty sure he was smiling.  "It also glows in the dark, yes."

"Thank you."

“You’re welcome.”

“Get a room,” Kiza said, then flushed. “Sorry. And for what I said before. I’m not — at my best.“ She indicated the cell around them. “It’s my first kidnapping. Dad’s going to be pissed.”

Caine leaned forward.  "He wasn't with us when we were taken, Kiza.  He's probably looking for you right now."

The light wasn’t bright enough to see details, but she was pretty sure Kiza didn’t look reassured by that news. She twisted her hands in her lap. “I don't even know why I'm here."

"Could just be they were looking for a truth teller," Susi offered.  "You'd be a credible witness; more than Stinger, if she’s thinking crime of opportunity.”

“She said ‘either way,’ though. There’s got to be something we’re missing.”

“How did you get out last time?” Jupiter asked, leaning slightly into Caine so he’d know she meant him. At the time, she’d wanted nothing more than to forget the whole thing, but suddenly it was looking a lot more relevant.

They were close enough so she could feel him shrug. “They dropped me out an airlock. The Aegis picked me up.”

From the way Kiza was looking back and forth between them, she thought there was probably more to that story, but she could ask later. “Okay. Anyone have suggestions other than that?”

Lang and Susi put their heads together and went back and forth a few times, too quiet for her to hear. But Lang squeezed her shoulder, and Susi gave a discreet thumbs up, so she left them to it. It was probably best not to broadcast their plans anyway; she couldn’t imagine there was no one monitoring them.

Kiza seemed to have the same idea. “So, what should we talk about?” she asked.

“Since it’s your first kidnapping, you choose. Pick something interesting?” Something more interesting than trying to figure out what Susi and Lang were up to, she didn’t say, but Kiza nodded anyway.

“I heard you’re all — living together,” Kiza said, with an exaggerated eyebrow raise. “Is it true?”

Jupiter stared at her. It wasn’t, actually, but she was willing to go with the rumor if it kept her family out of things. On the other hand — “I’m honestly not sure whether you’re asking about cohabitation or sleeping arrangements right now,” she said. “But the answers to both would be ‘sort of,’ and ‘not really your business.’”

She was pretty sure Caine was trying not to laugh next to her, but he tensed at Kiza’s next question. “Do you really think that’s safe?” Kiza asked.

And it took her a second to catch up, because she was still thinking about the sleeping together thing, but then she frowned. “Is this about Balem? Because we actually figured that out right before all of this.” She waved a hand to indicate the cell, and then let it drop on Caine’s knee. She wasn’t really sure how the news would go over, but it had to be said.

She took a deep breath and dived in, hoping for the best. “Seraphi Abrasax taught herself genome-engineering, and then put it into practice, trying to select for gene-code specific loyalty.” She glanced at Caine, but his expression was unreadable in the dim light. “That ‘genetic defect’ wasn’t a mistake; she introduced it on purpose.”

Kiza looked confused. “I’m not following.”

Jupiter shrugged, but when she went to pull her hand away, Caine covered it with one of his own, so she figured he was probably doing okay. She said, “Seraphi introduced a genetic sequence to encourage loyalty — specifically to her — into the lycantant genome. Balem knew about it when he killed Seraphi; he probably made a point of avoiding all lycan splices after that. He obviously didn’t expect to find one in the Skyjackers.”

Caine said, “I still should have been able to stop it.”

Susi gave him a sharp look. “Instincts may not be everything, but they can still take you by surprise when you're not expecting them."

“I agree,” Jupiter said. “I’m just sorry it ruined your life.”

Caine actually smiled at that. “Ruined it. Saved it. Knowing the outcome, I wouldn’t change it, even if I could.”

“I should have guessed you would say something like that,” Lang muttered.

There was no signal she could figure out — no flashing lights or knocking on the walls, but suddenly Susi was a lot closer to her, and Lang had her arm around Kiza’s shoulders. “Good to know,” Susi said calmly. “Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.”

The floor disappeared.

There were a few seconds of free fall (and she wasn’t sure to be relieved or worried that she was sort of getting used to it) before they hit a gravity beam and leveled off. She blinked against the bright light. It looked like they were in a completely different ship.

Her feet were barely on the floor when a door slid open in front of them. Of all the things she might have expected, seeing a little boy barrel through them and launch himself into Lang’s arms was low on the list. Very low. “Lang!” he shouted, and she laughed.

“What are you doing in here?” Lang asked. She shifted him around so he was propped up on her hip and ruffled his hair. “Just couldn’t wait to see your favorite aunt? Since when are you big enough to reach the door controls, anyway?”

Over her head, she heard Susi say quietly, “It’s fine; it’s one of Lang’s family’s ships,” and Caine relaxed slightly next to her.

“I can too reach,” the boy insisted.

A woman walked in through the still open door. “He bribes the ship. Don’t ask me how, we can’t figure it out.” She looked over the group and nodded to Jupiter. “Your Majesty.”

“Jupiter’s fine,” she said automatically. “Thanks for the assist.”

“Any time. Famulus had you listed as guests, which makes things easier for everyone. Officially speaking, there was nothing keeping you from simply walking off Titus’ ship and onto ours. Lang?”

Lang pulled herself away from whatever conversation she was having with her — nephew? “Of course.” She indicated each of them in turn. “Her Majesty, Jupiter Jones. You already know Susi. Her brother, Caine Wise.” She quirked a smile. “Official consort. And Kiza Apini, friend of Her Majesty. Everyone, this is Deva, my pack sister, and Kurt.”

Kurt waved. (Jupiter waved back, and he giggled and hid his face in Lang’s shirt.) Lang explained, “Not all lycan splices go into the military. Most of my family is in the personal security business. We keep an eye out for each other.”

Deva snorted, and just like that the formality of the introduction was gone. “Keep an eye out for you, maybe. Okami’s been asking if we can just start assigning you a permanent team.”

“I am not that bad,” Lang said. “I’m not!”

And up until that point, Jupiter’s experience was spaceships was pretty much limited to the Aegis (Titus’ ship, as ever, the exception), where she was typically escorted through a series of same-looking hallways and rooms and told to wait. So when Deva ushered them out of wherever they’d arrived, it was definitely a surprise to walk straight into a garden.

Caine must have caught her expression. “Residential ships prioritize interior space differently,” he offered. “A central garden is a relatively common element, since it can provide air purification, food production, and climate modification options.”

“Huh.” Caine looked less tense than she’d ever seen him in space; Susi too. “I mean, it’s beautiful,” she said. “It just reminded me of something.” If it was the plants, maybe they could track down some of Chicago’s green roof buildings. Post-crisis picnics were practically a tradition anyway.

The floor rocked under them, and Deva reached up to tap her transmitter. “Okami, what’s happening?” she said.

A voice came over some sort of internal speaker system. “They’re firing on us.”

Kurt clapped his hands over his ears, and Deva just shrugged. “Of course, if they shoot us out of the stars, our official stories won’t count for much.” She seemed to realize that her statement wasn’t exactly comforting, though, because she hurried to add, “They won’t though. This ship is — very safe. Kurt just doesn’t like the noise.”

“Very safe; could still use an extra set of hands.”

“I should go help,” Deva said, still not sounding worried. “Lang, can you take it from here?”

Lang waved her off. “Go. We’ve got this.” She swung Kurt around so he was on her back, and he wrapped his arms around her neck.

“We’re going to my room now,” he said confidently.

And it looked like he was right — the room they ended up in did look an awful lot like a little kid’s playroom. (Which made sense, she figured. If you were going to have a kid on a spaceship that also had what amounted to a panic room, you might as well put them together, right?) Caine and Susi both relaxed when the door shut behind them, and Lang announced, “We’re here.”

”Good to know. Now that you’re in the safe zone, we’ll be switching up the ship’s configuration a little. Kurt?”

Kurt looked up and waved. “Hi!”

”Hey, kiddo. How are your ears?”

“Good. I’m hungry.”

”You know where the food is, buddy. Make sure you offer some to everyone, okay?”

It wasn’t a large room, although it was certainly bigger (and better lit) than the one they’d been stuck in on Titus’ ship. Still, the only way for them all to fit was to sit on the floor, and she wound up sandwiched between Caine and Susi again while Kurt handed out snack bars. “So, welcome back,” she told them. “How was the Marshal stuff?”

“Fine,” Caine said. “They agreed to keep a presence around Earth until your inheritance is released.”

“Not that it’s doing us much good right now,” Susi muttered.

There was something about the whole situation that didn’t make sense, that had been bothering her ever since Famulus’ gloating. “Were they investigating Titus? Were we investigating Titus?”

“Dad wasn’t,” Kiza said. She broke off a minuscule piece of her snack bar and swallowed it without chewing. She offered the rest of the bar to Susi, who had already finished her own. (Jupiter unwrapped her own bar warily after that. It wasn’t — completely awful. She still handed it off to Caine after what she hoped would be considered a polite amount of time.)

Caine shook his head. “Not us.”

“But someone is. Or was.”

“Or Famulus wants us to think someone is.”

Deva’s voice came back over the intercom. ”Your Majesty certainly does have a knack for making interesting friends. Kalique Abrasax just showed up.”

She thought she must be spending too much time with the orb, because that actually sort of made sense. “It was probably her,” she said out loud, and got four confused looks for it.

“No, think about it. If Kalique was investigating Titus — because why not, they’re probably all spying on each other, but made it look like it was us instead — she gets the information, plus the bonus points for sweeping in for a potential rescue if and when Famulus grabbed us.”

“For what purpose?” Susi asked.

“Convoluted plan with an immense time horizon?” Lang asked, and Jupiter shrugged. “Seems like as good a theory as any.”

And then another voice, that she thought must be Okami. "And now it's a party.  The Aegis is here as well."

“Dad’s with them,” Kiza said, looking like she was torn between being worried and breathing a sigh of relief.

"Famulus isn't going to shoot anyone with an audience," Caine said.  "He'll be fine.  We should get you to the bridge, though, so he can see you."

“We should probably all go, if that’s an option,” Jupiter said. There was a big difference between ‘quietly running away from a ship that had already broken the law’ and ‘purposefully ignoring a potentially violent political incident.’ With the arrival of the Aegis, the chances of it becoming option two had suddenly gotten a lot higher.

"There's room for everyone, if you'd like.  It could only help to have an Entitled on screen if demands start flying."

And it was then that she remembered she was still in her pajamas.  Lang was too, of course, but Lang’s version of pajamas was basically an only-slightly-less-badass version of her usual outfits. In other words, Lang looked like she was ready to kick ass and take names, while Jupiter was in a faded t-shirt and flannel pants. “Remind me to get cooler pajamas if we’re going to keep getting kidnapped before breakfast,” she said.

She felt more than heard Caine’s low rumble of irritation. “We’ll talk security later,” Susi promised. “Stand up.”

She did. Susi was already moving, pulling something out of an improbably placed pocket.  She shook it out to reveal a shirt.  

Jupiter blinked, but took it automatically when Susi handed it to her.  "You carry an extra shirt?" 

"It's for you," Susi said.  "I have pants too.  Caine has your jacket, and he's supposed to have your gun."  She glared at Caine, like maybe Famulus taking all their weapons was something he should have planned for.

“We can borrow some,” Lang said, shuffling Kurt so he was facing the other way, and placing her hand on a palm-print scanner on the wall. The panel slid open to reveal a serious arsenal. Jupiter mostly didn’t look, because 1) plausible deniability, and 2) apparently Caine and Susi had been planning on how to carry around an entire backup wardrobe for her, and she really needed to get dressed.

(All of it was black. She should have expected that, probably. Along with the quick group hug she got pulled into before they left the room.)

By the time they reached (the bridge? command deck?) the place where everyone else was, Kiza was practically vibrating. The view screen was dark.

“Suggestions?” Jupiter asked. The politics of pack and Entitlement and guest and rescuer were something she was willing to run with her instincts on when they were on Earth, but this wasn’t Earth. Not her planet, not her rules.

“They’re just sitting there,” Deva said. “No transmissions of any kind that we can detect.”

The second woman nodded to her. “Pleasure to meet you, Your Majesty. Best guess is that everyone’s waiting on you.”

“Contact the Aegis. Please. I assume the other ships will be eavesdropping?”

Deva shrugged. “Probably. Secure transmissions are temperamental, at best.”

The screen lit up anyway, and Captain Tsing managed to look completely unsurprised to see them.

“Captain Tsing,” Okami said politely.

“Captain. Your Majesty. There are a few people here who’ll be relieved to see you.” She glanced to the side. “Mr. Apini? Ms. Jones?”

Wait. No. No way was her mom there.

But yes, there she was, stepping up next to Stinger and putting her hands on her hips in a thoroughly disapproving way. “Jupiter,” she said.

(Jupiter was suddenly very aware of the gun strapped to her thigh, and the braid in her hair that Lang had put in that morning.) Her mother seemed to take it all in, and then said, “This is keeping each other safe?”

“How are you even here?” Jupiter asked her.

Her mother gave her a look that said she wasn’t about to be distracted. “Mikka told me you were in trouble. Captain Tsing has been very accommodating.”

Captain Tsing’s expression gave nothing away, but the possibilities of that sentence were — daunting. Jupiter resisted the urge to sigh. “We’re safe,” she said. “And it’s good to see you.”

She tried to think of what she could add, that would be reassuring without being too revealing. Finally, she said, “The worst that’s happened to us was being stuck in the dark. And even then, I had this.” She held up the glowing marble, and deliberately handed it to Caine, before turning back to her mother and raising her eyebrows.

Her mother’s expression softened. Of everyone watching, she was probably the only one who knew Jupiter had been scared of the dark as a child. “Well. Good. It’s not good to be left in the dark, is it?” She raised her eyebrows right back, and Jupiter knew there would be no more putting off the conversation she’d been avoiding.

Deva caught her eye. “Still nothing from Famulus or Kalique. There’s not any reason we need to stay in the area,” she said quietly. “We would accompany you back to Earth, if you would accept.”

It sounded like a more formal offer than she’d been expecting, but she trusted Lang — and by extension, that meant Lang’s family too. “I would be honored,” she said. She looked back at the view screen. “Let’s go home.”

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