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londovir- by iamsab

Beautiful Stark: A Picspam Celebration

Stark is a beautiful being.

(Images from Paul Goddard Down Under and Farscape World)





This has to be one of my favorite shots from the entire mini. Just gorgeous!

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And this has to be my favorite shot of all time. Stark looks so... beatific.



The S/Z 'shipper in me picked this one.



This moment of quiet angst is my second favorite shot of all time.



Stark with my other favorite character.



There is so much feeling and compassion in this shot.



Another corona image. The composition is just fantastic.



And thus ends tonight's dose of pure, shameless Stark squee. *g*
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Comments

Hmm. You know, you're the first person I've ever come across who's made a serious argument in favor of Stark/Aeryn, so I hope you don't mind if I grill you a bit. ;)

1) What would be your response to those who point to Stark's disturbed, super-intense stare at Aeryn in Self Inflicted Wounds as evidence that Stark/Aeryn is a bad idea?

2) Aeryn hates it when John is over-protective. Can you imagine how much worse Stark would be?

3) Do you really think Aeryn has the patience for Stark? Because as sweet and devoted as he can be, he is also unstable. He even flipped out and shouted at Zhaan once (Suns and Lovers). Zhaan handled it with gentle patience. I'm not sure Aeryn could do the same in her place.

Taking up a relationship with someone like Stark is a very serious, and, I think, difficult, endeavor. And I say this as someone who loves him dearly. Would Aeryn know what to do if Stark went into one of his screaming jags? Or if he started to bang his head against the wall or otherwise endanger himself in some way?
Heh. Okay, I'll play devil's advocate. :)

1. The guy's girlfriend was dying, Pilot was dying, everyone was dying, and he sounded more angry than anything. Do you blame the guy for sitting there, under a lot of stress and upset, and wondering "What makes you so special she'd die for you"? Of course, he might well get that question answered. And if anything, that'd be good for the relationship, because it means he wouldn't be going in blind to both her good and bad points. In that moment, he has a remarkably unvarnished view of her, disturbing Peackeeper associations and all.

2. For how long, though? John's stubborn, he's never going to lose that over-protective streak. Stark and Aeryn may have an argument, but he does learn to treat people differently. For instance, "What can I do?"/"What can you do that'd be most helpful to me?"/"Stay out of your way." Sure, funny exchange, but that's Stark's ability to let her be self-sufficient rather than hover kicking in between his first statement and his last. He gets solicitous, she gives him free reign to do what he needs to do, and he remembers she'd prefer the space.

3. She had the patience for Crichton, and he was hardly more stable. :) But the real answer is, you're assuming Zhaan's way of dealing with it was the most healthy, and I'm not sure it was. Zhaan dealing with that shouting that way was one of the most dysfunctional moments I've seen between them. What Zhaan did there was hand him a tool; Stark's not stupid and has already demonstrated a tendency to "up the crazy" when the behavior protects him or gets what he wants - if throwing a tantrum and shouting at Zhaan gets results, you don't think it's going to show up with more frequency? By not reacting to that as well as to more careful emotional control, Aeryn would give an external incentive for increasingly sane episodes, rather than increasingly insane episodes.
I have to admit, much as I adore the guy, I'm pretty much with hobsonphile on this one. But, man... Those are pretty darned good arguments. And I really, really, really want to see them explored in fic. Badly. :)
Okay, fine, then, I will. I just don't know if it'll be in time for your Starkathon fill-in deadline. :)
I can live with that. It just means I get somebody else to write that assignment, and then I get two takes on the twistedness. There is no bad there. :)
There's nothing twisted about Stark/Aeryn, it's a beautiful, touching story of opposites attracting, growing together as people, and emerging as strong people for it. ;)
Damn, you're good. Eloquently reasoned. *g* A counter-argument regarding point three, though, namely:

3) Okay, yes, Crichton's not the poster boy for stability either. *g* But on balance, I think Crichton's is the more functional crazy. Generally speaking, Crichton can hold together in a crisis. Frequently, Stark cannot. References: Liars, Guns & Money, Green Eyed Monster (though, to be fair, he did ultimately come up with the plan to get them out of the giant space monster), Bad Timing (you may not have seen that one yet, so you may not know what I'm referring to, but it is another example, trust me). His tendency to decompose into panic, I think, would drive career soldier Aeryn up the wall.

Plus:

4) I don't really see any canonical evidence of interest on Aeryn's part. At all.
3. The Crichton thing wasn't really part of my argument. :) Yes, of course he's more functional than Stark. He's also pushier, more alpha-male, far more stubborn, obsessed with wormholes and his route home occasionally to the exclusion of common sense - and all of those drive Aeryn up the wall, too. The difference is, that's part of who he is, and he's not changing. Panic is part of what's been done to Stark, it's not a consistent behavior. But more than that, Crichton in a crisis is constantly challenging her, trying to take charge, trying to carry through his crazy-ass schemes, getting them into trouble as often as not. He can hold together, but it doesn't make him more dependable, it just makes him a more consistent. It's easy to know Stark's limits. It's easy to take charge of the situation, like her training tells her to do anyway.

4. I think this is in part a feature of how little screen-time Stark gets, versus how much Crichton gets. How many chances do Aeryn and Stark get for conversation, in which it could be revealed? Because, frankly, we don't see any signs of Aeryn's interest in Crichton until well after the event, when she admits it verbally, but not in any other way. She's not free with her emotions, she doesn't act out on them. In addition, Stark's in a relationship with someone else virtually every moment he's on Moya, save when he's crossing over Gilina, and Aeryn doesn't seem undisciplined enough to act out an attraction to someone else's mate. But at the end of SIW 2, despite the arguments and the stress and the anger earlier in the episode, she's still gone to the effort of comforting him with a concern and a gentleness (and a typical Aeryn bluntness) that she shows very, very rarely, and certainly not to Crichton.
(I should add, SIW2 is as far as I've gotten, so my evidence cna only go that far.) :)
3) It's easy to know Stark's limits. It's easy to take charge of the situation, like her training tells her to do anyway.

Ah, but how is this more functional than Zhaan inadvertently reinforcing Stark's tantrums? Wouldn't Aeryn continually jumping in to cover for Stark's panic just encourage over-dependence?

4) Then again, Aeryn has also been known to mock Stark. (Reference: Meltdown)
3. She provides something for Stark to live up to, rather than act as a compensation for what he's already prone to. Aeryn likes to be in charge, and can get the job done, but she would prefer he be dependable. She's been military; she knows about not delegating more responsibility than someone can handle, but she's not going to make any secret of the fact that she wants to be able to delegate. Instead of spending valuable time arguing over who's more alpha in a crisis situation, she and a Stark capable of performing truly are a team, working with complementary talents rather than conflicting talents, and the experience of being able to work in harmony as a team is addictive - after a few experiences of it going right in small ways, Stark would try to come through for her more and more, to hold it together when she needed his support. Stark likes a support role, and he's good at it. Paired with Aeryn, they each work to their strengths, and they'd both have room to grow.

4. I'm not sure I've seen that one. Is it after SIW2?
(BTW, she's also been known to mock Crichton, and, uh, everything else that's vaguely humanoid...) :)
I've been thinking about this some more, and figured I'd jump in to play devil's advocate to your devil's adovocate, although hobsonphile's already doing a nice job of that. :)

1) I agree with this in general, but I do also think that there is an element of, well, creepiness in that "you're very pretty" line that hints at the fact that Stark's attachment to Aeryn is not a healthy one.

2) Well, I can't really disagree with that. I think you know from first-hand evidence that my own personal version of Stark is capable of being accommodating in more or less that fashion, at least under the right circumstances. :) It is arguable exactly how much canonical support there is for that, though.

3) I think this is a teensy bit unfair to Zhaan. To be honest, I don't think long-term behavior modification was a concern for her at that point. Stark may still have been holding out hope, but it seems pretty clear to me that Zhaan had entirely reconciled herself to the fact that she was going to die. Which, even when you're dating a Stykera, has a tendency to put an end to the relationship. :) Given that laying a groundwork for future relationship dynamics wasn't really a concern for her, it makes sense to me that she instead opted to show him tenderness and compassion, rather than fighting with him and making their last days together worse.

Also, I really do have to agree with hobsonphile that I've never felt anything from Aeryn that would indicate that she had feelings of any sort for Stark. Mostly -- and especially in later S3 episodes that you haven't seen yet -- her attitude towards him seems to me to consist mainly of impatience and perhaps a rather abstract sort of pity. That bit in SIW where she offers him comfort is really the only one where I get a sense of any sort of emotional connection between them, and I suspect it had a hell of a lot more to do with Zhaan, and with Aeryn's own feelings of guilt, than with Stark. The fact that she never makes the offer again, even when (IMHO) he very obviously does need someone to "hover," strongly supports that.

But, again, I want to see you make it work. :)
1. It depends how you read it. I'm totally on board with the stalker Banik motif, as you know, but it honestly didn't quite strike me as that, even if Aeryn also thought it was sexual. He sounded angry... and given that he just came from crying over watching his own lover sitting at a mirror as her skin peeled off, because she'd traded her life for Aeryn's, well, yeah, I think he was angry about it - angry that Aeryn was standing there, healthy and beautiful, while someone he loved was sitting in her room covering over wounds and sores so people couldn't see her dying.

Is that an emotionally unhealthy moment? No doubt. It's not a healthy expression of anything. But it's brief, it's understandable, and I don't think it's sexual obsession.

2. I gave canonical support. :) That was a Stark-Aeryn line, without even the added benefit of the reinforcement of a relationship. Sure, you could argue that was beaten-down Stark, and I'd concede it could be. But she didn't slap him down and gave him the opportunity to help if he needed to, and he independently recognized that hovering wasn't helpful to her.

3. I don't think Zhaan was showing tenderness and compassion. I think she was showing fatigue. Her body language was impatient, and almost a little resentful that she was being made to do it. I think she was just too tired to deal with it; she was dying, as you say, and everyone was seeing how run-down she was. But, you know, that also didn't read like the first time they'd had that interaction dynamic. He threw a tantrum, and it seemed very deliberate, and she seemed resigned to it.

And I'm free to blithely ignore future episodes that haven't happened yet. :) But, let's be honest, emotional moments featuring secondary characters are a bit sparse in Farscape anyway. They happen, they're occasionally repeated, but they don't build to anything. The Aeryn/Pilot thing; clearly they're close, but they can go episodes without any conversation at all, and then we get "oh yeah, a moment of emotional connection". Sometimes they forget the "oh yeahs". BTW, Aeryn was, aside from Zhaan, the only one to to try really hard to protect Stark from the Plovakians, and, as she went first, without prompting. (And now you're going to make me re-watch all those episodes I haven't seen in months, aren't you?) :)
1. Ooh, that's an interesting interpretation of that scene, and a believable one, and not one I'd thought of. I tend more towards the "Zhaan left her own 'psychic scent' on Aeryn and it's confusing the poor boy and leading him to transfer things he feels for Zhaan onto Aeryn in an unhealthy way" theory. Which, btw, I do think is consistent with his later behavior towards Aeryn, which does occasionally border on stalker-Banik.

2. Yes, it's canonical support. I'm just not sure how strong it is. That one line is a flimsy basis on which to make a case. :) Nevertheless, I concede it's something, and there's never much in the way of really strong evidence for anything involving Stark, anyway.

3. Well, I think there was some of that on her part, yes. I also -- and this may just be me projecting -- see something that might be akin to guilt on her face for a moment there, as if she's only just realizing just how very, very badly her making this sacrifice is going to damage him. Which may be yet another reason why she didn't want to argue.

I think Aeryn was trying to protect Crais and Talyn, rather than Stark in TUT. I suppose she could having simply blamed it all on him, but Aeryn's big on team loyalty, y'know? And Stark, whatever else he may be, was one of her crewmates at that time.

The point about emotional stuff is taken, but I really don't get a caring sort of vibe from her in any of her other interactions with Stark, ever. I really wish I did.