Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, well except for
a few of them. The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine
Network Australia and the Sci-Fi Channel own the Farscape characters
and Farscape. I have merely borrowed these characters to play with,
and promise to return them in good working order. Paramount Pictures
own the name Star Trek and the characters of Star Trek.
This story takes place sometime not long after the events of Kiss
the Princess. No spoilers, just a quick story.
A PG-13 rating for language.
A big thanks to my betareaders. THANK YOU!!!
I turned on my tape recorder. "Well, Dad, you'll never believe
who I met out here. It's a long story, so pull up a chair. It started
at dinner about 3 months ago..."
Pilot alerted us we were approaching a planet called L'Teymal. Zhaan
was quite excited to see it. Over dinner she explained that 500
cycles ago, she and some of her associates had come to this planet
to help the natives fend off a nasty plague that was running rampant.
I could still not get used to the fact Zhaan was 800 cycles old.
"I was new to the Seek then, an acolyte really. All I was doing
was assisting those higher in the Seek in treating the sick."
she said around a mouthful of food cubes.
"What was it from? Some dreadful disease from a swamp or something?"
"No. They had done it to themselves. A viral bomb. There was
a war going on between five major countries. One of them detonated
a bomb, without considering the consequences. Tens of thousands
in every nation on the planet became sick. Thousands more died before
we arrived. We saved perhaps fifteen percent of those afflicted."
The conversation died off after that for a little while. I looked
at my crewmates. All of our cultures had stood at that brink before.
"Do you think they'll remember you Blue?" I asked her.
"It might help if they do."
"I have been in contact with a government Minister named Monath.
They certainly remember the Delvians who came to help them, even
if they don't remember our names any longer."
"We welcome you to join us, and trade freely among our merchants."
The smiling government official said. "We are honored to have
a tenth level Pa'u visit our humble planet once again."
"The honor is mine Monath." Zhaan replied with a nod. "My
crewmates will take a transport pod down to the landing coordinates
you have so generously given." Zhaan motioned Aeryn Sun, former
Peacekeeper, and me to step into view. "These are my friends,
Commander John Crichton and Officer Aeryn Sun. They will be leaving
shortly." I copied Zhaan's head bow, making up for Aeryn's
calm stare at the official. The Scorpius in my head laughed at my
attempt at civility.
"Welcome!" Monath said happily. "Please, we look forward
to assisting you however we are able."
Aeryn took my arm and pulled me towards the door to Command. "I
don't quite trust him John," she whispered.
"Why not? Zhaan seems to think he's just happy to see us."
I replied, glancing down at Aeryn's hand on my arm and smiling slowly.
Making a crook in my arm and pulling Aeryn's hand through, I leaned
toward her conspiratorially. "I think he's just being overly
friendly trying to be non-threatening to a pair of dangerous and
off-kilter Peacekeeper troopers. He's only the Minister of Foreign
Relations, after all. It's not like they found someone important
for us to deal with."
Aeryn yanked her arm from mine and shook her head resignedly. I guess
she thought that sometimes I took this Peacekeeper impersonation
too far. Thinking of that always made me think of Scorpius. My new
mental voice reminded me that he was still on the hunt for me and
would eventually find me. We entered Moya's cavernous hanger, to
see that Pilot had sent some DRD's to prep a transport pod for flight.
"Commander Crichton, Officer Sun, Ka D'Argo has left a list
of supplies in the transport pod. I understand both Chiana and Dominar
Rygel had several more requests, but D'Argoš over rode them."
Pilot's voice sounded over our communicators.
"Thank you Pilot." Aeryn said. I noticed that Aeryn usually
sounded warmer and more compassionate, more lifelike when talking
with Pilot, ever since Chiana had found that Peacekeeper recording
of what had transpired in the process of getting Pilot installed
as Moya's current pilot. I still shudder at the memory, even if
I had only witnessed it second hand.
We climbed into the transport pod and ran through the brief pre-flight
check. Knowing that Pilot had the DRD's prep this transport pod
made the check almost a redundant process, but the ex-Peacekeeper
and I were both pilots so such checks before flight had become second
nature. I smiled ruefully as Aeryn immediately took the controls,
skillfully guiding the pod out of Moya's docking bay into open space.
"You can take the girl out of the Peacekeepers," I thought
Monath's voice sounded over the pod's communication system. "We
are transmitting landing instructions now. Please, follow them precisely."
"Affirmative." I responded. I looked over the sensors,
noting there were over two dozen other vessels in orbit, Moya being
among the largest. There were at least three times as many smaller
craft like our transport pod zipping around in the upper atmosphere.
I commented on this to Aeryn.
"If you had been with us on Command when Zhaan first contacted
Monath, instead of concentrating on that obscure Erp game. What
did you call it? Chest?" She said to me without turning, keeping
focused on following our set flight plan.
"It's Chess, Aeryn. Chess. And I think you'd enjoy the strategy
of the game if you'd ever let me teach you to play. It's really
difficult. There was this computer company back home called IBM
that created a computer called Deep Blue.."
"As I was saying John, if you had been there, then you'd know
that this planet does quite a bit of business with intrasystem trading.
There are 4 planets with populations on them, and freighters make
a decent living transporting cargo. If we can't buy what we need
here, we can always hire ourselves out as freighters."
"Well, hopefully we'll find what we need."
The conversation ended as we both turned towards our instruments
and concentrated on landing at the pad made available. It was easy
to see with a circle of iridescent blue lights blinking around it.
Aeryn set the pod down with a minimum of bouncing. She grabbed the
bag of various currencies and slung it over her shoulder, checking
her pistols, noticing me checking mine as well. I saw her frown
at the sight, knowing when she first met me the last thing I would
ever have looked for was a weapon. Checking my own pistols made
me think how far I'd come. Ruefully, I thought, "I would almost
say how far I've fallen." Good ol' Scorpy chuckled at my unease.
"Damn him for turning me into this," I muttered.
"Let's go," my crewmate said.
The natives of the planet we'd met so far were polite and genuinely
happy to see strangers. The trio of technicians who scurried up
the transport pod all seemed like children eager to please a visiting
relative. I dropped the Peacekeeper routine since it didn't seem
necessary, spouting random and headache causing "Human Sayings",
just to keep Aeryn from going into complete Peacekeeper mode. Aeryn
maintained her calm Peacekeeper control, not missing anything, barely
relaxing, despite my clich»s, but she shot me a few perplexed looks.
The senior of the three techs motioned towards a lone figure standing
near the edge of the raised platform of the landing pad. Whoever
it was waved enthusiastically at Aeryn and me.
We approached the figure hesitantly. Aeryn was hesitant, I was eager
to paint the town red. The person waiting for us appeared to be
female, and a native. The natives kind of reminded me of dogs. They
were a good six inches shorter than me, had canine appearing faces,
with black noses, lightly furred skin and long droopy ears. I had
to resist the urge to pat the techs on the head.
The attendant waiting for us took one step forward and bowed to us.
I repeated the little head bow I'd seen Zhaan make. Aeryn, being
Aeryn, just stood there. She smiled at us, revealing another canine
trait, prominent, pointed teeth. I could tell they were definitely
meat eaters, so I knew we could get some meat for Zhaan, just in
case. I had no desire to see her in full bloom again.
"Monath has sent me to greet you, and assist you however I am
able. My name is Deetra." She said. She had a pleasant voice,
low and smooth, like Aeryn's.
"I'm Commander John Crichton, this is Officer Aeryn Sun. We
have a list of needed supplies for the Pa'u." I introduced
us and handed over the list. Deetra almost bubbled with excitement
as she read it over.
"I believe that you'll find we can fill this list most satisfactorily."
She gushed. FINALLY! It seemed we had found a planet where we could
actually relax a little. I just wished that Aeryn would let down
her guard a little. She still seemed skittish over what had happened
with Princess Katralla.›
"If you'll follow me? We have a vehicle waiting for your use."
Deetra went down the steps. I thought she might start skipping along
like a schoolgirl. These seemed such good happy people I prayed
the Peacekeepers never found this place. Which meant we had to get
our supplies and leave this place quickly. Deetra turned out to
be not only our go-between with Monath, but our chauffeur as well.
The transport made me think of an airport tram, only with more seating
and more cargo room. We might be able to get our supplies and get
out in one day.
Deetra kept up a running commentary as she drove us to the markets.
She pointed out living quarters of the city, financial districts,
warehouses, commercial centers. We detoured around several parks.
Aeryn seemed surprised to see children playing and laughing in the
open air. I guess living in a spaceship since pretty much day one
makes you forget that childhood is supposed to be a happy carefree
time. At least, for humans it is. I noticed these people took their
financial centers seriously, since there seemed to be a platoon
of visibly armed guards around several buildings. If the Peacekeepers
ever did find this place, they'd have a fight on their hands. I
suddenly wondered what would happen if I blew a dog whistle. If
I had a dog whistle to blow.
We found the markets and parked our vehicle. Deetra took me by the
hand and dragged me along, heading to a particular shop first. It
was an open fronted shop, with a bright red, silken canopy held
up on two intricately carved posts. I was glad I had the Peacekeeper
jacket I had found on Moya. The temperature was slightly on the
chilly side for a human. I bet Aeryn found it perfect.
The proprietor of the shop greeted Deetra like a long lost daughter.
She might have been his daughter for all we knew. She handed him
our list and they huddled together talking quietly. Aeryn kept an
eye on them and on the door. I browsed around the shop. This guy
had just about everything I could think of, and even more of what
I couldn't. A glint of sunlight off something near the back of the
store drew my attention. I wandered back to see what it was.
"Ah, I see you have taken a liking to that. A fine replica if
I do say so myself." The shopkeeper said, suddenly standing
right next to me. He must have been a giant among his people, since
he was almost as tall as me.
"A replica? This looks genuine." I picked up what looked
to me to be a real-deal, razor sharp kitana, like in that flick
Highlander. I firmly pushed thoughts of the other Highlander films
from my head. Partially cause they made my Śfriend' laugh at what
we humans considered entertainment, but mostly cause they really
"No, no. This is a replica of the weapon used by one of the
best fighters we've seen quite a few cycles. In fact, I think he's
Sebacean." The shopkeeper put a flyer in my hand. I stuffed
it in my pocket to look at later. "He's a master with that
sword of his. Replicas of it usually sell out immediately."
I picked up the sword. I could see some differences now that I held
it. The blade was straight, and wider then the ones I'd seen back
home. Of course, the ones I'd seen were crappy knockoffs anyway.
The handle was longer too. Hilt, I meant. The cross guard was just
that, a cross, with flares sticking out perpendicular to the blade
for about 4 inches each, then bending ninety degrees to inch long
sharp points. D'Argo would say it was to catch an opponent's blade
and wrench it from their hands.
"He is fighting tonight you know." The shopkeeper broke
"What?" I asked, still holding the sword in my hands.
"That Sebacean fighter. He has a bout scheduled for tonight.
To settle a dispute over a region of mountains rich in ore."
The shopkeeper peered at me momentarily. I wondered if he could
pick up from my scent I was not Sebacean. "I'll make you a
deal. If I cannot have this order filled by the time the fight starts,
I'll give you my box seats, and throw in that sword you're so fond
of as well. What do you say?" He crossed his arms and waited.
I looked to Aeryn and she nodded shortly. It seemed like a good
idea, we could get all our supplies in one place and be on our way.
My little Śfriend' started whispering to me that it would not matter
how well I used a sword, he'd still find me, he'd still win.
"You've got a deal Lassie." I replied. The shopkeeper's
ears perked up a little and he cocked his head to one side. I nearly
burst out laughing.
We strolled around the market while Lassie worked on our list. Aeryn
had haggled long and hard over the prices, so our bag of money wasn't
all that much lighter. Deetra never lost an ounce of enthusiasm.
She pointed out different areas of the market that specialized in
different things. This area for food, that one for technology, over
there for clothing. I found some candles I thought Zhaan might like,
a necklace for Pip. A majority of the shoppers were natives, so
the air was filled with laughter. If it weren't for all those people
after me, I would have considered staying here for a few months.
But, you'd have to wonder if your neighbors had had their shots,
or were spayed or neutered. After a few arns, we found ourselves
back in front of Lassie's shop. He came out to greet us, looking
a little forlorn.
"Well, here are my box seats for tonight, and the sword, just
as promised." He said glumly, handing over two slim tickets
and the sword, in a scabbard that looked and felt like ebony. "I'm
a man of my word. I give you my word now that I'll have the rest
of that list filled out no later than the fifth bell after dawn
tomorrow." He looked at us expectantly.
"That will be fine." Aeryn said. She took the tickets from
my hand and looked them over. "Each ticket is good for two,
correct?" She asked, looking at Lassie.
"Quite correct Officer Sun." He sounded pleased she figured
that out. "You and your crew are more than welcome to my box
for this evenings fight." We turned to make our way back to
the transport pod with what he had already procured for us. Deetra
had commandeered a pair of strong backs so our supplies were loaded
in the back of the airport tram. We got in the vehicle and made
our way to the landing pad.
"This is still a fine weapon, even if it is supposed to be a
replica Crichton." D'Argo said, swinging my new sword around
in the cargo bay. "The balance is not to my liking, and the
weight is too light for me, but I can teach you how to use it."
"I don't know big guy. It's hard enough to use a pulse rifle
on someone. To use that on someone. Up close and personal. I don't
D'Argo stopped and looked at me. "I know you're not a warrior
John. But the time may come when this weapon and your skill are
all that stand between you and certain death. Or the death of someone
you care about."
"D'Argo, if it ever comes to that point, it probably means Scorpy
has found me and all of you are in dire straits. I don't think a
sword will help." I said. "But, you never know."
Chiana stuck her head in the cargo bay door, then slinked her way
in. D'Argo smiled when she came in. "Going to the fight tonight
D'Argo?" she breathed at us.
"Of course. Who all is going John?" he asked me.
I sheathed the sword. "Me, Aeryn, you and I guess Pip. I don't
think Zhaan would go for this, and I really don't think it would
be a good idea to take Sparky down there without a chaperon."
"Then we'd better go soon. The fight starts in two arns."
D'Argo headed for the docking bay, with Chiana in tow.
I stopped off to leave the sword in my quarters. I put the Peacekeeper
trench coat I had found over the one I already had on. I figured
it would get fairly cold at night. I hurried down to meet the others.
I met Zhaan on the way.
"Hey Blue. Can you handle Fluffy by yourself for a few arns?"
"Of course John. Enjoy yourselves this evening. I shall pray
to the Goddess none of the fighters are seriously injured. And thank
you for the candles." She smiled at me and headed for Command.
I guess no one explained to her these fights left only one person
standing at the end.
"Crichton!" Aeryn's voice sounded over my communicator.
"Hurry up or we'll leave you here."
"I'm on the way Sunshine." I ran down the corridor.
"These are great seats Crichton!" Chiana said, leaning
out to look down into the arena.
The arena looked to be about 100 feet across, and was circular. It
was also about 8 feet deep, with the box seats closest to the edge,
and the general admission section rising behind the boxes. There
were two doors visible, directly across from each other.
"Look, here comes one of the fighters." D'Argo said, pointing
to the door on our left. If the other fighter was Sebacean, then
he'd have a tough fight on his hands. This first fighter appeared
to be at least seven feet tall, and almost as wide. His weapon of
choice was a sword, with a double-edged blade that looked to be
two feet wide, and five feet long. He didn't have any visible armor,
but he had green, scaly skin that looked pretty damn tough. He reminded
me of a Gorn from Star Trek.
"There Crichton, the Sebacean." Aeryn pointed to the other
door. I looked hard at him. I grabbed the monocle from my jacket
pocket and put it on. I zoomed it in on this new fighter. He appeared
Sebacean, although he was the first I'd seen with brown hair, cut
short. All the others I'd seen had either jet black or blonde hair.
He also was the only other Sebacean I'd seen with any facial hair
besides Crais. I guess being able to grow a beard was a perk of
command. He had a closely trimmed moustache and goatee. He didn't
appear to be hugely muscled, but was defined. He was bare chested,
and had on baggy black pants with the cuffs tucked into tight fitting
boots. He carried that sword I had a replica of. I could hear both
Chiana and Aeryn murmur approvingly when he reached the center of
the arena, standing about 5 feet from his much larger opponent.
I'd guess his height at 6 feet, compared to the Gorn.
The crowd roared, ready for combat. Aeryn and D'Argo leaned forward,
eager to see this highly praised warrior in action. The Sebacean
bowed to the Gorn. The crowd roared louder. I took notice when he
bowed, as did D'Argo and Aeryn. Aeryn did the same thing when training
or sparring. It was the honorable thing to do, to show respect to
an opponent, she had explained. It was something that human martial
artists did when facing an opponent, as well, for the same reasons.
I put the monocle back on to watch closer. I zoomed it in so that
it appeared I was only a few feet from the action.
When the Sebacean bowed, the Gorn laughed and swung that massive
blade, thinking to end this fight quickly. The Sebacean jumped back
and stood up at the same time, that slim silver blade swinging up
to a defensive posture. D'Argo snorted. "A simple maneuver.
He could have rolled under the strike and gutted his opponent easily."
It became apparent that while the Gorn had size and strength on his
side, he did not have speed. The Sebacean circled him smoothly,
each foot being planted softly and surely, his head never moving,
his eyes never left the Gorn's face. After about 10 minutes of watching
the Sebacean dance around the Gorn, avoiding the Gorn's swings,
lashing out with quick slashes of his own, the crowd started a chant.
"Khanš Khanš Kublai Khanš" over and over. "Kublai
Khan? Nah, it couldn't be." I thought.
Suddenly, the fight was over. The Gorn was cut in many places, and
bleeding badly. The big lizard swung his sword back over his head,
grabbing the hilt with both hands. The Sebacean, Khan, spun to his
left, stepping forward at the same time. The slim blade of his proved
to be as sharp as I'd guessed. In a lightning move, he finished
spinning a complete circle and whipped his sword across the Gorn's
stomach, sidestepping the Gorn to the left. As the Gorn bent over
from the hit, the Sebacean reversed his weapon, sharp side up, and
swung his sword from ground to sky. At the top of the stroke, he
reversed the sword again, jumped up, spun to the right in the air,
and swung from his left to right, at a downward angle, and we could
all tell from the way his arms and shoulders flexed, he swung hard.
He landed in a crouch as the Gorn continued to stumble forward. The
crowd was silent. The Gorn stood up straight and dropped his giant
weapon. All at once, the Gorn's right arm fell off, severed in midtricep
and his head slid off his body. The ugly thing collapsed in a heap.
The crowd erupted with cheers. I kept the monocle zoomed on this
Sebacean fighter. He said something to himself, and the crowd roared
louder. He motioned for silence, and the crowd quieted marginally.
He raised his voice and said:
"One, two! One, two! And through and through the vorpal blade
He left it dead, and with its head he went galumphing back."
He grabbed the Gorn's head, raised his sword over his head, and walked
back towards the door he entered from. The crowd cheered and stamped
and cried out his name. "KHAN!" was on everyone's lips.
I grabbed Aeryn's arm and pulled her close. "I have to talk
to him, and I mean right now!"
"What for Crichton? Don't you think D'Argo can teach you to
fight as well?" She smirked at D'Argo and me.
"It's not that Aeryn. That little ditty he said to the crowd.
That's from an old poem from Earth. I have to find out how he knows
it. Even his name is from an ancient Earth poem." I pushed
my way through the crowd, trying to find my way down to the level
of the arena. A dog faced guard stood in front of some steps leading
down, so I made my way towards him.
"I'm sorry sir, but only owners are allowed downstairs."
He put his hands out to bar my way.
"Owners?" I stopped, perplexed. "What do you mean
"Didn't you know sir? The fighters are slaves. Bought, sold,
and trained to fight in the arena. It is how we decide certain legal
matters when the need arises." The guard explained.
"What? Like champions? To settle insults?" I asked, getting
I heard a voice behind me. "Oh no, nothing that trivial. In
most cases it's about boundary disputes between nations. It's much
easier to settle this in the arena instead of war."
"Well, who owns that Sebacean that just won? I need to speak
to him. It's very very important." I asked, considering a bribe
might be in order, turning to address the person behind me.
"I own that magnificent fighter Commander Crichton, after a
fashion." Monath stood behind me. "What would you like
to see him about?" A tall figure, clearly not a native to this
world stood behind Monath. About all I could tell was the person
had neon green eyes under a hooded cloak that reached nearly to
the floor. From the curves of the cloak, this person was definitely
female, unless she was Zanetian. If she was standing flat footed,
she'd almost hit 6 feet. A giantess among these people.
"That thing he said after his victory. Do you know where he
heard that? I seem to remember it from home and I wondered if he
could tell me more." I said, hoping it seemed plausible, keeping
it as vague as I could. When I mentioned home, the woman standing
behind Monath twitched, but didn't say anything. Monath ignored
her or didn't notice.
"I really don't know Commander. I bought him from some bounty
hunters some cycles ago. He must have been fighting for quite a
long time when I bought him, since he started winning territory
for our government since his first battle."
"May I talk to him Monath? It's really important." I asked.
"Tomorrow Crichton. I'll send a message to your vessel when
I have arranged it." He said with a smile.
"Thank you Monath, I appreciate it."
Aeryn and the others walked up. Monath bowed to them all and turned
back to me. "Until tomorrow then Commander." He walked
away, the giantess following, staying just at his shoulder. She
must have been his servant.
Chiana drew me away and we headed to the transport pod to go back
to Moya. "Well? When do we meet him?"
"I meet him tomorrow Pip. Me. Alone. Just me, myself, and I."
I said firmly. She batted her eyes at me, but I didn't change my
"A warrior should be with you John, to meet this fighter on
his own terms." D'Argo said. "I will go with you."
"I said I'd go alone D'Argo. These fighters are slaves, and
one as valuable as that Sebacean will be guarded. I shouldn't have
anything to worry about."
I stood staring at the view screen, the curve of the planet Moya
was orbiting not registering to me. I adjusted a few controls on
Moya's sensors absent-mindedly, running another scan for Peacekeeper
"John?" came a hushed voice behind me. "What are you
looking for?" Zhaan asked.
"Just checking for Peacekeepers Zhaan. And thinking about that
fighter. There was justš.. something about him."
"A brutal and barbaric sport." The priestess nearly spat.
I raised my eyebrows at her outburst, a signal she had learned that
meant I was surprised, but tactful enough not to say anything. "I'm
sorry John, but that sort of arena combat reminds too much of myself
before I rejoined the Seek."
I nodded and started another scan, this time of the planet below
the Leviathan. I started mumbling to myself, but Zhaan must have
overheard.› The priestess
moved up to stand next to me.
"John, do you think that warrior will be surprised to see you
and Aeryn? From what we have been told, Sebaceans are not unknown
on this planet," she said.
"It's not that. It just struck me that he's not Sebacean. I
think he's human Zhaan, just like me." I turned to look in
Zhaan's eyes, the longing on my face so apparent that the Pa'u reached
on to stroke my cheek in sympathy. She had found members of her
own species, even if they were all crazy, so she understood my need..
"What makes you think he's human John?" Zhaan asked as
we stood staring at the planet below us.
"It's what he said after he'd won the fight." I said. "It's
part of an old poem from Earth, called Jabberwocky."
Zhaan couldn't keep the puzzled look off her normally composed face.
I could tell she wanted to ask what Jabberwocky meant.
"It was part of a book, Zhaan. Basically, the poem is about
a young man who takes his magic sword to slay a terrible monster
that hides in the forest. The only way he could know any of that
poem is if he's from Earth, or someone from Earth told it to him.
The name the crowd chanted is from another old Earth Poem called
Kublai Khan." I recited what I could remember of the Coleridge
poem for her.›
"I see. I will pray to the Goddess that you find the answers
you are looking for John." She smiled and left Command. "And
I will pray that I understand your human poetry." She said
as the door swung shut.
I went back to checking Moya's systems. I ran through what I could
remember of Jabberwocky in my head. I came up with a bit of it that
would let this Kublai Khan know that I knew about the poem, and
if he was human, it should also clue him in that I was as well.
"Commander Crichton." Pilot's head appeared in the clamshell
looking holoimager. "Monath is signaling Moya. I believe he'd
like to speak to you."
"Put him through Pilot."
"Ah, Commander! How are you this fine morning?" the official
asked, smiling broadly at me.
"I'm fine Monath. Tell Deetra she took us to the right man.
The food he found for us is excellent. We haven't eaten that well
in weekens." I figured some well-placed compliments wouldn't
hurt, and might make the official more forthcoming about how he'd
found this fighter.
"I'll be sure to let her know. Her uncle is a highly respected
merchant, so I cannot fault her nepotism." I could swear he
winked at me. "She asked me to let you know that he has nearly
finished filling your requests, and will have it finished by the
fifth bell, as promised."
"Thank you Monath, we're grateful for your help. Is there anything
we can do for you?" I asked, hoping he'd set up that meeting
he promised the night before.
"I have arranged for you to meet Khan, our fighter." Monath
replied. "I must warn you, he's a strange individual."
"That's quite all right Monath. I'm used to dealing with strange
people. I've been doing it for over a cycle now." I said, laughing.
"Excellent! Deetra will meet you at the same landing pad in
an arn?" Monath asked.
"I'll see her there." I hit the switch to terminate the
signal. Pilot's head appeared in the clamshell again.
"Commander Crichton, are you sure you wish to meet this fighter
alone? Office Sun told me about this battle. He seems to be quite
fearsome. Both Moya and I are concerned."
"Thanks Pilot, and thank you Moya." I replied, patting
the console in front of me. "I'm betting they'll keep him under
close guard, since he's so fearsome. Monath told me he hasn't lost
yet, and he's been fighting for Monath's people for a few cycles."
"I'm still going with you Crichton." Aeryn said from the
door to Command. "If you're supposed to meet Deetra in an arn
we'd best get going."
I knew trying to tell Aeryn to stay here would be futile, so we headed
off to the docking bay.
"John, I don't want you to get your hopes up to much. If this
Kublai Khan is human, he's been in the Uncharted Territories for
three cycles at least. He may be even stranger than you." Aeryn
said as we flew down to the landing area. "Those people on
the Royal Planet may have been Sebaceans, but they were as alien
to me as you."
"You had at least one thing in common with them Aeryn, you're
one of them. Sebacean. You could have stayed and been among your
own people." I said.
"I could not have stayed there John." She told me flatly.
That pretty much ended that conversation.
Shortly, we landed. Deetra almost ran to join us, smiling broadly.
She took both our hands and dragged us down the steps to the waiting
vehicle. We climbed in, and she headed in the same direction we'd
been the day before. We bypassed the markets though, and made our
way towards a large building, three stories tall, and as wide and
as long as a football field.
Deetra parked, and herded us towards the main doors. There was a
pair of guards who swung the doors open as we approached. Monath
was waiting for just inside.
"Welcome! Please, follow me." He led us down a side corridor,
stopping in a room with four guards and several cabinets with locks.
It reminded me of rental lockers in a bus station.
"Guests are not allowed weapons here." He said, bowing
slightly. "It is for your protection as well as the protection
of our property."
"Oh, so some slaves don't want to be slaves? Worried they might
try to escape?" I said. I could hardly keep the contempt out
of my voice. For all the technologically advanced races I'd met,
some were still very ignorant.
"It's not that Commander. We have had a few incidents where
competitive nations have sent assassins to eliminate a particular
fighter from battling their own champion. We really don't like cheating."
"Cheating is bad, but owning another living being is acceptable?"
I asked incredulously.
"Crichton." Aeryn said quietly.
I handed over my pulse pistols, and Aeryn gave hers to the same guard.
He locked them up in a cabinet and handed the key to Aeryn. I decided
not to ask about claim check tickets.
Monath nodded to the guards and led us back to the main hall of the
building. I guessed it must be the barracks where they housed their
property. The thought of it made me sick. Scorpy whispered in my
head that it wasn't so very different from our situation. He'd keep
me safe as long as I performed for him, much like these slaves.
I ignored him as best I could and trailed along behind Aeryn. Monath
led us up a grand staircase, and along a walkway that looked out
over some training room. There must have been 30 people down there,
practicing with all kinds of weapons. I spotted a Luxan, a Scorvian,
and others I couldn't put a name to. There were guards along the
edge of the room, I figured about 4 guards per slave.
Monath motioned us down a flight of stairs, and into a room with
only 4 guards, one at each corner. The room itself only about 25
feet square, and the man I'd come to meet was kneeling in the center
"Here he is Commander. I'll wait outside, just knock when you're
done." Monath left, and I heard a heavy clunking noise as some
sort of lock slid into place.
Khan stared at us. He seemed to ignore the guards around us. He also
seemed to ignore the large collar around his neck. One of the guards
stepped up to me and said quietly, "If he gets out of control,
that collar will send half a dozen needles into his neck, knocking
him out in just a few microts."
I could see Khan smirk over the guard's shoulder. It appeared he
was familiar with the collar and it's effects. I walked to within
a few paces of Khan. He looked up at me without any expression on
his face. "What you said yesterday after defeating your opponent,
where did you first hear that?" I asked.
"I'm curious. It reminds me of some literature from my home."
I said, wondering if he thought I was an insane Sebacean.
"I doubt that." He snorted. "Sebaceans don't write
I decided to play my card, to see how he would react. I whispered
just loud enough for him to hear.
"'And, has thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish
boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!' He chortled in his joy."
He didn't changed position, but he went as white as a sheet
"You may leave now." Aeryn told the guards. She'd caught
the look on his f ace.
"We are not supposed to leave property unattended." That
first guard said.
"Give me the remote. I believe the two of us can handle him."
She held her hand out for the remote. The guards looked at each
other, then the one handed over the remote, and the guards slowly
filed out through a door I hadn't noticed in a dark corner. I heard
a click as that door locked too.
Khan jumped up as soon as the door locked. "How do you know
that?" he demanded. "No one in the Uncharted Territories
should know that poem!" His eyes flashed in anger. It was if
I'd stolen something from him.
I walked towards him and stood very close. Aeryn waggled that remote
where he could see it.
"My name is Commander John Crichton. I'm an IASA astronaut.
I was testing my own spacecraft, doing acceleration tests when I
got shot through a wormhole to this part of the universe. During
the tests, I lived in Florida. In the United States of America.
On Earth." I said just above a whisper. I wasn't sure if this
room was bugged, but I was fairly certain it was.
Khan gripped my arm, tighter and tighter as I told him who I really
was. "My name is Gabriel. Gabriel Simons. I'm from just outside
Seattle. I was a graduate student, on a camping trip when I was
taken. As near as I can make it, I've been stuck out here for 4
years." He started falling forward, like he was about to faint.
As pale as he'd gotten I thought he just might have passed out.
Click Here for page two>>