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[The third installment of the I'm Frelling With Your Minds Series.]

Author: LeatherGirl lleick@yahoo.com

Summary: As in my other stories, the title says it all. The truth is only the beginning. Then again, don't believe everything you read!

Spoilers: Every episode up to ACN, Mind Games, and Illusions

Category: Drama/Action/Adventure

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimers: I do not own Farscape or anything associated with Farscape.

Archiving: anywhere-please ask first

Author's Note: Once again, I have written a long story filled with several different twists to lead to the final portion of this series: Revelations. Be forewarned: what seems to be the truth is not.

Thanks to Janet DeClute and JilaCosa for beta-reading my story! J

*Feedback greatly appreciated.*

*****

Life in the Uncharted Territories had never been easy. John Crichton knew that first hand. The troubles he had suffered in the past two cycles had been more than any one could bargain for. His shipmates often looked upon him questioningly, their eyes displaying the suspicions they dared not speak. He had seen horrific deaths and worse, had killed under the same circumstances. Torture beyond even human imagination had been tolled upon him. Tears of agony shed during times of defeat. The trust of his shipmates betrayed.

John ran a shaking finger across the cool metal surface of the pulse pistol. He had ended so many lives with that pulse pistol. His forehead was dotted with beads of sweat. Tears welled in his exhausted, blood-shot eyes. His hair was mangy. One look at him and one would wonder if there was even an ounce of sanity left inside this man.

Contemplating his life, John sat in the center of the game room on Antarus. The room where a matter of five solar days earlier, he and his fellow shipmates had been enjoying themselves for the first time since John could remember. They had been laughing, smiling. The haunting laughter echoed throughout the room. John gazed up at the stars above him. He yearned for the familiarity of Earth's night sky. Everything he had become accustomed to in the Uncharted Territories was contributing to his insanity. The uncertainty of the next day's arrival, the unsettling thoughts of those who constantly hunted him down, even the warm, welcoming interior of Moya all were another weight on the scale.

John had managed to sneak onto Antarus unknown to Moya and the crew as they slept. Thankfully, no one would hear the blast of the pulse pistol once he fired. No one would discover him immediately. John could die in peace.

John nervously wrapped his finger around the trigger. His heart rate quickened, his breath grew more ragged. That's right, life was uncertain and though he could not find his way home, at least he could end his life when he desired. John raised the pistol to his temple, praying that he would not somehow screw up. A million memories flashed through his mind, mainly of his true home on Earth and the people he so adored. But the latter of the memories carried those he had come to love and care for in this strange new place. Regret seeped into his conscience but John had already made up his mind. His death would save Moya and her crew the trouble of Scorpius. His stomach was rattling as his shaking, sweating hand grasped the gun more firmly. John squeezed his eyes shut and pictured one last person to comfort his distressed mind...Aeryn.

*****

Pilot anxiously pounded on the controls as he tried to remain calm. Nearly an arn earlier, the DRDs had informed him that John's module as well as the astronaut himself had gone missing. Somehow, neither Pilot nor Moya had sensed his departure from the ship. Bearing in mind this was nearly impossible to begin with, Pilot madly searched for any signs of sabotage to the systems.

The rest of the crew had been silent for most of the sleeping cycle. Pilot had noted sounds of crying in both Aeryn's and Chiana's quarters. He also had observed scuffling in D'Argo's quarters. Zhaan's quarters remained silent. Rygel's quarters had occasionally released a strange unidentified bleeping noise that Pilot did not find the need to investigate.

All of the aliens aboard Moya were still in mourning after Talyn's fiery death but none more than Pilot and Moya themselves. Pilot was constantly checking systems and maintaining Moya to the best of his skills. Somehow, he felt that if he kept busy and constantly monitored their situation, he could push the pain away. But Pilot could feel everything Moya was feeling. The pain just wouldn't cease. Though Pilot lived for Moya, he could not take much more of the pain she was experiencing. The loss of her child was almost too much to bear. Moya was beginning to display signs of stress, her exterior skin growing faint in color and her general health deteriorating. Moya could no longer jump into immediate starburst if called upon. All of her resources were low. Antarus had done all he could to comfort her, supporting her when she needed him most. He never left her side as they trekked further into the Uncharted Territories. Pilot was grateful for that even if Moya was vulnerable.

Pilot took a deep breath displaying his exhaustion. Several more arns would pass before any of the crew would awaken. Zhaan was usually the first one. Pilot hesitated the thought of contacting her over John's sudden disappearance and decided against it. He remembered all too well the argument that had exploded between the two nearly a weeken ago. They had not spoken to each other since, avoiding even the sight of one another. For that matter, the rest of the crew had been acting the same. Both Pilot and Moya, through their grieving, had noticed the separation of the crew. D'Argo and Chiana no longer conversed, Rygel basically stayed in his quarters-he even skipped a meal, and Zhaan wandered around the ship in a daze, often ending up in the Apothecary to concoct some new miracle drug. Aeryn had been completely avoiding everyone, including Pilot. And John was acting even more bizarre than ever. He didn't seem to care if anyone else noticed, either. He had filled his entire room, floor and walls, with a strange writing that sometimes repeated itself. The utensil he had been using to write with had stopped working the day before, sparking even more strange behavior from the human. Just that evening, Pilot had observed the human staring intently at the writings, muttering to himself. All of a sudden, John snapped his fingers, walked out, and headed for Command, demanding to see the schematics of Moya once again.

Two excited DRDs relayed information back to Pilot, revealing the severed fluid lines to the surveillance system in the docking bay. Pilot relaxed slightly but pressed on. He knew the only place for the human to go would be Antarus. There was no place else in the vast area of space they were currently occupying. Nothing else except the war.

Another arn passed. Another signal attempt to Antarus failed. Pilot was growing weary of his search. He was beginning to consider informing the rest of the crew. Pilot tried to contact the large Leviathan once more before resorting to that step. Surprised, Pilot received an answer. Antarus was sending him signals of worry and uneasiness. Pilot grew curious. Why would the ship be experiencing such emotions? There were no signs of enemy ships within the scans. Antarus sent a frightening sound wave to Pilot. Pilot switched his controls on to listen to the sound wave.

Silence. Then ragged breathing. A pulse blast burst loudly into an interior room aboard Antarus. A loud thud followed. More silence.

Frightened, with several scenarios running through his mind, Pilot decided now was the time to contact the crew.

"Officer Sun, Ka D'Argo, Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan, Chiana, Rygel!" Pilot exclaimed. Silence followed.

"Wake up!" Pilot urged the crew. He heard sounds of cursing and angered growls.

"What is it, Pilot?" Aeryn asked bitterly with only a small hint of worry in her voice.

"I'm afraid something's happened to Commander Crichton. He somehow boarded Antarus without my or Moya's detection. We just received a disturbing sound wave from Antarus. I fear something's happened to the Commander." Pilot explained quickly. He could hear urgent shuffling from all of the crew's quarters. Whether they were divided or not, they still cared enough to find out what was going on.

Barely dressed in adequate clothing, D'Argo, Zhaan, Chiana, Aeryn, and Rygel gathered into Command to listen to the sound wave. All five of the aliens wore wearied expressions and looked beyond stressed. Talyn's death had taken its toll on each of them. The sound wave played once again.

"Pilot, prepare a transport pod...NOW." Aeryn stated. She headed for the docking bay with the others following reluctantly and silently. No one wished to speak to the other. They had a common goal, to discover the fate of John Crichton. Each crewmember had a unique bond with the human, whether he or she dared to admit it at all. The fact that he could have done something utterly unheard of in the Uncharted Territories was bearing down on them. He could have been stopped. They could have helped him. But each alien had his or her own agenda now.

Once settled in the transport pod, the crew grew even more silent than before. Being confined to one small space was not a good idea. So to keep one's mind occupied on the ten-micron trip over to Antarus, each alien thought back to the day before.

SEVERAL ARNS EARLIER

Numerous ships streamed throughout the atmosphere of the commerce planet. A thunderstorm was currently rumbling in the large city's wake, threatening to silence communications until the electrical storm diminished. The city boasted a large structural concept, all the building built from the natural stone resource of the planet. This one city consumed the entire planet, as small as it was, and the only resource the desolate place could offer was fresh water from the daily storms. All other resources available through the planet's merchants were imported from other systems.

Zhaan, D'Argo, and Aeryn stood by a merchant's stand, observing the oncoming storm in silence. They had decided to travel to the planet for supplies. And information. Each individual had his or her own agenda. Unfortunately, the storm would cut their visit short. With the knowledge that they had only two more arns before it would be too late to escape the storm, the shipmates split up.

Aeryn walked briskly along the stone pathways of the section in which they had landed the transport pod. She did not even care to notice the feared looks of bystanders who observed her PeaceKeeper persona. She knew they were even more fearful, now with the onslaught of war. There were too many things troubling her to worry about these aliens.

The inhabitants of the planet were short, stocky, and bore thick, wrinkled gray skin. Their faces featured large, bulging black eyes, two small nostrils, and long, curled mouths that hid numerous sharply pointed teeth. Rough tufts of brown fur spiked out of the head and down the back. They wore only robes for clothing. And moved extremely slowly.

Aeryn was frustrated. She had encountered an entire group of the stinky creatures waddling toward their destination. She could not get past them. Scanning the crowd gathering in the center of the market place, Aeryn's heart skipped a beat. She immediately drew herself up against a wall behind a merchant's stand. She slid her eyes over to the sight that had alarmed her into hiding. Two PeaceKeeper officers were patrolling the crowd. She did not need to be seen today. Not with all the things running through her mind.

Aeryn slipped further into the shadows of the sunny marketplace and waited until the officers were out of sight. She had heard them talking as they had passed by. Most of what they said had been the usual PK chatter. But one thing remained in Aeryn's mind of what she had heard.

"Not long now, before the extra forces arrive." A PK officer had informed the other. Aeryn knew that Moya would have to leave this place soon...even starburst to get far enough away. Unfortunately, Aeryn also knew that Moya wasn't in the best health to do so.

Letting out a sigh, Aeryn reentered the marketplace, her eyes following the path of the PK officers who had disappeared by now. Her emotions were a swirling mass of confusion at the moment. Everything she was going through was accumulating, and the longing feeling to be amongst her species once again was overwhelming. John Crichton slipped into her mind. If it hadn't been for that...that human, she'd still be in the PK military. If it hadn't been for John Crichton, Aeryn could have died a PK perhaps in the war, fulfilling her duties. Damn that human. Why did he have to consume her thoughts as much as he did? Love was not an option in her life. She wasn't trained for it, nor did she desire it. But still, that human had changed her in ways that no PK promotion could. And Aeryn was too stubborn to admit that he had helped change her for the better. You can be more. Aeryn thought of the day they had first met. She had felt something for him even then. She knew John felt the same. She had seen it in his beautiful blue eyes.

Aeryn shook her head with irritation. She was still angered by the comment John had made about PeaceKeepers. Even though it hadn't been meant to be personal, she took it close to heart.

Aeryn tried to clear her mind. Her mission on this planet was to find amnexis fluid to refresh Moya. She knew the risk of buying something so rare and questionable could bring more attention to her than she needed, but Aeryn also knew that even living on Moya at the moment was a great risk. Moya's deterioration in health had captured Aeryn's attention. The loss of Talyn had affected Aeryn almost as much as it had Moya. Aeryn had found herself yearning to live on Talyn with Crais before his death had occurred so suddenly.

Traveling through the market place, Aeryn spotted a merchant stand near the end of the mass that stood out from the rest. She was intrigued by it. She approached with caution, scanning the noisy crowd with her weary eyes. Once stationed in front of the stand, Aeryn took in the amazing merchandise around her. New PK technology at its finest. Aeryn had stumbled upon new weaponry that even the cowardly inhabitants of this planet were willing to risk a PK to see. If it had been any other time, the PK officers she had seen earlier would have blasted the merchant away and confiscated the stolen merchandise. But now with a war brewing, this merchandise could be handy to anyone and could even have been smuggled by PeaceKeepers as a trap to lure Scarrens or other enemies happening by the area. Aeryn smiled and silently ran her hand across the face of a large gun, similar to her Pulse Cannon. The owner of the stand stepped closer from his perch behind a stone wall in the stand and peered at Aeryn with interest.

"You like?" The creature's husky voice broke the silence. Aeryn nearly jumped out of her skin, realizing the creature had been there for quite some time, watching her.

"Where did you get this?" Aeryn asked in her sternest PK voice. She held up her own weapon as if to threaten the creature. It only smiled.

"PeaceKeeper war not over. Only beginning. Must be ahead of enemy." Came the answer. Aeryn frowned, not gaining much information.

"Do you realize the trouble you are asking for in carrying such advanced weaponry? It is punishable by death." Aeryn stated, threatening the creature by raising her gun to its head. The creature blinked, barely scared by her threat.

"PeaceKeepers do not control Uncharted Territories any longer." The creature responded with a huge grin. Without waiting for Aeryn to react or respond, he disappeared back around the wall he had been hiding behind. Aeryn frowned worriedly at his statement. The PeaceKeepers no longer held a steady hold on the Uncharted Territories? Did this mean that the PeaceKeepers were losing the battle? The thought somehow frightened Aeryn. Somehow, knowing the PK existence out here was permanent comforted Aeryn throughout her time on Moya. Now with the uncertainty of her race's future, she felt displaced. Who would be the constant patrol of order now? The Scarrens? A shiver ran down Aeryn's spine. The memory of her last meeting with a Scarren still remained fresh in her mind.

"Stop! Turn to face us." A stern voice ordered behind Aeryn. Aeryn stiffened but held fast to her weapon. She turned to see three PeaceKeeper officers pointing weapons at her and glancing at the weapons behind her. Once the officers saw she was also a PeaceKeeper by the uniform she was wearing, they lowered their weapons and stepped forward.

"Sorry, we thought you were the owner of this stand. Clearly, you are as concerned as we are about the confiscation of these weapons." The superior officer of the group stood tall in front of Aeryn. All three officers were male and quite daunting. Aeryn stood at attention and addressed them as though she were still in the ranks. Unfortunately, her act wouldn't carry through.

"Are you not the defector Aeryn Sun?" A young, well built officer asked, standing behind his superior. Aeryn's heart dropped to her knees. She dared not show any emotion in her face and paused before answering, thinking of the best way to handle the situation.

"We have heard of you. Fortunately for you, High Command has authorized your reinstatement. All PeaceKeepers not already fighting in the war have been commanded to keep a watch for you. The PeaceKeeper Resistance is in great need of a warrior of your status." The ranking officer informed Aeryn. Surprised by the turn of events, Aeryn felt her heart skip joyously.

"Reinstatement?" Aeryn swallowed the words. She could not believe her ears.

"Yes." The superior officer confirmed.

"Is our situation that grave?" Aeryn asked, squinting her eyes in suspicion.

"The battle has grown much larger than anticipated. The war has spread even into the boundaries of the Uncharted Territories. Both the PeaceKeepers and the Scarrens wish to acquire the ownership of the Uncharted Territories. The Scarrens also wish to steal our technology for their own benefit. They are a great enemy. We have lost many inter-battles already."

Aeryn remained silent for a moment. She took in what she was hearing with concern. Divided on her feelings, she was unsure what to do, or who to join. She could remain on the run from the war and all the enemies she had gained and be with the man she was growing to love or she could join once again with her own kind and fight to the death...what she was trained for.

"Give me a solar day. I will inform you of my decision then." Aeryn stated and watched as the PK officers nodded in agreement and then headed off down the pathway. She drew in a deep breath and released it slowly. Time had come for her to decide her fate.

*

D'Argo had found more piles of dung on the lonely street to step in than he could ever imagine. Why did he always end up on the short end of the bargain? His day was going bad enough as it was. His mind carried memories of his son, before the devastating murder of his wife. The family had had such wonderful moments together. Even with the controversial bonding of the two, D'Argo and Lo'Laan had been quite happy. Their son had been quite young when she had been killed. D'Argo wondered what his son would remember of that sickening day. He barely wanted to remember the day himself. All these thoughts brought D'Argo to the same conclusion; his son would not understand what had happened nor would he be too eager to see his father. Jothee had probably been told so many lies. Jothee's statement ran through D'Argo's mind once more. "Even if I had a father, I would not want to meet him. He is a disgrace to my family's honor." D'Argo tried to erase those words from his mind. There had to be some way he could convince his son he was not the wretched Luxan he had been made out to be.

For many weekens now, D'Argo had his head in the clouds. He had not been very talkative to anyone aboard Moya. And when he did have a confrontation with any one of his shipmates, the conversation ended in a bitter argument of some sort. Then there was Chiana. D'Argo had loved her at one time. But now he had lost respect for the tralk. He figured she didn't even have any respect for herself. How could she? And what made matters worse was that every time the two had argued, they ended up having sex. They were still physically attracted to one another. But all that had ended a weeken ago. D'Argo figured he could confide his troubles in John even with the current status of the mood on board Moya. Everybody was mad at each other. But when he had encountered the human in his quarters, muttering to himself and acting extremely bizarre, D'Argo knew he would have to find solace somewhere else. He was losing his good friend...to madness.

D'Argo entered the yard where the transport pod had been docked. He set down the sack he had been carrying. He leaned against the side of the transport pod and dug into the sack. Inside were a few fresh rinds of Mocrates he had bargained for in the market place. Mocrates were large, spiked purple fruits that came from a system not too far from his own home world. D'Argo remembered eating the sweet seeds inside as a boy. He had been happy to find the fruit once again. D'Argo picked up one of the fruits and prepared to sink his teeth into it.

"Ka D'Argo." A familiar voice addressed him.

D'Argo could not believe his eyes. He turned fully to face the Luxan standing before him. It was his son, Jothee.

"Jothee! I have been searching for you since the day I...never mind. How did you get here?" D'Argo asked with thrill in his eyes. He stepped up to Jothee to give him a hug. Jothee wore a stern expression, staring at his father with a mixture of hatred and fright in his eyes. D'Argo noticed his son's lack of enthusiasm and then remembered the comment Jothee had made about him. D'Argo reclaimed the distance between the two and looked at his son thoughtfully. Jothee had grown to be a handsome young Luxan.

"I have a message for you." Jothee stated. He badly wanted his father to pay for his mother's murder, but knew this would not happen. He had an ultimatum for his father instead.

"A message? What are you talking about, Jothee? What's going on?" D'Argo asked, sensing the suspicious nature of his son. He could sense something was not right.

"A message...from a certain PeaceKeeper Captain. If you truly believe you are worthy of being my father, you will listen and act on this message." Jothee said, boring his eyes down on his father. D'Argo felt a twinge of sadness in his heart. The look in Jothee's eyes was regrettably carrying the same rage he had carried within himself for many cycles.

"I understand. What is the message?" D'Argo inquired half-heartedly. He figured the message had to deal with Scorpius somehow, even though he knew he was dead. And it had to do with John Crichton as well.

*

Zhaan wandered the marketplace preoccupied, her mind concentrating on other matters. She thought of the tense past few weekens on Moya. Regret. Anger. Satisfaction. Zhaan shuddered at the last thought. She had felt great satisfaction in arguing with Crichton. And she had seen it in his eyes as well. They had both become callous. The cause was unknown, or perhaps unwilling to surface. Yet, Zhaan did not seek restitution. She only wanted things to be as they once were. Deep down, Zhaan knew this would never happen.

Zhaan continued on past the numerous stands of herbs and interesting food items and headed for one booth in particular. The booth had sparked her interest the microt she had entered the marketplace. Several vials of bluish liquid stood amongst the stand's other merchandise. Zhaan approached the booth and looked at the vials with great interest. The liquid in these vials assisted those who ingested it in soothing the mind. But the use for this medication was not to help Crichton; Zhaan had the vials in mind for herself.

A creature emerged from behind the vials, startling Zhaan. The foul creature was another inhabitant of this planet. Zhaan let out a sigh of relief and inquired about the price of the vials. The creature grinned mischievously. Zhaan was about to wish they had brought Rygel along. Without warning, the creature scurried away and out of sight. Zhaan searched behind the vials for any sign of the creature with concern on her face. She then sensed a being behind her. Zhaan turned quickly to face the being. Her jaw dropped.

"Stark?" Zhaan whispered, though her voice was barely discernable.

The glowing figure before her very much resembled Stark. But Zhaan knew it wasn't really him. She was only imagining him, as she had imagined him several solar days ago in her chamber during meditation. Unfortunately, the creature in the booth had seen him too, so now Zhaan had to come up with a new answer to comfort herself. Half of her wanted to drink one of those vials immediately to rid her mind of this illusion.

"Zhaan, you are in trouble." Stark stated calmly. Zhaan blinked.

"You must leave this place. Leave this solar system. Get Moya and the others as far away as possible. When they are safe, then you must leave them." Stark ordered. He reached forward and placed a shimmering hand on her shoulder. Zhaan almost flinched at the warmth of his touch. Just how much of what she was seeing was real, she couldn't discern.

"Why?" Zhaan asked softly with a furrowed brow. Stark suddenly began to diminish before her eyes. Zhaan cried out and then he was gone. Gone once again to leave her all alone. Zhaan felt coldness at heart.

*

Chiana and Rygel were enjoying their current raid of the food cubes in the galley. As usual, they had been left aboard Moya while the others went down to the commerce planet to gather supplies. Even though the two didn't have any spats between them, they remained silent and cautious of the other's actions. Chiana observed Rygel's usual disgusting eating habits with a keen eye. Rygel stared back at her, wondering what the Nebari girl was planning to do.

"Well, if it isn't my two favorite snurchers!" Crichton stated loudly as he entered the galley. Chiana and Rygel nearly choked on their food with surprise.

"Crichton? What are you doing here? I thought you were going down to the planet with the others." Chiana asked curiously, tilting her head. Crichton smiled and took a seat across from them at the table. He grabbed a food cube and munched it with a blank expression.

"Nah, I decided I'd have more fun sticking around here with you guys." Crichton stated sarcastically.

"Well, since Aeryn sticks to your side like frog boy over here sticks to his throne sled, I figured you'd be on the commerce planet." Chiana retorted. Crichton frowned at Chiana. The three became silent for quite a while.

"How many frelling commerce planets...no wait, inhabitable planets are there out here? Gees! Earth is the only inhabited planet for billions of light years, yet here, we can go to whatever planet we want within a solar day's trip to shop for daisies. What's up with that?" Crichton muttered, chucking an unwanted food cube back towards the container. Chiana wore a confused expression while Rygel huffed impatiently.

"Frelling ignorant human. What do you expect coming from such a primitive race?" Rygel muttered. Crichton straightened, looking sternly at Rygel. Rygel leaned back fearfully, noting how quickly Crichton had transformed to anger.

"Crichton, What's your problem?" Chiana confronted him. Crichton looked at her with the same expression, which she took as an invitation to piss him off. But before she could say anything, Crichton stood up.

"My problem? What's my problem? Well, let's see here. My brain's been the prize of the universe and turned into mush on several occasions, everyone on this ship is driving me and each other insane, I can't find a way home, and I just can't seem to find the equivalent of a frelling pen around here!"

Surprised by Crichton's outburst, Chiana and Rygel remained silent.

"Got anything better than food cubes?" Crichton asked suddenly shifting to a soft tone and sitting back down. Chiana and Rygel glanced at each other questioningly.

"Ah sure, Raslac." Chiana stated, slipping a flask out from her hiding place under the table. She handed it over to Crichton. Crichton took a whiff of it, then chugged down a mouthful. He allowed the liquor to sting down his throat and nodded to Chiana in thanks. Chiana nodded once back, mimicking his motion. Crichton stood up, patted his belly, gave them a look they could not interpret, and headed out of the galley as quickly as he had come.

Chiana looked to Rygel, who seemed busy eating once again.

"What was that all about?" Chiana asked in bewilderment.

"Like I said before, he's from a primitive race...don't expect much." Rygel replied dryly.

Chiana glanced back at the doorway and drifted into deep thought. She was beginning to realize more and more that her welcome on Moya was wearing thin. Maybe she'd get her wish sooner than later to leave and join up with Nerri.

*****

BACK TO THE PRESENT

The docking bay aboard Antarus was extremely quiet. Crichton's module sat nearby, deserted. Aeryn, D'Argo, Chiana, and Zhaan stood near the transport pod, each carrying a gun in their hands. Rygel hovered behind his shipmates, glancing around at the ship's interior. The puzzled expressions on their faces soon began to grow into worry.

"Pilot. What's going on here? Antarus' docking bay has...transformed somewhat." Aeryn asked, looking around at the shifted walls. The docking bay was now much larger than before, and held a non-biomechanoid quality to it. In fact, there were strange symbols forming near the entrance to the hall. None of the crew standing before the symbols could decipher them.

"What kind of transformation? Antarus appears to be normal on Moya's sensor scans." Pilot replied over the comms.

Aeryn glanced at the others with a raised brow. "Fine. Just keep us updated on any more communications from Antarus." Aeryn ordered and then ended the conversation with Pilot. She did not want to have any more confrontations about miniscule things.

"Let's split up. Chiana, you head for quarters. D'Argo, you go to Command. Zhaan, check out the den...in fact, you can see the dead pilot for yourself and tell us what you think happened to it. Rygel, you stay with me. I don't trust you going off by yourself." Aeryn ordered. She received no complaints and the group then split off down the hallway.

Rygel hovered close to Aeryn, glancing nervously around at the ship. Ever since he had seen strange holo images and heard annoying bleeps from his jewels, he had been on edge. He no longer trusted this Leviathan. Unfortunately, he seemed to be the only one. All of his shipmates had grown accustomed to the ship over the past few solar days. Aeryn and D'Argo had re-entered Antarus on several occasions to explore more of the ship and Crichton had mysteriously been traveling over to the ship unannounced.

"Do you think Crichton's dead?" Rygel inquired. Aeryn swiftly spun around and had her pulse pistol planted heavily into Rygel's throat. Struggling for air, Rygel flung his little arms around in panic. Aeryn loosened her hold when she realized she was showing too much emotion for the man she was supposed to be mad at. She stared into Rygel's frightened eyes with a stern glare and then let go of him altogether. Rygel rubbed his throat tenderly and moved on behind Aeryn.

"Pilot informed me that Crichton had been visiting Antarus for quite some time now. We can only assume he's in that silly room he came to like so much. He called it the Œgame' room. I think we'll find him there." Aeryn said, trying to fill the uneasy silence that had settled between the two. Rygel nodded in agreement, even though he knew Aeryn wouldn't turn to see his gesture.

The two traveled down the hall, reaching the game room in a few microns. Aeryn paused at the closed door and almost turned on her comms to order the door to be opened. She then realized she was not on Moya and the pilot on this ship was definitely not going to be carrying out any more orders. She manually opened the door and pointed her gun into the vast room, prepared for anything. Unfortunately, she was not prepared to see Crichton lying sprawled out on the floor, a pulse rifle within a finger's reach of his outstretched hand. Rygel gasped and stayed where he was. Aeryn lowered her weapon and raced over to Crichton. When she arrived, she saw blood dripping from his forehead. A slight scratch on his forehead was evidence of something that had gone terribly wrong. Aeryn was close to tears and her heart felt like it was about to explode. She leaned over Crichton's still body and peered into his pale face through her tear-strained eyes. She felt movement from his chest. Aeryn reared back suddenly to see Crichton was very much alive.

"Crichton? Crichton, can you hear me? What happened?" Aeryn asked. Silence. Aeryn shook Crichton gently. His eyes fluttered.

Stars. The beautiful shimmering sparkles of light in the dark sky above soothed his mind. Those stars were clinging onto the last strings of his sanity. Crichton had witnessed these stars in the night skies of Earth, in the darkened atmosphere aboard Moya, even on the planets he had visited. More planets than he would have ever dreamed inhabitable. The wonders of space were at his fingertips but he had lost the fire to pursue those mysteries. Yet those stars were always there. Beaming down on him. One of those stars was home. And it was quickly fading away.

Without a nanomicrot's notice, Crichton sprung up and had his pulse pistol pointing straight at Aeryn. His breath had become erratic and he could barely keep his head up. He placed his free hand on his forehead and moaned. Aeryn grabbed a hold of his shoulder to support him. Lowering his weapon, Crichton looked at her for a moment, wondering if she would decide to give him some lecture. There was only concern in her eyes though Crichton could sense the anger she was feeling for him.

Crichton nearly blacked out once more, but held his consciousness at bay for a micron to consider what had just happened. The feelings within him burned deep. The dream he had experienced shook him to the core. If it indeed had been a dream...the blood on his forehead was mystifying enough. Envisioning his own suicide was terrifying to him. Suicide had never before been an option in his life. There was so much more to life than to end it that quickly on some selfish act of desperation. The dream rattled him with such vivid detail. The images now haunting his mind would not disintegrate quickly.

Just as he was about to speak, Zhaan, D'Argo, and Chiana entered the room, whisking past the stunned Rygel. Zhaan knelt near Crichton, checking his forehead. Crichton winced once again and then shied away from his concerned shipmates. He struggled upwards and stood as best he could.

"Can't a guy get any solitude around here? Gees!" Crichton said, holding his head in his hand. The all too familiar headaches had returned.

"Crichton, what the yotz is wrong with you? We thought you were dead." Rygel remarked, hovering over to join his shipmates all standing before Crichton. Crichton searched the troubled faces of his comrades and came to a realization that the anger everyone had been carrying around had not gone away. He still felt it himself.

"What are you talking about?" He asked.

"Antarus sent some kind of sound wave that sounded like you ending your life. That and the erratic behavior you've been displaying lately, we decided to have a look." Chiana said angrily.

"What, so you could gloat over my body and steal whatever I had left of value? How considerate."

Rygel grunted and Crichton sent him a sideways glance that dared him to take his sarcasm any further.

"For your information, I was defending myself. I saw something, I fired, and suddenly, I woke up to Miss Sunshine over there. Got a problem with that?" John asked, looking to each alien firmly.

"That doesn't make sense. What did you see? Another hallucination?" Aeryn asked. She was ridiculing his recent visions of Scorpius. Fortunately for John, those visions had stopped the microt the chip had fried. What had taken the place of those visions was much worse but John wasn't ready to reveal this to anyone.

"Forget it. Just, please. I'm sick of this dren. Why can't any of us get along anymore? Was it something I said?" John raised his voice. He almost smirked at his last statement, but he was serious. It was about time somebody confronted the madness.

"John, no one is angry at you. We're just concerned." D'Argo stated eerily. The crew looked to him with raised eyebrows. D'Argo was unusually calm. John sent him a bewildered look. Zhaan let out a slight shocked noise.

"Speak for yourself. I have not forgotten our argument, John, and I am still unable to bring myself to even look you in the eyes without feeling intense rage." Zhaan stated, staring into John's hazy eyes. John cocked his head at Zhaan.

"Nice to see we feel mutual on the subject. Anyone else care to share their concerns?" John asked, searching each and every face before him. John nodded with a quick smile. "Thought so." He then pushed his way through his former friends and headed out of the game room, rubbing his head gingerly. D'Argo smiled smugly. Chiana huffed and left as well. Rygel hovered, glancing around at the ship, as if he could hear phantom voices calling his name. Zhaan glared at the others then proceeded to leave the room. Aeryn watched the others slowly retreat from the room. Each shipmate was making sure to cast angry glares at everyone they were mad at as they left. Soon, Aeryn was alone in the large room, to gaze upon the stars. Something as simple as a few million dots of light in the darkness only confused Aeryn. How could anyone just stare at them for hours?

Letting out a frustrated sigh, Aeryn looked back down from the stars after a few microns and focused her attention on something on the floor. She stooped down to examine it. A droplet of blood...Sebacean blood. Aeryn knew this because it was more darkly tinted than human blood. Puzzled, Aeryn narrowed her eyes and glanced around the room almost afraid she would not be alone. She straightened and once again, looked around the room. A funny feeling was beginning to flutter within.

A shuffle to her right caused Aeryn to immediately activate her pulse pistol, pointing it in the direction of the noise. She peered toward the darkened walls of the room seeing nothing. Had it been her imagination? Aeryn couldn't be sure. She stepped closer. Was that movement she just witnessed? Aeryn's pulse pistol whined as she switched it to the next level. Whatever was in the room was definitely not going to come out alive. A flash of flesh crossed Aeryn's vision. She fired instantly. Guts and green oozing blood splattered everywhere. The thing was no longer. Aeryn had literally obliterated it. In fact, as Aeryn stood above the sloppy mess, wiping away what had splattered onto her face, she realized she had just destroyed any chances of figuring out what the thing was. Aeryn dared not to examine the remains any further...the smell was horrible enough. Questions hung in her mind as she backed away, still on guard. How did that thing get on board Antarus? If it had already been on board, why hadn't Moya, Pilot, or even Antarus detected it in the first place? Confused and exhausted, Aeryn exited the room, still armed with her trusty pulse pistol, watching every little darkened corner within range of a blast from her weapon.

*****

Zhaan passed through the halls of Antarus barely watching where she was headed. Her head hung low as she thought of her most recent vision of Stark. What had he meant by urging her to leave her friends behind? Was there something more to the 11th level that was possibly threatening to the others? Zhaan had realized since she had entered this next plateau of the Seek, she had become more irritable, stern, and even callous. There was a chance she wasn't quite to the 11th level yet, but that didn't explain how Zhaan had gained the powers she had now. If she wanted to move something, she only had to imagine it. The object would move.

Zhaan approached the pilot's den and already noticed the stench from within. She entered cautiously and took in the horrible sight of death. Zhaan scoured her lips as she stepped closer. Once she arrived at the carcass, Zhaan observed the alarming number of DRDs surrounding the pilot, armed and ready to do what was necessary to guard the creature. Zhaan smiled briefly, as if to let the DRDs know she meant no harm. But she knew now she could affect others simply by emotions. All she needed to do was feel calm, and so would the DRDs.

As Zhaan leaned closer to the dead pilot, the DRDs retreated respectfully. They did not fully let down their guard, but they somehow knew they could trust this Delvian. Zhaan stepped up to get an even closer look and steadied herself on the control panel. Something caused her to look down. Letting out a gasp, Zhaan discovered what had caused the death of the pilot. A small bleeping noise somewhere behind her made Zhaan turn to observe the den around her. She wrinkled her brow with concern. Somehow, the den had grown larger. The walls were much further away than earlier, and had taken on a more metallic glow. The pathway to the exit had also extended, hovering over a much deeper pit into the midst of the ship. Something strange was going on. Uneasiness flooded into Zhaan. The DRDs zoomed back into defensive mood. Zhaan backed away quickly, cursing herself silently for allowing fear to overcome her.

"Aeryn, D'Argo? Anyone there?" Zhaan asked into her comms. The comms crackled briefly before Zhaan heard one voice she wasn't expecting to hear. Pilot.

"Yes Zhaan?" Pilot asked.

"Pilot, I believe you have been listening this entire time, haven't you?" Zhaan stood away from the control console and kept a weary eye on the room, hoping to catch a transformation in action.

"I was only concerned for the well being of Commander Crichton. Is everything alright?" Pilot asked with concern.

"No, Pilot, I sense something isn't right. I found the reason for this pilot's death. His life line to Antarus had been intentionally severed." Zhaan answered. She paused listening to Pilot gasp. "Pilot, do you sense any life forms besides the crew on Antarus?"

"No, Moya's scans show only you and the rest of the crew. Who would do such a thing to that pilot? PeaceKeepers?" Pilot retorted, his voice turning sour with hatred.

"Most likely. Pilot. Inform the others that we must get off this ship as soon as possible. Before we find out what is wrong and it's too late." Zhaan ordered. She did not want to get into any confrontations with the rest of the crew at the moment. Pilot would have much better luck.

"I will. Moya and I both feel it would be better if you were all back aboard as soon as possible." Pilot stated.

"Thank you, Pilot." Zhaan said and ended the transmission. She felt somewhat better after talking with Pilot. Perhaps it was because he had talked to her without any anger. Either way, Zhaan knew she was losing her place among the crew. What Stark had said was beginning to make sense.

*****

Crichton walked through the halls of Antarus with a strange new emotion burning within. Acceptance. An unusually calm and content look set on his face, his pulse pistol securely fastened to his right thigh, and a strange humming rising from his throat. Crichton had accepted his fate. One way or another, his death was creeping up on him. He knew it the moment he had escaped from Scorpius one last time. The dreams had not stopped. The visions had ceased, but the voice had remained. It no longer actually spoke. It only laughed and ridiculed him. Crichton accepted the fact that Aeryn would not be in his future. He accepted that Earth was a faint dream, fading faster than the thought of happiness. Crichton had accepted his life, as it would be. And he didn't want any part of it. He was beginning to realize why he had dreamed such a horrible act in the first place.

Rygel had passed by him once, saying something about strange noises and changed rooms, but Crichton had not noticed him. He just kept walking. His destination unknown.

He should have arrived at the Command by now. Crichton snapped out of his cloud of doom in time to realize he had been walking far too long to have not seen a hint of any room at all. Where was he? Crichton stopped his trek and slowly turned in a circle, observing the environment around him. There was something vaguely familiar about the interior structure around him. The walls no longer held a Leviathan form to them. In their place were strange, broken metallic sections morphing with biomechanoid material. Crichton observed all the transformations he had seen with new interest. Why hadn't any of the others mentioned anything? Surely they had noticed as well. Crichton rubbed his chin thoughtfully. He heard a silent whooshing noise behind him and spun to surprise whatever may be creeping up behind him. Nothing. He swore he had seen the wall move, though. Just a little. Crichton shook his head vigorously, as if to rid it of any hallucinations he might be experiencing. With that, Crichton continued on to find Command.

Another noise disturbed Crichton as he had begun to let his thoughts wander. He spun around. He had seen a flash of something that time.

"D'Argo?" Crichton called out, somewhat in a softened voice. He released the pulse pistol from its holster. The weapon whined in the silence as he switched the power on. A little too loud, he imagined, to surprise his prey with.

After a few microns of silence, Crichton began to believe he was alone. Perhaps it was Scorpius. John chuckled out loud at that thought. Crichton was about to place his weapon back in its holster when Aeryn came charging through from the opposite direction of the supposed noise he had witnessed. Crichton almost instinctively had pointed his gun at her, but he noticed she barely had seen him as she whisked by angrily.

"Aeryn! Wait up!" Crichton shouted, holstering his weapon and rushing after her. He caught up to her and briefly grabbed her arm. Aeryn stopped abruptly and stared into Crichton's eyes with intense anger. Crichton felt a twinge of fear within and wondered what had brought on this transformation in her.

"What's wrong?"

"Oh, you've decided you want to talk now? I never will be able to completely understand you." Aeryn stated sharply. Crichton looked at her with a wrinkled brow of question. Aeryn noticed the wound on his forehead. It had stopped bleeding by now but still looked pretty nasty. Crichton seemed to have completely forgotten about it.

"What is up with you Aeryn? PK PMS? Really. I did not upset you that bad, did I? Of course, then again, I'm a male and you're a female. Our sexes like to confuse the other all the time." Crichton admitted, going off on a tangent. Aeryn's blank look caused him to stop his ranting.

"Maybe you would like to tell me What's wrong with you first? You deliberately surrender yourself to your deadliest enemy, come back stranger than ever, and then delve even deeper into craziness, the like of which I have not seen in even the most severe cases of transit madness. And you just tried to frelling kill yourself! Our species are beginning to show more and more differences by the microt." Aeryn played back.

Crichton paused, taking in what she said with some heart. He knew everything she spoke of was true.

"Do you love me?" He blurted out in a sudden tone of seriousness. Aeryn stepped back in surprise. She looked deep into Crichton's darkened eyes, searching for a reason behind his forward question. He only looked as surprised as she did. She opened her mouth, yet nothing would come out of her throat. She searched within herself, trying to find the right feelings to drive her answer. She found only a dull pain. A flash of the offer she had been presented with traveled through the back of her mind. The future was fading for her on Moya. She saw no reason to torture this man any further.

"I don't know." Aeryn stated dimly. Unsure of her answer, she glanced down at the floor, as if not to allow Crichton to see the lie in her eyes. She heard Crichton let out a long breath, slightly shaky. She could almost hear his heart breaking. She slowly raised her head to look at him and saw a single tear forming in his right eye. Yet his face held a steady look of seriousness. Those blue eyes. She felt almost captivated in them. But her heart was in so many places. She had lost Talyn, and she was losing Crichton to madness. Soon she would lose everything she had come to hold dear. It was time she reclaimed her life as a PeaceKeeper.

Aeryn turned to leave but was stopped by a harsh grasp on her arm by Crichton. Aeryn glanced back at his reddened face to see an unsettling evilness rise over the exhaustion and innocence. For once, Aeryn felt fear from him. She could not discern what might have caused him to snap. Maybe he knew what she really felt for him.

In a slow and steady tone, what Crichton said next would haunt Aeryn.

"Leave then. Leave only with this in mind. I love you. I always have and always will. Even in death."

Aeryn turned to face him but he released his hold of her and stalked off down the hall. Tears began to stream down her face. As her vision blurred with tears, Aeryn sniffled and took a deep breath. She tried to compose herself. She couldn't have the others see her like this. Aeryn stole one more glimpse at Crichton before he disappeared out of sight. With a whisper, she admitted, "As will I."

Aeryn collected herself and turned back towards the direction she was headed. She too, began to notice the transformation of the ship as she continued on. But that was only the least of her concerns now.

*****

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