Disclaimer: Farscape is
owned by the Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Entertainment and Nine
Network Australia. I'm only borrowing these characters and promise
to return them in good working order. Well, all but one of them,
anyway. Please don't sue me; I'm already broke.
Spoilers: Premier, A Human Reaction, Nerve, The Hidden Memory, Look At The Princess
Part 2: I Do, I Think, Won't Get Fooled Again
Author's note: This takes place immediately following Fractures. Special thanks go
to my beta-reader, Teri Woolley. Constructive feedback is always
appreciated and can be sent to email@example.com
moved quickly through the crowded bazaar, heading for the far
end where most of the weapons dealers gathered. Well, as quickly
as she could, sidestepping the many gesticulating shoppers pressing
three and four deep on both sides of the narrow street as they
haggled loudly over various merchandise. Passing an intersection,
she nearly gagged at the smell emanating from a food trader. She
shook her head and winced. The commerce planet was hot and the
air seemed to hang close to her like a fog. There was no wind.
Even if there were, there was no place for it to go. The high
stone buildings and close, narrow streets made it virtually impossible
for the air to move anyway. The din was ear splitting and she
was glad they hadn't brought Chiana or Rygel planet side. She
didn't want to be stuck on this rock any longer than absolutely
PK training kicked in as soon as she made it to the first weapons
dealer. It wasn't quite as crowded at this end of the bazaar,
which afforded her the opportunity to quickly scan the wares laid
out on the tables. As she looked over the merchandise, she went
through her mental shopping list: chakan oil for the pulse weapons;
frag canisters - preferably with explosives, although empty canisters
would do, they'd just have to make their own bombs; wiring and
chrono mechanisms. Oh, and a couple of pulse rifles wouldn't hurt.
wasn't terribly impressed with anything the first three merchants
had, but one of the others looked promising. She leaned in to
inspect the condition of some frag bombs. Not too bad. A few had
explosive charges that appeared to be in pretty good shape. Most
of the rest at least weren't ruptured. Plenty of chakan oil, fairly
clean, too. She picked up a PK issue disrupter rifle, assessing
the weight and balance. Satisfied, she checked every moving part
as well as the oil reservoir. Everything was in good shape. This
was definitely a find. She'd been hoping to find standard pulse
rifles. A disrupter was top of the line. Assassination and retrieval
squads were the only PKs to use them. It appeared to be relatively
new, too. Probably hadn't been used all that much.
nodded at the proprietor, a giant insect with huge multi-faceted
eyes, six arms and a shiny black carapace. "I'll take this,
the chakan oil and those frag bombs and canisters there,"
she told it, laying the disrupter back down on the table.
into her pocket, she pulled out some currency. The seller hissed
a stream of foul mist out of his mandible. Looking directly at
the currency, it nodded its head and named its price, "4000
stared at it for a microt. "Don't be a drannit," she
told him. "You know very well this lot isn't worth even 2000
kretmas. But, I'm in a hurry, so I'll humor you. 3000. Take it
or leave it." It was a gamble and she knew it. The disrupter
alone was worth at least 2000. She only hoped the dealer didn't
realize what he had. She held her breath, waiting for his response.
dealer started to protest, but quickly acquiesced when Aeryn put
her hand back in her pocket and started to move away.
the transaction completed, the ex-Peacekeeper made her way back
to the transport pod, keeping an eye out for Crichton as well
as any sign of potential trouble. She stowed the weapons quickly
and stood on the pod's ramp. Wiping the sweat off her brow, she
cursed the heat and humidity. D'Argo should have come down
here with John, she thought. "It's too frelling
hot for Sebaceans," Aeryn muttered to herself. She checked
her chronometer. It was getting late. Aeryn headed back to the
bazaar, scanning the area as she walked.
prowlers were just landing as she made her way out of the spaceport.
"Frell!" she said to herself. "That's a problem."
She picked up the pace, taking the most direct route back to the
center of the marketplace. She needed to find Crichton, quickly.
stopped at the first intersection and stepped up on a low wall
separating two merchant stalls. She scanned the crowd in all directions.
There were very few Sebaceans. That was a good thing; it would
make it easier to find Crichton. She looked back the way she had
come. She could see the two Peacekeepers entering the market.
They turned left down an alley to cut across to the next street.
Aeryn decided it would be best not to let them get too far away.
She headed down the street parallel to the alley, occasionally
pushing people out of her way.
she got to the next intersection, she stopped again to look around.
The street to her left was much less crowded than the others.
The Peacekeepers were walking toward her position. She spotted
Crichton several hentas away from the PKs, walking toward them.
He didn't see them. Aeryn started up the street behind Crichton,
moving as quickly as possible without attracting attention and
keeping an eye on the PKs. She tried to stay in the shadows as
much as possible. She caught up with Crichton only a few hentas
away from the Peacekeepers, who spotted her just as she was about
to get Crichton's attention.
PKs drew their weapons, but Aeryn managed to get a shot off first.
The pulse blast hit one of the PKs who fell to the ground.
filled the air as shoppers ducked and started running away from
the confrontation. Some dove behind merchants' tables.
Get down!" Crichton pulled her down behind him. His right
hand moved to his sidearm and pulled it from the holster. A pulse
blast from the second PK hit the wall where Aeryn had been standing.
Crichton fired and hit the PK in the leg. A second shot from Aeryn
finished the firefight, hitting the PK square in the chest.
weapons trained on the fallen Peacekeepers, Crichton and Aeryn
walked over to check them out. One was dead, the other unconscious.
They removed the pulse weapons and comms, gathered the supplies
Crichton had been carrying and hurried back toward the spaceport.
brought two prowlers," Aeryn informed him as they walked.
"You get back to the transport pod. I'm going to make sure
they can't use the prowlers to contact their unit."
careful, Aeryn. I've got a feeling there may be more than just
these two." Crichton gave her a worried look, nodded to her
and made his way back to the pod. Once there, he quickly stowed
the rest of the supplies and started preflight. Then he commed
Aeryn, "How long 'til you get back here, Aeryn?"
of plan, Crichton," she replied. "Some of the locals
must have notified the constabulary about the shooting. They're
closing in on my position. I'm taking a prowler. You get going.
I'll meet you back on Talyn." With that, the transmission
Crichton raised the loading ramp and sealed the doors. He decided
to skip the rest of the preflight check and fired up the engines.
Out of the center view plate transparencies he saw a small contingent
of local law enforcement running toward the pod. He lifted the
pod off its pad and turned away from the advancing security troops.
* * * *
plan had seemed simple enough. Find Scorpius' command carrier,
wait just out of range until a patrol was sent out and follow
it back to the command carrier when they returned. Plant the frag
bombs in the generator core and propulsion systems, rendezvous
back at Aeryn's prowler and get the frell out of there before
the carrier blew. Simple.
watching the carrier blow all to hell was a very beautiful sight.
But now, as he completed another pass through the debris field,
Crichton was kicking himself for allowing Aeryn to talk him into
splitting up on the carrier.
need to get the bombs set and get off this ship as quickly as
possible. That means splitting up," she'd argued. He'd tried
to convince her they should stick together, but as usual, once
her mind was made up, there was no changing it. So they'd split
up with Aeryn heading for the generator and Crichton for the propulsion
Setting the bombs had been easy enough. But,
Crichton had almost run into Scorpius on the way out. He'd managed
to hide in a small access shaft. He'd barely had time to replace
the cover before Scorpius passed. The Scarren-Sebacean hybrid
paused momentarily as if sensing something was amiss. Unable to
pin down exactly what it was, he eventually continued down the
Crichton checked his chrono. The bombs were
about to detonate. He'd have to haul ass back to the hangar bay.
An intruder alert went off just as he entered the cavernous hangar.
A quick scan of the bay told him Aeryn's prowler was gone. Someone
aboard the carrier had apparently noticed, too; hence the alert.
He could only assume she'd waited as long as possible before hightailing
it out of there. He'd have to find some alternate transportation.
Crichton had some experience flying prowlers. What he didn't know
how to do was hot-wire one. Once again, Lady Luck smiled on him.
Another prowler detail was being readied to go after the intruder.
The PK techs had one prowler ready to go. John strode up to it
and climbed into the cockpit. With his flight helmet on, the techs
assumed he was the actual pilot; they gave the all-clear signal
and waved him out of the hangar bay. He had just barely made it
out of range before the carrier blew.
he'd made it back to Talyn, Crichton was surprised and concerned
when Crais told him Aeryn had not yet returned. He quickly refueled
his Farscape module and headed back out to look for her. There
was a single star and planet in the system close to the debris
field. Crais and Talyn took the section of the field farthest
from the star to minimize the impact of the solar flares on the
leviathan-gunship. Crichton took the section closest to the star
and began sweeping the field. He had spent the last several arns
criss-crossing the debris field and still no sign of Aeryn or
his eyes and stretching his neck, he turned at the far end of
his sweep to start yet another pass. Blinking, he noticed a slight
blip on the display screen above the instrument console. According
to the display, there was a small ship just beyond the planet.
"Aeryn?!" he called out hopefully as he swung his module
in the direction of the ship.
Aeryn's voice crackled through his comm. "I got hit by debris.
Propulsion...sens... are gone. Direction... thrusters non-functioning...
dead in space. The flares... frelling with my comms......there?! Can...hear..."
face lit up with a smile. "Hang on, baby!! I'm coming!"
Then he commed Talyn. "Crais, did you get that? Looks like
Aeryn's on the other side of the planet. I'm on my way to her
now, but Talyn'll probably have to tow her in."
Talyn, Crais instantly turned the leviathan gunship in the direction
of Crichton's signal. "Talyn can't get too close to the star
because of the flares, but we'll get as close as we can. He's
picked up Aeryn on his sensors now."
prowler slowly came into view in front of John. As the module
curved around the planet, another, larger ship could be seen several
metras behind the prowler. "Frell!!"
Crichton's face fell. A Peacekeeper marauder was bearing down
on Aeryn's prowler from the opposite direction.
opened the throttle, gaining speed, and cut into the planet's
atmosphere as he tried to close the gap between himself and the
prowler. As he neared maximum velocity he could see that even
with a sling shot maneuver, the marauder would probably get there
first. Still, he gritted his teeth and changed course as soon
as he hit perigee. He aimed a trajectory straight for the prowler,
picking up speed exponentially.
I can see you now," Aeryn's voice rang with relief. "I
wasn't sure you'd made it off the carrier. Where's Talyn? We'll
need his docking web to get me back aboard. The sooner the better,"
she said. She knew at least one marauder had escaped the carrier's
destruction and wasn't keen on being caught by it.
he could answer, the marauder reached the prowler and extended
it's docking arms.
Aeryn cried. Looking over her shoulder she could now see the Peacekeeper
ship drawing her in. "Crais!! Where the frell are you?!"
Aeryn was getting desperate. But, Talyn was still too far away.
Weaving in and out amongst the remnants of the command carrier,
Crais knew they weren't going to make it in time.
knowing what he could do, Crichton tried to push every last drop
of speed from the module, willing it move faster than he knew
it could. He was just about at the outer edge of the planet's
atmosphere when the module started to shimmy and an eerie blue
light glowed through the cockpit. He turned and looked out into
the mouth of the wormhole he'd just created.
fought to maintain control of the module as the gravity well from
the wormhole pulled him inexorably toward itself. Looking back
toward the prowler, his cry was just as desperate as Aeryn's had
last thing he saw before being swallowed up in the wormhole's
blue glow was the marauder's hangar bay door closing around the
prowler. The last thing he heard was the frenzied cry of the woman
he loved more than anything.
* * * *
lay on a cot in a small room, one arm covering his eyes. The room
contained the cot, a small desk and chair and a nightstand. Untouched
on the desk was a tray of food. On the wall at the foot of the
cot was a door to a small lavatory. On the opposite wall was a
door to the hallway; he knew an Air Reserve MP stood on the other
side. He had poked his head out shortly after the base and NORAD
commanders had left. Until he figured out the game, there was
no point trying to get out.
went through the events of the last two days again. The wormhole
had spit him out in the upper atmosphere of a blue planet that
looked remarkably like Earth.
what I need, he'd thought. Another mind frell.
remembered how the Ancients had created an Earth-like environment
from his memories. And when D'Argo, Aeryn and Rygel had followed
him through the Ancients' fake wormhole, they'd made him think
Rygel had died and been dissected and that Aeryn and D'Argo would
of the aliens had even taken the form of his father. Looking back,
that had been the hardest part of the deception to deal with.
It wasn't bad enough they'd made him think he'd come home or that
his friends were in danger from his own people. That would have
been bad enough. No, they had to make him think he'd reconnected
with his father. He'd even had a heart-to-heart with his 'dad'.
He'd felt that his dad finally understood what it had been like
for him, growing up in his astronaut-father's shadow. Yeah,
he thought, I wasn't homesick enough.
fact that the Ancients had 'given' him a leg up on wormhole technology
wasn't much consolation, either. Thanks to the equations they'd
put deep in his subconscious, he'd been on the run for the past
two cycles from probably the cruelest, most ruthless being in
had stumbled across the equations when he'd had Crichton in his
Aurora chair, a nifty little torture device that basically rips
thoughts and memories from its occupants' minds. Crichton hadn't
even known the equations were there until Scorpius found them.
had ended up in the chair while trying to get a Sebacean tissue
sample to save Aeryn from certain death. Scorpius' ability to
discern deception had tipped him off to Crichton's ruse and the
rest, as they say, was history. When the chair failed to extract the information,
Scorpius had implanted a neural chip containing a copy of his
personality in Crichton's head. The chip had damn near driven
it had saved him from a Scarren-induced 'Earth' insanity trip.
He'd woken up one day to find himself in a hospital room. His
'father' was there and he'd explained that the Farscape experiment
had failed, that he'd crashed the module and been in a coma for
a week. Of course, John didn't buy it for second. When Aeryn had
walked in dressed as a doctor and introduced herself as 'Bettina
Fairchild', his suspicions were confirmed. Things went downhill
pretty quick from there.
seems the Scarren was taking John's memories and twisting them
in an attempt to drive him insane. The goal, apparently, was to
determine what it was that Scorpius wanted from Crichton. It had
almost worked, too. Especially after Crichton's dead mother showed
up in a bar begging him to 'stay with' her 'this time' as she
died. The Scorpius clone manifested itself in the hallucination
and urged John to fight the Scarren's attempts to break him down.
In the end the clone had stopped John's heartbeat long enough
to convince the Scarren that he was dead and John had killed the
thoughts drifted back to his arrival on this particular world.
As he'd flown, he'd recognized various cities along the seaboard
of what appeared to be the southeastern United States. He'd been
impressed with the level of detail. It looked pretty much as he
remembered it. Of course, whoever was behind this was probably
using his own memories to create the scenario. It stood to reason
that things would be exactly as he remembered.
The fighter escort was a
new wrinkle, though. For some reason he hadn't thought to turn
Farscape One's radio on when he'd arrived. He'd only thought of
it when he saw the two F-15s headed his way. Turning it on, he
heard the voice of one of the pilots.
You have violated United States airspace. Identify yourself immediately.
Failure to do so will result in the application of terminal force.
I repeat. You have violated United States airspace. Identify yourself.
If you do not do so immediately, you will be shot
Hmm. That's new,
he thought. Not something I would have expected, but okay;
let's see where they're going with this. He hit the transceiver
is Farscape 1. Commander John Crichton, IASA astronaut. I'm just
on my way to Canaveral. Over." He waited for the reply.
1, this is Major Fuhrman, NORAD Alert Detachment, 125th
Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard. We will escort you to
Homestead Air Reserve Base. You will not deviate from this course.
Any deviation will result in the use of terminal force. Do you
Major. I understand," Crichton replied. He didn't know what
was going on, but he was pretty sure this was not the Earth he
landing at Homestead, he'd been taken under arrest, given a physical
and brought to this comfy little room. The base commander and
the NORAD unit's CO had shown up asking the usual questions: Who
was he, really? Why hadn't he responded to the air traffic controllers?
Why wasn't a flight plan filed? And, most importantly, why didn't
anyone at Air Force Space Command and Kennedy Space Center know
about his flight?
up with the mind games, he decided he wasn't going to cooperate
this time. Staring the commanders in the eye, he said nothing.
What were they going to do, kill him? After an hour or so, they
gave up and left. He'd refused to talk to anyone else they sent
in, too. They'd even sent Dr. Logan, the former director of the
Farscape project. That had been tough. He'd almost started talking
to him. Then he remembered the last two times he'd been on 'Earth'
and the wall slammed down again. He still didn't understand the
game and thought he might have to start talking in order to get
some information from his captors. Or, he could just try to wait
them out. Wait 'til they gave away their motives.
in the hallway, two men approached. The MP snapped to attention
as they reached the room.
Crichton," he nodded to the elder gentleman, then to the
younger man, "Dr. Kroger."
Cobb," Jack Crichton addressed the MP. "I'm here to
see my son." He was angry that NORAD had waited more than
a day to inform him of his son's return.
is he?" asked David Kroger.
frowned, "Not good. He hasn't said more than two words since
he got here and from what I hear, he hasn't eaten anything in
two days. Rumor is he just sits there staring into space."
He shook his head sadly. "I don't get it. Why wouldn't he
there's only one way to find out," Jack said. He stepped
past Cobb, took a deep breath to settle the rattlers in his stomach
and opened the door.
John thought, my head is killing me. He knew he should
eat something, but couldn't bring himself to. He heard the door
open as someone stepped in, then heard the door close. He didn't
move, just waited for whoever it was to start talking.
Crichton stood just inside the door, his eyes taking in the small
room, past the food sitting on the desk, his gaze finally resting
on the form on the cot. He felt his mouth go dry.
He could barely get the word out past the lump rising in his throat.
the cot, John squeezed his eyes shut against the tears that threatened
to spill over and kept his arm tight over them. He felt a lump
rise in his own throat as his body tensed. It's not real,
he told himself. It's not real. It's just another mind game;
that's all. He's not my dad. He couldn't allow himself to
even hope that it really was his father. He didn't think he could
take it again if it wasn't.
heart sank with every second that passed without a response. He
stepped over to the desk and pulled out the chair. Turning it
around, he sat down near the head of the bed facing his son. He
regarded him silently for a few moments then asked softly, "What
happened to you, son?" He couldn't imagine what could have
caused this kind of a reaction from him.
he waited, as patiently as he could, for a reply, he thought back
to the party they'd thrown after John returned from his first
shuttle flight. He remembered how excited and awestruck John had
been after being in space for the first time. He'd been on cloud
nine and he got the biggest smile on his face when he tried to
describe the experience to his sisters and friends. He soon became
impatient for his next trip and he had come back from his second
space flight just as excited as the first. He couldn't stop talking
about what he'd seen and how he'd felt out there.
was drawn out of his reverie by a soft mumbling emanating from
the form on the bed. He looked up, trying to make out what his
son was saying. John hadn't moved a muscle; his arm still draped
over his eyes. It seemed that every muscle in his body was tensed
at that moment.
"John?" he asked
again softly. "What...?"
The mumbling continued,
growing louder and more intense as the seconds passed. It sounded
almost like a chant. It took a moment, but he finally figured
out what his son was saying. The realization tore at his heart.
"It's not real!"
John said. "It's Not Real!!" He sat up suddenly, his
back to the wall. "YOU'RE NOT REAL!!!" he shouted venomously.
He was red-faced and trembling; tears now flowing freely down
The hatred and loathing he saw in his son's eyes shocked Jack Crichton.
"Son..." he started.
"Don't you call me
that!!" John spat. "You are NOT my father!! You're not
real!" He took
a shaky breath and, still glaring at Jack, said menacingly, "Get.
Jack tried to calm his son
"Get Out!" he
repeated, louder this time. When Jack didn't move he shouted,
"Get Out! Get the fuck out!!"
Jack could see that John was losing what little control he seemed to
have. He stood up slowly, raising his arms in an attempt to placate
his son. "All right, John," he said cautiously. "I'm
leaving." He backed slowly toward the door. When he reached
it, he turned and placed a hand on the knob. With his head bowed,
he took another deep breath and left the room.
* * * * *
Crichton paced around the small room. He'd been pacing
on and off since his 'father' had left. The more he thought about
the encounter, the more he felt he had to get out of there. He
still hadn't figured out the game his captors were playing and
he decided he really didn't care. It was time he found his module
and got back into space. As much as he would have liked going
home, he knew deep down that it was impossible. Even if this was
Earth, and he didn't believe that it was, he knew he couldn't
stay. The Peacekeepers would eventually follow. And that was the
last thing he wanted.
He glanced up
at the clock above the door. Nearly 2:00 AM. He started to pick
up the chair when he noticed the food on the desk. The military
had stopped leaving cooked food after the first three meals went
untouched. What they'd left the last time was some kind of wrapped
submarine sandwich, a bag of chips and a can of soda. John decided
he was way too hungry to leave it. Besides, he was interested
to see if it would taste the way he remembered.
He unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite. Roast
beef, lettuce, tomato and a hint of mayo, he thought. A
little dry, but not too bad, considering it's been sitting here
for hours. He popped the tab on the soda can and took a long
drink. He grunted in disgust after swallowing. Aw, I hate warm
soda. Still, it was better than nothing and he needed something
to wash down the sub. After finishing both and the chips, he grabbed
the chair and went into the bathroom. Closing and locking the
door behind him, he placed the back of the chair under the doorknob.
That oughtta keep them busy for a while, he thought to
himself. Then he closed the toilet lid and stepped up onto it
to reach the small window above the washbasin. Quietly, he unlocked
the window and opened it as far as it would go. It would be a
tight fit. He reached through and grabbed the outside edge of
the windowsill then hauled himself head first out the window.
Lucky for him, he was on the first floor. He hopped
to his feet and slapped the dirt off his pants. Looking all around,
he tried to figure out where he was in relation to the flight
line. He figured they'd have put the Farscape module in some hangar
and, most likely, would have started taking it apart by now. But,
he had to chance it since it was his only way off this rock.
With nothing really to go by - all he knew was that
he was somewhere west of the flight line - he decided to stick
close to the building and headed to his right. It was the direction
he'd been brought from when they took him to the room. If he could
determine which buildings he'd gone through, he should be able
to figure out his way back toward the hangars.
Crichton 'retraced' his steps, quickly figuring out
which buildings he'd gone through and soon he'd made his way back
to the row of hangars on the edge of the flight line. He stayed
in the shadows and started checking out the hangars, keeping a
wary eye out for any base personnel. He figured NORAD would have
placed guards at the hangar containing his module. He didn't see
any sentries on this side of the hangars, so he ran across the
street between the two closest buildings. Once between them, he
stopped and listened closely. Hearing nothing, he jogged to the
other end of the buildings and stopped again to listen. Again
hearing nothing, he carefully peeked around the corner. He saw
no guards to the right. He checked the other way; no guards down
Well, he thought, six of one, half a dozen
of the other. He checked both directions again, then darted
around to the left. There was only one other hangar beyond the
one he was running past. If it wasn't in either of these, he'd
just have to check the rest. When he reached the other side of
the building, he stopped and checked around the corner before
ducking between the two hangars. He stopped to listen again and
this time he thought he heard noises coming from inside the last
hangar. He looked back toward the street and noticed lights on
in that building.
There was a door about halfway
down the side of the hangar. He moved in front of it and carefully
placed his hand on the knob. His heart pounding, he slowly tried
the door. To his surprise, it opened. He stepped quietly into
a lit hallway with doors on either side as well as at the other
He read the nameplates on the doors as he made his
way down the hall. They were mostly offices and briefing rooms.
These rooms were dark, but he could see light coming from the
other side of the door at the end of the hallway. He stopped when
he reached it and again listened closely. He could make out voices
now and also heard the sound of tools being used. It was obvious
that some sort of maintenance was going on in the hangar. His
right hand instinctively moved to his leg, reaching for his pulse
weapon. He cursed silently as he remembered the MPs had confiscated
it. It's probably in a room somewhere with three or four techs
trying reverse engineer it, he thought bitterly. Oh well,
'Once more unto the breach!'
He opened the door and walked into the main hangar.
On either side of the door stood large shelving units stacked
with various parts and boxes. He cautiously stepped to the edge
of the shelf on the right and looked into the hangar. There in
the middle of the maintenance area was the Farscape 1 module.
Inside, around, under and on top of it were a number of mechanics
and technicians. Some wore coveralls with Air Force insignia;
others he recognized from the Farscape Project. He took a couple
of steps inside the main hangar. No one seemed to notice him.
He took a few more steps toward the module. The techs had removed
some of the modifications he'd made during his time in the Uncharted
Territories. The inertial stabilizers were in pieces on the floor
and three techs were arguing over how to remove the hetch drive
As he stood staring at what was left of his module,
a man walked around the front of the craft and saw him. He walked
up and faced Crichton.
"John," he said with some disbelief. "They
let you out?"
"Ah, not exactly... DK," Crichton replied carefully.
He looked closely at his friend. He looked older than he remembered.
For some reason, it unsettled him a bit. "I see you guys
have gotten off to a good start dismantling Farscape 1,"
his voice hinting at his anger.
"Yeah, well, NORAD tapped IASA pretty quickly
when they figured out you are who you said you were." DK
told him. "They didn't believe you at first. Like the rest
of us, they thought you died when the Farscape experiment went
"You mean IASA or NASA or somebody else didn't
notice the distortion from the wormhole? They didn't see me coming?"
John asked sarcastically.
DK paused a moment before speaking. "From what
I heard IASA, NASA, the French, Germans, Japanese, the Russians...
they all tracked you, bro. But, when NORAD got hold of you and
they found out you'd identified yourself, IASA decided to wait
until the Air Force contacted them. Didn't want to tip their hand,
DK regarded his childhood friend. He shook his head
and chuckled. "My god, John, how did you survive out there?!"
"That, DK, is a very long story. Unfortunately,
I don't have a lot of time. They're gonna notice I'm gone any
time now. Any chance I could get you to stop what you're doing
here?" he asked.
"You know, John, some of the modifications you've
made are very intriguing," DK said. He pointed to the inertial
stabilizers and the hetch drive in turn. "I'm guessing those
extensions are dampers or stabilizers of some sort. And that propulsion
system!" he exclaimed. "I can't wait to hear about that.
It looks amazing." His face lit up with excitement, just
like old times.
John smiled ruefully.
"Yeah, that hetch drive is a real kick in the pants,"
he said. "And, I could really use it right now, DK, 'cause
I need to get outta here." His voice belied his intensity.
DK saw the look in his friend's eyes and knew he wasn't
kidding. "You're not staying?" he asked, unbelieving.
He shook his head.
"What is with you, man?! I mean, you flip out on your old man; you
went all psycho on him! You wouldn't even talk to him!?! And now,
after a friendly little conversation with me, you're just gonna
take off again?!" He looked at John, exasperation in his
voice and on his face.
"Do you have any idea
what that's going to do him, John? Do you have any idea what he
went through when you disappeared? Do you even care anymore?!
And God! What about your sisters, man?! What about them? They
know now that you're alive. Hell, they're on their way down here
right now. You're just going to take off without even seeing them?"
he asked angrily.
John looked at the floor. "Look,
DK, you don't understand..." he started.
"You're damn right I don't
understand!" DK spat. He started to turn away, then stopped
and looked John in the eye. "I don't know what happened to
you out there," he said softly. "But, you sure aren't
the John Crichton I knew." He turned away again. "You
do what you have to do, John. And so will I." With that,
he walked back to the module and leaned heavily against it.
Crichton looked around the
hangar. The techs and mechanics were all staring at him. Realizing
he wasn't going to get the module, he turned around and started
back for the hallway he'd come in through.
"'Bye, DK," he whispered past the lump that
had risen in his throat. He walked quickly back through the hallway
and out the door. Once outside, he leaned against the wall and
struggled to regain composure. He started repeating to himself
the mantra that had gotten him through this far, "It's not
real. It's not real. It's not real."
Once he'd calmed down, he tried to come up with a fallback
plan. He'd been counting on getting his module back. Without it
he was more or less screwed. There was no way he'd get back into
space now. But, he knew he had to get off this base. He tried
to remember the layout from his final approach. The main runway
was on the coast-side of the base, a line of trees marking the
eastern perimeter. The hangars were inland from the runway. That
meant his best bet would be to cross the airfield and head for
the trees. Hopefully he'd find some way to get outside the perimeter
fencing once he got to it. He went back to the runway side of
the hangar and stopped to check for MPs. Seeing no one, he darted
across the taxiway toward the main runway. While there were ground
lights marking the taxiways and runways, there weren't any overhead
lights. That made it easier for him to remain concealed.
When he got past the runway, he ran into the thick
stand of trees and stopped to catch his breath and get his bearings.
He started walking toward where he thought the fence should be.
When he got the fence, he started looking for a way out.
He looked up at the razor wire topping the 12-foot
chain-link fence. It was pointed outward, which meant it was designed
to keep people out, not in. That would make it easier, but he
still preferred a safer approach. He walked the fence for several
hundred feet looking for hole. What he found was a drainage ditch
with a pipe that looked like it passed under the fence. He jumped
down into it and entered the pipe. He got all the way to the end,
but was stopped by a locked security gate. There was a little
room at the top of the gate, but it wasn't nearly enough for him
to get through. He shook the gate in frustration, then turned
around and headed back through the pipe.
He climbed back out of the ditch and heard dogs barking
in the distance. It sounded like they were coming toward him from
both directions along the fence. Looking up at the top of the
fence and seeing no other choice, he started climbing. He still
wasn't sure how he was going to navigate the razor wire. As he
reached the top, he could hear the dogs and the MPs shouting.
He put his right foot and left knee on the top fence rail and
used both hands to try and keep his balance. His only hope was
to try to jump over the wire. He tried to get his left foot up
on the top rail, but started to lose his balance and just pushed
off with his right leg, trying to dive forward over the wire.
He felt the wire slice into his left leg just above the knee as
he went over and pulled his leg back to avoid getting it caught.
"Oh, shi-!" he yelled as he pitched headfirst
toward the ground. He put his arms out to help break his fall
and tried to twist his body so he wouldn't land on his head or
back. He heard the crack as his right wrist broke on impact a
split second before his head hit the ground. He saw a flash of
white, then nothing.
He regained consciousness a moment later. He'd landed
on his right side with this arm underneath his body. He felt something
warm in his eye and saw the bloody rock his head had hit as he
tried to pull himself up. Pain shot through his arm when he put
his weight on it and he immediately dropped back to the ground.
He groaned as the MPs came up to his position on the other side
of the fence. He heard them radio for a medic and a stretcher
before succumbing to pain and exhaustion.
Part 2 >>