It had been
a mistake to tell Crichton about the destruction of the Gammak
base. Scorpius should have refused to answer the question, or
simply revealed that there had been an evacuation. But he had
misread the human, thinking that Crichton's question was an attempt
to confirm that his efforts had been successful. So he had given
Crichton the truth, only to realize his mistake from the human's
He had known
Crichton grieved over the deaths of his friends. He had not realized
that Crichton would also grieve over the deaths of those who had
been his enemies.
mood had turned dark, and for the rest of that day he had not
spoken a single word. Nor had he even glanced at the test results
from Dam-Ba-Da. Instead he had retreated back into the depression
that had gripped him when he first came aboard.
day Crichton's mental condition was no better. When he saw Scorpius
he was all too willing to talk, a steady stream of verbal insults
and threats meant to provoke Scorpius into taking action against
him. Consciously or not, Crichton was courting his own destruction.
was fortunate that Scorpius was too intelligent to let himself
be provoked. Instead he relied on his patience, and increased
the dosage of the tranquilizers.
It was tempting
to think of reactivating the neuro-chip, to get a glimpse inside
Crichton's mind. And to use the chip to erase those memories which
were proving harmful. But Scorpius could not take that risk. The
neuro-chip had already done enough damage. And while the chip
had been successful at erasing short term memory, it was far more
difficult to erase long term memories that had already been assimilated.
Tampering with that part of Crichton's mind might inadvertently
destroy the wormhole knowledge that the aliens had implanted.
days the situation continued as a stalemate, until Crichton himself
broke the impasse by sending a message that he wanted to speak
As he made
his way to the human's quarters, he wondered at the meaning of
the summons. Was this simply Crichton's latest attempt to provoke
had clearly been expecting him, for he sat facing the door, and
he rose to his feet as Scorpius entered the room.
gotta stop this," Crichton said.
raised his hand and rubbed his skull vigorously. "This. The
drugs or whatever you're doing to me. Makes my brain feel all....
It was true
that the tranquilizers tended to depress neural functions. Fuzzy
was hardly a scientific term, but accurate enough.
the drugs are meant to help you. You yourself said that your mind
was confused and unstable," Scorpius said.
nodded. "I know. But it's not going to get better. Not like
this. Not when I can't think straight."
He had planned to cut back on the tranquilizers gradually, as
Crichton's mental condition stabilized. But perhaps there was
a point to Crichton's argument. His mind might be able to heal
itself, given time.
this, and I'll look at the damn test data for you," Crichton
why would you do that?" Why now, after carefully avoiding
the data for the past weeken? What had inspired this offer of
already seen it. I won't be telling you anything new," Crichton
said. "I was the one who got it. I might as well see it for
enough answer, and proof that however fuzzy he claimed his thoughts
were, Crichton was still capable of reasoning.
well. We will try things your way. For now," Scorpius said.
If Crichton upheld his end of the bargain, then he would uphold
Crichton said, then bit his lip as if he wished he could take
back what he had said.
later, Crichton surprised him by announcing that he had finished
his analysis of the data from the Dam-Ba-Da experiment. He was
not surprised by the speed, after all the analysis had not been
particularly complex. But he had expected that the human would
try to delay as long as possible before fulfilling his end of
appeared eager, almost anxious to talk.
me something first," Crichton said. "Why wormholes?
Why not try something you already have, like duplicating the starburst
if this is an attempt to delay---"
no rush. We both know the analysis you put in that tech station
was a bucket of dren. So there's no reason not to answer my question."
took a seat opposite Crichton, noticing with interest that despite
his closeness, for once Crichton showed no sign of the fear that
he had shown before in his presence. Even the human's thought
patterns were clearer than they had been, more focused. It was
as if he had found a way to anchor himself.
takes living energy to generate a starburst field, something the
race known as the Builders must have known when they designed
the biomechanoid Leviathans," Scorpius explained.
So you took their word for that? No attempts to figure out your
own starburst drive?"
discovery of the Leviathans, Peacekeeper scientists had searched
for a way to replicate the starburst drive artificially, so far
with no success. The research was at a dead end.
have been attempts to integrate the starburst capabilities into
a Peacekeeper vessel, something you yourself have seen."
Right. Well that's one experiment with a mind of his own,"
Crichton said. "Still, why wormholes? Have you seen them
before? Other visitors like me popping up all over Peacekeeper
you are the only wormhole traveler that we have encountered. But
we have known of the possibility for some time. The fragmented
data that we have from the Ancients tells us that they used wormhole
technology, although little is known about how they created them."
It had taken
Scorpius nearly five cycles of research to create a miniature
proto-wormhole in the Gammak base laboratory. Crichton had managed
to create wormholes twice within a mere cycle. The first had been
by accident, but the proto-wormhole at Dam-Ba-Da had been a deliberate
creation. And all done without any of the resources which Scorpius
had at his disposal, and without the knowledge that the Ancients
would later implant in his mind.
all your scientists are off chasing something they think exists,
but they don't know how to get there. Ain't it a bitch when that
happens? It's kind of like Fermat's enigma."
enigma. It's a famous logic problem, back home." Crichton
leaned forward, and began gesturing with his hands. "There
was this mathematician named Fermat. He wrote that he had found
an elegant proof to a theorem that no one had been able to prove
before. Only he didn't have enough paper to record it. The guy's
been dead over three hundred years, and still mathematicians are
knocking themselves out, trying to find the proof that Fermat
supposedly had. One bright guy managed to prove the theorem, but
his answer was extremely complicated and relied on esoteric set
theories. It couldn't be the same proof that Fermat found, so
the rest of them keep on trying."
leaned back and smiled, his eyes focused on a distant memory.
"Even DK got sucked into that for a while, until I convinced
him to come back to the fold and work on the Farscape thesis."
never felt tempted to solve this yourself?"
The theorem was Fermat's. I had my own dreams, and my own theories
tried to imagine this world of Crichton's, a place where scientists
pursued research simply because it intrigued them. It was a concept
unthinkable in the Peacekeepers' domains, where technology was
valued solely for its military applications. Perhaps this was
the key to Crichton's unique approach. A system that valued discovery
for its own sake would produce a very different type of scientist.
the data from Dam-Ba-Da?" he prompted.
have to do better than that if you want to test me," Crichton
replied. "The analysis was dren. A different entry vector
or faster approach would have changed nothing. The readings confirmed
what I'd suspected, that the proto-wormhole was inherently unstable.
It broke up before it was truly formed."
with his own conclusions. Like the miniature wormholes he had
created in his lab, the proto-wormhole on Dam-Ba-Da had been an
incomplete formation. A sign that the research was on the right
track, but that they still lacked some crucial understanding of
the solution to making it stable?"
know yet," Crichton said. "But give me time, and I'll
figure it out."
It was not
quite a promise.
On Moya the
celebration had been going on for several arns when Pa'u Zhaan
rose from her seat. "I will leave you now," she said.
sparing her merely a glance before returning his attention to
Jothee, his newly rediscovered son. At the far end of the table,
Rygel and Chiana paid her no heed as they continued an elaborate
left some time before, claiming that there was maintenance that
needed to be done on Moya. It had been an obvious lie, but with
uncommon tact the others had pretended to accept her excuse at
Zhaan's own feelings were mixed, her joy at Jothee's rescue tempered
by regrets over the two friends who should have been here to share
in the celebration. Stark, who had given his life to save them,
and whose information had led D'Argo to his son. And Crichton,
whose mysterious defection still puzzled and haunted the crew.
As time had
passed, they had come to accept the fact that Crichton was no
longer with them. It had been awkward the first time someone had
impatiently commed Crichton to fix a technical problem, only to
remember that he was gone. Quietly the watch schedule was rearranged
to fill the gaps caused by his absence, and she no longer looked
at his empty place in the common room wondering what was delaying
made a halfhearted attempt to take control of Crichton's possessions,
but he quickly backed down when confronted by D'Argo.
be easier for the crew to accept, if they knew something of Crichton's
fate. Was he still alive, a prisoner, being tortured by Scorpius?
Or had he already been killed, his spirit set free from this plane?
carried deep anger, and refused to accept what had happened. She
needed a reason, someone or something to blame. She had gone through
Crichton's possessions, looking for any clues to his behavior.
She had even listened to all of the sound recordings he had made
in his time on Moya, though she had shared the contents of only
the final tape with Zhaan.
had been chilling. Crichton had begun by confiding his concern
over his sanity, and then drifted into a strange one-sided argument,
apparently with something he thought was Scorpius. Irritably he
had ordered Scorpius to leave him alone, to get out of his head.
There had been another pause, and then the phrase "I must
remember to tell Zhaan..."
had trailed off, leaving them with no idea as to what he had meant
to tell her. The recording was silent for several hundred microts,
and then Crichton was heard remarking "Wonder why this is
on?" and then a click that signified he had turned off the
was evidence of Crichton's confusion, and the strange visions
he had mentioned to Aeryn. But it provided no explanations, just
more questions. The real wonder was that he had been able to keep
up the pretense of normalcy for so long.
her quarters, and then pressed the wall plate that shut the door
behind her, signifying her desire for privacy. From a small cabinet
she took out her meditation mat and incense sticks. Laying the
mat on the floor, she slipped off her robe and then lowered herself
gracefully to sit cross-legged on the mat.
She lit the
incense sticks, and began the ritual hand gestures as she invoked
the powers of the Goddess. Holding her palms upward to signify
her openness to spiritual guidance, she cleared her mind of everyday
concerns, and began the meditation chant.
sank into the trance, until she reached the plane where the physical
realm and the spiritual realm coexisted in harmony. As she opened
her mind for guidance, she saw a familiar being.
It was Stark,
not as he had appeared in the physical realm, but rather the glowing
being of light and compassion that she had seen when she linked
with him in Unity. A spirit memory, brought on by her earlier
Zhaan. It is good to touch your spirit again," Stark said.
His spirit voice was even stronger than it had been before, as
if the darkness which had once been part of him had been banished
thought of you often," Zhaan said.
I of you. I would have come to you sooner, but it took me time
to make the transition from my corporeal state to the energy form
that I now inhabit."
the Plokavians were only able to destroy my body. As I had hoped,
my spirit form remained intact."
her heart as she realized that this was indeed Stark, and not
merely an echo of his spirit drawn from her memories. "I
can not tell you how happy this news makes me. For a long time
I have grieved, thinking you lost forever."
That is one of the reasons why I came to you," Stark replied.
the other reason?"
and Stark had shared a bond born of their mutual imprisonment
on the Gammak base. Stark had done his best to try and heal Crichton
after his experiences, but he had confided to her that he was
not certain that he had succeeded. They had agreed that they could
do nothing else unless Crichton asked for their help. At the time
it had seemed a wise decision. Only now, in hindsight, could she
see how wrong they had been.
is not here. Several weekens ago he left Moya and surrendered
himself to Scorpius," Zhaan explained.
of sorrow drifted like gray mist across the spirit realm.
I know as well," Stark said. "I have seen him, although
unlike you he can not sense my presence."
is alive? Is he unharmed?"
he is unharmed, although even now Scorpius molds him to do his
bidding. I watched and observed, and discovered that Crichton
has unwittingly been under Scorpius's control since the time of
his imprisonment. There is a device implanted deep within his
mind, that allowed Scorpius to control his thoughts and actions."
defend," Zhaan whispered. Such a thing was an abomination.
abomination indeed," Stark said, sharing her thoughts.
you help him?"
wait, and see. There is a possibility. If the time comes, I may
need you to help me, at once and without question. Can you do
course," Zhaan said. "Just ask and it will be done."
are gracious and kind," Stark said. His spirit image raised
his hands until the palms were extended towards hers. She reached
out with her own hands, and pressed her palms against his, feeling
the joyous glow of contentment that came from sharing unity with
a kindred soul. Then the image faded, and he was gone.
returned to the present, she was faced with a new dilemma. Should
she share what she had learned with the others? She could not
reveal the truth of what had happened to Crichton unless she revealed
her source. And that would mean also telling them that Crichton
was still alive, and still very much in danger.
would there be in sharing such knowledge with those who already
grieved for him? Instead she would keep her own counsel, until
she knew if there was indeed anything that she or the rest of
Moya's crew could do to help their lost shipmate.