Dallascaper's Farscape Fantasy
Home
Episodes
Photos & Art
Characters
Music Videos
Humor
Fan Fiction
Specials
Ask Dallas
Guestbook
Texas Scapers
Links

 

Part Seven

 

by Ann Harrington (aka Annigmatic)

 

Copyright Notice: Farscape is owned by The Jim Henson company, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Network Australia and the Sci-Fi Channel. They own all rights to characters mentioned within this story. I have merely borrowed these characters to play with, and promise to return them in good working order.

Spoilers: All of Season 2, up through "A Clockwork Nebari"

Summary: Scorpius makes John an offer he can't refuse

 

 

 

Part VII

"Zhaan, come to the command deck. At once."

Even through the comm, Zhaan could sense D'Argo's anger.

"Of course," she responded. Despite her training, she felt her pulse quicken with excitement as she realized that they must have reached the Raisha system. The moment she had waited for would soon be at hand.

As she reached command, she found D'Argo pacing back and forth. He whirled around to face her.

"We have reached the Raisha system," D'Argo said. "Pilot tells me there are no inhabitable planets here, no colonies of any kind."

Zhaan nodded. "I did not expect there to be."

"Then why did you tell us there were Delvians here? Why bring us to this place?" D'Argo demanded.

"A necessary deception," Zhaan answered coolly. "If I had given you my reasons, you would not have come."

"What are you talking about? What's going on? I can't get a straight answer out of Pilot," Chiana complained, slinking into command with her customary feline grace.

"Zhaan lied to us. There are no Delvians here."

"Pilot, tell Moya we must remain within this solar system," Zhaan said.

Pilot's face appeared on the projection screen.

"Pilot, do no such thing," D'Argo said. "Zhaan has no right to give orders."

"Not until you tell us what is going on," Chiana added. "Now start talking."

Pilot looked unhappily from one to the other.

Why was it that she and Pilot were the only ones on this ship who did not feel compelled to turn each simple request into a battle of wills? They had no time for this. She could feel a growing sense of urgency, a sense that was not wholly her own.

She strode across the deck until she stood toe to toe with D'Argo, challenging him. "You will do this because I ask. Because I insist. This is not my request, but Stark's."

D'Argo folded his arms across his chest. "Stark is dead."

"No. He continues to exist, although in a form that you can not see. Stark told me we must bring Moya here and wait."

"Wait for what?" Chiana asked.

"Does it matter?" Zhaan replied. There was no use in trying to explain. The others would not believe her. She could barely believe it herself. There was still so much that could go wrong. Yet even if there was only one chance in a thousand, they had to try.

Zhaan kept her attention on D'Argo. It was him that she needed to convince. Chiana would follow D'Argo's lead. "We will do this thing, for a friend. You, of all people, owe Stark that much," Zhaan said.

D'Argo's face hardened at the mention of his debt to Stark.

"We will bide here for a standard solar day. There is no danger, and it is a little enough to ask, in return for a life," Zhaan said.

D'Argo gave an inarticulate growl. "I do not know what game you are playing. But you are right. I owe Stark my life... and that of my son. If you wish to collect the debt in his name, then so be it. But in one solar day, we leave this system."

"Thank you," Zhaan said, inclining her head. She turned towards Pilot's image. "Pilot, please ask Moya to transmit the signal used to guide the return of her transport modules."

"But all her modules are here---" Pilot began.

"Pilot, please," Zhaan said, losing what little patience she had left. Every moment spent arguing was a moment they could not afford. Even now, Crichton might be trying to make his escape. And there was a chance that the biomechanoid components he had installed on his module would indeed resonate with Moya's signal, as Stark had suggested, guiding him on his journey.

Pilot nodded, and she could see his arms moving at the controls. "Moya has done as you asked," he said. "We have taken position in orbit around the outermost planet, and have begun to transmit the recall signal."

Zhaan felt a feather-light touch brush across her soul. "Now," Stark's voice whispered, and she could sense the enormous effort it took for him to reach her. He must be very far away indeed. Her preparations had been just in time.

Closing her eyes, she raised her palms upward and began to chant.

"What is she doing now?" Chiana demanded.

"Praying," D'Argo said, his earlier wrath now fading to puzzlement.

Zhaan focused inward, asking the Goddess to watch over Crichton and to bring him safely to them.

Immersed in her devotions, she had no sense of time passing. It might have been microts or arns later, when Pilot's voice broke into her concentration.

"Moya senses a disturbance in this system," Pilot announced. "The gravity fields are fluctuating."

Zhaan brought her palms together, and concluded her chant. "Show us," she said.

The main viewscreen cleared, to show the star field. In the center was a shimmering distortion, which widened into a vortex of cerulean blue.

"What is that?" D'Argo asked.

"A wormhole," Zhaan announced. "And, if the Goddess is kind, it may be Crichton."

"Crichton?" Chiana's voice squeaked. "Crichton's dead."

"No," Zhaan said firmly. "Crichton is still very much alive. Stark told me that he would try to break free, and that this was the place where he could be found."

"You are mad," D'Argo said.

Zhaan kept her eyes on the viewscreen, feeling her hopes fade as the wormhole began to shrink. Then a white craft emerged. A second craft, a Peacekeeper prowler by its shape, followed just as the wormhole collapsed on itself. The prowler exploded. Debris from the prowler struck the white module, sending it into a tumbling, erratic spin.

"That indeed appears to be Commander Crichton's module," Pilot said. "But it does not seem as if anyone is in control of it."

Indeed the module's erratic flight path was a troubling sign. Crichton must be unconscious or severely injured. Surely the Goddess would not be so cruel as to bring him this far, only to have him die within sight of his friends.

"Pilot, use the docking web, and prepare Moya to starburst. The instant he is on board we must leave this place. Scorpius may be able to reopen the wormhole, and we must be far from here when he does," Zhaan said. "D'Argo, I will be in the infirmary. Bring Crichton there to me, quickly."

D'Argo touched the internal comm system. "Aeryn, meet me in the maintenance bay. We have an emergency."

He turned to leave, but Zhaan placed a hand on his shoulder. "D'Argo, be careful. Crichton may have broken free, but he has been Scorpius's prisoner for many months now."

D'Argo nodded. There was no need for her to say anything else. Crichton had barely survived his first imprisonment, which had lasted only a few days. Now he had been under Scorpius's control for months. There was no telling how he had changed.

Zhaan hurried to the infirmary and began laying out her equipment as she waited for news. It seemed arns before Pilot spoke.

"Pa'u Zhaan, the craft has been captured within the docking web. Moya is detecting high levels of tau radiation."

Tau radiation could be fatal to Sebaceans. She did not know what its effects might be on a human.

"Please warn the others, so they may take precautions," Zhaan said.

"I have already done so," Pilot said primly.

Zhaan had already taken out her trauma supplies. Now she moved to the storage cabinets, and began assembling what she would need to treat radiation sickness. As she laid the instruments on the tray, she felt a moment of dizziness, and grasped the sides of the counter to steady herself. Moya had starburst, which meant Crichton's module was now on board.

A moment later, she heard Aeryn's voice through the comm. "We've opened the module. He's alive."

 

Crichton lay on a bed in the infirmary, still unconscious. Zhaan had done what she could, injecting him with microbes that would filter out the radioactive elements in his body and nullify the effects of the radiation poisoning. And the robo-surgeon had removed the device from around his neck, which Zhaan had said contained drugs used to control him.

Aeryn glanced down at his still form. A part of her could not believe that he had returned, and she reached over to touch his hand once more, to convince herself that he was, indeed, warm living flesh and not a product of her imagination.

For months now, she had thought him dead. In fact she had hoped he was dead, for the alternative, that he was still a prisoner, being tortured by Scorpius, had seemed a far worse fate.

Now he had returned, as suddenly and mysteriously as he had left them, and bringing new questions. How had he managed to create a wormhole? For that matter, how had he been able to steal his module, and use it to escape from the resources of a command carrier? They were lucky that only one prowler had come in immediate pursuit, and that it had been destroyed by the journey.

And perhaps the greatest question of all was who had returned to them? Was this indeed the Crichton they remembered? Or someone else?

One thing was clear. Zhaan had known for some time that Crichton was still alive. Indeed she had requested this detour to the Raisha system over a weeken ago, to prepare for this rendezvous. In her arrogance, Zhaan had chosen to keep her knowledge to herself, rather than to share it with the crew.

Aeryn swallowed her anger. This was not the time or the place for it. There would be time later to remind Zhaan of the meaning of the word trust. And how little Aeryn appreciated being kept in the dark.

"So it's like the temporary mind-cleansing? Only with a chip, instead of drugs?" Chiana asked.

Aeryn returned her attention to the diagnostic screen, which displayed a rotating image of Crichton's skull, and the loathsome device imbedded within his brain.

"I do not know how the neuro-chip functions. Only that it may be used to guide or control him," Zhaan said.

"And he's carried it since the Gammak base?" Aeryn asked.

Zhaan nodded. "So Stark told me. Yet John remains unaware of its presence."

Aeryn repressed a shudder. Such a device was a horror indeed, perhaps even more so than the Aurora chair had been. At least then Crichton had known what was being done to him. This chip was a far more insidious form of torture.

She promised herself that if she ever encountered Scorpius, she would ensure that he died a slow and hideous death. Yet even the worst torments she could devise would not repay that foul creature for the suffering he had inflicted upon others.

"I say we take it out. Now. Before he awakes," D'Argo said.

Zhaan shook her head. "The neuro-chip has integrated itself into the fabric of John's brain. Removing it may cause great damage, or even death."

"Better any risk than to leave Crichton a prisoner of Scorpius's device," D'Argo said.

It was an easy judgment to make, when it was not your brain that would be destroyed if the operation was unsuccessful. But there was logic on his side, along her own instincts that said anything Scorpius had created must be inherently evil.

"I agree with D'Argo," Aeryn said. "I would not want to live with such a thing in my head. Nor would Crichton. We should do this now."

"Too much has already been done to John without his consent. I will not make myself party to another such act. We will let Crichton make his own choice," Zhaan insisted.

The only thing worse than Zhaan being self-righteous was Zhaan being right.

"And what if Crichton can no longer choose for himself?" D'Argo asked. "What then?"

The question was addressed to Zhaan, but it was Aeryn who answered. "Then we will make the decision for him. As his friends."

 

Aeryn sat on a chair next to the bed, waiting for Crichton to awaken. Only then would they discover if he had indeed returned, or if this was merely a stranger who wore his form.

Wary of the neuro-chip's control, Zhaan had prepared an injector with a fast-acting sedative. Aeryn wore her pulse pistol. She hoped fervently that neither would be needed.

Zhaan sat crossed-legged on the floor meditating, while Rygel hovered by the door. Chiana and D'Argo sat side by side on the vacant bed.

Jothee had been here earlier, eager to see the alien of whom he had heard so much. But as the waiting turned from moments into arns, Jothee had left. Which was probably for the best. Crichton would be confused enough when he awoke.

Besides the radiation poisoning, which was surely a result of his escape attempt, Crichton showed no signs of having been injured or harmed during his long imprisonment. Which argued that Scorpius had not needed torture to get what he wanted. Perhaps it was the brain implant, or perhaps Scorpius had found some other way to control Crichton.

There was a sound from the bed, as Crichton stirred.

"He's waking up," Aeryn announced. Her right hand slid to her side, to ensure that her pulse pistol was free in its holster.

Zhaan rose to her feet with a graceful movement and the others gathered around the bed.

Crichton opened his eyes.

She thought she had remembered him perfectly, but she had been wrong. She had forgotten how blue his eyes were. And how guileless. How innocent he seemed, despite all that he had done, and all that had been done to him.

She hoped desperately that he was still the same man he had been.

"Aeryn. Zhaan. D'Argo. Chiana. Hey, Sparky! Damn, it's great to see you all," Crichton said softly, giving them a crooked smile.

Aeryn and Zhaan exchanged glances. Crichton should have been surprised to see them. Or elated at having escaped and been rescued. Instead he seemed strangely calm.

"If only this was real," Crichton added. He looked at each of them in turn, as if trying to memorize their faces. Then his crooked smile melted into a grimace, and he turned his gaze towards the ceiling, or towards something only he could see. "Scorpy, I know you're pissed at me for trying to escape. But what did you expect? Have your goons beat the crap out of me, if it will make you feel better. But quit with the mind games."

He lifted his head, and began to struggle upright, only to fall back on the bed, white-faced and sweating. "Feels like someone already beat the crap out of me," he said.

He thought himself still a prisoner. Aeryn had an instant to wonder what other mind games Scorpius had inflicted on John, that he could accept an apparent hallucination so calmly.

"John, lay still," Zhaan said. "You are suffering from the effects of radiation poisoning. It will take time for the treatments to work, and to heal your body."

"You came through a wormhole," Aeryn explained.

John turned his head to look at her. "Sure. Right. And the wormhole led me straight to my only friends in this galaxy. You'll have to find a better story than that."

Aeryn pushed back her hair with her left hand. She understood his disbelief. What could she say to convince him this was real? So many others had played with his mind, striving to convince him to believe in the unreal. What could she say or do that others had not said or done before?

"John, look at me," Zhaan said. She waited until John turned his gaze towards hers. "The wormhole brought you to the Raisha system. Moya was here, because Stark told me we must come here, and wait for you."

"Stark?" John whispered. "There's no way he could know about Stark."

"Do you remember him communicating with you?" Zhaan prompted.

John swallowed convulsively, his right hand fumbling blindly on the blankets. "Stark. He said. He said---"

John closed his eyes. Aeryn grasped his right hand with hers, and he squeezed as if he was hanging on for his life.

"Stark helped me escape. Scorpius had drugged me, but with Stark's help I was able to steer the module towards the wormhole. Stark said I might find help on the other end. But he didn't mention you," John said, opening eyes that were now bright with unshed tears.

The naked longing on John's face made her uncomfortable. No one should be that open, that vulnerable.

"He wasn't certain that he could guide you to us," Zhaan explained.

"And I'm really here? On Moya?" John demanded.

"Who else would have gone to the trouble of rescuing you and that pathetic module of yours?" Rygel grumbled, but there was affection in his voice.

"It's really us, big guy. You're home," Chiana said, reaching down to touch pat his left arm reassuringly.

"Yes, human. We are all real. Even you," Aeryn said, trying to reassure herself at the same time as she reassured him. "Just look what trouble you get yourself into, when you don't have us to watch out for you."

John grinned. Then just as suddenly, his face grew dark

"Scorpius won't let me go. He'll be after me," he said, with rising panic. "He's got tracking devices on the module. Maybe on me as well."

He raised his free hand to his neck, rubbing where the collar had been.

"We starburst the moment you were on board," D'Argo said. "And the DRDs have already located and removed the tracking devices from your module."

"You didn't find them all," John said, with absolute conviction. "We'll never find them all, until he finds us."

 

THE END

 

 

About the author and the writing of this story

Comments? E-mail the author: NGMA607@aol.com

Links:

 

<<Return to Fiction Page

 

 

Home | Episode Guide | Photos & Art | Characters | Music Videos | Humor & Fun
Fan Fiction | Specials | Ask Dallas | Guestbook | Texas Scapers | Links

Contact Dallascaper

 

Legal Stuff

This site is not endorsed by and has no connection to The Jim Henson Company, the Sci Fi Channel, Nine Network, or Hallmark.
Dallascaper has no connection to Farscape other than as an admirer of the show.

Original content created by Dallascaper is ©2000 Farscape Fantasy. The majority of content on this site is ©1999 The Jim Henson Company. This includes all Farscape photos, Farscape characters, Farscape video clips - pretty much anything they created.

Farscape fans should be very appreciative that, unlike some entertainment companies, Henson is very tolerant of fan sites like this one.