It was too dark. Too quiet.
Never had a room with both of them in it been as quiet as this one
He wasn't moving, he was barely breathing.
It was happening again. Despite all her efforts, despite everything
done and gone through to prevent it, he was leaving her once more.
it didn't feel as if she'd been the one doing the leaving this time.
She knew every inch of the body lying in front of her. Intimate,
would be a
better word. Every cell of her body cried out for him, to hold him,
let go. But that would have meant admitting He was still here.
Damn his logic! She hadn't asked for this, hadn't asked for the
brought into her life just by being there. She didn't want these
didn't want the doubts, could not handle the pain.
What she wanted was Him. She wanted him back. And she could have
maybe. But she'd have to choose. She'd have to care.
In the end, pushing him away from her hadn't helped at all. He was
John. He still loved her. And she... oh dren!!
When he announced his harebrained (now, where had that come from?
to destroy Scorpius' research facility, she'd stood by his side
grounds that it would have been something He'd have done. At least,
what she told herself. Truth of the matter was she just could not
him to face danger on his own. She couldn't bear for him to go alone,
/I'll protect him,/ she'd thought. It'd come back to haunt her as
her oldest friend and the pulse pistol in her hand. Chance, luck,
or a random accident had saved her life in that corridor, as the
fell to pieces around them.
She'd been pretending. Life had thrown her/him/them a - what did
it?- a 'curve ball' and she had coped with it the best she could.
unfair. It'd been beautiful. It'd ended up horribly.
John was fond of repeating an old Earth saying (actually to the
driving anyone fahrbot, but she'd thought it was cute. Then.) "Here's
history repeating itself." It meant hope for second chances.
Another go at
something, someone. Well, she'd had her own miracle at the tip of
fingers. History had indeed repeated itself for her; she only needed
the next step. Which she'd already done once.
Only this time she didn't.
Choosing to ignore all that she'd learned by his side, closing up
and reverting to an extreme version of her old self, she turned
And in that same instant, her pain reached a level totally unknown
During the following weeks, as she avoided his presence, gave him
treatment and played at pretending he wasn't Him, her 'mourning'
exercise in self-inflicted pain which would have made any Scarran
interrogator lick his ugly lips.
It became a vicious circle. One she was unable to break, even though,
each passing day she questioned her resolve more and more. He was
Everywhere. Around her. Inside her. She started spying on him. Watched
talk to himself, play and tie. The same eyes, different pains. One
And her at its center.
/We will finish Scorpius,/ she told herself. She was becoming very
this. /and then, we'll see./
Only it hadn't gone as she had expected.
No, it never did, did it?
Talyn and Crais had died saving them all, and had taken the whole
them in the process. John ... John had arrived to Moya a different
fell silent. The human who wouldn't stop talking after the Aurora
after Maldis and Scorpius, after a Scarran mind-frell of epic proportions,
after the neuro-chip and Harvey. The human who'd become even more
possible after being twinned and doubting of his own self. The human
wouldn't be quiet even when he was : choke : dying.
He just -- stopped. Well, not entirely. He did keep repeating two
into the empty air: "Just like him. No better."
And his eyes, his beautiful blue eyes, always shining with that
was uniquely Crichton. His eyes went dead.
None of the others thought it would last long. Granted, the operation
ended the lives of several thousands of Peacekeepers. Maybe tens
thousands. But it was war. And at least many other thousands of
managed to escape, which was far more than PK Command had allowed
victims on many different worlds. He'd get over it.
She, on the other hand, had been too hurt to care.
Ironic, wasn't it? After weeks of pushing him away and watching
become deeper with every rejection, she had been hurt by his refusal
her join him on his module so they could escape Scorpius' base together.
Which he probably had done so as not to put her in even more danger.
the thoughtful 'southern gent'.
So when they all arrived aboard Moya, she headed straight for her
And didn't see him again. Two days later she finally asked for him,
got blank stares for an answer. Two days later, she asked again,
D'Argo could silence her, Chiana retorted with a question of her
you care, now?"
It hit her like an out of control dive into a type 6 atmosphere,
the way she
said it. "Please, tell me," was all she could answer.
So they did.
John Crichton, friend to all of them, lay on his bed, unmoving,
hence. No one knew what was the matter with him. He had not been
was not sick.
It took two more days for them to figure out what the problem was,
more to find a viable solution. That was yesterday. Today, she was
feel, to think.
She got up, undecided between the door and the bed where he lay.
This wasn't the time for doubt. There was a choice to be made. This
couldn't count on any of the others to drag her into it. This time
around to reason it out. This time, it was not about going in and
and killing someone. This time she was all she had if she wanted
anything of her happiness.
There was only one John Crichton, she knew that. She'd always known,
hadn't been willing to accept it. They had been happy once. They
She was going to bring John back.
(Moya - six solar days ago)
"John, c'mon, open the door." D'Argo had been on his way
to the mess hall.
He, as every other member of Moya's crew, was feeling surprisingly
after ridding themselves of Scorpius. Well, maybe with the exception
Aeryn. But the former Peacekeeper had never been a paradigm of gaiety.
having the man she loved die in her arms only to find him traipsing
her own home, believing him to be unaware of the pain she'd gone
because of him, was not something to send anyone cart wheeling.
maybe with time...
This was stupid. He'd been standing in front of Crichton's door
for the past
quarter arn trying to cajole him into joining him and the others
for the mid
day meal, and he hadn't even bothered to answer. What was wrong
human? Of all of them, he should be the one feeling the happiest,
his history with that misbegotten piece-of-dren hybrid. But they
back half a day already, and they hadn't seen him even smile. Whatever
problems he and Aeryn had with each other, their current situation
sufficient that anything could be overcome. Frell this! His friend
to enjoy himself, even if he had to force him to. With that thought,
waved his hand over the opening panel and literally burst into the
ready to pull John away from whatever self-pitying, brooding exercise
enmeshed himself in.
"John Crichton! Stop behaving like a romantic yotz!! I swear
you are bigger
pain in the eema than a k^g'osh-tentacled youngster before his tattooing
day! Now come out of..." D'Argo stopped in mid-sentence as
his eyes took
in the scene in front of him. " What the frell?!! John, have
drinking?" But even as he said it, he knew that was not it.
There was no
scent of intoxicants anywhere in the cell. However, Crichton was
his bed completely unmoving. His eyes were wide open. Too wide.
chest barely moved, and that was not good. When one breathes, his
moves. If it doesn't, or not enough... He quickly activated his
"Jool. Jool!! Come to Crichton's chambers. Run!!" /John,
oh John, can't you
be fine for once?/ His friend was not well at all, and he couldn't
frelling thing. "Jool!!! You frelling Interion trelk. Where
Ten microts later, John's cell was crowded not only with the ship's
uppity physician, but with Chiana and Rygel as well, a look of concern
"What is it? What's wrong with him? Can you cure him? Is he
princess, answer already. Are you going to help John, are you..."
"Chiana, be quiet!!" D'Argo was not in the mood for one
of the females'
fights. Subduing his shaking voice, he turned to Jool. "How
is he, Jool?"
The beautiful Interion's nervousness was betrayed by the bright
red hue of
her curls. She could see the mixture of concern and helplessness
Luxan's eyes, feelings she had trouble reconciling with his warrior's
character. "I don't know what to tell you, D'Argo. Physically
There's no sign of infection, and he wasn't wounded. Everything
normal, everything." She gave a small cry of exasperation,
which had the
others instinctively backing away from her, checking all their metallic
possessions. Jool was not used to ignorance. Her only constants
in this new
life she'd been awakened to were her superior intellect and her
prowess; if she did not take into account all of the fear and pain,
But she couldn't fathom Crichton's condition and thus, was unable
the only being of this dysfunctional gathering who recognized her
treated her with a minimum of respect.
(Moya-six solar days ago)
They had been standing there for almost an arn. Jool's expression
all. She could not do a frelling thing, and John was... well, he
moving and that wasn't normal.
If only Zhaan was with them. She could have helped John.
She was a bit baffled. They'd shared so many things over the past
cycles, both good and bad. More bad than good, actually. But all
every single experience, had brought them closer to each other.
So how was it that none of the others could see what was wrong with
Crichton, when it was so clear to her?
Ever since she'd come aboard Moya, there'd been an affinity between
the stranded "astro-nut". Although the human had shown
definite interest in
her attributes, nothing had and probably never would have happened
the two of them. Specially since Ms. Ice-for-blood had mellowed
allowed John to become closer with her.
But she and Crichton had developed a sibling-like rapport, and she
admit she enjoyed their silly bickering and his overprotective attitude.
reminded her of the way it had been with Nerri.
Maybe their peculiar relationship was the reason she somewhat instinctively
knew what was wrong with Crichton. She was no Zhaan, but you had
to be blind
not to see the obvious.
They had to tell her. They couldn't keep this from her. And besides,
more damage than good if she was kept in the dark about John's condition.
And if none of her obtuse companions was going to, she would. Someone
look out for John.
"Right." she said as she headed for the door. "I'm
going to tell Aeryn."
D'Argo put his arm across her chest, sending slight shivers up her
he made contact with her breasts (ooookay, now was not the time
and shook his head. "No, Chiana. Aeryn mustn't hear about John
looked into her eyes, and held her gaze.
She could see the pain in them. For John. For Aeryn. Maybe even...
But, Hezmana! He didn't know!!
"Not until we know what is wrong with him."
She looked up at him and bit back an acid remark, which would have
started another stupid argument between them. And they had no time
No matter how rewarding it could have been.
"And when will that be, Ka D'Argo?" She saw him flinch
imperceptibly at her
formal use of his name. "How long will it take, princess?"
she said turning
to Jool. "Are the three of you willing to keep Aeryn in the
dark, at the
risk of losing both? I don't think so!" She ducked under D'Argo's
reached once more for the door. "If you'll excuse me,"
she called back over
her shoulder "I've got me an ex- peacekeeper to find."
Frell them if they
thought she was going to allow their shortsightedness to...
"STOP!! TURN AROUND!" She was unable to stop herself from
authority that permeated from the voice calling her back.
Chiana did indeed turn around, only to find her jaw had gone completely
slack as she realized it had been Rygel who'd ordered her around.
caught the mirroring looks of amazement on Jool's and D'Argo's faces,
irony was lost on her.
With a deep, sadness-laden sigh, the Hynerian continued.
"Child, you will not tell Aeryn anything concerning Crichton's
Not for the time being."
This was not the Rygel she knew. What was going on?
"I understand your concern, but you were not aboard Talyn.
You did not watch
John die. I did. I also saw what waiting for him to die did to Aeryn.
will rot in Hezmana before I have to witness that again. I couldn't
And I can't imagine how she could."
Was Rygel getting emotional? Was that even possible?
The little Dominar's head shook as if trying to dispel a particularly
unpleasant memory. "So, until we know whether we are going
to subject Aeryn
to that emotional torture again, please refrain from saying anything
Rygel had said "please"? Unbidden? This was too weird.
So befuddled was she, that she barely heard Rygel's last words.
"She has suffered enough."
As Rygel hovered in his throne, downcast, Chiana just stood there.
speechless. The former Dominar was the last of her formerly reluctant
companions she'd have expected to speak on a former Peacekeeper's
much less in such an obviously caring manner.
Apparently, both D'Argo and the Interion debutante were equally
the former Dominar's speech. The human had the strangest effect
he ran into, but having to die to elicit that kind of loyalty from
Chiana was aware of all three of her crewmates looking at her expectantly.
She nodded her assent. "I won't tell Aeryn anything."
She said. "For now."
She added, making sure they understood she wasn't going to wait
Jool smiled at her. "We understand. That is all we are asking
(Moya ñ five solar days ago)
The past few days had not been good. As commander Crichton would
was the understatement of the... "century", was it?
Aaah, Commander Crichton. What with her son's demise and the current
John Crichton was in, with the subsequent effects on her crew, Moya
overcome with grief. The sadness she felt impregnated Pilot thoroughly.
aware as he was of all the goings-on within Moya, the Commander's
ailment had caught him completely by surprise. True, he and Moya
otherwise preoccupied, but he couldn't stop thinking that maybe
if he'd been
a little more alert, he'd have noticed the human's peculiar behavior
and the rest of his shipmates might have been able to help him,
just standing over him, puzzled and hurt, as they were doing now.
Joolushko had insisted she could do nothing more for Crichton (not
had actually achieved any results), not without his help. Now he
wondering if she had in fact meant his help or the human's ñ
suspected the problem was not physical in its origin, but mental.
to admit that with all the unwanted intrusion upon his psyche that
had to endure, it was surprising his sanity had not become unhinged
time ago. But then again, he'd had something to live for before.
Whatever the reasons for the Commander's collapse, he and Moya were
agreement to help the human return to his former self. They would
pestered by his infuriating Erpisms than seeing the suffering in
friends' eyes. Besides, John Crichton would have, had done nothing
both of them. For all of them.
* * *
After two days of trying to wake him up or at least determine what
with him, Jool had decided to push further in her research and try
Crichton's psyche. Considering the amount of mind-frelling he'd
subjected to in the past three cycles, it was not impossible that
current bout with death was a physical reaction to a deeper problem.
knew that with the Scorpius clone (Harvey, was it?) gallivanting
human's brain and the vestiges of Scarran interrogation, plus watching
himself steal his lover away and then die, only to be pushed aside
return like last week's foodcubes... if all of that didn't constitute
of a cause for a total synaptic breakdown, well, they might as well
Chiana at him. The little tralk seemed to think she could do so
than her at curing John. Why, only an arn ago she had returned to
Zhaan's... oh frell, THE med lab only to remind her it had already
solar days and she hadn't woken Crichton up. As if she didn't know!!!
Arrrgh, but that grey piece of Nebari gutter-eema was infuriating.
so when she was right. She had to find a way. Anything. /Come on
think outside the frelling quaalduur. You used to do it enough in
Every problem had an exponential number of answers for every different
it presented. It was only a matter of finding that one piece of
that connected them. She was a graduate in seven different scientific
fields. She had boasted her intellectual superiority to this human
times. She was not going to fail him now. /Think it through./ She
berating herself. /Find the connection. There's a common link to
has to... wait./ She almost had it, she could feel it. /What did
What was it that Crichton held above everything else, his one constant.?/
Oh dren. It was so obvious. Why hadn't she thought of it before?
so obsessed with finding a logical reason for the human's condition.
should already know there was nothing logical or normal where ever
concerned. "Pilot," she said tapping her comms to life.
" I need your help."
(Moya- four solar days ago)
"... so what I need is for you to convince her. Do you think
you can do
Chiana looked the little scientist-turned-courtesan-turned-physician
once more. "Are you absolutely sure about this? I mean, it
even to me." She couldn't help it. She liked the Interion well
as far as she was concerned Jool still needed to prove herself to
them. "Look princess, what you're saying is extreme even by
our frelled up
standards. Not to mention the fact it's just sooo much like all
favourite acquaintances' torture methods when it comes to John it's
/How in Hezmana can I stay so drad?/ She kept on. "You can
see why I worry,
The unruly mass of bright red locks populating the Interon's head
fell at the rythm of her slow, deep breaths. Chiana was convinced
smoke coming out from in between the crimson curls soon enough.
obviously trying very hard to control herself; if John's situation
been as serious as it was, the Nebari would have found the argument
entertaining. As it was, though, she just wanted to understand what
wanted to do and why.
"Look Chiana, as far as I can discern, Crichton's current predicament
his own doing. And don't even pretend to argue with me because unless
wrong, you were the first and only one to notice what took me the
part of three solar days to grasp." This was it really. Her
last ploy to
assure the little tralk's cooperation. Appealing to her ego. She
blame her for being overprotective of those two, particularly of
he just didn't have the time for all of his friends to second guess
other. Second guess her (she couldn't keep some bitterness from
into her thoughts). And if John was running out of time, so was
member of their reel^tal`een crew. The only one who truly mattered
all of them, because in the end she might just be the cure for his
but she was definitely the cause.
The young Nebari had a very un-Nebari look of concentration on her
she sized her up. But with a mixture of resignation and... could
trust in her eyes? She keyed her comms and raised her voice to call
could you join me in Pilot's chamber in thirty microts? I need your
with something." Letting the strap of her bodice fall back
on her shoulder
she leveled her eyes with Jool's. "For their sake, princess,
I really hope
you know what you're doing." Chiana turned to head towards
the most surreal
moment in her life. "Oh, and D'Argo?" She called over
her shoulder. "If you
even think I am going to face Aeryn alone you are sadly mistaken.
big boy." To her credit, she didn't turn to watch the play
crossing her former lover's face. Such a pity, though. A very afraid
is something very rare to behold.
(Pilot's chamber ñ two and a half arns later)
Pilot's chamber looked even more subdued than usual, if that was
And what an amazing feat it was, taking into account the amount
hostile DRDs currently within the cavernous room, the dejected looking
peacekeeper slumped on the floor and her three very upset friends
To say the least, their conversation had not gone well. But then
came as no suprise to D'Argo.
When he and Chiana had gotten to Pilot's, Aeryn was already waiting
them. They both had steeled themselves for the upcoming conversation.
going to become heated very fast. What neither of them had been
were the Sebacean's first words. "Where is Crichton?"
Maybe it was the halfhearted tone of her question. It may have been
stress of the past few days. Perhaps it was just some damn female
had no clue about. Whatever the reason, and before he could do anything
about it, Chiana openned her mouth and started her own little version
Hezmana. In John's words: the dren hit the pan.
You could hear the sarcasm drip from her as the young Nebari faced
Sun, her voice on a constant rise. "Oh, is it Crichton now?
It was John two
solar days ago? What did he do to you now, Officer? Did he not leave
alone enough? Should he leave Moya altogether? WHAT DO YOU WANT
I have to say I have never seen Officer Sun as pale as at that moment,
she rcoiled from Chiana's words. But even so she asked again, her
barely escaping from inbetween gritted teeth. "Chiana. Where.
It was a very much subdued Nebari which answered her. "Do you
said looking into Officer Sun's eyes.
"Chiana... please." And with that one word, two cycles
distrust and jealousy melted away, leaving only two females hurting
they cared very much about. I sometimes wonder if I will ever understand...
continues with part 2 >>
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