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   The sky was grey on the small planet of Malriche. The trees cast shadows
over the fading floor. The planets two suns sank below the horizon leaving
John and Aeryn in the white light of the three moons.
   All the trouble they went to, to get some time on this deserted planet
alone was starting to pay off. A twinkle in Aeryn's eye told John that she
thought so too.
   "So Crichton, now we're here, what are we going to do?" Aeryn said,
looking John in the eyes. In a flash she touched John and ran into a clump
of trees.
   "Catch me if you can" she dared him. John heard the happiness in her
voice. With a smile he ran after her.
   After about half an arn of this new found game, they slowed down. Aeryn
sat on the floor and invited John to sit next to her. Struggling for breath,
he slowly walked over.
   As John sat down, Aeryn looked up at the sky.
   "Don't they seem so far away?" she asked John.
   John turned to look at her then moved his gaze to where she was looking.
   "After being up there so long, after seeing the galaxy up close, here,
now it all seems so far away." As she said this, she was almost in a trance,
like flooded by memories.
   John knew she didn't just mean the stars. They were far away from all the
troubles. No Crais, no Scorpius, nothing.
   With a sigh, Aeryn turned to look at John. His eyes were still scanning
the sky. As he felt the gaze, he looked back down, meeting Aeryns face.
There he thought he saw something that he had never seen before, pain,
sorrow. Not wanting to intrude, he dropped his gaze to the floor.
   Aeryn felt as if she needed to talk, or John to talk to her. They hadn't
said much on the small planet, but there was still some kind of
communication between them.
   "Tell me again John, about Earth, your home, your friends," As Aeryn said
this, John turned his head back to face the sky. The light of the moons
caught his face, somehow making look like just an image, an illusion in
Aeryns mind, but this was real. Her eyes gazed upwards, almost as if it
would help memories to appear from the depths of her heart, help her to feel
what she cared for most. This idea couldn't be working because all she
thought about was the human man sitting next to her.
   "Aeryn," John started to answer her question "my home and my friends are
no longer on Earth, they are here, in space. So many times I thought that I
was back on Earth, back home, and each time something wasn't right. If I do
ever get back to the real Earth, I may still get that feeling because my
home is on Moya, my friends are on Moya."
   Aeryn shifted her gaze to another part of the sky, sensing that if she
looked at Crichton, all she would see was a shadow of him, an outline of
what he used to be.
   "Your home is only what you want it to be." Aeryn struggled for the
words. "Remember John, you could still get home. I can reach my planet any
time I want. I no longer belong though."
   "You remember when I said that you could be so much more?" Crichton now
traced a picture of a star in the dust of the floor "I've seen what you've
become Aeryn, now it would be the most painful thing in the universe to let
you go. To me you have become a friend, a ray of hope, a light of love even.
Over the period of time I've known you, you've changed, become closer to a
loving person. I've changed to Aeryn, I love you."
   Aeryn couldn't believe what she was hearing. Nobody had loved her before,
not like Crichton meant, not properly. Her face turned to Crichton's who was
now looking at her. Their eyes met, now with a new understanding. John was
unsure how Aeryn was going to take the news.
   "Aeryn, I . . ." John couldn't finish the sentence. There was nothing to
say.
   Aeryn gazed into the human's eyes. Searching his soul for the truth. It
was plain. He was telling the truth. The blue eyes reminded her of something
from her old command carrier. It was the eyes of a man she once cared for.
As she closed her eyes she saw his face. She heard the words he once said to
her; "You can be so much more."  The vision faded. She looked back at the
man next to her. The words echoed in her mind. Crichton had said that to her
when they first met. How long ago that was now. How much they had been
through since then.
   "Crichton." she paused thinking how to finish the sentence carefully,
"you remember Velorak? Well, I loved him, as you know. I see a lot of him in
you and a lot of you in him. I'm reliving the whole thing over again. The
blue eyes, the words you say, your fascinations even. As you know I harmed
him. I can not do that to you. I made the mistake once, I can not make it
again."
   "You won't baby." Crichton started before Aeryn cut him off.
   " I can and I probably will. I'll hurt you in a way I can not take back.
He was always proud of me, even to the end. He thought I was special just as
you do."
   Crichton went to put his arms round the shaking sebacian. She pushed him
away. He'd been through this before and knew that eventually she would talk
to him and let him near her.
   "He was only doing what was best for the leviathan.Moya.and he only
wanted to help Pilot. I murdered him for that. I murdered him for doing
something I would do in his position now. I murdered the closest thing I had
to a loving family." her figure was shaking more now. She turned to him with
scared eyes. "John.. It's the heat! I."
   John felt the heat for the first time. He was so involved with the
conversation that he forgot his surroundings. His instincts told him to find
shade from the heat. It only then dawned on him that it was night. This
can't be right. It's supposed to be cooler at night.
    "Crais! A little help needed!" Crichton said hurriedly down the comm
badge they had given him before coming down to the planet. Moya had gone
away to a nearby planet for supplies. Talyn was orbiting Malriche. "It's too
hot here! Aeryn can't take it!"
   "Get her to the prowler and fly her up here. I'll have all my medical
equipment ready." Crais replied. For a microt John reviewed the suggestion.
   "Woah! Wait a microt! You want me to fly Aeryn's prowler?"
   "Yes. She has taught you has she not?"
   "Yes, well, kinda. I didn't listen."
   "You must try. Hurry."
   Crichton hurriedly dragged Aeryn to her prowler. She was already too weak
to move or speak. There wasn't much time.
   Once Aeryn was safe in the prowler he climbed into the pilot seat and
stared at the controls. By some strange luck he found the ignition. After
turning the vessel on, he put his hand on the controls. He started to move.
   After a record of 300 microts he was up and docking on Talyn. Crais was
there to meet them. He helped John carry Aeryn to the infirmary. Once there
John got shooed out of the room and left in the corridor while the door was
locked.
   After pacing the doorway for what seemed to be eternity the door swung
open. Crais' face told him all he needed to know. Slowly he stepped into the
room as Crais moved back. He looked at the table where Aeryn was lying. Her
body was locked. Every muscle was stiffened an in place. Crichton recognised
the condition as the Grand Mal.
   "There was nothing else I could do." Crais said in a soft voice.
   "I know." John replied
   He took the dagger that rested next to her body. Slowly he raised it
above his head. As he closed his eyes he plunged it down towards Aeryn's
heart. Something caught his wrist stopping the blade from going down
further. As he opened his eyes he saw Aeryn holding his arm away from her.
Her eyes were open. Her pale face had a weak smile spread across it.
   "You want to kill me?" She asked in a weakened whisper.
   "Aeryn, but how can.?" He tried to question.
   "It was a test. To see if you would do what is right when the time came.
You passed."
   "Why you little." John said holding her tightly in his arms. "You had me
worried."
   "You had me worried. You have grown stronger. I didn't know if I could
stop you from killing me." Aeryn said with as much energy as she could
muster.
   "She must rest now" Crais cut in, "You may see her in 15 arns. Now we
must leave."
   Aeryn thought about how maybe she had been wrong about re-living her past
in the present. Crichton thought about how much he wanted Aeryn to end the
pain he thought she felt, even if it meant killing her. Crais thought about
how much Crichton really did care for the ex-peacekeeper and how it would be
better if he left their relationship to grow without him. One thing they all
thought about was how close it was, for Aeryn to die. So close yet so far.
Even if her body died, her spirit would always live on in the human. In her
partner.

Contact Captain Hisano Xelax Madnelsoc

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