3 - Countdown
are trespassing interspatial territory." The comm message
repeated on Moya's viewer screen. Rygel's face glistened,
eyes strained. He felt his three stomachs gurgle, taking on
represent this vessel and all aboard. I am Rygel the sixteenth,
Domineer of over six-hundred billion subjects. Show me your
leader." Rygel hovered in his floating throne, hoping
negotiations would commence. Besides, Commander Mele-On Grayza
should not have dispersed the wanted beacons this far into
the Uncharted Territories.
are trespassing interspatial territory. Flee now or be destroyed
in 600 microts, counting down now. 558...554."
553, Mippippippi 552," Rygel said, mocking the countdown.
"Pilot! wake Crichton and that...that Sikozu. I need
them here, now. There's trouble!"
John Crichton, who had reunited with his friends months ago,
jumped from his bed, then sprinted to Command Control and
found Rygel had left a distinct aroma of his helium gas. Sikozu
followed quickly behind.
John said, voice high pitched from the helium, "what's
cookin' here? Ohhh, Sparky, did you fart again?" John's
brow wrinkled, fanning the stench from his nose.
Sikozu said with a tiny voice, flailing her arms to clear
the fumes. "This negative gaseous response must cease.
One day you'll have us blown to bits."
is serious." Rygel said, "They won't listen to me.
We have to starburst out of here or there won't be a chance
for my helium to blow us up, but they will."
saw the small blue, green sphere displaying it's polygon shaped
satellites blinking red lasers, targeting Moya's outer
shell, apparently weapons. The countdown continued on the
John turned to the clamshell and saw the multi-task navigator
appear, their mediator between Moya and the crew. "What
shelled head swayed, his brow, like ridges, crinkled together.
"Commander, it is as the Domineer explained. Moya
is very worried and would like to starburst immediately. She
wishes not to die."
her to stay put. We'll figure something out." John had
to precaution Pilot and Moya because, if safety dictated,
having a mind of their own, they would indeed starburst before
you could say Scaramouch!
needed a commerce planet for food, clothes, and other supplies
they could purchase. This planet appeared to be one. John
had to take a chance at this or they'd starve to death.
continued, "You are trespassing interspatial territory..."
ears flopped down, "They won't listen to me."
Sparky, let's give this a whirl." John braced himself
at the controls. "Pilot, put us through their main systems
acknowledged, "I will try." More seconds passed.
drummed his fingers on the console, hoping Pilot would hurry.
"Pilot, Pilot, come on or we'll be toast!" John
said at a murmur. They had less than minute, not enough time
Pilot appeared, "You may proceed, Commander. Please do
not cause our demise."
smiled, "I won't.
anybody hears me out there, I'm John Crichton. We mean no
harm. We are not Peacekeepers. All we want is some groceries,
toilet paper, handi-wipes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, you know."
spiraled to display a green light, kept counting: "7...6...5."
Then it stopped.
appeared on the clamshell, "I have a transmission!"
Suddenly another voice came through the comm, then the critter
appeared on Pilot's viewer shell. A fragile creature, mustard
colored with three bug-like eyes spoke in a sing-song manner.
To John, it sounded like a receptionist.
message has been received. We apologize for our abruptness.
Our security only serves as protection. Will you forgive us?"
yeah. Sure." John looked at Rygel incredulously.
you be gracious to hold for a moment while our Regent responds?"
you for your kindness." The screen went blank.
Sikozu crossed her arms, "You, Crichton, are the cause
of this turmoil. You have risked our lives to satisfy your
grinned, this over-educated, self-reliant red-headed female
was sounding like Aeryn. Sputnik he nicknamed her or spitfire,
whichever suited, always negated him every turn. Miss Spitfire
stood with arms akimbo and head tilted.
swaggered toward her until he stood one foot away. "I've
saved everybody's butt again. Be satisfied." Sikozu opened
her mouth, "Shut-up." He put his fingers on her
lips, "Don't say a word." He turned away from her.
"Now it looks like they're taking a little while, so
let's wake D'Argo and Chiana--"
he finished, D'Argo came, pulsed and ready for a fight. His
friend with many tentacles for hair stood, towering over John.
D'Argo asked, his base-sounding voice.
anymore." John explained their situation as Chiana entered.
Then he rehashed the story to her. "Now all we need is
a call back from the planet."
glanced at Chiana doing her head dance, and he presumed she
was assessing all that transpired. The gray girl leaned against
a comm station, giggled. "It'll take a whole planet to
feed us. Food...finally."
crossed his arms, "John, this could be a trap."
John nodded, "I thought of that, but...hey, two out of
three, we'll beat the odds. We've got to stay alive and find
what's your plan?"
for their replay, then we act. Is everybody cool with that?"
narrowed her eyes, "Not until you tell us what it is.
Then I'll let you know. I may have a few myself."
bet you do." John didn't care if she heard him or not.
"What about Grandma, is she okay?"
looked guilty, head swaying, she looked up. John cocked his
head, mocking her swaying.
was cooking something...truffles and fell asleep on the floor."
Chiana's arms went up, "She looked so comfortable I let
her lay on the floor. Besides, there wasn't anything edible
she was cooking with."
that's why she's sleeping. No voodoo dust to spice the sauce.
Remind me to add that to the list." They laughed with
Pilot appeared again. "The transmission is reactivated."
The viewer burst to life with garrulous colors and a man,
appearing Sebacian, smiled. His gold tunic sparkled with small
studded crystals or diamonds, John thought, decorating the
top--what a rich fat cat.
from us, the Planet Yontur, it is a pleasure to have you."
The rich guy raised his arms, displaying even more of the
loud tunic, "I am the Regent Mo-tan-nish-no. We are glad
you received our invitation finally. We had thought you would
never come since there has been no response. Will you do us
the honor to visit our humble world? We are communing with
others from worlds afar and are privileged to have you come
also. So privileged until our hearts burst with joy."
turned to D'Argo and wanted to snicker, "What is up with
this guy? This has got be the best gilded trap I know of."
why." D'Argo said.
Regent," John wanted to scream, laugh, howl, something.
This was on the border of ridiculous. John and his friends
were fugitives, outlaws, and the Regent was honored by them?
"Why do you feel privileged at our arrival?"
have searched for you almost a cycle to procure an invitation
to this great event, which actually revolves around you. Each
time we would locate you, we would always meet with news of
your departure dozens of solar days after our arrival. It
had become hopeless. And, yet, here you are."
do you want us here?"
Oh my, it is because of all that you have done against the
Peacekeepers. We hold them in great fear and distrust. We
wish our galaxy to be free of their tyranny and folly. Did
you know they wish to treaty with the Scarrans?"
had a little history on that. But the Peacekeepers joining
people have indicated this forthcoming news. Can you imagine
answering to two, instead of one, tyrannical governmental
rule? Both seemingly to annihilate us. Well, if you allow,
we must commune later on this. But let me enlighten you on
our gratification whilst we comm.
Commander John Crichton, and your friends, are legendary here
in the Uncharted Territories. For you have destroyed a Gammack
base, which is astronomical. And you have crushed the depository,
a feat beyond many. However amazing, you didn't stop there.
No, you actually demolished a complete command carrier, the
power structure of their military, and even preserved many
lives in your attack. Such a merciful act from such a powerful
foe. Even so, you had no legions or fleets to carry out your
mission. Inconceivable. Whilst in contrast, it would have
taken us just that and more. You and your friends are in our
highest regards. You are legendary beyond all others in this
John stared into the clamshell, shocked. It was all about
survival, protecting each other from a relentless and formidable
nemesis. Those acts were inevitable, forced, not planned like
the strategies of war, or politics of vying nations. All John
wanted was peace, a life with Aeryn, to raise their kid, and
a simple planet to live on. Not this commando crap!
do not consider our satellites an offense," the Regent
continued, "but a defense to protect you while you are
here on Yontur. We have them designated to not allow any hostiles.
Please accept our invitation with no hesitance."
give us about a quarter of an arn, okay?" John asked.
The rich guy nodded, and patiently waited in mute. "Okay,
guys lets go with this. How about it?"
were either thinking quietly or sleepy. John couldn't figure
which, but he wanted to get this over with. "Look, I'm
going down there by myself whether anyone agrees or not. Is
nodded, "Then I'll go with you."
John said, "Rygel, Chiana stay with Granny, and Sikozu
you come with us." Chiana stepped forward.
this time, Pip, it's Sputnik's turn." He touched Chiana's
cheek, "Mmm, mmm good, remember food?" John rubbed
his belly, she pouted.
it'd better be next time when I go." Chiana pointed at
Sikozu, "If you frell up, you'll be a bucket of dren
when I get through with you."
noticed Pip's eyes sparkle with welled tears and wished he
could take her along.
heightened her chin, "I never frell anything up,"
like crash landing on Elack, destroying all
my wormhole notes," John said, murmuring. He saw Sikozu's
discontentment and turned to the viewer to begin preparations
for landing with the Regent. He was weary, hungry, spent,
and wanted to complete this little escapade to continue his
search for Aeryn, a higher priority than restoring wormhole
equations, previously destroyed by yours truly.
of course, you wish me to stay and negotiate." Rygel
said. "In case there is a need. Correct?"
bet your sweet bippy I do!"
got a full tour by the Regent's overseer, Palimous the third,
a very high station claimed by the guide. John was taken to
view the cylinder skyscrapers, reaching doubly high as the
Sears tower. Some of the achromatic structures were halved
edifices many concave, others convex. Majestic.
traveled in an automated mobile that could go aerial and sub
terrain. John and Sikozu witnessed a variety of teaching institutions
for children and adults in huge complexes. Though dissimilar
to Earth's way of doing things, the basic principles applied,
the more education, the better chance to upscale in society.
They thrived on learning institutions, economics, industries,
even agriculture. The planet teamed with life, everywhere,
flora, hexapods, arachnids, arthropods, ephemera, especially
on the windshield--bug juice. John chuckled, relaxed in his
seat with Sikozu. He liked it here. It was more like his home,
Earth, than any other planet he'd visited on this side of
John arranged with D'Argo to keep track of their trail and
stay hidden behind by the cloaking apparatus of his Luxen
ship. D'Argo kept their movements on scan from the stratosphere,
as the mobile that carried John and Sikozu moved above and
below the planet's surface.
finally arrived. John, with Sikozu following, exited the mobile.
The overseer, taller than John, with a long face like a mule
like Jughead, led them to a large tarmac field with aircraft
departing, landing, hovering, all in a conglomerate.
the third, gracefully gestured to the airfield. "We have
had many newcomers due to a vicious attack targeting our planetary
neighbors. We have provided solitude."
commendable of your people, Palimous," Sikozu said with
a fresh smile.
a way with her salmon hair and iridescent skin. Yep, John
thought she was charming when she wanted to be.
Regent desired me to introduce you to our new recruits, eight
of them to be exact," the overseer said. "Since
most have been delayed, we still have a couple of them. They
should arrive about now. Will you follow me to the hanger?"
here they come!" Palimous rushed ahead inside a huge
hanger, maybe a half mile long, to greet the two coming. John
couldn't see who they were, but he straggled behind.
he could see the jets screaming overhead before they entered.
Many fighter crafts had strange markings, alien to John's
eye, but others were prowlers. Their advanced technology marveled
him. He stared at their diamond formation, like a child's
first sighting of the magical U.S. Navy Blue Angels. They
were banked in rows of twelve. Beautiful. John put his hand
on the small of Sikozu's back to hurry her along. They were
dragging too far behind.
gasped at the great machines, dozens lined, ready for flight
inside the hanger. "This is wonderfully efficient. I
would love to get my hands on one of those."
you can fly anything," John grinned, looking at her.
"Like riding a bike, once you learn, you never forget."
The breeze felt nippy on this planet and swirled into the
huge hanger. John was glad he wore his black leather coat.
He thought he was imagining things. To John's left was a shadow
that hastily sprinted behind a fighter's wheel, probably a
mechanic or technician. He shrugged away his suspicions but
still felt rattlers in his stomach.
catching up, John heard Palimous's voice and looked up to
be introduced. John stopped, abruptly, causing Sikozu to bump
into him. Heat flashed through his body, face flushed, heart
palpating when he saw her, in an all black flight suit, sleek,
and lustrous ivory skin. She was radiant while she stood erect
with helmet in hand and hair loose, face flint like an eagle,
he then noticed, soften.
hold you after all this time.
eyes locked. Memories flooded John's senses--the feather-light
scent of her skin, her large gray orbs, innocent, yet war
torn that always reflected clarity, sincerity of how she felt.
He felt his groin ache, his knees buckle.
God, Aeryn, my radient Sun!
hoped no one noticed his angst for her. He didn't trust the
regent, the overseer, nor the situation. He had learned the
hard way many times before, making life-threatening mistakes.
Clint Eastwood, help me here, need your stoicism. He
purposely scowled to appear like his movie idol, hard, unfeeling,
coiled for action and braced his legs in a straddle to keep
wasn't sure about his surroundings and scanned the perimeters,
which he was thankful for, it made him look busy. He felt
the rattlers in his stomach increase overtime, maybe because
of Aeryn. He scanned for any other followers or anyone hiding
waiting to pounce them. He saw another shadow. Then he pushed
his coat over to expose Wanona strapped on his right thigh,
and his fingers fidgeted over the pistol.
the human, Aeryn mused. It took fate long enough to return
John to her. Aeryn perused the crimson-hair beauty with golden
skin, flanked to John's right in contrast to his light brown,
well trimmed hair with pink skin. She purposely constrained
her disdain. A female replacement of herself, most likely.
Aeryn's Peacekeeper upbringing to be emotionally detached,
she felt her heart tug. It wasn't an opportune time to become
invidious. She was overreacting as if he were "her John."
muscles tensed, she haughtedly lifted her chin. Strange how
she believed he was useless, stupid, a lesser species, when
there he stood towering over her, strong, masculine, and fit
for use. His shoulders spanned, like the wings of her prowler.
Then her eyes perused down his torso, lower. His hips were
slender in the tight black leathers that exposed his virility.
She closed her eyes to turn away and opened them again to
focus elsewhere. Only a few monens ago, she had found him
asphyxiated, near his last breath. Now, she felt his warmth,
was weakening. She wasn't nearly as strong as their first
reunion on Moya after her John's death. She couldn't
grieve like any normal Peacekeeper. If grieving was the correct
word. No, it was too Earth oriented. Detach was more appropriate
wasn't any room to forget her John's face when this present
John stood directly in front of her still alive, still powerful,
still as beautiful.
seemed agitated and flapped his ebony coat back to expose
Wanona, his beloved pistol. His fingers rested near the release
clip, then fidgeted. His face was flushed, poised for action.
She hoped he would calm down.
began introductions, "Commander John Crichton, this is
one of our most excellent flyers, Officer Aeryn Sun. She has
already flown four missions with successful results. How many
of the enemy crafts did you destroy?"
significant amount, sir. Over thirty-five." Aeryn said.
John Crichton," Palimous pointed to her, "Officer
pleasure, Officer." John said, softly and extended his
hand to her. She grasped it and felt his grip tighten and
his pulse quicken. She noticed Palimous witnessing this human's
alien custom of greeting with a raised brow. To make things
more embarrassing, John didn't let go for such a long time.
I may, sir?" Aeryn asked. Palimous nodded.
reluctantly, slowly removed her hand from John's grip and
pointed to Kendrell. "This is Captain Kendrell my teammate,
my back wing on our missions. I am proud to present him to
you, Commander John Crichton," she turned to the teal-uniformed
one, "Captain Kendrell, Commander John Crichton."
here, you are unique in the universe. Commander?"
Kendrell put forth his hand with a captivating smile.
to meet you, Captain." John was struck by the term, "unique
in the universe," which only Scorpius and Crais had repeated.
How did the captain know? Crichton, though suspicious, took
an immediate liking to Kendrell who reminded him of the warrior
in D'Argo...no...a Jamaican soul brother. The guy was too
human looking; he had to be Sebacian, sporting burnt umber
dred locks past his waist with highlights of red. The captain's
skin was like mocha...hmmm...he'd kill for a delicious mocha,
frothy coffee, sweet like hot chocolate.
4 : Intertwined >>