wait as he sleeps, exhausted from the latest seizure.
want to hate him.
need to hate him.
it had all been so simple. He was my enemy, a murderer. I had
hated him, and had vowed to destroy him, regardless of the cost.
In those days I had bottled up my rage, storing it inside like
chakan oil, needing only his presence to ignite my fury.
that was then. Before.
the Gammak base. Before the Aurora chair.
I had been forced to confront the truths that I had long hidden
him had allowed me to hide, from my own guilt, my own sense
of responsibility. Why should I worry about my own culpability,
when I had such a convenient target for my rage?
time passed, a part of me began to suspect that matters were
not as simple as they had first appeared. The collision was
almost assuredly an accident, rather than a deliberate attack.
But still I clung to my hatred. He was a non-Sebacean, an inferior
creature to be despised. He had no right to live, no right to
exist in a universe where my brother was dead.
wanted him to suffer, as I had suffered.
deserved to die. I repeated the litany over and over in my head,
until I was forced to confront my own memories in the Aurora
man should have to look so deeply into his own soul, and his
own motivations. The man who left that chair was not the same
revenge-driven Peacekeeper Captain who had been forced into
felt empty. Hollow. And I knew that I did not have it within
me to kill him. He was not to blame for the tragic stupidity
of my brother's death.
there was a new emotion inside. A reluctant sympathy for him.
I had endured the chair for mere arns, while he had been tormented
over the course of days. No punishment that I could inflict
would ever match what he had been through. All because of his
quest for wormhole knowledge, and his obsessive need to return
to his homeworld. I wondered if he still thought it worth the
I would learn that I had misjudged him. Again. He went to the
Gammak base not for his own sake, but for the sake of another,
risking his own life to save hers.
later I would learn that the Aurora chair was the least of the
horrors that he had endured.
then it was too late.
had rescued him from Scorpius. Again. But the creature they
rescued was not their friend, not the man I had come to know.
creature was more than half-mad. In his few lucid moments he
begged his friends to kill him.
refused, confident that they could help him. He knew better.
He betrayed their location to the Peacekeepers, attacking his
friends when they tried to interfere.
was not until I saw for myself the horror that had invaded his
brain that I understood just what had been done to him.
had seemed almost relieved when the Diagnosan had declared there
was nothing he could do to help. And then he had surprised me,
asking me to kill him. To take my long-awaited revenge. He begged
me to do so, and cursed me for being weak when I refused.
would have been kinder if I had done as he asked. But I did
not. I knew some of the others would understand, but she would
not. And she would never forgive me.
still had hopes that she would join me. Even after the Diagnosan
offered to try to operate, we all knew it was highly unlikely
Crichton would survive. The surgeon's efforts were just a sop
to their consciences. They would not kill him, but if he died
in an attempt to save him, well so be it. It would be for the
they waited too long. The thing controlling him had no intention
of cooperating with their plans. So he escaped, and in doing
so he killed her.
rather his body killed her. It was the chip that had killed
her, using his body and his skills to do so.
came back to himself as she plummeted to her death in the icy
lake. He landed his craft and allowed himself to be taken into
custody, submitting tamely to the restraints.
did not explain. He did not try to defend himself. He did not
seem to grieve, unless you looked past the hollow mask into
the tortured eyes.
wanted to hate him, for having destroyed her. I tried to. But
I could not, for I had burned up my hatred a long time ago.
friends distanced themselves from him. Their words said he was
not to blame, but their actions said otherwise. And they did
not know how to behave around someone who could change from
friend to enemy in an instant.
enough the chip remained quiet. Perhaps it had achieved what
it wanted, by delaying the surgery. Or perhaps the chip was
acting as its creator would have wished, according to his own
evil nature. There could be no more horrific torture than letting
Crichton experience the funeral of the woman he loved, living
with the knowledge that he had killed her.
had planned to leave after her funeral. There was no reason
for me to stay. And yet I did, somehow needing to know if Aeryn's
sacrifice had been worth it. If there had been enough left of
him for the surgeon to save.
went to the surgeon's under guard, but sent his friends away.
He had no wish for them to bear witness. So several arns passed
before Moya's crew realized something was gravely wrong.
returned to the planet to find the Diagnosan and his assistant
dead, and Crichton nearly so. And there was no sign of the neuro-chip.
finished the operation, as best she could. The repairs the Diagnosan
had planned were beyond her skills, but she was able to control
the bleeding, and reattach his skull.
found the monitoring tapes. I saw the start of the procedure.
The assistant explaining that Crichton was not responsible for
his actions and Crichton refusing to be absolved of his guilt.
procedure itself was a horror, as Crichton calmly discussed
which pieces of his self he would try to hold on to, and which
were to be sacrificed.
then Scorpius appeared on the recording, as I had suspected.
He must have been monitoring the surgery for he appeared just
as the chip was removed. He killed the Diagnosan, and then took
the chip. He seemed to enjoy Crichton's incoherent rage, as
he informed Crichton that he would be spared to live with his
had recognized Scorpius.
when the operation was complete, he did not seem to know Zhaan,
or any of the others. He acted as if they were strangers to
him, and perhaps they were.
knew who I was. He could not speak, but he recognized me at
once, and nodded when I asked if he remembered me.
this an accidental byproduct of the surgery? Or a deliberate
choice? What does it say about a man who chooses to remember
those who had been his enemies while he forgets those who had
been his friends?
did not ask if he remembered her. Remembered loving her. Remembered
killing her. I did not want to know.
was obvious to all that he was badly damaged. He could understand
our words, but spoke only incomprehensible gibberish in response.
His right leg dragged when he walked and his right arm was useless.
had the first seizure less than three arns after his awakening.
this was the damage we could see. His mind was damaged as well,
but neither Zhaan nor Stark were willing to link with his mind
to determine how much of the original man was left. Perhaps
they felt they lacked the strength. Or perhaps they had already
done as much as they were willing to do, for someone who had
once been their friend.
wanted no part of them. Refused to return to Moya. Did not want
he could not be left here. He could not care for himself. He
needed time to heal, as best he could.
he stayed here he would be vulnerable. If his own weaknesses
did not kill him, there were others who would. Scorpius was
not the only enemy he had made. There were others who pursued
him, for what he had done or for the knowledge his brain once
held. Others who would be more than willing to finish what Scorpius
was still half-crippled, unable to starburst. She could offer
no refuge, as the others soon recognized. The Luxan and his
son, the Nebari girl, even the self-important Hynerian had all
chosen to leave, to follow their own paths.
Delvian and the Banik slave had chosen to stay aboard the Leviathan,
professing their devotion for the ship and its pilot. They would
have taken Crichton aboard as well, but did not argue when he
so it falls to me to care for him, in a twist of fate so ironic
that the universe itself seems to be mocking me. I, who had
once sworn to destroy him, now find myself his keeper. His guardian.
is not for him that I do this. It is for her. It is because
she gave her life trying to save him from himself. In her memory
I can not leave him behind.
is a swift ship, with armaments that will provide a formidable
defense, should any of his enemies try to pursue us.
stirs, and then his eyes open. It takes a few microts before
his blank gaze sharpens into recognition.
makes a questioning sound.
seizure. Just over an arn ago," I explain.
nods. He raises his head from the platform, and then uses his
left hand to push himself up into a sitting position. I do not
offer to help.
wait as he struggles to his feet, then I rise as well.
Talyn is waiting," I say.
with no other choice, he follows.