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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, including "Die Me, Dichotomy".

Summary: Post-DMD speculation. What happens next.

"Can you help me I'm bent?
I'm so scared that I'll never
Get put back together."
Excerpt from "Bent" by Matchbox 20

I wait as he sleeps, exhausted from the latest seizure.

I want to hate him.

I need to hate him.

Once 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.

But that was then. Before.

Before the Gammak base. Before the Aurora chair.

Before I had been forced to confront the truths that I had long hidden from myself.

Blaming 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?

As 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.

I wanted him to suffer, as I had suffered.

He 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 chair.

No 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 it.

I 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.

And 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 price.

Later 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.

Far later I would learn that the Aurora chair was the least of the horrors that he had endured.

By then it was too late.

They had rescued him from Scorpius. Again. But the creature they rescued was not their friend, not the man I had come to know.

This creature was more than half-mad. In his few lucid moments he begged his friends to kill him.

They 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.

It was not until I saw for myself the horror that had invaded his brain that I understood just what had been done to him.

He 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.

It 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.

I 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 best.

But 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.

Or rather his body killed her. It was the chip that had killed her, using his body and his skills to do so.

He 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.

He 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.

I 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.

His 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.

Strangely 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.

I 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.

He 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.

We 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.

Zhaan 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.

I 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.

The 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.

And 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 pain.

Crichton had recognized Scorpius.

But 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.

He knew who I was. He could not speak, but he recognized me at once, and nodded when I asked if he remembered me.

Was 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?

I did not ask if he remembered her. Remembered loving her. Remembered killing her. I did not want to know.

It 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.

He had the first seizure less than three arns after his awakening.

And 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.

He wanted no part of them. Refused to return to Moya. Did not want anyone's help.

Yet he could not be left here. He could not care for himself. He needed time to heal, as best he could.

If 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 had started.

Moya 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.

The 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 refused.

And 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.

It 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.

Talyn is a swift ship, with armaments that will provide a formidable defense, should any of his enemies try to pursue us.

He stirs, and then his eyes open. It takes a few microts before his blank gaze sharpens into recognition.

He makes a questioning sound.

"Another seizure. Just over an arn ago," I explain.

He 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.

I wait as he struggles to his feet, then I rise as well.

"Come. Talyn is waiting," I say.

And with no other choice, he follows.

#####

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

This story was written in February 2001, as my musings on one possible future for John Crichton post-DMD. Undoubtedly the producers have something different in mind for our hero, so when Season 3 starts this tale will become alternate universe. Nonetheless I liked this, and wanted to share.

Like this story? Read my other Farscape Fanfic:

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