~~**~~
As they moved through the market, Aeryn was still amazed at all that Gillina had accomplished before they had enacted her plan to free John from Scorpius' control. Somehow without being observed she had arraigned for them different places to shelter and new identities in which to hide immediately after their escape. According to the information on the ident transponder of the small ship Gillina had acquired for them, they were a Sebacean couple, refugees from a world that had been destroyed by a Scarren attack.

They had kept moving from one planet to another for almost three weekens, not wanting to draw any attention to themselves. Aeryn was starting to worry that Gillina had been discovered upon her return to the Gammak Base. She was supposed to have contacted Aeryn within a weeken to update her on Scorpius efforts to get John back.

John's condition had not changed since their escape, she tried to see it as a good sign that it had not worsen either. She was not able to leave him alone; if she moved to go anywhere he would automatically stand and try to follow her. So she resigned herself to the fact she would have to take him into the marketplace with her.

As she stood looking at the different foods, she noticed a man watching John as he stood at her side. Taking John's arm, she went to the next booth, the man followed them.

Turning she asked, "Can I help you?"

"My name is Bronku. Actually, I was wondering if I could help 'you'." He answered.

"Me? What could you possibly do to help me?" She chuckled, readying herself for attack.

"I should have said him. This is your mate?" Point towards John.

"Yes, but that is not of your concern."

"I was only wondering what happened to him. Why have you left him in this state?"

"If you must know, he was injured during an attack about a cycle ago, and I will not abandon my mate."

"I'm sorry, I just assumed you had been unable to bring yourself to do the right thing. I was only going to offer my services to end his pain if that was what you desired." He explained.

Taking a step towards him, "Well Bronku, I do not desire it. I only desire to have my mate by my side. He not an idiot and he still satisfies my needs, that is all that matters."

"I apologize for barging into a private matter, I will leave you both alone now." He bowed his head then walked away.

"Time to go darling." She said for the benefit of those eavesdropping.

She led them back to the small home they had been occupying since they arrived. Packing up their meager belongings, they left the planet that night. They had been traveling for two solar days when a buzzer sounded from the controls. Aeryn looked over at John, he had fallen asleep while watching her fly the ship. At times it was such a relief when he did go to sleep, his incessant humming and rocking wore on her nerves. There had been times when she'd had to sedate him to get him to sleep; the longest period of activity had been thirty arns.

She focused back on the incoming message. "This is the vessel 'TreyNe', I am receiving your transmission."

"Aeryn, this is Gillina. I'm sorry it has taken so long to contact you. Scorpius has had all transmissions monitored. This was the first opportunity I could get to contact you. How is John?"

"The same. Were you able to find a way to help him?"

"Yes, we were right. Before I could disable the control pad, Scorpius 'had' inserted a new order. One that creates a noise that breaks up the thought processes. I've just sent the codes to stop it."

"Will he return to normal? He's been like this for so long, and what of the other orders from the chip? Were you able to stop the original programming?"

"I'm still working on the original orders, everything has been locked down here. As for John returning to normal, I don't know...."

There was a loud noise from the other end of the transmission, and then Aeryn heard a voice that sealed Gillina's fate.

"Who 'are' you sending that transmission to?" Scorpius voice came over the speaker.

Another voice screamed, "Put the weapon down now!" Aeryn then heard pulse fire. She turned off her system and set in new coordinates. She had to get them away from this area as fast as she could before Scorpius had a chance to trace Gillina's last transmission.

~~**~~
She watched from the galley of their ship as his eyes fluttered open, she knew he would be awake soon so had begun preparing him his food. As Aeryn watched his eyes open, she noted there was a look of surprise on his face.

'Gillina did it, and he's noticed it's gone.' She thought.

Smiling at John, "Would you like something to eat? I'm almost done here."

He stood and came to stand next to her, "I am hungry." She noted that he had been able to say the words without having to concentrate on what he was going to say.

"Here sit down, how do you feel?" She said touching his head.

"Feel?"

"Yes, feel. How do you feel John?"

"Okay, I'm ready to work now. Where's Scorpius?" He said then began eating the food she had prepared.

"You can begin working as soon as you finish eating, but Scorpius is going to meet us later. " Aeryn lied.

Before Bronku had offered his services to her, Aeryn had bought writing implements for John to keep him happy until she and Gillina could put a stop to the chip in his head.

After John had finished eating, she placed the materials in front of him.

"Thank you Aeryn. Scorpius will be happy when he sees that I've been working."

'Why does he want to continue working for Scorpius after all that he has done to him?' She thought. "Yes he will John." She sat down next to him and watched him work for a few moments.

Placing her hand on his, "John? Why do you want to keep working?"

He didn't stop what he was doing, "Scorpius will make me nothing if I don't, I don't want to be nothing anymore." As he said this, she heard the panic in his voice.

"You don't have to worry about that anymore John. Just remember that when we get to the next planet, if we have to go out into the public, you 'will' lose your sight again, but only for a short time. Is that alright?"

"Yes Aeryn, I know you will protect me. Scorpius said you would always." He never looked up from the table.

"Yes, I will always protect you, I will never leave you."

~~**~~
As he opened his eyes, he noticed something different, it took a few moments as he looked at Aeryn. 'It's quiet.' The thought was fleeting, but it was not disrupted. He stood and walked towards Aeryn, he saw she was making him something to eat.

She smiled at him, "Would you like something to eat? I'm almost done here."

"I am hungry." He thought out loud.

Aeryn put his food on the table. "Here sit down, how do you feel?" She said touching his head.

"Feel?" He didn't understand the question.

"Yes, feel. How do you feel John?"

She sat beside him at the table, while she did this he watched her. His mind was still a total blank, but he was becoming adjusted to the silence in his mind. As he began eating, a now familiar idea crossed his mind. At first he wasn't sure what it was, but he soon came to recognize it.

"Okay, I'm ready to work now."

There was someone missing, someone who needed for him to work or else he would take everything away again and cause the hurting to come back, it scared him.

Where's Scorpius?"

"You can begin working as soon as you finish eating, but Scorpius is going to meet us later. " Aeryn said to him.

John watched as Aeryn stood and took something out of a container, she placed the materials in front of him.

"Thank you Aeryn. Scorpius will be happy when he sees that I've been working."

"Yes he will John." She sat back down next to him and watched him work for a few moments.

Placing her hand on his, "John? Why do you want to keep working?"

Scared to stop what he was doing, "Scorpius will make me nothing if I don't, I don't want to be nothing anymore." It hurt to think of the darkness that would surround him.

"You don't have to worry about that anymore John. Just remember that when we get to the next planet, if we have to go out into the public, you 'will' lose your sight again, but only for a short time. Is that alright?"

"Yes Aeryn, I know you will protect me. Scorpius said you would always." He never looked up from the table.

"Yes, I will always protect you, I will never leave you." As John heard her say this, he thought his heart would burst from happiness. He didn't say anything else; he had to concentrate on working to make Aeryn and Scorpius happy with him.

~~**~~
Aeryn landed the TreyNe, she hadn't wanted to visit any planets yet due to Gillina being caught while sending her last message, but she had no choice. They had left the last planet in too much of a hurry to gather any provisions for a prolonged space flight. As she checked on John, she reminded him that the chip would soon activate.

As she said this, a tear ran down his face, "Then I don't want to go. Can't we just stay here?"

"John you know we can't. I have to gather supplies. It will only be for a few arns. Can you do this for me? I don't want to leave you alone."

"I can do it for you Aeryn, anything for you." He smiled at her.

As she returned his smile, she finally understood that she would do anything this side of hezmana to keep him happy and to see him smile at her.

"Bundle up now, the sensor's read that it is cold out."

"Yes Aeryn."

It was his standard response for everything, but as his mind adjusted back to a normal flow of thought, his responses had improved. He still tried to follow her as she moved about the ship, but now he would ask her questions about what she was doing. During the sleep cycle she had to keep the lights on for him, he didn't like the dark anymore he said. There had been one instance where she had forgotten about this after attempting to replace some navigation wiring. It had taken her almost two solar days to finish the job correctly, she cursed the entire time and saying she wasn't a Tech. Finally she completed the job and as she walked back to her bunk, shut off the lights. Soon afterwards, she heard John calling her name. Running, she found him curled up on his bunk, she went to his side.

"John, it's alright. I only turned off the lights, I forgot. I'm sorry." Aeryn ran her hand up and down his arm as she tried to calm him down.

"I thought I did something wrong, that I'm not working hard enough. I know...I know..."

"Shhhh, lie down. I'll stay with you tonight." As she lay down with him, Aeryn wrapped her arms around John. She listened as his heartbeat slowed; it helped lull her back to sleep.

~~**~~
When she had landed their ship, it was on the outskirts of town so John would not be exposed to others too soon. The planet was in the middle of its cold season, and from John's descriptions of his world, she thought he would enjoy seeing the ice and snow on the trees. It wasn't long before they came into contact with other people; John took Aeryn's arm this time, ready.

They had been able to gather almost all of the supplies needed for the long trip to Kouri, a planet Aeryn had found in the ship's data spools. It was a primitive planet with almost no inhabitants, in a system far from Peacekeeper control. It would take two monens for the TreyNe to reach it without taxing the engines. It was the best place she could find for John to fully recover and not be exposed to other species.

Just as they searched the last shop, Aeryn heard a voice that made her blood freeze in her veins.

"Wanted! The capture of John Crichton and the traitor Aeryn Sun."

It was a wanted beacon; she tried to locate it by listening for which direction Scorpius' voice was coming from. Because she was focusing on the beacon, Aeryn didn't notice at first that John's body had begun to tremble as soon as the beacon had been activated. As the tremors increased, it caught her attention. 'Please not now!' He hadn't suffered from them since they had escaped the Gammak Base. She thought it had to do with John being near the beacon. Scorpius had to have found the signal and implanted it inside the beacon to facilitate locating John easier.

Wrapping her arm around John waist, she walked him out of the small shop, hoping that no one would notice. They reached only about fifty paces past the shop when John's body began to collapse. Aeryn was able to get him into an alley and help him onto the ground; she quickly dragged him behind two large crates. Lifting him onto her lap, she cradled him hoping the tremors would soon stop.

"Please John, It'll be alright, I'm here. I'm here." She rubbed his face as she spoke. She knew he couldn't hear her, but it made her feel as if she were helping, at least in some small way. She hated this feeling of helplessness; she couldn't imagine the hell that John went through each time. She continued to hold him until the shaking stopped.

He was hurting. 'Why am I hurting?' He thought. It wasn't like that at first. He was with Aeryn; he was okay as long as he was with her. He felt the tremors begin inside his head at first, and then the rest of his body joined in. It had been a long time since he had been punished like this. Scorpius must have found out he wasn't working anymore. Aeryn kept telling him he didn't have to listen to Scorpius anymore that he couldn't hurt him anymore. She had been wrong. He felt something on his face. It had to be Aeryn; she said she would protect him. Her touch seemed to make the shaking stop, but not the pain. Aeryn helped him stand up. Soon he saw the snow covered ground under their feet. He looked at Aeryn; he could see the worry on her face.

"I'm okay. What happened?"

"Scorpius. He put out wanted beacons for our capture. He must have found one of the frequencies for the chip and installed it into the programming of the beacon."

"He found me because I wasn't working anymore didn't he?"

Sighing in frustration, "John, I've told you. Scorpius only wants those frelling equations in your brain. He will do anything to get them. We have to leave here before he comes. We have enough supplies to last us until Kouri, but we must hurry."

He still needed assistance to make it back to their ship. Once inside, she had begun to do the pre-flight when she heard John scream. The shaking had begun again. Just as she reached the bed, Aeryn heard the door open.

"Don't move Peacekeeper!" A voice growled. Her head jerked up from John. Standing in the doorway was a Luxan holding what appeared to be a sword, behind him was a Nebari female cradling the wanted beacon in her hands.

"Get that beacon out of here! It's hurting him!" She yelled just as John screamed in pain.

"Do it Chiana." The Luxan said. The female he called Chiana left immediately.

"What have you done to him Peacekeeper?"

"I'm not a Peacekeeper, my name is Melika and this is my mate Breeja."

She was surprised when the Luxan laughed, "You are lying. You may not recognize me, but I sure as frell remember you. Now tell me what you are doing with John Crichton."

John's body was beginning to calm down, but Aeryn continued to rock him.

"Answer me Peacekeeper!" He demanded.

"You're one of the fugitives from the Leviathan Moya, his friends."

"How did you come to be with Crichton?"

She considered their options, which were very limited at the moment, "I'll tell you everything, but first we must get away from here before Scorpius arrives. He's probably been monitoring the wanted beacons, he'll know one of them has been activated."

"I should kill you right now!" He said as Chiana reentered the ship.

"If you do, then John will go insane and die. Is that what you want?"

Looking at John lying in Aeryn's arms, he nodded, "Chiana take the transport pod back to Moya. I'll fly this one."

"Are you sure about this? What if it's a trap?"

"It's not, now go. We have to hurry."

Chiana ran out of the TreyNe.

"I am Ka D'Argo. What is your real name?"

"Aeryn Sun."

"What is wrong with him?" He asked.

"I'll explain when we are safe, now please hurry."

D'Argo heard the desperation in her voice.

"Alright, but do not make me regret not killing you." D'Argo went to the front of the ship.

Aeryn focused her attention back to John, who it seemed had slipped into unconsciousness.

~~**~~
After their arrival on Moya, D'Argo carried John to his former quarters and laid him on the bed. Walking out of the room, he pointed his Qualta Blade at Aeryn and told her to move. He took her to command, where she spent the next arn explaining everything that had occurred since she had captured John eight monens before. She was in middle of explaining their escape when she heard John screaming her name.

"John! I'm here!" She answered as she ran in his direction, the others followed, but she didn't notice.

She saw him looking in different cells calling her name, as he looked in her direction, he ran towards her. Suddenly he slowed down and tried to stop himself. He didn't see the DRD directly in front of him, as he fell, his head hit the wall. He sat up holding his head. When she reached him, she saw the others coming down the hall.

"I told you, if the chip senses others besides myself or Scorpius, it shuts down everything. Right now he cannot see, hear, speak, or even touch. Because you followed me!" She struggled to help him up.

Zhaan came forward, "Please let me help with the wound."

"No, I'll do it. His senses won't return until we're alone and he doesn't like being in the dark. Which way to his quarters?"

"I'll have a DRD guide you." Pilot's voice said from the comm.

"Thank you." Aeryn said as John took her arm and they followed the DRD back to his room.

~~**~~
The DRD remained in the room monitoring out of sight while Aeryn cleaned the cut on John's head.

"You were gone when I woke up. You said you wouldn't leave me alone."

"I'm sorry John. I found some friends of yours or I should say they found us. Do you remember Moya?"

John looked around the room and smiled. He stood and went to the few items he owned. He began explaining what each item meant to him and how he got it.

Looking at Aeryn he said, "I can't see them can I? I've missed them so much."

"No John I'm afraid not. We don't have to leave if you don't want to, but you know what will happen." She said while sitting on the bed.

"Take me to them."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, even if I can't see or hear them, I still want to be near them and to thank them some how."

"What ever you want John."

Standing as John began to leave the room, she saw the DRD.

"Do you remember the way?"

"I believe so, even if we get lost, we can follow the DRD."

Together they walked to the Command. He had remembered the way without any help. John took her arm just before entering the room. They were all standing around the room waiting, they had been watching with the aid of the DRD. Zhaan stepped forward and Aeryn brought John to her. Wrapping her arms around John, she embraced him in a hug, John returned the gesture.

"He didn't have to come here, we don't want to cause him more pain." D'Argo said.

"You were watching?" Aeryn asked.

"Yes."

"There is your answer, you should know how stubborn he is. He wanted to thank you, John says you are family."

D'Argo stepped forward next. He put his hand on John's shoulder as he stepped back from Zhaan. He followed D'Argo's arm and they embraced as well.

"How has John been adjusting to all of this?" Zhaan asked.

"As well as can be expected. The hardest part has been trying to convince him he doesn't have to keep working in order to stop Scorpius from punishing him."

"What do you mean?"

"Occasionally he will have a set back, he will be reminded of the Aurora Chair. Sometimes, he wakes up thinking Scorpius is in the room with him. Demanding he start working on those frelling equations again. I have found him lying on the floor, writing as if his life depended upon it.

When John held Chiana, he began to cry, his grip tightening around her.

"Hey. Not so tight. What's wrong?" She asked.

"Remember, he also can't hear you right now." Aeryn said walking to where John and Chiana stood. Placing her hand on his face, she also tugged gently on his arm.

"He has told me a few times that you reminded him of his sisters on Earth, that might explain his reaction."

"Oh, I do? Tell him thank you for me." Chiana said wiping a tear off of her own face.

"I will."

"What are you planning on doing to stop this chip?" D'Argo asked, he couldn't take his eyes from John who was holding onto Aeryn's hand as if it were a lifeline.

"I don't know, what ever it will be takes currency. Which I do not have. I have found a planet with a limited populace, to far for even Scorpius to think of looking. I want to take him there."

"You both can stay on Moya, she is very happy at the Commander's return." Pilot said.

"Thank you Pilot, but it is best we go. I don't think John could take it if anything happened to any of you."

"I will not hear of it! John himself said we are family and that means we do not abandon one another." D'Argo growled.

"I agree." Zhaan said.

"Me too." Chiana also said.

Rygel snorted, "We're probably going to regret it, but I agree as well."

Aeryn nodded her head, "Let me speak to him after he has rested, then I will give you his answer."

As she led John out of Command, Pilot had a DRD follow once more. Watching from Command, they saw John look at Aeryn, "It's nice to be back with friends."

~~**~~
When Aeryn awoke she found John sitting across the room with a small silver box next to his ear, when he saw her move, he pushed a button on the box.

"Did I wake you?"

"No, what are you doing?" Indicating his hand.

"Oh, this is my tape recorder. It's just a simple recording device. I was using it as sort of a chronicle of all that happened to me when I first got here."

Aeryn thought for a moment, "May I listen to them?"

"Sure," his face becoming red, "just let me listen to them first."

"Take your time." Aeryn suspected there was something on the device about their first encounter, but she didn't mind it.

John cleared his throat and pointed at the table, "They had a DRD bring us some comms. Pilot was saying something; I guess he thought you were awake at first. I didn't want to disturb you.

She picked up one of the comm badges, "Pilot."

"Yes Miss Sun."

"John said you had spoken earlier when you sent the comms, unfortunately John didn't wake me, could you repeat what you said. I'm sorry for any bother."

"There is none. I was only stating we have worked out a system among us so Commander Crichton will have full range of Moya."

Looking at John, she repeated what Pilot had said.

"Moya has adjusted these comms for the both of you. To be sure the Commander is not inconvenienced, when these comms come within two metres of any of the other crew, they will emit a beeping noise. It should be enough time for him to go into another room before making contact."

"Thank you Pilot and tell the others for me too." John said.

"You are very welcome. Anything to make you more comfortable." Pilot said.

"So have you made a decision John?" Aeryn asked.

"It looks like it was made for me. I guess we can stay here if you want."

Aeryn stood up and walked across the room, "I go where you go. Now, let's get something to eat."

John came over to where Aeryn stood in the doorway. He softly ran his fingers through her hair, leaning forward; he gave her a soft kiss on the lips. Leaning back, he gave a soft laugh at her look of surprise.

"Yes Aeryn."

~~**~~
The early warning system gave John a freedom he hadn't felt in a long time. Not that he didn't love spending his time with Aeryn, but sometimes he wanted to be able to walk around Moya without having to drag her every step of the way as well. She needed to have her own time away from him as well.

They had been on Moya for almost two weekens when John started to wonder if there were any repairs he could help out with. He had been wandering around the ship, ducking into empty cells whenever the comm sounded off. He was bored. 'If I don't do something soon, I swear I am going to go postal.' He thought.

He hit his comms, "Aeryn? Can you ask Pilot if there is 'any' work I can do?"

"Work?"

"Yes. Repairs, fiddling around, anything. I need something to do."

"Just a moment." The comm went silent for a few microts.

"He said there are several lines with ruptures in the central access shaft on Tier 15."

Clapping his hands together, "Thank you Pilot, I'll start right away."

He went to the maintenance bay and gathered the material and tools he would need to do the job. As he climbed into the shaft, he found the ruptures quite easily, they were not very far from the entrance.

"What do they think? I'm gonna break?"

As he loosened the connections to the lines, he started whistling. It felt good to be useful again.

He didn't noticed as he worked that Aeryn stood outside of the access shaft. She knew he was okay when he started whistling. Leaving, she decided it was time for her to do a little maintenance on the TreyNe. She really hated doing the repairs, but it seemed she was actually good at doing them. There were still repairs she had difficulty with, but she was getting better at them. It still amazed her how her life had changed since coming across John just a short time ago. Before meeting him, all she ever wanted to do was fly, never really aspiring to rise in the ranks, she was only happy when she was one with her Prowler and out amongst the stars. Now all she wanted was to be one with John. What was it about him? When she was near him, her heart would race as if it were about to burst from her chest.

She was still lost in her thoughts when Chiana's voice came over her comm, "Aeryn, there's something wrong with John!"

"Where is he?"

"Tier 15, access shaft."

"I just left him, he was fine. I'm on my way."

When she reached the Tier, she could hear John screaming. He was still in the shaft.

"What happened?"

"I don't know. I-I was walking along; I didn't even know he was in the access shaft. All of a sudden, he started screaming."

Aeryn climbed into the shaft, her breath caught in her throat. John was lying on his back, hands gripping the sides of his head, his face red from the force of the screams that were ripping out of his throat. Crawling on her hands and knees until she was next to him, she grabbed his hands, trying to get his attention.

"John! What's wrong?" He kept screaming.

"I can't help you until you tell me what is wrong."

"Please! Make! It! Stop!"

"Make what stop?"

"The noise in my head!" He had to force the words out of him.

"Pilot, are there any unusual readings on this Tier?" Aeryn asked.

"Checking now."

The comm was silence for a few microts.

"Moya is reading a signal directly outside the access shaft."

Pacing back and forth in front of the shaft, Chiana said, "The only thing outside of the shaft is me."

Think for a moment, Aeryn said, "Didn't you say he started screaming as you walked past this shaft?"

"Well yeah, but I didn't do anything to him."

"Chiana, according to Moya the signal is coming from your comm. Please walk down the corridor."

She did as Pilot asked, soon John's screams turned into only a whimper.

D'Argo and Zhaan ran up the corridor, "What happened?" D'Argo asked.

"For some reason Chiana's comm malfunctioned, it reacted badly with the chip inside of the Commander." Pilot said.

"Can someone help? I can't calm John down this time." Aeryn yelled from the shaft.

"I'll get something to help him sleep." Zhaan said then began running back down the corridor.

"Please hurry!"

D'Argo could hear the desperation in her voice. Bending down, he looked inside of the access shaft, what he saw frightened him as much as the idea of never seeing Jothee ever again.

Aeryn had her arms wrapped around John while speaking into his ear, telling him everything was going to be all right. John on the other hand either wasn't listening or was unable to understand. He kept mumbling repeatedly, "Scorpius' coming."

"Aeryn move out of the way." D'Argo said quietly.

"What?"

He didn't answer her, instead his tongue shot out, barely missing Aeryn, it struck John just below his right ear. John let out one last scream

"What in the frell did you do to him?" Aeryn screamed.

"I couldn't let him continue like that and Zhaan would take too long. Now please hold his head while I pull him out of here."

~~**~~
"Miss Sun, Moya would like for me to convey her apologies for the malfunction in Chiana's comm badge. She doesn't know how the signal changed, but she wants to assure you it will not happen again."

No answer.

"Miss Sun?"

"I gave her something to help her sleep. She was making herself frantic over John." Zhaan said.

"I understand. I had not realized. Moya and myself have been trying to resolve this issue."

"Thank you. Your efforts 'are' appreciated."

D'Argo entered the center chamber, "Where's Aeryn?"

"I put some metka oil in a tea to help her sleep. She's in the cell next to the apothecary. Why?"

"John woke up about half an arn ago. There's something wrong. He keeps pacing the room and saying that Scorpius is coming..." D'Argo's face had a look of guilt on it as he stopped speaking.

Zhaan noticed, "What did you do?"

"I went into his room to try and calm him, but as soon I entered, he went farbot. Running into the wall and destroying anything his hands reached."

"D'Argo you should not have gone in there with him in this condition."

"I know."

Pilot's voice sounded over the comm, "Commander Crichton has locked and disabled the door to his quarters."

D'Argo looked at Zhaan, "Wake Aeryn now!"

~~**~~
Aeryn could feel her pulse pounding in her ears as she ran to John's quarters. She didn't know if it was from the stimulant that Zhaan had used to awaken her or the anxiety over John's latest set back.

"Miss Sun, I still have not been able to open the door, but I will continue to try."

"Do what you can, I have to get in there!"

When she arrived at John's quarters, she could see through the door that John was lying on the floor, his 'work' spread out before him. He wrote furiously on a new sheet of paper, every few microts he would refer back to one of the other papers next to him. The entire time saying, "Have to hurry, Scorpius' coming."

"John! Please open the door!"

He continued to work.

"John!" Aeryn yelled as she shook the door.

The writing slowed down and soon stopped. John looked up at Aeryn, his eyes bloodshot, he blinked back a tear. Standing up, he walked to the door. "Aeryn? Scorpius is coming, you have to get in here."

"John, listen very carefully to me. I want you to unlock this door. You are safe here on Moya, Scorpius cannot get you here."

"Yes he Can! He tried while ago. I have to get back to work before he arrives, or else he'll bring back the pain and noise." His voice cracking as he spoke.

"That wasn't Scorpius John. There was a malfunction in Chiana's comms. Pilot says Moya has fixed the problem."

John's eyes locked onto Aeryn's, "No, no, no. See Scorpius told me he was coming." As he said this last part, John looked around the room as if searching for something. Backing away from the door, "I have to work now."

"John, I have some things I need to get if we are going to be in here for a while, I'll be back."

John nodded his head then sat back down on the floor and started writing again. Aeryn crossed her arms across her chest, then turned and walked a short distance to meet the others.

"He's working on the equations again. I don't know how this could have happened, he was doing so frelling well."

She tried to keep calm but the idea of losing John completely to Scorpius made her shake in anger, she began pacing the halls. "I am 'not' going to lose him now after all this time to that monstrosity! John is in that room hallucinating that frelling son of a bitch. Frell Scorpius and frell those damn Ancients who caused all of this!"

"What are we going to do about him? We could sedate him for a short time so doesn't injure himself." D'Argo suggested.

Shaking her head, Aeryn said, "Pilot, can you go through the data from the TreyNe, maybe Gillina left some other information on how to can stop this chip."

"I'll begin right away."

"Zhaan, I have to get John some food, he'll be expecting me soon."

"Goddess be with you both." She whispered as Aeryn walked down the hall.

~~**~~
Over the next two solar days Aeryn stayed in the room with John. As she watched him, she felt herself beginning to lose all hope. She knew that soon she would have to make a decision that would destroy her. She had given up everything she had ever known to be with this man. Recreated herself out of love, she had never known real happiness until he kissed her.

Occasionally John would look up from his pages and would 'talk' to Scorpius, asking the figment if he was working good enough for him. Apparently it wasn't, because after each time, John would apologize and would begin writing even faster.

D'Argo's voice startled her, "Aeryn, can you come to Command?"

"Yes, give me a few microts." Getting up from the bed, Aeryn knelt down on the floor next to John. She didn't say anything for a moment, wanting to see if he would notice her. When he made no acknowledgment of her presence, she put her hand over his paper, "John? Look at me please."

He did as she asked. Looking into his eyes, she could see the haunted look in them. She swore if she ever laid her eyes on Scorpius again, she would personally disembowel him, slowly, so he could appreciate the level of pain he had caused John.

"John, I have to go get us something to eat and drink. Will you be okay until I come back?"

"Sure, I'll be fine." His voice distant as his eyes drifted back towards the newest paper he was writing.

Aeryn made her vow once more before she left John alone.

~~**~~
"Pilot has found something in the data spools that might be of some use to us. Gillina had found information on a Diagnostician." Zhaan said.

"Yes, I know, Gillina told me about it, but I told you I don't have the currency to pay him."

Rygel crossed the room, "We are four solar days from his planet. We have acquired materials we can use in trade for this procedure. Pilot as already set course. So don't worry about currency."

"Do you think this diagnostician 'will' do it in trade?" She asked.

"Oh, he'll do it. One way or the other." D'Argo rumbled quietly.

Aeryn's voice cracked, "Thank you all."

Zhaan went to Aeryn and embraced her, as she stood back she said, "You've come to care for John deeply, we have all seen this. I know you don't want to leave his side, but you must rest yourself. No one should have to bare this strain."

"I will once John is well. Now I have to get back to him."

"Very well, but please try and rest. You cannot watch him continuously.

Aeryn nodded in agreement then left to fix John his meal.

~~**~~
"So you want the Doc here to remove a neural impulse chip? It will cost you...eleven thousand kretma." Grunchlk said.

D'Argo starred at the creature on the view screen, "We don't have that much currency. We have supplies that your Diagnostician might find useful. We will trade with you."

Grunchlk laughed. "Trade? Hold on a microt." The view screen went dark. When it came back on, he wasn't smiling. "We don't need any supplies, but you do have one thing we 'are' in need of. A donor. To be more specific, the Sebacean female. You have one, we need one. We will accept her in trade."

"You want what? Forget it! We will find someone else to do the procedure." D'Argo yelled. There was no way they would give him Aeryn, even if she were a Peacekeeper.

Smiling, Grunchlk said, "Well, you see the thing is...there is no one else that can do this. You either agree or watch your friend suffer."

"I agree." Aeryn said.

Everyone's eyes riveted on her. "Aeryn you can't possibly be considering this." Zhaan cried out.

"I won't have John go through this another microt longer than he has to." Looking at Grunchlk, "We'll be down in one arn."

"We'll get prepared to go with you." D'Argo said.

"Excuse me. I hate to say this, but the Doc has strict rules about contamination before a procedure. Only the Human and the Sebacean can come down. After it's over, I'll allow one of you to retrieve him." Grunchlk said

D'Argo growled and shook his head.

"I'll get John ready." Aeryn turned to Zhaan, "Would you explain to him once you have gotten far enough out? If I do it now, he'll refuse, even the way he is now."

"Of course my dear." Zhaan said.

~~**~~
As Aeryn felt the soft jolt as the ship came in contact with the surface, she felt the knot in her stomach tighten. She knew this was the only to make sure John would make it. It was her fault that Scorpius even got him in the first place. So it was only fitting that she be the one to pay to have him made whole again.

Looking out the front of the ship, she saw the area was empty of people. It didn't feel right to her. 'Surely Grunchlk would have met us.' She thought, wishing that she had brought her pulse pistol with her; but they had been told no weapons were allowed, some dren about interference with the equipment. Hearing a noise behind her, she stood and walked to where John was going over his papers.

"John it's time to go."

"Okay, can I bring these with me?" He asked holding the papers up to her.

"No, but they will be here waiting for you when we get back."

As John stacked up the papers for later, Aeryn retrieved his coat.

"You know after this is over, you will no longer need me. You'll be free of Scorpius and the chip, and eventually will even make it home." She said as she helped him into his coat.

"I will always need you Aeryn."

Smiling at him sadly, she said, "Let's go get this over with."

As she exited the ship, Aeryn turned back towards John to make sure he didn't become distracted. Stepping out, John looked up and froze. "Scorpius' coming."

"No...he's not John. He is far away from here."

"I am most assuredly not Officer Sun."

Aeryn whipped around reaching for her pulse pistol, cursing when she remembered she had left it on Moya.

"How did..." Aeryn began then noticed the pulse pistol in Scorpius' hand.

"How did I find you? Quite easily after the wanted beacon was activated, there was only one place you could have gone to remove the chip."

"You will 'not' hurt him again."

"Oh, I have no intention of hurting him, at least not permanently. I need him. John come here to me."

Hesitating, John said, "I haven't stopped working. Can I get my papers for you?"

"In a moment...now do as I say and come here."

John looked at Aeryn; at that moment John fell on the ground, his body convulsing.

"Stop! You are hurting him!"

"I allowed you and Gillina to think you destroyed my control over John. She never found the alternate codes inside of the chip and I had learned long ago the value of patience. I had only to wait for you to come to me." He said sneering at her.

When John was back in control of his body, Scorpius looked at him. "Now do as I said John and come to me."

"Yes Sir." John said softly and went to Scorpius' side.

"Officer Sun, you are no longer of any use to me." He looked at John, handing him the pistol, "John, I want you to dispose of her for me."

John took the pistol, "Sir?"

"Shoot the traitor now!" Scorpius growled, his hand reaching for the control pad on his arm.

John raised his arm; taking aim at Aeryn his hand shook, tears ran down his face. "I'm sorry Aeryn."

"It's alright John, I love you."

"Yes Aeryn."

John fired, he watched as Aeryn's body fell to the floor. John screamed, turning he brought the gun around and fired again. Catching Scorpius by surprise, he had no time to react. The pulse blast at that range tore off half of his face. As his body lay twitching on the floor, John watched as brain matter began leaking from the wound. John fired the pistol several more times at the body.

Dropping the pistol, he took a step back. He looked over to wear Aeryn's body lay. Falling to his knees, John crawled toward Aeryn, he saw the blood pooling around her. Picking up her head, he cradled her in his arms. " I tried to miss baby. I'm so sorry, tried to miss." He cried. John heard a soft moan.

"John..."

"Aeryn!" He held her tightly, "I tried to miss you..."

"Next time aim 'for' me." She said softly.

"Wear did I hit you?"

"The shoulder, it hurts like hell."

"I'll go get some help." He said laying her back down.

"Where's Scorpius?"

"Dead." John said pointing to his corpse.

"It was too quick for him." Aeryn said as John ran for help.

~~**~~
Epilogue: One Monen Later

Pilot's voice came over each of the crew's comms.

"Can you please come to the Command for a moment?"

His image greeted them as they entered.

"There is something I need to share with you all."

"John and Aeryn aren't here yet Pilot." Chiana said.

Pilot's face grew sad, "That is what I wanted to speak to you about. The Commander and Miss Sun left six arns ago while you were sleeping...they recorded a message for you."

They each stared in stunned silence as John and Aeryn appeared on the clamshell.

John spoke first, "I know you guys are going to be pissed as hell at us, but after a lot of thought and discussion, we believe this for the best. We are leaving because we love you guys. With Scorpius dead, the Peacekeepers are going to be after us hot and heavy. The were already searching for us alone. You guys still have a chance of making it, but not if we're with you. They will always be hunting us."

John looked at Aeryn, who then spoke, "I want to thank you for all that you have done for John and myself. I can see why John cares for you so deeply. He is right. You all 'are' family. I will miss you."

As John finished there were tears in his eyes, "I've asked that Pilot purge all of the data of our being here. I'm going to miss you guys. I love you all. Take care of one another."

The recording ended. No one spoke for several microts, and then Chiana left the room, crying softly. Rygel soon followed in silence.

"Why would they leave like that?" D'Argo asked.

"They explained their reasons." Zhaan replied trying to hold back her own tears.

D'Argo sighed, "John will still attract attention since he cannot understand anyone without the microbs. There is only one place where he can hide from the Peacekeepers."

"Kouri."

Together D'Argo and Zhaan shouted, "Pilot!"

Pilot's image came back, "I'm already searching Moya's star charts."

The End.

 

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To Serve

By: Kazbaby

Disclaimer: Belongs to Jim Hensen and Co.



Summery and Spoilers: This story is AU. Aeryn Sun never joined the crew because of Crais' order. We join the story shortly after what would have been 'A Human Reaction'. A few spoilers for Nerve.

 
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