by unohoo, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rating - PG
Spoilers - None
Category - Comedy
Summary – A James Bond Parody – Loosely based on Goldfinger
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, if I did, why in the ever lovin'blue eyed world would I be doing this? I'm keeping my day job.
Note: The characters behave more like James Bond characters. I am not trying to strictly parallel Goldfinger. There are many similar elements.
Acknowledgement: To Runnik, for not only doing the beta reading (which is essential) but for all the encouragement and support (also essential). And if you think this voluntary job is easy, try it some time. It is a lot of work for which I am indebted to him.
John Crichton (James Bond)
Scorpius Brownfinger [he finally gets another name!] (Auric Goldfinger)
Chiana (one of Brownfinger's innocent lovely's)
Aeryn Sun (Pussy Galore)
Jool (Miss Moneypenny)
Furlow (Odd Job)
Braca (One of Brownfinger's henchmen)
Bialar Crais (Felix Leiter)
Stark (John's golf caddy)
John Crichton parked his module and slid into command, tossing his coat onto a hook. "Jool, you look lovely. What have you done to your hair?"
"You're late again John." Jool swiveled around taking John's hand. "D'Argo is waiting for you, now get in there."
John acted as if there was no urgency and continued to flirt with Jool. D'Argo interrupted him over the coms. "John Crichton, put a lid on it and get in here now. We have urgent business to discuss."
"So you will have to go to the Planet Grand B'hwa. You will be working with Crais again." D'Argo said.
"Oh good! We have some catching up to do."
"Not until you complete this mission, Crichton." More than anything D'Argo did not like being interrupted. "The person we want intelligence on is Scorpius Brownfinger. We know he has been smuggling chocolate, but we don't know how he has been doing it. Jool will give you his dossier; study it. Rygel will fit you out with the weapons you will need." D'Argo summed the mission up, and turned Crichton over to Rygel.
D'Argo stopped John before he could leave the area, "John, are you still using Wynona?"
"Sure. I wouldn't be without her. She has stood by me more times than I can remember. I trust my life to her." John stood in the doorway, fondling his Wynona.
"Turn it in. We have new issue. Regulations."
"Huh?" John looked at D'Argo in disbelief. He would never give Wynona up.
"Bring her to me. You will take this, it's much lighter, more powerful, and can easily be hidden under your coat." D'Argo held the new weapon in the palm of his hand. It was barely microns longer than his hand.
John had no choice; he had to take the new weapon. But, he could also keep Wynona? No! D'Argo was having none of it.
"So Rygel, what have you got to show me?" John and Rygel were in front of his Farscape Module. There were dozens of technicians swarming around and testing various devices.
"Before we get to your module, I have a personal item that I think you will find of interest." Rygel orbited John, making him dizzy.
"Okay, okay, stop moving! I'm going to get sick. Just show me what you have." John grabbed Rygel's throne sled to prevent him from making another orbit.
"Give me your coat." Rygel hovered in front of Crichton.
"Why?" John hated the thought of parting with this coat. It became a second skin to him. It had taken many monens wearing that coat for it to mold to his shape. Now he would have to break in a new one.
"Because, I've got this for you." Rygel pointed to another coat that looked similar to the one John had on. It did not have his signature. When Rygel saw John frowning, he quickly showed him the new coat's merits. "You may think this is an ordinary Peacekeeper issue coat. It is not. It has a very special feature. Look here. You twist this clasp ninety degrees counter clockwise while pulling on your left sleeve at the second button, like this, it will become your personal throne sled. It can gain altitude to five hundred metras." Rygel demonstrated on the coat John was still wearing.
"Oh, that's interesting. How long will it keep me afloat? And how fast can I go?" John took off his old coat. It wasn't that important to him!
"You will have six hundred microts, and it will cover about one thousand denches." Rygel looked rather pleased with himself. "Now for your module, we've added two features that I think you will be pleased with."
"What's he doing here?" John pointed to a Sheyang standing by the module.
"That is one of the features. We are installing Sheyangs as part of the weapons system of the Farscape Modules. Quite a good design, this. All our agents are using the copies since you came on the scene. Oh, where was I? Yes, the Sheyang. See this guide we have installed on the rear of the module? The Sheyang is behind it, and puts his face in this mask, individually fitted, I might add. When you flip this switch, the Sheyang will instantly react to the signal and belch fire through the guide. I believe it just may come in handy, and knowing you, it will be soon." Rygel hovered looking smug.
John was pleased; he could really surprise some tailgater. He looked inside his module at the switch for the Sheyang, when he noticed a new button, protected by a metal flap. "What is this?" John pulled the flap up as he asked.
"DON'T touch it." Rygel tried to pull John's hand away from the flap. "That is a miniaturized wormhole maker. Use it only if you have no other choice."
John released the flap. "When will my module be ready?"
"In eight arns."
"Good, I'll be able to study this dossier." John held up a folder and strode out of the work area. * I wonder if Jenevia is available, we have some catching up to do. * John thought.
BROWNFINGER Part 2
Crichton landed the heavily modified Farscape in a huge hanger designed for off-world tourists coming for the gambling, the beaches, and the sun. After securing the module in a convenient-to-get-the-frell-away bay, and paying dearly for it, he began to look for a private shuttle to take him to the hotel.
John made his way to the private shuttle stand and tried to mingle with the crowd. He became aware of someone very close to his back. He spun around, his hand on Betsy (he missed Wynona, but what could he do?) He faced a stunning creamy white woman with the blackest eyes carrying a rather large and heavy suitcase, looking frustrated and in need of a friend.
"Let me help you with that." John Crichton offered. "Were are you headed, perhaps we can share a shuttle."
"Thank you, but it's no bother really. I can manage." The two-tone lovely replied, cocking her head to one side. "I wouldn't mind sharing a shuttle. I'm going to The B'hwa Gardens."
"That's exactly where I'm going. I insist I help you with this suitcase!" Crichton grabbed the offending suitcase and helped carry it to the curb where he muscled his way to a Shuttle driver. "Come on get in…." Crichton hesitated, realizing he didn't know her name, and this was one lady he was planning to know.
"Chiana" the damsel-in-distress replied while entering the shuttle. She looked at him quizzically while Crichton sat down beside her and told the driver their destination.
"The name is Crichton, John Crichton." He flashed Chiana his most winning smile as he introduced himself.
"Ah Crais, good to see you again." Crichton met Crais by the Grand B'hwa's
pool and outdoor gaming area. There were many people from all parts of the galaxy swimming, diving, basking and enjoying the fine weather and surroundings. There were several boards of Tadek set up for people to enjoy. Only one was being used.
"See that man over there playing Tadek? This is the third solar day that he has won big time against his mark, a rich Depository owner who is able to cover his losses." Crais pointed to an unusual looking man, fully covered in black leather, despite the heat, with a very pale and pitted complexion. A nurse hovered by his side.
"So that's Brownfinger. What is wrong with him? Why does he need the nurse?" Crichton noted several things about Scorpius Brownfinger, not the least of which he was probably the ugliest man he had ever seen.
"He's an impossible hybrid, half Sebacean and half Scarran. It should have been impossible because Scarrans thrive on heat and Sebaceans suffer the living death with too much heat." Crais sloshed his drink with his index finger. "You see that round disk above his ear with the red buttons?" When Crichton nodded Crais continued. "It's actually a cooling device that accepts some type of refrigerant to keep his brain cool. The woman standing behind him is his nurse. He wears that thermal suit always to maintain the correct body temperature."
"Good to know his major vulnerability." Crichton turned his back to Brownfinger and scanned the hotel windows. He saw a glint from one of the windows and followed its line of sight directly back to the chap playing against Brownfinger. "I have to check something out, Crais. I'll check with you later." Crichton headed for the hotel lobby.
"Crichton! Don't assume Brownfinger is vulnerable. He is always well defended." Crais left.
Crichton suspected Brownfinger had a scam going that involved an accomplice in his room. He purchased a bottle of the finest bubbly (not Champagne, but close enough for the UT) he could find. He went to the front desk and asked for Brownfinger's room number. After a bit of haggling, he managed to convince the functionary that he needed to deliver the gift in person and obtained the room number. No surprise that it was on the same floor that he had seen the momentary glint from a spying device.
After he found the room and knocked on the door he heard a woman's voice say, "Who is it?" faintly from within. John response of "Room Service" brought the sound of movement from behind the door. He put the bubbly bottle down in front of the door and stepped to one side, his back against the wall. The door opened and there was a pause before he saw a creamy white arm reach out and grab the bottle by the neck. "Chiana!"
At the sound of Crichton's voice, Chiana jumped and almost dropped the bubbly. "John, you startled me. Howja find me?"
"Are we going to stand in the hallway or are you going to let me in?" John stepped half in and half out of the room.
"Come in, come in. I gotta get back to work. Just close the door behind you." Chiana rushed back to the window. She then spoke into the device set on the windowsill. "He is going to move the Mn'tak to the cudron." Chiana turned around to find John standing directly beside her. "I have to work. If Brownfinger doesn't get the moves he'll kill me."
"So that's how he wins at Tadek." By now John was sitting besides Chiana and nibbling on her ear.
"Stop it! I gotta work!" Chiana pulled away from John. "Later."
John put his finger on Chiana's pure black lips and spoke into the device, "Brownfinger, you won't be able to cheat anymore. You will have to let your opponent win back all he lost." John switched the device off.
John Crichton and a giggling Chiana took the bubbly back to his room.
"Aaahummm! John that was wonderful." Chiana snuggled up against him and dozed off.
John lay with his arm wrapped around a sleeping Chiana trying to decide what to do next. He still didn't have the information he need about Scorpius Brownfinger. Chiana knew very little about his operations. She only knew what was requested of her, though she admitted she tried to learn more but Brownfinger was extremely secretive. The one fact he was able to learn was about Furlow. Brownfinger kept a personal guard whom you didn't want to cross. John gently extricated his arm out from under Chiana and threw a robe on. He heard a noise. He was knocked unconscious while reaching for Betsy.
Several arns later John regained consciousness. It was dark. He turned on the lights and found Chiana laying in a brown puddle in the tub where nearly her entire body was covered with the same brown substance. It was odorless and had a slightly rubbery feel to it. John put his fingers against Chiana's neck to feel for a pulse; it was faint, but it was there. John saw his hand was clean when he withdrew it. He called Bialar Crais.
"Crais! You have to come here immediately. It's a long story and I need your help."
"I'll be there in five hundred microts." Crais disconnected.
* Why do they refuse to translate minutes? It would be so much simpler. * John thought.
"We have to hurry to get this Chocolate Body Paint off before she suffocates." Crais said.
"I didn't know it was chocolate. How do you get if off? I've tried everything and it doesn't yield." John said.
"Saliva breaks it down. Hurry! We have to lick her. Once we get a hole started we will be able to peel it off." Crais knelt by Chiana and started licking the chocolate. John followed suit.
"So that's how Brownfinger is able to transport chocolate without paying for it. He paints his girls and leaves their faces and hands exposed so they don't suffocate." John said.
"I was going to mention the body paint before. Honest, I was! I didn't because I didn't think it was important." Chiana had recovered quite pleasantly. She slowly came to while two men were licking her frantically. "I'm hungry. Can we get something to eat?"
The thought of eating anything made Crichton's stomach turn. "Uh… I'm not hungry. Why don't we bring something in for you to eat? Crais?" Crais nodded in agreement.
"I can't go back to Brownfinger and I can't stay here. Help me please." Chiana said.
"I'll bring you back to headquarters. I'm sure D'Argo could use someone like you on our team."
BROWNFINGER Part 3
"John, you are going to have to stop bringing every woman you save back to Moya. Our payroll is stretched past the limit as it is." D'Argo did not have any more positions for everyone as it was and where he could place her was anybody's guess.
"Jool could use some assistance. Why don't you have Chiana help her." John suggested.
"We'll see. So that's how Brownfinger is building his Chocolate Empire. We need you to get to know Brownfinger and learn of his plans. Our intelligence suggests he is trying to corner the market on Snickers." D'Argo said.
"Won't he need to capture the Snickers factory on Mars? Those coordinates are an Earth secret!" Crichton prayed Brownfinger didn't have the coordinates. John also enjoyed the irony of the plant moving from Mars, Pennsylvania to the planet Mars for security purposes.
"You're correct. But secrets can be leaked. We need to know if he is planning a raid on Mars. If he stops the manufacture of Snickers and has the stock we think he has, well, you can imagine the damage he can do." D'Argo was extremely worried. Snickers became the monetary standard ever since Earth was located and the rest of the universe discovered chocolate. Brownfinger was capable of bringing the economy of the entire known universe to its knees. "Brownfinger has a complex on S'hangra where he is also a member of the exclusive 'Burningham Fairway'Golf Course. One of our operatives, Stark, is a caddy there. He will set it up for you to replace Nebishil who is Brownfinger's regular opponent." D'Argo handed Crichton a Snickers six-pack. "You will be expected to play for currency. Don't lose. The agency has this on loan from The Bank."
Crichton sounded a low whistle knowing the value of the Snickers six-pack. It had become the most valued currency in the universe. * And I used to wolf these puppies down at fifty cents a pop. Who'd a thunk! * John thought. "I'll leave immediately." He meant it too. Jenevia was out on a mission and there was no one else he was interested in seeing at the moment.
"And John… " D'Argo said as John was leaving.
"Yes?" Crichton stopped in the doorway.
"Don't eat the cash."
S'hangra: Burningham Fairway
Crichton walked up to the bartender at the club, "I'll have a Raslak, shaken, not stirred." When he was handed the drink, John asked the bartender, "I'm looking for Stark. Can you point him out to me?"
The bartender pointed to a raggedy man with a mask covering half his face. Crichton couldn't believe his eyes. * How can this guy caddy with only one eye? Well there's nothing to do but talk to him. * John Crichton approached Stark. He had many doubts but he was determined to make the best of it. "Are you Stark?" John continued when this person who looked nothing like a caddy nodded. "Name's Crichton, John Crichton. D'Argo instructed me to find you. He said you would be able to set me up with Scorpius Brownfinger."
"Yes. Come with me." Stark spun around and walked directly to the locker room. "He has a date with Nebishil in a half an arn. Nebishil agreed to give up his time when you arrived. He's been losing too much lately anyway. Get ready while I notify him."
John changed into his golf clothes and shoes while Stark contacted Nebishil. John tucked the Snicker six-pack into the golf bag just as Stark walked back.
"Where did you get that? Don't bet the Snickers! Brownfinger cheats." Stark was pacing. "He doesn't use a club caddy."
"Whose his caddy?" John said.
"Furlow. She's not a very good caddy but she is very good at protecting Brownfinger and at cheating. We think they cheat. We're convinced they cheat. They are very good at it because it is nothing we can prove." Stark stopped pacing and sat down.
"Keep sharp and maybe we can beat them at their own game.
"Why do you wear that mask?" John sat down next to Stark.
"I need it because I'm Stykera. It holds my energy in. I would disperse without it." Stark shifted his mask so that a small amount of the energy field became visible to Crichton.
"I have an idea. I may ask you to use that. Are you willing?" John said.
"I need to be careful. But, yes, I will help where possible." Stark stood up. "Brownfinger should be arriving in just a few microts."
"Mr. Crichton, I only play for currency. Nebishil and I have a standing bet. Will you cover it?" Brownfinger was not dressed for golf. The only exception was his shoes.
"I will do better." Crichton pulled the Snickers six-pack out of his golf bag and threw it like a gauntlet at Brownfinger's feet.
"That is acceptable. I will put up the equivalent currency." Brownfinger said.
"I see what you mean Stark. There is nothing I can really pinpoint. I too am convinced Brownfinger has been cheating. Furlow seems rather inept but twice when Brownfinger sliced the ball into the trees she was able to miraculously find it in the rough. I'm sure they were lost in the wooded area and not in the rough. My eyes are better than 20-20. I would be ahead by two strokes if she had not been able to find the ball." John was worried. They were down to the green on the last hole with a tied score. John had the easier putt and played through. He managed to get four strokes on a par five. "Stark, I think it's time for you to do what we discussed."
Stark nodded and walked away from the green. He positioned himself such that he was not conspicuous but he would catch Brownfinger's eyes at the moment he made contact with the ball. Crichton fiddled with his golf bag to distract Furlow so that she could not see what Stark was doing. Stark lifted his mask a fraction and released some of his energy just as Brownfinger hit the ball, throwing it off course. No one but Crichton knew what Stark had done. Crichton finished one point lower than Brownfinger.
Brownfinger's expression was more sour than John thought possible. "Furlow, give Crichton the currency." Furlow brought a box to John, which he examined. Satisfied the bet was covered, he began walking to his transport.
Brownfinger stopped him. "Crichton! You may have won this golf game, but I will get it back three fold." Brownfinger signaled Furlow. She put a large object down and unhooked her chinstrap. Furlow sent her chinstrap sailing like a boomerang towards a marble statue. The chinstrap spun through the air and decapitated the statue. "I own this club, Crichton. You are not welcome here. Leave at once."
BROWNFINGER Part 4
S'hangra: Brownfinger's Complex
Crichton hid in a wooded area near Brownfinger's vast complex. The Farscape module, camouflaged to look like a herd of grazing local ungulates, was nearby in a field suited for take off. Stark provided John with a device to detect Brownfinger's surveillance devices. He programmed the device to defeat the 'eyes'as he progressed into the complex. He did not see the 'Welcome Mat'placed on the ground that surrounded the inner complex. This low-tech trap was invisible to his device. Within microts of tripping the silent alarm, John Crichton was surrounded by Brownfinger's personal security force of leather-clad guards. * I guess I'll have to come in through the front door now. * Crichton thought.
John Crichton was brought into a small, narrow and windowless room. A long table surround by very uncomfortable looking chairs dominated the center of the room. The chairs and table were pewter gray and the room was a grayish white illuminated by harsh fluorescent light. One long wall sported a large mirror which John knew wasn't there for grooming purposes. It was a typical interrogation room. The door opened and a security guard entered. His uniform was different from the others. "I am in charge of security for Scorpius Brownfinger. Who are you and what are you doing here?"
"Name's Crichton, John Crichton. I was lost, not snooping. Who might you be?"
"You will call me Lt. Braca. And I do not believe you were lost. You were able to defeat our surveillance with this device." Braca put the device he confiscated from Crichton on the table. "Who are you working for and what are you looking for?"
"I told you I was lost. I don't know what that device is. It must have been put with my clothes while I was golfing this morning." John decided to play innocent. He might be able to learn something and Brownfinger apparently wasn't in the complex. "I played a round of golf with Brownfinger and he suggested I drop by after we finished."
Braca's eyes narrowed. "You are lying. I have other ways of learning this information if you don't volunteer it." Braca left the room.
John was made to wait in the room for more than eight arns. It was very boring. They didn't even give him anything to read. The chairs were very uncomfortable and the room was overly warm and stuffy. He took his coat off reluctantly. * Maybe they think I'm Sebacean and will suffer in this heat. They don't know this Southern boy loves the heat. * That last thought made John audibly chuckle.
"Well, well, Braca, it looks like the human is easier to crack than we thought." Brownfinger said. "Have Aeryn Sun get the Aurora Chair ready. I think he is ready."
John found himself strapped to a large chair that was on a track in the middle of a large, well-ventilated room. He was immobilized. His coat was thrown on the floor near the track. He wished he were wearing it. He was staring at the wrong end of a scope. It looked like it was designed to bore into his skull. He shivered at more than the cold air. He could hear Brownfinger behind him. "Crichton, you are denser than I thought. What are you doing here?"
John saw the operator flip some switches and press some buttons. The chair began to turn and the scope moved extremely close to his left eye. * That woman is gorgeous! * He thought and instantly saw this thought on the screen in front of him. He also saw other thoughts about Aeryn Sun on the screen in front of him. The chair stopped.
Brownfinger replaced the scope with his face, up close, and personal. "John this device will strip your mind, such as it is. Do not resist, tell me what I want to know."
* Hasn't anyone told Brownfinger about dental floss? * John idly wondered. He responded to Brownfinger's question, "I don't know what you are talking about. I got lost. I just told Braca a little fib about looking you up, but I was only lost."
Brownfinger moved away from the chair and signaled Aeryn Sun to resume the interrogation. "Cooperate or this will become painful." Brownfinger growled.
"Do you expect me to die Mr. Brownfinger?" John asked between screams. * This chair is going to kill me. * He thought.
"No, Mr. Crichton, I expect you to talk." Brownfinger left the room.
John Crichton saw Aeryn Sun tuning the chair. This gave him some time to examine his surroundings. Although he could not move his head even a dench, he was able to see new details each time the chair made a revolution. The most astonishing thing he saw was an Earth atlas where Mars, Pennsylvania was at the center. * Our intelligence is on target. Brownfinger is trying to get the coordinates to the Mars factory. Good thing it isn't in Mars anymore. * John thought. * It's a good thing this precaution was taken once Snickers became the Universal monetary standard. Hmm, She's going to engage the chair again. I had better suppress that thought! *
Aeryn Sun didn't understand why this human was able to resist the chair so well. The only information she was able to find after an arn of probing was his hundreds of conquests of the female persuasion. When she stopped the chair to make adjustments John went limp; only the straps held him up. He drifted in and out of consciousness while she methodically adjusted a bank of knobs, backing off some and increasing others. She heard him softly moan when she examined the scope, her back to him. She turned away from the scope and bent to look directly into his eyes only to see them closed. She pried one open with her fingers and then the other one. The pupils were not dilated to the same diameter. * Frell! * She thought, * I've damaged his brain. * Aeryn slapped John to bring him out. Nothing. She slapped him again, harder. His head wobbled and his eyes opened. The pupils were the same size! * That was close. * She thought.
"Baby, Baby! What beautiful eyes you have." John slurred his words. He forgot where he was until he tried to reach for Aeryn's hair. His arms were strapped down. He couldn't move. The day's events came back to him. "What is this thing?" John's words were no longer slurred.
* Humph, humans recover fast. * Aeryn thought. "You are in the Aurora chair. Any resistance brings pain and possible brain damage. My main function is to lead a squad of pilots. I am the lead pilot in Brownfinger's employ. This is a secondary function that falls upon us all from time to time. I am not an expert at it. It makes it more likely that I'll damage your brain instead of getting the information. In fact, I thought I did damage your brain." Aeryn looked intently at John's eye pupils once again. They looked normal.
"Aeryn, I really don't know what he is looking for. All I did was fill in for Nebishil at his regular golf game. I guess I made the mistake of winning. Brownfinger did not look pleased. Then I got lost. I honestly don't know how I got here.
"I'm really thirsty. They kept me in a stuffy room for over eight arns. I've had nothing to drink. In spite of the chill in this room I'm sweating like a pig. Please, can I have some water." John was sincere about his thirst.
Aeryn brought a glass of water back to John and held it to his lips. "What's a pig?"
"Umm, thanks. A pig is an Earth animal. It's just an expression. It's supposed to mean excess. Do you mind? I really could use another glass." John blinked at Aeryn, hoping to charm her with his baby blues. "Listen, I don't think I have the information that Brownfinger wants. Why don't you free me and I'll provide something to satisfy your job?" John flashed Aeryn his most winning smile.
Aeryn paused for a moment. She walked to the chair, folded her arms, and looked at John. "Why do you think Brownfinger will believe me?"
"Because I'll force the thought while you turn this on at its lowest power." John said.
"Right. That may work. It's worth the chance. We are not getting anywhere as it is and I'm afraid I'll cause permanent brain damage. Then Brownfinger won't get any information." Aeryn walked to the controls. She nodded to John when she was about to engage the chair once more.
"I think this will do it, John. The next task is to get you out of here. That won't be easy." Aeryn handed John his coat.
"Don't worry about that. I'll figure a way out. I'm still missing my gun." John was looking around for his weapon. * God, she's beautiful! I wonder if… Stop it John! This is hardly the time. * John was having difficulty controlling his thoughts. This was not unusual.
"They put the gun in this locker. I'll get it for you." Aeryn retrieved the gun and brought it to John while he was donning his coat. As she handed Betsy to him their eyes locked. John put his arms around her and they kissed. Aeryn felt more passion than she had ever experienced. "Oh! John!"
Once outside, John engaged the "throne sled" mode of his coat and escaped to his module.
"Good job Aeryn. I don't think he suspects." Brownfinger said.
"It was nearly too convincing. I thought I damaged his brain. However, he appears quite normal. I'll get my squadron ready and follow him. The tracer we planted will make it easy to find him." Aeryn Sun turned smartly to her right and set out on her mission.
BROWNFINGER Part 5
S'hangra: Farscape Module
The coat's 'Throne Sled'mode let Crichton down in the wooded area beyond Brownfinger's complex. The Farscape module was about five hundred metras north of where he landed. John hastily made his way to it and checked the module for damage and possible sabotage. * Hmm, no one has followed me, it looks like Aeryn was convincing. * Crichton thought.
Quickly attaining altitude to return to Moya, Crichton knew he had seen enough of the complex to determine Brownfinger was planning an attack of the Snickers factory. * Heh-heh, Brownfinger is in for a surprise if he thinks it's in Mars, Pennsylvania. * He thought.
Suddenly the module's instrumentation started beeping a warning. Crichton saw he had company; it was a squadron of Prowlers. In spite of his evasive maneuvers the prowlers stayed with him. There were too many to fight and they were too distant to blast them with the Sheyang. Seeing that the prowlers grossly outnumbered him, Crichton activated the miniature wormhole. Once inside he set the coordinates for Mars (the planet) to warn them to heighten their already heightened security, confident the prowlers could not follow him into the wormhole. John felt safe.
S'hangra: Brownfinger's complex
"Sir, we could not follow Crichton into the miniature wormhole, but we were able to read the coordinates of where he went." Aeryn Sun reported to Lt. Braca and Scorpius Brownfinger. "He apparently has gone to Mars."
"Mars, Pennsylvania? Humans are more stupid than I thought. The Snickers plant is completely indefensible there." Lt. Braca said.
"No, he went to the planet Mars. It will be harder but should not pose any real problems for us." Aeryn said.
"Let's get started then. The element of surprise is on our side. My command carrier will create a proper wormhole for your squadron to get through and we will follow. It will be my pleasure to beat John Crichton at his own game and dominate the economy at the same time." Brownfinger gloated.
Mars: The Snickers Fort
"Crichton! You idiot! You were supposed to report back to Moya. You weren't supposed to go to the Snickers Fort." D'Argo was livid and it came through on the vid-screen. "By going directly there you have given Brownfinger the coordinates. You could have saved yourself a lot of trouble and just written them down for him."
"Sir! May I remind you, no one followed me through the wormhole." Crichton put on a show of bravado while he silently admitted a tracer could easily have been put on his person without his being aware of it. "In any case, what's done is done. We need to beef up security as much as possible."
"That's already been taken care of. Crais is bringing an army from the SIA (Sebacean Intelligence Agency) Special Forces. They will be there in eight arns." D'Argo issued one parting shot before disconnecting. "And Crichton, this time, please obey your orders."
Mars: The Snickers Fort four arns later.
"We're under attack!" The fort commander sent the warning throughout the fort. "This is not a drill. Everyone to your stations." He didn't have to say the last. Everyone was doing that anyway. It was a necessary formality. The commander shut the communications off and turned to Crichton. "I hope you have something more up your sleeve than just your arm. Crais won't be here with reinforcements for another four arns."
"We can assume he wants to destroy our manufacturing capabilities," Frowning, Crichton checked Betsy's Chakan Oil reservoir while he hastily laid out a defense strategy. "Therefore, he is going to try to gain access to the manufacturing facility. Put your heaviest defenses around the factory. I will be inside with four of your hand picked troops."
"Right." The commander said.
Crichton was inside the Snickers factory with four troops the Commander selected. The particular people chosen were all crack fighters and to a person all suffered from anosmia, they could not smell a thing. At that moment, John envied them. The smell of chocolate was driving him crazy. "Hey guys, isn't it unusual for so many of you to have anosmia?" John was curious. It was not a common condition.
The nearest to him, a very attractive young woman, replied to his question, "It is somewhat rare in the general population as you know. But this is a requirement for this job. I'm completely anosmic, but some just have a poor sense of smell. The don't want us tempted to eat the cash." She giggled at the last.
John found her very attractive. Always the optimist, he determined to get to know her very well once this was over. They all knew his name, but he realized he did not know any of theirs. "I'm at a disadvantage and I've been rude. What are your names?"
Starting with the very attractive young woman, they called out in turn, "Angie", "Mike", "Craig", and "Sid".
They felt the attack first. They had waited at their posts for at least an arn with the patience of soldiers when they felt the ground shake, and only then did they hear the bombs and the weapons'fire. It did not take long for Brownfinger's forces to penetrate the factory from the initial assault.
The main door through the tunnel burst open and at least two-dozen forces rushed in. John and his little band were well hidden and were able to pick them off. Although they were able to level the playing field some, their positions became known as they fought. Betsy ran out of Chakan Oil just as they whittled Brownfinger's forces down to eight fighters. * Wynona wouldn't do that to me. * Crichton thought as he went to hand combat. Everyone was in hand combat mode as every pulse pistol, regardless of design, had run out of fuel. Brownfinger's forces had the number advantage. The defenders had the advantage of knowing the complete layout of the plant and knew where to hide. They shared their knowledge with Crichton, not wasting any time while waiting for the attack.
Thus the battle seesawed until Furlow entered the fray, unarmed! Or so they thought until she removed her chinstrap from its hook and sent it into Angie's chest, killing her instantly. Up to that point Crichton was just doing a job; it wasn't personal. Now he was deprived of ever getting to know Angie in the way he imagined. He became ferocious as did Mike, Craig, and Sid. The situation was very bleak. Brownfinger still had eight forces besides Furlow and they had the superior strength against humans. Furlow singled Crichton out for herself while the remaining eight of Brownfinger's cornered Mike, Sid, and Craig.
The battle swung further to Brownfinger's advantage when additional enemy forces entered. It was Aeryn Sun with her prowler pilots, and they were all carrying pulse rifles. But instead of aiming at the Snickers forces, they shot their own people. Furlow and Crichton were locked in combat. Furlow hit Crichton on the side of his head causing him to buckle. She half-dragged and half-carried him to Angie's body and reached for her chinstrap. Crichton kicked Furlow's hand and he heard a crack. Furlow rose without the chinstrap and they wrestled their way around a walkway that surrounded one of the chocolate vats that was coming up to temperature. They continued to go back and forth, first John had the advantage, then Furlow. At one point it looked like Furlow would push John into the chocolate vat. He heard Aeryn say, "John! Get out of the way!" only moments before he heard her rifle fire. The little yellow bolt of light (John still loved to call it that) caught Furlow in the shoulder sapping her strength and allowing John to push her into the vat of chocolate. Furlow's last and only word was "CHOCOLATE!"
Snickers Fort: The Commander's Office
"Aeryn, I don't understand. I thought you worked for Brownfinger." John gazed deep into her gray-blue eyes.
"Right. I am an undercover agent for SIA. I work for Crais and I infiltrated Brownfinger's organization. I was able to hire the prowler squad. We all work for the SIA. You look shocked?" Aeryn said.
"Crais! Why didn't you tell me?" John said.
"I couldn't risk blowing her cover. We have been watching Brownfinger for three cycles now. It would have been too risky for both you and for Agent Sun. It worked perfectly. We have Brownfinger. His organization is in shambles. And our monetary standard is secure.
"I have many reports to complete. If you will excuse me." Crais turned and walked out of the Snickers Commander's office.
"John, Aeryn, I have a treat for you." The Commander reached down and put a basket full of Snickers bars in John's hands. "You must eat them. They are perfectly delicious. They just didn't pass quality control for the currency standard. Every bar has a mark on it so you can't use it for currency. Split it between the two of you. Do anything you want except put it on the market."
Mars: Space Port
"So this is the Farscape Module. I've heard a lot about it. But you can't be serious that you want me to get in it with you. It's so small." Aeryn stood next to John looking in disbelief at Farscape.
"It's a lot bigger inside than its appearance would let you suspect. Besides, I had Kopek de-installed. Couldn't use him. That gives us a lot more room, between the amount of space he took up and his life support system." John smiled his most winning smile at Aeryn.
"Who is Kopek?" Aeryn said.
"The Sheyang. He was supposed to be a defense weapon. You know, that fire-breathing thing of his. Problem was you needed to be at too close a range for it to be effective. Rygel is working on a redesign." John helped Aeryn aboard Farscape.
Farscape Module: Somewhere in space.
"Here, take another bite of this Snickers bar." John cooed into Aeryn's ear.
"Ummm. Oh John."