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Greatest Fear
by Dustinian, E-mail: dustinianc@hotmail.com

About Greatest Fear

Disclaimer: None of the Farscape characters belong to me.
I'm making no money from this story.

Rating: PG

Summary: I often wonder what the last episode of Farscape is going to be like. I mean, how can they end that show? So much has happened. I don't think it's a simple matter of getting John home anymore. There's too much that needs to be done. This is my take on the finalé.


CHAPTER 1

Dominar Rygel XVI stood looking out of his large throneroom window. In the early-morning darkness, he could barely see the monument, but still he looked. It reminded him of the old days. The old days on Moya.

"Your greatest fear will come to pass, Hynerian." Rygel said softly to himself. "Some day, you'll die at the hands of a Peace Keeper." He smiled as he finished the quote. He could still clearly hear Aeryn's voice in his head. It was as though she'd said that to him yesterday, and not so very many cycles ago.

Rygel leaned against the base of the window. From here, the fiftieth floor of the Hynerian Royal Palace, he continued to stare through the pre-dawn mist at the huge statue he'd ordered built in the Palace Square all those years ago.

"Crichton--we never thought we would get this far, did we?" He shook his head lightly as he re-read the dispatch he'd received today from the front: "Dominar -- The last Peace Keeper stronghold has fallen. We are victorious! Full report to follow. -- General K'Entry"

A voice behind him, "Rygel!"

Dominar Rygel XVI turned at his name to see his friend striding purposefully through the throne room's huge entranceway. "D'Argo."

The elation was evident on D'Argo's face. "I just heard the news... it's over?"

Rygel nodded and turned back to watch the sunrise play across the statue. "It seems so, my old friend."

D'Argo joined him at the window and looked out. "Crichton. I wish he was here to see this. Aeryn, too."

Rygel just grunted. He was tired--he had been for years now.

D'Argo leaned over the sill and looked down into the square. He'd half-expected to see a crowd gathering below, cheering and celebrating. "The people don't know yet?"

"I just found out myself."

"They'll know soon." D'Argo smiled, "We won." D'Argo shook his head, disbelieving. "We've finally thrown off the yoke, Rygel! No system will ever again be under Peace Keeper 'jurisdiction.' I never thought we'd do it! I only hoped for vengeance--all those years in the mines... it was my way of getting them back."

Rygel glanced at him. "It was more than that." He looked back to the statue, "It was the right thing to do."

D'Argo grinned and leaned out the window, bellowing in joy at the statue. "You did it, Crichton! You changed everything! By the stars, you did it!"

Rygel allowed himself a small smile. He knew that later today he'd be the subject of many speeches. People would bless the Dominar for their victory, and praise the Dominar for his quest. He might even go down in history as the Dominar that destroyed the ultimate tyranny. But he knew the truth. Behind it all stood John Crichton: the man that had helped Rygel recover his throne, the man that had saved Rygel's life countless times, the man that had taught Rygel what it was to have a purpose... what it was to do the right thing.

Yes, Crichton had done it. But Rygel would have given any of it, all of it, if he could have sent his friend home. Watching Crichton grow to old age and fade away, his Earth just a memory, had been hard on all of them.

D'Argo leaned back and smiled at Rygel, he looked years younger. "I'm going back to the war room. There's still a few scattered ships and garrisons out there that we need to mop up. If we strike now, while they're still reeling from this blow, we can bring our forces home within the month."

Rygel nodded. "Go, D'Argo. I'm going to rest. This is going to be a long day." He smiled knowingly at the Luxan, "The reporters will no doubt be especially troublesome."

Rygel floated back down the darkened hallway to his study. It was his intention to have more than a little to drink. He deserved it. He paused, hearing a soft footfall behind him.

"D'Argo?" Rygel turned, "I thought you were--" He broke off as he registered the figure before him. A Sebacean in full Peace Keeper armor--the flat black armor of an assassin.

Rygel's mouth twisted up into a wry smile as he noted the assassin's gun, pointed directly at him. "You were right, Aeryn." And that was all he had time to say.

******


CHAPTER 2 :GOODBYE

"Please, John. Please don't go..."

John closed his eyes as Aeryn spoke from behind him. Her voice wasn't pleading, but it was thick with emotion. He hated wounding her this way but... what choice did he have? "I'm sorry, Aeryn. This is the only way." He kept packing his bag.

"John," she'd moved closer now. She was right behind him, he could feel her breath on the back of his neck. "I don't want you to."

"I don't want to, either."

"Then why--"

He whirled--such quick motions from him were rare these days. "Because I have to, Aeryn. Look at me! I'm not even a shadow of the man you met." He smiled, but it didn't carry to his eyes. He reached out and ran a thumb along her cheek. "But you, you've only gotten a few new wrinkles here and there."

"John, we knew when we were married that this--"

"--would happen, I know, I know. But knowing it and then living it--there's a difference. I'll be dead soon. I won't let you watch me wither away. And besides, I'm the only one that can go."

"It's a suicide mission!"

"Exactly! I won't be around much longer anyway. I have to do this thing, Aeryn. I don't want to die one night in my bed. I don't want to get sicker and sicker and watch you watch me dissolve away. Not when my life--the life of this old man--can be traded for thousands of young innocent lives! I'm the only one that's important enough to be tempting bait that can also be sacrificed without significant loss to the cause."

"It'll be a significant loss to me."

John paused. He put his arms around her and brought her close. "I know. I'm sorry."

She let herself be comforted by him as she rested her head on his shoulder. "But you're still going?"

She felt him nod. "I've got to. This could mean so much for us. If it works... it could turn the tide of the whole war. We're losing, and we need this. It'll disorganize them, send them packing in several systems. We'll gain a foothold--get back some of the ground we've lost."

"But, you're asking me to live without you... John, I don't know if I can do that."

He hugged her even tighter. "Soon, you'll have to live without me anyway. And what we've started, this war, it's bigger than us. I wish I could stay with you. But the war's more important. We've got to win."

She pulled away a little and looked into his eyes. John could see that she'd accepted his decision. She ran her fingers though his hair, the hair that he knew was now gray and pathetically thin. Still, she'd always loved his hair, and still did. Damn, he'd been lucky to wind up with a woman like her.

When she spoke, her voice was lower, sadder, but understanding. "Let's not waste this time then."

He smiled and kissed her lightly, and then more deeply. "I couldn't agree more."

She took his hand and led him to the bedroom. He planned on telling her he loved her in every way he could think of before morning, verbally and otherwise.

***

They held hands all the way to the shuttle. He turned to her as its door opened to admit him. "Well, this is it." They looked at each other for a moment and then hugged fiercely. "Goodbye, Aeryn."

"Goodbye, John."

He pulled away and touched her cheek. "Hey, no tears. I'll see you again."

She nodded, she remembered all the stories he'd told her about religion and the afterlife. "John, if something happens... and there's any chance at all you can come back to me..."

"Then I'll be back. I love you Aeryn Sun."

"I love you, too, John Crichton."

She stood on the landing platform staring off into the sky long after the shuttle had vanished from sight.

******


CHAPTER 3: STANDS

John Crichton's low chuckles gurgled their way past the blood in his mouth.

A moment ago, he'd been looking at the floor submissively as the Peace Keeper War Council read aloud his 'crimes'--as a prelude to his sentencing. Everyone in the room had their eyes on this animal standing prostrate before them, glaring at him with disdain.

That is, until he started laughing. The Sebaceans were silent now, the bailiff had even stopped reading. You didn't laugh in front of the War Council--until now, no one ever had. Several of the council members, dressed in their fancy black and crimson robes, looked livid. Some onlookers glanced between Crichton and the Council, sensing some confrontation about to take place.

Others shook their heads. The foolish human shouldn't have laughed, they thought to themselves. The Council might have been lenient with a death sentence, but if he kept this up, he was damning himself to a life of torture and labor--what little life was left in that ancient body anyway. He looked hundreds of cycles old to them, they could scarcely believe he'd only just reached ninety.

John looked up slowly, letting the gathered Sebaceans see his eyes. When he'd been led into the room, they'd been full of fear. Now they were full of... contempt. Few who met his stare held it; his eyes burned through them. The dried blood on his face and clothes made his demeanor horrific. How could he still have fight left in him?

John grinned at them all. He seemed positively thrilled. A few of the Council members realized that something was very wrong here...

With his right hand, he reached over and--he opened his left arm! It was a prosthetic arm! How had their scanners missed that? Many came to their feet, trying to get a look inside the panel he'd opened.

Several of the Sebaceans that stood to get a better look sat down suddenly, as though punched in the stomach, some of them fainted.

Inside his arm they had seen red digits counting down... and they were almost at zero.

Light-years away, Aeryn Sun began to cry. She didn't stop for nineteen hours.

***

The Sensor-Tech fiddled with the data sheet he'd brought to Station Captain Sun. He was nervous. Aeryn wasn't happy. She rarely was these days. "When will they get here?"

"I don't know, not for sure. They're destroying our recon satellites as they pass them. I would estimate three arns."

"Three arns... dammit. Order the civilians to evacuate now. Will they have enough time to make it away?"

The Tech did a few quick computations on his console. "No. We'll need at least four-and-a-half arns to get everybody."

"Damn, Damn, Damn." Having a human husband had broadened Aeryn's available profanity considerably. She sighed. "Well, We'll just have to hold them off for one-and-a-half arns."

"Yes, Captain." The Tech didn't know how Aeryn intended to pull that off, but he wisely kept his mouth shut.

***

Freizan was nervous. He'd heard rumors about an impending Peace Keeper attack ever since he'd been put on alert. He was in the Hangar Bay now, in full flight gear. He made sure not to stray too far from his fighter.

Freizan was just an ordinary Hynerian, a farmer. But when the call to arms had sounded and the war broke out across the known worlds, Freizan left his peaceful life to learn to fight for his people.

At the Hynerian Military Academy, they'd quickly determined that he was an excellent pilot. He had the raw skills for it, the ones that couldn't be taught. He'd graduated near the top of his class, and had been an asset in combat ever since.

Still, he was nervous. He was stationed at a small Hynerian outpost. There were few troops here, and even fewer combat-capable craft. If a full-scale Peace Keeper invasion force was on it's way... then none of them stood a chance.

He glanced up as the monitor in the Hangar came to life. The face of Aeryn Sun, the Station Captain, appeared. She'd become one of the legends of this war, the Sebacean that fought alongside the Unified Species Alliance against the Peace Keepers.

"Attention all Station personnel," Aeryn paused glanced down, as though she couldn't meet those that watched her in the eye. "The rumors are true. There is a full invasion force en route to this outpost. They will be here in just under three arns."

Freizan steadied himself on the bench as his legs turned to jelly. Three arns!

"I'm ordering a full evacuation. I recommend that everyone who can should get as far away from this station as possible. I cannot order you to fight in these conditions."

Freizan looked at his helmet in his hands. They were doing too much running these days. The Peace Keepers were winning on all fronts... it was only a matter of time now.

"But... the evacuation of the civilian population is going to take nearly five arns. They won't all make it out in time. I... I'm going to stay. I'm going to throw the best defense I can muster against the incoming fleet and try to delay their advance as long as I can, to allow more civilians to escape."

"I'm asking--but not ordering--everyone that can fight to stay. We need to hold them off, to keep them out of the station long enough for all the civillians to evacuate." She paused then said, "everyone staying, please report in on the command frequency. And good luck to you all."

The screen went dark. Freizan, knowing full well he was signing his own death warrant, pulled out his CommLink. "Freizan, Pilot First Class, reporting in."

******


CHAPTER 4: HEROES

The aide bowed deeply as he entered the room. Generals from all of the major species were scattered around inside, talking in small knots. In the center of the room, near the map table, stood First Admiral D'Argo and Dominar Rygel XVI. This was the nerve center for the Unified Species Alliance's war effort against the Peace Keepers. "Dispatches from the front for the Dominar."

Rygel motioned the aide forward. As the various generals noticed the aide and saw what he carried, side conversations around the room ceased. They gathered silently around Rygel.

Rygel took the dispatches, dismissing the aide with a nod. He floated over to a table and opened them, reading through them quickly. Rygel's face fell slightly, and he handed them to D'Argo.

This isn't good news, D'Argo thought. He read them, and then looked at the assembled Generals. "Our advance base at Thrinka VII is destroyed. Aeryn Sun is dead, but she took an invasion fleet with her."

The Generals were silent for a moment. Aeryn Sun was a big loss to the Unified Species Alliance. "Any news of Crichton's mission?" one of the generals ventured.

D'Argo met the man's eyes. "He was successful. The Peace Keepers are without a War Council."

Some of the generals broke into smiles, while still others--those who had counted John Crichton a close friend--were solemn.

Rygel turned back to face the room. "This is an opportunity. Aeryn managed to destroy the fleet that got her outpost. We can divert forces away from those lanes and move them core-ward, reinforcing our defensive positions against the other two bodies of the Peace Keeper fleet. There will be chaos for a short time with the destruction of their war council. Take advantage of that confusion."

The generals looked as though they were waiting for something more from their leader. D'Argo stepped in. "Now."

As the generals quickly got back to work, the room again becoming abuzz with activity, Rygel floated up behind D'Argo. "I would see you in my chambers in one quarter of an arn."

D'Argo nodded, "Done."

***

Rygel's head half-turned D'Argo's way when he entered the Dominar's chambers. "You read the reports?"

"Several times."

"What do you think?"

D'Argo quoted from the report, sent by one of the last civilian ships to make it off Aeryn's station. "'A catastrophic reactor explosion within the station, resulting in the complete destruction of the station as well as the enemy fleet.' Sounds like Aeryn's work to me."

Rygel nodded. "She sacrificed herself to get that Peace Keeper fleet--to keep those civilians safe. They did all make it away, didn't they?"

The big Luxan nodded. "All that wanted to. Many stayed behind to fight, allowing their families to get away."

Rygel shook his head silently. Such courage. Years ago, this story would have made its way across the NewsNets like a firestorm. But now... courage was the norm. There was tale after tale of it, and it no longer moved people. Perhaps some historian would happen on all these stories years from now, and people could fully appreciate them. But not now. The universe was knee deep in war.

"John's death is also confirmed. Spotters saw the blast all the way from Werien Way-Station."

"Is the monument under construction?"

"The groundbreaking ceremony was this morning. I did the honors, since you refused."

Rygel grumbled, "I'm not worthy to break the ground on a monument to John Crichton."

D'Argo shrugged. He remembered the first time any of them had ever heard of a groundbreaking ceremony, back when John and Aeryn were first married. John had insisted that the Moya crew reunite to help him "break the ground" on the home they were having constructed.

"I'm going to miss him, D'Argo. Aeryn, too. I learned so much during those years on Moya."

D'Argo remembered how the adventures they'd shared on the Leviathan had changed him. "I did as well."

Rygel crossed to the window and looked where someday a statue of John Crichton, heart and soul of the known worlds, would stand.

******


CHAPTER 5: XEIN

Zhaan slid her hood back as she looked up at the statue. Hello, John, she thought. She touched the base of the monument for a moment, and then continued to the Palace.

A guard held out his hand. "Halt. What is your business in the Royal Palace?"

She smiled warmly at him. "I am here to see the President of the Unified Species Alliance."

The guard exchanged glances with another at his side--silently asking each other if she was serious. "I'm sorry miss, no one sees President D'Argo without an invitation."

"She can pass," came a deep voice from behind them. The two guards whirled and saluted. D'Argo, still strong despite his age strode past, ignoring them. "Zhaan!" He pulled her into a strong hug.

Zhaan hugged him back. "D'Argo, it's been too long."

"It has indeed. How are things?"

She dipped her head slightly. "Things are well. How are they with you?"

"They are... confusing." He gestured for her to follow him into the palace.

"I was pleased to hear that you were elected for another term."

He smiled. "That makes one of us."

Zhaan laughed and feigned shock. "What's that? The President of the Unified Species Alliance, the most powerful individual in the known worlds, isn't happy with his job?"

"It's a lot of work. 'President.' The title still just doesn't seem to fit. I wish Rygel was still Dominar. It was so much simpler."

"I miss Rygel, too. And maybe we should change the title?"

"No, it was John's idea."

"Oh." They were both silent for a moment.

D'Argo, rather clumsily, tried to get conversation back on track. "So, what brings you down here?"

Zhaan smiled enigmatically. "Your summons."

He nodded. "I'm afraid I need your help, Zhaan."

She cocked her head to the side, ready to listen. "With what?"

"Everything. More and more I've been feeling the need for a friendly ear. Someone that I can talk to, that can give me advice, someone that I know doesn't have a political agenda."

"Sounds like a tough job."

"It will be, and a thankless one. But this will be my last term, and I want to finish things right. I'm the first President. John warned us all that the first President would set the tone for the Alliance for years to come. I need to do this right."

She nodded, listening. D'Argo had come a long way these last years. He'd moved from an immature hot-blooded warrior into a calm confident leader. He spoke in such a way that he radiated level-headedness and managed to sound like an older brother to all he talked to. "You are the only person left alive that I trust."

They walked on in silence for a few moments, before Zhaan finally replied. "I don't know, D'Argo. It's a lot to ask."

He nodded. "I know. Take your time. But for now, join me for lunch? I've missed you."

She smiled and dipped her head again. "Of course."

***

Zhaan had been walking through the Capitol City of Hyneria for quite some time. It was getting on toward evening, and things were starting to cool off as the suns settled on the horizon.

She'd been thinking about D'Argo's request. She had a lot she wanted to do back at her monastery. She'd just started making progress with several of her students and hated to abandon them.

But the legacy of the United Species government was extraordinarily important. It was going to affect countless lives for years to come. She knew D'Argo never asked for help lightly, so if he asked, then he needed it. But her students...

She abandoned her train of thought when she saw a little girl wandering through the square, a terrified expression on her face. Zhaan approached the girl. "Hello?"

The girl jumped, startled. She took in the sight of Zhaan, standing before her. "You're a Delvian."

"I am." The little girl looked amazed. Zhaan couldn't help but smile. "Are you lost, little one?"

The girl nodded. "I got on the train with mommy, I thought, but then it was the wrong lady and I got off to look for mommy..."

"And you couldn't find her?"

The little girl nodded.

"Well, come on. We'll sort this out in no time." Zhaan had seen a train station not long ago, and she headed directly there, holding the little girl's hand. The two entered the station and Zhaan caught the attention of one of the workers. "Excuse me!"

The worker waved to let them know he'd seen them, and headed their way. "Ma'am?"

"This little girl lost her mother in a train station. Has anyone lost a child?"

"Let me check, here, you can wait right over there on a bench. I'll be right back." He looked down at the girl and smiled. "Don't worry, young lady. We'll find your mother in no time."

She smiled at the man as he ran off. "He's nice."

"He is." Zhaan distracted her as she led the girl to the bench. Best not to let her linger on the fact that she was lost. "Do you live in the city?"

The girl shook her head. "Oh, no. Mommy just wanted to come, to see Daddy's name on the memorial. He died in the Great War."

Zhaan patted the girl's leg, "I'm sorry."

The girl shrugged, "I didn't even know him I was so little. I'm Freizia, after my Daddy. He was Freizan."

"I bet he'd be proud of you, staying calm even though you were lost. You're very brave."

The girl smiled at her. "I get that from Daddy, Mommy says. He was very brave."

Zhaan nodded, not doubting it in the least. A lot of heroes had come out of that war, and not just the publicized ones. "Men like him made our freedom possible. Our freedom to enforce our own laws."

The girl nodded, she'd heard that all her life. Freizia was a curious little girl, and she always wanted to know more. The Delvian seemed very wise, so she decided to ask her the question she'd been wondering ever since they'd studied the war in school. The teachers didn't know the answer, maybe this woman would. "Do you know how the war started? Not just the first battle, but how it really started?"

Zhaan smiled. She knew the answer to that question very well. And now, she also knew what her answer to D'Argo would be. "Well, it all started on a ship, a Leviathan. During an escape..."

And as Zhaan told the story, the little girl was so enthralled in it that she barely noticed when the nice worker told her that her mother was on the way.

END


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