|Letters, part 3: Reunion|
by unohoo, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Letters, part 3: Reunion
Rating - PG
Category - Drama
Spoilers - Season 3, up to and including "Eat Me"
Timeline - Start of Season 3 to present
This series is a follow-up to The Other Side
Summary - A collection of 12 ficlets that concludes Jack Crichton's quest to find his son.
Disclaimer: They’re not mine, I don’t own ‘em, just please let me use your characters for a little while and I promise to return them as well as they began this ficlet. Thanks in advance.
Reunion - Discovery
A Commerce Planet:
Things were finally going well for everyone on Moya. D’Argo was beginning to forgive Chiana, Jool was quieter and more helpful, Stark was more at peace, or more to the point, less freaked out, John and Aeryn were more open with each other, John was not stepping in so much dren, and Rygel was, well, Rygel. They were bored. They had money. They went shopping.
After shopping for a couple of arns, John and Aeryn decided to go to a street side café to have some refreshments and look at some of the things they bought. Once seated, they talked about nothing in particular when John became aware of some music, ‘... You are too beautiful for one man alone ….’ "Aeryn! Do you hear that?"
"Listen." ‘… When there are other men with eyes of their own to see with …" That’s from Earth, I’m sure!" John looks directly into Aeryn’s eyes and sings with the background music, "You are too beautiful, and I am a fool for beauty." John took Aeryn’s hands in his and said, "I have that album. Can’t you hear, he’s singing in English. I’d know John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman anywhere. I’ve got to find who has the album." John caught the proprietor’s attention and inquired about the music.
"What is your name?" The proprietor asked.
"John Crichton, where did you get the music? Where can I get a copy?"
"Come with me." The proprietor walked to the back of the café with John and Aeryn following. They found themselves in a small office.
"We got this from some Sebaceans from Ormaan, that we’ve done business with. There is someone they know on Ormaan who is looking for his son. Let’s see, his name is .."
"Jack Crichton!" John didn’t give the proprietor time to finish the sentence. "My god, my Dad’s here! Do you have the coordinates for Ormaan? And can I get a copy of the music?"
Reunion – Going to Ormaan
"Where the hezmana does John want to go?" D’Argo was stomping around. It looked like a prelude to a hyper-rage. "He’s not searching for wormholes again, is he?"
"D’Argo, John thinks his father is here, or at least on Ormaan. He heard Earth music, and it was left for John to find." Aeryn said.
"How do we know this isn’t a trap, how do we know it isn’t Scorpius after John again?" D’Argo asked.
"We have to go D’Argo. How many times has he put his life on the line for us? You didn’t see his reaction, I did. It means so much to him. I won’t let you or Moya be in danger, we can get close and I’ll go with him in the prowler." Aeryn said.
"John, how do you think your father got here? This could be a trap. Maybe it’s Scorpius, not your father." Aeryn said.
"I’ve thought of that. But to me the music is too complete and too true for Scorpius to produce it, even if he did get it from the neural chip." And I’m recognizing voices that I doubt he could reproduce. I don’t think he could copy Louis Armstrong, or Ella Fitzgerald, or Billy Holiday this accurately. It looks like my Dad, or whomever he’s with, distributed my entire collection. I’ll be careful. As to how he got here, I can’t answer that." John shrugged as he said the last.
"We’ll be careful." Aeryn said.
"Commander Crichton, we are at Ormaan and we are being contacted." Pilot signaled John over the com.
"I’m in command now, put me through, Pilot."
Reunion – Getting the News
"This is John Crichton. I was told I can find Jack Crichton here." John spoke to the image Pilot projected in Command. He saw a confused look cross the controller’s face and added, "Are we at Ormaan? These are the coordinates we were given."
The controller turned aside before responding, "You are at Ormaan. Please land here in one of your transport pods. I’m sorry for the confusion."
"You are not going alone. I will go with you. Something’s not right, but I don’t know what it is." Aeryn said as they walked to the pod.
"It doesn’t look like they are Peace Keepers, wouldn’t they be in uniform?" John asked.
"Yes, but don’t get too far from the Pod, I’ll cover your back, as you say."
John exited the pod as a man and a woman walked into the area. They were unarmed, but his father wasn’t there. "Where is my Dad, Jack Crichton?"
Andrea stepped forward and spoke, "I have news for you, which I think might be bad. Three weeks ago, two people showed up claiming to be working with you and that you asked them to bring your father back to you. It is obvious to me that they lied, but why?"
"What were their names?" John was dreading the answer.
Velorek spoke for the first time, "Lt. Braca and Scorpius".
On hearing this, John staggered back as Aeryn came out of the pod. She pointed a pulse rifle at Andrea, and then Velorek. As she focused on Velorek and he on her, they simultaneously said, "Velorek" "Aeryn" Aeryn lowered the rifle and said in a barely audible voice, "I-I thought you were dead."
Reunion – Hostage
John looked at Aeryn, confusion and pain showing in his face. "Aeryn, w-wha…"
Before John could finish or Aeryn answer, Velorek put his hand on John’s shoulder and said, "We should go inside and talk. You are with friends. Andrea came here with your father; she is from Earth." Andrea nodded as Velorek spoke.
"How could you let him go with them? You said you knew Braca, know what he is." John still could not accept the turn of events.
"I did try to stop him, caution him. But he wouldn’t listen. All he could think about was finding you. We will do what we can to help you get your father back. Because of him and Andrea we have access to wormholes and we are able to communicate with Earth. Before we do anything else, there are some letters Jack brought for you and some messages you should listen to." Velorek said
With one exception, John wanted to believe everything Velorek and Andrea had said, but he had to make sure he wasn’t being duped once again. "Andrea, tell me something I don’t know. Tell me who won the Super Bowl."
Aeryn found John staring at the letters his father brought, tears were in his eyes. "John, what do you want to do? I want to help you anyway I can."
"I don’t know. Scorpius wants me again. His wormhole project must be failing. He must have found my father the same way we found Velorek. I’m afraid to go to Scorpius, and I’m very afraid for my Dad. I don’t think he can survive the chair even if he doesn’t hold back."
"Do you think he’s dead already? I don’t mean to be cruel, but why put your life in danger if it’s too late?" Aeryn’s words were a knife through John’s heart.
"Because you don’t kill hostages, you keep them alive until you get what you want." John said this more to convince himself than Aeryn.
Reunion – Scorpius
"I don’t understand why you stopped using the Aurora Chair on Jack Crichton. He must have the wormhole technology to have gotten here." Braca was beginning to think he should disengage himself from Scorpius. Problem was, he had made a lot of enemies within his own ranks, and alliances were difficult to build.
Scorpius didn’t bother explaining himself to Braca; the man was an idiot. It should have been as obvious to him as everyone else that Colonel Crichton wasn’t holding anything back, he simply didn’t know, and any further use of the chair would kill him. He barely survived it the first and only time. Scorpius needed Crichton’s son, and he needed Jack alive. Still, Braca was right about the project. Time was running out and Peace Keeper command would soon stop the project, ending his quest for power. "Braca, prepare the scout ship, you are going to Ormaan."
All his training had not prepared Jack for the Aurora Chair, or Scorpius. He realized how fortunate it was for him, Andrea, and Earth they were found by Velorek and not the Peace Keepers. He now despaired for John. Scorpius knew him which could only mean he received the same or worse treatment. *But John had to be alive! Was he well? John, please don’t come here to find me. Why didn’t he listen to Velorek? What’s done; is done. I can’t let John find me here!* Jack’s thoughts were interrupted by a guard entering his cell. "Come with me, NOW." When Jack struggled to stand, the guard grabbed him roughly by the elbow and shoved him forward causing him to stumble and fall. Jack managed to get to his feet before the guard could punish him more. He was led down a maze of corridors to Scorpius, but not the chair. He braced himself for whatever Scorpius was about to deal him, but wondered if he’d be able to withstand anything.
Scorpius dismissed the guard and turned to Jack, "Tell me Colonel Crichton, how widely did Velorek’s troops distribute the Earth music? That was really quite a clever thing to do."
"Not so clever, you found me."
"Answer me!" Scorpius was now threatening Jack, his voice a growl.
"I-I really don’t know, I suppose it could be a lot considering I’ve been here three months, um monens, and Velorek helped me from the beginning." Jack didn’t like divulging any information, but he couldn’t see how this would make any difference.
"Good, because I want John to find you. Stand here and tell your son you are alive and with me. Start when I give the signal." Scorpius stood next to Jack and nodded to an unseen assistant. "Speak now, Colonel Crichton."
"John, you see I am with Scorpius, and obviously alive as I’m speaking to you now. Do not try to save me. It is enough for me that you are …" Scorpius cut Jack off and spoke, "Johnny, we are at my new Gammak Base. I will let your father go unharmed, and you can take him back if you come for him. There are some technicalities I need to review with you. Know this, if you do not come within one monen, your father’s safety will not be assured. This recording will have my coordinates." After Scorpius signaled the assistant he turned to Jack, "That was stupid and I don’t think you are a stupid man. Do not try anything like that again if you want you and your son to come out of this alive."
Reunion – Origins
"John, do you even know where to go?" Aeryn tried to reason with John. She knew he had to find his father, but they didn’t know where he was. Scorpius didn’t divulge the location of the Gammak base. He couldn’t risk a second destruction, even with Talyn incapacitated. They suspected Scorpius was behind Talyn’s injuries, but they didn’t have evidence.
"He’ll come for me. I have to be ready." John looked grim when he spoke. He didn’t want to ever see Scorpius again, but now he had no choice.
Andrea wanted to talk to someone about the Leviathan. She just returned from Moya, and was very excited about what she had seen. Ordinarily, she would talk to Jack. Not only was he her commanding officer, he had become a second father to her. Their relationship felt special, and even though he was reserved, she was sure he felt more for her than her superior. She decided to find John, in spite of what had just occurred. She met Aeryn in the hallway. "Oh, hi, I was going to talk to John. I want to talk to him about Moya. I’d like it if you were there too." Andrea could see the strong bond between John and Aeryn, but she also wanted Aeryn there for another reason.
"He’s in there," Aeryn said pointing to a doorway, "but I don’t think he wants to talk. And I was going to …."
Andrea put he hand on Aeryn’s arm, interrupting her, "I think it’s important. And I think you should be present."
Andrea presented the research she and Quonn had done when she first arrived. "There were too many similarities between Humans and Sebaceans for it to be coincidence. After you left Earth, we completed mapping the Human genome and I brought the data with me. The map shows conclusively Humans are closely linked to all living things on Earth. We share 50% of our genes with a banana! (John explains banana to Aeryn). Quonn and I compared the Human genome to the Sebacean genome and found them to be 99.4% compatible. Quonn then told me that their scientists have never been able to link Sebaceans to any other species on any planet, not even their home planet. We theorized Sebaceans and Humans have the same origin on Earth, thousands of years, um cycles, ago. We’re not sure, but it could be as much as twenty thousand. But there are some holes in this theory. Why do we diverge as much as point six percent when all humans diverge only point one percent from each other. And how could Sebaceans get here without technology?"
John stood up, interrupting Andrea, "My god! Moya!"
Andrea continued, "Yes. Aeryn there is an Earth legend about someone being swallowed by a whale and surviving to tell about it. On Earth, Leviathan and whale are interchangeable. We are completely guessing here, only after seeing Moya, I think it’s more than guessing. We think an ancient culture came to Earth through a wormhole on a Leviathan and captured several hundred humans. Humans were rather primitive then, and the only way they could handle it psychologically, was to describe someone being swallowed by a whale. The ancients took the humans and genetically engineered them to what we know now as Sebaceans. Unlike Humans, Sebaceans can have offspring with other species. Humans can’t mate with our closest relative, the Chimpanzee. Sebaceans can and do have offspring with unlike species such as Luxan’s. We will probably never know what the Ancient’s motivation was for doing this. But Aeryn, it looks like you and every other Sebacean is mostly Human."
Reunion – Regrets
"John, your sister would be thrilled to hear you voice. And you should talk to DK too. We have regular communication between here and Earth. Earth is setting up diplomatic relations with Ormaan, and there is a delegation from Earth here, now."
"You’re right, Velorek, but how do I tell my sisters that Dad is being held hostage by my enemy?" John knew he would have to make the recordings, and he desperately wanted to talk to his sisters, and to DK. *Why did it have to be so hard?* He thought.
"You really should talk to Velorek, clear the air." John could see Aeryn carefully avoid all contact with Velorek, especially if no one else was there. "I like him. He’s a very decent person. Not what I’d expect from a Peace Keeper, even an ex-Peace Keeper. He was different even when you knew him before. Do you want me to go with you?"
"No, but you are right. I will talk to him."
"Velorek, may I come in?" Aeryn was more unsure of herself than ever. She wished she were fighting an entire army by herself instead. Velorek nodded. Before she could lose her nerve, Aeryn spoke, "I know what I did was wrong and completely self serving. I’m glad you are alive and whole. You tried to change me, but I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand my feelings, I was afraid of them. It took John two cycles teach me. I love him very much, and I understand what love is."
"I can see that Aeryn. I accept your apology, and I forgive you. I was lucky and I managed to escape. Can you forgive yourself?" Velorek watched Aeryn cry as he asked her the last. "Aeryn, don’t be so hard on yourself. You didn’t know what you were doing then, not really. And if John is anything like his father, you are very lucky to have found him. How did you two get together?"
Aeryn took a deep breath and dried her eyes. "It all started over two cycles ago when John Crichton appeared in space near Moya and Crais’s brother crashed….."
Reunion – Harvey Makes a Deal
"Well, well John. Your father seems to be in some trouble."
While Aeryn talked with Velorek, John tried to collect his thoughts. He doubted that either he or his father could escape Scorpius now. He needed a plan. Every plan he came up with lately turned to s**t. At this moment Harvey made his appearance. "Harvey, as far as I’m concerned it’s dumpster time."
"Have some faith. I’m not Scorpy’s clone anymore. Besides, I still want my own existence, and you want me out of your head. Yes?" John found it interesting that Harvey picked the terrace on Moya for this discussion. Harvey continued after John nodded in agreement. "You will have to go to Scorpius alone. I am surprised he hasn’t sent someone to get you already. He won’t risk the Gammak Base, you know. You will agree to go, and you will go alone."
""Now just a minute, Harvey. I know once Scorpius has my father and me he won’t let us go. Why should I agree?"
"He doesn’t want your father, he wants you. If you don’t go, he’ll kill your father. But back to my plan. Once we arrive at the Gammak Base, you will let me take over your body. It will only be for a short time. I cannot tell you more because Scorpius will sense it in you, and for us to be successful, you cannot know the details."
John reluctantly accepted Harvey’s offer, partly because he had no plan, and partly because any plan he could think of ended in death.
"I don’t frelling believe this! You’re going along with that clone. You’ve really lost you mind this time!" Aeryn was wild. She knew from John’s look he was determined to go to Scorpius alone, his only companion the Scorpy clone in his head.
"Aeryn, I know it’s hard for you to understand, but he isn’t a clone anymore. His identity changed. Now he really is Harvey. Please stay here with Velorek and wait…" Velorek entered the room and interrupted John, "Braca is here. He wants you to leave with him alone. I will support whatever decision you make."
Reunion – Waiting
Aeryn was not good at waiting, and that was exactly the position she was in. Since John had left on his mission she was sure he would not come back. Aeryn was in a foul mood as she walked into the lab where Andrea was working with Quonn. "Andrea, I can’t stand waiting like this. John shouldn’t have gone, but how could I stop him? And now Moya is leaving for Talyn, D’Argo says they’ll be back, but I don’t know. It feels like I’m going to be stranded here." Aeryn paced around the lab as she talked.
"That’s probably how Jack felt when John left, only he disappeared. We’ve received some messages from Earth, and there is one for you." Andrea said.
"Hi Aeryn. You don’t know me, but I heard your voice with John’s message. I’m his kid sister, Emma. Please come to Earth to meet us. I’m dying to meet you. I always meet John’s girl friends. And we’ll be able to talk. They sent a bunch of translator microbes here, and we’re growing them. Soon, every adult who wants and can afford to will be able to get them. We expect most people will want them, except maybe some language snobs. We won’t need subtitles anymore, and the dubbing really stinks…oh for our movies. Uh, DK wants to say something. Please, please come, I want to meet you."
"Hi Aeryn, like Emma said, you are welcome anytime. John’s my best bud, and any friend of his is a friend of mine. I already have the microbes, so I can understand what you and the others are saying. Gosh, I don’t know what to say. (Emma, be quiet, we’ll send another message soon.) I’ll just end it with an open invitation to visit anytime." Aeryn heard Emma giggling in the background and thought, *Now I know where John gets some of his ideas things from.*
"Andrea, what’s a kid sister and what’s a snob?" Aeryn was trying to piece Emma’s message together. Mostly it didn’t make sense to her. "Also, what are movies?"
"From what Jack has told me, Emma is a kidder. I guess she can’t be serious about much of anything. I’d love to have that attitude. Anyway, kid sister means she’s a lot younger than John, so I guess she learned it from him, not his father. Jack is reserved; I’ve never seen him joke. A snob is someone who thinks they are better than anyone else. You’ll learn about movies when you visit Earth." Andrea said.
Reunion – Talyn
Velorek found Aeryn standing in a small garden staring at nothing. "You’re worried about John, aren’t you?"
"Of course! I’m sure he’s going to die. I never told you what Scorpius did to John. He put a neural implant inside John’s head to get at his wormhole technology and controlled John. Even after the chip was removed, his clone remained in John’s head. It doesn’t seem to control John, and John says Harvey’s not a Scorpy clone. Harvey is John’s name for the thing in his head. I don’t know what to think. Scorpius is evil. I am afraid, and I can’t do anything." Aeryn sat down on a bench and put her head in her hands.
"I have no words that can comfort you, and I’m sorry. We have a more immediate concern, however. What can you tell me about Talyn? That was your father’s name, wasn’t it?" Velorek said
"Did you know Moya is the same Leviathan whose pilot you replaced? I didn’t. We accidentally freed a control device that was preventing her from conceiving. She gave birth to an armed son. Moya asked me to name him; I named him after my father. Why do you ask?" Aeryn said.
"Moya and Talyn are here." Velorek said.
"You need to know something else. Bialar Crais is Talyn’s pilot. Crais is no longer Peace Keeper." Aeryn told Velorek about Crais and Talyn as they went to the landing area.
Crais and Velorek faced each other by Talyn’s transport pod. Velorek was surprised by Crais’ appearance. He remembered an arrogant commander in the prime of his health. Crais was obviously suffering from illness or injuries, and he seemed somewhat humble. Crais spoke. "You may be surprised to hear me say this, but I am glad my orders did not get executed. I am not the commander you once knew."
"Aeryn has told me. But forgive me if I am skeptical. The very thing I was trying to prevent has happened, and now you are its commander. Are you wise enough?" Velorek said.
"I do not know. Talyn choose me, I could not be doing this if Talyn didn’t want me to be his mentor. I can only guide him. He is very strong willed and makes his own decisions. I am no longer Peace Keeper, and Talyn never was. He is a weapon, and he will never submit to the Peace Keepers." Crais spoke with conviction, but there was doubt in his eyes.
"Colonel Crichton, your son will be here within the arn. You are not to do anything. If he doesn’t cooperate you will both die painfully." Scorpius spoke to Jack in a cheerful voice. Jack was not cheered.
"And you think the chair will make him cooperate?" Jack dreaded the moment of John’s arrival.
Reunion – End Game
"John, I think it’s too dangerous for you to wait until after you see your father."
"I gotta know if he’s okay, Harvey. Then you can take over. I promise."
"No John, you won’t be quick enough. If we are to overpower Scorpius, he must not suspect. I need to be in charge." John couldn’t argue with Harvey’s logic. Besides, since the neural chip was removed, Harvey had become more like him, and he did keep to the rules they agreed upon.
"Okay Harvey, do your best."
"Well Colonel Crichton, you see I will keep my word. John is here at the base, he will be entering in a microt." Scorpius was looking forward to seeing the two Crichton’s together. He was also curious about the father and son dynamics he never experienced. The neural chip had shown him some surprising things wholly outside the wormhole data he sought. Mixed in with everything else was information on John’s family and his thoughts about them. Scorpius could not understand the feelings between John and his father, but he was ready to use it now.
"Why are we at the chair? If you want him to cooperate shouldn’t we be in your lab?" Jack tried to stall for time, he needed to think, but he could think of nothing that would save his son.
John walked in with Lt. Braca before Scorpius could answer (not that he was going to, but it was convenient). "Hello father, we’ll talk later when I’m done with Scorpius." Jack was stunned at how calm his son looked and how grim he’d become.
Scorpius dismissed Braca and motioned to John. Harvey walked over to Scorpius and put his arm around his shoulder, "Scorpy, Scorpy, Scorpy, it seems you win, again. How do I know you will keep to your promise and let me and my father go?"
"Of course I win John, was there ever any doubt? You have my word I will let you both go once I get my information." Scorpius was getting tired of the small talk and wanted to get on with the heart of the matter. "The wormholes keep collapsing, we cannot stabilize them. What are you holding back?" He growled the last.
"Scorpius, the neural chip got everything. How could I hold anything back? It got information I didn’t even know I had." While Harvey was talking he grabbed the instrument to insert a chip and worked around to inject it into Scorpius. He found his target before Scorpius could react.
Jack watched his son; his behavior was so unlike what he had remembered. To his amazement, John placed a device on his head and held Scorpius firmly. Scorpius was in shock, he didn’t move. Then John spoke to Scorpius. "Harvey, are you in control?"
"Yes John. Go now and take your father. I will instruct the guards to let you go. You may take the scout ship you came in. Go quickly and take the instrument with you. You can contact me through it."
Reunion – Father and Son
"Dad, I will be busy for a while. Don’t interrupt me." John instructed his father to get into the scout ship while he worked with Harvey to secure their exit. He also had to control the ship.
Jack said nothing. He did as he was told. The change he saw in his son was palpable. John had always been open and outgoing. The man next to him was grim. Only his physical appearance told Jack this is his son.
Jack watched his son navigate past the Gammak Base and into free space. He wanted to touch him, talk to him, anything but sit there silently while John worked. After about fifteen minutes he saw John remove the device from his head and turn toward him. It was a transformation, his son, the one he remembered, appeared. Suddenly, they were hugging each other and they were both crying. "Dad, I thought…, I mean …, oh god."
"It’s okay. I never gave up hope. I’ve dreamt of this moment, and yet, I despaired it would happen. You should not have come for me." They were still holding each other tightly as Jack spoke.
"I had to." John leaned back and both men looked at each other. "I read the letters. Thank you for bringing them. It was so good to hear from Emma, DK and Allison. And you, too. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. First, there is someone I’d like you to meet waiting on Ormaan. Her name is Aeryn, my radiant Aeryn Sun. She is, she is the love of my life."
"What happened when you came to the Gammak Base? You seemed different. I would not have recognized you but for your appearance." Jack said.
"It’s a very long story. I don’t exactly know how to begin, so I’ll start with the ending, and then fill you in with the detail. What you saw when I walked in was my body being controlled by a neural being whom I’ve called Harvey. Harvey knows Scorpius intimately, but he is not Scorpius. He maneuvered Scorpius so that a neural chip was injected into his brain. The gear that I brought enabled Harvey to transfer from my brain to Scorpy’s brain. I can now communicate with Harvey through this device. I find it a sweet irony that Scorpius has a John Crichton clone in his brain." John said.
"I would like to hear the entire story." Jack saw the pain in John’s eyes when he spoke. "Whatever it is, you will always be my son, and I will always love you."
Braca watched as Scorpius raged. He had seen him angry, but never this out of control. It was time for him to find other allegiances, fast. He hoped his request for transfer had reached its intended destination and he would not have to wait long. He slipped out of the room before Scorpius could see him.
"Who are you? How did you get here? And where is here?" In his minds eye, Scorpius could see an image of himself facing himself.
"Ah, Scorpius, how nice of you to ask. My name is Harvey. You don’t know me by name, but I’m the one you abandoned in John Crichton’s mind six monens ago. You left me there; you broke your promise to me. Well, I’m back. You will not easily get rid of me. Oh, and where we are is not important, I picked a place John knows. And one more thing, John has the device now. He has control." Harvey said.