by PKAmmoTroop, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Farscape Rejoined
This takes place approximately 5 to 9 years after the television series, as we know it, ends. Team Moya has scattered to the corners of the universe and John finds that retirement from being an intergalactic hero isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. This is intended to be the start of a series of stories that when the production team from FarScape read, they will offer me embarrassingly large sums of money to produce and direct the smash hit sequel television show. Yeah right.
Disclaimer: Farscape and related characters are owned by the Jim Henson company, Channel 9 Australia, and the Sci Fi channel, all brilliant, wonderful, wise, and very good looking people who realize that I am not trying to make a buck off their marvelous efforts but am only entertaining myself and friends and that I’m completely broke so suing me wouldn’t be worth the effort.
John Crichton twisted the top off another beer and sank deeper into his reclining chair. The dreams were still keeping him awake and it was beginning to tell on his health. He was constantly exhausted and could hardly concentrate. He walked around the neighborhood aimlessly wondering if he was really back home on earth. Loud noises startled him and seeing a person dressed head to toe in leather sent chills of terror throughout his gut… he wanted it to end but how do you shut off the past decade of your life?
‘Frell it.’ He thought aloud and reached for the remote control. Most of his life was television now. ‘Once brilliant rocket scientist gets his wish, journeys through space, and then spends the rest of his life looking for Rocky and Bullwinkle reruns… who cares.’ John dropped the remote and drank his beer. Frell it. A beer in one hand a pistol in the other… it’s been too long since John had enough sleep to be able to make a rational decision, now he was getting ready to sleep forever. Just one more beer. Who cares?
2000 miles above his head someone cared. As the former scientist and astronaut slowly slipped into unconsciousness someone was desperately trying to contact him.
A Scarran chased John through curved corridors, the rays of pure heat from the reptilian creatures hand scorching him and weakening him. He ran and ran through the endless maze but the beast was getting closer. He was tiring, it was getting hard to breath, and he turned a corner and found himself in a dead-end corridor with the Scarran bearing down on him, blocking his exit. John turned and screamed in terror as the Scarran raised his hand for the final time to blast the exhausted human with its heat ray. “OH MY GOD…” yelled John, paralyzed with terror…
The sound of that familiar voice woke John up from his terror filled nap. He jerked awake knocking over the empty beer bottles on the table next to his recliner. He looked at the TV, a familiar large purple insect like face filled the screen.
“Commander Crichton, we need you.”
John screamed in terror, raised his pistol and put three rounds through the picture tube of the TV. The gunfire made his ears ring, surprising him with the sheer volume. He paused for a second then kicked out of his chair and stumbled out of the apartment into the bright sunlight. He ran as fast as his legs would carry him. Blinded by tears of self-loathing and frustration he tried to outrun his demons, running as hard as he could until he collapsed against a light pole on a street corner. “Why the hell won’t they leave me alone?” he groaned sinking to his knees. “I just want some rest.”
Approaching sirens told him that a neighbor called his mid afternoon target practice in to the police. He suddenly realized that he still held the pistol in his hand. He studied the gun for a long time, just a snub nosed .38, not unlike a million others. He was so tired… he wanted sleep so bad…
With a defeated sigh he raised the gun and held the barrel to the side of his head. His finger tightened on the trigger preparing to put the gun to the original purpose he bought it for. Somewhere a woman screamed and he heard the panicked scuffling of feet to get out of the way. ‘I guess it’s not often that a deranged rocket scientist kneels down on a busy street corner and blows his head off around here.’ He thought. “Good by Aeryn…” his voice made a dry croaking noise as his finger tightened on the trigger.
“No John…” said a soft voice. John felt a warm soft hand cover his gun hand keeping the guns hammer from falling.
John opened his eyes and slowly turning his head and saw her. “Blue? Aren’t you…”
“Dead? Oh, very much so. And I can’t wait for you to join me; we have so much to talk about. But not now, you’re needed John Crichton.”
“I’m done Zhaan, I’m through saving the universe, and I just want to retire. My way.” He looked at the statuesque blue woman who crouched next to him.
“That’s not retiring, John, that’s quitting. And the John Crichton I knew wasn’t a quitter.” She softly pushed downward on his gun arm. With gentle persuasion she got him to lower the pistol.
“I’m so tired Zhaan… I just want to go to sleep…”
“I know John. Come with me, you can sleep on the way.” She gently urged him to his feet and slowly guided him to the center of the intersection.
In his despair John hadn’t noticed the transport pod that had set down in the middle of the intersection, knocking down traffic lights, crushing one small car and tearing the corner off a building. He thought the screaming he heard all around him was due to the fact that there was a lunatic on the loose with a handgun, but then again this is Houston Texas…
Zhaan lead John into the transport pod and he immediately sank into one of the familiar seats. “Soon you’ll be back where you can rest properly,” she whispered as she strapped him in.
“Are you really here?” he asked the blue apparition before him.
“Only if you want me to be.” She smiled and he was asleep before the pod lifted off.
* * *
The next thing that John noticed was the whirring of an electric motor and something bumping against his foot. He blearily opened his eyes and considered the little DRD that kept bashing into him. “OK Mom, I’m awake.” He called out and the little robot stopped and began chirping excitedly at him. The robot zipped out the hatch of the pod then came back in and began chirping again.
“I’m back, you guys miss me?” John asked the little yellow droid.
In response the robot spun around and zipped out of the transport then came back in whirring and chirping even louder.
“What’s that you say Lassie? Timmy fell down a well?”
The DRD stopped and ‘stared’ at Crichton as if trying to figure out what he just said, then began chirping again and zipped out the hatch. With a sigh John unstrapped and followed the excited little robot. “Zhaan!” he yelled as he stepped into the familiar loading bay. He was back. Back on Moya. The earthling looked around at the familiar walls and noticed that everything looked much brighter than the last time he stood on this very spot years ago.
“ZHAAN! Where the frell are you?”
“She’s dead.” Came Pilot’s soft voice from nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
“No she’s not, I saw her.” John looked around. The DRD zipped back into the loading bay and bumped into his leg then zipped back out into the corridor. “She’s not,” he said sadly.
On wobbly legs John followed the DRD through the familiar corridors and twisting passageways inside the great Leviathan until he finally reached the Pilots den. “Ok, Pilot I’m back. I don’t know how you did it but somehow you got Zhaan to get me back here…”
“Commander Crichton, Zhaan is dead.” The insectoid pilot looked distressed. “All we did was send down a transport pod and hope you’d get in.”
Something inside John snapped and he pulled the .38 out of his waistband and leveled it at Pilot. “I… saw… Zhaan!”
Pilot nodded but stared at the gun.
“Why are you people bothering me? Why won’t you leave me alone?”
“John…” Pilot sounded distressed. “John please…”
“PLEASE WHAT!?!” John barked, then suddenly realized he was holding a gun on one of the two beings in the universe that would never harm him; Pilot, and Pilot was physically attached to the other being that would never hurt him. He lowered the gun. “Oh Pilot, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry… I’m so tired…”
“John, Moya won’t leave.”
“What do you mean Pilot?” John realized that Pilot was crying.
“Moya, she won’t leave without you. After Aeryn… after we… after we dropped you off here on Earth Moya stayed in orbit and refused to leave without you.”
“Pilot, that’s been cycles!”
“Yes, I know. Moya is so happy to have you back. Can’t you feel her shuddering? She’s shaking with happiness. I thought that if she could see you one last time we could go.”
“Yeah, well… it’s good to see you too Pilot. You too, Moya.” He shouted to the ship. There was a long awkward silence. “All those years… Holy dren Pilot, we let you guys go. Free to follow your star and all that…”
“Yes. Thank you.” Pilot sighed. “But Moya refused to move a metra with out you. Over the cycles she’s developed an attachment to you.”
“You really should have said something.”
“You sounded pretty definite when you left.”
“Well you know, things get said, my best girl runs off with a Leviathan gunship…”
They fell silent again. “Moya wants to know if you would like a job.” Pilot said without looking up.
John looked startled. He thought for a moment then answered. “Well, things are going so good at JPL, I’ve got this big promotion coming up…” He lied through his teeth. In fact he hadn’t worked in over two years.
“She says she has an opening at the position of Navigator.”
“Navigator? Pilot we’ve never had a navigator, what fun would that be knowing where we’re going all the time?”
“That would be different, wouldn’t it?”
“Yes, yes it would big guy.” John smiled at the big purple ‘bug’. He was sure Pilot returned the smile.
* * *
The Leviathan emerged from the wormhole into the familiar strangeness of the Uncharted Territories. Moya, the only Leviathan with wormhole capability to survive the Wormhole Wars slipped back into ‘real space’ as easily as a person would slip into his or her own bed. “Pilot? Where are we? I have a right to know, I am the Navigator!” John yelled from Command.
“I believe it’s your job as Navigator to tell ME.” Replied Pilot as his face appeared on the clamshell view screen.
“Ok, ok. Let me shoot a few variances…” John peered into a small sextant periscope and swiveled it around. “Hold still… this won’t hurt a bit… aaannnddd SMILE!” he pushed a button on the side of the periscope, fed the reading into the navigation interface and waited for the results. “Ten thousand metras from the orbit of Sydnamus 4, right where we want to be.”
“Very good Commander Crichton!”
“Well you know Pilot, it’s tough getting the hang of this navigating thing, but for me, no sweat.” Both Pilot and John knew full well that Moya was actually doing all the navigating; John was merely double-checking their position every time she came out of starburst or a wormhole. However he was learning how to chart a location that they wanted to go to and give that information to Moya, but it was easiest to determine a location on a star chart and show it to Pilot who would relay it to Moya.
After coming aboard Moya John slept in his old cell for 20 arns straight and only woke when a DRD came in and pinched him with its pliers attachment. Pilot insisted that he didn’t send the DRD to wake him. For the next week John walked through Moya and noticed that she had actually grown another tier since he had been on her last. Pilot explained that Moya spent the years in Earth orbit healing from her previous injuries from when they were on the run in the Uncharted Territories, and the terrors of the Wormhole Wars. Finally healed she started growing again and Pilot said that she was now physically and emotionally mature enough to produce young. That information made John feel bad about Talyn and that whole sad saga.
John spent most of the week walking about Moya and standing on the terrace looking at the earth as it spun silently beneath them. Once every orbit John could see the sun reflecting off the international space station as the sun caught it just right. “All I ever wanted to do was come home.” John said to no one in particular.
“And study wormholes.” Chimed in Pilot.
“That was just a way of getting home. I knew that we would eventually find earth if we stumbled around long enough, like a couple of hundred thousand cycles.”
“I think I understand, Commander Crichton, Moya is my home, and I can never leave her, but if I did I know that I would only want to return.”
John smiled and nodded. Pilot could never leave Moya, he was part of Moya, and he could no more leave Moya than John’s own legs could go for a walk by themselves. John wanted to tell Pilot about the old earth saying ‘You can never go home again’ but thought better of it. Pilot wouldn’t understand. “Tell you what Pilot, Moya still got that opening in Navigation?”
“Moya says she would be honored if you would come with us.”
“Then lets get going before I change my mind.”
“As the new Navigator Moya says you have the choice of the destination.”
John studied the stars that stretched over his head. He pointed to a bright star off Moya’s nose and said, “Third star to the left and straight on until morning, warp 4, make it so number one!”
“I’m sorry commander, but we don’t understand…”
“That’s ok Pilot. Moya likes free flight, loosen her reins and let her have her head.”
For the next few weeks they practiced navigational exercises, simple navigation, starburst plotting, wormhole creation, the works. John never got over the feeling that Moya was just letting him think he was doing the navigation. Moya hadn’t wasted the years she spent orbiting the earth. She spent most of her time reviewing her massive data banks, teaching herself the knowledge that her builders provided her with, so she was much better at navigating than she was when John first met her so long ago. Finally after a horribly confusing series of exercises near the Sydnamus star system Pilot called out. “Commander Crichton, a shuttle is requesting permission to come aboard.”
“Deploy the landing web and bring ‘em into cargo bay 2, Pilot.” Said John as he cleaned up his navigation station in preparation for their next navigation exercise.
John hurried to cargo bay 2; he was expecting a freight agent from Sydnamus 4 to come aboard. The earthman was hoping to arrange a few shipments to earn some money for food and much needed supplies. When John got to the cargo bay the shuttle was slowly spooling down and the pilot of the craft was already out of the small ship and scratching his arms while trying to unfastening his helmet and remove his flight suit at the same time. John walked into the loading dock escorted by a small mob of DRD’s. “Welcome aboard the Leviathan Moya.” Said John extending his hand. “I’m the navigator John Crichton.”
“Navigator? Who gave YOU a job like that?” The pilot removed the helmet and a splash of white hair fell out announcing to John the pilot of the shuttle was Nebari.”
“You were expecting Jool?”
“Pip! My favorite traveling companion!” John threw his arms around the slim woman and hugged her tight, picked her up and spun around eliciting a squeal of delight from the slim woman. John set her down and hugged her again. Chiana returned the hug, taking advantage of the situation to grind her hips into his. “Where have you been sweetheart?” he asked.
“Looking for Erp, if you must know.” She answered with a tear in her eye. “Damn flight suit… I think I’m allergic.” She said trying to cover her emotional display while scratching.
John held her at an arms length and studied her intently. The years did little to change the Nebari, except for a few lines at the corners of her eyes and maybe a bit more fullness to her curves she was still the same Chiana. “Why?”
“Why? Because I itch all over, I hate this suit.”
“No. Chiana! Why were you trying to find Earth?”
Chiana sniffed back a tear and grinned. “Why not?” And with that her smile faded. Her eyes filled with tears as the dam burst and she fell against John breaking into deep heart rending sobs. Her hands grabbed his T-shirt and bunched it up in her fists as she wept. “Don’t ever leave me again!” she cried as he legs gave out and they both sank to the floor. “You bastard. I hate you for leaving, I hate you…” she gasped as she weakly as she punched him a few times before breaking into more sobs.
Bewildered John held her close while she shuddered against him. He slowly opened his eyes to see Zhaan kneeling next to them gently stroking Chiana’s hair. Crichton was about to speak when Zhaan held her finger to her lips to keep him silent, then stood and stepped behind John. He turned to see what she was up to but she was gone.
Chiana pushed away from John and stood. “I’m sorry, I gotta take this off, it itches like hezmana…” She kicked off her flight boots and then pulled off the flight suit and stood completely nude before the befuddled human. “Now you can see I have nothing to hide.” She extended her arms and invited John to stand up. “Years ago you took me in when I was on the run, hiding from my own people, and you showed me the only family I ever truly loved. Now again I ask you to take me in, I want to come home.”
“Then come home Pip.” Whispered John as he scooped the slight girl into his arms and carried her out of the loading dock. She threw her arms around his neck and snuggled her face into his shoulder as he carried her.
“You know you can’t run around naked all the time, Pip.”
“Yes I can.”
“What if I take advantage of the situation?”
“You had your chance years ago…”
“Yeah, but what if I decided to go for it now?”
Chiana just snuggled closer against his shoulder. “Dare ya…”
“Hey Pilot! We got company!”
“Miss Chiana! I did miss you so. So did Moya.”
“Hello Pilot. I missed you too.” Chiana smiled at the large creature who studied her with his soft eyes.
“You have lost weight, Miss Chiana, I am sad to say all we have is food cubes though.”
“I have several crates of food and some money in my shuttle craft.” She paused then frowned. “Your navigator said that I have to get dressed. He said that I can’t walk around naked!” she pouted, then flashed pilot a smile.
“Why not?” asked Pilot, “I have never worn clothing and he’s never complained to me about it once.”
“All right you two.” Said John throwing up his arms in defeat. “You guys stay here and start the first Uncharted Territories nudist society and get reacquainted, I’ll go unload Chiana’s shuttle.
“Moya doesn’t wear clothing either.” Called out Pilot as John left the Pilots den.
* * *
John had lifted the last crate off the shuttle and placed it on the cart when Zhaan stepped off the shuttle.
“I am crazy, aren’t I?” asked John after he recovered from his shock.
“I’ve always thought so.” Answered Zhaan.
“Look, you’re supposed to be dead, rest in peace, six feet under, pushing up daisies, room temperature and all that. Why are you here haunting and scaring the hell out of me?”
“I thought you liked ghost stories John Crichton.” The Delvian smiled.
“Ghost STORIES. I like STORIES, I have no desire to be haunted.”
“I’m not haunting you that bad, am I?”
“Well no, there’s been no rattling chains or late night… Zhaan! That’s not the point! You’re not supposed to be haunting me at all! You’re supposed to be with the goddess discussing nebulous philosophy or something like that!”
“I have spoken with the goddess and I have a specific task to do, however right now I’m here to introduce you to someone.” Zhaan turned back to the shuttle and from behind it stepped a young woman. She couldn’t have been more than a teenager. She was short, cute, and very curvaceous with long wavy red hair that hung down over her pale shoulders. She batted her luminous green eyes at John who was having a difficult time making eye contact.
“Frell… am I the only one that gets dressed in the morning around here?” cried John.
“Pilot told you I don’t wear clothes,” answered the girl in halting oddly accented speech.
“I’m dressed John.”
“You’re dead Zhaan!”
“I never said I was perfect.”
Suddenly what the girl said hit John. “Moya?”
The girl watched John sag to the deck and then looked at Zhaan “He’s not dead is he?”
“No dear, I’m dead. John just decided to take a nap.”
* * *
John slowly opened his eyes and realized he was back in his cell lying on his bunk. He eased back to the pillow and smiled, only a dream. His eyes were almost closed when he remembers what had happened in the past when he thought ‘only a dream’. He sat up, looked around and saw nothing. Smiling he eased back to the pillow and closed his eyes. Then Chiana cuddled up close and threw her arm over him.
“Aw… Pip! How’d you get me into bed? Where are my clothes?”
Chiana emerged from under the blanket wearing John’s t-shirt. “You sure ask a lot of questions for someone who passed out in the loading dock.”
“I did not pass out. I umm… I did not pass out.”
“You’re not as young as you used to be, and from what Pilot said you spent the last couple of years living inside a bottle, so you’re not in the same shape you used to be either.”
“Give me a break Pip.”
“That’s Doctor Pip to you.”
“Moya offered me a job, temporary ships doctor, until we pick up the permanent one.”
“Permanent one? No, forget that, I don’t want to know.” John held up his hand then paused. “Moya offered you a job? She asked you?”
“Don’t be farhbot, Pilot asked me, now come on you, we gotta get you back into shape.”
* * *
The Leviathan emerged from starburst into the familiar strangeness of the Uncharted Territories. “Pilot? Where the hezmana are we? I really need a clue here!” John yelled from Command.
“I am not quite sure Commander, this doesn’t look like the area you charted out and Moya refuses to tell me where we are. This is very disturbing.”
A small hand reached from behind John and pointed to a section of a star chart far from where John had planned the starburst to end up. John grabbed the small wrist and thinking it was Chiana turned and scooped up the person that the hand was attached to and set her on the command console. He ended up looking at the red head that he saw in the cargo bay two weeks before. At least she was dressed this time in a tank top shirt.
The pretty redhead nodded with a smile.
“Moya, what’s going on?”
The redhead just smiled and cocked her head like she didn’t understand the question.
“You know what I mean, why did you stay for me?”
“The wheel is broken.” She said in her oddly accented voice. “We have work to do.” Then she leaned forward and gave John a kiss. Neither a wet slobbery overly passionate kiss, nor a cold emotionless kiss, but a warm delightful kiss, full of love and promise and joy. Exactly the same way Aeryn used to kiss.
As John stood there trying to clear the 1.5 gazillion thoughts flashing through his head the redhead hopped off the counsel and waiving to him jogged out of the room. John watched her lush young body jiggle in all the right places as she slipped out the door. “I just kissed a spaceship that looks like a centerfold.” John said to himself, and then he shook his head one more time and returned to the star chart. He studied the area that Moya pointed out then lowered his eye to the sextant. He searched all about the ship for three quasars that were in the area that Moya indicated, found them, and triangulated their location.
“Ok Pilot, I got a bead on where we are. If we keep on this course we’re going to slam into a nice little class M planet in about a half an arn.”
“I see where you have us located and concur. But what is a class M planet?”
“Don’t tell me you spent years in orbit around Earth and didn’t happen to catch a rerun of Star Trek?”
“Um, no we did not. But Moya did develop a liking for something called a Led Zeppelin.”
“Atta girl Moya!”
Suddenly a hand slapped John across the back of the head. “What do you mean she kisses like Aeryn?”
“Ow! Chiana! How about a little warning before you decide to PMS on me!”
Chiana ignored the PMS remark. She was sure that if he explained it she still wouldn’t understand. “You were talking to yourself, WHO kisses like Aeryn?”
Chiana started at John for a while then gave him a confused look. “You know, Aeryn, the chick with a gun? Former peacekeeper?”
“You got me, little buddy.”
Chiana looked in John’s eyes for some kind of clue, was he kidding? Was he still so hurt that he refused to talk about her? Or is he blocking out her memory? She couldn’t tell.
* * *
“How the hell are you going to go shopping Chi? You don’t have a stitch of clothing since you burned up the only clothes you brought onboard with you.”
“I was allergic to that flight suit and I’ll wear this!”
“That’s MY shirt! And it answers a lot of questions.”
“Like, does Chiana bikini wax?” As Chiana threw the T-shirt at John he was glad she didn’t ask what a bikini wax was, it appears that Nebari don’t need that form of self-torture. “Why are you ripping up the bed? MY bed?”
“YOU’RE the one that said I wasn’t dressed properly.” Said Chiana as she quickly wound the sheet around her body creating a very nice toga/dress. “What do you think?” she asked as she fashioned a belt out of some braided electrical conduit.
“I think you’re lucky I didn’t bring my Buzz Lightyear linen. No shoes?”
“All I have is flight boots. Flight boots with a long dress? I don’t think so. I’ll go bare foot,” she snuggled up to Crichton, “everyone will think I’m your sex slave.”
Not long after setting down on the only public landing field of the small commerce planet John and Chiana were hitting the shops looking for clothing. Chiana was mostly interested in getting John some extremely tight leather pants, and John was most interested in getting Chiana anything so that he could get his T-shirts back.
After an arn and a half picking out one outfit, John was ready to leave Chiana on the surface of the planet. He had completely forgotten what shopping for clothing with a woman was like. Chiana wanted to make sure she was on the crest of the fashion tidal wave for any possible planet they would land on. However in the end she ended up picking up several suits that looked fairly close to the clothing John was used to seeing her in, and was getting ready to bury her in.
“Let’s stop here.”
“Chi, this looks like a pretty high end place, besides we hit damn near every boutique on this planet.”
“Pilot said that Moya recommends this place.”
“A Leviathan shopping at the ‘Crystal Euphoria Boutique’? The door’s not large enough for her to get in.”
“Humor me, come on!”
Inside it looked like every other woman’s clothing shop they’ve been to. Lots of chrome and flashing lights, loud music that sounded like rhythmic scales being played on an electric lizard. John immediately began looking for alternate exits while Chiana began checking the racks of clothing. Still wearing her toga, Chiana’s hips swayed in time with the music and she browsed the merchandise.
The song finally stopped and John breathed a sigh of relief before the next assault on his senses began. However the blessing of the silence was short lived. The air was pierced with a familiar shriek.
Chiana looked around and saw the source of the outburst. “Bitch!”
Jool jumped over the counter and ran over to Chiana and the women hugged and laughed. John watched the scene with a smile. He crossed his arms over his chest and grinned. “You’re right behind me, aren’t you Zhaan.”
“How did you know, John?”
“This is starting to get predictable. Who’s next? Farmer D’Argo?”
“You’ll just have to wait to find out.”
John eased into his bed grateful to be able to sleep alone for once. He hadn’t done anything with Chiana other than try to push her away, but every night she crawled into his bed with him. He tried to convince her that all the running and weight lifting she had him doing wore him out so if there was something she wanted he wouldn’t be able to deliver but she laughed and curled up with him anyway. Tonight Chi and Jool were still yakking, he could hear them chattering away down the corridor. It was hard to believe that they once hated each other passionately.
John sighed and stretched, enjoying the wide-open spaces of a single occupancy bed when he felt someone climb in with him. Long wavy hair brushed his face. “Jool?” John reached out and his hand encountered a breast. A large one. “Not Jool. Moya?”
“Moya, what are you doing here?”
“Hold. Hold us. You. Me. Just hold.” Her oddly accented voice sounded sweet and melodic as she stretched out on top of John.
“What if Pilot should find out?”
“You know, you climbing into bed with me… won’t he get jealous?”
“Pilot likes us.”
“Pilot likes me, but he loves you.”
“Pilot is Moya. Moya is Pilot. No jealous for holding.”
“This speaking thing is still pretty new for you isn’t it?” he felt rather than saw her nod her head. “So why are you here Moya.”
“Hold, sleep, smile. No more talking.” Then she leaned closer and whispered in his ear “The wheel is more fixed. Very soon.” Then she rested her head on his shoulder and soon started sleeping. Before long John was enjoying the most restful sleep he had in cycles.
* * *
The next morning John got up from his empty bed and began jogging laps around the great ship without being harped on by Chiana. On his fifth lap Jool fell in beside him. Much to Crichton’s relief she was wearing baggy sweats. Being a guy he appreciated scantily clad women running around but there comes a point… They jogged together without speaking for a long time until Jool broke the silence.
“I’m the new ships doctor you know.”
“I kind of figured that would happen when Pilot commed me on the planet and told me to bring you aboard, what does that make Chiana, the purser?”
Jool gave him a quizzical look.
“You know, purser, the guy who assigns rooms and makes sure everyone has a turn at shuffleboard.”
Another quizzical look.
“Never been on a pleasure cruise?”
Another quizzical look. “Chiana is the ships councilor.”
“Chiana is councilor Troi?” laughed John
Jool was about to ask what a councilortroy is but thought better of it and continued. “She is telepathic you know.”
“CHIANA CAN READ MY MIND?”
“You didn’t know?”
Jool slowed to a stop as Crichton sprinted off down the corridor. She shook her head. “Nothing changes.”
* * *
“All this time you could read my mind and you were still walking around naked?”
Chiana smiled sweetly and rubbed herself against John “Uh huh. I can read emotions but can only read direct thoughts when invited. ”
“Knowing how much you’re driving me crazy you were running around the ship naked…”
Chiana pushed John back onto a chair and jumped onto his lap. “My plan is to use sex to get whatever I want out of you.”
“And what do you want to get out of me?”
“Sex.” Chiana gave the confused earthman a look that practically screamed ‘DUMMY!’
“Read my mind, tell me what I’m thinking.”
Chi rolled her eyes. “Ok, I’m hurting your penis sitting on you like this and you’re hoping I don’t notice your erection… you talk to Zhaan… and you slept with a physical manifestation of Moya last night.”
“And you want to frell my brains out.”
“Yes you do.”
“Pip, ignore the sex…”
“That’s kind of hard to do.” She smiled as she ground herself on John’s lap.
“The Zhaan and Moya thing, doesn’t that strike you as kind of odd?”
“You’ve been through a lot, a little hallucinating may be just what you need.”
“I’m not hallucinating, I actually saw them, and I actually touched them. I’ve kissed Moya!”
Chiana now realized how serious John was. “Where did you kiss Moya?”
“On the lips.” Chiana started to get angry until John added, “She’s the one that kisses like Aeryn.”
Chiana slowly nodded and got off John’s lap. “You did kiss Moya. Or at least your mind is sure you did.”
“Zhaan too, I see Zhaan from time to time.”
“Zhaan is dead.”
“I know, she keeps reminding me of that. There’s something we need to do, both Zhaan and Moya hint that. Moya keeps saying that the wheel is broken.”
Chiana’s face took on a very serious appearance. “Once more from the top. You speak with Zhaan.”
“You sleep with Moya.”
“Moya kisses like Aeryn.”
John’s mouth opened to answer but nothing came out. Finally he sputtered. “I don’t know any Aeryn.”
* * *
The Leviathan emerged from starburst into the familiar strangeness of the Uncharted Territories. John studied the star charts that were displayed before him and compared it to what he was seeing in the sextant. “Oh fer crying out… MMMOOOOYYYYAAAA!!! Where the Frell are we now?”
“This is getting quite frustrating.” Intoned Pilot as he appeared on the clamshell.
“Well, the past two times we’ve popped into space when Moya chooses the destination we seem to pick up an old friend. Who do you think it will be, Stark, Rygel, or D’Argo?”
“I do hope it’s Officer Sun.”
Pilot looked shocked and John’s remark but didn’t say anything.
“Well, I had better find the local inhabitable planet and see who’s there.”
* * *
The hot sun baked the field; rows of stunted, dry young plants did little to hold down the dust when the wind puffed over the farm. It was one of the most heartbreaking sights John had seen in a long time. “How long has this drought been going on?” He asked.
“Fourth straight cycle.” Rumbled Ka D’Argo.
“You’re not going to make any money that way.”
“What do you know about farming, Crichton?”
“My grandfather was a farmer. He once told me: If you’re farming for the money, don’t go farming. It was a tough life, he worked his ass off to put my dad in college so my dad wouldn’t ever have to work a farm.”
“For me it has always represented a peaceful existence.”
“But it’s not, is it? It’s a constant battle between you and the soil and the elements…”
“… and the bank.” Finished D’Argo.
“Come on big guy, I’ve got a Leviathan with your name on it. Let’s get out of here.”
“I can’t just leave!”
“D’Argo! You told me yourself that the bank was kicking you out of here, they foreclosed on the farm when your crops croaked.”
D’Argo didn’t answer, he just lifted his Qualta blade and aimed it at the barn and fired once. The barn shuddered from the impact, and soon smoke started pouring out of the windows. Within minutes the barn was fully involved in the fire. “Now I can leave.”
* * *
“Ok, Rygel. Your cousin Dominar Rygel XVIII has a reward on your head so big that there are 3 former command carriers out there hunting you down. Your own sister sold you out to bounty hunters and there are shock troops marching down the street at this very moment, busting down doors looking for you. Why won’t you leave with us?” asked Chiana as she peered through the ventilation grill at the Hynerian.
“Food cubes, I hate food cubes…”
“Aww… frell it!” Chiana ripped the grill off the ventilation shaft and grabbed Rygel by his robes and yanked him free of the duct. Ignoring his attempts to bite her she reached in and grabbed his throne sled and then carted the little monarch off to the transport pod as fast as she could run.
“And another thing! Spanky, Sparky, Fluffy, Buckwheat, I do not appreciate those names!”
“Shut up Rygel.”
“And Kermit, I hate that name. If he calls me Kermit again…”
“Shut up Rygel.”
* * *
“Yes my daughter? Oh Jool! How wonderful to see you after so many years! You look wonderful!”
Jool swallowed and looked about her at the interior of the beautiful church she was in. “Ummm Moya sent me. She asked that you join the crew as, ummm chaplain.”
“I’m sorry, but I have so many responsibilities here…” Suddenly Stark’s head cranked to one side “No he doesn’t, he’s not even a priest.” He swiveled his head the other way. “I am too. He’s a charity case. Stop it!”
“I… uh… I can see you’re busy. Why don’t I come back when you’re alone.”
“No wait. I’ll go with you.”
“Are you sure?”
“We both are.”
“You did NOT tell me that THEY would be here!” Yelled D’Argo pointing his Qualta blade at Stark and Rygel. “If you had I’m sure I would have found some way to save my crops!”
“Look, big guy, it’s not my fault, I didn’t even know Moya picked them for this trip.”
“What do you mean Moya picked them?” D’Argo looked like he was going to threaten John with his oversize sword.
“It’s true!” gasped Chiana “We come out of starburst in a completely different place than planed and Moya refuses to move until we gather up who’s ever on the planet below.” Placing her small hands on the Luxan warrior’s large arm she was gently able to persuade him to lower his blade.
“She’s right D,” said John “Moya has a special mission planned out and she’s even given us positions. I’m navigator, Jool’s the doctor, Rygel is the diplomatic officer, Chi is the ships Councilor, you’re combat coordinator what ever that is. The big girl has everything planned out.”
“So who is the captain?” growled D’Argo “Stark? Because if he is…” and he started to raise his blade again.
“I don’t know, maybe Moya’s the captain, Maybe Pilot is…”
“No I’m the pilot.” Answered Pilot.
“Whatever. What does it matter, we’re all here, the gang is all back together.” Said John.
“No John, we’re missing one.” Said Chiana her face full of concern. “Aeryn…”
“WHO IS THIS AERYN YOU KEEP TALKING ABOUT?”
D’Argo suddenly turned toward Chiana. “What is this pigbath?”
“Hogwash.” Corrected John throwing his hands up and facing the wall.
“He doesn’t remember Aeryn. He remembers he had a lover and that she ran off with Talyn.”
“I do not know any Aeryn!” insisted John as he faced the wall.
Chiana stepped to his side and tried to get between him and the wall. “Then why won’t you do me?”
“Chiana, you’re like my little sister!” whispered John.
“Dren! Why won’t you frell me?” snarled Chiana.
“Chi, there’s people here…”
“I don’t care. I don’t care who knows, I want to know why I throw myself at you for over a moen and you won’t touch me. Are you too good for me? Is that it? Can’t lower yourself to give the Nebari tralk what she’s begging for?”
“Chiana, it’s… I… it…”
“John, why won’t you frell me?” Shouted Chiana. All conversation in the room stopped and everyone stared at Chiana and Crichton.
“Because I’m still in love with Aeryn!” Shouted John.
“Who is Aeryn?”
“I DON’T KNOW!!!” John picked up a bottle from the table and threw it as hard as he could against the wall where it exploded into a thousand pieces. DRD’s appeared from everywhere and were cleaning up the mess before the last piece of bottle hit the floor. Except for the whirring of the DRD’s the room was quiet, as everyone looked at John in embarrassed silence.
“Look,” said John, his hands shaking so hard he had to hold a chair back to still them, “going back to Earth probably wasn’t the best idea for me. I tried to get work back at IASA but they wouldn’t have me, I tried to take the knowledge I picked up from alien technologies and try to patent a few things and the frelling FBI shuts me down for leaking government secrets. I even tried to sell my story as Science Fiction but was turned down by every publisher for being too weird. Hell, even FOX network laughed at me, and you should see some of the dren they put on the air!
“So I crawled into a bottle and didn’t come up for air for a couple of cycles. Then Moya tells Pilot to send a transport pod down to me and it arrives in the nick of time. A minute later and I would have ventilated my brain.” John held a finger to his head like he was going to shoot himself. “So whoever this Aeryn is, does it really matter? I’m here, we’re here, let’s go do something.” He slumped down into the chair.
The room was silent, everyone staring at John. Chiana opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. Rygel frowned and looked at the food cube crumbs on the front of his robes. The silence was oppressive.
“Who knew that beans were such a difficult adversary?” rumbled D’Argo.
“Beans?” Asked John.
D’Argo nodded sadly. “I can slice the mivonks off a live budong with my Qualta blade, but grow a few square metra’s of beans?” He shook his head slowly. “I tried everything, I had agricultural experts from the local university constantly inspecting my plants, my soil, the herbicide I was or wasn’t using, fertilizers, nitrogen, soil moisture levels. They didn’t know why nothing would grow in my fields. So I figure if I’m going to kill something, I might as well come back here and kill something that will at least fight back!” he shook his Qualta blade for emphasis.
There was chuckling around the table for a moment then the group grew silent again. “I was groomed for success.” Said Jool softly. “I had the best of everything, schooling, clothing, the right society around me, vacations in just the right places, the best Interon society could offer. After surviving 22 cycles in a freezer and participating in the Wormhole Wars you’d think I’d come home to something. Maybe not a parade or a festival, but how about ‘Thanks for saving the known universe’. Frelling bastages.” John smiled at her use of an imaginary vulgarity he had ‘borrowed’ from the movie ‘Johnny Dangerously’. “So I leave Interon and eventually end up cashier at a boutique on a dead end commerce planet that probably won’t be inhabited next year. I agree with John; I’m here, we’re here, let’s go do something.”
Rygel floated down to the table. “I have been deposed again. It’s getting quite embarrassing.” He patted Jool’s hand and she smiled gently stroking his earbrow. “It seems that the family sport of killing each other to gain the throne is still quite well enjoyed by my relatives. Ahhh, but for a few grand and glorious moments I was again Rygel XVI, Ruler of the Hynerian Empire, Dominar to over SEVEN hundred billion subjects.”
“I thought I had found peace.” Said Stark, his one eye staring off into the void. “The religion seemed to calm me and soothe my nerves. I studied for the priesthood and was very good at it, then one day the Bishop told me that even though my studies were good enough for my ordination, the church wasn’t ready to ordain someone with multiple personalities. Multiple personalities? How could he get such an idea?”
“So what did you do?” asked Chiana.
“We stayed on as an acolyte.” Said Stark, wondering why there was so much suppressed laughter around the table.
“What is your sad story Chiana?” asked D’Argo.
“Oh, nothing spectacular. I invested my money in an expedition that didn’t pan out, then took a job with a shipping agency until Moya here arrived and found me.”
“What was the expedition looking for?”
Chiana nervously looked at Crichton then around the table. “Nothing special.” She said quickly, then she looked down. “That’s not true. I was looking for Erp. I was looking for John.” Looking up there were tears in her eyes. “I just wanted to talk, to be close to him. He’s the father I…” when she realized what she was about to say she broke into uncontrollable sobs.
John looked at the Luxan warrior with a look that screamed “D’Argo, PLEASE!” but D’Argo sadly shook his head ‘no’ in reply. Jool however rose from her seat and led the weeping Nebari out of the room. “All is well with the world…” John sighed.
* * *
“Moya, is that you?” John whispered as someone crawled into bed with him.
“Moya, we can’t go on meeting like this.”
“You are… funny guy. Making jokes. Is ok, smile, hold, sleep.”
“Where are we going Moya, what do you need us to do?”
“Sleep. Wheel almost fixed. Now hold. Sleep. Smile.”
John was asleep before she was finished.
* * *
The Leviathan emerged from starburst into the familiar strangeness of the Uncharted Territories. John studied the star charts that were displayed before him and compared it to what he was seeing in the sextant. “Ok Pilot, I have absolutely no clue where we are and from what I can tell on these star charts, we don’t exist anymore. OW!” A DRD slammed into John’s ankle as hard as it could, made an apologetic beeping noise then zipped off.
“I do not know either, and Moya seems quite amused by the whole situation.” Said Pilot.
Again a slim feminine hand appeared from behind John and pointed out a location at the edge of the star chart. John gently grabbed the wrist and turned, again it was Moya. She placed her free hand on the side of John’s face and stood up on tiptoes to kiss him. Again it was a sweet, warm, passionate kiss. She broke it off, waived goodbye, and dashed off as John watched her lush body shake in all the right places. He sighed and leaned against the console then bent to study the location that she pointed out.
“Who was that?” asked Jool from behind him.
John whirled. “You saw her?”
“Well, duh! Loved her hair, how do you think she does it?”
“You saw her.”
“Didn’t I just say that?”
“You saw her! You know what that means?”
“It means I’m not blind?”
“It means I’m not crazy! That was Moya!”
“She doesn’t believe you John.” Interjected Zhaan.
“She’s got to believe me now, she saw Moya with her own eyes.”
“Who are you talking to John?” asked a confused Jool.
“A dead person, it’s a long story. But you saw Moya. You saw her. You did see her, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but I don’t see any dead people.”
John grasped Jool by the shoulders. “Of course not, she’s dead, only I can see her. But you saw Moya, so I’m not crazy, am I?”
“You’re not helping yourself here John.” Intoned Zhaan.
“Crazy? I’m the ships doctor, the ships counselor needs to make that determination.” Said Jool leaning as far away from John as she could.
“Commander Crichton, Moya says there’s a PeaceKeeper Prowler approaching and that she’s going to deploy the docking web.” Said Pilot.
John turned and looked at the clamshell. “PeaceKeepers out here? D’Argo! Chiana! Get some weapons and get to the docking bay now! Come on Jool.”
“What’s going on John?” Growled D’Argo
Sprinting through the passageways John panted out an answer. “We got a PeaceKeeper inbound and Moya is bringing it aboard. Come on big guy!”
“Awww frell I just woke up, I’m not even dressed!”
John was sprinting as hard as he could he had trouble to keep from laughing. “Come on guys, we’re going to die here, clothing is optional in a knife fight.”
* * *
They stepped into the docking bay as the prowler’s engines spooled down. As John took up his position next to D’Argo he drew Ashley (Winona was lost years ago) and without looking at his friend said “So you and Chiana getting back together?”
D’Argo kept his pulse rifle aimed at the head of the PeaceKeeper that was slowly crawling out of the sleek craft. “I don’t see where that is any concern of yours.”
“Things change my man.”
“Not everything.” Grinned D’Argo. Both guys chuckled like they knew which each other meant as the Peace keeper emerged from the prowler. Finally the PeaceKeeper stood on the deck and turned to the assembled group. The bulbous helmet finally came off and a wave of raven hair spilled out from underneath.
“Aeryn!” Cried Chiana and Jool as they dropped their pistols and ran to meet their friend.
“Welcome aboard Officer Sun, it is a glorious day after all!” laughed D’Argo as he stepped forward too.
“Moya reports that the captain of this ship has finally come aboard. Welcome aboard Captain Sun.” Called out Pilot cheerfully.
Rygel and Stark came into the docking bay to greet Aeryn who was swamped with welcome wishes. Only John stood aside and wondered “Why am I always the last to know something?” The cluster of people before him parted and he finally got a good look at this Aeryn person. The long black hair, large sparkling eyes, dignified nose, full lips that were not used to smiling, sparkling perfect teeth. Her body was concealed by the space suite she wore but he could tell that she was slim yet strong, a compact killing machine or a loving machine.
“Well John? Aren’t you going to say hello to her?”
“I don’t know who she is Zhaan.”
“Your heart does John.”
The docking bay seemed to go silent as Captain Sun walked toward John, her long black hair billowing in the slight breeze from the ventilation ducts. Everyone became silent as Aeryn stopped inches from John. Their eyes met and locked for a long moment then Aeryn broke the tension in the room. “Staff meeting in one half arn in the conference room. Be there and be ready to discuss this mission.”
John didn’t blink. “Aye, aye yer holiness.”
“Don’t be late.” She turned on her heel and left the docking bay.
“That was a fine welcome back.” Growled D’Argo to no one in particular.
“I think I know her…” said John rubbing his jaw thoughtfully.
* * *
With the crew assembled in the dining area Aeryn took her place at the head of the table. “Let’s get this meeting underway. I like my meetings quick and to the point, first as captain we’ll have my say, then I’ll go around the table and get your input. Ok, I notice that there is no maintenance officer. Jool, that’s your responsibility, and everyone here works for you in that capacity, including Rygel and myself.” Jool was about to say something but Aeryn stopped her with a withering look. “You are the ships doctor, the ship is a living creature, and so it falls under your responsibility. D’Argo you will be Jool’s primary assistant in this area.”
“What happened to Talyn?” asked Stark.
“Stark, you are out of turn.”
“Is he alive? Be quiet! Where did he go? She said shut up. No she didn’t, she said I was out of turn.”
“I can see that I’ll get nothing accomplished around here until this is settled. He now has a pilot and he will be joining us as soon as possible. He’s perfectly fine in fact he’s bigger than Moya now. You all will be proud at how well he’s doing.”
“And what about…” started Chiana quickly glancing at John.
“That’s to be seen.” Said Aeryn without any emotion. “Here’s the mission in a nutcase…”
“Nutshell.” Corrected John.
“Big difference, a nutshell is a compact container, a nutcase is Stark on one of his better days.”
Aeryn gave John a withering look that shocked him. “Moya has been entrusted with an important cargo and we must safely transport that cargo.” She smiled and gestured with her hands to let everyone know that she was finished.
The crew of Moya looked at her expectantly waiting for the big finish, and when they realized that Aeryn was done room exploded with everyone trying to ask questions all at once. Aeryn threw up her hands and shook her head. She knew that it would be something like this.
* * *
John sat alone in his room wracking his brain trying to remember where he had seen Aeryn before. She was so familiar; he knew in his heart that there was something important between them, but what? He had to admit that Moya’s little game of assigning a position to everyone on this motley crew worked. Jool was no tech, but she was quick on the uptake and knew how to use her assets to keep Moya in top condition. And the crew was her number one asset. Who knew that Rygel could be so good at tracing wires and repairing breaks? Before this his primary mission was to be stuffed into tiny crawlspaces. And Aeryn was actually an organizational genius that was able to somehow keep the undisciplined madness to a minimum.
He was getting ready to call it a night when he heard a tiny feminine voice. “Hi.”
“Oh hi Moya. Is the wheel fixed now?”
“Mostly fixed.” She sat down on the bed next to John and softly placed her hand on the side of his head. “Little bits need fixed. In time.” She smiled.
“Yeah, little bits need a lot of fixed.” Agreed John.
Just then Aeryn walked into the room, she didn’t seemed to be surprised that there was a naked redhead sitting on Johns bed. “Hello Moya. John, we need to talk.”
John sat in open-mouthed amazement that Aeryn knew Moya, while Moya just smiled and nodded to Aeryn. “How… wha… do you…”
“John look, I know when I left that there were some harsh words but for the sake of the mission you need to get past all that…”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on there little lady. What ‘all that’ are you talking about?”
“You don’t have to pretend with me, not after all we’ve been through…”
“That’s what I’m saying.” Said John “I don’t remember what we’ve been through. I remember that I had feelings for you and I’m trying to get back to that point. Aeryn, please give me time.”
Aeryn looked at Moya who sadly nodded. Aeryn frowned in despair then held out her hand to Moya who rose and left the room with Aeryn and all John could do was watch as they walked out. With a groan he laid back on his bed and began thumping his forehead with his clenched fists. Zhaan sat down on the bed next to him and softly said, “Give it time John. As this mission proceeds you will in time remember.”
“How long is this mission going to go on Zhaan?” said John pulling a pillow over his face.
“Quite a while, maybe years. That information has not been given me.”
“Just what IS this mission? What is this precious cargo? Where are we taking it?” asked John as he threw the pillow across the room and sat up.
“The cargo is Moya herself, and where you are taking it depends on where you end up.”
“That makes everything as clear as mud, Zhaan.”
“Ever since the wars ended there’s been no central authority.” Said Zhaan. “As bad as they were, the PeaceKeepers and the Scarrans did serve a purpose, they kept order and allowed progress. Now they have destroyed each other and are gone, the surviving space-faring races are pillaging and grabbing the remains of the former empires. We’re heading into a dark age of knowledge and enlightenment. Moya’s extensive data banks are very soon going to be more precious than gold is on earth, and her wormhole technology is being sought by forces that will destroy everything that remains if they get their hands on this technology. The mission is to preserve and protect Moya, and when you discover a flicker of peaceful civilization that can use her knowledge, then you shall nurture that flicker into a flame.”
John started at the image of his Delvian friend. “Oh. Is that all? What do you want us to do when we’re done with that?”
Zhaan smiled. “That should be enough for one day.”
“You’re developing a sense of humor! I’m proud of you Zhaan. You know what you are? You’re my shoulder angel.”
“And what would that be?”
“In human entertainment there’s an old cliché, when the hero of the story reaches a moral dilemma, this internal conflict is portrayed by a small angel on one shoulder arguing the path of righteousness and a devil on the other shoulder arguing in favor of the path that is easiest, which is usually wrong.”
“An interesting concept, visualizing inner turmoil!” marveled Zhaan. “You humans may be more advanced than I thought. Now that you have a shoulder angel where is your shoulder devil?
As John opened his mouth to answer an evil hissing voice cackled in his ear. “Hello John, aren’t you going to introduce us?”
With a defeated sign John said “Zhaan, meet my shoulder devil. I call him Harvey…”