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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
Farscape/Firefly crossover. Should be understandable even if you don't know Farscape.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1750 RATING: 10 SERIES: FIREFLY
Written for bdgeministar for her birthday:)
A/N: AU for Farscape from "Infinite Possibilities" (season 3). Infinite Possibilities II doesn't end the way it did in the series(Not saying more to avoid spoiling people who may not have seen it). Spoiler for the entire season of Firefly. No movie spoilers though and please don't spoil me!! I haven't seen a screening and won't till September.
However, if you don't know one show or the other, I'm doing my best to make it accessible to people who only know one of the fandoms. You'll miss a lot of inside jokes, but maybe that will get you to watch it
If you are not exceedingly familiar with Farscape or it's been a while, you can find a great list of Farscape vocab here: http://www.farscape-1.com/index.php?title=Slang.
And no, weeken is not a typo. Nor is monen.
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me. Firefly is the property of Joss Whedon, Fox, and Universal. Farscape belongs to Jim Henson Company, the Sci Fi Channel, and Hallmark Enterntainment. This is not done for profit, merely fun. Suing me will only result in lots of stress for me and no money for you.
I watch them. They try to avoid me, or even attempt to act all nonchalant if we happen to attend a meal at the same time. But I watch as much as I can.
I even rigged a camera up to a couple of the DRDs without Pilot realizing it. The feed isn't great, but it's enough to remind me of what I've lost. Of what he – the clone – stole.
They've been back from Talyn for a couple of weekens now. In that time, they've been frelling inseparable. Attached at the hip, closer than Siamese twins. He's definitely the female Yoko. I thought he was afraid that Aeryn might get us confused if he loses sight of her for more than five microts. That delusion was ripped from me just like everything else yesterday. I didn't even get the chance to say anything before she asked, "What do you need, Crichton? And hurry, John's waiting for me in the maintenance bay." No hesitation, no nothing. Immediate recognition that I wasn't him.
I'm beyond even trying to convince anyone that he's the clone. It doesn't matter anymore. He got the girl and the life that I wanted. There's nothing left for me except to sit on the sidelines and watch. Nothing but what-if's and wishing every time I wake up in my quarters that I was lying where he is, beside Aeryn.
What if I hadn't given him blood after the explosion on Kanvia? Would Aeryn have ever been able to love me if he hadn't made it off Dam-da-ba alive? I find myself wishing for a little Luxan hyper-rage to take care of my problem for me. Or anything to make this entire nightmare disappear. After every shitty thing that has happened to me since arriving in this screwed up version of the Star Wars universe, it's not fair that he got to have the one experience that would have made up for all the dren that has happened to me.
The worst of it is that Harvey won't let me harm the clone any more than he'll let me kill Scorpy. His program is to protect John Crichton and his creator. It doesn't make any distinction in the fact that there are two of us now. I've tried so hard to find a way around it, but Harvey never sleeps. Or if he does, Aeryn's there at the clone's side watching over him.
A part of me almost wants to make sure she regrets it. Almost.
She sneaks up on me while I'm watching the feed from one of the DRDs. I should have locked the door to my room; but then again if I didn't want to be discovered, I'd be watching the images of the clone and Aeryn in a ventilation shaft somewhere. Instead, I have Chiana draped over my back as I watch my twin and the woman I love engage in foreplay.
"Aww, you're kidding me, Crichton. You aren't still hung up on Aeryn after an entire monen?"
I turn off the video and shrug her off my shoulders in one fluid movement. My jaw grinds as I consider ignoring her, but inside I feel so alone that I want to leap for any amount of contact, for any recognition of the fact that it's me, John Crichton, standing in front of my friends while the clone takes my life bit by bit. "It's hard to get over someone who can't keep her hands off of you," I finally say before beginning the job of disconnecting my pirated video feed. I have no desire to see the pity in Chiana's eyes.
Her hands ghost on my back briefly before her footsteps retreat out of striking distance. "Maybe you shouldn't see it as losing her. Someone a bit more optimistic would realize that they have the chance to see if other options could be more fun," Chiana advises in a heavy voice before my door closes, leaving me alone once again.
"It's not that frelling simple," I curse as my fist hits Moya's wall of its own volition.
When the dreams start, I almost dismiss them out of hand. The symbolism is horribly obvious. Two chairs of torture, each slightly different, facing each other through a long dark empty room. Predators circling the occupants just out of sight. It's easy to read the parallels into my past and present situation. Every night I wait for a raven-haired damsel in distress to be added to the scenario. Each night, I'm wrong.
Until she appears, but she's not the one I expect. This damsel stands firmly on the opposite side of jail bait from Aeryn. Her face is rounder, much less severe, and her hair a hell of a lot more disorderly. She sits in the unfamiliar chair with needles digging into her skull while leather straps hold her firmly in place as she screams. The sound of her torture serves as a high-pitched counterpoint to my own soundtrack of pain as I whirl in the Aurora Chair like a never-ending, evil Tilt-a-Whirl at the Nightmare Carnival on Elm Street. I even start to look for Freddy Krueger and Jason through the darkness.
The surprise comes when our positions change. I almost vomit from the sudden stillness even as I realize that needles are rapidly approaching my own skull. Multiple sharp jabs cause me to jerk from my bed in wakefulness. Retching into the toilet, I firmly repeat the mantra that it was only a dream while wondering what Freud would make of it. Probably he'd say that I have obviously acquired a sadomasochistic bent during my travels in this fucked up end of the galaxy. Thinking of Freud causes me to flash back to when the Scarrans used that machine to mind-frell me and I got psychoanalyzed by Zhaan. Then, I remember the image of Sparky the Great in leather. Uggh.
After that, I'm not exactly excited to try to go back to sleep. No one really notices since I haven't been trying to wear different clothes than the other guy. TJ is what I've heard Chiana and D'argo call him when I've used the DRDs to spy on them. Talyn-John I assume. Guess that makes me MJ, huh? Gee, I always did want to be like Mike.
I know, spying on my crewmates – my family - is sick, but it's not as if I have many other things to occupy my attention. It's either that or watch the clone and Aeryn frell like bunnies. Quite frankly, that novelty wore off after a while. I'm still bitter and angry, but ulcers aren't a good thing to experience in the Uncharted Territories…There's a horrible lack of Rolaids.
Coffee is sadly missing as well. Needless to say, I pass out finally in the solarium after going for three days straight without sleep. One minute I'm trying to pretend that I'm at home counting the stars and the next I'm back in that god-damned room again. How sick is it that I'm pissed that I'm not in the Aurora Chair?
Instead, I can see the girl with the messy hair spinning in my preferred torture device while I endure the needles again. This time I sleep past the pain and into the…hell, I don't know what the Yotz is happening. Nothing good. I've had enough girlfriends with biology degrees to know that your brain can't feel pain, or at least it isn't supposed to, but something not cool is occuring between those needles and my horribly mistreated grey matter.
Then I see suits. At first, I decide that it has to be a hallucination. Yeah, fahrbot, I know - a hallucination inside of a dream. Have I mentioned lately that villains have literally scrambled my brains a few too many times? Anyway, these two suit fellows are just standing there staring at me, both with pretty vacant expressions. More vacant than the zombies on that rotting leviathan where all my most recent problems started. And, they have these blue gloves on…like the ones that people with latex allergies use.
I wake up abruptly. Geez, I'm more confused than ever. This whole idea that these dreams are a way for my subconscious to work out my problems is starting to look a little shady. One thing about the Uncharted Territories and the Peacekeepers, I've yet to see anyone wearing a three-piece suit. Probably with good reason - I can't begin to imagine how many ways a Peacekeeper soldier could use a necktie to kill a person.
Whatever is going on, I'm starting to get a really bad feeling. Like a Maldis-size bad feeling. No way in hell am I going to ask the other guy if he's having the same dreams though. Nope, not until Satan starts serving frozen margaritas. Speaking of which, I really need a fellip nectar.
On the other side of the universe (even at possibly a different point in time, she admits with a bit of trepidation), River began to put the pieces together and wondered if she'd found an unexpected Solution to the conundrum she has pondered for so long. Getting the Solution will be a thorny task alone.
The Solution is elegant though, even cute. Idly, she wondered if Simon would start to look like him as her brother aged. Not face-wise of course, but perhaps that's what happened to men's bodies with age, that they fill out and get broader. Two things that Simon could use sooner rather than later she feared.
Pushing the future out of her mind, she focused on…well on the Solution. And getting him here. The blue whirlpool of light swirled in the center of her vision. She let it consume her consciousness, her being, and slowed her heartbeat until she surrendered to sleep. All that remained is to wait for REM sleep.nite
It came suddenly and sucked her over into the room she's visited several times before. She forced herself to ignore the spinning and the vertigo that was ever present in this place. Instead, her attention turned to the machine she inhabited as it roughly pulled the electromagnetic waves out of her head and translated them into pictures, into memories, to be played on the screen beside her. This time the Solution stood beside her instead of sitting in…no, mustn't think of it. Focus on the problem, on the theorem, complete the proof and rescue the maiden. Except his maiden has chosen another White Knight.
"Okay, wow, not that I don't appreciate the complete lack of freaky-Friday needles drilling into my head, but would you mind explaining exactly why you keep showing up in my dreams? Cause no offense, but I don't remember ever seeing any pin-up girl that looked like you and I've definitely not reached the dirty old man phase no matter what Chiana says," the Solution ranted. He had an odd way of speaking, but then again, she supposed that this machine could do that to a person.
"Patience, John. She's trying to show you why she's here," another voice said as a leather-clad finger tapped the screen on which images of her life flashed.
John, the Solution's name was John. Hebrew meaning God is Gracious. Data continued to indicate that her proposed solution would prove the theorem after all.
"Harvey, no one asked you. And will you turn that thing off already? My stomach is wincing in sympathy," John replied.
"No!" she screamed. She couldn't help it. It was hard to make her muscles work through the chaos and the pain. "Watch!"
John gave her a dubious look as if he had gone back to assuming she was a figment of his screwed up unconscious. He'd see soon.
She focused her mind as she tried to order the images into some type of coherent linear form. Difficult at best, this machine wasn't designed for linearity, but rather for blitzkrieg attacks to steal information out of the subject's mind. Fortunately, this was her dream and therefore her rules.
Scenes from her childhood appeared slowly and in brilliant color. Snapshots of her infant memories of her loving brother and the routine of the nannies that cared for them. Later snippets of their play, of her helping him with his mathematics, of the garden she still longs for even though she knows it was never as perfect as she imagines. Then bleak grey images of the boredom and loneliness that formed her days after Simon went away to the Med-A-Cad in Osiris City. An empty house and her things, social parties and obligations, all form with no substance.
She braced for what would come next even as she fought with the machine to show what he would need to know to solve his puzzles. Her completed application to the Government Academy which promised exciting academic challenges and opportunities offered no where else. Her hyperactive energy as she packed to leave home and prepared for her first taste of freedom, the bittersweet last visit with dear Simon, and finally, her last moment of innocence as she stared up at the dormitory that was to become her prison.
Then shrinking classrooms as students supposedly became homesick and left the program. Her teachers pride as they encouraged her to study and learn even more esoteric subjects. Military history and strategy, religion, politics, whatever grabbed her interest and more. Until the night it all changed.
It started with feeling ill after an odd and subdued meal in the cafeteria. None of the workers would look at any of the remaining children. She felt cold even as she remembered the somber atmosphere and how they all rushed to leave it for the relative comfort of their rooms. Later waking in a cold sweat, disoriented. A different place, not a room. More of a cell with a bed, a toilet, and a light over which she had no control.
Panic. Loss of control. She surrendered to the machine and lets it do what it is meant to. It will show the rest now easily.
The chair, the needles, the suits, no one hearing her cries. Always hearing the voices from then on and worse, feeling the fear that rolled down the hall from THAT room.
Even now, she thought she could feel it.
Then the lawman. Waking up vulnerable, but HE was there. Safety. She knew he'd come. Started to doubt, but she always knew. Mal, bad in the Latin. The whore, the preacher, and the mercenary. Humor and Honor wedded into one. The bright sunshine who kept them flying. Serenity at last.
It's too much. She can't hold on to it. She felt the whirlpool forcing things back into their proper time and place. Hopefully he understood.
River awoke, exhausted and sobbing. When Simon entered the room, she hugged him fiercely, tightly, wouldn't let go. Reduced to hysteria when he tried to leave to get the smoother. No one would ever take him from her again. Her proof is right. She knew it.
I can't think, I can't move. I try to stay awake to avoid these damn things and they ambush me! Worse, these dreams are in no way restful. Hell, I've run marathons that were more restful than that last one. Geez.
Everything definitely points to this kid not being a Peacekeeper. Hell, I'd almost reckon that the suits aren't even Sebacean. Yeah, I know, not all Sebaceans are born into military service like Aeryn, but still. Those kids, they just interacted and felt like humans. Real, honest-to-God, red-blooded humans. No heat delirium, no translator microbes, just humans.
Then again, the fact that this kid is talking to me in my dreams points to her being something other than your run of the mill human. Of course, maybe all the aliens are right and I'm just a mental-deficient.
"It's pointless, you know. Whatever she is doesn't matter. If you had even half the mental strength of most Luxans, this child wouldn't be harassing you every time you closed your eyes," Harvey mocks me.
I resist the urge to bang my head against my pillow. Sadly, hurting myself has no effect on the neural clone of Scorpius, mastermind and creator the Aurora Chair. Also known as the asshole responsible for carving up my brain and leaving me for dead after killing the only Sebacean other than Aeryn that I gave a damn about.
Harvey's all heart. He stuck around even after the neural chip was removed and is still dedicated to ensuring that I'm alive and that I'm not allowed to harm his master. Frelling drannit is a busybody. Always sticks his nose in my business.
"That is because I'm in your business. And if you would just exert the least bit of effort to manage it…or come to your senses and give,"
"Neither you or Scorpy is gonna get the door prize. No wormholes for the umpteenth time," I yell back as I'm transported to the mental garden that Harvey has decided to inhabit today. Hezmanna, he's frelling playing in that kid's childhood garden. Somehow, I doubt that she'd appreciate this very much.
"It's not like she can do anything about it. I'm still unconvinced that this child is anything more than a symptom of your trauma," Harvey says as he begins to stroll through the garden. It's patterned after some English garden I remember seeing with my mother that summer we took a vacation to see her folks.
I pull him back onto the path before he can walk through an arrangement of budding lilies. "I'd watch what you say. You underestimated this human and look what happened." I rise from my bed and start to go about my day as he splutters in indignation. Pilot wants me to check some of his neural conduits today and I don't really feel like having anyone lecture me about being late.
"I need your help," she says quickly.
What the hell? Where did the frelling conduit disappear to? Or the spanner I was using? I so do not want to have that inside my leg when I wake up. "Whoah, whoah. Slow down a little bit. I like for a women to reveal all of her mystery to me before I start rescuing her."
"No time, or rather it's all relative, but I need you. You're the key to the proof, the optimal solution. You need to come."
We're…I don't know where we are. Definitely not Moya, no torture devices present for once, and it's definitely not Kansas. We're standing in what looks like a kitchen…except it's all metal except for the wood table next to us. Odd. Very, very odd. "Look, pretend I'm the biggest thoddo you've ever met and go slow for me, okay? Let's start with a name maybe?"
"River Tam. And I already showed you the relevant data. The calculations obviously point to you being necessary. I need you or the theorem will take him from me forever."
"God, I could use a cup of coffee. Okay, fine. Where do you need me? Do you have coordinates? Or perhaps a specific city?" Suddenly a cup of steaming black liquid appears on the table beside me. I pull out the chair as the aroma hypnotizes me. Now this is the kind of dream that I like!
"Irrelevant. The portal will open in two days and take you to the appropriate place. Hopefully the timing will work out…it's the right year, but Schroedinger's work makes it impossible to predict the exact hour of your arrival. It opens in two days, you'll feel it."
All of a sudden, the coffee seems pretty damned pointless. The portal…she's talking about wormholes! "Wormholes, you mean a wormhole will bring me to you? A wormhole is opening to Earth in two days? Oh god, that's great! Chocolate, the World Series, shit…has the Superbowl already been played this year?"
My questions clearly puzzle her. "The games of Earth-That-Was are of no importance! You need to find Serenity. Her captain won't trust you, but you have to come! Please!"
My heart stops with her words. After she says "Earth-That-Was", my brain doesn't really process anything. Earth is gone? How? "Look honey, football is always important. And what do you mean there is no Earth? Where the hell are you at if you aren't on Earth?" I hold up my hand to stop her from replying. "You know forget it for now. What in the hell am I supposed to be able to save you from if you aren't even on Earth?"
"Two by Two, Hands of Blue, They keep coming after what he took, want me back. Two by two,"
I wake up just before I lose my balance and tumble several tiers to my death. I'm beginning to think I'll go through the wormhole just so I can sleep without having the kid's, River's, freaky ass dreams every time I fall asleep.
Damn though. No football, no Earth, no home.
Looking up, I see Aeryn and the clone walk into an adjacent corridor.
Frell, it's not as if I have a home here anymore either.
I start packing almost immediately. Harvey isn't happy with the decision, but after a few rounds of being stuffed in the mental garbage can, he keeps his opinions to himself. As I list what I might need and begin my preparations, I wonder how long I'll manage to do so in relative peace. Moya is a big ship, but the rest of the crew isn't exactly oblivious. Okay, Rygel can be if you give him enough food, but the rest are pretty observant.
Clothes are a definite. Plus the basic necessities. I pause, a little lost, as I debate whether to take a dentic with me. I've never missed the simplicity of a toothbrush as much as I do right now. I have no desire to go around for god knows how long with teeth scum, yet I somehow doubt that they have the same creature wherever I'm headed. I have no qualms about taking a pulse pistol with me, but an alien life form might make those in power look too hard at me if anything happens. Decided, I leave the dentics in their home and pack the rest of my toiletries.
The basics taken care of, I realize that someone will definitely notice my activities soon. While I plan on taking several weapons, I'm definitely taking Wynona. He might have gotten Aeryn, but I'm not going to let him have everything! That's a fight that I can wait to have though. First, to grab some food cubes and stow my gear in the module, and then a treasure hunt before regaining my property.
Everything goes fine and I avoid running into anyone on my errands…at least until the end of the treasure hunt. I exit Dominar Rygel's quarters only to run smack into Chiana. Couldn't be D'Argo, Jool, or anyone else that I could bluff. No, it has to be Chiana.
"What'cha up to, Old Man?" she asks with a knowing leer as she tries to look inside my cloth bag before I get it tied shut.
"Nothing, Pip. Just making sure that Fluffy has been keeping his flippers to himself."
"So what have you got there? Did he 'appropriate' anything interesting this time?" She dances around me to grab the bag before I even have a chance to obfuscate an answer.
"Nothing, hey give it back," I order as I grab for it, but her gray body moves too fast.
Her puzzled look is all I need to know that she's glimpsed the gold inside. "What are you –,"
Hearing the approach of Rygel's hoversled, I grab her and cover her mouth while pulling her quickly into a nearby empty cell. "Quiet!" I whisper in her ear. Several tense seconds pass before I hear snores start up nearby. Bless Sparky's predictable little heart.
"What the frell is going on, Crichton?" Chiana demands quietly as she pushes out of my arms.
Damn, I'm going to miss her.
"Not here, I'll explain on the way." With that, I silently lead her through several corridors. I feel her stare with every step. Of all of them, Chiana can probably read me the best. Hell, we probably understand each other the best. Each of us knows, or at least hopes, that the people most important to us in the world outside of this ship are living their lives happily without us. It's not a pleasant bond to share.
"Look, you know things have been…tense since the others returned from Talyn. It's not getting any better, Pip, and it kills me a little more each day to watch it. I'm going to take the module and leave Moya," I explain gently as we near the hangar.
"Hey, that's fine. I can understand that. I'll come with you, it'll be a blast."
I lock my jaw to prevent every curse I know from issuing out of my mouth. I knew she'd make this hard. The girl loves adventure and travel. She'd jump at the chance to take a break from the closed confines of Moya.
"You don't understand, Pip. I'm not coming back," I say just as we enter the hangar.
Chiana lets the door shut before grabbing my arm. "You mean you're really going to do it? You're gonna fly back through the wormhole to Earp?"
"Earth. And not exactly."
Her hands plant themselves on her hips and I have to suppress a smile. She'd probably kill me if I said that sometimes she does a wonderful imitation of my sister calling me on a stupid idea. "How 'not exactly'?"
"I'm going through a wormhole, but I don't think Earth is around to go to anymore."
"So you're just going to fly through a wormhole and see where you end up, once again? That's the most fahrbot…" she trails off as her face registers her realization. "Wait, you know exactly where you're going, don't you? Crichton, after everything we did to rescue you from Scorpius, you better not-,"
"Relax, Pip, I'm not going to turn my research services over to Leather-Face. But yeah, I've got a pretty good idea of where I'm going."
"And you aren't coming back. What is it? You know it's not easy to find a place like Moya or people…," she says. Shit, she's going to cry. I know it. I can't watch so I stalk over to the module and hide the currency; hopefully it will be valid wherever I'm headed.
"I know, Pip, and I wish things had worked out differently. But I need to do this. Not just for me," I tell her.
She's standing so close to me that I almost trip over her when I turn around. Her hand cradles my face and I cover it with my own. Her gloves are as soft as I remember. Every muscle in her hand and arm tenses as I watch her eyes flash white briefly. They've been doing that ever since that damn energy rider took over her body. Usually she gets a flash of the near future when it happens.
Just as suddenly, her body relaxes and she reaches out with her other hand to steady herself. "Wow. You're right, you really do need to go," she says with new understanding. "Tell her about all of us after you save her, k?" she requests before kissing my cheek and leaving.
Huh. Guess I'm not losing my mind after all. Somehow, I'm comforted. But most of my packing is done and I still have almost a day left. I can feel the wormhole out there now, a gentle pulse reassuring me occasionally that the ship is traveling in the right direction. I need to get some rest and get Wynona back.
Then I'll be ready.
After a dream-free night (thank you, River, for realizing sleep would be a good thing before flying through an astronomical phenomena), I spend the next day carefully watching the steps of the clone. The DRDs obey my commands and I dog his every movement. Still, Wynona is never far from his reach. It's beginning to look like I'll have to abandon her to TJ when a knock on my locked door interrupts me.
Seeing the other standing there is a shock, but I recover quickly by throwing a blanket over the vid screen even as I turn it off. "What's up, bro?" I say as I open the door.
Even now, I'm still weirded out to see myself standing in front of me. Do I really make those faces when I'm trying to decide what to say? "I ran into Chiana. D'Argo mentioned she was acting really weird," he says.
"It took a while, but Aeryn finally got the truth out of her." Aeryn. Frell. I have to hand it to them, they know how run a good double team. Bile rises as I remember what it was like to be a part of it. "What the hell do you think you're doing? You're planning on just taking my module?"
His vehemence is sudden. I step back from it even as I know he's nowhere as close to swinging as I am. "You mean OUR module! From what I heard, it's not as if it's going to be too hard for you to rebuild it. Yeah, Sparky mentioned that replica from Dam-da-ba and how you have all that knowledge unlocked now. I guess I should just step aside and let you take Aeryn back to Earth even though you didn't have to work at it."
His expression says that he thinks so. I pray that Chiana didn't tell them all of the truth 'cause I'll only get one chance.
"I'm sure as hell not going to let you destroy it with whatever insane scheme you've cooked up. You can stick around until after we build another module. It's not going to kill you to stay another few monens," he declares.
I punch him just as he turns to leave. Having Aeryn, all of her, has made him a tad too relaxed and I easily deliver a flawless Pantak jab. I wince as his head glances off the edge of the bed.
Checking the clock, I see that things have actually gone according to plan. I still have a quarter of an arn, check that, a quarter of an hour to make it to the hangar before Chiana ensures that no one follows me. I grab Wynona and return her to her rightful holster. I feel better already.
My celebratory mood lasts only microts. When I reach the hangar, Aeryn is standing in front of the module. This is so not what I need right now. Her eyes briefly flicker down to my hip where my holster is hanging heavy once again. "What? He can't get both of you."
"It's not a contest, Crichton."
"Right. Somehow I still managed to lose, Sun."
"So that's it then. Things don't go perfectly and you run away?"
It hurts to look at her. It will hurt a hell of a lot more to leave the same area of the universe and never see her again. "Yeah, cause I've run away so much. As I recall, that running caused me to get multiple foreign objects lodged in my head."
"Crichton…John, just stay until he gets it copied. It won't be that long." She starts to reach out as she says the words, but I knock her hand away and rapidly move out of striking distance. She might not be mine anymore, but I know just how quick and accurate her punches are.
"Yeah, well maybe it's time that he learns that he can't always have what he wants," I reply.
"Almost there, Old Man. Hang on a microt," Chiana's voice orders.
Aeryn's eyes widen, but I already know she's coming to the wrong conclusion. I'm counting on the fact that she thinks that I would never do anything to damage Moya, and she's right, John wouldn't. But I know in her eyes, I'm just Crichton.
The stop is violent. I showed Chiana how to disable Pilot's navigation controls and take manual control of the ship. I also rigged a small device to cripple starburst and the hetch drive as soon as she disables the docking web. I hate leaving them vulnerable, but I tried to limit the scope of damage so that, with a bit of luck, the repairs will be quick.
Chiana's manual stop does the trick. Aeryn pitches forward as she loses her balance. It's simple to push her just enough that her head strikes the side of the module. Now both she and the clone are unconscious. D'Argo might be able to pursue me in Lola, but I hope that my surprises and Chiana will enough stop him.
Out of time, I move Aeryn's body to safety. It's as hard to take my eyes off her face now as it was on the ice planet. "Goodbye, Aeryn Sun."
The module's control panel is blurry as I begin the ignition sequence, but I ignore it. There's a wormhole out there with my name on it.
Chapter 3: Dear Dad –
Hundan - bastard
As I click on the voice recorder, I wonder how the other John will take it when he discovers that I swiped this as well. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on that wall.
"Hi, Dad, it's me again. Ya know, I realize how weird it is to record these messages to you when it looks like I've managed to get myself somewhere into the future. Yeah, that's right; one of these wormhole trips seems to have put me about 500 years ahead of you. Oh, and no big surprise, but Earth is apparently long gone. Instead, there's a whole system of terraformed worlds now. No aliens or at least none that I've met. Haven't really asked if there are some other forms of life living happily elsewhere since I'm trying not to draw attention to myself this time around.
"Trying anyways. Ya know, it's weird, but other than space travel and terraforming, it doesn't look like there's been a ton of progress since our day. Definitely no form of enlightenment reached by governmental figures or anything like Star Trek would have you believe.
"No, instead I managed to land on a planet that would be better suited to the talents of Wyatt Earp or Billy the Kid. The Kid would probably fit in a lot better. Wyatt might get himself lynched.
"I didn't particularly want to land, but the module only has so much fuel. I could detect a settlement and water on a nearby moon (Yeah, they're even giving moons atmosphere nowadays), so I set Farscape-One down several klicks away from anything important and removed all the most important bits of machinery from my baby. Tucked the parts away with my weapons and buried the lot of them. Then went further and buried all but two pieces of the currency I borrowed from Rygel. One thing about the Uncharted Territories, they certainly taught me to always prepare for the worst.
"And it turns out to be a very good thing too. This settlement, Whitefall, is run by a woman named Patience. I know, how Old West can you get? I keep expecting to see John Wayne around every corner in a ten-gallon hat. Anyway, Patience is a greedy, grubby old woman and that's about the nicest thing I can say about her. Some of her boys ran across me after I'd hiked across 5 miles or so of dry, cold, deserted moon. Even though we do speak the same language, I only barely managed to not get shot.
"Once we reached the main settlement, they handed me over to Patience. Ya know, I've met Tavloids with better hygiene…"
I click off the recorder when I hear someone rap on the door. It's necessary to keep everything important hidden, or on my person at all times if I don't want it to grow legs and walk off. My negotiations with Patience had nearly cost me the very coat on my back. As it was, I lost all the supplies that I wasn't actually wearing. Thankfully, I'd chosen to leave Wynona behind with the rest of the weapons.
In return, she benevolently found me a job to provide me with enough money to pay for a room and food. I'd be more grateful if the job didn't involve mining in the most dangerous hole in the ground I've ever seen. I'm guessing that Patience doesn't have much tolerance for the notion of unions. And the camp, most of the inhabitants of this cheerful little place smell worse than that Budong corpse Chiana took us to that time we were starving to death.
Despite my best efforts, I've been stuck on this moon for over a month. No one owns any means for transportation off-world and the few supply ships that have been through charge a small fortune for passage. Thanks to the prices at the company store, I'll have to live another five hundred years to amass the fee.
"Crichton, stop gathering wool. Patience wants to see you," a voice shouts. Gotta stop spacing out like that. It's bad enough when I'm mining and Harvey starts arguing with me about getting off this forsaken moon. I'm lucky I haven't managed to cut my foot off yet.
I'm surprised to see Patience in the street with several of her boys and some horses. My gut churns as I hope they haven't located my module. She's sent several parties out to look for it under the guise of maybe having the parts to repair it. But since I gave her the wrong direction and shortened the distance a bit, no one's found it yet.
"You wear an empty holster, Crichton. Could you shoot a man if you had something to put in it?" she asks.
I refrain from giving her any of the answers I'd like to. "I have before. Reckon I can again. Any reason in particular that I should?"
She smirks as she answers, "Always with the questions. One of these days, you'll learn that those aren't good for your well-being, boy." I stay quiet as I wait. She sure as hell doesn't pay enough for me to even consider killing for her. "Reckon you deserve to know. Certain individuals have decided that not only can they bring supplies on-planet without going through me, but that they can deal with that Browncoat hundan, Reynolds. I aim to correct 'em of both notions."
Reynolds? It would be too much good luck for it to actually be the Malcolm Reynolds that the girl, River, told me to find. Still, one way or another, it might be a way off this place and away from Patience's decidedly controlling grip.
"Sounds fine. When do we head out?" I say with enthusiasm.
"You'll ride out now with Jed. Do exactly what he says," she orders.
My ass and other parts of my anatomy are planning their revenge on Patience right now. I haven't ridden a horse since some time in middle school. I manage to keep up with Jed, but just barely. Along the way, I get to confirm that this is indeed Malcolm Reynolds of the ship, Serenity, as well as hear an earful about Patience's little feud. Apparently she frowns on anyone discussing her last embarrassment at his hands, so it's no surprise I haven't heard till now.
I also find out why I'm going with Jed. Not for any prowess with guns, but rather to just watch his back. Seems one of Serenity's crew got the drop on the last sniper so I'm the insurance that Patience's little ambush goes off without a hitch. Or so she thinks.
We pass an uneventful hour or so after we arrive at Jed's preferred position for his blind. All very boring with him keeping an eye on the reported meeting spot below us while I keep an eye on everything else.
I have Aeryn to thank for the fact that I even see the man coming through the sparse scrub cover. He's good, but he's certainly not a Peacekeeper commando. He's still too far away to take either of us out silently, so I toss the rock I'd palmed earlier directly at Jed's head. From the way he slumps, I can tell he's out cold. I'd like to check, but figure it's much more important to survive the confrontation with the armed man rapidly approaching.
He's quite confused to see my weapon on the ground in front of me as well as my hands in the air. "I knocked him out for you. I think he's still alive," I offer.
He stays silent as he retrieves Jed's rifle. "What are you trying to pull?" he asks finally.
"Look, all I want is passage off this moon. Whatever beef you and yours have with Patience, I don't care. I just want to get the hell out of here," I reply.
"Patience? What in the rutting hell does she have to do with this?"
Oh, they didn't expect her. "She heard that Malcolm Reynolds was dropping some stuff off today. For some reason, that bothered her more than the fact she wasn't getting her cut. I'm not really sure, I haven't been here that long."
The man looks between me and Jed with a pained look on his face. "Mal, you getting all this? You've got ornery company heading in fast." He pauses for a while. Receiving instructions, I presume.
Ta ma duh! Zoe tried to tell 'im, but would he listen? Hell no. Had to go and see if he could sneak one in under Patience's nose. In Jayne's opinion, the captain had been spoiling for a fight with that woman ever since she double-crossed him again. Then there was his anger at being shot by her yet again.
And here it was, the old bat had found out what was going down and thought she'd try to kill two idiots in one ambush. Only one question left, was this weirdo in on her plan to set them up for something worse than just a bullet in the head? Jayne smirked as he heard Mal ask Zoe the exact same question a second after he got the news.
"How many is she bringing?" Jayne asked. Man is definitely missing a few screws, he ain't even paying attention to the person holding a gun on him. Jayne growled with impatience to get the turncoat's attention.
"If she just brings who she had assembled when Jed and I left, about five. But I don't know for sure," the man replied.
Jayne quickly grabbed his earpiece to turn the volume down when Mal starts cussing upon hearing the news. Six they can handle, more than that and they should either give up on the deal or hope like hell that the buyer will fight with them. "What direction are they coming from?"
"Look, I don't know. She didn't spell out her plan. She just asked if I could kill a man and then told me to go. I went on the chance that I might be able to get the frell off this rock! If the answer is no, then go ahead and shoot me already."
The fella sure was excitable. And what kind of word was "frell"? If this was a plan of Patience's, then he must know he would die if he failed. Otherwise, he wouldn’t take the risk of posing the option. Or maybe it wasn't an act. Jayne looked down at the prone body of the man's comrade. Pulling his knife, he started toward the body while keeping the gun up.
Nerves of steel that one. Jayne couldn't tell one way or another what his reaction would be until the guy finally leaped at him. He stopped as soon as Jayne pulled the gun back up while giving him a dirty look.
"Look, there's no need to kill him. He's innocent in all this," the man argued
"Innocent except for your boss's plan to ambush and kill us all. And he was to be the sniper that thinned the herd," Jayne pointed out while watching the man's face closely. Killing for the sake of killing didn't seem to set well with the guy for some reason, which probably meant that he was telling the truth. "Yeah Mal, I think he's for real. What's the plan?" Jayne asked as he lowered the gun. Hopefully this fella was a little saner than the last bunch of stowaways they got saddled with.
The plan was pretty simple. Mal and Zoe would try to ride and intercept the buyers while Jayne and the new guy buried the goods. And Shepherd Book would watch over the unconscious prisoner until they were done. If things went smooth, Patience would get to hear exactly how Malcolm Reynolds and his crew had put another one over on her from the mouth of her own sniper. Jayne liked the plan. He didn't like how talkative the new guy was.
"Come on, I told you my name, John Crichton. It's not so hard to reciprocate, is it?"
Jayne snorted as he continued to dig. "My mama didn't raise no fool. I might not have a lot of schoolin', but I've lived around enough pilots to know that there's no way that that's your name."
"John" chose that moment to climb out of the pit to start carrying boxes so Jayne didn't get a chance to see how he reacted to having his bluff called. "Sorry, that's just what I usually go buy. Full name is John Crichton Car," John said.
"Hmph, knew it. Jayne Cobb. Good of you to keep us from getting killed."
Jayne glared hard at him. "Something wrong with your hearing? That's what I said."
John just nodded. "Good to meet you, Jayne. And thanks for not shooting me."
Jayne dropped the last box in the hole. Rutting hell, they still had to fill the hole up. Gorammit, why did he always get the dirty jobs?
My time with Jayne was…interesting to say the least. If he'd been the first person I met in this part of the universe, I'd swear that the wormhole had transported me to the Planet of the Apes. He turned out to be a lot more perceptive than I'd judged though. Something that you'd think I'd be cured of by now after dealing with the Hynerian with the heart of gold.
Regardless, by the time we finish burying whatever his crew had smuggled to the planet, he isn't happy to hear that I want to take a detour to dig more things up. "Look, I'll make it worth your while. I get to dig my stuff up and there might be some parts from my ship that you all can use," I argue.
From the way that Jayne grimaces, I gather that his communicator is still working. His opinion is definitely being overruled.
"Fine, but we'll have to be fast. Won't take Patience too long to locate Serenity if she has even half decent radar."
I just nod and get back on the "mule". It's odd the kind of names they've come up with for something as innocuous as a four-wheeler. The trip is just as boring as my initial walk toward civilization after I landed. There's not much that can be said for Whitefall's scenery except that it's even more boring than the so-called "fly-over" states of the Midwest. Of the Midwest-That-Was, I correct myself with more than a twinge of loss.
I'm eager for the distraction of manual labor when we arrive at the module. The wind has blown away most of the brush I'd used to camouflage the small ship while covering it with the moon's loose soil. It's almost stuck in a sand dune after being left alone for over a month. Jayne says to get on with finding my stuff as he works at reclaiming the module from the sand. Tells me that there's no reason to give Kaylee any opportunity to linger over the machine if they want to leave before Patience catches scent of Serenity.
I carefully count out the steps to my hiding spot and start digging. I've recovered one bag and am starting on the second when we hear a ship's engines. I pause to watch as the transport ship, a Firefly, lands nearby. I can't help but be disappointed at what I see. It's nowhere near as beautiful as a leviathan and looks downright clunky compared to Peacekeeper technology. It almost reminds me of a Sheyang junker. Yet here and now, it's capable of a lot more than the IASA space shuttles that I'm most familiar with. I quickly return to my task though; Jayne has given me reason to believe that his boss is the impatient sort and I'd really like to avoid starting off on the wrong foot with this crew. I almost laugh out loud as I realize that at least I don't have to worry about a Luxan tongue-ing me unconscious. Hopefully no one will greet me by spitting on me either.
I don't bother to recover the more alien pieces of technology that I've already stripped off the module. I doubt that this crew could find a use for them, and they'd only raise more questions about my origins.
"This him?" a tall man wearing a brown duster asks. This whole melding of the Old West with science fiction almost gives me a headache. It's odd to see that the man is wearing suspenders along with an old fashioned, low-slung gun belt. It's in easy reach of his hands though. I wonder if criminals stage duels at dawn anymore.
"Yeah, Mal. Name's John Crichton Car," Jayne answers. "Kaylee oughta be able to get at his ship now."
"Anything she needs to know?" Mal asks me.
I shake my head. "Nah, she's completely dry. If you have tools, I can lend a hand," I offer.
A dangerous black woman wearing leather vest over her shirt walks down Serenity's cargo ramp with a younger brunette wearing coveralls. I immediately tense when I see that the leather clad woman is holding a sawed off shotgun at the ready, but I stop my hands from reaching for my borrowed gun.
"Wow, an antique? You actually got her space worthy?" the brunette asks with real enthusiasm as she runs toward the module.
"Make it quick, Kaylee. We ain't got all day," Mal orders before turning to the other woman. "Zoe?"
"Wash says it's all clear," she says.
"Jayne, stow the mule and Mr. Car's belongings. Let's hurry, people," Mal states as he turns to examine the horizon.
"We get paid?" Jayne asks as he picks up my bags roughly. Mal just nods.
Kaylee smiles at me as I go to help her cannibalize my module. It's a very bittersweet moment and I really want to ask if they can't find space for it in their cargo bay. I hold my tongue though; the Farscape One has always been a short-range craft. If I held onto it this time, it would be too tempting to try to return to…I wonder whether I'd try to return to Earth or the Uncharted Territories. Either way, it would be a distraction. For better or worse, this will be my life now. And if I change my mind, I suppose I can always rebuild it from scratch.
My heart isn't in the light-hearted banter with Kaylee and soon she stops trying to draw me into conversation. She watches with sympathy as my hands caress the ship before removing parts. She's a mechanic. She understands the pain of disassembling something you've spilt blood to build and maintain.
We quickly finish the job and the others move to help us carry in the spare parts. Leaving the module behind hurts as much as leaving Moya. More than anything, it's been my constant companion for these past three years, my fortress of solitude when the aliens became too much, and the one thing over which I had sole control. Harvey and Scorpy may have managed to take Zhaan from me, forced me to become a killer, but the module always reminded me of who I started out as. But it's also a symbol of all the memories that John and I shared and of where our paths diverged. It's almost fitting to leave it behind with everything else I've lost.
"You'd have been surprised to see what we accomplished, D.K.," I whisper to my childhood friend and the co-creator of the Farscape One. He's now long dead, but I wonder if he ever had any clue to what he'd really been a part of. Most likely, I'll never know.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005 7:39 AM
Wednesday, June 15, 2005 8:02 AM
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