He had left the rat cage a little earlier. He just had to. Leaning against his 62 T-Bird, he was now facing the launch pad, where the shuttle that would carry Farscape One into orbit stood ready. He really hoped he wasn't gonna screw this one up. If the mission was a success, maybe he would move out from behind his father's shadow. He had a feeling something big was going to happen.
On Moya, staring at the little robot, rattlers in his stomach, he wondered if he would ever see his home again. At least, his theory had worked.
"Son, you have to abort. Abort now," he said desperately into his mic. The radio signal was breaking up, the module veering off-course. And then nothing, no radio signal, no transmission of any kind from Farscape 1. Nothing.
The results had been analyzed over and over again. What had happened during the Farscape mission remained a complete mystery. No debris trail. And no debris had been found in orbit either.
That was what made it difficult for him to accept John's disappearance. He refused to use the word ‘death’. He had that insane hope that John was alive, somewhere, somehow.
He was free. After eight long degrading cycles, he was finally free. Of course, they were still being pursued by the Peacekeepers because of that higher-brain-function-deficient pseudo-Sebaccean.
As he polished his newly retrieved Qualta Blade, his mind drifted towards his son whom he had hidden away before he was arrested. More than anything, even more than returning to his home world, he wanted to see his son again, wherever Jothee could be. He hoped he would have the chance before the Peacekeepers captured them again or worse, killed them, because then there would be no other chance, no hope left.
Watching the tiny module fly away, Zhaan was standing on command when the sun appeared from behind the planet. She gripped the console that was before her, enjoying the rays of Dam-Ba-Da's sun that were caressing her face and body.
Oh, yes, she really hoped John would take as much time as he needed to have his ship repaired. D'Argo and Rygel didn't seem to agree with her assessment. She walked away from them, heading out of command. The terrace would be a better place to be to soak up this wonderful light.
Disrobing, she lay down on the floor.
He felt Moya's cry of anguish as Talyn starbursted away. He gently reminded her that they too had to starburst in order to protect their charges. And so she did.
Later, he was conversing with her, sharing her pain at being away from her son, when Commander Crichton and Officer Sun entered the Den and sat down against his console. They talked about Talyn and Crais. John seemed to doubt that Talyn would contact Moya. In his mind, he heard Moya's protest. Her son had promised her he'd contact her and he would. At least, that was what she hoped.
What had she done to deserve that? Well, she'd stolen a few gems, but only to study them. It certainly didn't warrant that. No deity could be so mean. Not that she believed in any; she was educated, after all, and had three advanced degrees.
But to be stuck on that living ship? With a tralk, a Luxan, a Peacekeeper, an animal with delusions of grandeur, and that human who claimed their species were related? As if she could be related to someone who was obviously crazy.
She longed to get away from this nightmare and see her parents again.
He was really happy that Officer Sun was traveling aboard him with Crais. But he really didn't like the others. The Hynerian was disgusting, the Banik slave completely unstable, and… Crichton. Aeryn was interested in Crichton. Crais would be better for her. It would be nice if it were just him, and Bialar, and Aeryn.
But Crichton stood in the way. Talyn made sure to give the human only cold water whenever he showered, and now he had stolen his pulse pistol. He had to get rid of him without shooting him outright, or Aeryn would be angry at him.
"You know, he'd better not be touching her, or I'm gonna smash that son-of-a-bitch's face when he comes back."
He downed his glass of raslak, the warm liquid burning his throat.
D'Argo drank his own glass in sympathy.
"Man, I really hope Aeryn realizes he's the frelling Xerox and that I'm the original. God, I hope they aren't…" He stopped, not wanting to formulate what his heart dreaded most.
John poured more raslak in his glass, handed it to D'Argo, and drank from the bottle itself, hoping to drown the images of the other him and Aeryn getting cozy together.
He let Stark's light wash over him. He guided the Banik's hand back to his forehead when Stark withdrew it, and held it there. Letting go of it, he could see the look of understanding in his friend's eyes.
He knew his twin would heed his message. Hopefully, he'd be able to stop Scorpius just as he had stopped the Scarrans. More importantly, he hoped John would give Aeryn the time she'd need. He turned his gaze towards her. For now, she was holding herself together… barely. In her heart, he knew she felt the same pain as he did.
"Stark," the voice called. He looked around the crowded and dilapidated hotel lobby, looking for the source of the call. It sounded like… But it could not be. There, he heard it again. "Stark!" Now, he was sure. It was Zhaan calling for him. He had to find her.
Up on Talyn, he recorded a message for his shipmates, leaving his mask in their care to hand over to the remaining Crichton twin.
Life was leading him on a path different than that of his friends. Hopefully, he would see them again and he would be coming back with Zhaan.
She had thought she wanted her daughter to suffer. She needed to cause her pain to alleviate her own.
But now, as Aeryn held her above the abyss here on Valldon, she realized it was all pointless. What had happened to her wasn't Aeryn's fault but her own. She had fallen in love with Talyn. Killing him to save their daughter's life had destroyed her.
As she told her to let her fall, she noticed the reluctance in her eyes.
"You live for me."
As she fell, she hoped Aeryn wouldn't let her grief consume her as she had done.
Tauvo's death had come close to driving him to insanity. His brother had been his only constant in his life. He had deserved an honourable death. And instead, he'd died because of the incompetence of a lower life form.
Now, he was supporting the insane plan of the very being that had caused his brother's death. Talyn had to be in the carrier. Crichton's plans never worked as they were supposed to. Talyn would be their wild card.
As the energy from Starburst shook Talyn, he thought of Crichton's people's faith, and he hoped he would see his brother again.
Scorpius trusted him. He wallowed in that trust. He was proud of it. Scorpius had chosen him among the several lieutenants of the Command Carrier to be his second.
Now he was in charge and Scorpius disgraced for getting his Carrier blown up by Crichton and his band of outlaws, and that Peacekeeper traitor and his gunship.
But he remained loyal to Scorpius. He had to be careful. Commandant Grayza must not suspect that.
He had unburied Scorpius from his grave. Unbelievably, the half-breed was thinking of making it to Moya. Braca hoped Crichton wouldn't simply shoot him on sight.
She had fallen into a trap. Commandant Mele-On Grayza did not fall into traps. Not only that, John Crichton had also escaped her, resisting her influence. How was that even possible? The heppel oil was irresistible. And now she would be the laughing stock of this ship, if not of whole High Command.
She would find them again and they would pay for this humiliation. She called Braca. If he didn't keep his crew under control, heads would roll.
This trip to Arnessk hadn't been a complete failure though. She had at least gotten rid of that repellent Scarran half-breed.
She was burning up. Her vision was blurry. Luckily, she knew her Prowler's controls well. But she needed to be awake to fly and she'd almost lost consciousness several times already.
"You can make it, babe. I know you can. He'll be delighted to see you've come back."
"To die in his arms?" Hezmana, she was hallucinating again, talking to the ghost of John her foggy brain had conjured up.
But she had to survive, to tell him she loved him beyond hope too. Only ever John.
She hoped she'd make it to Moya before the Living Death took her.
She had to make him see. He was too dangerous. He had to remain focused. He couldn't afford to be distracted by his feelings for Aeryn, his doubts about her baby, the effects of Grayza's rape on him, and Scorpius's presence on Moya.
Yes, the laka. Laka would do. She could distillate it. Yes, it would do nicely.
Hopefully, he would concentrate on what was important. She still hadn't repaid her debt to him. He had to use wormholes for peace. Hopefully, the laka would numb him to everything but wormholes.
When she offered him the laka, he accepted it.
John Crichton would pay for this. She would see to it personally if she had to. Not only had he ridiculed her security forces on Katratzi, but now he was responsible for the death of her lover as well. She would find him, torture his Sebaccean mate before his eyes, ripping his unborn child from her body, and then she would torture him until he begged for his own death. And she knew she would take great pleasure in all of it.
Their Stryker had wounded his Leviathan. So she searched for a nearby planet they could have flown to.
He had engaged the Scarrans in battle. They were winning this one, but they could have no hope of winning the actual war. Not without wormholes. But the power to command wormholes had died with John Crichton.
He felt it then, a stirring at the back of his mind. He stopped Braca, who was giving him the status of the engagement. He heard Sikozu call his name.
Braca questioned his orders to withdraw but carried them out once threatened.
"He is alive, Sikozu. John Crichton is alive," he told her. And the hope of victory over the Scarrans was rekindled.
She couldn't believe Scorpius was withdrawing from the battle. And all that to pursue Crichton as if he was the One who could save them all from Scarran domination. With Scorpius commanding a fleet, she had had hope her people would be freed. But now, her hope was crushed, destroyed by Scorpius's obsession with Crichton.
She had to find another way to help her people. There was no way Crichton was going to use a wormhole weapon against the Scarrans, even if he could do it, which she doubted.
To whom could she turn to renew her hope for freedom?
Millions had already died. Some of his planets had fallen to the Scarrans. And here he was, carrying a half Sebaccean, half human baby. He sure hoped his subjects never learn of this humiliation!
Bishan had said he could come back to Hyneria. For all these cycles, he had dreamed of nothing else: taking his throne back from his cousin.
But now, he would rather never go back to his home world than see his people suffer one more day. His only hope of seeing a peaceful end to this war resided in the man whose child he carried.
D'Argo was gone. She had left him to die on the planet John had destroyed yesterday. She had had something to look forward to, a life with D'Argo on Hyneria, growing prowsa fruit in order to make wine. Now she had nothing.
She heard noise behind her, so she tore her gaze from the stars blinking outside the viewport. Jothee was standing at the entrance of the center chamber, his father's Qualta Blade strapped to his back.
"I am leaving soon," he said.
"Would you come with me?" he asked her.
Letting herself smile, she whispered softly "Yes".