Wayward astronaut John Crichton returns home after almost a decade away
from Earth, and brings his daughter. Insert your favorite disclaimer here.
Also, my only knowledge of any space program comes from re-runs of “I
Dream of Jeannie,” so don’t expect a lot of verisimilitude. Just suspend
John Crichton sat on the edge of his bed, holding his head in his hands. He had trouble sleeping. He tried walking by the lake, but it was no use. John was haunted by the feeling that trouble was headed his way, and soon. John thought back to the last time he had this feeling, but ignored it.
"Pilot, are we ready to Starburst yet?" John Crichton, pacing in Zhaan's medical lab, asked as he spoke into his comm. John looked at his daughter, weak and gaunt after their imprisonment, an IV drip in her arm, and hoped she would regain her health quickly.
"No, commander Crichton - Moya's fuel cells are still recharging. But no one from the Scarran prison colony is pursuing us," Pilot replied.
'Only because it's been blown up,' Crichton thought to himself, but still couldn't wait to get as far away from the death camp as possible. "I just have this feeling, Pilot. I don't think we are out of danger yet." John touched the tattoo on his cheek as he spoke. John walked over to where Katie lay sleeping on a nearby cot, absentmindedly tracing the tattoo on his daughter's cheek. Zhaan had treated her injuries, but wanted to keep her nearby in case she needed additional medical attention.
"John, you are exhausted after your ordeal. Please, let me give you something to help you sleep," Zhaan said as she stirred a mixture together.
'Well, there's an understatement,' John said to himself. "I don't know, Zhaan; maybe you're right," he said as he drank the cool liquid. He knew that it would take more than a good night's sleep to recover from the experience in the death camp, but thought it couldn't hurt at this point. The worst part of the imprisonment was watching Katie suffer and not being able to help her. John caressed Katie's cheek. "You're safe now, princess," he said, and kissed her on the cheek. John moved a cot next to Katie's, lay down, and drifted off to sleep holding Katie's hand.
D'Argo and Chiana walked in and quietly asked about John and Katie. Chiana walked over and kissed both of them on the forehead. Zhaan motioned for them to follow her into the corridor. John could barely hear their conversation.
"They are both severely malnourished - Katie was nearly starved to death, I'd say," Zhaan said as they walked to command. "I've prepared a nutrient drip for her, and will slowly increase the nutrients and calories as her system adjusts to it. If we give her too much too soon, it will do more harm than good.
"And heat delirium?" D'Argo asked.
"John, of course, is unharmed from the heat. And as far as I can tell, Katie was unaffected by it - she has no signs of heat delirium or the living death. But since she is only half-human, I'd like to observe her over time to make sure..."
John woke up with excruciating pain in his head. He opened his eyes, expecting to see his cell in the death camp, but was surprised to find himself aboard Moya, strapped to a table in Zhaan's medical lab.
"Zhaan where are you? What's happening?" John asked. He remembered being rescued and returning to Moya, but when had he become so violent that Zhaan had to restrain him? "Zhaan? D'Argo? Chiana? Pilot, will someone please tell me what is going on?"
John turned his head, and saw Katie strapped to another table, a figure dressed in black leaning over her. John only had a partial view and couldn't tell who it was. He almost thought it was Aeryn, but D'Argo had told him last night that the latest intelligence from Peacekeeper Command classified Brigadier Aeryn Sun and and all personnel in her command fleet as missing in action and presumed dead, after being attacked by a powerful new Scarran weapon half a cycle ago. In typical D'Argo fashion, he considered this a partial victory on Aeryn's part: since there were no reports of the weapon ever being used after that, D'Argo was convinced that Aeryn had destroyed the deadly weapon before being defeated in battle.
"Hey, Johnny Cash" John said to the unknown person in black. "Where's Zhann? What's going on?" John asked quietly. The man in black stood up, and turned around.
"I see you finally woke up, John." Scorpius said in his deceivingly polite voice.
"Oh, no. I am SO not in the mood for hallucinations right now. Go away. You're not real." John whispered and closed his eyes, as if not seeing Scorpius would make him disappear.
"Oh, but I am very real, John. I've been waiting for you to get away from that death camp. Now that you're here, I'm going to get that wormhole technology with or without your help." Scorpius smiled menacingly.
John struggled against the restraints.
"It's no use, John. You're forgetting the 'programming' I included in the neural chip. You can't harm me, and right now you can't even escape from me. I will extract the wormhole technology from your brain." Halfway through the Nebari War, Zhaan had discovered the neural chip Scorpius had implanted in John's brain while treating a head injury John had sustained. Zhaan had tried, but could not remove or neutralize the chip.
"That's OK. I'll just wait for someone to rescue me. I think it's Chiana's turn, now," John laughed as he thought, 'out of the frying pan and into the fire.'
"Your crew mates are all locked in their cells, they cannot help you. I will get that information from you." Scorpius said as he stepped closer to John.
"Forget it, Scorpy. I've been a little busy what with one war and then the other," John gave an ironic smile. "Haven't had the time to think about wormholes. I don't know any more now than I did eight cycles ago." He laughed.
Scorpius motioned to his right, 'as if he were revealing a gift showcase on the Price is Right,' John thought. "I've made many improvements on the Aurora Chair in the last eight cycles, John. You don't need to unlock the knowledge the Ancients placed in your subconscious - my new toy will do that. Now, I must insist that you cooperate, or I might have to map Katie's mind to see just what is in a Sebacean - Human hybrid's brain."
"Don't hurt her!" John yelled. Katie began to stir, the sound of her father's voice woke her up. Scorpius turned his attention to Katie.
"It seems that Princess Katralla II is waking up. Perhaps she should go first?" Scorpius threatened.
"NO! Put me in the chair - I won't resist." John sounded defeated. Could it really come to this? To fight first the Nebari, then the Scarrans, only to end up in the hands of Scorpius? John tried to come up with a plan, but could only think of Katie's safety.
Scorpius unlocked John's restraints. "Aren't you afraid I'll try something?" John asked. "You don't even have any guards!"
Scorpius replied. "You're forgetting the neural chip, John." Scorpius tsk-tsked, sounding like a school teacher disappointed in his star pupil. "You cannot harm me or get away from me now - the programming won't allow it."
"Hey, if I'm still alive after you get your information, could you at least take the chip out?" John tried to stall, to have more time to come up with a plan, or hope that Scorpy gave away a piece of information that would be useful.
"You are not fond of the chip and the guidance it provides you, John?" Scorpius sounded surprised.
"No, I am NOT fond of the chip," John spat out the words as he turned to look Scorpius in the eye.
"After all it's done for you? You are ungrateful, John. It has kept you alive all these cycles. How many acts have you committed in battle in the name of self-preservation? I programmed the chip to keep you alive. Well, it doesn't matter - you probably won't survive anyway."
"OK, so shouldn't the self-preservation programming be kicking in now?" John asked, his arms akimbo.
"I've disabled that part of the program, John."
"If I'm going to die, at least let me say goodbye to Katie" John pleaded.
"Very well," Scorpius said magnanimously, and nodded his head. Scorpius waited next to the Aurora Chair.
'Think, John! Think of something - anything!' he told himself as he walked over to Katie. Katie had tried to sit up but was stopped by the restraints. John was surprised to see that Katie was still wearing Jenavian's necklace. The Scarrans hadn't bothered to confiscate it, because it couldn't harm them. Either Scorpius didn't know it was a weapon, or was equally blase about it's effects on him.
John put his hands on either side of Katie's face. "Katie, princess, I tried; I really tried to keep you safe. I'm so sorry, sweetie." Both Katie and John started to cry. "Always remember that I love you," John's voice was raw with emotion. He hugged Katie tight.
"Daddy, I love you too," Katie managed to say between sobs. John hugged Katie for a while. With his back to Scorpius, John announced that he was ready. John got up, slowly turned around, and walked to the new Aurora Chair with his hands clasped behind his back.
"I'm glad you finally see what you have to do, John" Scorpius said as John approached.
"Oh, I see very clearly what I have to do," John said as he drew his right arm from behind his back and fired the deadly necklace at Scorpius.
Scorpius, wounded by the energy beam from the necklace but still alive, fell to the floor and said "Circhton, how could you do this? The programming of neural chip is flawless-"
"You are forgetting one thing, Scorpy." John had fired the weapon for so long that the charge ran out and wouldn't fire any more. John dropped the necklace and stepped closer to Scorpius. "I'm human. Unlike Peacekeepers, we value our families. A father's drive to protect his child wins out over self-preservation and overrides your programming."
Scorpius got up from the floor, but John punched him so hard that he fell down again. John steered the fight away from Katie, who was trying to watch and cheer her father on. John tried to give Scorpius a Pantak jab, but either he was too weak or Scorpy was too strong, because it had almost no effect on his opponent.
John and Scorpius continued to exchanged blows, and it seemed that Scorpius had the advantage. Although John was taking a beating, he was biding his time - he wanted to get Scorpius to the other end of the medical lab, where there were plenty of sharp objects.
When they reached the table where Zhaan stored her instruments, John grabbed the most dangerous one he could find and stabbed Scorpius with it. "I'd stab you in the heart if I thought you had one" John said as he plunged the scalpel into Scorpius' torso. Scorpius clutched his wound, but still remained standing. John then grabbed a serious-looking probe, and plunged it into Scorpius' thermal regulator tube in his head and pulled the tube out. Scorpius screamed in agony and fell to the floor. John continued to beat Scorpius, until there was no chance of him getting up again. When John was finished, he was covered in whatever flowed through Scorpius' veins. He cleaned himself up as best he could, grateful that Katie could not have seen the beating from where she was. John released Katie from the restraints, and carried her to Pilot's den.
"Pilot, what's happening? Where is Scorpius' command carrier?"
"Commander Crichton! I am quite relieved to see you and your daughter alive!" Pilot said. "Ka D'Argo, Ambassador Chiana, and Pa'u Zhotoh Zhaan are locked in cells, but other wise are unharmed. Scorpius ordered his command carrier and all personnel away after his troops secured Moya" Pilot explained. "Scorpius was very confident that you wouldn't give him any resistance." he added.
"Yeah, well, he was wrong. The stakes were pretty high this time." John said as he kissed Katie's head. Katie stayed with pilot while John released his crew mates.