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 was ready for a beer. After three days of UN negotiations that went nowhere and his sleepless night, all he wanted was a beer. He rounded up DK and Mike, and tried to cajole them into going into town.
"C'mon, I haven't been to McGrath's Tavern in ten years - let's go!" he said to his friend and brother-in-law as they sat at the kitchen table. They were the only ones awake. After the extended hike the whole family took after dinner, most members of the Crichton clan went straight to sleep.
"Well, John, it's not the same kinda place anymore - it's more like a biker bar," DK said awkwardly.
John laughed. "Do they still serve the best chicken wings this side of Buffalo?"
"Sure, but maybe we should wait for lunchtime tomorrow - it draws kind of a wild crowd on Friday nights," Mike suggested, more to appease DK than to persuade John. Mike wasn't a McGrath's regular, but wasn't shy about going there, either.
"Wild crowd? I'm all for it. I've had it up to here with diplomats and politicians," John said as he drew his hand over his head. John opened the paper and checked the entertainment listings. "It says here there's going to be a blues band playing. This is just what the doctor ordered. I'm going, with or without you guys." John stood up and put on his jacket, which was draped over the back of his chair. DK noticed all the holes in the jacket.
"Hey, Mr. Ambassador, don't you think it's time to spring for a new jacket? You know, something with a few less holes in it?" DK joked.
"What, get rid of this? This is my battle dress jacket. This will be placed in the archives of the Royal Planet, for the historical record." John laughed. "Most of the holes are where the rank insignia and other stuff goes. So, you guys in or out?" John didn't say that the larger holes were where he had been hit with pulse pistols (and, more recently, bullet holes).
"I'm in," Mike said "C'mon, DK, it won't be that bad - don't be such a wuss." Mike quickly scribbled a note to Leslie, in case she woke up before he returned home.
DK saw the note. "If I'm the wuss, why are you leaving a note to Leslie? Maybe you should just wake her up and get permission first?"
"Spoken like a true bachelor. Let's just say, this means I only have 'heck to pay' instead of 'hell to pay' when I get back.
"This is why I'm not married," DK said as he shook his
"Mike, just how did you and Leslie meet?" John tried to sound light-hearted, but felt sad over how many family milestones he missed in the last ten years.
Mike started the truck and backed out of the driveway. Mike paused to tell the agents where they were going, and even gave them directions. The family agreed to be cooperative with them whenever possible in exchange for privacy within the "embassy."
"Well, she brought her car in to my garage for repairs one day. I fell in love with her right away - she's smart, funny, and beautiful - who wouldn't fall in live with her? Turns out she was dating another doctor at the hospital they both worked at. The only way I could see her was in the ER. I had to have four 'accidents' before she agreed to go out with me. Of course, by then I was the walking wounded and she probably said yes because she felt sorry for me. But, I was in love and didn't let a silly thing like pride get in the way. Anyway, I guess opposites really do attract because by our second date she fell madly in love with me and dumped the arrogant doctor she was seeing. We've been married just over six years." Mike couldn't stop grinning. He was more in love with Leslie today than he was when they got married.
"I never understood what Leslie saw in that jerk in the first place. Glad you came along, Mike." DK said as he slapped him on the shoulder.
"Me too!" Mike agreed. They arrived at the tavern, and managed to find a parking space not too far from the door.
"Band must be good," John said.
They paid the cover charge and made their way to the back of the tavern. As was his habit, John sat with his back to the wall, where he could see the door. The band did a solid job playing blues standards, and was loud enough to prevent conversation, which was fine with John. John stuck to drinking beer, eating wings, and brooding - and this was the perfect place for it. The tavern reminded him of many spots he had been to in the Uncharted Territories, and all the songs of lost love reminded him of Aeryn.
When the band finally took a break, the three friends were able to talk again. "You're right, John, these are the best Buffalo wings I've ever had," DK said in between mouthfuls.
"Uh huh!" Mike agreed.
"Yep, sure beats food cubes. Excuse me."
John thought he saw a familiar figure. He knew it wasn't possible, but the lights were low enough and he had just enough beer to be hopeful. He wiped the sauce off his hands as best as he could, then walked over to the leather-clad pale woman with grayish-white hair, standing with her back towards Crichton.
"Hey, Chiana, fancy meeting you here" John drawled, and smiled just in case she really was Chiana. The woman turned around, and gave John an appreciative once-over. 'This guy's different, special,' she thought to herself.
"My name's Lisa, but you can keep calling me Chiana if you like," she said flirtatiously.
John was obviously disappointed when he saw Lisa. "Sorry, my mistake," he apologized, and turned away.
Lisa tapped John on his shoulder and asked "So, there really is a Chiana? That wasn't just a line?" now Lisa looked disappointed.
"Yes, there really is a Chiana, and she's, well, she's out of this world. I knew she really couldn't be here, but I miss her, so..." his voice trailed off. "Hi, my name's John" he said as he extended his hand.
Lisa shook his hand and said "Nice to meet ya. This is my friend Sonnet." Sonnet had auburn hair, pulled back into a pony tail, and was casually dressed in jeans, sneakers, and a sweater. John raised an eyebrow at the name, and he and Sonnet shook hands. "I'm a poet," she explained
"And, after waiting for almost an hour, it looks like we've been stood up," Lisa said. "Think your friends would mind if we joined you?"
"As a matter of fact, they'd mind if you didn't join us." They spent the remainder of the band's break in conversation. DK and Sonnet hit it off right away, and discovered that John Donne was their favorite poet.
Mike and Lisa patiently listened while John reminisced about Chiana ('she can kiss, kick, or cry her way out of any situation...)
"John spent a lot of time, 'overseas,' and misses his friends a lot." Mike explained.
"What did you guys do overseas?" Lisa asked.
John answered, "Got each other into and out of trouble, mostly." He smiled at some of the memories, pushing the bad memories away.
"Were you and Chiana involved?" Lisa asked suggestively. As lost as John was in homesickness, she hadn't given up on him yet.
"Oh, Chi 's like a sister to me," John said quietly.
Inwardly, Lisa groaned. 'He equates me with this Chiana, and she's like a sister. I've just been condemned to friend status' Lisa thought to herself. 'Well, maybe he's got some single friends.'
DK and Sonnet excused themselves - they decided to go to a cafe, where they could hear each other talk.
Mike, Lisa and John continued to pass the time with conversation, until a rough-looking man approached their table. He was dressed in worn, dirty jeans and a tattered denim vest - no shirt. That would obscure the view of all of his tattoos, especially the devil's head covering his entire chest. Standing behind the stranger, at the bar, were five men, wearing leather jackets with identical devil's heads on the back.
"Lisa!" he yelled as he grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the chair. "Lisa, I miss you! Take me back," he pleaded more gently. But any gentleness in his voice was canceled out by the death grip he had on her arm. Bruises were already forming.
"T-Bone, you're hurting me!" Lisa said with pain in her voice. She tried to pull her arm away, but found herself free of the grip when John somehow managed to pry his hand off of Lisa.
Lisa turned around to see T-Bone on his knees, his face on the table, and John holding T-Bone's arm behind his back.
"Leave the lady alone!" John said, emphasizing each word. He looked up at Lisa. "I hope this isn't the guy you were waiting for?" Lisa shook her head.
"What, him? Last I saw him, he was unconscious," T-Bone bragged.
Lisa was more angry than frightened now. "I had one date with this guy over a year ago, and he still hasn't gotten the message that I don't want a second date. I had to get restraining orders against this guy (a lot of good they do), but now he goes after anyone who looks at me. I'm calling the cops." She went to the pay phone.
T-Bone tried to free himself, then yelled to his friends for help. They rushed the table. John held his hands as blades and hit T-Bone's neck on both sides, rendering him unconscious. John then flipped the nearest bad guy onto the table by grabbing the other man's wrist and and pivoting as he shifted his own weight and throwing him over John's shoulder. John was beginning to regret leaving Wynona and Naomi at home.
Mike was a big and brawny guy, but was actually very gentle. Mike managed to knock out one of the assailants with a lucky punch, but he knew that that would be the only luck he would have tonight. Mike was surprised to see John smile as he fought.
John dispatched the next would-be attacker with a roundhouse kick that Jean-Claude Van Damme would envy. That only left two standing. Lisa stood watching from the safety of the alcove housing the pay phones, and silently cheered every time John landed a blow.
John edged away from the table-too many bodies on the floor around it, John didn't want to trip on them. John eased towards the pool tables.
"Look, I just came in here for a beer. I didn't want any trouble tonight. Let's just call it quits, OK?" John asked. John looked around. All except T-Bone were regaining consciousness.
The two men looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and charged John simultaneously. John grabbed a pool cue and held it parallel to the floor, pushing it into their necks when they got near enough. Both men doubled over in pain.
One said "I give up," and went back to his beer, clutching his neck. The other threw a punch at John. John easily blocked the punch with his left arm, and delivered a lightening-quick series of blows with the pool cue until the man passed out. Two more of the fallen had stood up and threatened to kill John.
John was about to deliver a pantak jab to the closer one when the doors opened up. Four men in dark suits rushed in, guns drawn, followed by two local policemen.
One of the men in suits said "Secret Service! FREEZE!" while the other three rushed the two men who were threatening Crichton and put them in handcuffs. The bar was instantly quiet. Bar fights were hardly rare, but bar fights that were broken up by the Secret Service definitely were. The local police were already haggling with the lead agent over jurisdiction. He ignored them and asked "Are you allright, Mr. Ambassador?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied. John looked over to where
Mike was, avoiding the fight. "Mike, how are ya?" Mike nodded
and said "I'm OK," but he looked green around the gills.
Outside, John heard a helicopter land. He ignored it. John walked to the lead agent and said, "go easy on 'em, except for that T-Bone guy - he's stalking someone, that's how this whole thing got started."
"I know - we were listening to the police scanner, sir. Mr. Ambassador, we need to take a statement" the lead agent said as he opened his notebook.
Just when the atmosphere in the bar was returning to normal, two US Marines entered the bar, one carrying a silver attache case. They walked to where Crichton stood. "Mister Ambassador, your presence is required elsewhere, sir."
"Could you be more specific--" John looked at his rank insignia--"Gunnery Sargent?" John asked quizzically.
The Gunnery Sargent took the silver attache case from his colleague, opened it up, and took out a strange-looking cell phone. He handed it to Crichton as he said, "This is a secure line, sir."
John took the phone and spoke into it. "This is John Cri--" was all he managed to say before he got cut off.
"Crichton, this is Simpson. Forty-five minutes ago, the ISS picked up some very strange transmissions, we'd like you to come to Canaveral to help us interpret them."
"General, is it possible to transfer the transmission to this line?" John asked.
"Not at this time. But I can tell you that the only words we can understand are Moya, Crichton, and air and sun. Just get in the chopper and get over here right away!" Simpson ordered.
'Air and sun?' John thought to himself. 'Aeryn!' "I can get there faster in the Farscape, " John said quietly. Between himself, Dad, DK and Mike, they got the module air worthy, if not space worthy.
"Do it! I guess the National Weather Service is going to have to lose a weather balloon in your flight path" Simpson replied.
John could hardly believe Gen. Zach Simpson was making a joke.
John quickly made the necessary arrangements: he got the flight plan
from the helicopter pilot, sent Mike to take Lisa home and find DK, and
got a ride back to the cabin with the Secret Service. Once there, he packed
a few necessities: his pulse pistols, his comm (even though the communications
probe wasn't due for another two weekens), and at the last minute
he stashed his rank and medal insignias. He went to Katie's room
and kissed her goodbye without waking her.