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
[First things first: Continuity corrections. Since Part 13 was written under the influence of NyQuil, I wasn't able to think some things all the way through. Like when I wrote that the Farscape wasn't space worthy. It is now. And when I wrote that John didn't wake Katie to say goodbye, what was I thinking? Of course he woke her up! And Jack, too! Anyway, if there are more discrepancies, just remember that I haven't had any solid food since Thanksgiving.]
DK and Sonnet sat quietly in the Yankee Peddler Diner, the only place open this late, and sipped their coffee and shared conversation.
"So, how did you pick the nickname Sonnet?" DK asked
"I didn't - Lisa did. She's a little on the flashy side," she replied, and DK nodded at the understatement. "Lisa and I have been best friends since the first grade, so when she said no one would read poetry by Sarah Jane Smith, I let her talk me into my pen name..."
"I think Sarah Jane suits you better," DK said as he brushed a lock of her hair out of her eyes. They were lost in each other, until Lisa and Mike rushed in the door.
"I told you she'd bring him here!" Lisa said over her shoulder as she flashed a smile at Mike.
"DK - we gotta go back to the embassy, right away!" Mike said emphatically.
Sonnet looked bewildered. "Embassy? DK, I thought you were a scientist."
"I am, I'm just also an attache to, to..." DK stopped when he realized that he couldn't finish the answer.
"Sonnet, you should have seen John, I mean the ambassador, wipe the floor with T-Bone and his friends..." Lisa reported to Sonnet.
"John got into another fight?" DK asked Mike.
Mike answered "It was all self-defense, I swear." Mike knew DK was still having trouble accepting the fact that John's military career was now longer than his career in science.
Sonnet asked "Just what country is John an ambassador to or from, or whatever?"
"He's kind of an ambassador-at-large. Sarah Jane, I wish I could tell you more," DK answered as he helped her into Mike's pickup truck. Lisa gave Mike directions to the apartment she and Sonnet shared.
Mike and DK walked into the kitchen. Already assembled were John, holding Katie; Jack, Leslie, and Jessica. John had changed out of his jeans and was now wearing his full "battle dress" uniform, including rank and medal insignias. The rank insignias were on both the epaulets and cuffs of the jacket, in silver. John's military decorations were so many that even the small ribbons of the battle uniform covered most of the left side of his chest. Wynona and Naomi were in their holsters. Everyone else was still in their pajamas.
"Are you sure you can trust Gen. Simpson?" Jessica asked.
"Not a hundred per cent yet, but I think he's been coming around slowly since the briefing in the Holocaust museum. But I can't NOT go, either. I have to know what those transmissions mean."
"What transmissions?" DK asked.
John briefly recapped what Simpson had told him, that the ISS had picked up some transmissions, the only words of which they understood were Moya, Crichton, and "air and sun."
"I have to go, Dad. If there's any chance that those transmissions are from Aeryn, I --" John was too caught up in emotion to speak. "I once promised her that I'd never leave her, but I broke that promise. I have to find out what happened. Take good care of Katie for me, will ya?" John said
Jack nodded. "I understand. Of course we'll take care of Katie."
Katie, who had watched and listened in silence, spoke next.
"Don't go, Daddy. Please. Don't go back to the Territories without me." Katie was close to tears.
"Hey, Princess, I'm not going that far - just to Cape Canaveral, in Florida, to translate the transmissions. I promise I'll be back as soon as possible. You'll be safe here with your granddad. I'll only be gone for a little while. I'm taking the Farscape, so I'll be able to come back fast..." John spoke as he carried Katie to the family room to say goodbye. John heard Jack suggest to DK and Mike that they get the Farscape ready. Jessica, a pilot herself, also helped.
John took off in the Farscape module. It was late enough at night (or early enough in the morning) that there wouldn't be many witnesses to his flight. John thought back to when he broke his promise to Aeryn.
[Moya, almost seven cycles ago.]
John Crichton was in Pilot's den, he couldn't believe the information Jenavian Chatto had just sent him: His daughter had been born over a cycle ago. Jenavian's message summarized the Nebari attack that damaged Katralla and Tyno's statues, and their reasons for not undergoing the process again. My daughter was born--in my lifetime. I have to go see her' was all John could think.
"Pilot, is Aeryn still in the med lab?" John asked into his comm.
"Yes, commander, she has been there since yesterday."
"Thanks, Pilot," John said on his way out.
John headed for Zhaan's med lab. Except for her episode of Sebacean heat
delirium, this was the first time Aeryn had been sick since he had known
her. Sure, she had been treated for wounds or other injuries, but she
had never been sick.
The priest said in a soothing voice: "I appreciate what you are going through, Aeryn."
"It's never happened to you -how can you say that?" Aeryn replied, obviously upset.
Zhaan continued. "I still think you should tell--"
Aeryn startled when she saw him in the doorway. "John!" she said, cutting Zhaan off. Zhaan, also surprised, turned around quickly to see John in the doorway. John smiled - he still got a warm feeling whenever Aeryn called him by his first name. Aeryn, not used to long-term relationships, had needed time to adjust to each phase of their relationship. Using John's first name was one of the first hurdles. Next came allowing the smallest of public displays of affection: holding hands or hugging. They eventually shared quarters, but only because Aeryn didn't want anyone aboard Moya--now the Alliance headquarters--to see either her or John going to and from each other's rooms.
"I just came to see how you are doing, Sunshine," John said as he approached her. She sat upright on an examination table, Zhaan stood next to her.
"Aeryn, please consider what I said." Zhaan pleaded before she left the med lab. Aeryn nodded, more to get rid of Zhaan than out of agreement.
"I'm better, now that you're here." Aeryn said as she reached for John. John wrapped Aeryn in his arms and held her for a while.
"What happened? I've never seen you sick before." John asked. Aeryn only shook her head. "What, don't Sebaceans ever admit to being sick?"
"Please, John, I'm not up to talking about it yet. Will you take me back to our quarters, please?" Aeryn sounded weak and tired. John picked her up and carried her to their rooms. John should have been surprised that Aeryn didn't protest, but he was too preoccupied with the news about his daughter to notice.
After almost one and a half arns of companionable silence, John asked Aeryn "Do you really think we should stick with the Resistance, now that there is a full blown war?" They sat side by side on their bed.
Aeryn was surprised by the question. "How else do you propose to fight the Nebari? The Peacekeepers offered to pardon and recommission me, but I don't think they'll take you. Even if they did, they would not give us the same duty assignment," she said very matter-of-factly.
"Actually, I was thinking we could join the Defense Force back on the Royal Planet," John said softly.
"The Royal Planet? I should think that would be the last place you'd want to be, after everything you'd been through there. Why?" Aeryn asked evenly, although she was screaming on the inside.
"I just found out that my daughter was born over a cycle ago," John said, and told Aeryn everything that was in the transmission. John continued: "I want to be as close to her as possible. I mean, I know I can't tell her that I'm her real father, but I have to see her - I had finally gotten used to the idea that she wouldn't be born for almost eighty years, and now--" John threw his hands up in frustration.
Aeryn went still; she had one more reason to hate Jenavian Chatto. John had stupidly admitted his and Jenavian's night of "recreation" to Aeryn, and Aeryn found it easier to place all of the blame on Jenavian. Now, because of Jenavian telling John about his daughter, Aeryn was going to lose John, and it was all Jenavian's fault.
"Is this something you really want to do, John?" Aeryn asked. She sat perfectly still.
John took Aeryn's hands in his. "I have to do this. Will you come with me?" he asked.
"John, I know how much family means to you and," Aeryn's voice caught in her throat, "and how much you want children. Will you give me some time to consider this?" Aeryn asked.
"Of course. Hey, you should get some sleep. I have the overnight shift on command, I'll see you in the morning. Let me know what you think then." John told her, then kissed her lightly and went to command.
After his shift on command, John headed towards the quarters he shared with Aeryn . Luckily, it was an uneventful shift. The only thing out of the ordinary was that the Peacekeeper shuttle that had stopped for repairs had left a solar day earlier than planned. Before he arrived at his destination, Pilot commed him.
"Commander Crichton, please report to my den immediately."
"Sure Pilot, what's happening?" John said, although privately he wished D'Argo would handle it, since it was his shift in command.
"It is something of a private nature and would be easier to explain when you get here, Commander." Pilot answered.
John ran to Pilot's den. When he got there, Pilot expressed his regret and played a transmission that Aeryn had recorded earlier. Aeryn was wearing her old commando uniform, and had her hair pulled back into a severe ponytail.
"Hello, John. I know this is not the proper way to tell you this, but... You want and need to be with your daughter, and there is no place for me on the Royal Planet. So, I've decided to take my commission in the Peacekeepers. You are right, we need to do more than we can in the Resistance. I will not say goodbye, because I know we will see each other again. Until then, John."
John was stunned. "She left on that shuttle, didn't she?" he asked Pilot.
"Yes, Commander Crichton. Officer Sun wouldn't let me tell you; she was afraid you would try to stop her."
John nodded absently to Pilot, and stumbled back to the rooms he once shared with the love of his life.
The next day, John arranged for immediate transport to the Royal Planet.
John was pulled away from his memories by the voice on the radio telling him he was cleared for landing at Cape Canaveral. Gen. Simpson, in a jeep, met John on the tarmac.
Gen. Simpson did a double take at John's uniform--especially the medals. He motioned for John to get in the jeep.
"General Simpson, I'd like to hear those transmissions as soon as possible," John said as he got in the jeep. Gen. Simpson nodded at the driver, who headed for the main office building.
"Actually, the situation has changed, Mr. Ambassador, or should I call you General, or Lord Crichton? I understand you have both titles on the other side of the universe," Gen. Simpson said, chagrined.
"Please, just call me John," Crichton said as he extended his hand. General Simpson shook Crichton's hand.
"How has the situation changed?" John asked, worried.
"There's a large alien craft orbiting the ISS. Toshi Nakahara is trying to communicate with it - he remembered about the translator microbes, and began asking a series of yes/no questions. But the thing is, we don't have visual communication, so we don't know who we're talking to or if they're telling the truth. That's where you come in."
"And I'm the devil you know," John said, suddenly realizing why Gen. Simpson had called him in.