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 replayed Aeryn's words in his head. "The Scarrans have wormhole technology, and I think they're headed for Earth." Crichton was speechless. Both stunned and angry, he followed Aeryn through the corridors of the Zeuxis to her briefing room. When the door slid shut, Crichton marveled at how calm Aeryn seemed. John finally broke the silence. "Just how in Hezmana did the Scarrans get their claws on wormhole technology?" John paced back and forth and threw his hands up in agitation. "For Crissakes, the Ancients planted the information in my brain but it took me two monens working with Zhaan after the neural chip was disabled to piece it together. Only the crews of Moya and Talyn had access to that information." Aeryn stood silently, her thoughts running wild. She was happy that John was free from the chip Scorpius implanted in his brain, but suddenly felt jealous of Zhaan.
Aeryn looked cool and calm in her Brigadiers' uniform and her hair pulled back in a ponytail, although she felt neither. "Do you remember Dom Ba Da Depot and the mechanic named Furlow?" Aeryn managed to say evenly.
John closed his eyes and raised his right hand to his temple. "Yeah. I had to pay her with the wormhole data we collected." John was kicking himself for inadvertently helping the Scarrans. "So, how did it get from Furlow to the Scarrans?" he asked.
"At the start of the Scarran War, they found out about Furlow and her research and captured her. They gave her two choices: work for them or go to a death camp." Aeryn stated evenly.
John rubbed the tattoo on his cheek, and said "Well, I guess I can understand that choice. So, how did you find out? For that matter, how did you get here? Last I heard, PK Command had your ship listed as missing in action, presumed dead."
Aeryn gave a wry smile and said "It's one and the same story, John. Why don't we sit down, and I'll tell you?" Aeryn indicated a small conference table.
"Sure thing, Sunshine - got any popcorn?" John asked as he turned a chair around and straddled it, folding his arms on the back of the chair.
Aeryn took the Crichtonism in stride and sat opposite John, her hands folded on the table in front of her. "I had received orders to investigate a new weapon the Scarrans were developing. What few intelligence reports we had indicated they were testing the weapon in a sector of the Uncharted Territories - familiar territory for me. Well, we found the Scarrans and they engaged us in battle. We had the advantage, until the Scarrans opened up a wormhole. You see, they opened it up between the two other ships in my group, in effect splitting them in half." Aeryn paused, and continued "There were massive casualties. Both the Zeuxis and the Scarran ship, as well as portions of our two other ships, got caught up in the gravitational pull of the wormhole. When we exited, neither side knew where we were - we had no star charts or reference points for navigation - well, you would know what that is like, I'm sure." Aeryn smiled at John.
John reached across the table and took her hand. He smiled back and said "So, Alice, did you enjoy your very own trip down the rabbit hole?" Aeryn drew her eyebrows together and looked puzzled. God, he missed that look on her face - and all her other looks, too. And her smile. And her eyes. John missed looking into her eyes.
Aeryn let John hold her hand. Crichton's bizarre references used to annoy her, but after over five cycles without them, Aeryn had missed them. His smile, too. And his eyes, she also missed his eyes. Seeing John again made Aeryn feel like she had come home. She pushed the thought away.
Aeryn forced herself to continue. "The Scarrans retreated. The Zeuxis immediately rescued survivors from the wreckage of our other ships, and went in pursuit of the enemy ship." Aeryn hesitated, trying to remember one of John's phrases. "It's a long story, but the Reader's Digest Condemned version--" Aeryn looked at John, who was busting his gut laughing.
"It's condensed, Sunshine" John managed to say through his laughter.
Aeryn said "The Reader's Digest Condensed version is that we eventually defeated the Scarran ship and took their wormhole device and data. Our techs are still studying it, but we haven't got it working yet. It was a prototype that was being field tested - we may never get it in proper working order."
John was serious again. "So, for a cycle and a half, you've been in the back of beyond and then some. Did you have trouble with any of the locals? How did you find Earth?"
Aeryn explained: "As I said, we had no star charts. Many of the worlds we encountered were planet-bound; some didn't even have ground transportation yet. There were some minor engagements from some of the more advanced worlds, but nothing we couldn't handle. There were also enough peaceful planets where we could barter for supplies. Well, in one of the systems we encountered, I met up with a long-range scout for the Ancients."
That got John's attention. "They didn't frell with your mind, did they?" he asked, worried.
Aeryn spoke solemnly. "No. In fact he remembered me from our last encounter. I told them about Acquaria - I thought that any planet that is willing to worship Rygel would be willing to share their world with the Ancients. I gave them the coordinates. In exchange, the scout gave me the coordinates for a system he had heard about that has inhabitants that look like Sebaceans. At first, I had thought that we would find our way back home, but...then he told me about the system. He said there were nine planets and the only inhabited planet was the third from the sun, the fourth was red, the fifth and sixth planets had rings, and the eighth planet had a red storm-- it sounded like your solar system. We had no where else to go, and I thought I should warn them about the Scarrans. The next time they open a wormhole, it may be closer to Earth."
John was amazed. "You came to Earth to warn them? Even after what happened on the false Earth?" Aeryn nodded and thought to herself "It was the least I could do for you, John."
"I had to, John. The Scarrans are desperate for territory. The Nebari War destroyed most of their infrastructure, and they need a great deal of resources to rebuild. I think they view Earth as an easy target, as it's not in the Alliance. They don't know it is your homeworld."
John finally released Aeryn's hand. He touched the tattoo on his right cheek, and said "Then it's about time Earth joined the Alliance. I've been in negotiations for almost two monens - mostly going around in circles. This will shake them up. In two weekens, Moya is scheduled to open another wormhole and send a communications probe - it's your choice if you want to stay here, or go through the wormhole back to PK Command."
"Hey, Commander Crichton! Good to hear your voice again!" Toshi Nakahara said.
"Request permission to come aboard, Commander Nakahara," John said from the Farscape Module.
"Granted, sir. Can you tell me what is happening down at Canaveral? They keep changing the orders!" Toshi said. He was glad Commander / General / Ambassador Crichton - whatever his exact title may be - was here. Toshi knew he was out of his league as soon as he saw the Zeuxis.
"We'll meet you in docking bay two, sir."
"Gotcha. Oh, Toshi--I'm not alone," John added.
"Katie is here? Cool! I've got a Hershey Bar with her name on it" Toshi said excitedly.
"Actually, I'm bringing Brigadier Sun, the commanding officer of the ship you've been trying to communicate with." John explained.
Toshi Nakahara, Sarah Comiski, Sergei Ivanov, Uta Langwier and the rest of the Space Station crew gathered in the docking bay and welcomed the Farscape for the second time in as many months. Again, two figures clad in black emerged from the vessel. John Crichton and Aeryn Sun walked toward their welcoming party. When John approached, Toshi looked at all of his medals and said "Dude! You have got to tell me some of your war stories sometime!"
"No time for that now," John said as he and Toshi shook hands. "Commander Nakahara, this is Brigadier Aeryn Sun, commanding officer of the Zeuxis, that eyesore that's in orbit near here," John said with a smile. Aeryn gave John a sideways glance. Toshi extended his hand in greeting, and a tentative Aeryn shook it - perhaps a little too hard. Toshi winced. "Easy, girl" John said to Aeryn. "You know humans are weaker than Sebaceans."
"It's an honor to meet you, Brigadier Sun," Toshi said with a smile.
"Man, that feels so weird!" Toshi said as he felt the microbes rush to the base of his brain. He shuddered and asked "So, how long until these things kick in?" Toshi, John and Aeryn had the lounge to themselves
"You ought to be able to understand me now, Commander Nakahara," Aeryn said.
"Wow! That's so cool. I wish I had these four hours ago when you guys showed up! That was the longest--and weirdest-- game of twenty questions I've ever played!" Toshi couldn't believe it - he was talking to an alien. A female alien. Better than that - a space babe!
"Commander, that reminds me - what exactly is a bread box, and why is its size so important?" Aeryn asked.
"Forget twenty questions for now. Toshi, you said that your orders keep changing. How?" John asked.
"Well, when mission control still had IASA people in it, they said to try to communicate with the ship until they could locate you, but then the military took over and Simpson ordered me to stop, so, we stopped. That was a little over an hour ago. Simpson wanted to know what we found out - which was very little (I guess I didn't ask the right questions) - that Aeryn Sun was aboard, she had been your shipmate, and she needed to tell us something. I was about to invite Ms. Sun on board when they ordered us to stop."
"We need to talk to the President - do you think you can arrange it, Toshi?" John asked.
"I'll try - but it looks like Simpson has control over everything," Toshi answered.
Katie tried to go back to sleep after her father left, but she had another nightmare. Jack Crichton rushed into her room and picked up Katie, hugging her close. "It's OK, sweetie. Everything is going to be all right," Jack said soothingly.
"I'm scared, Granddad," Katie sobbed. "Something bad is going to happen to Daddy; I can tell."