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
The White House, 10:30 PM.
Lieberman greeted Jack Crichton warmly. "Thank you for seeing me
on such short notice, Mr. President," Jack said as he was ushered
into the conference room. Jack was never more glad that his daughter Jessica,
a former test pilot for Sikorski Aircraft, had called in a favor with
her former bosses and borrowed a corporate jet and flew the both of them
to Dulles Airport.
The President looked expectantly at the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking member of the American military. Army General William Powers said briskly "Mr. President, General Simpson and his men have been removed from Mission Control, and all IASA personnel have, by their own choice, returned to their work stations despite the poor treatment they received."
"And what kind of treatment would that be?" President Lieberman asked, concerned.
"Most were kept in the auditorium, others were 'debriefed' for hours on end; they weren't given any food or water, and restroom breaks were infrequent, to say the least. The Judge Advocate General's office is determining how many charges to file.
"If I may add, Mr. President, although I do not approve of Simpson's actions or his disregard for the chain of command, I think he believed he was acting in the best interests of the country."
"Thank you, General Powers-duly noted; although I wish I had pushed for more than a letter of reprimand after the previous incident," the president said as he sat down.
of State said, "Let's figure out our next step¼"
Toshi waited as long as he could. He couldn't decide if he should knock or use the intercom. He moved his hand back and forth between the door and the intercom button several times before deciding to knock on the door to the lounge.
Toshi heard Brigadier Aeryn Sun say: "Give us a moment, please" from behind the heavy door.
In between rounds of lovemaking, Aeryn took inventory of John's scars - all of them. It had taken a considerable amount of time. Aeryn realized that many of the scars were a result of John's imprisonment. Aeryn, being Aeryn, blamed herself. She was sure that if she had only stayed with John that she could have prevented his capture by the Scarrans. As she and John dressed, Aeryn admired the view as John pulled his tee shirt over his head.
John tugged his shirt down and saw Aeryn smiling, and smiled in return. Almost before John realized what was happening, Aeryn was in his arms and began to remove John's shirt, but she stopped when they heard a loud knocking on the door.
John groaned, and Aeryn sighed softly, then said, "Give us a moment, please," as she smoothed and straightened John's tee shirt. John cupped Aeryn's face in his hands and gave her one last kiss, then took a step back. He picked up Aeryn's jacket and moved behind her.
John's voice was rough as he said "I guess Toshi managed to get that call through," as he helped Aeryn put on her jacket. After Aeryn shrugged her shoulders into the jacket, John gathered her long black tresses in his hands and freed her hair from the jacket. John inhaled, and reveled in the scent. "You're still scenting your hair for me," John said with a wicked grin and wrapped his arms around Aeryn's waist.
Aeryn placed her hands over John's, and relished the feeling of John kissing her neck. "What makes you think I did it for you?"
"Are you going to tell me you scented your hair for Lt. Marv?" John asked.
Just then the intercom buzzed. "Ambassador Crichton, President Lieberman is waiting to talk to you on the videophone. Should I tell him you're still, um, napping?" Toshi asked hesitantly.
Aeryn and John reacted as if they were teenagers caught making out on the sofa by one of their parents: they each quickly stepped back from each other. "We're on our way," John said quickly.
John couldn't believe what was happening. After six weekens of beating around the diplomatic bush with very little to show for it, John had actually heard the President of the United States say they wanted to join the Alliance. Of course, all the other countries on the planet needed to join the Alliance as well, as the Territorial Alliance would only consider taking a united Earth into its membership and not individual countries. The United Nations would play a key role in the coming days. Aeryn had only nodded her greeting to the kind-looking President, then let John work the "diplomacy schtick," as he called it. She admired how skillfully John handled the situation; as if he were trained from birth to be a diplomat, not the scientist he once was or the military leader he was forced to become.
"Yes, Mr. President, I can sign the preliminary agreement. Normally, such negotiations are handled by the diplomatic staff of Moya and must be agreed to by the representative council, but the leviathan isn't due to arrive for another two weekens-weeks, I mean," John said. "But for this situation, I have been granted the authority to sign any and all necessary treaties with Earth," Crichton said. He was more than relieved to make such progress, and to hear that Simpson had been dealt with. John was already planning the next two weeks: bring Aeryn to Maine to meet his family and DK, and spend as much time with the people he loved in between negotiations before the inevitable happened: his return to the Royal Planet and return to the Scarran war. John barely heard Aeryn's comm activate as he discussed the finer points of protocol with President Lieberman.
Aeryn spoke calmly into her comm "Please repeat that, Lt. Marv."
"Yes, Brigadier. A wormhole is forming about four hundred metras from the Zeuxis. We are unable to determine who is forming the wormhole, although the readings are similar to when we were sent through the wormhole by the Scarrans," Lt. Marv answered.
Aeryn stepped away from John and Toshi; she didn't want to alarm them yet. Luckily, they were both paying attention to the videophone. "Full Alert and battle stations, Lt.," Aeryn spoke quietly but with command. "Maneuver the Zeuxis between the wormhole and the Space Station, launch two squadrons of Prowlers, and have everyone prepared to shoot to kill if it is indeed the Scarrans that come through. Keep this comm open."
"Yes, Brigadier," Lt. Marv said, confident that no matter what came through the wormhole, Brigadier Sun would know the best way to handle it.
Aeryn thought it was time to inform the others of the wormhole, before their own inferior scanners detected anything. "John, you should know that a wormhole is opening up near here. I've ordered the Zeuxis into position to 'greet' whatever may come through it," she said in a calm voice.
Toshi, the only member of the ISS crew with translator microbes, was non-plussed. "You mean, a wormhole is opening up and you don't know who's making it?"
Over the videophone, John could see panic setting in on quite a few faces, although President Lieberman seemed to be taking it in stride. "Now, just relax everybody. It isn't necessarily a threat, but if it is, the Zeuxis can handle it," John said, and he hoped that it was true. Aeryn had told him that many repairs were done with whatever they could get their hands on, and would not withstand an all-out attack.
Aeryn spoke quickly. "John, tell your president that I consider Earth a member of the Alliance, and that my crew will do all that we can to protect Earth if necessary." Brigadier Sun then returned her attention back to her comm.
"Katie, honey, wake up," Leslie sad in a soothing voice as she wrapped her arms around Katie. "You're just having a bad dream."
Katie tried to control her sobs. "Granddad, where is he? I saw the Scarrans shoot Granddad and the agents."
went to Washington after you went to sleep. Granddad is OK, sweetie. The
Scarrans didn't shoot anyone."
"No, sir - it's too far away," he replied.
"Can we boost power to the¼" John began to ask
"The Zeuxis reports that a ship has exited the wormhole," Aeryn interrupted.
"Have they identified the ship?" asked John.
Aeryn reported. "Don't worry - it's Moya."
John quickly relayed the information through the videophone, then asked Toshi to take over on the videophone.
John took his comm out of his jacket pocket and turned it on. "Crichton to Moya, are you there?"
John heard Chiana's unmistakable squeal of delight, followed by "Crichton! Are you all right? How's Katie? And have you seen your family? And oh, wow, that's the Zeuxis - Aeryn's ship! We thought it was destroyed - what happened? Where's Aeryn? Is she OK?"
John couldn't help but laugh. "Whoa, Nellie, slow down, Pip! Katie's fine - she's having fun with my family, and she adores her granddad. Aeryn's on board the ISS with me and she's got a helluva story to tell you. Now I'm glad to see y'all, but why are you here two weekens early?" John asked.
"Oh, I had one of my hunches. I knew we had to come here, even if I didn't know why," Chiana said matter-of-factly.
"Well, I'm sure glad you did - Earth is ready to enter final negotiations, and I'd rather have y'all take care of it, seeing as it's become your specialty"