Part 2

Planet 2063 Yankee

Getting a better look into the cell, D'Argo raised his qualta blade again. As he prepared to fire, the Luxan warrior said, "Oh, frell! Peacekeepers! This is a trap!"

John Crichton and Aeryn Sun quickly raised their pulse rifles and aimed into the cell.

Chiana stepped forward and said, "Don't shoot - they're not Peacekeepers, or even Sebacean - they are human!"

Ka D'Argo and Aeryn Sun each looked to John Crichton. Being the only human in the Uncharted Territories, he was the expert on them. Both were surprised to see a look of disbelief on his face.

Behind Chiana, a petite brunette said to her companions "Human? Did she just say human?" and to the gray girl, she asked, "How do you know our species?"

The gray girl just pointed to the man dressed in black leather, and said simply, "Human."

'Well, I can see that,' Shane thought to herself, and wondered what a civilian was doing in the middle of a combat zone. On closer inspection, however, he didn't seem much like a civilian - he knew his way around that weapon, whatever it was. 'Maybe he's a deserter?' she thought to herself.

"If it's true, John, you may be closer to home than you ever dreamed," D'Argo said softly. Aeryn Sun's expression didn't change much, but John could swear he saw some kind of emotion in her eyes - it was the first time since Aeryn returned to Moya that she let the mask drop, even if temporarily.

Shane saw the man look at the gray girl as he said, "Don't believe it for a minute, Pip. You know my planet doesn't have interstellar travel, yet. This has gotta be some kind of twisted plan of Scorpy's," he said, never lowering his gun. "Chiana, Jool, leave the cell now. The Peacekeepers and I are going to exchange information."

McQueen had had just enough of this. "Mister, I don't know what you are talking about. United Nations forces haven't been called Peacekeepers since 2012, when the UN constitution was ratified. We've been called United Earth Forces ever since." The injured man struggled to stand up - extremely difficult, since he only had one leg. One of the other Peacekeepers, as John still thought of them, rushed over to aid her comrade in arms. The silver-haired man continued,

"I'm Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius McQueen, of the United States Marine Corps, this is Captain Shane Vansen," he nodded to indicate the woman helping him stand, "Lt. Vanessa Damphousse, and Corpsman Joe Murphy." McQueen indicated a young man in his early twenties, with fear and shock in his eyes. "And who are you, and how are you able to understand what the others say?"

John Crichton was clearly stunned. "'Since 2012?' You expect me to believe that you guys are Marines? From Earth?"

Then, to D'Argo, he added, "The time difference is a nice touch, but I've been through too many alien interrogations to think this is for real," with disgust. Crichton half-expected Harvey to come out and play next.

An exasperated McQueen said, "Of course we're from Earth - where else would we be from?"

Crichton shook his head. "I don't believe it," he said again. "If this isn't Scorpy messing with my mind again, maybe it's the Scarrans," he added, in a softer voice. 'It's hot enough for it,' Crichton supposed.

Chiana and Jool looked at each other. "Hey, old man. I didn't believe it at first, either. But according to Jool, they can't possibly be Sebacean."

Jool, who was standing with her arms crossed, walked toward John and said, "It's true. I can't prove to you that they are human without doing scans on Moya, but the very fact that they have survived for days on this planet without going into heat delirium should prove to you that they aren't Sebacean. And if we stay much longer, I fear Aeryn may develop it."

John quickly lowered his weapon and spun around to look at Aeryn. She looked uncomfortable, but whether it was from the heat or the conversation, John couldn't tell. Without taking her eyes off of the occupants of the cell or lowering her weapon, she said: "I'm fine. The heat hasn't gotten to me, yet. What do you want us to do with them?" Aeryn still couldn't bring herself to use his name.

Jool answered, even though she knew the question wasn't directed at her. "Bring them back to Moya for medical treatment, of course! Have you found the transport pod, and if so, can it be fixed?"


Aeryn knew where to find Crichton. She didn't want to fetch him, but Jool was busy with the "marines," Chiana was preparing dinner, D'Argo was cloistered in his ship, and she had no idea where Rygel was.

In a stern voice she said, "You turned your comm off."

John couldn't look at her, so just kept on tinkering with the Farscape module as he replied: "Yeah, people do that when they don't want to be disturbed." He knew that it came out harsher than he meant it. Truth be told, of all the people on Moya, he only wanted to talk to Aeryn, but knew she wasn't ready for that yet.

Aeryn was confused. "You don't sound happy," she said. Aeryn still couldn't make eye contact with the "other" Crichton. "Why are you here, working on your module? I would think you'd want to spend more time with people from your homeworld," she continued in a strained voice.

"Home? I'm still sixty cycles late! And all this stuff about Silicates, in vitroes, and the Chig War doesn't sound like Earth to me, at least not an Earth I can consider home." Crichton's pain was evident, but Aeryn did not know what to say.

"You're forgetting the most important thing, John," Harvey, the neural clone of Scorpius, interjected. He was wearing his usual black leather dungeon master outfit, but wore a baseball hat with the IASA logo on it.

John turned his head abruptly. "Go away, Harvey! I don't have time for you now!" John hissed in reply. Aeryn only raised an eyebrow.

Harvey continued: "Wormholes, John! Your planet has harnessed wormhole technology and uses it for interstellar travel. Just think, you no longer need to figure it out for yourself - humans already have the most desired technology in the universe! It's ironic, isn't it? Your species is clearly inferior to almost every other known to the Peacekeepers, and yet humans have developed this technology before us? It's time to let Scorpius in on the secret, don't you think?"

"No, I don't! Now, get outta here," Crichton said as he finished packing away the tool kit. Aeryn had stood silently while Harvey "visited." Crichton turned to her and demanded "What? No caustic remark, Ms. Sun? Aren't you going to tell me I'm mentally defective, or fahrbot, or the most bizarre creature you've ever encountered?"

The former Peacekeeper said nothing at first, making Crichton wish for any other kind of reaction - even a Pantak jab would be preferable to this. Eventually, Aeryn said "Why are you so angry with ME? I don't know what your invisible friend said to you, but aren't you glad for the chance to go home?"

"Earth hasn't been my home for a long time, and you know it. My father is dead now, and chances are my sisters and DK are, too. Even if they're alive, they probably wouldn't remember me. Except to visit their graves, there's no reason for me to go to Earth now. It's been sixty cycles-hell, the talking apes are probably getting ready to take over right about now."

Aeryn thought to herself, 'why can't you go home to Earth and leave me alone? You are a living ghost, haunting me every microt.' She finally gave the message she had been sent to deliver: "Jool wants you to go to the med lab - she thinks the 'marines' need to see a familiar species when they wake up."

She marched out of the hangar and returned to her quarters.


John Crichton strode through the corridors back to Jool's lab, alone. Now more than ever he needed Aeryn. And, just as it had been since she returned to Moya, Aeryn was as far from him as she could get. 'She might as well have gone with Crais on the reconnaissance mission for Scorpy's command carrier,' Crichton thought to himself.

Jool insisted on bringing the silicate with them - Crichton didn't understand, until he and Jool cracked the AI's databases. There was a wealth of information in there - Jool had more detailed information about human anatomy and medical treatment than John could ever provide, and John himself was able to piece together approximately sixty years of Earth's history: the CC War, the Infertility Plague, the AI Rebellion, and finally the Chig War. In the middle of it all, Earth harnessed the power of wormholes to travel among the stars. 'On the plus side, I'm no longer unique in the universe,' Crichton thought sardonically.

Moya-Med Lab

Col. McQueen woke up first. He sat up on the table, and inspected his wounds. He found that they were almost completely healed. 'Okay, that means either they've got really good doctors, or I've been unconscious for a lot longer than I thought.' He looked around, and saw Vansen, Damphousse, and Murphy. He was surprised to also see the AI, Elroy, although it was in pieces. Not as many pieces and not as small as he'd like, but at least it was no longer a threat.

"Colonel, just where are we?" Corpsman Murphy asked. Just three weeks out of training, he still had the "deer caught in the headlights" look in his eyes.

When McQueen first woke up, he hoped to find himself back on the USS Saratoga, or at least a ship whose design he recognized. But this ship - smooth, curved walls that almost seemed to pulse with life-he had never seen anything like it. "I have no idea, Corpsman. All I know is that the two aliens that were in the cell with us seem to have good intentions. Let's just hope that they let us contact the Saratoga," he said in a low, firm voice.

Murphy nodded his head. "I hope you're right, Colonel." Murphy inspected their surroundings. "Get a load of this place - it's not anything like the Saratoga," he said, staring up at the curved ceiling. He was lost in his reverie, when he heard Lt. Damphousse's scream.

"What the hell is that?"

John's train of thought was derailed when he heard the scream from the med lab. After he made the final turn in the corridor, he followed Chiana and Jool into the room.

Lt. Vanessa Damphousse had screamed, "What the hell is that?" as she sat up on her gurney, while Captain Shane Vansen had Rygel in what appeared to be a half Nelson. The young medic stood wide-eyed in fright, while the older man looked on, unable to move because of his missing leg.

"You may be the smallest marine I ever served with Vansen, but I think you can take him," he said with a rare smile.

Vansen looked up at her commanding officer and smiled. "Thanks for the vote of confidence, sir."

Chiana came forward and took Rygel from the human woman. "This? This is a snurching little slug!" she said as she forced Rygel to empty his pockets. Four sets of dog tags, some packs of gum, a pack of cigarettes, a small comb, and other similar items fell out.

Rygel, naturally, took offense at the remark, and to the search. Before settling back into his throne sled, the Hynerian drew himself up to his full height-all two feet- and proclaimed "I am Rygel XVI, dominar-"

"To over 600 billion subjects!" John, Chiana, and Jool finished for him.

John continued. "Save it, Sparky-no one even cares if you're master of your own domain." Crichton stood with his arms crossed. "Please forgive the toad here, he has a nasty habit of 'procuring' things he thinks might be valuable," Crichton said as Chiana handed him the 'loot.'

"Yeah, like I said- his lowness likes to snurch stuff!" Chiana added.

McQueen asked Chiana, "How is it that we can understand you now-is there a computer translating?"

Crichton closed his eyes and held a hand to his forehead. "Oh, no, Jool-you didn't inject them with translator microbes, did you?"

Vansen and Damphousse echoed, "Translator microbes?" and looked to McQueen, who shrugged his shoulder.

Jool sighed and answered Crichton. "Of course I did! How else could we understand each other? You know they're harmless!" Jool shook her curls in emphasis.

"Yeah, WE all know they're harmless, but the military doctors that will find them don't know that! They'll be in quarantine forever."

Jool retorted: "You might have mentioned that earlier."

"So, you intend to let us go?" McQueen asked.

John turned from Jool and addressed the marines. "Well, of course we do! Jool just needed time to patch all of you up first. And, you have to tell us where to bring you." Crichton returned the dog tags to the four marines. He realized that he hadn't introduced himself, or the others yet. "I'm Commander John Crichton, the sneak thief is Rygel, former ruler of the Hynerian Empire, the good-looking girl in gray is Chiana, and girl with curls and killer abs is Jool, who by the way saved all of your lives."

The corpsman couldn't take his eyes off of Jool. If they remade "I Dream of Jeannie" with a Goth genie, she'd wear Jool's outfit: black halter-top and a barely there slit-skirt, also in black. Nice thigh-high boots, too. "If Navy doctors looked like you, I would've enlisted a lot sooner!" he said. Vansen rolled her eyes - whether over Murphy's statement, or Jool's outfit, only she knew for sure.

The petite brunette stepped forward and said, "I'm Captain Shane Vansen, United States Marine Corp. Are you a deserter and how the hell did you get all the way out here?"

Crichton laughed. "And Jool says you're not a PK! You sure sound like one. OK, let's start over," he said as he extended his hand. "I'm Commander John Crichton, from IASA. I launched the Farscape 1 from the space shuttle Collaroy in 2002, and was sent through a wormhole. That was either three years ago, or 62 years ago, depending on your perspective."

Capt. Vansen shook the offered hand automatically, and tried to process the information.

Lt. Damphousse walked forward, her skepticism clear in her expression. "That's impossible. We didn't know anything about wormholes in 2002. Dr. Eckerly didn't conduct his experiment until 2014."

"Don't know who Eckerly is, and it doesn't mean they didn't exist. However it was created, I went through a wormhole. Until today, I thought I only traveled a vast distance-didn't think I'd gone through time, as well." John paused, giving his audience time to absorb the information. 'Of course, I shoulda known better than to think the universe finally handed me a break,' he thought to himself. "If I can figure out the time differential equation, I may be able to open up a wormhole and go back to 2002," he said to himself, but Jool overheard.

"Oh, yes, because the last time you traveled back in time, it worked out spectacularly well!" she whispered to him. To the marines, she said: "If you don't believe Crichton, you can go look at his module. It's very primitive - you'd never think it was air-worthy, much less space-worthy."

Chiana interjected. "That can wait until after dinner! I was coming down here to let you know the food was ready, anyway!"

Jool spoke as she walked to Col. McQueen's bedside. "Captain Vansen, Lt. Damphousse, and Corpsman Murphy, the three of you are ready for solid food. But unfortunately, you're not, Col. McQueen. You can have some cantala tea, a food cube or two, perhaps some ration crackers, but not more than that, I'm afraid."

The three other marines looked concerned, but McQueen's expression was unreadable. "Why is that?" he asked.

Jool spoke in a low voice, so only McQueen could hear. Her instincts told her that he was a very private individual. "Oh, there's nothing wrong with your digestive system. You still require further operations, and I've found that humans with full stomachs don't react well to anesthesia," she explained. "In fact, we can discuss your further treatment now if you like - the sooner the better."

McQueen nodded. "It's OK, the rest of you go on to dinner."

"Yes, sir," Shane and Vanessa said simultaneously.

Murphy looked sheepish. "Um, before we do, can anyone tell me where the nearest john is?"

'Oh, no' Crichton thought to himself as he raised a hand to his forehead. 'They're never going to let me live this down.'

Chiana moved her head from side to side as she glared at Murphy. "Are you blind? Crichton's right there," she said as she waved a hand towards John.

Vansen smirked. "You're in the Navy now, Murphy-it's called 'the head.'"

Rygel harrumphed. "Human foolishness and idiocy! Your head is still attached, young man!" he exclaimed as he steered his throne sled towards the door.

'Might as well get this over with,' Crichton thought to himself. "He means 'the toilet.'" Crichton waited for it. Jool at least tried to hide her giggling, Chiana laughed outright, and Rygel guffawed.

"You mean to tell me that you are named after the waste facilities?" Rygel asked. "You must have been a terrible disappointment to your parents!" he said through laughter.

"Can we just go to dinner?" Crichton said as he threw his hands up in exasperation. To no one in particular, he said, "The one Earth expression I was careful to avoid! I'm never going to hear the end of this!"

Center Chamber

Damphousse inhaled and said, "Is that real food I smell?"

Murphy looked at the table laden with various dishes. "I don't recognize anything, but it's gotta be better than C-Rations or MREs."

"Nice mess hall," Vansen said as they entered the center chamber.

Chiana pointed to the marine. "Did she just call this place messy?"

D'Argo was already inside. "And I thought Crichton was a barbarian when he first arrived. At least he never insulted us when offered him hospitality." The Luxan was not in a good mood. He tried to be happy for his human friend, who could now go home, but it only reminded D'Argo of the family and home that he had lost.

Crichton joined D'Argo. "No no no, D'Argo-it's an Earth military expression. It just means dining room, she wasn't trying to insult anyone," Crichton explained. 'Now I know how I sound to everyone else on Moya,' he added to himself. "Hey everyone, this is Ka D'Argo. D'Argo, I think you remember everyone from yesterday morning."

Shane stopped in her tracks. She hadn't realized how one offhand comment could be misinterpreted, even with translator microbes. "Sorry, sir, no offense meant," she said.

D'Argo smiled. "Understood, Captain Vansen. It's always nice to meet a fellow warrior," he said as they took their seats, and passed the various dishes around the table: shelak, crispy grolack, shakloom, smoked prongo, jikset root, and Sebacean mint stew. Crichton quickly described each dish to their guests.

"What-no marjoules?" Rygel complained as he crammed another handful of shakloom into his mouth.

Chiana, D'Argo, and Crichton grimaced. "No, Rygel, no one else likes marjoules. And there's no cholian curd salad, either," Chiana said as she passed the Raslak pot, then the pitcher of fellip nectar.

As at many dinner parties, the conversation ebbed and flowed, and covered a variety of subjects. At times, everyone at the table talked about the same subject, and at other times, there were two or three separate conversations going on.

…Murphy couldn't breathe. "Is it supposed to be like that?" he gasped.

"Of course! D'Argo replied. "The hotter the raslak, the better! Here, have another!" he said as he refilled his own cup, slammed the cup on the table top, and knocked it back in one gulp. Murphy did the same.

"…You mean, you can see the future, too?" Chiana asked Vanessa. "How far into the future do you see?"

Vanessa frowned. "Well, I don't really see the future - I just know when someone's going to die. I wish I didn't, though."

"Well, I can see why you wouldn't want that particular knowledge, but don't you still find it helpful-so you can prevent the deaths?" the Nebari asked.

Vanessa shrugged. "People don't always believe me, so I don't bring it up much. I mean, unless I think I can make a difference."

Chiana nodded in agreement. "I know what you mean about people not believing you. I usually only see microts into the future, so it's not always enough time to warn people. Or, if there is time, I don't know exactly when the bad thing is going to happen, so I'm not ready to change it…"

…Murphy asked for another refill, slammed the cup on the tabletop, and drank it.

Crichton took pity on the kid. "Hey, take it easy on the raslak, Murphy. You won't realize how much of it you had until tomorrow morning, when you wake up with a hangover the size of a command carrier." It was a lesson Crichton learned the hard way.

Murphy leaned closer to Crichton. "They think I'm an FNK," he whispered conspiratorially to Cricthon. "Don't worry, I can handle my alcohol…"

…Rygel was aghast. "Democracy? It can't work," he said to Captain Vansen. "Why, without a royal court, how can you have a court jester? I always needed my jester to amuse me before I passed new laws."

Vansen replied, "You had your court jester, our President has Congress." Crichton almost choked on his stew.

"…Where's the other one?" Vanessa asked.

"Who?" Chiana asked.

"The woman-other human," she said, trying not to glance at Crichton. She didn't like the weird aura she saw around him. It wasn't the same kind of aura she saw on someone who was about to die. It was as if he already died, or should be dead. Vanessa shook her head, an blamed the strange thoughts on the fellip nectar. "Did they have a fight, or something?"

Chiana turned serious for a moment. "Or something. She pretty much keeps to herself these days - she's still mourning for someone. Just let it go, alright?"

…Murphy got to his feet, but he was none too steady. "I'm not an FNK, not anymore!" he proclaimed, then drained his fourth serving of raslak, tilting his head back to get every last drop. Murphy lowered the cup from his lips, asked, "See?" and immediately fell backwards, unconscious.

Med Lab

Jool wanted to get this over with as soon as possible - she wanted to get to the center chamber before Rygel ate or stashed all of the wamelon cake. Unlike her homeworld, sweets were few and far between in the Uncharted Territories, and she didn't know when they'd find another commerce planet with a decent confectioners shop.

The Interion began. "Col. McQueen, about your treatment. The surgical reconstructors have repaired your broken ribs, clavicle, femur and tibia, and I've patched up the rest of your injuries-both recent and long-term, and now-"

McQueen, sitting up in the gurney, interrupted. "Long-term? What do you mean?"

Jool beetled her brow. "Why, the damage to your reproductive system, of course! Yes, you see, I had no idea how long you were kept prisoner, and-do you mean to tell me that that clumsy excuse for a vasectomy was your idea?"

McQueen was dead silent for a moment, and an icy look flashed in his eyes. "So, I can now have children naturally-without artificial insemination?" he asked in a calm voice that masked his inner turmoil.

McQueen raised a hand to Jool. "Thank you, Ms. Hovalis. You're right, that wasn't my idea. Our doctors couldn't repair the damage, - well, thank you," he said, the strain barely audible in his voice. 'Too late to save my marriage,' he thought to himself.

Jool regained composure. "Yes, well, as I said - your continuing treatment. I'd like to work on an artificial leg for you, but I need your approval, considering the source of the limb."

Puzzled, McQueen merely echoed, "Source?"

Jool took a deep breath. "I'd like to use the leg from the silicate."

Next : Part Three

Previous : Part One

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