Fall from grace
"Zina, good, you're here." He did not look up from the desk. I would like your impression of this record. Bialar activated the holo imager. She watched in horror as the events outside bay 13 played out. Zina had altered the recorder records so there was no way the ship sensors would have recorded her actions. She looked back at Bialar, her eyes glossed over with tears. "Bialar, I did it for you. Mace was onto Jon and his ship. I couldn't let her hurt you. Where did you get that recording?"
"I see. You thought I couldn't handle that nosy bitch! I have been Captain of this ship for eight Cycles. I have come up against more formable adversaries than her. He stood and walked around his desk. "I am disappointed, Zina."
"Bialar… I am sorry…I wanted to tell you but there was no time."
"We won't speak of it again. I want you to have nothing more to do with that mess. It was a mistake to allow Tauvo to sway my opinion. " Bialar moved closer. "I got a report from Commander Sun two arns ago." A smile filled his face." She asked how I liked the Delvian. I think you have some explaining to do?"
Zina smiled at him. "I wanted to surprise you. I was going to give her to you at the end of my duty cycle." She laughed nervously.
Bialar mood darkened as he spoke. "What we you doing on the Leviathan?"
"Captain Cryton asked for a meeting. I knew you didn't want him back on board the Command Carrier, so I went aboard Moya." She became nervous at Bialar's tone.
Bialar stepped away from her. "I see. What did he want Zina?"
"He requested a fifteen arn crew rotation back to the Command Carrier, he…"
"And you said no?" Bialar's squinted slightly hoping she would say the correct answer.
"No… Commander Sun would remain to… Keep an eye on him." She lost her voice as she tried to defend her position. "I was quite impressed\, actually. He really is doing well…"
"You fool!" Bialar exploded. "When did the transfer take place? Don't you see he played you like the mindless soldier you are!"
Zina slipped back into her unemotional Peacekeeper mode. "Captain, if you would talk to him you would see he has changed."
Bialar's expression changed and he spoke calmly to her. "Zina, you have disappointed me." He walked back to his desk and keyed the com. "Command, have any transports from Moya docked in the last arn?"
"Yes Captain! Maintenance dock three."
Bialar looked back at Teeg.
"What does it mean?"
"John is here to get Tauvo. He is going to try and convince my brother to go with him!"
"How do you know this, Bialar?" Teeg cautiously move closer to him.
Bialar place his hand softly on Teeg's shoulders. "Zina, what am I going to do with you?" His had brushed her cheek slightly. She moved her hand to his side as if to pull him closer.
"Bialar, I am sorry I don't want anyone to…" Bialar's hand moved quickly up to her neck in one swift motion <Snap!> Her head rotated unnaturally to the side. Teeg's lifeless body fell to the floor. She had been the closest person in Bialar's life and she represented the greatest threat to him.
Bialar was about to call the guards. "No! I must do this on my own! No witnesses." He called Devon on his private link. "Devon, I have disposal for you. " Devon was the only one on the entire carrier who he could truly trust.
Devon was as unemotional as ever. "Very good, Captain, I am on my way."
Crais looked down at the lifeless body of his first officer. He was filled with regret. He realized that he did love her but there was no place for that here. Bialar headed for one final meeting with the strange human. Once John Crichton was gone there would be no threats to his or Tauvo's careers.
Zhaan opened her eyes. She had expected to see one of the guards and she was shocked that it was John! "By the Goddess! What are you doing here?"
"Well I ain't Luke Skywalker, and you aren't any princess, but I am here to save you." He smiled at the blue alien, grabbed her by the arm and pulled her towards the door.
"Where are we going?"
"Home." With that word it became clear that all the strong feelings, all the images, were pointing him in this direction. John was going home, but not the home he had envisioned. "Come on, Blue, there's no time. Follow me, and please try to act stoned, will you."
"Stoned? Like a rock? You are a strange being…"
"Drugged. Sedated, Ok?" He handed her a pulse rifle. " Take this and hide it in your robe. You do know how to use one, right?"
"I fear I know all to well."
Zhaan nervously and followed him out of the holding area. They walked down the corridor. As they passed the security guard John smiled as he said in a sly tone, "I'm going to take her for a little test drive." The guard just smiled and let them pass. "Rank has its privileges," John said quietly as they continued down the long corridor. They rounded the corner to the transport station. Waiting for a transport was Jessib who spotted John and called him over. John knew he would have to talk with him.
"Hey, Jon, what's this? Don't tell me you got her for stopping that Leviathan." He laughed loudly. John had noticed before that Jessib had two levels... loud and louder.
"No. I wish. She is a fine piece." John chuckled and nudged Jessib in the ribs.
Jessib broke out in laughter again. "Yes she is, isn't she? So how's command treating you?"
"It's ok. But I would rather have something
with a little kick!"
"True." John laughed fakely back.
The transport pulled to the station. John's luck appeared to be changing-that loudmouth was going in the opposite direction. John and Zhaan stepped up onto the transport.
Jessib yelled up to John. "Hey, we are meeting in the Rec in three arns."
John was about to respond when the transport pulled from the station. "Thank God!" John exhaled.
Zhaan looked at John. "A little test drive… Captain?" She grinned slightly at John. His face turned red. She found the reaction of color in his face to be humorous.
"Well we aren't out of the woods yet!" He spoke quietly to her. The others on the transport seemed to pay no attention to them
"Woods? I don't…"
"We are not safe yet!" John looked over his shoulder again. "These frelling translators are a pain in the ass."
Zhaan moved slightly closer. "I take it you believe my visions, Captain?"
John exhaled deeply. "Zhaan, I don't know what to believe, I am just making it up as I go." He smiled sadly at her.
The transport came to the maintenance alcove at the rear of the hangar. "This our stop C-mon!" They exited the transport and headed through the labyrinth of tunnels toward the hangar where Moya's transport pod sat. He drew his pulse gun and held it at his side. They moved quietly down the gangway.
John literally walked into Tauvo. "Jesus…Tauvo where did you come from?" John was still trying to slow his heartbeat as he spoke. John lowered his pulse gun.
Tauvo looked at the Delvian then back at John. "What are you doing, Jon?" In one smooth motion drew his pulse gun and aimed it at John's head.
John looked back over his shoulder then past Tauvo. It was time for the truth. "I am leaving. I am taking the Leviathan." John straightened expecting some reaction. He got none.
Tauvo just stared at his friend, his pulse gun lowered to his side. "Why?"
"Tauvo if I stay I'll die." He smiled at his friend. "I can't be what your people need me to be. You know that." John took a deep breath. "Come with us, Tauvo."
"No!" Tauvo had to break his stare of John and the Delvian. "I can't."
"You can!" John smiled his voice was louder then he had wanted. "You are no more at home here then I am. You're just better at fitting in."
"No, John! I will not hear anymore of your nonsense." He turned away from them and looked down the long dark corridor.
John took a step forward. "For once in your life ask yourself this question. What do you want, Tauvo?" John placed his pulse gun back in its holster. "Not what Bialar wants. Not what the Peacekeeper Central Command wants. What do you want?
"Jon." His eyes glossed over. "You cannot understand…this is my place. This is all that I can be."
"Here, yes! You are right." He looked over Tauvo's shoulder. They didn't have much time. "But you can come with us, you can choose your own future. You can be free."
"No, I cannot!" With his head lowered he started to walk away from John and the Delvian. "Go now, before they detect your plan."
He spun around and pointed his gun at John's head. "Last chance, frelling Human. Go! Now!" He stood there pointing his gun at them while his heart pounded in his chest.
Zhaan pulled John back towards the transport. "You tried, no one can ask anymore. His path is set in his own mind."
They reached the transport. Waiting for them was Bialar Crais.
"Captain Jon Cryton! What a surprise." Bialar smiled sickly at them. "Why didn't you tell me you were on board."
He raised his pulse gun. Bialar's smile widened. "You aren't that stupid, are you Jon?
John smiled abruptly. "I don't know-two to one, that's pretty good odds." Zhaan had pulled her pulse rifle from her robe and pointed at the Peacekeeper captain. "Bialar we are getting on that transport and are getting the hell out of here."
"I thought you had come for Tauvo." Bialar's seemed to be relieved at the realization that for some unknown reason John returned for the worthless Delvian.
"Look, you don't want me around. I am a risk to you and to Tauvo. I have all the flight data from my ship. When we are safely away, I will send all of it to you. I mean that's what you really want, isn't it?
"You think I will just let you go." His grinned widened. "And what will I tell Central command?"
"You will think of something, my brother." Tauvo walked slowly from the shadows of the corridor.
"What!" Bialar growled. "Tauvo, you aren't going with them?" he said as more of a plea than a question.
"No, Bialar. But I am here to make sure John does get away." Tauvo walked in front of John as a way of shielding him from Bialar.
"Tauvo, look at yourself. This is no way to act."
Tauvo did not take his eyes off Bialar as he spoke. "Jon, start walking to the transport pod." John maneuvered beside Tauvo. He watched Bialar as he adjusted his stance John could tell he was trying to get a clear shot.
"You must stop this, Tauvo! What has that human done to you?" Bialar's anger was consuming. How could his own flesh and blood be so corrupted by this alien! "Listen to me." Bialar took several steps toward his brother.
Tauvo raised his pulse gun. "Please, Bialar, stop! Jon must go!" His hand shook as he pointed the gun at his older brother.
"You would raise a weapon at me!" Bialar knew he could drop Tauvo without killing him. He could then dispatch the Human and the Delvian. He smiled as he thought what an addition John's head would make to his collection.
Tauvo knew with the eruption of Bialar's smile what he was planning. "No!" Tauvo yelled as he fired one shot at his brother. It struck Bialar in the leg. As he fell Bialar returned fire.
John shoved Zhaan through the hatch of the transport. "Get ready for take off!" He turned to see Bialar lying face down on the floor-unconscious or dead, he didn't know. Lying in front of John at the base of the transport ramp was Tauvo. "No, Tauvo!" John ran back down and dragged Tauvo into the pod. John's heart was pounding as he saw the trail of blood behind them as he pulled Tauvo through the hatch. John collapsed on the deck with his lifeless friend falling on top of him. "Zhaan get us out of here!" He yelled in desperation.
John laid Tauvo on the deck as the transport blasted from the carrier. He pulled the medikit from the storage bin. The pulse shot passed through the right side of Tauvo's chest. John could see by the wound that he was bleeding to death. John attempted to stop it with the medi seal patch. John watched helplessly as his friend slowly bled to death in front of him. "Why, you stupid Peacekeeper!"
Tauvo tried to talk but John could not make out what he was trying to say through the weak rattling coughs. A small trail of blood trickled from his mouth. Tauvo smiled at John. John sat on the deck next to him. He cradled Tauvo's head is his arms as Tauvo took his last raspy breath. With Tauvo's last breath John experienced his strongest flash of memory. He watched as the spinning prowler collided with the asteroid and was destroyed. "No!" John whispered as he sobbed quietly. He felt the gravity shift as they docked on Moya.
Devon rushed to his side. "It will be all right, Captain. You must rest." Devon injected the sedative into his arm. He watched as Bialar fell back into unconsciousness. "Why Bialar?" he expelled sadly.
Devon called to Lt. Braca, "he is over the worst of it."
"Did he say what happened, Tarf?"
"No sir, it will take time. I can confirm that it was repertory tissue from Tauvo on the floor of the hangar. The wound would have been massive to leave such traces." He paused... for the first time in his memory Devon had to compose himself. "Terminal injury I fear."
"What was Tauvo's involvement in all this, Tarf?
"I am certain he was protecting Bialar." Devon had a hard time with such a flagrant lie but he knew Tauvo must be dead. He only had Bialar to protect now.
"Very well, keep me posted."
"If I may ask ,sir. What are you going to do?"
"This Captain Cryton must be stopped. Trying to assassinate the captain and killing his brother. We will go after the Leviathan."
"Thank you Lieutenant Braca. Devon out!" He sat back in his chair. Devon had never felt so alone in his life. "Good luck, Jon!" He noticed a tear roll down his cheek. He touched it and looked at it on the end of his finger. "How strange!"
John swallowed hard. He found it difficult to speak. "Its okay, Zhaan, he's gone." Not looking up at her, he placed Tauvo's body carefully down on the deck of the transport.
When John reached the command tier, the huge Luxan was standing next to Aeryn. "Okay, Pilot, is Moya ready to starburst?"
Pilot's image appeared in the clamshell viewer. "Yes, Captain Cryton, but what of the control collar?"
John looked at Aeryn. He knew she was furious with him, but something drove her to believe that this insanity was right. She pulled her Identchip from her neck and moved next to John.
John placed his Identchip in the overseer console. "You know this is right, Aeryn." He looked down at her Identchip.
"You realize I am throwing my life away, and I have you to blame for it!" she said as she slammed her Identchip in the slot next to his. That comment, more then anything, made John feel like he was home. He smiled at her. They each placed their hands into the lock. There was a small rumbling sound coming from above them.
John's smile widened. "No, Aeryn, with this action you have set yourself free to be more."
The lock identified both of them and John slammed the release tile. The control collar slowly retracted its hold on the mighty Biomechanoid.
John turned to the holo image of Pilot. "Okay, Pilot, Moya is free."
"Thank you, Captain Cryton, Commander Sun, from both of us."
D'Argo stepped forward. "Enough with these pleasantries. Pilot, starburst. Now!"
With starburst John felt a sharp pain, dizziness, and a burning sensation in his lungs. He found it hard to breathe. Damn, it was hot. This was like no starburst, something was happening…
"John, what are you doing?" Aeryn called from the command tier.
"I am just coming back from the supermarket with a transport full of groceries, Ms Sun."
Aeryn was furious. She had given D'Argo strict orders regarding John's piloting abilities, and D'Argo had blatantly ignored them.
"Did D'Argo let you do this? I told that frelling Luxan I would have his mivonks on a platter if…John, you are not ready for this. Set your controls to remote and I'll pilot you up the rest of the way." There was silence. "John!" Aeryn's anger grew with his silence. "Don't play your stupid games, John."
Pilot appeared in the viewer. "We have lost signal lock with the transport."
Aeryn hit the planetary com. "D'Argo! Zhaan!" She looked up to Pilot "Where are they?"
D'Argo sounded distorted through the weak com signal. "Aeryn, I am here. Did John dock yet? I have not been able to contact him on the com.
"No, you frelling idiot! We have lost contact with the transport pod." She felt a sense of loss fill her stomach. Aeryn kicked over to full PK mode-emotions have no place now.
She looked at Pilot as if sensing what he was going to say.
"Aeryn! The pod! Moya says it's…it's dead!" Pilot had a stunned look on his face.
D'Argo became angered-he did not understand what was happening. "What's going on, Aeryn? Pilot, how does Moya know?"
"The pods are part of Moya. They are like her arms and she communicates with them continuously. That is why they cannot be out of communication for any period of time or they will cease to function on their own. "He stopped and raised slightly." Like when one's arm has been severed, it dies." He looked at Aeryn with all the pain that he felt.
D'Argo looked at the ground. He felt the shame from his actions of almost a cycle ago haunt him again. "I understand, Pilot. Aeryn, can you track the pod's trajectory?"
"That's what I've been doing." Her hands few across the control tiles as she tracked the pod. "It disappeared six metras Y - 097 by X - 000 from your location. I am coming down."
"Wait, Aeryn! You can't, its too hot. Pilot, she would never survive down here."
"I will stay in the transport pod. I will have Chiana take control up here."
"What about Crais? I don't want Chiana on Moya alone with him."
"At this point I don't care what you want, D'Argo. We wouldn't be in this situation if you hadn't let John fly the transport pod! I will take care of Crais. You find Zhaan and Rygel I haven't been able to contact them. "She slammed the com off and turned to leave.
"Good luck, Officer Sun."
Aeryn turned back to Pilot's image. "Don't worry, Pilot," she said, more as a reassurance to herself than to him. Aeryn flashed a pained smile. "Have Chiana meet me outside Crais's cell."
"She is on the way."
"Thank you, Pilot." Aeryn exited the command tier.
She met Chiana in front of Crais's cell. Aeryn opened the storage container and took out Peacekeeper security bands.
"What do you want me to do, Aeryn?"
"I am going down to look for John so you're going to have to watch Talyn and Moya while I am gone."
"Fine. But why are we here then?" Her head jogged into the direction of Captain Crais's cell.
"I'd like a little more security while I am off the ship." Aeryn raised the security bands. "On the floor Crais, Now!"
"As you like, Officer Sun." He smiled at her and moved from the edge of his bed down to his knees.
"All the way down." Aeryn raised he pulse gun slightly.
"I don't understand?" He lay down with his hands spread out to either side.
"No, you wouldn't, Bialar. Chiana, lock his arms behind him." Chiana moved into the cell and locked Crais's hands behind his back. "Now his feet." Aeryn handed Chiana the second set of restraints. Chiana flashed Aeryn a big smile as his legs were locked together. "Thank you, Chiana, you can go."
"Nah!" She smiled. "I want to stay and see what this is all about."
"You are now in command of Moya, I want you to go up to the Command." Chiana was going to argue, but for Aeryn to trust her with command she knew when to keep her mouth shut she headed towards Command.
"Now, Bialar. Please don't try anything while I am gone." Aeryn walked over to him and tightened the restraints on his arms. She took the final set of restraints and pulled his legs back locking them to his arms. Aeryn moved to the door and closed it behind her.
"I would say I am not going anywhere. I take it our friends have gotten into a little trouble down on the planet." He smiled. She ignored him as she walked down the tier. "I hope its not John, I'd hate to see anything happen to him."
Aeryn stopped in her stride. She did not look back at Crais. "John was right, you haven't changed." She felt a heavy feeling in her chest as she spoke. "If he is dead, there is no one here to stop me from killing you." She turned back at Bialar long enough for him to see her expression.
He smiled sickly at her. "Don't you think that Talyn might have something to say about that?"
Just his mention of Talyn's name burned deep in her soul. Aeryn returned the sick smile. "Don't you think he would have acted already if he had a problem with us? Remember it was his idea for you to come for a little visit!" Aeryn turned and headed for the hangar bay.
He struggled to free himself from the wreckage; He was pinned under what was left of the flight control and a large tree limb. As he became resigned to the fact he wasn't going anywhere, it started. The memories he had previously only had flashes of all poured back to him at once. With a terrified scream John's mind gave in to the bliss of unconsciousness.
Aeryn flew over the dense canopy of the jungle, having set up a standard search pattern. The pod had disappeared relatively close to the city, but there was no sign of it. D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel had hired ground transport and were heading toward the last known position of John's pod. They followed a small pillar of smoke that was coming from the hillside ahead. Aeryn still couldn't see it. As they closed on the site it was obvious the pod had come in a low angle it traveled almost a metra before imbedding into a hillside. They all called to John but there was no answer. D'Argo and Zhaan pulled at the wreckage trying to reach the control deck. As they tunneled throughout the wreckage. Rygel flew over the nose of the ship and found he could climb in through the shattered remains of the center view plate transparencies.
Rygel looked at John's lifeless body he had not felt like this in a long time. As nervousness descended into true concern Rygel climbed down the tree trunk that penetrated through the central view plates. Rygel climbed up on to the humans chest and stuck his face near John's. He felt the strange warmth on his ear. He shouted into his com. "He's alive!" Rygel laughed loudly as if to relieve the fear of losing the one member of the crew that cared for him. "Hurry the Hezmana up, it looks like he is pinned in." Rygel smiled at the strange man. " You are a lucky profacto, John Crichton!"
"Well its nice to see you too, Fluffy!" John said hoarsely. Rygel broke out in laughter again. John smiled at the hysterical Hynerian. "It's scary to say, Rygel, but you are a sight for sore eyes." John laid back, his week laughter slowly turning to a sobbing. It took all John's strength to fight the spiraling depression that assaulted him. He did not speak to any of them on the return trip to Moya. John was not going to tell them what happened. He didn't believe it himself until D'Argo spotted the Talus. John knew he had some explaining to do…
"Its not that we don't believe you, John." Zhaan looked at him with pity. She knew he had been through so much in the past cycle. "Its just that you were missing for less than four hundred microts."
"Then how do you explain this?" He turned slightly and pulled at his ponytail.
"You tell her, Aeryn, tell her what this means." John noticed his voice was quite loud compared to theirs. OK, chill. Relax, it's not a big deal. You're back…
Aeryn squinted slightly at John. She was beginning to have questions herself, but John didn't need that now. He needed a supporter. "Zhaan, you are familiar with the different physical affirmations that we use to show loyalty to our regiment and our leaders.
"Yes, like the eye makeup and the tattoos."
Aeryn stood up from the table and walked over to John. She turned him sideways and looked at the short, tightly wrapped ponytail. It was definitely PK; she looked back at Zhaan. "Who do you know? Who has a ponytail like this?" It was obvious to Aeryn by the look on Zhaan's face that she, in John's words, "got it!"
"The officers of the Command Carrier, as a sign of respect, wear the Talis." She turned back to John looking at him closely. "You are lucky, John, that you were not in Stelleck Regiment. They do facial branding."
"Look -- at this point I don't care if you believe me or not, I am just glad to be… home." John physically shuddered with those words.
D'Argo, who had remained quiet during Zhaan's little talk, finally spoke. "John, I believe you. I think we all have seen too many strange things to take what you say happened as not true." He stared seriously at the group.
"Thanks!" he tried to return the smile but failed in the attempt. "I gotta get some rest. We can pick up this interrogation later."
Zhaan stood. "It's not an interrogation, John, we are concerned." She moved over to him. You had low-level decompression and suffered a concussion in the crash of the transport. It could all be some type of brain damage. John, your physiology is different from the data spools we have here on Sebacean anatomy."
"Ya, too bad we didn't have Tarf's AutoDoc."
"Who? Who did you say John?" Aeryn had not heard that name in a long time.
"Devon Tarf, Private doctor to Captain Bialar Crais, although mad scientist would be a more appropriate name." He smiled as he thought back at the cranky old man who gave him his freedom.
Aeryn looked to Zhaan and D'Argo. They were obviously unfamiliar with the name. Aeryn face erupted in a smile that brightened the center chamber. "You knew Tarf?" All reservations she had about John's story dissolved at that instant. She turned back to Zhaan again. "John was there. He would have no way of knowing Tarf otherwise."
John's smile widened as the last bits of disbelief evaporated from Aeryn's face. It occurred to John…the AutoDoc. "Aeryn, do you know what the scars from the AutoDoc look like?
"Yes, of course. You know the one on my…" She stopped talking in mid sentence, embarrassed at her slip.
John stared at Zhaan as he pulled the collar of his t-shirt to the side, exposing the AutoDoc scar. "Tell me, Zhaan, when did I get this?"
Zhaan was speechless as she stared at the pink remains of a laser scalpel incision. "I am sorry for doubting your story, John."
"That's OK, Blue. Sometimes I don't think I believe it myself." He laughed strangely as he turned and headed from the center chamber. Or was that the galley.
Zhaan looked at D'Argo with that all-too-worried expression. D'Argo stood and walked next to her. "I fear he is walking on the edge."
"He is stronger than you think. John has the heart of a warrior, he will survive."
Aeryn turned back to the two them. "He might have the heart of a warrior, but he doesn't have the training. I am in agreement with Zhaan, he is like a pulse rifle with its chamber compression set to high. It might work for a while, but sooner or later it is-he is going to blow."
This analogy struck D'Argo. How different he
and Aeryn were from the rest of them. How sadly true her prediction was. "Then
we will be there for him, if it comes to that."
John walked past his quarters he knew he had one more act to complete. He headed for Bialar Crais's cell.
John rounded the corner. He saw him, just sitting waiting. " Welcome back John, they were worried about you." He projected that now famous fake smile.
John stood in front of the cell door staring at this pitiful man. At that moment John realized that Bialar had become through his own actions what John had been when he arrived here. Bialar was alone! "All alone in the universe!" John whispered aloud.
"Is there a reason you are here?" Bialar seemed to be disturbed by John's silence.
John turned away from Bialar's stair. " I am sorry Bialar I tried to save him." John expelled a sick laugh that died into a whisper. "I really did!"
"Who? Crichton I don't know what happened and frankly I…" Bialar saw the ponytail. "A Talus… What the frell is going on Crichton?" The anger rose in Crais. "What is this game! Crais's voice rose to a scream.
"Tauvo!" John turned back to face Bialar. "I tried to save him but I…" Johns tried to think of something to say. "I am sorry." John reached out to the lock next to the door. The doors parted John stood to the side to allow Crais to leave. John's stare was uninterrupted by his actions. His stare passed through Bialar as if he wasn't there. "Go!"
"What kind of game are you playing Crichton?"
John did not move. "Go Bialar! I give you your freedom."
He stood and walked to the doorway he peered past the human to see if this was some sort of trick. "Why are you doing this?" Bialar spat.
"I do this for Tauvo." He turned slightly to look at Bialar. "As a favor to him." John turned back to the empty cell. "Talyn is waiting for you. There is a transport pod ready in bay two." John stood staring into the empty cell. The others would learn soon of what he did. "They won't understand." He laughed slightly. "They can't understand." John turned and slowly headed back to his quarters.
"What!" D'Argo stormed in to command.
Chiana looked up from the console. "The transport already docked with Talyn. Pilot, can Moya contact Talyn?"
"She has been in contact since his arrival. She says that Talyn is preparing to leave."
D'Argo barked at the holographic image. "Who is on that transport?"
Pilot looked up at D'Argo. "Crais."
Chiana looked back to D'Argo. "How could he escape?"
"He couldn't without help," D'Argo growled.
Chiana looked back at Rygel. "Point those beady eyes elsewhere. I have been here with you since we got back from the planet." He floated higher.
D'Argo sighed. "No, it wasn't Rygel."
"Then who?" Chiana's head bobbed slightly as she asked the question.
Aeryn and Zhaan walked up behind them. Aeryn looked at Zhaan. "Crichton!"
Chiana and Rygel looked at Aeryn. Chiana stammered, "have you gone frelling fahrbot or something? Crichton would never let Crais go." Aeryn looked back at Zhaan as if she would be better suited to explain what happened to him. They all watched as Talyn starburst. The transport pod sat stationary in the viewer.
"I will go and speak to him," D'Argo said in an unusually calm tone.
"No, D'Argo, I'll go." Aeryn turned and walked quickly out of command.
D'Argo understood that John did not need his lecture at this point. Softly D'Argo spoke again. "I'll retrieve the transport pod."
"I will come with you." Chiana followed the Luxan from command.
Rygel floated up next to Zhaan. "What's going on, Zhaan?" His spoke nervously. "What happened to John?"
She looked at Rygel with pity. "I don't know,
Rygel." Zhaan's pained and worried expression changed into a slight smile. "Do I
detect a bit of concern for John?"
Zhaan did not turn back she looked down at the central console. "I just don't know."
Reflections of regret
John looked at the Peacekeeper vest and Long overcoat lying neatly on his bed. "Great! Just great!" He thought back to his comments to Zina. "They say I look good in…" His voice trailed off.
"Would you rather have stayed there, John?"
His distant stare slowly found her. "It doesn't matter, here or there, Tauvo is still dead. Killed by my actions."
"John, don't you think that maybe this is a sign that, regardless of your actions, you couldn't save Tauvo?"
"You're not getting religious on me now are you, Aeryn?" He smiled slightly.
"No, I am not." She moved down to be face to face with him. "But I think you are blind, John. Blind to the fact that, here or there, you helped save people who didn't know they needed saving." She smiled at him. "For that, I would say thank you." Her eyes became glossy. She stood and started to walk from his quarters.
"Thank you, Aeryn Sun."
She stopped and turned back to him. "Don't mention it."
A smile grew across John's face. "Why would I ever mention it?" He watched Aeryn turn and exit his quarters. John got up, walked into his recycle room and looked at himself in the mirror. He realized he had loss something in the past year. John was not the man he was when he arrived here. He turned his head slightly to look at the tightly wrapped ponytail. He picked up the shears and cut it off, then he placed the shears back on the storage case and walked back into his quarters. He placed the ponytail with the few belongings he had. John looked at it for a long time. "Good bye, Tauvo, my friend." John turned and left his quarters. He wanted to rejoin his friends, his family, on Moya.
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