"Itís the way of the
peacekeepers, Crichton." Aeryn responded, annoyed.
"Yea, well, seems to me that they are way
too quick to off their personnel."
"As I told you, it preserves the integrity of
the forces. Itís a policy that keeps them strong."
"Strong? More like brainwashed."
"Brainwashed?" "Yea, brainwashed. Fed propaganda
from the moment they get their hands on you."
"Crichton, peacekeepers donít just live a
way of life, they ARE the military."
"I guess so. You are right, but I still donít
understand how you can be so for an organization that will off you
in a microt. For no real reason."
"Itís the peacekeeper way."
"Doesnít make it right, Aeryn. You werenít
irreversibly contaminated. Yet Crais was quite happy to eradicate
you." "It was the choice of my commander. He decided I was so I must
have been." "Itís blind devotion." John had to add. "Itís unwavering
"Whatever." John, like Aeryn, had grown tired of
the argument. The boredom of the their trip back from the Commerce
planet was weighing heavy on them. They were grasping at anything to
pass the time. Aeryn thought back to her old life as a peacekeeper.
Had she been content? Yes, she decided. She had been. As much as
now? She looked at John. No. She definitely was more content now in
this life on Moya. She was still part of a group, still living for
the greater good. But no longer answering blindly to command. They
were their own command. And that, she savored the feeling, that was
better. Being in control of their own destiny, responsible for
others as well as themselves.
"Another question." John said. Aeryn looked at
him wondering where his mind was going next. "What is the
peacekeeper way in battles? Have they had wars before?"
"You mean what can we expect with the Nebari
conflict? Theyíll send in massive amounts of troops, large
compliments of armament. Many battle ships. Theyíll seek to
overwhelm strategically speaking. Subversion is used
"Yes. Operatives are sent into the different
cultures to become a part of the local climates and report back
"How long do these missions last?" "Last?
Itís a lifetime. Itís quite an honor, Crichton, to give your life
for the peacekeeper movement." John thought back to the special
operative, Genovia . Sheíd been willing to marry Clavor. Though she
had drawn the line at becoming a statue for 80 cycles. "I guess I
can relate to giving your life for your country. Back on earth the
Japanese, their highest honor was to give their life, the komakozie
pilots in World War 2 did a lot of damage."
"There you see? The way of the peacekeeper is
not so different." Aeryn concentrated on her screen. "We have a
John quickly checked his screen. "Oh
"Itís a Marauder. Crichton donít fight them. Let
me handle everything. Just go along. Follow my lead."
He looked at her. "You think we have a chance
"Remote. If we can appear non threatening
maybe, possibly." She looked out the view screen. "Hereís our story.
We are headed back to Polonik Prime, where we live. We are husband
and wife of two years. Weíve just come back from the Commerce
"Unidentified vessel. Halt and prepare for
"Prepare to dock." Aeryn answered in a gentle
voice that drew Johnís quick attention. The commandos entered the
pod alert with their guns leveled at them. Aeryn whispered.
One of the commandos stepped forward from the
behind the front four with a widening smile on his handsome face.
"Well, if it isnít Aeryn Sun. Then this must be the John Crichton."
He looked John over. "Savess. Iíd say itís good to see you, but
unfortunately for me itís not." Aeryn quipped. "You became
irrevocably contaminated for this?" He smirked at John. He reached
in a side pack and tossed her two handcuffs.
"Put on the jewelry and lets discuss old times."
He motioned for them to exit the pod and they entered the Marauder
craft. The pod was set adrift as the Marauder headed back to it's
original course. "Contact Scorpious. We have a surprise for him."
They were handcuffed to a support in the back of the ship and left
alone while the small group attended to private business. "Who was
that?" "Savess, we served together for a few cycles."
"Any chance heíll cut us some slack?" Aeryn
looked at him in disbelief. "Heís a peacekeeper. A commando. The
best of the best, Crichton. Weíre frelled." Savess sauntered back
into their compartment and sat down. His dark hair falling over his
brown eyebrows as he stared at Aeryn. His deep blue eyes
appreciative. "I see youíve been taking care of yourself. Youíre
looking good. I heard you were flying prowlers with the Pulsar
regiment under Captain Crais. I knew youíd get what you wanted. It
was only a matter of time. And talent. Then I heard that you turned
renegade to run with escaped prisoners of all things. Iím sad to see
for myself it was true."
"You never know what life will bring. Sometimes
you donít have choices, Savess." "Choices? You always have choices,
Aeryn. What I canít believe is you threw everything away to become a
criminal. What the Hazmona happened?" "Do you really care?"
"No. But I am curious. What could
possibly induce the great Aeryn Sun into leaving her regiment,
knowing all those sheíd been serving with would be demoted and given
the most mundane menial work. Yet she takes off with this, human is
it?" "She didnít have a choice." John stated coldly. "Tell me
Aeryn." "I got caught up with the prisoners. By the time I was able
to escape and contact captain Crais he deemed me irrevocably
contaminated." "That canít be it all, Aeryn. If anyone would have
accepted the living death, it would have been you. Miss lives for
the cor, werenít you."
He said with contempt. "Do anything to anyone to
advance, that was our Aeryn Sun." John could see her controlling her
anger, her hurt. Her face was contorting as she struggled to
maintain her air of calm acceptance. "I did what I had to do in
those days, Savess, just like I do now." "You have done quite well
at alluding capture, Iíll give you that."
He stirred on the box. "But what I canít figure
out is how you managed to drag Captain Crais down with you. Even for
you , that was low." John jumped in heatedly. "She had nothing to do
with that. Crais was after ME. He got his own butt tossed out. Aeryn
had no part in that." "Oh..hoÖAeryn. So thatís the way of it." He
looked from her to John. "Have you any idea how quickly this one
will turn on you? Likely not. When you turned me in, I was demoted.
I just now managed to rise to Marauder duty. Iíll be captaining my
own marauder after this capture. In the end, you did me some good
after all, Aeryn. Iíll have to thank you for that." "I didnít make
you steal. It was my duty to turn you in." "I didnít steal anything!
I was sold theÖ"
"Sensors read approaching ship!" a voice from
the front of the craft interrupted him. He sprang from his seat and
bolted up front. "Itís the baby Leviation! Prepare to fire! Evasive
maneuvers! Send out the distress signal!" A blast hit the small
marauder . The commodos were thrown about the front compartment
violently. Sparks flew as wires shorted out. Aeryn was thrown into
John whose head slammed into the support beam. A second salvo set
the command center ablaze. Several commandos caught fire as they
tried to put the flames out. Aeryn saw Savess, trying in vain to put
the flames out as he rolled screaming on the floor of their
compartment. Desperately Aeryn struggled to rip the handcuffs from
her wrists. "Savess! Help us!" Savess with a dying cry managed to
toss the handcuff keys to her. She struggled to reach them; they
stopped microns from her outstretched toe.
John snapped back to consciousness, saw her
dilemma and managed to push the keys closer to her with his foot.
Burning her fingers with the overheated keys she managed to unlock
their handcuffs and both bolted to the front compartment. John
managed to reach the communications panel and opened the comms.
"Attention Talyn! This is John Crichton and Aeryn Sun. Can we come
aboard! Crais? Are you there? Hurry the hell up, weíre on fire over
here!" "Crichton? What the Hazmona are you two doing on a Marauder?
Prepare for docking."
John and Aeryn ran for the docking door and
gratefully opened the seal to fling themselves coughing and gasping
onto Talynís deck. "This explains the drifting pod." Crais stated as
he stood over them observing their desperate attempts to breathe.
"Can you get us to Moya?" John gasped. "There are other Marauders
out in this sector." "Sadly no. Talyn and I are going to Starburst.
I will, however, drop you off at your pod." "Thatís big of you
Crais." "Thank you, Crais." Aeryn answered. "No bother." He smiled
oily. "How is Talyn doing?" "Talyn and I are getting along fine.
Hereís your pod. Do hurry." They docked with the pod and quickly
climbed aboard. Through the view screen they watched Talyn starburst
to the relative safety of other space.
"Pilot, do you read me?" John asked into the
comms. "Yes, Crichton." "We just ran afoul of a Marauder. Can you
rendezvous with us at these coordinates? We need to get out of this
neck of the woods." "Changing course now. We should reach those
coordinates within the quarter arn." "Thanks Pilot." "Heís grown."
Aeryn said sadly. "They seem to be getting along ok. Talyn still has
an aggressive posture." John added. "Yes. Moya will be pleased to
hear weíve seen Talyn." They sat in silence as the pod moved through
space at top speed. "Aeryn."
"Did you know Savess well? Was he someone more
than a follow peacekeeper?" She turned and looked at him. "Are you
asking: was he someone like Valorek?" John just looked at her. "He
was someone I recreated with, yes. For a short time. He stole a
fellow crewmates belongings. I was questioned, I told our superiors
what I witnessed." John gave her an appraising look. Aerynís temper
flared. "We didnít blindly lie for each other. When we are
questioned we are conditioned to answer quickly and honestly. It is
the way of the peacekeepers."
"Iím glad itís not our way." John replied
quietly. He reached over the console and grasped her hand. "So am I,
John. So am I." She squeezed his hand and held it tightly as the
image of Moya's safety began to grow larger on the view