Author: Karl
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Notes: Sequel to Progenitors
Summary: The Crichton's are reunited. But their reunion raises issues between father and son.
Part:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Mars
The Stories of Jack Crichton: | Passage | Progenitors | Coming Home | Mars|

Part IV
Jack Crichton

Missing System
John entered the command tier. "Pilot, have you plotted a course back to that system?"

Pilot's image appeared in the viewer. "Yes Commander."

"How's Moya doing?"

"She is fine. Her primary systems are functioning and the repairs have started to the upper hull."

"I mean how is she feeling?

"Oh!" He seemed surprised at the question. "She is nervous but she understands the need to find Commander Selton and your father."

"Pilot, I'm sorry to ask you and her to do this."

"Please Commander Crichton. You know if she did not wish to do this, she wouldn't."

He heard D'Argo enter Command. John was ready for him. He spun around swiftly and pulled his pulse pistol from its holster. "Back off, D'Argo! We're going after them," he shouted.

D'Argo slowed his approach and raised his hands slowly. He spoke in an unusually soft tone. "John, I have come here to help."

"Stop right there, don't come any closer." He pointed the weapon higher.

"John I understand." D'Argo said calmly. "I am here to help." He continued walking toward John.

"I'm warning you D'Argo! Don't mess with me!" John was backing off from the huge Luxan.

John's mind had no time to process the attack. In one fast leap D'Argo removed John's weapon and dropped him to the floor with a knee planted firmly on his chest.

He stood over the coughing human. "Are you hurt?" he said with a slight smile.

John slowly got to his feet. "Nah, I'm just great!" He was still trying to catch his breath.

"Now what's your plan?" The Luxan crossed his arms and waited.

"What! You mean you really are here to help?"

"You should have listened to me. You would be in less pain now!" He smiled. Again I'll ask. What is your plan?"

John walked to the center console. He projected the system where the attack had taken place. "We'll starburst to the far side of the gas giant and send the prowler to see if the Destroyer is still in the area. We'll track Lursa and recover my father and Ulric, then starburst the hell out of there. See Big Guy? Simple." He smiled at D'Argo.

"I find it an acceptable plan." D'Argo appeared shocked. "I will tell the others." He started to leave.

"D'Argo, how did you know I wouldn't shoot you?"

He turned back to the human. "You dropped your weapon twice today. You damaged the charge motivator. It is useless." He turned and left Command.

Call of the Wild
Jack woke slowly. Then the hellish image of the corridor collapsing on him catapulted him into consciousness. His head pounded and he felt as if he was doing somersaults. He opened his eyes and immediately noticed the bandage. The left side of his face and head were wrapped in a Biopatch. He felt no pain there but he did start to notice the pain in his shoulders. He pulled the blanket down and found the reason for his discomfort. At the top of his shoulder was the sealed incision from the AutoDoc retractors. He retched but had nothing in his stomach. He noticed the AutoDoc was running and his first attempt to get up did nothing but make him retch again. He rose slowly from the chair and stepped over to the AutoDoc display. He found it was busy repairing the bones in Ulric's horribly crushed hand. He stared at the display and could only make out a thumb and two fingers.

He turned and slowly worked his way to the command station wishing he had studied more of the flight controls of the Marauder. He could see that there was something very wrong with the engines. He tried the com link with Lursa. It was dead. He tried calling Moya, again he had no success. "What the hell happened?" He noticed the remains of his ISS flight suit at the base of the AutoDoc. The blue shirt and gray pants were brown and hard. "Dried blood!" Next to his old clothes lay one of the cylinders. Jack checked it. Its catalyst was in it, stable and locked in stasis. "Where's the other one?" He searched the flight deck. Jack had no memory of what happened, but it must have been bad. As he began to feel more stable, he walked to the storage locker at the rear of the ship. He found a Peacekeeper uniform, grabbed it and proceeded to raid the food dispenser. He listened to the engines, realizing immediately that they were much louder then they should have been. He got dressed and headed forward to the flight deck, where he fell into the pilot chair and within a few minutes, was fast asleep. The sound of the AutoDoc retracting from Ulric woke him. Jack returned to his friend, and found him very pale. The Biopatch on his hand ran from the tip of his middle finger to the middle of his forearm. Jack covered him in his blanket, retrieved a uniform for him and waited. Ulric woke minutes later and sat up immediately. He looked at his rebuilt hand. He flexed his thumb, index finger and middle finger then he moved his wrist. The AutoDoc couldn't reconstruct the remains of his other fingers.

Ulric smiled at Jack "Not bad, I am pleasantly surprised. " His expression changed. "I'm glad to see that you're up and dressed. You really frelling scared me Jack."

Jack moved closer. "Ulric, what happened? Where are we? Where's Lursa?"

"One question at a time." Ulric stumbled off the AutoDoc and got dressed. He explained everything about the attack and Moya's escape but didn't bring up his knowledge of the Progenitors. Jack just sat there in silence and listened. The loss of Pilot and Lursa were profound. He was numb.

Jack's fight was gone. "What do we do now?" He mumbled staring out at the stars.

Ulric didn't answer. He had his own grief and feelings to deal with. He stood up and moved to the center of command. He closed his eyes and called. His call was not answered, but he could hear them out there. He called again. Still, they would not answer him. He sensed they knew he and Jack were there, yet they would not approach.

He looked at Jack. "We wait."

They didn't have to wait long. The huge ship approached them from the darkness of space. Ulric heard it's low song as it announced it arrival. It was not a Leviathan by any stretch of the imagination. Its huge gray body seemed to glow in the dim starlight. The nose of the ship/being had a great maw like that of a shark. There were four starburst talons at its rear. As it closed on them it began to look more like a Leviathan - the skin showed the same sheen as Lursa. The collision alarms sounded as Ulric tried to contact it with no success. The Biomechanoid was not stopping.

"Maybe we should get out of its way. Ulric!" Jack looked over at the younger man who continued to communicate with the beast.

He opened his eyes slowly and looked at Jack. "I have seen reports about them, I know that the Peacekeepers have never been able to capture one. I have heard their songs. They are nothing like Leviathans. They are loners that travel on the rim of the galaxy. Their songs are low and unemotional."

"Is it going to help us?" He looked at Ulric with alarm. The huge beast was right on top of them.

"Yes he is. Jack, welcome to the Biomechanoid, Arcanum." Ulric went to the storage locker and retrieved a pulse rifle. "Relax, we're going to dock."

"If you are so sure it's - he is going to help us, what's that for?"

"It makes me feel better going into new situations." He checked its rounds. He handled the weapon as if he had all his fingers. "This Biomechanoid is wild. They don't usually allow others inside. I'll be honest with you Jack. I don't sense the same feelings from Arcanum as I did from Lursa."

Jack picked the cylinder up off the floor and found a storage pouch. He noticed his blood stained logbook on the floor near the AutoDoc and picked it up, throwing it in the pouch. They passed under the great ramming bone of the nose, and their small Marauder slowly entered the mouth of the beast. They passed deep into its bowels. Large tentacles grabbed the Marauder and pulled it through a translucent membrane.

"Welcome Jack, to our new home." The two men opened the ramp and descended it into the huge cavern of its hangar. A low unemotional voice echoed through the hangar. "Welcome aboard Arcanum." Jack looked at Ulric. "We have little time, you must move to the control node. Course has been projected for Drathor Prime."

Jack looked at Ulric "Drathor Prime?"

Ulric's smiled at Jack. "They know who you are Jack. All of the Biomechanoids now know who you are. Lursa's death song told of Jack Crichton, the Progenitor of their species."

"How? Why?" Jack was stunned. He didn't know what to say

Ulric looked at Jack with a serious expression. "To help you in your quest to stop the Peacekeepers."

"You know?"

"Lursa told me everything." He looked down with a bitter expression. "Who would have thought that the small blue world you come from would be the cradle of the Biomechanoids race?" He tried to smile at Jack. "Lursa and Pilot really cared for you Jack. You know that don't you?"

"I know." He thought back to the image of the little girl he had met. "I know!"

"Please, they are almost here. We have to go." The huge doors parted at the rear of the hangar. They stepped onto the strange disk in the center of the chamber and the doors closed behind them. The platform accelerated from the hangar. They passed through the huge ship at incredible speed and came to rest in a large domed area. There was a central projector with two pilots who were obviously connected to the Biomechanoid. In front, familiar consoles encompassed them.

The central projection showed the local area of space. "They arrive now." It was the low unemotional voice we heard in the hangar bay. Six Peacekeeper ships jumped to normal space. The viewer tracked their approach.

"I thought the Peacekeepers had no presence in the Uncharted Territories." Jack watched the images closing on their position.

The closest pilot spoke again. "Course projected for Drathor Prime."

"Whoa! We are going to find Moya." Jack moved forward.

"That is not in our parameters. We are ready to…" The pilot seemed to ignore his request.

"No Pilot. We are going to search for the Leviathan Moya." Jack moved up to the lead pilot.

Ulric stood there looking at Jack, he held the key but did not use it. He smiled at his friend's ignorance. "Jack, ask the question."

"What question?" He turned to face Ulric.

"Ask the pilot about the key." He looked at poor Jack. "Like you did on Lursa."

"Are you sure?" He turned to the huge gray pilot. He raised his voice.

"Pilot, tell me of the Progenitors Key. There came a violent shudder in the ship and the lights dimmed. The two pilots in front of them collapsed forward onto their consoles. Jack looked at Ulric with fear in his eyes. "It's okay Jack, you have unlocked the key." He moved up next to him and Jack noticed Ulric had his pulse rifle drawn.

They watched as a pillar of illuminated smoke formed in front of them. An image began to form. It was the image of a man. "Welcome Jack Crichton, Commander Ulric Selton. I am Arcanum."

 

Moya in the Belly of the Whale
"Okay Pilot, are you sure Moya has enough energy for two starbursts?" John looked at the image with a questioning glance.

"As I stated before, yes. Moya is ready any time you are." Pilot replied defensively.

"Okay." He looked with the rest of his crewmates on the command tier. "Pilot, starburst. Now!"

Moya leaped into starburst. She dropped at the correct location, but something was very wrong. The entire system was gone.

D'Argo moved next to John. "Where are we Pilot?"

"We are at the correct location. But the planet…the system is…gone!" He looked at them with amazement.

"That's not possible Pilot." Zhaan moved to the other control station. She saw it, yet could not believe it. She turned to the rest. "Pilot is correct. The system is gone!" She said, her voice hardly above a whisper.

"I am detecting three, no - four destroyer class Peacekeeper ships closing on our position."

John looked out at empty space. "Good-Bye, Dad!" He swallowed hard as he felt the wave of despair wash over him. "Okay Pilot, let's get out of here. Starburst now!"

"I'm sorry John. Moya is not ready."

"Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! " He was pointing his finger at the projection as if scolding a child. "You said Moya was ready for two starbursts. Not one. Two!" John lost what little patience he had left.

"I did and she is. There is the matter of excess heat. The starburst generators need time to cool before they can be used again.

D'Argo growled, "How long?"

"I am not sure."

"Guess!" D'Argo shouted.

"Approximately nine hundred microts."

"How fast can a Destroyer go?"

Enra looked at John. "Hetch eleven."

D'Argo looked at her with approval. Enra had been aboard a Peacekeeper carrier for some time. She might have more useful information.

"Pilot get us moving, hetch nine!"

Moya accelerated to maximum speed as the Destroyers slowly closed on the lone Leviathan.

On Arcanum, Jack and Ulric were having their own troubles with a very temperamental Biomechanoid.

"Arcanum, I want to find the Leviathan Moya. Your pilots seem uninterested in my request."

"They understand our mission. You obviously do not."

"I promised Lursa, that after I had spent some time with my son, I would help stop the work on Drathor Prime."

"The research on Drathor Prime has been accelerated. We must stop them now."

Ulric moved in front of Jack. He did not like how this was going. "Arcanum, we are willing to do whatever we have to, but you must understand our need to say good-bye to our friends and family." Ulric could not believe what he had just said.

"That is unimportant." Arcanum brushed the statement aside and looked at the two intruders.

Jack moved next to Ulric. "It's time to play hard ball."

"Hard what?" Ulric pointed to his ear. The universal sign for "what the frell did you say?"

Jack just rolled his eyes. "If we get out of this Uli, you are going to learn some good old earth sayings. I'm tired of have of explaining shit to you all the time." Jack was tired and he was fed up with Arcanum. "We will go after the Leviathan Moya - Now!"

"Leviathans! They are corrupted creatures." He moved the viewer. "They have been gutted by their alien captors. Altered to their alien whims. They are contaminated! Leviathans are not important." He seemed to become translucent with his anger.

Jack cooled his temper. "Silence! The only reason I'm here is thanks to those corrupt creatures. Lursa brought me to my son, and Moya has been my son's protector." Jack moved to stand face to face with the projection. "I am doing this for them. NOT for you! You are not worthy of saving Arcanum, you have lost your compassion."

Pilot interrupted. "A Leviathan has just dropped from starburst." They watched as four of the Destroyers changed course toward it.

Jack moved to the larger pilot. "Pilot. Is that Moya?" It looked at him then looked back at the console. He moved across the node to the smaller pilot. "Is that Moya?"

This Pilot looked at him with a guilty glance. "I am sorry, I do not know." Then she stared at Arcanum.

"I'll find out Jack." Ulric closed his eyes and called to Moya. She locked onto his mind and the fear of capture filled Ulric. He could not break the link. He felt another presence, but could not make it out.

"What is he doing?" Arcanum seemed concerned by an alien trying to communicate with a Biomechanoid.

Moya released him. "It's Moya!" He said in a whisper as he fell to the floor unconscious. Blood poured from his nose.

Jack stepped forward. "You will go back for that Leviathan!" Jack became enraged. "Now!" His voice echoed though the chamber.

"There is no time, we must stop the experiment." Arcanum had the hint of desperation. "They have accelerated their research. The key is within their grasp."

Jack composed himself. "I will not go anywhere until Moya is safe. You will make time." Jack pulled the cylinder from his bag. "Do know what this is?" He did not wait for a response. "Do as I ask or say good-bye." He placed his hand on the stasis generator.

Arcanum became agitated at the defiance of the little being standing before him. "I fear your attachment to those creatures will be our downfall." His projection dissolved.

Jack looked to the ceiling. "I fear your blindness to their importance is going to be our true downfall Arcanum!"

Arcanum turned back for the Leviathan Moya.

The second pilot spoke up. "Please ready yourself, this is going to be rough."

"Jack!" He looked at the second pilot and smiled. "My name is Jack."

"Very well. Jack." She bowed her head slightly. "We will be there in nine hundred microts."

Jack moved to Ulric. He had stopped bleeding and Jack pulled him to the side of the command node. Ulric began to stir. Jack watched on the main projector. They were closing quickly on Moya. She was shadowed by four Peacekeeper destroyers, following her in a standard capture configuration.

Moya was prepared to starburst. They all stood on her command tier. Zhaan counted down to starburst. "Three…two…one…Now!" Zhaan yelled.

D'Argo looked at Pilot. "Pilot, starburst!" Nothing happened. D'Argo growled, "Pilot, starburst!" The flash of Frag pulses passed them. D'Argo slammed the console." Pilot what happened, why aren't you going to starburst?"

Pilot looked at them "Please hold on, this is going to be difficult." The collision alarm announced another ship's presence. It was headed straight for them.

Moya started to decelerate. Her poor crew stood on the command tier in utter frustration. They were about to die.

"By the Goddess, what's that!" Zhaan asked in a stunned voice.

Enra moved next to Zhaan and scanned the gray beast. "It's a Biomechanoid of some kind." She turned from the console. She heard Ulric's voice. "What!" Ulric was calling Moya! She stood there, stunned. "They're alive!" She said quietly but the others were too busy to hear her. They would know soon enough.

The huge gray hulk closed on them and John scrambled to the manual control but found he was locked out. He looked up at the viewer. "Pilot, what is Moya doing?"

The mouth of the beast seemed to open wider. It glowed an eerie red as if it were the entrance to hell itself. Blue flashes shot from it past the Leviathan.

"Frag Cannons?" D'Argo said with amazement.

The first struck the lead destroyer shattering it. The second destroyer tried to evade the second energy pulse but lost, and in a violent flash it was cut in two by the anti-energy pulse. They watched stunned, as Moya passed into the mouth of the beast.

Pilot appeared on his viewer. "Hang on."

They were thrown to the front wall of the command tier as Moya collided with each layer of Arcanum's docking webs. Their momentum was too great. As each web field collapsed from the strain, Moya slowed but did not stop until the ramming bone at her bow plunged into the rear wall of Arcanum's hangar. She came to rest deep in the belly of the Biomechanoid.

John looked at D'Argo "Where are we?" There was the lightheaded feeling of starburst. They had escaped. But how?


Knock-Knock

John got up from the pile of beings in the front of the command tier. There was some movement in Moya and he was thrown to the deck again. "Pilot, what the hell is going on?"

"Moya is being removed from the rear wall of the hangar."

With that, the tentacles, holding her very gently, freed Moya from the impact site and lowered her to the floor of the hangar. Her forward third breached the translucent membrane that protected the hangar from the vacuum of space. As Moya was lowered to the floor of the hangar, she unknowingly crushed the Peacekeeper Marauder that had been Aeryn's last hope for recovery.

"What hangar? Where the hell are we?"

"We are in the Biomechanoid Arcanum."

"Are we food?" D'Argo hissed.

"No Ka D'Argo, we are saved." He seemed excited by their capture. "Someone is trying to gain access through forward docking port. Tier Two."

D'Argo stood. "Pilot, do not allow entry until we can get there."

They all headed for the docking port. John and D'Argo took point, the others stayed near the far wall behind them. Enra and Chiana also had pulse rifles and pointed them at the huge door. They heard a knocking sound on the outer door.

D'Argo looked at John. "Are you ready?"

"Yeah ... and I know, don't drop your weapon!" He tried to copy D'Argo's deep voice.

D'Argo ignored his teasing. "Pilot, open the door!"

The outer door opened and the air was tested automatically by the inner door. The rim of the inner door glowed green. There was a hiss and their ears popped from the equalizing pressure. They saw the silhouettes of two humanoids standing at the entrance of the outer doors. John heard all of the safety locks come off of the pulse rifles around him. The two beings approached, and John recognized the uniforms. His heart sank. He yelled to the others. "Peacekeepers!"

Then, to his utter surprise, a voice answered back. "Actually son, only Ulric is a Peacekeeper. I just look good in the uniform." The two of them reached the lighted area near the inner hatch, and John sat back on his heels and looked up at his father. Enra ran past him into Ulric's arms. John stood slowly.

"Jesus, Dad!" He moved forward and grabbed his father, picking him up in a bear hug. The rest of his friends looked on and laughed at this greeting.

"How?" He raised his hand to Jack's jaw and looked at the BioPatch that covered most of the left side of his head. "What happened? We thought you were dead!" John's mind raced; he kept touching his father as if to make sure he was real.

"It's ok John, I'm fine, relax." He hugged his son.

'Dad what happened? Where did this Ar-kansas come from?"

"It's Arcanum, John. We'll explain everything but not here." He looked at D'Argo and Chiana, who seemed genuinely happy to see them. "I could really use a bite to eat."

They all headed to the galley. They were greeted by a number of DRDs who had cleaned up the mess and were busy re-growing the missing transparencies from the view ports. The DRDs went about their business as they all filed in and sat at the tables. Jack pulled trays from the food dispenser. They only held food cubes now; the other food having been spaced during the attack. "I'd say that Moya suffered from her attack on the Peacekeeper destroyer."

John looked at Jack for a long time. "It was the least she could do, considering. What…what happened to Lursa?" He looked down at the table.

Good-Bye
Jack stood at the front of the galley. "We have little time. Arcanum will be releasing Moya shortly. I want to thank you coming back for us. We realize the danger you put yourselves in. He looked at John, then quickly averted his eyes. He knew that if he looked at his son for too long, he would never be able to leave him again. John sat back and crossed his arms, doing his best immitation of D'Argo's stern "this better be good" look.

"Ulric and I are going to stay with Arcanum. We hope you will allow Enra to stay with you."

The muffled sounds of surprise came from each of them.

Rygel looked at Enra, then at Jack. "Enra will be under my protection. I will see that she is safe, Commander Selton."

John stayed surprisingly quiet. He looked at Enra, who seemed to smile lightly at this news. John knew from his own feelings that she was working on a plan to go with them.

Ulric moved toward Rygel. "Thank you, Dominar. I know she will be in good hands." He bowed slightly.

Zhaan stood. "But what about the Marauder? Aeryn needs the…"

Ulric interrupted her. "Moya crushed it during capture by Arcanum. There is nothing left." He looked at her with guilt and sorrow. "I'm sorry Zhaan, I had hoped…" His voice faded. Zhaan seemed to wilt with this news. She sat down slowly.

Jack moved next to Ulric. "We have a problem with Arcanum. He has no facilities set up for us so I was hoping we could get some food and other supplies.

Zhaan did not look up at them. Her thoughts were of Aeryn's imminent death. "You are welcome to share all that we have."

Jack looked at them. He had known them for only a short time but he was going to miss them. "Thank you, Zhaan."

John finally spoke. "Why, Dad?" He got to his feet. D'Argo moved forward, next to John. He feared John was going to attack his father and Ulric. He was surprised at his composure. "Why do you have to do this?" It took every fiber of John's soul to hold his temper in check.

Jack looked at him. Tell him something! "I'm sorry son, if you knew…you, Moya, all of you would end up like Lursa. I can't allow that." His voice cracked. "We had made a promise to Lursa to do this."

D'Argo sized up Jack again. "We will respect your wishes, Jack Crichton."

They ate in silence. Their only conversation dealt with supply lists. John excused himself quietly. He needed to pack. He was planning to go with his father. Jack, Ulric, D'Argo, Chiana and Zhaan collected the supplies. Enra waited until she could get Ulric alone to launch her plan. She followed him down the hall.

He stopped and looked at her, He spoke in the Peacekeeper command tone. "You are to stay with them Enra." A pained smile crossed his face. "End of conversation!" He looked away from her. "I love you Enra, I will not allow you to throw your life away."

She did not flinch. "You are mistaken Commander Selton. I know too much to be left behind. As Jack said, I would put this crew in danger if I stayed."

Ulric smiled at her. "Nice try, Enra, but you don't know…" He looked at her and it was too late. He couldn't break the stare. The corridor darkened and he descended deep into her Rapture.

His mind unfolded and she witnessed all of what happened to him on Lursa and the Marauder. She felt his emotions at the death of Lursa but she kept going. She needed to know the horrible secret that was causing them to leave. She witnessed Jack's secret; that was all she needed to know. She had been drained by the encounter and slipped down the wall next to Ulric. By this time Jack had returned for the last of their supplies. She looked up at Jack. "I know everything that happened, Jack." She smiled at him. "I can't be left behind with them. It would put them in too much danger!"

"Why, Enra?" He just looked at her. He wasn't angry, he just didn't understand. She sat next to Ulric who lay unconscious on the floor.

She looked back at Ulric. "I am going to have his child." She touched the back of his head.

"That's wonderful!" Jack smiled, the smile faded fast. "But that's even more reason for you to stay here."

"Jack, I will not have this child without him. I can't do it alone. You and he are all I have in the universe." She smiled at Jack bitterly. "This little family you have created must stay together. I will not be left behind." She changed her tone and tried to copy Ulric's voice. "End of conversation!" She smiled at Jack. "I do not expect you to understand, Progenitor Jack Crichton." She stood up slowly and touched his cheek with her cool hand." Please Jack, I don't want Ulric to know until we are underway."

"Yes Enra, I'll do as you ask." He bent down and hugged her tightly. "Congratulations."

Ulric woke slowly. Jack had left them alone knowing that when Ulric woke there would be words between them.

Ulric smiled up at his beautiful Vladic. "Thank you!"

"This was not the reaction I had expected, Commander Selton." She smiled smugly.

"I made a promise to Lursa to protect Jack." Ulric's eyes teared. "But I was not sure I could have left you behind." He pulled her down and kissed her.

After unloading the supplies they all met in the galley. There was a somber mood throughout Moya. They traded final good-byes with all but John, who was not there. Jack knew where he would find him. Jack, Enra and Ulric headed for the forward docking port. They found John waiting there, leaning against the wall. Ulric said a quick good bye to him. It was obvious that they were both uncomfortable. Enra hugged John. She was tempted to induce the Rapture in him so that he could see Jack though her eyes. But that would not be fair to him. She left, so father and son could say good-bye privately.

Jack walked up to him slowly. "John."

He looked at Jack with an angry stare. "I'm going with you, Dad." He could hear his heart pounding in his chest. He placed his hand on his pulse rifle.

Jack took a deep breath. "John do you remember our last conversation on earth."

"Yeah - I can't be your kind of hero. Something like that." He looked at his father, puzzled.

"Yes, and I told you - Your time will come, and when it does, watch out. Chances are it will be the last thing you ever expected." He pulled his son closer. "John, this is your time!" He smiled. "You have no idea of how proud you have made me. You have to stay here and protected Moya. She needs you John. The others - they all need you." He hugged his little boy for a long time, and at last Jack released his hold and stepped back toward the outer hatch. John just stared at his father. He had seemed to age in the last few moments. No, he was seeing his father as he really was. "Dad!" He lost his voice. His father's words had knocked all the rage and hurt out of him. He stood there, no longer the little boy lost.

"I love you son." Jack turned and walked though the docking port.

John ran to the closing outer door. "I love you Dad!" Tears rolled down his face. He watched as his father reached his companions on the floor of the hangar. "Hey Ulric, take care of him for me." The door sealed and John knew he would never see his father again. He sat on the floor of the air lock for a long time and stared into the darkness. A DRD approached him. It just looked at him. "Yeah, I know I'm not suppose to be here. Okay, pal, I'm leaving."

He walked slowly though the corridors of Moya lost in thought, but was brought from his reverie by the ship's movement. They were leaving Arcanum. He had no feeling of loss, no feeling of despair. He was at peace. John reached the MedBay. Zhaan was standing next to Aeryn's almost lifeless body. He pulled the Peacekeeper Ident Chip from his pocket. "Zhaan, I have a plan for getting Aeryn some help." She looked at him with compassion. She saw that he was exhausted. "Let's get everyone together." He sat on the bed next to Aeryn. "Pilot!" Pilot's image appeared in the viewer." I want you to plot a course for the Peacekeeper Gammak Base."

Pilot looked at John for a moment. "Yes Commander Crichton."

He laid back on the bed. He had forgotten the last time he had slept. He rolled his head to look at Zhaan, "So how is she, Doc?"

"Stable, no change, but her temperature has been rising. I was hoping the…" She turned to face John who was already deeply asleep, his legs still hanging over the side of the bed. She walked over and pulled his legs onto the bed, then touched his tear stained cheek. She smiled at him. "You are your father's son, John Crichton."

Drathor Prime
The huge Biomechanoid, Arcanum, came to a stop outside the system. They stood in the control node. One of the pilots projected the system's data and Jack reviewed the image. Drathor Prime was the second planet. There was something familiar about this system's proportion. He started his scans of its star. An A-typical yellow white star, small; relatively young. The first planet was a dead rock. There were two wide belts of asteroids then Drathor Prime, a reddish blue world. He moved his scans further out past a third thin asteroid belt. Next he came to a gas giant; even without its great red spot, he knew this world's name. Jack's mind raced as he scanned further out to a second gas giant. He grinned. It had not changed; its beautiful rings glistened in the weak sunlight. Saturn! He jumped back to the two inner asteroid belts, the remnants of Venus and Earth. He moved the scanner back out to Drathor Prime and raised the scanner level. He gazed upon a world, the Northern Hemisphere of which was a blue ocean covered in thin white clouds, its Southern Hemisphere a contrasting red and brown. He looked at Ulric and Enra with a stunned expression. "Mars!"

On to Mars

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