"Good morning, John." She smiled slightly. "Are you ready?
"Here? I mean now!" He looked around the room. "Ok, you're the doctor." He stepped closer. "Remind me to tell you of an old TV show I used to watch. Ya see they had this guy with pointy ears and green blood who could touch you on the side of the face and read your mind."
Zhaan smiled. "Yes John, I know Star Trek. Remember, you told me all about it after we left the New Moon of Delvia Her smile changed slightly to a look of pity. "There is nothing to be afraid of John."
"What, me scared? Naaa… Delvians, Vulcans, it's the same thing." He smiled nervously.
Zhaan stood slowly and looked at him. The slight smile faded as she grasped John's head just below his ears with both hands and pulled him towards her. He placed his hands similarly on her head and they moved their heads forward. John felt the strange falling sensation. Remember John, as we share unity do not stray into the dark.
Yes…Zhaan, I remember. John's mind struggled to speak. He tried to relax while flashes of different events from the past came to him. He thought to himself, Zhaan must be digging away!
Zhaan searched through the confusing memories of the human. She found the task of shielding herself from the animal emotions that flowed through this being quite difficult. When she witnessed some of the events that took place on the false earth, she was surprised by the detail the alien had made from his memories. She too was fooled by the images. When she came across an event between John and Aeryn, Zhaan quickly moved from that area of his memories. Private moments should remain private, she mused.
She passed deeper into his mind. It took her far longer than she had expected to find the basis of John's nightmares. Zhaan jerked slightly as she witnessed the events of the Aurora chair. They were strong memories. This is the starting point, John. You will see through my eyes now. Zhaan's mind encompassed the memories. She gasped as the torture continued. John also witnessed them all over again, this time as an outside observer somehow removed. There was no pain or anguish. He realized he was viewing through Zhaan's mind the events that had happened to him. It was her control that filtered the events. Zhaan was not faring as well-she was experiencing the events as strongly as John remembered them.
John saw a brief glimpse of his father. Zhaan! Here, this is it!
I don't see anything. It is too dark, John. The darkness helped hide the memories from his consciousness. Zhaan knew better than to enter this region in his memory, but she went against her training and proceeded deeper into John's subconscious.
She saw a dime-sized image of a man. Your father? Zhaan whispered in John's mind.
He was saying something she could not make out. She descended deeper into the darkness and the man moved forward to meet her. If you can't figure it out, you don't deserve to return. Back! The key is to go back to the exit. There was a flash of pain. Zhaan fell back to consciousness in time to see John drop to the floor before she too fell back against the corner of his bed. She felt as if her circulatory system was going to explode! Being ripped from unity was always a traumatic experience, but this was something more. Zhaan crawled over to John's crumpled body. She felt for his pulse. "By the goddess!" she pleaded. "No John!" With all her remaining strength Zhaan called on the com, "Aeryn, D'Argo, Chianna! Come quickly, something has happened to John."
Aeryn was in her quarters and was first to arrive. "What happened?" She stepped over John's body to reach the half-conscious Delvian.
"We…we were sharing unity…and he fell to the floor. No…no pulse or respiration!"
Aeryn remembered the resuscitation technique that John had taught her last cycle. She knelt down next to him and started CPR. She coolly looked at Zhaan. "What were you doing, Zhaan?" she said between chest compressions. She moved up and started breathing into John's mouth. D'Argo entered and turned away from them, thinking he had walked in at an improper moment.
"Sorry, I thought…" he growled uncomfortably. Aeryn would have found his reaction humorous at any other time.
As Zhaan sat up slowly she could feel her circulatory system slowing to normal. "D'Argo, go to my apothecary and retrieve my green satchel."
"What's going on?" D'Argo barked.
Aeryn raised from John's mouth and looked at D'Argo. "John's frelling heart has stopped! Stop gawking and get the frelling bag!" She continued the compressions on John's chest.
Suddenly John coughed. Aeryn turned him on his side just in time as he proceeded to expel the contents of his stomach. He continued coughing and then settled into a quiet unconscious state. They watched nervously as his breathing settled into a steady rhythm.
Zhaan and Aeryn sat back on the floor, both exhausted from the fifty-microt ordeal. Aeryn pulled the hair away from her face. "So what the frell were you doing?" Aeryn had lost the cool PK exterior.
Zhaan moved back closer to John. She had promised him not to tell the others but then she looked up at Aeryn. No. I am sorry, John, she must know.
Aeryn could see by the anguish in Zhaan's eyes something was very wrong. "Help me get him cleaned up and into bed."
Zhaan explained what she had been trying to do when she somehow triggered the reaction that caused John's autonomic nervous system to shut down. "Whoever planted that memory didn't want anyone to get past it."
"You said you saw John's father. Could it be those aliens have done this?"
"I don't think so." She looked at Aeryn again. "I can't really explain it. It's not a natural memory, it's a block that was placed there."
"Why?" Aeryn was edgy. She could not understand why John wouldn't tell her about the nightmares he had been having.
"I don't know but I will tell you this. Whoever put that block in his mind doesn't want anyone going in there. I think it would kill John if we tried again."
They monitored the sleeping human and they each took time sitting with him.
Barbara entered the meeting room. The troops were definitely restless. When she arrived, they all stood up from the table. "OK, calm down boys, we have a lot to cover." She looked around the table at mostly enemies that she had sparred with since taking office. Especially her Vice President, Christopher Pike was always looking for a way to make her actions useful to him during his run for the Presidency in two years. That was fine with her; she had had enough of politics. All she wanted was to get through her term with the Union intact. She knew deep down that the spineless buffoon would probably undo any good she had done, but at this point Barbara Quilton didn't care. She was tired, so tired of this mess.Next to him sat her only true friend in all this, Bob Templeton, the Secretary of State. He was a kind and thoughtful man and if there was anyone in this world she could trust, it was him.
Sitting at the far end of the
table sat the fiery Scotsman, Barry Murphy. Barry was a bit of an enigma to her.
She had initially opposed his posting as head of the IASA because he was too
green for that mess. Yet with a budget of nothing he had kept the International
Astronautics and Space Administration alive. In fact, the IASA was the only
group that kept the ISS in business. She knew she could learn a few things from
him. And besides, unlike most of her cabinet, he spoke his mind. She always
liked dealing with someone who put all their cards on the table. Flanking her
other side was General Collins and his mob. She called them the mob because they
were left over from the previous President's appointments and she needed them.
They had handled the riots around the country well, but there was a price for
keeping them. They each wanted a piece of the shrinking budget, and they were
now like a bunch of hungry dogs fighting over table scraps. Soon, she knew, they
would bite the hand that fed them.
Barry stood and headed for the large screen that appeared on the wall behind him. "We pulled from circulation, data from the Sagan interferometer. The data shows a localized gravity distortion coming from the projected location of the Crichton Anomaly."
"What does it mean, Barry?"
He kept looking down at his datatablet. "It means, Madame
President, that the Crichton Anomaly is cyclical as Ray Wilson, my predecessor,
stated." He took a deep breath and stared straight into the old woman's eyes.
"The doorway is about to open again."
"Tom, please, it's an old argument!" She remembered when she had reduced funding of the Guardian Project. She pleaded her case in her State of the Union address. "General Collins, which child do you want to go hungry in order to support the Guardian?" She knew that would come back and bite her in the ass. Here it comes..
"If they invade, there might not be any children left to care for." The old General spat!
Barbara ignored his attack. Hell, she deserved that one. "Continue, Barry."
"Every indication is that the cycle of activity is coming within eight to twelve months." He turned from the screen and looked at the President again. "Just as Ray Wilson predicted, Madam President."
"OK Barry, what are you trying to say?"
Barry pulled up a picture of Columbia AirLines's four SSTO (single stage to orbit) ships.
"I believe we would be better served with the fleet of SSTOs as a defence if they are coming to attack us.
Christopher Pike, the Vice President, spoke unemotionally throughout the noise of disagreement in the room. "But you tried and failed on seven separate occasions to duplicate the opening of the wormhole that first John and then his father created. They all failed."
Yes, but we were trying at the wrong time, we should have listened to Wilson. He…"
"He was an egomaniac that used the IASA as a means to create a power base…"
"That's enough Chris. So Barry, what do you want?"
He turned from the large display of flight sims. "Get me Wilson and Knetter. They are the two people who are most qualified to deal with the Crichton Anomaly."
The Vice President spoke up, "Madam President, if the public finds out it could make the Tribecca riots look like a picnic."
The General, Collins, added his support to the Vice President's position. "We don't need the public thinking we're about to be invaded. But if there is even a chance of invasion, I want the Guardian there. I don't want to put our future in the hands of the IASA."
Barry spoke up. "Who says anything about invasion. It might be that we are sitting on the edge of a new era. What if these Peacekeepers are friendly?"
General Collins almost exploded. He used his datatablet to project the few images they had of the invasion fleet that had detached from their damaged battle ship. "You tell me that's a welcome committee. That's a fucking invasion fleet!" The alien himself said that they we going to invade! How can you be so blind!"
Barry kept his composure. "Look, they were sucked through the wormhole to here. Their ship was destroyed by the journey." Barry projected other fuzzy images of their ship just prior to being pulled back through the wormhole. "How do you know they went acting out of desperation. Madam President, all I am saying is maybe we should send a welcome message through the wormhole. You know, welcome from the people of the earth…"
"While your at it you can send along a white flag of surrender," the General added.
"That's enough!" Barbara yelled standing up from her chair. She hated agreeing with the old fuck, but he was right. The last thing the earth needed to worry about was invasion. "I agree with you, General." She choked on the words as she spoke them. "I don't want anyone to know they are working on this. We are going to attack this problem from two ends. General Collins, calculate how long it would take to complete the Guardian. Bob, I want you to work with the CIA. Get Wilson and this Knetter quietly." She sat back down in her chair. "Barry, I want you to set up at Groom Lake. You are now officially a missing person. Do you have a problem with that?"
"I'll need someone to feed my cat," he said jokingly.
"OK gentlemen, you have two days to get this done. Good luck." Barbara stood from the table and exited. She didn't respond to the Vice President Pike as he followed her out of the meeting. "Do you really think I am needed in there Barbara?" He asked a second time as they walked down the hall. She stopped and looked at him. She had utter contempt for this man that she had at one time called friend. "You listen to me Chris, you're are a fucking spineless bastard, when this goes down you are going to be in it as deep as the rest of us. Got it?"
The stunned Vice President winced at her reaction. He started to spin a plan that would protect himself from her if this all fell apart. He straightened slightly. "Yes, Madame President." He turned and walked back towards the boardroom.
She noticed movement in front of her. In the shadows of the forest's edge they stood. Enra stopped abruptly, looking back to the marauder then back at the five visitors as she strained to identify them. Her glance caught the leader, whose bright green eyes stared back at her, and she shuddered with disbelief. "By the Gods of Casaval," She cried out. "You are here!" She ran towards them and as she approached, their steely stares turned to warm smiles. She stood in front of the lead Vladic, the excitement stealing her breath as she fell to her knees. She lowered her head and raised her arms in front of her, palms up. "From the Clan Dasvalla, I, Enra Talis, wish to welcome you to our hearth."
The beautiful Vladic spoke warmly. "Thank you, Dasvalla Enra Talis, your welcome is a wonderful surprise to us. Please stand."
Enra stepped forward slightly. The old man Narra presented had been blinded by some accident-his face was covered in scars. "Welcome, Tau Reht…"
"That's Starric Tau Reht," the blind man snapped.
"I mean no disrespect, it's just been so long since…." Enra became self-conscious.
"Our clans are all we are now," He spouted. Enra thought back to an old saying, Your sight is the doorway to the Vladic's soul. When it is lost, the soul is lost as well.
Narra placed her hand on the old man's shoulder, "Tau, I think we can let this pass." She smiled back at Enra. The old man bit his lip. The others in their small party encompassed Enra, as Narra introduced them.
Enra was light-headed by their welcome. "If you will forgive me, Kyev Narra Borhon, I must ask. "Are there any of my clan on your ship?"
"You are the first of the Dasival Clan that we have encountered." She looked solemnly at Enra. "I am sorry." She looked toward the small house, then her eyes wandered down towards the beach. "How did you come to have a Peacekeeper Marauder, Enra?" Enra's sorrow consumed her. All of her family gone! Enra's spiraling depression was interrupted by the scream of one of the visitors.
She turned back to see Ulric walking across the beach fully armed, wearing that frelling PK uniform. She sighed, "Oh Uli, what timing." Enra moved quickly from the group to stand between her lover and her people. She stood there looking at him. He was smart enough to drop to his knees and place his hands on his head. She swallowed her words as she approached him. You farbot Peacekeeper! Couldn't you have wait till I talked to them?
Ulric stared at her angrily. "What did I tell you, Enra, we should have gotten the frell out of here!"
Gorran walked between Enra and the
Peacekeeper. He pointed the weapon at its head.
Narra moved quietly forward. "Yes Enra, Gorran is right. What is going on here?"
Defiantly Ulric spoke, "Let us go we don't want…"
Without looking down at Ulric, Narra said coolly, "Silence the Animal!" Gorran hit Ulric with the butt of his weapon. Narra tried to remain unemotional. "Make sure to restrain him."
Enra grabbed Gorran's arm. "What are you doing? We mean you no harm!" Gorran broke free of her hold and shoved her down next to the Peacekeeper. Enra saw the shame in his face.
Narra spoke solemnly. "Oh Enra, tell me you are not bonded to this, this animal." With the reinstatement of clan rule, Narra knew what her fate would be if she said yes.
"Yes!" Enra stood defiantly and moved forward towards Narra. "What of it! He saved me from the Peacekeepers. He has given up everything he knows to save others. We have lived in peace on this world for more then four cycles." Enra looked back down at Ulric. He was slowly waking. "Share the Rapture with me Narra, I will show you. He is different, he is not like…"
Tau stepped forward. "Absolutely not! Narra, you cannot soil yourself by communing with her."
Gorran interrupted Tau. "My father is correct, Narra, but I could share the Rapture." He looked back at Enra and smiled slightly. "She should be given a fair chance."
"No, Gorran, I forbid it!" Tau said angrily as he stumbled further forward.
Gorran looked back at Narra. He spoke quietly," Please, Narra, we need all the friends we can get."
Narra cautiously stepped forward next to the waking Peacekeeper. She then looked back at Enra. Narra had already made up her mind, but needed to show that the issue weighed heavily on her shoulders. "Thank you, Gorran, I will allow you to be my eyes in this matter." She would have to thank him later for doing this for her.
Gorran turned to Enra. "Are you ready?"
Enra knew that Gorran would not only see what she wanted him to see, he would see everything. Enra knew this was dangerous, but she had no choice. "Yes, I will share all that I am openly with you." She moved a few steps forward and the others in the group turned with their backs to them. Enra's eyes locked onto Gorran's. The memories that Enra witnessed were of their battle for survival over the last few cycles. They had started out at over two thousand, now they were only nine hundred. She felt the numbness in his soul at the loss. Then, as she went deeper into the communion, the waves of pain engulfed her. Enra felt the loss for his wife and daughter. She wanted to cry out but couldn't. Gorran was in control now. Enra saw a small spark, an attraction that Gorran had for Narra. She felt waves of insecurity over being in command of the huge Biomech ship that orbited above them. Then it started. Gorran sifted through her memories until he found the starting point. Enra struggled to block him from the knowledge of Ulric's ability to communicate with Biomechanoids. But her block was too generalized and he passed into those memories. Enra knew that he must not find Jack. She felt his approach but she held tightly to the memories of their son. When he pushed, Enra felt as if her head was going to explode. She screamed as she lost consciousness. Her mind gave up the secrets of their son in the process.
Gorran stepped forward as the others turned their backs to them to give them privacy in their communion of Rapture. He felt Enra's anger and the disappointment she held for them. It shamed him further to know they were treating her unfairly. He found the beginning of his quest-the attack of the Biostrand space elevator. Through the Rapture he spoke aloud to the others. "She is a Biomechtric Engineer!" He watched her capture and chemical treatments. "She was captured and drugged." The memory under the control drug disoriented Gorran. "She was…an Attendant on a command carrier." Gorran almost lost his footing in the soft sand. He witnessed her transfer from the command carrier to this Peacekeeper, "Its name is Ulric Selton." Gorran had to concentrate, his own anger at her treatment was distracting him. "She was given to him as a gift! He was second in command of the Leviathan, Lursa, under the command of a Jass Dellin…" Enra's Rapture with Jack was not what Gorran expected. "Wait! Dellin is not Sebacean. He is something different…a human?" Gorran watched as her memory cleared of the control drugs. "His name is Jack Crichton." The disorientation of the Rapture subsided. "It's a ruse. They are on the run, posing as Peacekeepers."
Gorran found a memory she struggled to hold on to. She fought him, but he pushed his way through. He witnessed Ulric's communicating with the Leviathan Aden, then again with Lursa. He was about to announce to the others what she was hiding. "This Peacekeeper has…" Gorran knew that knowledge of his abilities would be seen as a threat. No, Enra, I will not tell them what hidden gift your Peacekeeper has. He witnessed the rest of her memories of the past. He felt a wave of sorrow pass through him at the death of the human named Jack Crichton. Then he came to another block. This time her resolve for blocking him was much stronger. As Gorran struggled, the words spilled from his lips, "Tell me!" He could hear Enra's screams in his mind. As her block collapsed, his mind was filled with the images of her son, their son. The flood of emotions overwhelmed him as the Rapture was broken and he fell to the ground.
Ulric woke slowly, his heart pounding in his ears. As his eyes tried to focus, he saw them-Enra and one of the men were locked in the Rapture. Ulric tried to stand, but his arms and legs had been locked in PK restraints. One of the others shoved him back onto the sand. Ulric turned slightly the marauder was still there. "Come on, son, go!" he whispered.
When Ulric heard Enra's screams he rolled over onto one shoulder. "Enra!" he yelled." What are you frelling doing to her?"
The visitor guarding him raised his weapon at Ulric's head. "Give me a reason, animal."
He watched helplessly as Enra and the one she was sharing Rapture with fell to the sand. "Enra! No!" Ulric struggled in his restraints as he continued to scream at them. They did not respond to him, they just stood there looking at the man who had shared Rapture with Enra.
Gorran's head cleared quickly. He stood, still feeling slightly disoriented. He stepped past Narra and the rest who had encircled him and knelt next to Enra who was slowly coming around. "I am sorry, Dasvalla Enra Talis, please forgive us for our action." He stood and turned to Narra and Tau. "With all that I am, I know that these people are not a threat to us."
Narra was surprised at Gorran's resolve. "Thank you, Gorran, you have saved us from making a terrible mistake."
"Narra, I must protest! He is a Sebacean, a Peacekeeper." Yet again Tau tried to control his mounting anger. "The clan rules are specific on outsiders. You…"
"Silence, Tau!" Narra said quietly. "You are my advisor, but the decision is mine alone."
Gorran smiled at his father then at Narra. "He is Sebacean, but he is no Peacekeeper. Not any more." He walked over to Ulric and removed the Peacekeeper restraints.
Ulric stood, shoving Gorran out of his way and dropped down next to Enra. She raised her head slightly and laughed lightly as she spoke, "You are a frelling foolish old Peacekeeper."
Ulric pulled her to his chest. "You are a stubborn old attendant." He sat back and hugged her.
Narra dismissed Tau and the others. She knelt down next to Enra. "I am sorry Enra, these are desperate times."
Enra pulled herself from Ulric's grasp and shot him one of her famous keep-your-frelling-mouth-shut looks. "I understand, Narra. Gorran showed me some of what you have been through. But what are you afraid of here?"
Narra's weak smile faded. "Enra, you have to understand. We have been hunted throughout the uncharted territories. The Peacekeepers sent out wanted beacons everywhere." She looked down the beach. "This is the first non tech world that we have found in three cycles."
Ulric and Narra helped Enra to her feet. Enra looked toward the marauder, then back at Ulric who excused himself and headed for the marauder with Gorran following after him. When he came up alongside of him, Ulric stopped in his tracks and turned to Gorran. "You don't trust me," Ulric said, more as a statement then a question.
"Not true, Ulric Selton," Gorran smiled slyly. "Speaker to the Biomechanoids." He handed Ulric his pulse gun and rifle.
Ulric turned and continued his walk down the beach towards the Marauder. "I don't know what you're talking about."
Gorran caught up with him again. "You could be a great help to our Biomech research team." Ulric ignored him.
When he placed his hand on the weathered tile, the circular hatch on the belly of the impressive ship opened and the ramp descended. Ulric headed up the ramp before it came to a stop. Gorran stumbled after him. Ulric stopped and turned back to the Vladic. "Look ahh…what's your name?"
"Starric Gorran Reht," Gorran smiled.
"Look Gorran, I don't know what you want here and I don't care! All I know is, with that beast of yours in orbit, it's going to call attention to this little world of ours. Sooner or later the Peacekeepers will be here to finish the job they started."
Gorran looked at Ulric stone faced. "You are correct. That's why, once we have unloaded everyone, a handful of us will be taking the Castra out of the system to see if we can finish repairs." Gorran walked past Ulric and headed for the flight deck. "You see Ulric, like it or not, my people are staying here." He watched for Ulric's reaction.
Ulric passed Gorran and blocked the hatch to the flight deck. Gorran smiled at Ulric "Are you going to introduce us?" Gorran tapped his head lightly. "I have seen everything," he grinned
When Ulric stepped onto the flight deck he realized why his son had not taken off. Dasival Jack Selton slept peacefully in the acceleration chair.
Ulric looked up at Gorran. "Your being here threatens his safety."
Gorrans had to look away from the beautiful sleeping boy. "I know Ulric, and I'm sorry. We have no choice."
A Little Talk with the
"Your still here? Go home, Lucy, it's late. But before you leave, send him in."
As always, Barry made his friendly loud welcome. "So may I ask,, Madam President, what was so important you needed to see me tonight?"
"First off, Barry, cut the Madame President crap! Secondly, I want to hear what you really think of the Guardian?
"What?" Barry was surprised by the question. He looked at her questioningly. "You're good, remind me never to play poker with you."
"Spill it, Barry. What isn't in this report."
"Well, Barbara." He unwrapped a cheap cigar and slipped it into his mouth. "If the Guardian is triggered on the day side of the planet, we will expose one fifth of the earth's population to a lethal dose of radiation."
"What! But I thought at 250 miles the Magnetosphere would shield us from the explosion?" She cupped her face in her hands. "Shit!" The economy seemed to be just turning around. For the first time she thought she had seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Now this. How the hell was she going deal with this? She looked up at Barry. "You are not lighting that thing in here!"
Barry blew out the match and swore under his breath. "True, but the solar winds will push the charged particles towards the earth and the earth's magnetic field will pull the deadly radiation down at the poles. Not so bad at the South Pole, but mans incursion at the north will be heavily affected."
"What happens if it is triggered on the night side?"
"The solar winds would push the radiation cloud away from the earth where it would disperse in interstellar space."
"I need a drink, care to join me?"
"As long as you can find me a suitable place to smoke my cigar."
"Well, I guess we will have to take a stroll in the rose garden. I don't want that cheap cigar stinking up the White House." She smiled warmly at the young Scotsman.
"Cheap!" Barry laughed.
Just before Gorran and his team left for deep space he invited Ulric on a tour of the Casta. One evening Ulric secretly headed for the huge Biomech ship. It was a strange mixture of a ship. It appeared that only certain sections were biotech; most of the exterior was standard space frame construction. There was a lot of the ship he didn't understand. It had some purpose that Gorran seemed reticent to share. When they came to the drive section, Ulric could almost sense it. "Starbust?" Ulric said almost out of the sheer shock.
"Yes, Ulric. We have developed Intra-dimensional travel. It's a rough ride, but yes, it's starburst."
"How…Why…" It then occurred to Ulric. "This is why the Peacekeepers are after you, isn't it? They know you have cracked the knowledge of starburst."
Gorran had quickly come to like Ulric, even though he was a Peacekeeper. He would not lie to him. "Yes," he said solemnly, "and it is for this reason Ulric, I think you should leave this world and hide somewhere else." Gorran had to look away from Ulric. "There are at least four Peacekeeper Carriers looking for us."
Ulric was furious. He was about to speak when it occurred to him Gorran didn't have to show him any of this. He was placing himself in danger just letting Ulric on board the ship. Ulric thought back to Jack Crichton. This is when he missed Jack the most. What would you say to this man, Jack? Ulric's anger faded. "Gorran, thank you for showing me this. I do understand what danger you have put yourself in with the others. We will take your advice and once you have gone, we will quietly leave as well."
Gorran was surprised by Ulric's response. "I wish I could have told you sooner."
They headed back to Ulric's Marauder and when Ulric said good bye to Gorran he had the feeling he would never see him again.
Late that night, lying in bed, Ulric explained what Gorran had shown him. That was all Enra needed to hear. She knew that the Peacekeepers would never stop looking. They quietly started their plans to leave paradise.
"Where shall we go, Uli?"
Ulric rolled over to the shelf next to their bed and picked up the weathered blood stained book. "I would like to return this to Jack's son before we look for a new home."
"How do you know he is even alive, it has been four cycles?"
"Trust me, I know." He smiled into the darkness. "I have heard her songs from time to time. Moya is still out there, and I bet with a little help from Jack, we can find her quickly."
"Then that's what we'll do." She moved closer to him. "By the gods, I miss him Uli."
"Who?" Ulric turned to be face to face with her in the darkness.
"Oh, Enra." He pulled her closer. Sadness tried to capture him but it slipped away as he spoke again. "He's still with us, Enra, he'll always be with us."
Three days later Narra walked the small path to Enra's home. She had been ashamed of their treatment of Enra, ,Jack and Ulric. Narra had lost three children of her own back on Casival. Here they had a beautiful boy that had been treated as an outcast. No! Gorran was right; they needed all the friends they could get. She had had a difficult time convincing the others but by Narra's sheer will persuaded the others to accept her plan of inviting the Selton family into their newly settled Citadel. She arrived at their small home and she found a small note with an old Vladic prayer. She looked to the sky, at the bright twin stars showing through the low clouds. I wonder if we will meet again, Dasvalla Enra Talis? Narra knew with all that was her soul, they would cross paths again. Narra spoke into the warm breeze that flowed off the in land sea. "I am ashamed of our action Dasival Enra… Selton. Some day I will make it up to you!" With a heavy heart she walked back to construction site of their new Citadel.
"I don't know, Officer Sun, but I can assure you that Moya would not place herself or us in any danger." Pilot tipped his head slightly and smiled at her.
"Moya, who's on that Marauder?" D'Argo yelled. The echo in the pilot's chamber died down.
Pilot's smile grew slightly. "Yelling in my chamber won't change Moya's mind, Ka D'Argo."
Chianna moved up next to Aeryn. "Is it like a Leviathan to keep secrets from their pilots?"
If they only knew, Pilot mused. "Yes. Moya tells me only what she wants me to know."
Aeryn turned from the group. She would get her Prowler and find out for herself who the frell they were. But as if reading her mind Pilot's next words stopped her in her tracks. "Please Officer Sun, do not try to launch your prowler. Moya will not allow it."
"Why Pilot? Please, you can tell me."
"It is a surprise."
"I for one do not like surprises," D'Argo vented.
Pilot looked down at his console. "The Marauder has landed safely in the hangar."
"Pilot I thought Moya said they were still five hundred microts away?"
"She did." Pilot's smile dimmed a bit. He knew it was a lie, but he would deliver the message to them.
D'Argo headed for the corridor, followed by Chianna and Aeryn.
"Zhaan!" D'Argo called over the com, "How's Crichton? We really need everyone down in the hangar."
"Ya D'Argo, I'm here I will meet you…there."
"D'Argo, he should remain in bed," Zhaan yelled over the com.
"Zhaan, till we know what's going on, we need everyone who can hold a gun down in the hangar."
Zhaan followed John to the hangar. "Relax, Blue, I am feeling a lot better."
D'Argo, Chianna and Aeryn reach the inner door of the hangar. They raised their weapons as the doors slowly parted. In the center of the hangar was the hulking Marauder and at its base is stood Ulric Selton, his gun drawn.
Aeryn was stunned and tightened her hand on her pulse rifle. "Holy shit!"
D'Argo looked at Aeryn and smiled. "You have been hanging around Crichton too much."
D'Argo moved forward sheathing his weapon. Aeryn remained stunned-this man before her looked so very much like John.
D'Argo came to a stop in front of Ulric who cautiously placed his gun back in its holster. "Hello, Ka D'Argo, it has been quite some time." Ulric bowed slightly. "We request to come aboard?"
D'Argo smiled at the Peacekeeper. "Welcome, Ulric. You remember Chianna." He turned to Aeryn. "I don't think you were formally introduced. Officer Aeryn Sun, this is Commander Ulric Selton."
Aeryn took a few steps forward. She kept her gun drawn. She remembered the stories of his visit while she was injured. But that time was a blur in her memory. She could not get over his similarity to John. But as he spoke to her she knew he was definitely a Peacekeeper.
"Actually, it's just Ulric Selton. I am glad to see that you are alive. When we were here last the prognosis didn't look good." He waited for her to say something, but she remained silent.
Chianna broke the uncomfortable silence. "What of the others? John's father and the Vladic?"
A pained smile came to Ulric's face. "Enra, Jack… its ok!" At his reassurance, Enra, followed by Jack, descended the ramp.
D'Argo assumed that it would be John's father descending the ramp. He was shocked by what he saw. The beautiful Vladic descended the ramp with a small boy walking at her side, his arm wrapped around one leg. D'Argo stared at the boy. He knew by the deep green eyes that this was their son. A smile erupted on the huge Luxan's face. "Either Jack has reversed the aging processes or you have some explaining to do." D'Argo let out a laugh that echoed through the hangar. Chianna joined in his laughter. She turned back and noticed Aeryn still stood there with her gun drawn. What happened next surprised all of them.
Jack unlatched himself from his mother's leg, ran down the ramp and dropped to the floor of the hangar. Where his hands met the warm floor it seemed to react to his touch. The boy laughed as he closed his eyes. There was an audible change in Moya's sound. The boy was whispering something none of them could make out. It almost sounded musical.
D'Argo looked at Aeryn, confused by the boy's actions. "Is he doing what I think he's doing?"
Aeryn finally lowered her weapon. "Yes D'Argo, he is talking to Moya."