Disclaimer: Farscape belongs to Jim Henson Co., Number Nine Australia and Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended.
Archiving: Just let me know where it's going.
Spoilers: Nothing too specific except for Premiere.
Author's notes: I apologize in advance...This fic is Sarah's Muse's fault. I'm not sure whether to thank Sarah or (virtually) smack her for not locking up her Muse better, but I do owe her a big thanks for her tireless beta-reading skill. Feedback is appreciated and can be sent to me at email@example.com.
It's been four years since my son was lost to me, and I still wake up at night with my last plea for him to abort ringing inside my head. And so, when his voice once again filled my living room three years and eight months later, I almost didn't believe my ears.
"Hey Dad, it worked! DK's and my theory, it actually worked. Sort of. Look, I know this is, uh, crazy. I mean, you're never actually going to get this message, but I wanted to let you know that I'm alive." His voice was ebullient, full of wonder. In the background I could hear a series of mechanical squeaks, almost protests. "Hold still, hold still," John murmured to whatever was in front of him. "Don't know where I am," he continued, addressing me again. "I technically don't know how I got here. But I'm not going to stop trying to get home."
That day held more than one incredible revelation. My life was forever changed as a result, more than when I first orbited the earth; more than my first steps on the moon. For there is nothing more momentous than the revelation of life, even if it comes in the context of death. Life created where none was thought to exist.
Aeryn's eyes swept across the marbled lobby, only appreciating the beauty of the carefully landscaped atrium after she had established that there were no immediate threats. At the far end of the open expanse was an enormous seal, a bronzed version of the symbol that adorned both the Farscape module and John's flight suit. IASA. Beneath the seal, a stern-looking woman sat behind an uncluttered desk, speaking into a headset as she scanned a book in front of her.
Aeryn caressed her hand over the moderate swell of her womb in an unconscious gesture as her anxiety rose. She had to get this right the first time, and force was not an option. She had to do this "low-key", as John would have said. Thus, she had traded her usual leather clothing for a pair of loose-fitting trousers that John had once worn, a tank top that Zhaan had altered to accommodate her growing proportions, and an over-vest that disguised her figure. Her clothes weren't in keeping with the current Earth styles, but as far as she could tell, they did not make her conspicuous, either. Also absent from her outfit was her pulse pistol, but the risk of its detection outweighed the possible benefits it could bring if she found trouble. Instead, she carried a familiar tan satchel that contained a most precious cargo.
The woman behind the desk glanced up as Aeryn approached. "May I help you?" she asked, eyeing Aeryn critically as if to size her up in a single look.
"DK Moore," she replied, projecting as much disinterest as possible while trying to quell the uncertainty rising in her throat. She had spent two days researching IASA by following guided tour groups, watching day-to-day activities, and unobtrusively listening to those who worked in the area. All this indirect reconnaissance and information-gathering dren was not covered in Peacekeeper commando training, but she had learned a lot from her time on Moya. And she had learned a lot in her two days at the Kennedy Space Center, as this IASA facility was known. Most importantly, as far as she could tell, John's best friend had an office in this building.
Her only weakness was her limited command of John's language. Although she did know a number of single words and phrases, she suspected that many of them were not suitable for polite conversation. As long as the woman did not ask too many questions, Aeryn could bluff her way into DK's office. And all she needed was a few minutes with the human.
"Imogen Jackson," she replied, hoping her memory served her well.
"Do you have an appointment with Dr. Moore scheduled, Ms. Jackson?"
Aeryn shook her head, maintaining an air of easy superiority as if to convey her confidence that no appointment was necessary.
After a brief pause, the woman pressed several buttons on her console and spoke into a microphone on her headset. Following a brief conversation, she handed Aeryn a badge to clip to her vest and directed her to the third floor.
DK's office, which Aeryn realized was really more of a lab, was deserted when she arrived. Her eyes swept the small room, cataloguing its contents automatically. Several large computing devices crowded a long table on one side of the room, and a desk in front of a window was covered with stacks of paper that seemed to be organized in a system of folders. Rows of shelves covered every other dench of wall space, most of them packed with volumes of books and other bound parchments. One shelf near the main desk contained personal memorabilia including a scaled model of John's module and a framed image of John and another man. She crossed the room to take a closer look. The model depicted Farscape I as it must have appeared before its journey across the outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere and through the wormhole: sleek and unblemished, free of the numerous insults it had suffered in the Uncharted Territories. Aeryn ran her hand over the model and picked up the frame beside it, inspecting it closely. John was grinning, his eyes much the same as when she had first met him--trusting and innocent. She could feel tears stinging her own eyes as she examined the image of the man John Crichton had been before fate had flung him far from everything he knew.
"Imogen?" came the voice from behind her, questioning.
She turned and recognized the human as the man in the picture with John. His expression transformed to one of surprise as he realized that she was not the Imogen Jackson he had expected.
DK examined the dark-haired beauty who now turned to face him. She held the photograph of himself and John, caressing the edge of the frame with a touch that was almost reverent. One thing was for certain: she wasn't Imogen Jackson. Even fifteen years after high school, he would know the legendary object of his and John's adolescent hormonal affections. This woman would put Imogen to shame.
"Who are you?" he managed, finding his voice. For a brief moment, an unidentifiable emotion flickered across her lovely features--regret, perhaps. In an instant it was gone, and he found himself pinned against a filing cabinet to his left.
"Tsyon-sa," she whispered as she twisted his arm and immobilized him.
"What the hell is going on? Who the..." He widened his eyes as she produced something that resembled a syringe. "What are you doing? What is that?" he continued, feeling a surge of panic. He struggled in her grip, scrambling for any opening, but she held him so that he had no leverage against her.
"Sto nema wyaso," she ordered, her tone sharp. He guessed that she had said something to the effect of 'Shut up!', 'Stop struggling!' or a combination of the two. She deftly maneuvered the syringe-thingy to his neck while continuing to hold him in place with her other hand, a sharp hiss signaling a successful injection.
Surprisingly, it didn't even sting. He cried out nonetheless. "What the hell is wrong with you? What was that?"
She released him, stepping back to allow him room to breathe. He turned, rubbing his neck, but instinctively remained pressed against the cabinet. Whoever this mystery woman was, she could flatten him without a second thought. He shook the arm she had pinned behind him, feeling a prickle on his skin as circulation returned, then examined his assailant with a mixture of fear and curiosity. She seemed to study him in return, perhaps looking for the effects of whatever she had injected into him. It wasn't until she turned to pick up the photograph, which she must have set on the desk prior to attacking him, that he noticed the slight bulge in her figure. Pregnant? This was getting weirder by the minute.
"I'm sorry to use force, but it was vital that you understand me."
"What the hell did you do?" he repeated, only then realizing that he *had* understood her. But she hadn't spoken English. Had she?
Still holding the photograph, she fished the device out of a pouch on her hip and handed it to him. "Translator microbes," she explained matter-of-factly. "They allow us to understand each other."
"Translator microbes?" He turned the purple device over in his hands. It didn't have a needle that he could detect, although the knob at the top clearly acted as a plunger. "Where did you get this?"
"That isn't important right now. I'll explain everything shortly. First I need you to take me to Jack Crichton."
"Take you to Colonel Crichton?" It was the last thing he expected her to say. Although with this woman, the unexpected seemed somehow appropriate.
"Yes, I have something very important to give him." She shifted, revealing a small tan bag on her shoulder bearing an IASA patch.
"Who the hell are you, anyway?"
She looked abashed. "I'm sorry. John always complained that manners are not my strong suit--whatever that means."
"Wait," he interrupted. "You knew John?" Sure, DK didn't know all of John's friends, but he knew of most of them. And John had never mentioned anyone like the woman before him. DK would have remembered that.
A sad smile crossed her face, lingering in her eyes. "Yes, for three cycl- years," she hastily corrected. Stepping closer, she extended her hand. DK barely suppressed his urge to press himself further into the file cabinet behind him. Instead, he accepted her proffered hand, noting her firm but not bone-crushing grip. "My name is Aeryn Sun. John was my mate."
"John's mate? You mean... his wife?" He realized that every new question he asked was repeating the last thing she said, but it seemed justified, given what was coming out of her mouth. What the hell was this woman talking about? John had never married. What was this Aeryn Sun playing at? "John's dead," he stated, blunter than he intended.
The woman flinched slightly, her gaze dropping to the photograph again. "Yes, he is," she agreed. "But not in the manner that you believe." She replaced the frame on the bookshelf and turned back to DK. "He survived the maneuvers he performed in his module, but ended up far from his home as a result. He spent the next three cycles looking for a way back to Earth, but it was only after his death that we were able to pinpoint this planet's location." She paused, taking a breath to steady herself, her hands resting on her womb. "It was his wish that his child should someday find her way to Earth to learn of her heritage, even if John could not. So, here we are."
DK looked at Aeryn, then at slight swell beneath her hands. John's child? John had survived? Was this woman for real? A thousand questions flooded his mind, making him feel faint. He stumbled behind his desk, managing to ease himself into the chair. "I was there when he... I saw his ship... There's no way he could have survived that..." DK stammered, struggling to make sense of what he knew to be true and what this woman was saying.
Aeryn seemed unperturbed by DK's skepticism, almost as if she expected it. She removed a chain from around her neck and handed it to DK. "This was one of his most prized possessions. He refused to trade it, even when we had nothing left to trade."
"Colonel Crichton's puzzle ring," he muttered in amazement as he inspected it. "John's dad gave this to him before he left." Even though DK had been standing at the other end of the hall from both father and son, he had heard most of the conversation. John was to return the ring the following evening when he came home. DK felt a stab of grief as he relived the memory.
"Actually, it isn't. It's a replica I had made after the original was lost during a crisis," she explained. "He said it was intended to bring him luck. I'm not sure that it ever did that, but it saved us all once."
DK looked at the ring and then back at the strange and beautiful woman who called herself Aeryn Sun and claimed to be John Crichton's widow. The bag she carried was like the one IASA had issued to John prior to his launch. She somehow knew about Imogen Jackson and had used that information to bluff her way into his office. This woman seemed to have known his deceased best friend. What if what she was saying was actually true? But that would mean...
"How did... how was John able to survive for so long? The Farscape had enough O2 for forty-eight hours at most," he reasoned.
"He was very lucky. And very unlucky. When he... emerged from the wormhole he had accidentally created, he was not alone. He made friends--and enemies--almost immediately upon arrival." She smiled slightly, an edge of sadness creeping into her eyes again. "They sheltered him--both of us, really--and they protected him from those who would harm him."
Distant part of the universe? They? "Aliens?" DK asked with growing excitement as the implications of her words took shape in his mind.
The woman appeared amused by his realization. "Yes, aliens."
Of course, aliens. But then... "How did you..."
"I was already there. I was one of the enemies I spoke of earlier. Until I met Crichton, that is."
Already there? "Then you're..."
"Yes, alien," she supplied, not restraining her mirth at his belated conclusion. Amused, but not mocking. She seemed to understand the difficulty he was having accommodating the new information.
"But you look human," he pointed out weakly. Weren't aliens supposed to be green and ugly with overly-large heads and beady black eyes?
"And you look Sebacean. It's one of the mysteries of the universe."
He looked at the swell of her abdomen again, this time feeling a surge of awe and hope. "And that's John's child?" he asked, still not quite grasping it.
"It's all I have left of him."
My son's voice fills the small, antiseptic room as he describes fantastic tales of adventure, pain, discovery, sorrow, and friendship in a hostile and alien universe. So much happened after his disappearance, so many lifetimes experienced before his untimely death. Aeryn Sun told us that he died to save her and their child, so that they could make it to his home--and thus to safety--even if he could not. I look at the tiny form bundled in my arms, my granddaughter, born just over an hour ago.
"*That* is your Daddy," I inform her as I hold her close. The recording in my lap continues, oblivious to its audience. I shift her tiny form to one side, swiping an inevitable tear from my cheek with my free hand. I had accepted John's death a long time before DK arrived at my front door with Aeryn Sun in tow. Her news of John's life--and death--as well as the recordings she presented to me that eventful day filled me with a bittersweet joy. To learn of the man he became was a gift sweeter than any that I have been blessed with in my life. Yet hearing of his death--his real death--renewed the grief I thought I had buried deep within. I suppose part of that sadness reflects a loss of what could have been: that John could see the beautiful perfection of his daughter, that the sparkle in his widow's seemingly human eyes not be tempered with a hint of grief. Her loss is so fresh, unlike mine, which has only resurfaced.
And now my son, though no longer with us to celebrate, passes along a piece of his unique legacy to the human race. He will not be remembered for what he did--what he truly did--but it doesn't matter. Four years ago, my son died a pioneer above the Earth's atmosphere, striving to find a way to allow humans to explore the heavens. Six months ago he died again, trying to bring the heavens to humanity. He will be remembered, not by his own race, but by the lives he touched, both human and alien, between death, life and death again. I think he would have liked that.