Title: A Fate Worse Than This
Author: Karolyn Gray <kmgray3@aol.com>
SciFi BB/Chat Handle: Gray3
Rating: PG
Description: Alternate Universe Farscape story.
Spoilers: None
Archive: No
Disclaimers: All Farscape names, characters and other related indicia are the property of Jim Henson Productions, Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Networks Australia, the Scifi Channel and all associated parties. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Part of an alternate universe story I´m considering writing. Let me know if this sounds interesting enough to continue or not.

   The young Nebari darted her eyes nervously to the gated door of her cell as a shadowy figure paused to look in; another Peace Keeper. A male this time. She swallowed nervously and turned her eyes downward again, hoping the dim lighting of the room would allow her actions to go unnoticed by the other in the room.

   Though no one had harmed her since her first few painful hours aboard this Leviathan, she was still cautious, remembering well the painful blows she had endured. She had only heard rumors and stories about the Peace Keeper´s brutality and she found their reputation to be well deserved.

   She was certain they had already learned all they could from their many examinations and fluid samples she had endured by a host of different Sebaceans.

   Now she only wondered why they hadn't killed her, but she would settle for knowing why the Peace Keeper with her simply stood there and watched her. This one person scared her more than a thousand armed Peace Keepers and a Fleet of Warships ever could.

   A tall, strikingly beautiful female in a red and black uniform, hair pulled back crisply, and with a demeanor that demanded immediate respect from those around her. But it was the female's eyes the frightened Chiana, the cold and calculating eyes of a predator.

   She inwardly sighed as she heard the door hiss open and the male enter, resisting the urge to look up. She heard him set something on the table and the waft of something sweet told her it was possibly food. Still she did not look up, even when the male took a seat across from her.

   She was mildly surprised from what she could see that this particular Peace Keeper was dressed rather casually in boots, fatigue pants, a gray short sleeved shirt and what looked like some sort of utility pouch at his side. No weapons were evident, though she knew how easy it was to conceal such things from view.

   "Would you care for something to eat? Drink?" The male asked, his accent different from many of the others she had heard. When she didn't reply, he seemed to sigh. "I have no intention of harming you."

   She looked up at that, not believing him until she saw his eyes. Somehow she knew he was telling the truth. The warm, inviting smile graced his features instantly eased some of her tension.

   "Why?” She asked.

   The male shrugged. "Because I thought you might be hungry."

   Chiana blinked for a moment realizing he had misinterpreted the direction of her question. That alone gave her a small spark of hope. "No, I mean why don't you intend to harm me?"

    Another shrug. "Unlike my fellow shipmates, I'm curious about you and your people. Your culture, things like that." He replied amicably, grabbing a piece of fruit and popping it into his mouth with relish.

    "You really should eat something. The tangren is quite tasty." He gestured to the food before him with a small smile. "It's the least I could offer given the poor treatment you received."

   Chiana slowly took a small piece, all the while expecting some sort of trick. When nothing happened she quickly ate the piece and couldn't help smile at the taste of the sweet pulp.

    "Told you." The male said, laughing in amusement as Chiana grabbed for more of the fruit and began to wolf it down.

   After a few moments she slowed down, suddenly wary as to the kindness being shown her. Seeing her eyes fall on him the male smiled. "You have questions."

    She nodded slowly. Where to start?

    "Where are Salis and Durka?"

    "Hmm. I'd hoped you want to at least know my name." The male said with a wry grin. "But then Salis was a bit of a control freak, wasn't he?"

    "Was?" Chiana interrupted.

    The male looked troubled for a moment. He glanced at the female in the room for a moment, nodding almost imperceptibly before returning his gaze to Chiana. "I'm afraid Salis is dead. He was too uncooperative and executed despite my insistence otherwise."

    "Oh." Was all Chiana had to say in reply. She really didn't care what happened to Salis. He had always been talking about how the Nebari should contact the Peace Keepers to assure lasting order and conformity in the galaxy. She found it deliciously ironic that he had met his end by their hands.

   "As to Captain Durka..." The male shrugged. "I'm afraid that once the brain washing was removed he was found to be a total loon."

   Chiana frowned in puzzlement. She had never heard any one talk like this sebacean male. Seeing her look he shrugged.

   "Insane." He explained. "While a legend and a hero deserves to go home, I'm afraid Durka shall not live to see it."

   "You're going to kill him?" Chiana asked in surprise.

   When they had first come aboard the Peace Keeper Leviathan the Sebaceans on board had practically treated the former Captain like a deity. That was until they discovered what the Nebari had done to him. Things had gotten worse from that point.

   "No." The male shook his head, looking unsettled. "He's volunteered to commit suicide in order to maintain his honor and the morale of the Peace Keeper Corps." Seeing her look he leaned back, scratching at his neck absently. "Don't know if I buy into that but he is crazy."

   "So what now?" Chiana asked. "What are you going to do with me?"

   "Me? I just want to talk for a while." The sebacean replied. He extended his hand towards her in what appeared to be some sort of greeting gesture. "My name´s Commander John Crichton. You can call me John if you like."

   She hesitantly touched his hand, not wanting to give offense. "Chiana." She replied nervously as he clasped her hand gently in his own for moment and the pulled away.

   "I'm not quite what you were expecting, am I?" Crichton asked.

   "No. You're not." Chiana admitted. "You seem..."

   "Different. Yes, I know." Crichton nodded, leaning back into his seat again. "Welcome to my vessel, the Leviathan Moya, New Tech Division."

   "Your ship?" The young Nebari asked in surprise. This John Crichton certainly didn't look like one who was capable of commanding such a vessel as this.

   "Well, more properly, my home away from home, if you will." Crichton replied easily.

   Sudden understanding dawned for Chiana and with it disbelief. "You...you're not Sebacean?"

    "No. I'm human." The alien male replied. "Consider my people the younger cousins to the Sebaceans."

    "But, I thought the Peace Keepers did not mix with.... others." Chiana said tentatively, glancing over to see the female still watching with an emotionless mask. "How did you get here? Command of this vessel?"

   The human got a distant look on his face as he sipped what appeared to be water from a small cup. "Well, I suppose it began with Crais...."

**********

   "And what happened to this Lieutenant Sun after the hearing?" Chiana asked, not certain she believed even half of the tale the human had just related.

   A half crazed Peace Keeper Captain, a hectic chase across the Uncharted Territories, crossing paths with numerous dangerous aliens, the capture and conversion of a highly trained Commando and finally the return and acceptance back into the Peace Keeper Corps. It seemed unreal.

    And yet here sat this human. An alien deemed to be a part of the Sebacean race because of his genetics, commanding an unfettered Leviathan and it's Pilot through friendship and trust instead of fear and control.

    "Oh, she went on to have quite a meteoric rise in the ranks of the Commandos. I believe she commands a fleet now. A quite powerful one at that." John replied.

   "Do you ever.... talk with her?" Chiana asked curiously. "I mean you seemed...well according to your story...seemed friendly at the end there." Chiana noted nervously.

   A look Chiana was unable to identify crossed the human´s face, a softness entering his tone when he replied. "We manage to see each other now and again."

   A silence rose between them as the human seemed to be lost in his thoughts and Chiana now began to consider her own future. Despite the good nature of this human Peace Keeper she had little doubt that the others held her in this same regard.

   "What do plan to do with me?" She asked.

    "Return you to the Nebari. A Host vessel will be here in a few days." Crichton replied. Seeing the flash of fear on Chiana's face, he smiled reassuringly. "There are worse fates, Chiana. But don't worry. You´re not going back as their prisoner. You're going back as our emissary."

    "Emissary?" Chiana asked slowly, trying to be certain she had heard correctly. "I don't understand."

    "It was decided that a dialogue should be opened up between Sebacea and the Nebari." The human passed her a data storage device, which she slowly took. "You will see that your leaders receive this message from us."

    "I'm...I'm not sure what to say." Chiana replied lamely.

    "Say you will do this for us. You could instigate a new era of peace and with exposure to Sebaceans I'm sure you're people will modify their conformist mentality to be more flexible. That's what you want, isn't it?" Crichton asked.

    Slowly Chiana nodded, her smile all the answer the human needed. He rose and gestured towards the female Peace Keeper. "We'll leave you now Chiana. Please get some rest, while I have new clothing brought to you."

   "Thank you." Chiana replied with a beaming smile.

    The human nodded once in reply as he followed the female Peace Keeper out of the room. Chiana noted the door did not close, confirming their trust in her and her own realization that all of this was real. With a grin on her face she casually began chewing on the remaining food, her mind plotting how to maximize this opportunity to her advantage.

**********

   "It would seem your plan is more effective than I had thought possible, Commander Crichton." The female Sebacean said as they purposefully strode through the near vacant halls of Moya.

   "As I said it would, Captain Sun." The human replied formally.

   Aeryn Sun stopped suddenly and faced the human with a concerned expression. "You are certain they won't be able to detect the virus?"

   "Namtar was quite certain, Captain. And you know how much of a stickler he is for perfection." Crichton reminded the Peace Keeper. Allowing what little Peace Keeper bearing he had slip away, a malice ridden smile came to his face. "They won't know what hit 'em. By the time they figure it out, the Fleet will have crushed their empire and we can continue on our mission."

   "We can *complete* our mission." Aeryn corrected, a matching smile came to her face as she stepped close to him, encircling his waist in her arms. She kissed him quickly. "I intend to experience this rain you've mentioned so many times. I think I will like it."

   "I'm certain you will." John replied, hugging her close and nuzzling her neck. "When do you have to get back to the Carrier?" He murmured softly.

   "I still have a few arns." Aeryn relied, nipping his neck lightly. "Besides, I think Lieutenant Om has taken quite an interest in Gilina. I´m sure they won´t mind having a few more arns together while we finish up our own...business."

   "How fortunate for them." John replied, happy that their mutual friend had finally found some one to care about.

   "Yes, isn't it." Aeryn replied, grasping his hand and leading John down the passageway to his quarters. "Now let's see what we can do about those children you wanted so much."

   "Me? You're the one who said she wanted children." John mocked, laughter in his voice as he followed his love.

   The human smiled to himself in satisfaction as he recalled Chiana's words about he and Aeryn. From their first deadly meeting to the hearing and beyond that to this very moment. So many changes.

   "And this is only the beginning." He murmured to himself, brief thoughts of his home world flitting through his mind.