Title: Heart of the Hunter
Author: Charra Loon genisis51@juno.com
Rating:  PG-13 for violence and conduct
Part:  3/3
Disclaimer:  See "Wrath of the Hunter"
Summary:  The epic conclusion to the Hunter Trilogy!!  An important decision will change everything.
Time/Setting:  Kathra's fortress, after the events of "Secret of the Hunter"
Author's Notes: Did I remember to thank everybody who gave me permission to use their fanfics as references?  Penny, Laura, Annette, I couldn't have done it without you.  Now, on with the story!!!

 

Heart of the Hunter
by Charra Loon

 

The Hunter stopped dead in his tracks the moment he heard D'Argo shout.  The blade's point was only inches from its intended target.  "What did you say?"  he asked.

John let out a sigh of relief when he saw the Hunter had stopped.  "He told you 'don't'."  he replied.

"No, not that."  the Hunter replied.  He turned his attention to D'Argo.  "That name you called me.  Jothee?  No one has refered to me by that name for cycles.  Only Kathra ever uses that name for me."

"It is you, isn't it?"  D'Argo said.  "Jothee.  After all this time, I--"

"Who are you?"  the Hunter asked.  "Where did you hear that name?"

"It's your birth name, the one I always called you."

"It can't be."  he replied.  "Kathra told me you were dead."

"Apparantely, she lied."  John replied.  "Just as she lied to you about everything else."

"She couldn't have been lying about the PeaceKeepers!"  the Hunter snapped.  "I know what they did.  They may fool everyone else, but I know the truth."

"The truth?"  D'Argo asked.

"I know it was the PeaceKeepers who murdered my mother."

"Jothee-"

"And I know you abandoned me on that planet."  he snapped.

"I had no choice."  D'Argo pleaded.  "Listen to me, Kathra, by some strange coincidence, was telling the truth about your mother."

"You sent me away!"

"Because I was afraid that same PeaceKeeper would come for you!  I was trying to protect you, just as always."

"Things have changed."  the Hunter said.  "I'm not a little boy anymore. I will kill every PeaceKeeper there is to avenge my mother's death, and you can't stop me."  At that moment, several soldiers began to flood the dungeons.  John knew they had to get out, and fast.

"D'Argo,"  he said.  "Let's go."

"I'm not leaving him again!"  he shouted as he went towards the Hunter.

A gas began to fill the room as the helmet came on, covering the Hunter's face once more, protecting him from the gas as John and D'Argo fell unconscious.  "Take the human to the laboratory."  he ordered as the soldiers carried John out of the dungeons.  More surrounded D'Argo.

"What about the Luxan?"  one of them asked.  The Hunter looked at him, stared at him, uncertain at what to do.  "Toss him out of the fortress." he said.  "I'll deal with him later."  The soldiers carried D'Argo to the door and threw him out as the Hunter followed the ones carrying the human.
 

At the rebel base, D'Argo began to regain consciousness.  He finally awoke to see Zhaan looming over him.  "D'Argo?"  she asked.  "Can you hear me?"

"Zhaan?"  he replied.  "What in the hezmana happened?"

"We found you unconscious outside the fortress."  said Elysia as she entered.  "We figured you had breathed some of Kathra's homemade sleep mist, so we brought you here to recouperate."

"Crichton!"  D'Argo remembered.  "Where is he?"

"I'm sorry,"  Elysia replied.  "Kathra has him.  Barros has gone off to see if he's still alive."

Aeryn came in soon after.  "D'Argo, I heard about Crichton."  she said.

"Aeryn, you're looking better."  he replied.

"I was lucky Elysia and John found me when they did."  she answered.  She then noticed D'Argo's mournful look.  "D'Argo?"  she asked.  "Is something the matter?"

"Jothee--"  he began.

"You found him?"  Aeryn asked.  "Does the Hunter have him?"

"It's worse than that,"  D'Argo replied.  "Jothee....."  He was relcuntant to finish.  "Jothee is the Hunter."

"You saw the face of the Hunter?"  Elysia stated.

"Are you certain, D'Argo?"  Zhaan asked.

"I'm positive."  he replied.  "It's him, after so long."

"You know the Hunter?"  Elysia said.  "D'Argo, I understand that a Luxan can make many enemies.  However, since you know this one, I think it's best that you battle him when we try to rescue Crichton."

"I can't."  D'Argo said.

"Please, D'Argo."  Elysia went on.  "This may be our only chance of being free and rescuing your friend.  It will take a strong warrior to defeat the Hunter."

"But it takes a monster to destroy his own son."  D'Argo responded.

"I don't understand,"  Elysia said.  "All of Kathra's soldiers are genetically engineered."

"There's more to this than you know, Elysia."  Zhaan replied.  She explained the situation with D'Argo and how he lost his wife, a Sebacean woman, to a PeaceKeeper's wrath.  "But not just any PeaceKeeper,"  she went on.  "Her own brother.  D'Argo sent their son to another planet to protect him and he's been trying to find him since we escaped."

"So, Kathra was coincidentally telling the truth."  Elysia said.  "She always said the PeaceKeepers would destroy their own kind at a moment's notice, but their own family--"

"The PeaceKeepers forbid inter-species unions."  Aeryn added.  "They do what they can to keep the bloodline pure."

"And now the Hunter is trying to avenge himself and his family."  Elysia finished.  "By commiting genocide."

"Elysia,"  D'Argo began.  "What did you say about Kathra's soldiers being genetically engineered?"

"Kathra isn't only a warlord, she's also an expert genetist."  Elysia explained.  "She's, in some ways, like the PeaceKeepers, but believes there's no way to achive perfection and keep the bloodline pure as well."

"So she mixes some genes together to form instant soldiers?"  Aeryn asked.

"She always makes sure there's at least some part of Sebacean DNA so the race could have some credit.  Only Kathra herself is pure Sebacean."

"What about the others?"  Zhaan asked.

"Completely random mixtures, but the generals themselves have certain mixtures."  Elysia continued.  "Zathros is half Hynerian for aquatic domination, Ta'Cara is half Delvian for spritual power, Ma'Rone is half Vocarion for the blood-tracking ability and Yorita is half Nebari for natural inconspicuous activity.  I am certain that Crichton is alive."

"How?"  Aeryn asked.

"His genetic formula is similar to Sebacean, but as a scientist Kathra will be curious."  Elysia replied.  "Is there a way to tell a human from a Sebacean, without resorting to a genetic scan?"

"Only one way like that,"  Aeryn started.  "Humans are more tolerant to heat than Sebaceans."

"Of course, heat tolerance for a hybrid Sebacean would make the perfect saboteur to use against the PeaceKeepers!"

"Is something wrong, Elysia?"  Zhaan asked.  Elysia went to an old communications set and started to set a frequency.

"Arron, status report."  she said.

"Elysia, what is it?"  he asked.

"It's Kathra,"  she replied.  "I have reason to believe she intends to use the human's DNA to create spies to infiltrate High Command!"

"How is that possible?"

"I have just learned that a human is more tolerant to heat than a Sebacean is.  We have to get into that fortress before it's too late!"  She looked around the screen.  "Where's Barros?"  she asked.  "He should've been out by now."

"That was what I was about to contact you for,"  Arron explained.  "He's dead."

"Kathra caught him?"  Arron nodded.  "Assemble your troops, Arron."  she went on.  "We end this now!"  The holomonitor went blank.  She then turned to her visitors.

"Elysia, what is going on?"  Aeryn asked.

"We're going for your friend, and for our freedom!"  she answered.  "Follow me, we're heading to the rendevous point where we'll join with Arron's troops in battle."  They exited the base, D'Argo following them with doubt in his head.

***

Meanwhile, John was beginning to awake in a cell with transparent walls.  He discovered the walls after being shocked by the invisible electrons producing the wall.  "Where the hell am I?"  he asked.  It was then that Kathra entered.

"So, this is the human I've been hearing about."  she said.  "You don't look much, but I'm known to adapt."

"I take it you must be Kathra."  he said.  "The warlord enslaving these people."

"Warlord?"  she laughed.  "So that's what your rebel friends describe me as.  I'll have you know I'm a scientist first and a warlord second, fortunately for you."

"Don't tell me, let me guess, you want to study my genes and see if you can create some Sebacean hybrids to infiltrate and destroy the PeaceKeepers."

"Well, John Crichton, I must admit for a species which is technically inferior, you catch on quickly."

"Well, you're not exactly the only scientist around here, in case you didn't know."

"Then you understand the importance of my research."  she replied.  "For cycles, the PeaceKeepers have destroyed millions of races whose genes could have improved our society.  Those fools at High Command believe in acheving perfection while keeping the race pure.  I say sacrifices must be made for the greater good."

"Good as in getting your genes sliced and diced?"  he asked.

"Precisely,"  she answered.  "Look at yourself, John.  Hated by the enemy and shunned by your friends, if you should call them that, all beacause of your incompitence.  I don't blame you, though, you are a rare species indeed."

"Rare?"

"It is not often I see a species which can find pleasure on its homeworld alone, pure from the technologies which have corrupted this galaxy.  Indeed, we have much to learn from each other.  Join me, Crichton.  With your species' genetic code and my technology, we can rid ourselves of the PeaceKeepers once and for all."

"What makes you think I'll join with you?"

"You have no choice.  It's only a matter of time before we find your homeworld.  Suppose the PeaceKeepers follow you there and destroy everything?  Your people will be terminated for your crimes and enslaved for their pleasure, just like Delvia.  I can help you protect your people from them, John.  All you have to do is join me."

"When hell freezes over."  John replied.

Kathra pressed some controls which caused a large claw to grab John's head.  "You do realize I could destroy you anytime I please."  she said.  "I already downloaded your entire vocabulary from your translator microbes into my own enhanced
versions."

"Yeah, but I know you're dying to understand my code."  John responded.

Kathra then made the claw force John's eyes to stay open as she deactivated the walls and brought out an empty syringe.  She placed the needle into the center of his pupil and drew out the liquid.  She then took out the needle and summoned the lab guards who were also assistants.  "Place him in the breeder chambers."  she ordered.  "Do not engage into further extractions until I return."  She gave the syringe with the liquid to another lab guard.  "Take this and do a full universal scan." she said to him.  She then exited the lab and headed towards the main corridors.  She then spotted the Hunter gazing out the windows of the fortress.  "General Hunter,"  she said.  "You've made me proud today.  The human's genetics will be invaluable to our cause."  She soon noticed a dissapointing look on his unveiled face.  "Hunter, is there something
wrong?"

"Why didn't you tell me my father was still alive?"  he finally asked.

"Your father?  The Luxan?"  Kathra replied.  "Are you certain?"

"I know it's him."  he said.  "After fourteen cycles, he was alive."

"I understand you're upset, but your father was arrested by the PeaceKeepers after he sent you to me."  Kathra explained.  "I only assumed he was executed."

"Arrested?  What for?"

"He was framed."

"Framed?"

"Sorry, the human's vocabulary is becoming a habit.  It means he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit."

"What crime?"

"Your mother's murder, of course."  Kathra answered.  "I can only guess he was arrested by the same PeaceKeeper who killed her."  He began to look shocked, but his eyes soon enraged with pain.  "Jothee,"  she went on.  "I know it was your father who gave you life, but it was I who made you what you are.  Remember that."

"Yes, Mistress Kathra."  he said.  "Shall I aid in dealing with the human?"

"I have to tend to the inspection of the guards anyway,"  Kathra replied.  "Guard the human until I return."

"As you command."  he said as she left.  He headed immediately to the breeder chambers; he knew Kathra long enough to predict where she kept her "specimens" as she called them.  He went into the large rooms where there was equipment used for creating minions.  He soon found John in one of the cells.  "Leave us,"  he ordered the guards.  They left and waited by the door.

"Alright, I was in the lab and everything was like you told me."  John said.  "So, what is this place?"

"These are the breeder chambers,"  the Hunter explained.  "Here, we remove the sexual organs from a specimen and combine them to make soldiers to serve Kathra."

"Great."  John said.  Then he paused, and looked at the Hunter.  How is it that an innocent child like Jothee could become such a murderer?  "Say, we never did get to talk much,"  he said.  "Not after the gas and everything."

"What is it this time?"

"I'm just curious at how you came to be the Hunter."

He stared at the human, uncertain what to say.  He was always the Hunter, he could answer, but that wouldn't explain everything.  "It started after my father sent me to that planet."  he began.  "He said that as soon as possible, he would join me.  After the ship landed, I waited for him, and waited and waited.  No sign of him, I began to lose hope he would ever come.  I explored the world I was on, then came across a campsite surrounded by soldiers.  I saw food there, I hadn't eaten anything for weekens.  The soldiers caught me trying to steal their food, then Kathra came.  She looked at me, asked me questions about myself.  I told her my story, and she told me that my mother was murdered by a PeaceKeeper, who it was,
she didn't know.  She also said my father may be dead as well, and asked me to stay with her.  'Become my hunter,'  she said.  'With the training I shall give you, you can avenge your family, avenge yourself.'  For fourteen cycles, I trained, hard and unstopping, driven by the hatred of the PeaceKeepers, at what they did to me and my family.  After seven cycles, I went on my first mission, a scouting patrol in an asteroid camp.  I saw what the PeaceKeepers did to other species, torture, enslave and eliminate.  I then attacked their base and destroyed every last PeaceKeeper there.  That was the beginning of my journey as the Hunter.  You were fortunate to have that PeaceKeeper escape, John Crichton, but mark my word, no one escapes the Hunter for long."

"Jothee, listen to me,"  he pleaded.  "How do you know if Aeryn, if any of the PeaceKeepers you've killed, was the one who killed your mother?"

"I don't,"  he replied.  "Can't you see?  They're all the same: murderous barbarians who never tolerate others that are different from themselves!"

"You can't let your hatred control you, Jothee."  John told him.  "Because, in the end, you'll become exactly what you hate the most, and then the PeaceKeepers will have the last laugh."  He noticed no sign of the scowl disappearing from his face, so he went on.  "Look, I don't know what you've been through because of the PeaceKeepers, maybe I can't even imagine, but I know enough to understand that the killing has to stop."

"I swore on her grave I wouldn't rest until the PeaceKeepers have paid for their misdeeds."

"Tell me something, Jothee.  Would your mother want you to become a murderer, no matter what?"

"I don't know; I was only five when she--"

"Let's say that she was still alive,"  John said.  "What would she say now if she knew you were a killer, even if you were doing it for her sake?"

"She said to me once that even though we are different, we should only judge others by their character."  he replied.  "What have I done?  I never thought about it before, but what we're doing--"  It was just then that Kathra entered.

"You've done well, Hunter."  she said.  "Leave us."

"As you wish, Mistress."  he said as he went to the back of the room where the door was, but instead of exiting, he went behind a curtain where Kathra couldn't see him.  "I see your genetic code is rather complex."  she said to John.  "I'm certain we could use what we find in you for possible breeding."

"So that's why this is called the breeder chambers."  he replied.  "Oh, boy."

"You've been talking with the Hunter."  she said.

"I'm a friend of the family."

"The empire is his family, Crichton, and you are no friend."

"You're the surrogate family, I'm with the biological one."

"The Luxan father?  Poor, deluded fool.  You underestimate my control over him."

"Tell me something, Kathra.  Of all the beings in the galaxies, why him?"

"He was perfect, I saw it from the moment he waltzed into my camp.  The strength and fierceness of a Luxan and the mind and agility of a Sebacean.  Plus, considering how he's suffered by the PeaceKeepers, who better to destroy them?  But all that will soon change when I have your world under my control."

"What do you mean?"

"Not of your concern, but as we speak, your genetic code is being processed through a universal scanner.  Let's just say in a matter of microts, you're going home, sort of."  As Kathra left, John watched as the young Hunter came out of hiding, shocked at what had happened.

"You heard everything?"  he asked.

"Yes,"  he replied.  "I knew Kathra was ruthless, but all we ever conquered were former PeaceKeeper colonies."

"Or so she led you to believe.  Does Omega Prime look like a PeaceKeeper colony to you?"

"I don't believe so,"  he said.  "But that planet's always been in Kathra's rule."

"Then why the hell is there a rebel group against her?  Tell me that."

"I've no time to deal with you."  he said.  "I've better things to do."

With that, he left John in that cell, awaiting breeding.

***

Outside the fortress, Elysia and the others assembled close into the boundaries.  "We go in, get your friend, and get out with Kathra's head if possible."  she said.

"What about the Hunter?"  D'Argo asked.

"If he interferes, we'll deal with him."  she replied.  She saw the signal from Arron's troops on the other side.  "We're almost ready." she said.  Suddenly, half of the fortress began to blaze.  "Attack!"  Elysia cried out as they charged towards the fortress, getting through every soldier that got in their way.  Kathra immediately noticed the attack and contacted Ta'Cara over the communicator.

"What the frell is going on here?!"  she cried.

"It's the rebels, Mistress."  she answered.  "They're attacking the base with those aliens!  It's possible they've come for the human."

"I can see that, Ta'Cara!"  she cried.  "How did they get by the force field?!"

"It's possible one of the rebels had short-circuted the generator."  Ta'Cara explained.  "Your orders, Mistress?"

"Counterattack the assault, you idiot!"  she screamed.  "Make sure they do not interfere with the scan!"  It was at that moment, Elysia and her group surrounded Kathra.

"We've come for the human, Kathra."   Elysia said.  "And for our freedom."

"Elysia, it's been a long time."  Kathra replied.

"Not long enough, witch!"  she cried.  "For cycles, you've tormented my people, my friends."

"Since when do you call these rebels friends?"

"Since the day they took me in as a child.  You used their species to conduct your experiments, to find a way to enhance your own genetic make-up."

"I see, this again."  Kathra said.  "I'm sure we can discuss more of this given the time."

"There is nothing to discuss, Mother!"  Elysia cried.  They were in shock when they heard this.

"Kathra's your mother?"  Aeryn asked.

"Biologically, yes."  she replied.  "She attempted to enhance her genetic code while carrying me, but something went wrong.  I absorbed every micron of those enhancements while Kathra was no different than before.  She's resented me ever since."

"But, Elysia, that would mean--"  Zhaan began.

"That I'm Sebacean?  The only Sebacean organ I have is my heart, which was closed the moment I was born."

"That is all in the past, child."  Kathra said.  "I can not change what I've done."

"What you've done?!?!"  Elysia cried.  "I know what you've done, Kathra!  You conquered peaceful worlds like this one and used its inhabitants for your experiments!  When I was born, you tried everything in your power to mold me and make me exactly like you, and now I see you've done it again, with the Hunter.  Oh, I know about him, Kathra!  You kidnapped him and
brought him into your fold."

"He came to me willingly."  Kathra protested.  "He had no family to care for him while I raised him as my own."

"Your own experiment is more like it!"  she replied.  "One way or another, this ends now."  The two engaged in combat, mother against daughter.  Kathra had a small dagger with a handle big enough to fit a hand in while Elysia attacked with a qualta-timi blade, a smaller version of the Luxan sword.  The two fought virgorusly, neither of them willing to give in to the other.  "Get to the breeder chambers!"  Elysia shouted to her group.  "Your friend will most likely be there."  They were
about to leave when D'Argo saw a familiar shape.

"Jothee."  he said.  He began to follow the shape as it descended.

"D'Argo, wait!"  Aeryn cried as she and Zhaan followed him.  Corridor after corridor they went until they came to a large door.  Hoping he would be there, D'Argo broke down the door, but there was no sign of his son.  Seeing Crichton, they assumed this was the breeder chambers.

"John, are you all right?"  Zhaan asked.

"I'm fine, Zhaan."  he replied.  "What's going on out there?  One minute these guys were going to take out my sex organs and use them for breeding, the next I'm left alone in this cell.  There's an invisible wall here, so be careful."

"Somehow we got past the force field surrounding Kathra's fortress and managed to break through."  Aeryn said.

"Have you seen Jothee?"  D'Argo asked.  "I saw him come through that corridor outside."

"No, sorry."  Crichton said.  "Listen, we have to stop Kathra.  She's got hold of some of my eye liquid and is doing God knows what with it, but I know it's not good."  A small disk headed towards John as he grabbed it.  He assumed the walls were down; they were, and he went through.  "Let's get out of here."  he said as they left the chambers.

Meanwhile, Kathra and Elysia were fighting hard.  The two then came in close with each other.  "You are a fool to challenge me, my daughter."  Kathra said.

"Better a fool than a slave."  Elysia replied as the fight went on.

"This world will be free, Kathra, even if I have to take your head for it."  Suddenly the ground shook as an explosion went up in the lower floors.

"Elysia, the primary generators have been destroyed."  Arron said via communicator.  "All the other generals have fled the planet."

"No!!!"  Kathra cried.  "This world is mine!"

"Not anymore."  Elysia replied.  "You lose, Kathra."  It was just then the outsiders returned with their human friend.  "You may have won this battle, Elysia, but only I will win the war."  she said.  "You should know by now that victory has a price, a high price."  At the blink of an eye, her dagger hit Elysia right in the heart as the Hunter entered.

"General Hunter, destroy them, starting with the Luxan."  she ordered.  "Afterwards, meet me on the Saviour where we will travel to another planet to regroup."

The Hunter stared at Kathra, his full armor cloaking his shocked expression.  But then he turned to the group she refered to.
"As you command, Mistress Kathra."  he said as she left them to their doom.  The Hunter came to D'Argo, his qualta blade pointed at him. "

Damn you, Hunter."  Elysia said weakly.  "Has Kathra made you so cold that you would kill your own father?"

"It's all right, Elysia."  D'Argo said.  "I had a feeling it would come to this."

"Aren't you going to fight back?"  she asked.

"I can't hurt him."  D'Argo said.  "No matter what he's done, he is still my son."  With that the Hunter grabbed D'Argo's hand and cut it so the blade would be sheathed in blood.  D'Argo immediately squeezed his hand so the blood would increase in flow to heal his small wound.  "Well," he asked the Hunter.  "Aren't you going to finish me?"

"This,"  the Hunter said lifting the blood-dressed blade.  "Is all that's required.  Kathra will believe I killed you and this world will be safe.  Come, follow me."  He led them to a small room in the castle.  Elysia was laid on a cot next to where the Hunter was lying.

"I remember this place,"  Elysia said.  "An infirmary for the soldiers.  That equipment was used to perform transplants."
"Right now a heart transplant is what you require,"  Aeryn said.  "Problem is where to find a donor."

"I have an idea on where to find one."  the Hunter said.  A hum was heard from the armor as it seemingly disintergrated into a small medallion around his neck.  The young hybrid Luxan was already clothed minus an upper garment.  "Use one of mine."

"Whoa, whoa, are you crazy?!?"  John cried.  "I know Luxans have more than one heart, but--"

"One of my hearts is pure Sebacean."  he interuppted.  "There may be a risk of rejection, but it's the only way."

"What about the PeaceKeeper bodies?"  Zhaan asked.

"No good, it'd take a while to find a suitable donor and we don't have much time."  he said as he lied down on the cot next to the weakening leader.  "Do it!  Even with her genetic enhancements, we must be swift."

"What about you?"  Aeryn asked.

"I'll survive, which is more than I can say for her if we don't start." he said.  "That machine in the corner, place it between us."  They moved the large machine as he said.  "Now, see those metal screens on both sides?"  he asked.

"Yeah,"  John said.  "Aeryn, contact the rebels and tell them to get up here, now!"

"Place the left one over my left heart and place the other over her heart.  It has to be precise or the transfusion won't work, okay?"  It was soon done.  "All right,"  he said.  "Now on the left side, program it to extract and on the right, program to receive, then push the download button in the center and the transfusion will begin."  All of this was done.
 

A few minutes later, Arron and the rebels arrived to see what was going on.  John told them what happened with the Hunter and their leader.  Soon the transfer was complete.  Elysia awoke and saw the former Hunter lying there, then he got up and began to exit.  "Wait."  she said.  "I, I want to thank you for saving my life."

"Don't mention it."  he said.  "Now, I have to convince Kathra I'm still with her."

"But, why?  I know she raised you, but don't you think--"

"I'll make sure she doesn't come back."  he said to her gently.  "Besides, I'll make sure I return."

"Jothee."  D'Argo called.  "Jothee, I,--"

"Father, I know what you're going to say.  I know I disappointed you by joining Kathra,--"
"It wasn't your fault.  You were a child, you needed security."  he said.  "You just found it in the wrong place."

"I only wish we could take back the years stolen from us."  he replied.  He then turned to John.  "The disk I gave you is information on your homeworld.  I managed to slip it out of the scanner before the guards got ahold of it."

"So it has everything on Earth?"  John asked.

"Everything except the location, I'm afraid."  he said.  "I had to make sure Kathra couldn't find it.  I'm sorry."

"Forget about it, I can wait."  John replied.  "So, what changed your mind about her?"

"What you said, and everything I heard in the breeder chambers, and in the throne room when your friends confronted her.  A good thing I made sure I was doing the right thing."

"Wait a minute, the force field disruption, my friends finding me, that was all you?"

"I can't make up for the lives I destroyed,"  he explained.  "But at least I managed to try and atone for my actions."  There was a slight pause.  "I have to go now."  he said.  "But don't worry, I'll be back."

He then walked out of the fortress.

***

Aboard the Saviour, Kathra was summoning her generals when a buzz came up on the communications screen.  She activated the screen, it was the Hunter.  "Hunter, we're waiting for you."  she said.  "Approach me now."

He lifted up the blood-stained blade.  Kathra activated something that scanned the blade.  "You've done as I said."

"The others had escaped, unfortunately."  he replied.  "I found the scanner in the fortress destroyed as well."

"Destroyed?  Was there any information in the scanner?"

"Not that I could find.  Everything was deleted."

"Damn those rebels!"  she cried.  "General Hunter, here are your new orders; find the human, capture the human and bring him to me on Alpha Triad alive!  That is all."

The screen went blank, the Hunter turned to his newfound friends.  "Well, she bought it."  he said.

"I never thought I'd live to see the day that one of Kathra's minions would help us."  Arron said.

"Omega Prime is now free, thanks to you and your comrades, John Crichton."  Elysia said.  "Unfortunately, Kathra still has many worlds under her rule, and she is still after your genetic code."

"Not a problem."  John said.  "We'll fight alongside you."

"What?"  Elysia asked.  "I apprecitate your offer to help us, but we couldn't let you help more than you already have."

"Hey, I still have to find my way home, remember?"  he said.  "So do the others aboard Moya.  You'll tell us the world, and we'll help liberate it.  Deal?"

"Well,"  Elysia started.  "We will require star charts."

"Not a problem."  Jothee said.  "I have plenty of star charts from Kathra's old archives with me."

"Then you're coming too?"  John asked.

"I have a lot of catching up to do with my father."  he said.  "Plus, I still need to atone."

"Then it's settled."  John said.  "Jothee and Elysia are coming with us."

"We will miss you, Elysia."  Arron said.

"You will take command until I return."  she replied.  "This fortress is useful for a new base."  They all headed towards the transport pod.

"So, are there more on board the Leviathan?"  Jothee asked.

"Yep,"  John replied.  "One Hynerian pain in the neck and a Nebari.  They'll be thrilled to meet you."
 
***

On board Moya, Jothee and Elysia were introduced to Rygel and Chiana with less than satisfying results on Rygel's part.  "Great, just what we need,"  he said.  "More mouths to feed."

"Oh, don't worry about that,"  Jothee said.  "When worse comes to worse, we can always eat you, even if some of us do prefer poison over arrogant Hynerian hide."

"Don't tempt me."  Rygel warned.

"Or what, Your Miserableness?"  Jothee shot back.  "You'll throw a tantrum?"

Rygel stared at him and left miserably.  "That boy obviously never learned any manners."  he mumbled to himself.  The others
laughed; perhaps for the first time in a while.

"I am pleased to say that this is the beginning of a wonderous voyage."   Pilot said.

"Tell me something, Pilot."  Jothee said.  "I've always wondered about Leviathans and how they reproduce.  Do they breed on their own or do theyrequire the pilots to help them along?"  Pilot looked shocked, and
everyone else looked curious.

"Are you saying that I'm responsible for Moya......."  He couldn't finish the sentence.  Everyone laughed even harder.  This was indeed the beginning of a wonderous voyage, they thought.  Pilot immediately came out of his trance.  "Attention,"  he
said.  "We are preparing for Starburst."  And the crew of Moya went off on a new adventure.
 

The End