Title: Time and Again (Jaenus Mix)
Author: Karolyn Gray
ScifiBB/Chat Handle: Gray3
Rating: PG
Synopsis: An alien's experiment proves disastrous for the crew but will an unexpected visitor give them a second chance?.
Spoilers: None
Archiving: A Scapering We Go Only
Disclaimers: All Farscape names, characters and other related indicia are the property of Jim Henson Productions,
Hallmark Entertainment, Nine Networks, the Scifi Channel and all associated parties. No copyright infringement is
intended.
Note: This is the short, original version of Time and Again which is still in progress.

Time and Again--Jaenus Mix

Time and Again (Jaenus Mix)
by Karolyn Gray


"Aeryn."

She closed her eyes, wishing that somehow that would make them go away. She didn't want them here. None of them. Not now. She couldn't deal with their presence. Not after everything that had happened. It was her fault. The others wouldn't think so, but she knew in her heart it was true.

The day had started as usual with the verbal sparring matches she admittedly liked getting into with John Crichton. She'd mocked him; he had challenged her back. A friendly, and occasionally not so friendly, exchange they had done since the day she had met him.

This time they'd gone too far and he was dead.

Maybe.

"Aeryn, Hezral is going to try once more."

She opened her eyes at that, surprised. She turned her head to see Zhaan watching her, obviously concerned. Over the Delvian's shoulders she could see D'argo and Rygel observing with a mixture of sorrow and their own sympathy. Even Chiana looked troubled by what had happened.

Her eyes locked with the Luxan warrior's gaze. D'argo nodded once as if to silently confirm Zhaan's statement with a compassionate look.

A part of Aeryn hated him for that. Hated all of them. She was a Peace Keeper. A sebacean. What need did she have of these...these...creatures? Or their sympathy she thought bitterly.

"Why?" She asked harshly, pushing aside her thoughts before they returned her to that murderous haze she had been in mere arns ago.

Zhaan pressed her hands together, visibly restraining an urge to allieve some of Aeryn's obvious pain and anger. "He believes he owes us this chance at rescue."

"Owes us?" Aeryn snapped, rising swiftly to her feet. Contempt ruled her features as she stalked towards the others. "He owes us nothing! It's John he owes everything, most especially his life!"

Zhaan merely allowed the sebacean's angry words to pass, seeing the grief that fueled them in Aeryn's eyes. Grief the former Peace Keeper did not, as yet, seem willing to openly acknowledge and so lashed out at those around her.

"Will you come, Aeryn?" Zhaan asked simply.

After a long moment, the anger on Aeryn's face faded. She nodded slowly, afraid to speak for fear of revealing the growing emptiness she felt.

"Come." Zhaan gestured to the others who had already turned to lead them back to Hezral's lab.

Aeryn silently trailed behind the others, trying to maintain her control with each step. By the time they entered the lab, she was certain she was calm enough to face the alien scientist again.

She was wrong.

The instant she saw the short, brown skinned alien her hand twitched to her pistol, her first reaction to kill the creature. But the weapon was no longer there. Taken away by D'argo when she had very nearly killed the alien scientist earlier.

It had been his machine that had taken John Crichton away. His machine that had failed to return him. She felt the anger rise again, but pushed it aside. It was the hardest thing she had ever done in her life. But it was necessary.

'For now.' She amended to herself.

Hezral saw her enter the room and paused, nervously glancing between her and the others. Aeryn took some satisfaction in the scientist's left eye was swollen shut and part of his face bandaged to cover the laceration she had inflicted. Aeryn knew that underneath the smock the alien wore, more bandages covered the damage her weapon had inflicted to Hezral's thick hide; that genetic trait of his species being the only thing to have saved him from annihilation at her hands.

As if sensing Aeryn's hostility Zhaan lay a calming hand on the Sebacean's arm as she addressed the alien. "You are ready to proceed?"

"Of course." Hezral replied, some nervousness in his tone as Aeryn narrowed her eyes. "You know this may not work."

"Get on with it." Aeryn growled.

Hezral quickly scurried over to the strange machine that dominated the lab. Numerous power coils and strange metallic rings encircled a small faintly glowing red orb. The translator microbes had been unable to translate Hezral's description for the device.

'What had John called it? The Chronos machine? Whatever he had meant by that. At least I can pronounce it.' Aeryn shook her head to clear the thought, not wanting to remember but failing as it all came back.

---------

"I got a bad feeling about this." John Crichton muttered as they were escorted into the lab.

"If you didn't want to come down, then you should have staid on Moya." Aeryn replied.

"Oh, yeah. Like I'd ever live it down if I stayed behind after you implied I was chicken." John replied sarcastically.

"Chicken? What's that?" Aeryn asked, purposefully pretending to not have a clue what he was talking about in an attempt to ease the human's obvious tension. Seeing John roll his eyes in disgust she sighed. "You were the one who said this planet looked...spooky?"

John snorted. "All I meant was we should be cautious."

"Then why not simply say so?" Aeryn replied. "I hardly understand you as it is, let alone your strange human superstitions."

"Well the next time someone doesn't explain something to you because you're a Peace Keeper, remember this conversation." John snapped back and quickly joined the others.

She was surprised at the hurt she felt there but shrugged it off. They'd both been a bit edgy since they were interrupted on Moya. She remembered well the few moments' pleasure before Pilot's call. A small smile came to her face at the memory. She'd make it up to him later she decided.


Hezral's request had been simple enough. He wanted to hire Moya to transport himself, his crew and his research project to a nearby start system in exchange for a generous payment. It was a simple enough task that would garner the fugitives much needed supplies.

John had inquired into the research, which the alien had readily went into great detail about. All but John had been lost within microts of the scientist's explanation. They had watched in amazement as the human and alien had quickly developed a rapport, exchanging ideas, thoughts and comments with genuine respect and ease.

Aeryn remembered smiling at one point when D'argo had commented that he hadn't realized John was so knowledgeable and her reply of "He is a scientist." It was plainly obvious that the human was completely within his area of training and enjoying every moment of interaction with a colleague, even if it was an alien light cycles ahead of his own world technologically speaking. All traces of the uncertain, befuddled Crichton they witnessed much of the time had been replaced by a serious and assured man.

John Crichton had earned a lot of respect from the others in those few arns. And not just from Hezral.

Then he had asked the fateful question: "So you basically created a time machine?"

"Exactly." Hezral replied with what appeared to be a beaming smile. The alien shook his head as if amazed. "I have rarely met any who understand my theories. And here you are, a human did you say? A species from a planet that has yet to master even interplanetary travel, who understands my experiment."

"Well I understand the foundation of it. I get lost in the specifics a little but your theories aren't much different than those back home." John shrugged in embarrassment noting the wide range of expressions of his shipmates, from Rygel and Chiana's boredom to the pleased, almost maternal smile of pride on Zhaan's face.

Hezral chuckled. "Be that as it may, I could use someone like you, John Crichton. Would you consider joining me and furthering my research? Some of your worlds theories are quite...intriguing."

John shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't, though I'm honored by the offer. I'm still trying to get back home."

"I understand. A pity really. We could have done so much together." Hezral lamented. After a moment the aliens smiled. "Perhaps you would like to experience the device for yourself? It is quite exhilarating."

"Is it safe?" John asked, eyeing the contraption dubiously.

"Of course, I've experienced it many times myself. I think you will enjoy it immensely, young Human." Hezral replied.

John looked over at the others. "Anyone else interested?"

"No way." Chiana replied, instantly.

D'argo and Zhaan exchanged a look before both replying negatively.

"What about you two?" John asked Rygel and Aeryn.

The Hynerian sniffed arrogantly. "You're the scientist, Crichton."

"Aeryn?" John asked hopefully, a hint of a challenge slipping into his voice.

She noted the excitement in Crichton's eye at experiencing something new. She considered it carefully; silently admitting Crichton's enthusiasm seemed to have affected her as well.

Looking over at the machine Aeryn felt a chill run down her spine. She suddenly understood the meaning of Crichton's 'getting a bad feeling' comment back on Moya. Pushing it aside she nodded.

"After you."

----------

That had been yesterday.

Hezral said he could only send one through at a time. John had gone first. And never come back. When Hezral had failed for the sixth time to successfully bring him back, she'd gone berserk in her frustration, very nearly killing the scientist in he rage.

It had surprised her. Scared her even. Crichton was just a comrade, right? Perhaps even a friend. So why had she felt so compelled to obliterate Hezral after his failure? She had seen many of her comrades die before and never reacted in such a manner. Why this reaction with Crichton?

'You know why.'

As before she instantly quashed the thought, burying it with all the others she had no desire to face.

And now here she was a couple of arns later, watching with a small spark of hope that this one final time would work and John would be back with them. It was a foolish hope. She knew that. But hope she did. She had nothing else.

The process started as before. The machine's hum growing louder as the glowing red globe expanded, the rings cycling faster and faster until finally there was the spark and flash of bright light. The globe now a swirling blue and white.

"Field established. Power fluctuations within normal parameters. Beginning temporal signature search." Hezral announced.

A quarter arn later, Aeryn and the others looked around nervously as the lights faded. A severe power fluctuation had preceded the accident with John and all the search attempts afterwards.

"We're loosing power. I have to shut down before containment of the generator is lost." Hezral announced cutting the power as he did so. The blue white ball quickly shrunk back to its normal small red state.

Aeryn felt a part of her shrivel and die as the machine shut down. There was no anger this time. Just the bitter emptiness of knowing she was now alone.

"Officer Sun...." Hezral approached her, looking deeply saddened. "I am sorry. Perhaps once I have returned to my home world I will be able to recover your comrade."

Aeryn just stared at him blankly for a moment. "That will not be necessary." She finally replied, her voice empty, cold. Not unlike when she had still been a Peace Keeper, a part of her noted dimly.

"You understand that we can not possibly give you passage now." Zhaan informed the scientist, her eyes flicking worriedly between the shell-shocked Sebacean beside her and the silently angry Luxan whose bitter gaze had settled on the scientist.

Hezral bowed his head. "I understand."

A sudden flash blinded everyone in t he lab for a moment. Blinking to clear their eyes revealed a bipedal alien completely encased in what appeared to be a modified Peace Keeper uniform. Only the odd glowing organic like tendrils that wove through the arms and legs of the suit indicated its alien origin. In the aliens hands was a weapon resembling a PK pulse rifle and it was aimed at them.

"Who are you?" Hezral demanded.

The rifle fired, engulfing the scientist in a blue white light as he fell. For several second Hezral screeched in agony thrashing about on the floor before finally remaining still. When the rifle swung their way all of the others remained perfectly still.

Zhaan glanced at the body of Hezral, a sensation buzzing in the back of her mind, oddly familiar somehow. She lifted her eyes to the armored being before them. "Why did you kill him?"

The alien remained silent, unmoving. Zhaan glanced over to find Aeryn studying the creature before them critically. She suspected D'argo was doing much the same, warriors looking for a way to breach an enemy's defenses.

"Perhaps if you tell us what you want?" Zhaan asked.

The alien swiftly changed the rifles aim and fired upon Hezral's machine reducing it to so much scrap metal and melted conduits. Aeryn took the opening and attacked.

She screamed and jerked her hand away from the pantak jab she had tried to deliver. A ripple of energy from the intended impact site revealed the shielding of the armor. Her hand felt cold, painfully cold. The alien delivered his own vicious punch that drove the Peace Keeper to her knees; blood seeping from her now split lip. She looked up and saw her own face reflected in the black faceplate of the alien as his rifle came to bear upon her.

Aeryn jerked back in surprise as the tip of D'argo's qualta blade pierced through the alien's chest in a gush of red fluid. Blood. Just as quickly as it appeared D'argo pulled the blade out, the armored suits energy shield dissipating in an instant. Aeryn lashed out, bringing the alien to its knees.

"Drop your weapon." D'argo's qualta blade was now expanded to a rifle and pointed directly at the aliens head. The alien did not release its rifle, but one hand now pressed tightly against its chest trying to stop the flow of blood. "Who are you? Speak or I will kill you."

A low laugh greeted the demand. A familiar laugh, a laugh that sent a jolt through Aeryn. She scrambled away from the alien as Zhaan's eyes widened in recognition.

The alien reached up and removed his helmet. "Is this anyway to greet...." Once off, a familiar face looked back, gray haired and scarred. ".... an old friend."

---------------------------

"Crichton." Zhaan quickly muttered a Delvian prayer.

"John." Aeryn whispered in horror.

John Crichton turned his face to Aeryn, a half grin on his face emphasizing the deep scars along his left cheek. "My dear, beloved Peace Keeper." He replied sarcastically. Aeryn saw the deep fury in his glassy eyes.

Zhaan rushed over stopping short as the human's gaze swept coldly over to her. The hate in those blue depths was obvious. He was so old. Changed both within and without. All traces of the gentle human she and the others knew were gone. All she could see was a bitter and angry soul. "John? What happened? Hezral...he was certain you were...."

"Dead?" Crichton laughed, blood flecking his lips. "Not by a long shot, baby. No thanks to any of you!"

"What are you...?" Her voice trailed off as Crichton produced a small palm sized globe that looked eerily similar to one that had generated Hezral's machine.

"Payback ti...."

A flash, not unlike the one that preceded his arrival, blinded those in the room. Another dressed as Crichton appeared. "Don't move. Crichton." A feminine voice demanded.

John Crichton grinned, winking at Aeryn before settling his gaze on the new arrival. "Well, Officer Sun. It seems we have a family reunion here, eh?"

"Drop the device, sir."

"You are too late, Peace Keeper!" Crichton hissed and started to twist the small globe. The new arrival pulled the trigger. Crichton shuddered as the three successive blasts struck his chest. He stared at the arrival with a look lingering somewhere between hate and gratitude before slumping to the floor, the globe slipping from nerveless fingers.

D'argo fired once, striking the smaller figure in the shoulder. The intruder kneeled down grasping the damaged limb trying to stop the flow of red fluid.

"Drop your weapon." D'argo growled, for the barest of moments hoping the alien would refuse to comply so he could avenge what had certainly been John Crichton's death.

The black clad alien instantly released the weapon, letting it clatter to the floor noisily, and remained still.

D'argo glanced over to the Delvian now kneeling next to Crichton's still form, already knowing what she would say but hoping he was wrong. "Zhaan?"

"He's gone." Zhaan replied, closing the human's eyes. She made a quick Delvian gesture of departure before looking up to find Aeryn staring blankly at the body.

"I-...." Aeryn whispered.

"None of us could have known." Zhaan said rising to her feet.

"He would have killed you."

D'argo growled angrily at the aliens words. "His injuries could have been repaired. It was your weapon that killed him."

The intruder removed its helmet to reveal black, braided hair and pale skin of what appeared to be a young Sebacean woman, perhaps all of twenty-five cycles. A deep sadness was easily seen in her blue eyes as she spoke. "I was saving you. He intended to kill you."

"Why would Crichton try to kill us?" Rygel demanded, clearly upset.

"I can't tell you that." Came the cool reply. "All I can say is that Commander Crichton intended to kill every last one of you. I came to stop him before he could carry out his attack."

"And who are you? Why should we believe you?" Aeryn demanded, stalking over to the still kneeling woman.

The woman quickly looked down as if afraid. "You may call me Jaenus. I can say no more than this."

"Then I guess we have nothing more to say. Kill her, D'argo." Aeryn snapped.

"Wait." Zhaan stood directly between D'argo's rifle and the young woman.

"Hasn't there been enough death for one day?" She looked pointedly at Aeryn. The ex-Peace Keeper met her gaze for several long moments before slowly turning away.

Seeing this D'argo slowly lowered his weapon. A part of him wanted to kill this Peace Keeper before them, but he was also curious as to her alleged mission here. He found it difficult to believe that Crichton would try to kill them.

Zhaan turned back to Jaenus, lifting the young woman's face with a gentle touch. Jaenus met her stare with an open and frank expression. After a moment Zhaan gasped and stepped back.

"Zhaan?" D'argo asked, concerned by the Delvian's obvious surprise.

Zhaan ignored the call and kneeled in front of Jaenus. She closed her eyes, shaking her head as if in disbelief. "I see your parents in you."

Jaenus remained silent. Zhaan rested her hands on the injured woman with an understanding look. "You must understand we can not allow you to leave until we know why you killed our shipmate."

A small beeping drew Jaenus gaze away from the Delvian to a small device on her wrist. She whispered a string of human and Sebacean obscenities that erased any of Zhaan's doubts about the woman's origins. Shaking her head, Jaenus returned her gaze to the Delvian and the others. "I guess it doesn't matter if you know the truth."

"And what truth is that?" Zhaan asked.

Jaenus looked uneasily at the others. "If I tell you, you must help me in return."

"Only if your information is worth it." Aeryn snapped. None of the others contradicted her.

Jaenus nodded as if in relief. She shifted her body until she was sitting cross-legged, not unlike they had seen Crichton do from time to time. She sighed, her shoulders sagging in obvious fatigue.

"You must understand, that what I'm going to tell you will be difficult for me to explain. And quite likely you will not believe it." Jaenus said.

"Just get on with it." Aeryn retorted.

Jaenus nodded and complied.

"Twenty five cycles ago, John Crichton died on this planet. Or so you all believed. You left in search of your own homes and families, eventually finding what you sought. When I was seven cycles old a man came to the colony my mother and I were living on. He had come to kill her."

"We had been on the Colony for three years after leaving Moya. When mother saw the man she started to cry and ordered me to my room. He looked familiar and I wanted to stay but I did as I was told. I heard them arguing. Then there was a single shot from a pistol. I ran down the stairs and saw my mother lying there, dead. My father kneeling next to her body, tears streaming down his face."

"That's when I recognized him. Recognized him from an old holographic image my mother kept. He was older, different, but it was him. He took me with him. At first I was scared of him, scared what he might do to me."

"Over time, I learned what had happened to John Crichton. How Hezral had tricked you into believing he was dead. How he'd been experimented on for five cycles before he finally killed Hezral and the others who'd abused him."

"He told me my mother was the last to die. He'd already killed the rest of you. Killed everyone who had harmed him. First Chiana at a chance encounter on a commerce planet, then Crais after setting a trap for him at Dam Ba Da, Zhaan at a Delvian monastery, D'argo at his son's home, and Rygel in his headquarters the eve before his final assault to reclaim his throne. He killed you all. But it wasn't enough."

She shook her head as if in pity.

"He made a deal with the Peace Keepers. They allowed him freedom and revenge and he would give them the ultimate weapon, the Chronos device. They agreed naturally, the fools. They thought they could control him. They never realized what he intended until it was too late."

"I came back in time to stop him from destroying everything, but I failed." Jaenus gestured to the red flashing light on her wrist. "The world I knew is gone." Jaenus swallowed, her eyes glistening.

Silence greeted her abrupt ending of the tale for several long moments.

"You are Crichton's...daughter?" Rygel sputtered out, breaking the silence. Jaenus' eyes drifted over to Crichton's body.

"I was born Jaenus Sun. Amongst the Peace Keepers I was called Jaenus Crichton when the Sun line refused to acknowledge my...tainted...presence amongst their numbers." Jaenus replied, a hint of bitterness in her voice.

"That's not possible." Aeryn snapped angrily.

"Isn't it?" Jaenus asked softly. She shifted her eyes up to meet Aeryn's own. "My mother told me about tier twenty four. About how it had been one of the happiest moments in her life."

Aeryn's face paled, her eyes blinking rapidly in shock. "How....?"

"Wasn't that the tier you and Crichton were working on when we received Hezral's message?" Chiana asked, causing Aeryn to flush in embarrassment.

"How did...?" Aeryn started to speak.

Jaenus stood up suddenly. "It doesn't matter. I've told you what you needed to know. Now I ask for your help."

"And we're supposed to believe such a story." D'argo asked.

"I believe her." Aeryn said quietly. "There's no way anyone could have known about...tier twenty four."

D'argo blinked in surprise at what the former Peace Keeper was admitting. "Then...."

"Jaenus is my daughter. And John's.." Aeryn finished softly. She met the younger woman's gaze. For a moment, she saw John in the young woman's eyes.

"How can we help?"

------------------------------

"Are you sure this is the only way? You have stated you will certainly die if your plan succeeds." Zhaan stated.

"I'm dead anyway. If I remain here and do nothing I create a dangerous paradox. If I go back I die the instant I enter my time frame." Jaenus sighed. "This is the only way to ensure none of this ever happens."

"Why don't we simply rescue Crichton and take you with us?" D'argo asked.

"Because my father killed your John Crichton when he destroyed the Chronos device. I told you this already." Jaenus lectured.

"Yes, yes, yes. Hezral is holding our Crichton in the machine. Why not go back far enough to rescue him and then remain with us?" D'argo asked.

"Paradox." Aeryn answered, earning a nod from Jaenus. "Sooner of later we'd realize who she was even thought she wasn't ever born in our timeline."

D'argo sighed in frustration. None of them had really understood Jaenus's quick explanation of the damage a paradox could cause, but it sounded quite apocalyptic to him. That didn't mean he had to stand around waiting for a miracle to happen, did it? "What if...."

"No, Ka D'argo." Jaenus snapped, giving him a look that eerily reminded him of Aeryn Sun. "This is the only way. If this works none of this will have ever happened."

"What about Hezral's machine? We may pass this planet by, but surely he shall try to lure others." Zhaan noted.

Jaenus hefted the small red globe John Crichton had brought back with him from the future. "This will take care of Hezral and his machine. Nothing within a metra of this place will remain. Nothing."

"We'd better get started then." Aeryn said.

Jaenus nodded, activating a small device on her shoulder. She smiled slightly as she looked them over. "It was good to see you again." She said softly and pushed the button.

-------------------------------

Tier 24 (Aft section), Moya

John Crichton was laughing harder than she had ever seen in her entire time on Moya. Even worse, she was the cause of the laughter. Or more properly, her present condition of being covered in some odd smelling, green gelatinous material.

Shaking the goo from her hands Aeryn picked herself up the sprawled position on the floor. "You find this funny?" She snapped at the still prone Crichton, who now was gasping for air. He too was covered in the same substance but didn't seem even slightly annoyed at that fact.

"I've been slimed!" He called out, dissolving into another fit of laughter, as he attempted to wipe the material from his face.

"I will never understand you." Aeryn muttered, shaking her head.

John Crichton sat up quickly, still chuckling. "Always keep 'em coming back for more, baby."

Aeryn gave him a dubious look at that, about to make a retort when she noted the two DRDs moving their eyestalks between her and Crichton and back. If she didn't know any better she would have sworn they little machines were expecting her to explain the humans strange behavior.

Shaking her head she turned back to the vent they had been working on noting the section was clear of the blockage pilot had found. After quickly wiping away the excess sludge from the vent she picked up the cover, silently nodding thanks to Crichton as he took the other end and helped lock in back into place.

Crichton looked at the mess on the floor with a weary expression. "Are we gonna have to clean this stuff up?" He asked.

Aeryn shook her head. "No. Let's leave it for the DRDs."

She started to wipe her hands clean on her clothes but gave up and tapped the comm. "Pilot, the blockage has been removed."

"Thank you Officer Sun, Commander Crichton." Came the reply.

"No problem, Pilot. Anything else we can do while we're down here?" John called out.

"Negative. All of Moya systems are functioning well within tolerance now. I thank you for the assistance."

"Your welcome, Pilot." John grinned as the comm cutoff, looking Aeryn over.

"What?" She snapped irritably.

"Man, ain't we a pair?" He snickered.

Aeryn huffed in reply and turned to stalk down the corridor, John not surprisingly right alongside her. "If you had held the grating like I said...."

"Whoa there. I told you not to pull like you did." John interrupted.

"Are you saying this is my fault?" Aeryn asked sharply, stopping.

"I'm not saying its anyone's fault." John protested, scratching his hand to remove some of the drying goo. "Hey, does this level have any place we can get cleaned up? This stuff is already starting to dry."

Aeryn wiped some of the sludge on her arm, noting it did seem to be hardening. She jerked her head towards the corridor they had come down. "There is a communal washroom back that way. Maybe we better get this...whatever it is, off."

"My thoughts exactly." John replied.

A few short minutes later, the pair was washing their hands, the green substance easily removed by the water.

"Whew. I was worried we might have to take a solvent bath there for a moment." John muttered, obviously relieved that water removed the substance so quickly.

"Well I'm not sure our clothes will fare as well as our skin." Aeryn noted, shrugging off the vest she had been wearing. It had taken the brunt of the deluge, as her white shirt underneath was virtually untouched. She noted Crichton hadn't fared so well. His shirt was covered with the stuff front and back.

She quickly got to work removing the caked on substance from her arms, unable to help but notice as Crichton did the same thing. She stopped when Crichton suddenly sighed and removed his shirt. She stared until his little grin in the mirror prompted her to studiously return to her own task.

"Damn."

"What's wrong?" Aeryn asked, drying her arms with a towel.

"I can't get to the..." Aeryn couldn't help but smile as he grunted in an effort to wipe of a green spot from the center of his back.

"Here. I'll get it." She was startled when he jumped at the towels touch. "Something wrong?"

"Uhm. Nope, just colder than I was expecting." Came the quick reply.

"I see. " She quickly wiped it away with a damp section from her towel letting it trail down his spine. She didn't even realize she was running her other hand up his back until he turned to face her.

Flustered she started to pull back only to have him stop her, grasping her hands gently in his own. Seeing the look on his face she moved her arms around him, gently messaging the muscles of his lower back. He closed his eyes and sighed softly, bringing a smile to her face.

"You like that?" She asked half-teasing half-serious, before leaning in and planting a soft kiss on his shoulder.

"Mmm." Was the only reply she received in return as he turned his head slightly.

She shivered as he gently nipped her earlobe, before his hands reached up to cup her face. She could clearly see his affection for her in his eyes and felt her heart skip a bit. He brushed his lips against hers lightly. Once. Twice. Then a third time.

He started to pull back but stopped him with a gentle squeeze from her arms around his waist. He grinned as he brushed a strand of her hair from her eyes. A shiver of pleasure passed through her at the look in his eyes.

The next moment they were kissing deeply, everything else around them forgotten.

---------------------

Jaenus smiled softly. This was what she had wanted to see. Her father exactly the way her mother had described and her mother without the deep emotional scars that Jaenus alone had seen. The way she had imagined her parents would have been. Should have been. Loving. Happy. Even if only or a short time.

"10 microts."

Jaenus switched off the sound for the countdown, wanting nothing to mar this last moment. One final, happy moment to take with her to death.

She smiled as she watched their loving embrace.

The world grew brighter until she could no longer see them.

White.

Nothing.

---------------------

The loud pop and flash of light startled them.

"What was that?" Aeryn asked.

"Oh, God...." John whispered, staring over her shoulder.

Aeryn instinctively reached for her pistol but stopped at John's open-mouthed gaze. Looking towards the hall she actually dropped the weapon at what she saw rippling towards them.

"Pil-..."

The wave hit them, briefly twisting and distorting the deck, the walls, each other as it passed. Neither felt any pain but didn't move, didn't even try to steady themselves as Moya lurched and groaned loudly.

"Officer Sun. Commander Crichton. Are you there?" Pilot's concerned voice came over the comm.

"Yes, Pilot. What was that?" Aeryn replied for both of them.

"Unknown. There appears to have been an explosion on your tier and yet I can find no physical evidence of such." Came the bewildered reply.

"Is Moya all right?" John asked, sounding somewhat shaken.

"Yes, she has appeared to suffer no ill effects. She is...confused."

"Aren't we all?" John muttered.

"Crichton. Aeryn. Come to Command. I'm getting some strange reading from the system we are approaching." D'argo's voice cut in.

"We're on our way." Aeryn replied.

John glanced at the rest of the room before settling his eyes on Aeryn. "Guess we'll have to finish this later. Won't we?" He half joked.

"Yes, I suppose we will." She replied, quickly retrieving her weapon and vest before departing without further comment. John collected his things and followed her out. He sighed heavily as they walked down the hall.

-------------

A few minutes later Aeryn and John came trotting into command.

"What's up?" John asked his attention instantly drawn to the holographic table D'argo and Zhaan stood by.

D'argo raised a questioning eyebrow at the human not wearing a shirt but remained silent after noticing the green substance that seemed to cover the rest of his clothes. Aeryn's own attire was in much the same state. Obviously clearing the blockage had been far worse than simply releasing the pressure on Moya's amnexus system.

"Moya's picked up some strange reading from the system we are approaching." Zhaan said.

"Yeah, D'argo said that before. What sort of readings?" John asked.

"We're not sure. We thought perhaps you or Aeryn might have some ideas." D'argo admitted reluctantly. His Warrior pride did not like admitting a lack of knowledge but Crichton was a scientist with an uncanny ability to solve problems. He'd never thought a scientist would make such a useful ally until he had met the strange human.

Aeryn moved over studying the reading with a frown. "This makes no sense at all."

John just watched the readings, little of it making sense to him. But somehow, it seemed familiar. He just couldn't place how? Or why?

"I have completed my analysis. There appears to be an unusual amount of gravitational fluctuations for system such as this. Unusual phase variances." Pilot announced.

"Phase variances?" John asked suddenly. Without even waiting for an answer, he focused in on what appeared to e the source of the disturbance. "Pilot do you still have the reading from that Illonic ship we encountered. The one with Varell and Matala?"

"Of course." Pilot replied.

"Could you compare it with what we've got here."

"Working on it."

"John?" Zhaan started to ask but was waved to silence by the human.

"It's just a wild theory but..."

"Commander Crichton, there does seem to be some similarities." Pilot informed them.

"Let me guess...spatial time fluctuations?" John asked.

"Yes." Pilot's holographic image bobbed its head.

John rubbed the back of his neck tiredly "A quantum singularity." He muttered to himself.

"Possibly so." Pilot agreed. "The unusual disturbance on tier twenty four also seems to match the one we are witnessing from the system. Moya does not wish to place her baby at risk."

"Can we starbusrt?" D'argo asked.

"Moya will be ready in half an arn." Pilot announced after a brief pause.

"OK. Let's just stay away from that system until then." John replied, staring at the holographic image. A small cold shiver passed down his spine.

The others noted the intense look on his face and the sudden tremor that had passed through his body.

"Is there something wrong, John?" Zhaan asked gently.

John looked up as if dazed. "Just a bad feeling about this place."

"Bad ...feeling?" Zhaan inquired further, remembering well what had happened with the ill-fated Varell's experiment and its unintended affect on Crichton.

"Yeah. Y'know bad mojo." John replied absently, staring back at the image. The shiver passed through him again, bringing goose bumps to him arms.

The others just looked at him oddly. Aeryn started to reach over for him but stopped as he locked his gaze with hers. Unexpectedly she felt a shiver down her spine.

"You ever get the feeling that someone's just walked on your grave?" John asked softly.

She was quiet for a moment, and then slowly nodded not needing an explanation of Crichton's phrase. She suddenly understood too perfectly. "Yes." She replied softly, turning her gaze to the readout as John had. She felt the shiver again and quickly shutdown the display.

"Let's go get cleaned up, Crichton." John just nodded in return and followed her from Command.

"What was that all about?" D'argo wondered.

Zhaan shrugged and turned her attention to preparing for Starburst. "Perhaps it is best that we never know."