Braca burst into the room, interrupting his thoughts. "High Command has responded to your communique, Sir," the junior officer reported, placing something on the desk. "Due to his now prolonged contact with the fugitives aboard their vessel, Captain Crais has now been officially pronounced irrevocably contaminated."
Scorpius raised an eyebrow, noticing that it was becoming more difficult for the young officer to get the words out -- it was obvious he had been loyal to Crais, despite his desire to keep his own career afloat. He looked up to study Braca, then returned his attention to the report.
"You are officially authorized to take control of the situation as you see appropriate," Braca continued, pausing for a deep breath. "Congratulations, Sir."
Scorpius smiled slightly, and very calmly said, "Well, let's prove them correct, Lieutenant. Search status?"
"Any moment, and we'll have them. I suggest we broadcast an appeal for surrender."
"Since that will only lead to an act of desperation, we attack unannounced."
"Orders of engagement?" Braca asked.
Still studying the report, Scorpius answered, "Cripple the Leviathan so it can no longer function." He raised his head, then, envisioning the possibilities, "If the offspring responds to our signal take it into custody. If it attempts to retaliate or flee," he finally turned his attention to Braca, "destroy it."
Crais smiled, pleased that he had finally been allowed free access to the various areas in Moya. It was tedious at best being escorted everywhere by Officer Sun and her favourite pulse rifle. He didn't trust her not to use it on him, and claim to the others that he had forced her to shoot him by attacking first... He had finally located Crichton's quarters, and paused outside when he heard the human's voice. He seemed to be speaking to that little toad of a Hynerian...
He heard the Hynerian protest something indignantly, and then Crichton said, "Hey, maybe you'll get lucky; we'll all die and you can have all our stuff."
Rygel protested again, and then he could hear -- just barely -- Crichton answer in a quiet, dangerous tone, "Sparky, Spanky, Fluffy, Buckwheat the 16th..." There was a sudden gasp, and then Crichton again, "You tried to sell us out!" Something about that low, dangerous tone sent a shiver up Crais' spine.
He continued to listen as Rygel countered with, "But I didn't, did I?"
In response to that, Crichton responded in the same quiet, dangerous tone, "They weren't buying, were they?" Crais smiled slightly -- Crichton was no fool; he had managed to figure out practically everything that had transpired on the Command Carrier. Scorpius would underestimate him -- it was the one chance they had to defeat the half-breed...
He realized he had missed more of the discussion, but he heard Crichton saying, "Rygel... I figure the right thing starts at the beginning of the day, not after you've been caught." His smile widened as he thought how good an illustration of John Crichton that statement had been.
Again there were sounds he couldn't place, and then Rygel said, "Thank you." He sounded unsure, but after a pause clarified, "For the possessions..." He turned and zoomed out, not seeing Crais as he flattened himself against the bulkhead. Once Rygel was gone, Crais straightened and strode into Crichton's quarters where he found the human standing next to his bed, studying his flight suit.
Crichton looked up, surprised to see him there. "Thought you were out with Aeryn, looking at Moya's baby..."
"He's magnificent," Crais said, obviously impressed and making no attempt to hide that fact. "But, we returned a short while ago, and I wished to speak with you again, before-- before it is too late."
"Yeah, okay -- what did you want?" Crichton asked, only seeing the heat in Crais' gaze after he asked. "Oh." He tried to edge away from the bed, smiling apologetically, and said, "Uh... I don't know if that's a good idea here..."
Crais closed the distance quickly, unwilling to let him escape. He steered Crichton towards the bulkhead, cutting off his escape route when it looked like the human might bolt. "I think it's a perfect idea, Crichton. And, as I told you earlier, you are still mine..."
Crichton realized he was cornered -- in his own room! Crais had obviously regained much of his confidence, and really didn't seem like he was going to take no for an answer. Crichton continued to back away, and suddenly Crais was right there, forcing him back into the wall, pressing against him...
"I already told Chiana," Crichton protested, trying to push him back, "Not before the big game!"
"Don't be a fool, Crichton," Crais purred, leaning in close to nuzzle his neck and whisper in his ear, "I'm no idiot, I know what you plan to do; how you plan to escape Scorpius...This might be your last chance to experience pleasure..." He ground his hips against Crichton's, savouring the groan as he pressed against the human's rapidly hardening cock. "Besides, I don't see you objecting that much now..." he murmured, dipping his tongue into Crichton's ear and smiling as Crichton's knees buckled. The human was his...
He pulled Crichton away from the wall and shoved him down onto the bed, then tore at his clothes with impatient fingers. Crichton raised his hands, and at first he thought the human was still trying to stop him -- until he realized the frantic fingers were working at the fastenings of his own uniform. "Too many frelling layers in the way," Crichton forced out through his teeth. After a few moments of desperate fumbling, Crais was naked and Crichton lay under him trying to peel his own trousers off. "Damn you, help me out of these things!"
Crais couldn't restrain a laugh as Crichton looked up at him in desperation, then stood and tugged the leather trousers off Crichton. "I thought you didn't want this, Crichton..." he purred, climbing back onto the bed and pinning the human down. Crichton groaned and surged up against him, strong arms wrapping around him and pulling them tight together.
Crais moaned and fastened his lips on Crichton's; kissed him roughly, feeling the surge of arousal that rocketed through the muscular body beneath him. Already the human was surrendering to him, eagerly opening his legs and writhing against him; desperate to feel that he was alive -- even if only for a few more arns.
Crais forced that thought to the back of his mind and rolled them onto their sides, sliding a hand down to knead a muscular buttcheek; relishing the way Crichton panted into his kiss. Crichton's surrender sent a shock of arousal through him, and he pulled back, forcing Crichton over onto his stomach.
"Ohgod..." Crichton gasped into the pillow, spreading his legs as the Sebacean caressed him roughly, sliding both hands down to knead the muscular buttocks and thighs, then pausing for a brief moment to grab another pillow and shove it under Crichton's hips. "Oh yeah..." Crichton murmured, "Okay, just this once I'll ignore the coach's advice..."
"That's good, Crichton," Crais purred, leaning down to lick and bite one of those perfect cheeks, smiling as the human jerked under him in surprise, "I wasn't going to stop even if you decided otherwise..."
"Oh god..." He wasn't sure what Crais was planning, but then the Sebacean dove in and ran his tongue between Crichton's cheeks. Arousal burned along his nerves, flaring sharply as he felt the warm wetness probe deeper, flicking teasingly across his anus. He sucked in a sharp breath as the very tip of Crais' tongue circled the puckered opening, and then forced its way in. "Damn! Oh sh--" Crichton broke off, burying his face in the pillow before Crais could see how completely helpless he was suddenly. He squirmed and spread his legs further, jumped in surprise as Crais' moustache and beard tickled him.
Crais chuckled and pulled back slightly, tickling Crichton on purpose. The way the human squirmed in front of him was driving him wild -- he couldn't succumb to his own arousal yet, though. He needed to prepare Crichton enough to keep from damaging him -- but not more than that. He smiled slightly and dove in again, circling the puckered opening, feeling it twitch under his tongue; feeling the muscles beginning to relax under his ministrations, allowing him in, welcoming him. He thrust deeper with every stroke, the tight channel opening to him eagerly now; Crichton groaning into the pillow and writhing up into him, trying to drive him deeper.
"Oh god, Crais," he moaned, raising his head again, "please -- oh god, will you please frell me!"
Crais intensified his motions, fucking Crichton with his tongue as the human squirmed almost desperately beneath him. He could tell Crichton was nearing the proper stage of arousal, his body so hungry that nothing would register as pain -- it was time.
Crichton gasped as he felt Crais' hands fasten on his hips, the grip strong enough to hold him still as the Sebacean thrust as deep as possible a few more times. Part of him couldn't believe how hot Crais had him -- he knew that right then the stronger man could do anything to him, and he would allow it. It was then that he realized what Crais was doing, and arousal burned through him like fire at the mere thought of it.
He felt Crais plunge that tormenting tongue deep one last time, then he was pulling back and moving. The next thing he knew, the head of Crais' cock was pushing its way into him, his body opening to accept it eagerly; pushing back to impale himself on the hot, hard flesh. He could feel every inch work its way into him, almost painfully -- almost. Except that he wanted it so badly that even the pain felt so very good...
Crais pushed into him steadily, carefully watching for any sign that he may be genuinely hurting Crichton. And then he felt the groan and shudder that went through the human as their bodies came together, and knew that he didn't need to worry.
As Crais slid all the way in, Crichton groaned, consumed by pure animal lust. This was how it was in his dreams; Crais slamming into him almost dry, snarling and growling like a wild thing, owning his body completely. He wasn't sure what turned him on more -- the act itself, or the fact that he could make Crais lose control like this. It didn't really matter which one, though -- it was enough to feel the intense pleasure as Crais shoved deep.
Crais remained still for a moment, relishing the tight heat that held him so eagerly. He could feel Crichton pressing up into him and finally took pity upon the desperate human, twitching his hips forward slightly and driving his cock that much deeper. Crichton cried out, a sound of pure pleasure and lust, and that was all the encouragement he needed. He slid nearly all the way out, then rammed back in, driving deep again. He repeated the motion, building quickly to a punishing rhythm that pounded at Crichton's prostate.
Knowing he wanted more, Crichton's hoarse moans of pleasure stoking the fire centered in his balls, Crais grabbed Crichton's hips on his next near-withdrawal and hauled him up to his hands and knees. Crichton's arms buckled as short-circuiting nerves left him helpless, but he remained on his knees with his ass high, ready and waiting for anything Crais had for him. With a growl, Crais rammed back in, feeling Crichton's body surrendering to him.
Crichton groaned as Crais pounded into him; he could feel Crais' fingers digging into his hips to hold him steady, and knew that was the only thing holding him up at all. His nerves refused to transmit any impulses beyond the overwhelming pleasure; his body burning away in the fire that blazed from deep within. Crais pounded him mercilessly, although even in his savagery the Sebacean made certain the pleasure wasn't one-sided. "Oh-- god--" Crichton gasped, trying to protest that the pleasure was too much, he couldn't contain it. Instead, he couldn't even finish the thought, his next word an inarticulate moan as Crais' hand released his hip, closed around his throbbing erection, and began to pump.
The pleasure that had been growing now flared sharply, and Crichton gasped in reaction. He felt Crais drive deep and then explode in orgasm, hot spurts of cum washing his insides and triggering his own explosion. He screamed into the pillow as pleasure arced through him, his entire body spasming as he came. Crais groaned and continued to thrust helplessly into him, Crichton's internal muscles squeezing him and drawing his orgasm out until they both collapsed in a shuddering heap.
Panting for breath, Crichton eased himself into a more comfortable position and settled back into Crais, relishing the feel of the Sebacean against him. "Wow..." he murmured when he finally managed to speak, "How the hell do you do that?"
Crais chuckled and drew Crichton back against him, gently nuzzling and caressing, and whispered, "It's a secret..." He reluctantly withdrew, too aware that they had a limited amount of time before reality intruded on their lives again.
Crichton sighed and turned to face him, then murmured "Never knew PeaceKeeper training included incapacitating your enemy through mindblowing sex..."
Crais chuckled again and answered, "Now that you know our secret I'll have to kill you..." Then his eyes widened and he said, "Actually, I won't have to kill you -- I am no longer a PeaceKeeper..."
"What the hell are you going to do, anyway?" Crichton asked, "Stay on Moya until they can drop you somewhere?"
"If they'll have me..."
Crichton heard the emotion underlying the flippant words -- it suddenly hit him that Crais was completely alone for the first time in his life and despite trying to appear strong, was probably terrified. "I'll make sure they do," he said quietly.
"Thank you," Crais said softly. He gently stroked up and down Crichton's side and smiled as the human relaxed into the caress. As much as he wanted to stay this way, he knew they couldn't afford to. "We should get cleaned up and see what the others are doing..."
Crichton nodded, although he couldn't completely hide his disappointment. "Yeah, I know -- Scorpy isn't gonna wait while we frell each other silly."
"Unfortunately, no, he isn't..." Crais answered, "and we have strategies to discuss."
Crichton stood in the doorway for a long moment, watching the beings he'd come to think of as his family enjoy the feast Chiana had set out for them. He swallowed hard against the lump in his throat and squeezed his eyes shut in an attempt to stop the tears he could feel burning him. When did this happen? Somewhere in the past cycle -- past year, he corrected himself, thinking that he had even begun to think in their terms -- he had genuinely come to care for every inmate of the asylum, even the one who had been trying so hard to kill him...
It made his heart ache to think of what was to come, and scared him when he thought about how firm his resolve was. A year ago this would have been impossible -- he was aware of how much he had changed, and how much he had changed all of those around him. It was...humbling.
He shook his head and quietly walked away, leaving them to their feast. He knew he was invited, but just couldn't bring himself to face them at the moment; couldn't bring himself to make the pain of goodbye that much sharper.
He heard a scurrying noise and stopped short, looking down to find one of the DRD's at his feet. It was the one he had broken and repaired with some electrical tape when he had first arrived in this insane section of the universe. "Hey, little guy, what's up?" He knelt down and gently stroked the repaired antenna, then asked, "You're not--" and stopped to swallow hard around the lump in his throat. This is ridiculous -- I'm gonna cry now because of a little robot? But you're not just a robot, are you; you're part of Moya, and that makes you just as much a being as everyone else here...Damn. A deep breath, then he cleared his throat and tried again. "You're not trying to tell me you're gonna miss me, too, are you?"
The DRD chirped something and he felt his chest tighten at what he could interpret from the sounds. "Yeah, I'm gonna miss you, too," he murmured. "Hey, come on, I've got something I need to do before-- before it's time."
He stood again and walked down the corridor to his quarters, pulling out his recorder and looping the chain his father's puzzle ring hung from around the lamp's neck, then sat at the table. The DRD nudged his foot and he looked down in surprise. "What, you want to sit up here? Okay, up you go..." he said with a laugh, picking up the DRD and putting it down on the table. "Okay, you hang out for a couple of minutes, okay?"
He smiled to himself slightly as he held up his right hand, pinky and index finger extended, then held the fingers out to the DRD's 'eyestalk' lights, turning his hand to mirror the DRD's motions. I'm never gonna laugh at someone talking to their computer again... Then he sobered, took a deep breath and pressed the record button.
"One other thing, Dad. You remember the day I left? You told me that every man has a chance to become his own kind of hero. Well, I don't think I'll be coming home, so I won't get that ticker tape parade, and I doubt that I'll have kids, so I won't get the chance to be a hero to them, but I think I know what you meant. I've got...a strange life here, Dad." He paused, tapping the DRD, then continued, "It's different, but it's my home.
"I have people who rely on me, people who I care about, people who mystify me and people who have become allies..."
Kinda scares me to think of the little frog that way, but he has. Still pisses me off, though...
And Blue really has -- current situations aside, it's not every alien I let walk around in my head!
"...and people who teach me patience..."
Chi -- you're like the little sister I never had... Watch yourself, huh?
"...and people who teach me -- other things."
Oh man, Dad -- I don't think you'd ever be ready to hear about those other things, though... I'm not sure I want to analyze it too much... I thought Aeryn was the Sebacean I was gonna fall for, but now Crais is... Damn.
"Well, you said the time would come, and I think it has. 'I had a job to do,'" he said, picking up the Peacekeeper pistol that lay on the table, "'...and I am unafraid.'" He slid the pistol into its holster, then continued, "That's what you said when they asked you what it was like to walk on the moon." He tugged the ring off the lamp by its chain and held it up, then said, "You did good, Dad. You taught me well." He closed his hand around the ring and softly said, "This is John Crichton, somewhere in the Universe."
Stopping the tape, he stood and strode from the room, heading for the hangar bay where he knew the others would be gathering soon. It was time...
Crais watched as Zhaan blessed Crichton and D'Argo, wondering what it was that Crichton whispered to the Luxan when they leaned close to each other. He knew that the Luxan's sense of smell had to be picking up his scent all over Crichton, and was relieved that he had found it within himself to be kind enough to remain quiet about it...
He continued to stand aside, watching quietly as Crichton said his goodbyes to his friends, and then the human strode over to stop right in front of him. He could feel all the others watching, and had to duck his gaze before he did something he would regret -- he could feel those pale eyes looking right through him. "So, you got any final words of wisdom?"
Relief flooded the Sebacean -- thinking of tactics and battles kept him from thinking about the human's magnificent body; kept him from pulling him into a close embrace and punishing kiss... He answered, "Our pilots are trained to expect evasive maneuvers. Fly a direct course."
"Right," Crichton answered, and Crais found himself wondering if the human was fighting the same desires he was. There was an element of sorrow in those pale eyes that made Crais' heart ache in response, but the time for acting on their desires was past... He could feel the others watching them carefully, and wondered if perhaps the Luxan had told the rest of them. Thankfully, if he had told them, they were also remaining quiet about it...
He watched as the Luxan and Crichton walked towards the transport, feeling sadness well up inside him -- he would be alone again, after he had allowed the human to slip inside his defences... Then Crichton was talking softly to Aeryn, not going over details of the plan but saying something about not saying goodbye. And then the door slid shut and Crichton was gone.
It was time to follow up on his own plan. He knew that with Crichton gone, any protection he had been promised was worth as much as his Peacekeeper commission. But, there was one way out of his predicament -- one way that would afford him all of the freedom and ability to defend himself that he could want. One way that he might even be able to use to get back at that damnable halfbreed Scorpius...
He hung well back but followed when the others went up to the command deck, no one thinking of him now that their attention was focused on Crichton and D'Argo in the transport. He heard Zhaan tell Pilot to instruct the baby Leviathan to stay close enough to them when they went into Starburst, and smiled grimly. He continued to observe, analyzing the progress Crichton and D'Argo were making, until Pilot mentioned that the baby Leviathan was not responding to his requests. Aeryn told Pilot to call the baby by his name; Talyn, named after her father. Interesting to see you grow so sentimental, Officer Sun... John Crichton seems to have had quite an effect on all of us.
But now was not the time for sentimentality or emotions. The others would view his next act as a betrayal of their trust, but he was not foolish enough to think he would be welcome with them. The offspring -- Talyn -- had resulted from his efforts; it was only right that he should be able to make use of him -- he would need a way to defend himself...
He quietly backed off the command deck and made his way to the transport bay, making an effort to avoid any DRD's on the way. Once there, he climbed into one of the transports and hurriedly launched it; keeping the comms open to listen in on Crichton's progress. With luck he would be aboard Talyn before the others even realized he was gone.
Just as he reached Talyn, he heard Crichton telling the others, "We may have screwed up here. The transport should've hit the oil sea by now--" And then a spark of ignition blossomed into fierce conflagration, engulfing the moon in moments. He scrambled to Talyn's command deck, making sure he could use the commotion to make good his escape.
He could hear the chatter across the comms, Aeryn spotting Crichton and the Luxan but unable to reach them because of the other Prowlers; telling them to try to hang on... And then he heard Pilot tell them of his betrayal.
"Ship, deploy into the asteroid field where the debris is densest," he ordered, ignoring the pang of guilt as he knew Crichton and the Luxan were probably lost. If he stayed, Aeryn would have a chance against the other Prowlers, but he just could not risk it...
Rygel's voice came across the comms, asking him, "Crais, what the yotz are you doing?"
"Saving myself, your Eminence; I'm sure to your envy," he responded. He knew, beyond any doubt, that given the chance the Hynerian would have fled, himself.
The next voice was the Delvian, making an appeal to not only his concern for Talyn, but also his own sense of self-preservation: "Talyn is not mature enough to StarBurst. If you attempt this, you will damage him. You may die."
Oh, you need not worry about that, Pa'u -- I plan to keep myself alive for as long as possible! he thought, then responded, "Thank you, Priest, but I know that. We'll be fine -- where no one can follow us, you or the Peacekeepers."
And then, of course, Aeryn... "Crais, you listen to me now. You stop what you are doing and you leave the ship now."
"Officer Sun, if by some strange quirk you survive your current situation and we manage to encounter each other again, I hope that our relationship away from the Peacekeepers will be a much different one next time."
"You cannot take a child from its mother."
Hah! Aeryn, you have grown sentimental -- if our fellow Peacekeepers captured you now, they would have no difficulty at all in making a case for 'irreparable contamination'... he thought, torn between the emotions he had learned from his family and the regulations battered into him over the years of training... "You forget," he said, "it was done to me and it was done to you. Goodbye, Officer Sun."
Both Aeryn and the Delvian cried out but he ignored them, taking Talyn deeper into the asteroid field. From his new vantage point he continued to observe and listen, discovering that first they were refusing to abandon Crichton, the Luxan, and Aeryn; then that Moya was refusing to leave her child. Pilot claimed that she feared he did not understand what he was doing by listening to Crais' orders -- and by that point the Peacekeepers were in position to block their escape...
He heard Crichton's emotional appeal to the worried Leviathan, amazed by the nobility and braveness the human displayed. There was no hidden motive in his speech; no greed, no deception. A pang of guilt made his throat close as he realized his dogged pursuit of them had led to this moment -- he could no longer claim it was orders and duty he had been following, and his personal vendetta had most likely led to the destruction of the last beings who would ever care for him...
When he saw the Leviathan go into Starburst, he felt tears stinging his eyes; and a moment later they were gone, leaving behind Aeryn in her Prowler, and Crichton and D'Argo floating helplessly in space... "Get them, Officer Sun..." he growled through his teeth, "You must get them before it is too late!"
Over the comms he heard her say, "I'm still here, but I still can't get to you."
He could hear the tension in her voice; knew that despite her training she was desperately frightened -- and then he heard Crichton's weary answer, "It may not matter. D'Argo's unconscious..."
Before his conscious mind ever registered it, he ordered, "Ship, approach Crichton and the Luxan. Evade all Prowlers!"
Talyn chirped a protest and he shook his head, "NO! Do not attempt to engage -- evade them all. We must rescue the two beings before exposure to space kills them. Talyn, you must do this -- it is the right thing. Your mother will be proud of you when she returns."
As Talyn broke cover and sped towards Crichton, Aeryn's voice came across the comms. "Crais, what the frell are you doing?!" He wondered much the same thing as the ship darted between asteroids and away from Prowlers. After a moment, he realized that the Peacekeepers were backing off, pulling back to the Command Carrier. Scorpius must have realized that Crichton will die unless he is rescued, Crais thought, concerned about what would happen later but too relieved at the moment to stop.
"Officer Sun, the Prowlers are withdrawing. Move in and make your rescue!" he ordered, knowing that they had only seconds before exposure would do too much damage.
He could see the two beings separate and knew that Crichton had also fallen unconscious. There was no time left! Even as Aeryn completed an insane and dangerous maneuver and managed to haul the hulking Luxan into the cockpit of her Prowler, Crichton's limp body tumbled away from her. They had only one last chance...