"Well... what to we need to make this particle thing-a-majig?" asked Chiana from D'argo's side.
"That's another problem, Pixie...er, Chiana," Berret corrected himself almost sadly.
Chiana gave him a slight reassuring smile as beside him, Zhaan took his hand in hers in support.
"The isotope we need is only known to be found here in Peacekeeper tech labs. We are going to have to find one and 'liberate' what we need from there," replied the Shrike.
Despite the serious situation, Chiana chuckled. "Liberate... I like that word," she said. "But you mean snurch, don't ya?" Berret smiled thinly and gave her a slight nod of his head to signify she was correct.
John swore under his breath. "Peacekeepers mean Scorpy. How much of this stuff do we need to get?" he asked.
"A very small amount, John. Just enough to fit on a scanner slide. That will be enough to power the wave generator Aeryn and myself will have to build," said Zhaan.
"That answers 'what' and 'how much'," said D'argo. "What we need to know now is where is it and who will go to get it?"
"We can have Pilot and Moya search for the nearest research base," said Aeryn.
"Good idea, and now... who gets to go?" said Crichton.
"There is only one answer for that, I will go - alone," said Berret.
"Why should we trust you?" put it Rygel.
"You have no choice. Peacekeeper Command knows the rest of you, but not me. Besides I am the only one here skilled at this type of infiltration," said the Shrike.
"He has a point," said Aeryn. "The Peacekeepers assign to any station will not know who he is."
"I still don't like the idea of him going off alone. He might betray us to the PKs to save his own hide." complained Rygel.
"You may feel free to accompany me if you wish, Rygel. But the odds of our success diminish with every person along on the mission. If we are captured, I am reasonably sure I can escape. Can you say the same for yourself?" asked Berret.
The Hynerian gawked at the suggestion that he go along on the mission to a PK base.
"I-I- I meant for D'argo or Crichton to go along with you! A Dominar does his leading from the rear where he can survey the battlefield," stammered the Hynerian.
"Of course he does, Rygel," Berret said with a grin.
Zhaan hid her smile behind one hand. She knew the Shrike was teasing the Hynerian and would never consider taking the small being along with him even if Rygel demanded to go along. She was happy that the Shrike's attitude toward the Dominar had mellowed over the cycles. Zhaan could still vividly recall a time when the ex-assassin would have had Rygel pinned up against the bulkhead and be actively twisting the Hynerians ears at the slightest hint or accusation of treachery on the Shrike's part.
"You needn't worry, Rygel. Jared would never betray Moya or this crew," said Zhaan trying to appease the small being.
"John cannot go near a PK base with Scorpius after him and I'm afraid D'argo would be much too hard to hide," added Berret. "Nor can Aeryn, Chiana, or Zhaan accompany me for much the same reasons."
Berret thought for a microt and then chuckled out load. "Beside, I don't relish spending anymore time dealing with Peacekeepers that I have to. I've sort of gotten use to the arrangement we have with them in our universe. They kill Scarrens, the Scarrens kill them, and they both leave everyone else pretty much alone."
"I wish we had that problem here," said John.
"It may work out here in this plane for the best yet," said Berret attempting to give the man hope. The Shrike turned to Zhaan and said offhandedly as another thought occurred to him. "I hope I don't have to spend another night in a Peacekeeper garbage dump," he said while making a face of distaste.
Zhaan recalled the incident and giggled out loud.
"What the frell is he talking about?" asked Rygel.
The Delvian reined in her snickering and explained. "Shortly after the Peacekeepers and Scarrens entered into full open warfare. We found ourselves caught behind a PK minefield that separated us from Hynerian space. Jared infiltrated a Peacekeeper support base and copied maps to the minefield's layout. Enabling Moya to find the safe route through the sector and into Rygel's home space. During his visit he hid out in a trash heap until it was safe to enter the base and retrieve the maps. He didn't smell so good when he returned to Moya," she said with a grin as she recalled the event.
Berret made a face at her amusement at the past situation but then smiled along with her anyway. Zhaan remembered something else from that day that she never heard the answer to.
"That reminds me," she told him. "You never did tell us about something else you hinted at doing while you were inside the base that day. What was it?"
Berret eyes went wide in surprise as he remembered the incident also. "Oh that! I'd forgotten all about it," he said.
"Well, what was it you did?" she prompted again.
Berret shifted in his seat and smiled as he remembered. "When I was going through the data base I found the usual paper work, reports, the mine field maps of course, and some interspecies pornography that the station crew had stored in the banks. There were several routine reports earmarked to be sent out to Scorpius and Peacekeeper Command at a later date. I sort of changed the file names around on the reports and files."
"Let me guess... Scorpy got the porn instead of the reports?" said John.
Berret nodded in the affirmative, "Along with a two word message."
"What was the message?" asked Aeryn becoming slightly suspicious that the Shrike would message Scorpius about anything.
"One of John's favorite sayings... Bite me!" said Berret with a grin. "It seemed appropriate at the time."
Crichton started at the Shrike opened mouth and then began to laugh hard. He held his stomach as he started to shake and eventually the other's had no choice but to join in. After a few microts John wiped away a tear and asked, "You did that to Ole Scorpy?"
Berret nodded his head again. John guffawed and had to wipe his eyes on his coat sleeve again.
"That's hysterical! I'd give anything to see his face when he opened that email!" he roared.
Zhaan was in stitches beside him. She placed an arm around Berret's shoulder and said. "Sometimes your sense of humor amazes me also, Jared."
Berret thanked her for the compliment and then said in aside to her in a whisper, "At the time I though it would be more amusing when the station crew went to review their 'dirty pictures' and found them erased and sent off to PK command. The Scorpius thing was just an after thought," he confessed with a shrug of his shoulders. Until know he'd never thought about the action being humorous from the Scorpius side of the issue. The more he thought about it the more amusing it became until he was almost matching John in fits of laughter. Zhaan poked him in the side to get his attention again.
"No matter, Chiana will be proud of you at any rate," referring to his Bond-mate's endless pranks she pulled on him to teach him how to have fun.
"That she will, Zhaan. That she will," said Berret in return.

A solar day later, Berret sat back in his seat as the others hashed over details to the basic plan. The details were a relatively small part compared to necessity of having to find a Peacekeeper base in the area. At the present no one but Moya and Pilot could complete that task. He glanced from one to the other of his crewmate's counterparts who were all gathered around his Zhaan as they work on one aspect of the mission plan or other. He allowed his mind to wander back again to the day of the trash heap incident and smiled. In a way, that was the beginning of the best years of their lives. Once clear into Hynerian space and Rygel was back on the throne, their lives had become almost dream like. The rag-tag group had finally found a safe harbor to call home.

The Wraith settled to Moya's flight deck and as soon as the engines powered down, a tired Berret exited the scout ship after Moya pressurized the bay. The huge landing bay door swung open and a very pregnant and worried Chiana greeted him.
"Where the frell have you been?" she asked as she approached.
The Nebari woman was in her second trimester of her pregnancy; more than a full trimester behind Aeryn, who was due within a few weekens. The girl's belly was full but she carried the weight well for her small frame, unlike her Sebacean counterpart. Aeryn had spent the last few weekens waddling around Moya's corridors very unhappy with the way her condition limited her activities, and making the rest of the crew very aware of her displeasure.
"We expected you back a solar day ago," Chiana continued as she leaped up into his arms as agile as ever to kiss him full on the mouth. The Nebari woman twisted up her face and her nose wrinkled as she sniffed the air and bounced back away from him.
"Ugh! What the yotz did you fall into? You smell like.... garbage?" she said to him.
Berret grinned back at his wife saying, "What a coincidence, seeing I spent the better part of a solar day laying in a Peacekeeper trash heap."
Chiana blinked her dark eyes at him. "What possessed you to do something like that?" she asked.
"It's a long story and I'll tell you later," he told her. "Suffice it to say, we must all suffer for our art."
"Whatever you say," she chuckled as they started back to their new apartments on tier five. The Nebari woman held his hand but kept a safe distance from her fragrant husband.
"However, I did get what I went for," he said tossing her the handheld data link that Andar had invented.
Chiana caught the small black box in mid air. "You got the plans to the minefield?" she asked excitedly. Berret nodded his head in answer, "And then some. Would you please take that up to Command so the others can download the maps while I take a much needed shower."
Chiana smiled wickedly. "Sure! Then when you're done I can welcome you home the proper way," she said. Despite her leer, Berret smiled warmly and reached out to rub her belly for a few microts.
"Seeing you there in the bay to greet me was the best welcome I could have wished for."
"Owww... you've become quite the smooth talker," she told him as he turned down the corridor toward their apartment.
"I had a good teacher," he called back. "Hey! How's our reining goddess of terror doing?" he asked.
"About the same, grumpy as always. We'll all be happier when she delivers," Chiana said with a giggle.
"So will John I wager!" he said joining her in laughter. Waving, he told her he'd join her shortly on the Command tier. It was later on the Command tier while reporting on his mission that he hinted at causing some other mischief among the Peacekeepers, but the need to get Moya through the PK minefield as quickly as possible made it necessary to put the story on hold for the micron.

Berret realized how deep he'd been lost in his thoughts and memories when Aeryn tapped the table in front of him.
"Hello, Mr. Assassin? Are you with us?" she asked.
"I'm sorry, Aeryn... I was thinking about something," Berret apologized.
"That was obvious," said the Sebacean woman sarcastically, "Pilot has something to report."
Berret had not noticed that Pilot had joined the meeting by holo-com, seeing that he had everyone's attention he continued on.
"As I was saying, Moya and I have located a commerce planet with a small Peacekeeper research facility located inside one of the major trading cities."
"How far away are we from there?" asked Crichton.
"About one and a half solar days, Commander," replied Pilot.
"Has there been any Peacekeeper military traffic nearby?" Aeryn asked next.
"None that we can detect. It appears to be a relatively unimportant base according to the data records in Moya's memory banks," said Pilot.
"Just what we're looking for," comment D'argo, giving Berret a look that told him the Luxan couldn't wait to be rid of his presence.
"Aeryn and I have finished constructing the device that will produce the wave, all we need now is the isotope to power it," reported Zhaan.
"And that we have to leave up to your friend, Jared," said John.
"I still don't like letting him go alone. How can we be sure he won't betray us to Scorpius?" complained Rygel.
"You can still always come with me," countered Berret with a sly grin at the Hynerian.
"I trust him," said Chiana, "And D'argo trusts my judgment."
Chiana looked up at the big Luxan for his support. The warrior gave a low growl but to keep the peace he nodded his head in agreement with his mate.
"No one asked you!" shot back Rygel, "When he first came aboard, you were just as inclined to shoot him first as the rest of us. Now you're taking his side."
"I've talked with him since then, I know he's not lying," Chiana said defensively. "I always know when someone's lying to me... it's what I know best."
"Listen... kids, can we argue about this later?" asked Crichton. "We have a lot of work to do in the next solar day if we're ever going to get our Zhaan and Stark back."
"I agree, John," put in the Delvian woman as she stole a glance at D'argo. "I for one wish to get back to where we belong as soon as possible."
Berret reached acrossed the table and took one of her hands in support.
"We'll make it back Zhaan," he promised
"I know. You want to return to Chiana and the children as badly as I wish to return to D'argo, Jothee, and sweet Tamilla," she replied.

As the meeting broke up, Crichton caught Zhaan's attention and pulled her off to one side.
"Listen, Blue. Does your friend really know what he's letting himself in for? Scorpius knows we're somewhere in this area and that research base just might be the place he would decide to stop over at."
Crichton made a move as if to swat an insect away from his ear but stopped himself before he could complete the gesture. Never the less, Zhaan caught it and then understood what was happening to John.
"Goddess," she said looking over her shoulder to see if anyone was near, "It is happening to you. You're hearing Scorpius from the neural chip."
Crichton eyes grew large at the statement, "How do you know that?" he asked.
"Jared hasn't only infiltrated Peacekeeper bases in the past, he has also faced Scorpius. The first time he did so was on your account," Zhaan confessed.
"What do you mean on my account?" John enquired.
"Sometime after Jared joined us, the Syndicate sent a master assassin after him. Somehow Scorpius became involved and he offered Jared a deal to trade our Crichton for his freedom from the Syndicate. He learned that Scorpius had implanted a device in our John's head and was about to active it, but the opportunity presented itself for him to offer this deal to Jared because he feared the implant might damage the wormhole information he wanted. Jared pretended to go along with the arrangement and with the help of Malika and Andar stole the abort codes right out from under Scorpius' nose. Needless to say, we were very displeased that they didn't inform us of the situation and took things into their own hands, but the codes worked and our John never suffered the fate you are now."
"So why can't you give me the codes and then we can turn this thing off?" ask Crichton.
"I'm afraid it's not that simple, John," said the Delvian, "Those codes will probably be slightly off from the ones in this universe and the process has already begun. Any interference now could be fatal to you. I am so truly sorry, John," she said placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. John nodded his head and quietly thanked her. "Now that you know, with the other's help after we tell them..."
"No!" John cut her off, "Please Zhaan, we can't tell the other's how bad it's getting yet. They'll think I'm being controlled and won't trust me anymore. I need time to think about this before I can decide what to do."
Against her better judgment, Zhaan agreed to remain silent and to instruct Jared to do the same also.
"You must promise me not to wait too long. We never had to deal with this in our timeline and I have no idea of what will happen to you the longer that implant remains functional," she told him.
"Believe me, Zhaan. Leaving that thing in my head is not number one on my list of things to do today," replied Crichton. John paused a microt and gave the Delvian a deep look of gratitude. "Listen, Zhaan... thanks. You've always been a good friend. I guess in both universes."
Zhaan' face fell into a look of heartfelt sadness. She reached up and stroked one of Crichton's cheeks wishing that there were something more she could do for him.
"We have all been good friends and family to each other," she told him.

Moya moved into orbit around the planet with the research base, using a small moon to hide behind. The crew decided to wait until the base was on the night side of the planet before trying to infiltrate it. The equipment ready the crew met for a final meal and to work out any last micron details in the plan. The plan was fairly simple and there wasn't much more to discuss. To entertain themselves, Chiana had talked Zhaan into telling some stories from their lives after Berret refused to elaborate on some of the pranks his Chiana had pulled on him over the cycles, so this Chiana weaseled them out of the Delvian.
"What was the funniest thing she ever pulled on him?" asked the girl mischievously.
"There are so many," began the Pa'u with a sly look at Berret's discomfort.
"I suppose there is the 'Grub Paste Incident," she said as Berret hung his head on the table wishing he were somewhere else at the microt.
Seeing the man's embarrassment, the Nebari pushed for the Delvian to tell the tale.
"Well it began shortly after Jared joined us. Our Chiana decided that he was too serious and needed to develop his sense of humor..."

John had just joined Aeryn for the morning meal when the shout rang out somewhere down Moya's corridor.
John raised his eyebrows in question to Aeryn, while she wrinkled her nose.
"What is that smell?" she asked with a growing look of distaste.
"I dunno," replied John. Taking a deeper breath and then suddenly found it was a mistake as he started to gag. "Oh God! It smells like..." he started to say just as Berret stormed into the center chamber.
"Where is she? Where is that miserable little cretin!" the Shrike shouted.
Taken aback for a second because Jared was covered in what appeared, and smelled like, Hynerian Zorb Grub Paste, one of Rygel's favorite delicacies that usually stunk up the ship when it was aboard, Aeryn tried to hide her smile while John asked what happened.
"That little monster put a bowl of this foul smelling dren over a pressure release module inside the supply locker in the workshop. When I opened the locker door, the module released and shot this goo all over me... and the entire shop!" he explained. "Where is she? I'm going to do something very unhealthy to her."
Trying to keep a serious face, which was hard because as Berret told his story, he was trying to wipe the pieces of Zorb Grub out of his hair and only succeeding in squishing them in further.
"Calm down, J.B.," Crichton said. "You and Pip have been pulling stunts on each other for the past few weekens. She's only having a little 'harmless' fun."
"Not so harmless if Rygel finds out what you two did to his Grub Paste," put in Aeryn.
Somewhere out in the hallway Chiana's tinkling laughter could be heard, which only put Berret into a fouler mood with his shipmate.
"Oh, just wait until I...." Berret began just as Zhaan walked into the room.
"Oh Good! You're all here," she began cheerily. "Pilot has just informed me..."she stopped as she noticed Berret's condition.
"Uh.... Jared? Why are you wearing..." she stopped to sniff the air, "...Hynerian Grub Paste? You know Rygel will be very upset with you if he discovers you have been playing with it."
Throwing up his hands in surrender, as if he would really purposely coat himself with this disgusting stuff.
"Well, I guess I just had a little accident," he said sarcastically.
"Really? You should be more careful," said Zhaan, now concerned. "What happened to you?"
Before he could say a word Aeryn and John both piped up, "Chiana!"
"Ah!" said Zhaan, now fully understanding. "Well, the two ofyou both have to put your games aside for now. I have something important I need to discuss and it concerns us all. Please go clean yourself up, and if you see Chiana, Please ask her to join us in here."
"I would really like to see Chiana about now!" Berret mumbled to himself as he walked out the doorway, just missing passing by D'argo as he arrived at the mess hall. As the big Luxan entered the room he stopped and sniffed the air, "What the yotz is that smell?" he asked.

Chiana almost rolled off her chair in a fit of laughter. "She actually did that?" she gasped out.
Zhaan nodded her head and smiled as Jared turned red, she could still remember a time when the man wouldn't have known enough to have been embarrassed by the funny story. Despite his dislike for the man D'argo found himself almost in tears.
"I can just see Chiana doing something like that!" he howled.
John and Aeryn smiled amusingly while Rygel complained of course,
"I don't see how wasting good Zorb Paste would be funny!" he exclaimed, "Savages!"
"I'm surprised that your Rygel didn't lick it off you!" chuckled the Nebari girl to Berret.
"I'm so glad you found it as amusing as my wife did. You know, I did get even with her for that," he said with an evil smile. Intrigued Chiana asked, "Oh? How?"
"I'll let Zhaan tell you seeing she's in the mood to cause trouble... and she was an unwitting accomplice in the event," he replied.
The group turned to Zhaan and waited for her to begin the new story.
"As I remember, it was about a weeken later..."

The scream was loud.... very loud. Chiana entered Moya's command tier like an angry gray goddess of fury.
"Where is he!" she demanded. "Where is that empty headed, sad excuse for a frelling male toadstool? He is so frelling dead when I catch him!"
Zhaan and Aeryn were going over some of the more recently acquired star charts when Chiana made her rather unusual entrance. It wasn't the fact that she was wearing a fluffy white bathrobe instead of one of her usual form fitting outfits. What left them speechless was that Chiana's normally snow white hair was now red... a very bright red at that.
"Look at what he did to me!" she cried. "He put something in the shower head of my room. Just look at my hair!" she said while pulling at the offending red locks.
"Well," said Aeryn, trying to look at the bright side, "At least it was only your hair that turned red. It could have been your entire body."
"Chiana, what did you expect?" observed Zhaan. "The two of you have been staging prank after prank on each other since last plant fall. And after the incident with the Grub Paste... I think you've gotten off lightly."
"Yes," Aeryn added, "Berret still has to listen to Rygel complain about the loss of his precious Hynerian delicacy that..." She lowered her voice to mimic Rygel's, "Us lower life forms could not began to appreciate."
The fact that John chose that moment to arrive on the Command tier in chipper spirits didn't help improve Chiana's mood much.
"Whoa! Chi... you sporting a new look?" he asked.
Chiana shrieked while balling up her fists in anger, and then unexpectedly socked John in the stomach. Crichton doubled over and let out a "whoof" of air as Chiana stormed out of Command mumbling something about how males make better pets if you get them fixed.
Confused, John asked as he jerked a thumb in the departing Nebari direction, "What's the matter with her? Bad hair day?"
"Berret!" said Aeryn and Zhaan together.
"Oh, I see," said John, now fully understanding the situation. "So why didn't she hit him?"
Zhaan sighed and keyed her communicator, "Zhaan to Jared."
"Yes, Zhaan?" came the Shrike's response a few microts later.
"What did you do to Chiana's shower unit?" she asked
"Why do you ask?" he said after a slight pause. Zhaan and the others could almost hear the smile in his voice. "Didn't she like the results?" he inquired.
"I believe it's safe to say she was less then happy with the results," Zhaan said. "I'm rather disappointed that the chemicals you requested from me for your supposed project were put to such a childish use," the Delvian admonish.
"Zhaan, I can assure you that the red color will only last a few arns," Berret replied.
"Well, that's good to know," said Zhaan, relieved and believing that this episode may be over with shortly. Crichton picked up on something unspoken in Berret's last statement and motioned for Zhaan to wait while he hurriedly asked,
"Ummm J.B.? What exactly happens after the red dye fades?"
"It becomes a lovely shade of green," he replied happily.
John let out a groan while Zhaan covered her eyes and shook her head in dismay. "I'm surrounded by children," the Priestess muttered to herself. She looked back up as she continued on.
"I trust you have a neutralizing agent for this?" Zhaan asked him.
"Yes, Zhaan... of course," Berret replied in a hurt tone, as if he would be that inefficient.
"I think it would be best... for you, and us all... if you got the neutralizer to Chiana right away," said Zhaan, trying to remain calm but stressing the "us all" part of her statement.
"I had planned on waiting a few solar days, but as you wish, Zhaan," said Berret. ".... Ummmm, could one of you or a DRD take it to her. I don't believe it would be safe for me to do so at this moment, now that I think of it," he went on to ask.
"You got that right!" John said under his breath while rubbing the sore spot in the middle of his stomach.
Not looking up from studying the new charts, Aeryn solemnly added,
"You should never frell with a woman's hair."

This time Berret chuckled freely along with the rest. At first Chiana wasn't sure how to take the story seeing it was basically her getting the unexpected dye job. She decided that it hadn't happen to her and then cracked a grin along with the rest of her crewmates.
D'argo enjoyed the story with the rest of them and couldn't resist adding in a thoughtful tone,
"I wonder how you would look with red hair?" he asked while stroking his own red locks. Turning to the Shrike he asked, "Do you by any chance still remember the formula?" He glanced at the Nebari woman out of the corner of his eye to catch her reaction.
Chiana elbowed him hard in the chest. "Don't be getting any ideas!" she warned.