Memory's Light

Timeline placement: late season one, spoilers for The Hidden Memory

Rating: G

Disclaimer: The Farscape universe, and all that is in it, is not mine, but rather belongs to the Jim Henson Company. This is a work of fiction based in that universe. No copyright infringement is intended and no money has
been or will be collected.

Dialogue in this fic is from The Hidden Memory (well, I guess there's a tiny snippet from Premiere), the rest of it is what Captain Bialar Crais
told me to write.

No betas were harmed in the making of this fic.

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Captain Bialar Crais waited impatiently as the guard unlocked the cell door, behind which was incarcerated one John Crichton. John Crichton, the man who had caused the death of Crais' brother and corrupted one of his best prowler pilots. John Crichton, the man who had caused Crais' himself to execute his own second in command, a woman who had served him faithfully and well – better than he deserved – for cycles. Crichton had caused the loss of Crais' mental balance as well, for a time, but no longer. He was now in Peacekeeper custody and Crais would see to it that the human paid for his crimes.

The nameless, faceless guard finally opened the cell door and took a step forward, but found his entry blocked. Crais couldn't see anything beyond the narrow entrance to the cell as the guard ordered, "Get back, Stark! Get inside." The guard gave the one called Stark a shove and pushed his way into the cell, leaving the way clear for Crais to enter.

Or so Crais had hoped. Instead, a man who was nothing but shades of brown and a stench of insanity scuttled into Crais' path, blocking him.

"Scorpy!" The lunatic, face half obscured by a dirty metal mask, attempted to skitter around Crais, looking beyond him into the corridor. "Will Scorpy let me get into the chair?" Crais' lips curled in distaste at the pathetic creature – he assumed this was Stark – as he, too, gave the man a shove.

As Crais crossed the threshold, the Scorpy of Stark's twisted dreams followed close behind. Stark shrank back into a corner, whimpering. The Peacekeeper captain, though, was no longer aware of anything but the man lying on the floor, his back against a wall.

John Crichton, pale, weak, blue eyes bloodshot and rimmed with red, was wearing the stolen uniform of a Peacekeeper Special Forces Commando. The uniform had seen better days, as had the man, and a momentary feeling of satisfaction surged through Crais at the sight. It didn't make up for Crais' loss of his brother or even for the loss of his revenge upon Crichton under the auspices of Maldis, but it helped. As did the anticipation Crais felt for the coming interrogation.

"Have you finished?" Scorpius' voice startled Crais from his thoughts and he realized that he had been staring at Crichton, blocking Scorpius from fully entering the cell.

"Yes," Crais answered the hybrid, stepping aside, careful not to touch the half-Scarran scientist.

"You see, Crichton, this..." Scorpius said, gesturing toward Crais, drawing the red-rimmed eyes from Crais' boots up to his face, "is what I'm trying to keep you from." Crais' eyes narrowed – the hybrid abomination had the mivonks to insult him to his face.

Crichton's voice, when it came, was rougher than Crais remembered it. "Yeah, Scorpy, you're all heart." The human closed his eyes, but they opened again when the guard who had first opened the cell, along with another who had entered after Scorpius – further crowding the already crowded cell – leaned down to grasp his upper arms. They pulled the human to his feet, but Crichton made no attempt to stand on his own.

"You show me everything that's in your brain and I won't torture you anymore," Scorpius offered, his tone nothing but concern.

"I've shown you everything."

Scorpius took a step toward the human. "The chair indicates that you're holding back."

Crichton blinked at him. "Chair's wrong," he slurred.

"What won't you tell me?" Scorpius asked, cocking his head as he studied the man more-or-less dangling between the two Peacekeeper guards. "I already know everything else. I know you're living on a stolen Leviathan with escaped prisoners. And I know that Leviathan is pregnant."

Crais realized he was holding his breath and forced himself to exhale quietly. The Leviathan was pregnant. He hadn't known. When the prisoners had stolen her, there had been no indication that the latest procedure had been successful. Crais had tried, time and again, to impregnate her, but to no avail.

"You know who the daddy is?" Crichton asked. Then he laughed, a wheezy laugh filled with bravado. Crais stared at the human. What does he know?

Scorpius shook his head in mocking concern. "Why are you doing this to yourself? What is so important that you're willing to go through all of this?" The abomination made an expansive gesture to the accompanying creak of leather.

"I'm not blocking anything," Crichton insisted weakly.

Scorpius turned away from him, clearly intending to leave the too- populated cell. "Bring him," he said to the guards. He ignored Crais as he stepped past him into the corridor.

The Peacekeeper captain walked over to Crichton, stopping when he was face-to-face with the human. "I'm going to enjoy ripping the truth out of you, Crichton."

Crais paced, hands clasped behind his back, watching the proceedings with fascination as memories were ripped from John Crichton's mind by the infamous Aurora Chair. He had, of course, heard of the chair, but had never been privileged to see it in action. Judging by the sweat rolling from the human and the tendons standing out around his neck, further than Crais would've thought possible, the experience seemed to be quite painful.

At first, Crais had been somewhat concerned that Scorpius' attentions might reveal more than Crais wanted known about the Leviathan's pregnancy, given the earlier conversation. But, as time wore on, it became clear that Scorpius had no interest in stolen prisoner transports, pregnant of otherwise – that demonstration of information that had already come to light had merely been for Crichton's benefit. It did, however, make Crais more determined than ever to pursue the Leviathan.

Images flickered by on the view screen above Crichton's head, drawing Crais' eye. He hadn't been paying them nearly as much attention as he had the man in the chair until an image appeared of Crichton apparently initiating recreation with a blond tech. The background of the image Crais recognized as a room in crew quarters aboard his own Command Carrier. But how could that be?

Crais' eyes widened as he saw himself in the image above Crichton's head, standing very much as he was standing at that very moment. He heard his own voice say, "Commander Crichton. It's good to see you enjoying your stay with us."

The Crichton in the image lifted his head a bit, breaking the kiss he had been engaging in with the pretty tech. Looking over the girl's shoulder, he said, irritation in his voice, "Crais. Don't you ever knock?"

Appalled at the lie unfolding, Crais shouted, "Stop!" He looked over to the woman whose hands hovered over the controls to the chair – what was her name? Niem. "What is that?" It took a special kind of incompetence to cause inaccuracies in the memories displayed by the Aurora Chair...

Scorpius, who, Crais realized, had been watching himself with as much interest as the view screen, walked over to stand with his assistant. "My question as well, Captain." His voice was ironic. The half-breed whispered something to the woman and Crais' attention was drawn first to Crichton, who began to strain against his bonds in earnest, and then back up to the screen.

"What do you want?" the Crichton that never was growled at the false Crais.

"I'm here to thank you."

"Yeah, for what?" The fictional Crichton's attention wandered back to the girl in his arms, clearly bored with whatever the fictional Crais had to say.

"I've never been one of the elite," the false Crais began. "Did you know that? My parents were common farmers." Crais felt his face begin to grow warm as the lie continued to grow. "I was shanghaied from their commune as a young boy." How was this happening? How did they – whoever they were – know these things about his life, his background? It certainly couldn't be coming from Crichton... "I rose through Peacekeeper ranks on my wits and my hatred. Still, some doors were always closed to me." The lie paced, just as Crais had done previously.

"Well, thanks for the family tree, Crais, but frankly, I don't give a damn."

The imaginary Crichton raised a hand to run his fingers through the unknown tech's blond hair as the imaginary Crais continued, "With this wormhole information you've given me, I now have the power to rise to where I should be."

The image on the view screen froze. Crais felt the eyes of all save Crichton – Scorpius, Niem, the guards – on him, accusing, condemning.

"You don't actually believe any of that, do you?" Scorpius' expression was unreadable; that of his assistant, pitying. "Come on! He made it all up!"

"You can't make things up for the chair, Captain. You know that." The hybrid turned from Crais to Crichton. "What is that, hmm?"

His voice cocky, if a bit strained, the human replied, "I don't know. Kinda looks like an episode of 'Melrose Place.'" Bloodshot blue eyes turned to Crais and the Peacekeeper captain swore he was being issued some sort of challenge.

"What do you mean, you don't know what it is?" Crais asked, beginning to worry.

"I don't know."

A glance at the abomination showed Crais that Scorpius' full attention was on him, not Crichton. There seemed to be a speculative gleam in the creature's blue eyes, eyes that suddenly struck Crais with their similarity to the human's.

"Tell him! What is it?" Crais inwardly cringed at the hint of desperation in his own voice – tried to cover it by striking Crichton.

"Is that it, Crais?" Crichton mocked. "Is the game up?"

"What?" Crais couldn't believe this was happening.

Crichton's eyes remained on Crais as he said, "Crais first found out about wormholes when I came through. I gave him the information disk in exchange for my life." He closed his eyes for a microt and then looked over at Scorpius.

Unable to stop himself, Crais hit Crichton again, shouting, "That's a lie!"

"No, it's not."

The sounds in the room faded and everything came to him through a red haze. Unaware of his actions, Crais began to simply pound on the human strapped to the Aurora Chair. "He's lying! Damn you, Crichton! Tell him the truth!"

He didn't feel the hands of the guards pulling him away from the helpless prisoner. For a time, he could hear nothing but the sound of his own breathing, deafening him. Slowly, the redness faded from his vision and he came back to himself. He became aware of the guards to either side of him, of Scorpius and Niem watching him like a specimen in a jar. Crais stood up, stiffening his back, holding his head high in an attempt to regain his dignity and composure.

"So," Scorpius began, "nothing of what we saw is true..."

Crais, unsure if this was a question or a statement, answered warily, "No."

"Were you born on a farming commune?"

Feeling trapped, Crais could only answer, "Yes."

"Were you conscripted from it by the Peacekeepers?"

"Yes, but—"

"How does Crichton know this?"

Even as Scorpius' voice remained calm and measured, Crais felt himself becoming more and more agitated. "He must have stolen it from a database!"

Scorpius was clearly skeptical as he said, "While he was in security three containment...?"

"Look, I don't know how he did it, but what you saw on there is not true!"

"Of course it's not." The freak sounded as though he were placating a child. "But there's only one way to be sure it is a lie."

Crais became very still. "How?" he reluctantly asked.

"For you to go into the chair."

With a laugh, Crais responded, "Me?"

"Yes."

"No Captain has ever been subjected to such an indignity." This was simply absurd. Scorpius couldn't subject him to the Aurora Chair – High Command would never stand for such a thing.

"There's always a first for everything," Scorpius drawled. He then turned to his assistant and ordered, "Get Crichton back to his cell."

Niem moved to comply, motioning toward the pair of guards still standing at attention by the door. Crais was certain the two were already planning out what they would tell their comrades of the spectacle they had seen as he snapped out, "You overstep yourself, Scorpius. You haven't got the numbers to put me in the chair."

"Don't I?" He addressed the guards who had pulled Crais off Crichton, his eyes never leaving Crais. "Put Crais in the chair."

All was a blur for Bialar Crais, his thoughts and memories losing all cohesion. His entire life was spinning out of control and he was helpless to stop it. He felt the straps of the Aurora Chair at wrists, ankles, head. He felt the probes at his temples, boring into his brain. At the same time, he was in the command chamber of his ship, the ever-faithful Lieutenant Teeg beside him, watching the replay of his brother's prowler colliding with first the white alien ship and then with the asteroid in a shower of shrapnel and sparks.

"We lost a second ship, sir," Teeg reported. "It was absorbed with the Leviathan when it went into starburst."

"I want to see him." Him. The man who murdered his brother.

"See him, sir?"

"Peel back the image. I want to see who is inside."

Snap.

He was standing in the cavernous chamber of that madman, Maldis, listening to Crichton answer Crais' own accusation of the murder of his brother.

"I did everything I could to avoid him!" Crichton shouted, frustration evident in his voice.

Snap.

He was twelve cycles old, Tauvo only eight. The two of them were standing in front of their father, Bialar supporting Tauvo, who was even more frightened than his older brother.

"The recruiter is here to pick you up. I'm counting on you to protect him." But, Father! Why are you sending us away? What have we done? Please, don't do this! "He is your brother."

A cry of anguish, of pain both mental and physical, was torn from Crais' throat, already raw from earlier screams.

Crais was unaware of Scorpius' gesture to Niem to pause the recording of his memories. He was only aware of the memory itself as he relived it and of Scorpius' voice as he asked, "Who is that?"

Crais' couldn't stop himself from answering anything Scorpius asked. "My...father. Turn it off!"

"Don't you like your past, Crais?"

"Turn it off!" he begged Scorpius, even as, in his memory, he begged his father not to send them away.

"Can't you get to what he knows about wormholes?"

"No," Niem responded, increasing power to the chair. "He's fighting it."

Crais felt another wave of what his nerves could only interpret as pain as they fired accordingly. "I don't know anything!" he screamed, as his father and young Tauvo faded, replaced by—

Snap.

He was in his quarters. Teeg had just played for him a chip with new orders from High Command. He moved closer to her, close enough to feel the heat from her body, to smell the scent of her hair and skin.

"And no one outside of this chamber knows of the Admiral's orders?"

Teeg looked at him, trusting him with her life, as she always had. "I saw to that, sir."

He reached up, touching her cheek gently – as he had done countless times in the past – and snapped her neck.

Crais was beyond seeing anything in the room around him, beyond feeling the tears on his face, beyond anything but the feel of Teeg, held tenderly in his arms as her body cooled. Outside of Crais' awareness, Scorpius held up a hand to again pause the recording. "So, now I know why you tried to fight the chair. Hmm... Are there any more barriers?"

"No, that's what he was fighting to hold."

"And what Crichton saw about wormholes?"

"Is not in this Captain's memory."

Crais had been trapped in the Aurora Chair for what seemed like days, but he was sure it had been only a few arns. Something had pulled Scorpius and Niem away, had caused the pain to stop. But not the memories. Those still haunted him, although no longer with the manic intensity the chair had imparted.

He regretted Teeg's death. At the time, it had seemed the right thing to do, but now...

Footsteps approached. Then a woman's voice came from behind him, where he couldn't see. "Captain Crais. What are you doing in this chair?"

The voice was familiar... "Who is that? Who's there?"

"Well, I suppose I shouldn't expect you to recognize my voice."

He still couldn't see her. "Did Scorpius send you? Release..." His voice failed him for a microt. "Release me from this chair."

"Why? So that you can kill me the way you killed Lieutenant Teeg?" Contempt dripped from the unknown woman's voice and Crais knew the last image Scorpius had recorded must still be displayed for all to see.

"Who are you?"

"I am irreversibly contaminated." Crais' heart sank. "Now do you know who I am?"

Finally he could see her as she came around the Chair to confront him. He had never noticed just how striking her looks were before now. She wore the same Peacekeeper Special Forces Commando uniform that Crichton had been wearing when Crais first saw him in the cell, her dark hair pulled back from her face in a style that had never been regulation. "Aeryn Sun," he breathed.

She leaned in close. "Does this contaminate you, Crais?" Her grey eyes were fierce and, under the circumstances, more than a little frightening.

There was almost no chance she would release him, but still, he had to try. "As a Peacekeeper, you took a blood oath to obey your commanding officer. Until death."

"Yes." Her tone and body language gave nothing away.

"I am still your commanding officer."

She smiled coldly, sending a chill through him. "But I am no longer a Peacekeeper." Her eyes glittered with anger.

"You are a Peacekeeper for life. On the oath you took—"

She cut him off. "Your oath means nothing to me. You made sure of that." Her voice grew louder with each phrase, but he knew she was under perfect control. "You destroyed everything. I lost everything because of you."

"Aeryn Sun!" he shouted, desperately trying to gain control of the situation.

"You know what I learned when I was away from you?" Her tone now was almost conversational. "Everything I lost isn't worth a damn. And I don't want to go back to your past."

"I order you—"

Again, she cut him off. "You order me?" Reaching out, she took hold of his ident chip, laying forgotten on his chest. With one sharp, efficient motion, she ripped it from his neck. "You will never order me again."

"I will track you down and kill you, Officer Sun." He could hear the edge of panic in his voice and despised himself for it. He took a deep breath before continuing, forcing his voice back under his control. "On that, I give you my vow."

She stepped away from him then, moved toward the control console Niem had vacated. "You know what I give you, Crais? Your life. I will make you watch..." He couldn't see her, as she had moved out of his limited range, but he could hear the sounds of switches and levers being moved, he could feel the chair come to life under him. "...your life." With that, Aeryn Sun slammed a fist down and left.

Scream after scream was ripped from Crais' throat as he was forced to relive all the mistakes he had ever made...

Crais didn't know how long he had been unconscious. In fact, he hadn't even realized he had been unconscious until voices brought him back up out of the darkness.

"They used a senior officer's ident chip and they're climbing the air vent towards the surface." Crais thought the voice belonged to Niem, but he couldn't muster the energy to open his eyes.

"I thought as much." He was certain that was Scorpius.

"Do you want me to burn them out?"

"No, we need Crichton alive. We'll take the level risers and beat them to the surface. Let's go."

And with that, they, too, left him, still strapped to the Aurora Chair. At least they'd had the decency to turn the frelling thing off. Either that or he had simply passed beyond the point where it could still hurt him.

Crais forced his eyes open and was mildly surprised at how difficult such a small action could be. The physical effort involved struck him as monumental in scope. Every muscle in his body – including those in his eyelids – seemed completely drained of energy. His mind, too, seemed to be completely drained.

Bialar Crais found himself with no choice but to reflect on the memories the chair had forced him to relive, trapped as he was. Not simply trapped in the Aurora Chair until someone thought to release him, but trapped in his own life, which was so completely different than anything he had ever imagined.

Seeing nothing but the darkened chamber and the burning image of Renava Teeg as she died at his hands, Crais closed his eyes again. He was surprised to feel tears.

Teeg, what have I done? What have I become?

For the first time since he was twelve cycles old, betrayed by his father and unsure of his own worth, Bialar Crais allowed himself to cry. He wept for Tauvo, he wept for Teeg, he wept for himself and for the dreams he'd once had.

When the tears finally stopped, he began to plan.

Crais' career as a Peacekeeper was over, he knew that. Scorpius knew of Teeg's murder and Crais' disobedience of a direct order from High Command. There would be consequences. He had no choice but to accept the consequences of his own actions, but he did not have to accept what he knew the half-breed abomination would attempt to force upon him.

Scorpius did not, however, know of the precious cargo Crichton's Leviathan now carried, nor did he know of Crais' own connection to that cargo. Whether Crichton knew anything other than the fact of the Leviathan's pregnancy was immaterial. So long as the human had made his escape from Scorpius – it was obvious that Aeryn Sun was instrumental in that escape – Crais knew that he would make his way back to the Leviathan. Moya? Yes, Moya.

Crais was confident that he could make his own escape from Scorpius, once he was free of the chair. Once he was free of his ties to the Peacekeepers, he would find the Leviathan, Moya, and her crew. He would play nice with them for as long as it took. And when his gunship was born, he would wrest it from them by force, if need be.

Yes, Bialar Crais would survive this setback, just as he had survived Peacekeeper conscription, so many cycles ago.

He was nothing if not a survivor...