The sound of a strangely rhythmic hum brought him to his senses

The far world of Farscape belongs to Rockne. S. O'Bannon. I am only playing with his creations and am making nothing I can use on a commerce planet to barter with. Thanks to Molly, AJ, JT & Niqella

Ash Darklighter

Nightmare on Erp Street

A strangely rhythmic hum brought him slowly to his senses. The cadence of each vibration rose and fell almost as if something was breathing. It was only then that he realised he was on a floor - a cold, hard, yet peculiarly pulsating floor. He blinked thick, bronze-coloured eyelashes just enough to let a chink of light through.

"Woah!" he murmured as he let his awareness flood into full consciousness and wondered at the feel of the goose bumps dotting lightly across his naked skin. Something whirred and scuttled across his field of view. He briefly peered through his lashes and the impression of a yellow blob with eyes on stalks, left a picture in his mind he was sure, was false. He was reminded of the nagging horror of a recurring nightmare that he was lying naked in a room full of people he knew and they were waiting to laugh at him.

"Naked!"

This time he let his eyes open fully and the sight that greeted him made him slam them shut again. This was a hell of a dream he was having - a hell of a dream. "Yeah!" he chuckled lightly, the sound blending into the steady vibrations he felt around him. He drew in a deep breath and gingerly opened one blue eye.

"What…? Where…? Jeez!"

He jerked upright and gazed at his surroundings in disbelief. He was naked.  Naked, and nowhere he recognised either.

"Oh shit!"

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The ache in her head refused to go away and it felt like half an army of peacekeepers had trodden their determined way across her entire body. She was on a Leviathan, that much was clear. She knew from the oddly alive feeling beneath her body. Even through full Sebacean body armour, the ever-present vibrations soothed and gently rocked her back to sleep.

"Wait a microt!" She jerked herself awake, and a full remembrance of the disastrous events of the previous day thudded into her head. "Frell!" The Sebacean curse slipped easily past her full lips and her grey eyes snapped open within the confines of her helmet, only to widen in shock.

She was in a prison cell on a Leviathan ship and there was a naked male lying unconscious in front of her.

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John Crichton shivered despite the warmth of the room. The automatic reaction drew his attention to his unclothed state and he raised his head, searching for anything to hide his nakedness. It was a well-proved psychological fact that removing a man's apparel rendered him vulnerable in more ways than one.

Aeryn Sun still watched from the confines of her helmet, the dark visor obscuring her features.  He was not yet aware of her and it was better to act cautiously in an unknown situation, but already her highly trained soldier's brain was weighing up her options. She sensed his shock at his own nakedness and she registered his panicked gaze, like that of a cornered foe. He was obviously a prime specimen of Sebacean manhood  - every taut muscle honed by the training they received from birth.

But somehow this one had forgotten his training. Aeryn's lip curled with scorn at his panicked expression. This was no front-line Peacekeeper soldier. She'd been imprisoned with a coward.

The man sat up and Aeryn forced herself to remain motionless. His firm muscular chest covered with dark hair drew her unwilling admiration. She had never seen another male with so much body hair. There were whorls of dark matter creating a triangle that grew to a point where it surrounded his sex. Aeryn's eyes widened further. Now that was impressive – it would be most interesting to recreate with him. The idea of the dark springy fibres covering his chest rubbing against her own aroused nipples provoked a feeling of warmth throughout her system. She listened to him muttering to himself but couldn't catch his words.

Aeryn couldn't explain why, but she continued to watch the man in front of her. He hadn't noticed that he was not alone in the cell. She bit back a disdainful laugh. A true Peacekeeper soldier wouldn't be so lax. The question - just what kind of Peacekeeper was he? He was too fine a specimen to be a mere tech or anything more lowly. Could it be possible that he was … a breeding male? Her eyes followed the flex of his muscles as he moved restlessly. 'Very strong,' she mused. 'Bred for duty just like I was, but perhaps not proud of that fact.'

"Yeah, I must be crazy," the man muttered louder this time. "I just took off all my clothes and lay down here for a nap. Sure, it's something I do all the time? The fact that I've been hallucinating doesn't come into it.  Yeah - I didn't see the bald, blue babe, the flying Muppet and the big guy with the tentacles." He brought his hands up and rubbed his face hard. Peering through his fingers, John Crichton's view of his surroundings had not changed. But in a corner, neatly folded, lay his clothes.

"Hey! Why did you take off my clothes?"

Aeryn watched from the dark anonymous confines of her helmet as the man scrambled into his clothes and she couldn't help but feel a little pang of regret as the body disappeared into… wait! Not Peacekeeper clothing. Not only was he a coward, he was out of uniform. She tensed ready to spring at him but paused when she saw the man trying to converse with a Hynerian… and not just any Hynerian - Dominar Rygel the Sixteenth. She was a prisoner on a Leviathan prison ship. There was only one thing to do – escape and bring these prisoners back to justice. She would do it too, but only if her head would stop spinning. The coward would help - she would order him to do so… and with that thought, her world faded to nothingness.

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John pulled on his Calvin Klein underwear, the ones he'd bought just before the Farscape experience had landed him in never-never land. Once he had his drawers on, he felt a little more in control of his situation. He was unharmed but imprisoned.

A little robot-like thing crossed his vision. "Is this Star Wars, or what?" he growled. The little 'thing' was just like the mouse droid Chewbacca had howled at on the Death Star in the first movie. Man, those films were good, but they were just that - movies. They weren't real. Now, unless he was already locked up in the local nuthouse, he inhabited the same kind of universe that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg put on celluloid. But they'd had to have been high on something other than grape juice to go quite this far. John thought about the blue babe. A regular alien. He'd seen real extra-terrestrials – ones that could have come straight from the mind of Spielberg or Lucas. But they hadn't existed. Everyone knew that there was no actual proof of alien life. Plenty of theories but no actual proof. Heck - he had to be seeing things. How could he explain 'blue' or the 'big guy' to his father or DK?

A sound caught his attention and John turned slowly towards the doors of his cell. He couldn't help it; his jaw dropped. "This is not good, John. This is so not good."

Yup - it was the flying Muppet.  

"I'm Rygel the Sixteenth, Dominar to over six hundred billion people. I don't need to talk to you."

So, it did speak - in fact, for a little guy, it sure had attitude, especially when it looked so… cuddly with its little fluffy whiskers. John's mind quickly began processing.  So if he was real, then the bald, blue babe and the big, scary, hostile guy with the tentacles - they were real too. He could definitely see what was in front of him, unless… They'd injected him with… What had they injected him with again? Had they injected him with weird hallucinogenic drugs to see how mad he really was?

John swallowed, as everything seemed to press confusingly in upon his beleaguered head. It was all just a little too much. "I thought you were a prisoner." 'Well, actually, I thought you didn't exist, that I'd finally flipped and was tied up in my nice little padded cell… I think I'd rather be there right now.'

Rygel the Sixteenth fixed John with a steely look, which seemed a little strange coming from something you might take to bed with you to cuddle. "Falsely imprisoned," he intoned grandly with a much-injured air. "My cousin, Bishan, stole my throne from me while I slept! A mistake I will soon be correcting. Your… garments were removed so that we could examine you."

Visions of a hundred horror films flashed through his mind in which the mad scientist or the evil alien examines the poor captured human, either changing him in some way or using him as a big science project. As long as they'd left his crown jewels intact, he didn't care. No, that was wrong, he did care. What had they done to him?

"Examine me!" His voice rose alarmingly, almost cracking into falsetto like it had in the days when he'd hit puberty. The panic rose to his lips like bile. "How? Where? Wait a minute, one of those mechanical things injected me… right here." John waved at his foot and searched down the corridor for any sight of one of the little yellow blobs on wheels.

Rygel sneered. "Translator microbes. They colonise at the base of the brain, allow us to understand each other. Why you weren't injected at birth I cannot fathom."

John heard what Rygel said to him, but the idea of anything colonising at the base of his brain… Oh, no… uh-uh. "Colonise," he muttered to himself, rubbing his eyes. "Brain?" His voice began to rise again. Forget panic. What they'd done to him was scaring him shitless.

"Look! Can't you let me out of here? I haven't done anything wrong. I just got here and all I want to do is get home. Trust me, that's all I want. Look… man… I'm not here to harm you."

"How do we know that you wouldn't attack us?" the little creature asked imperiously.

"Hell, I wouldn't know how to harm you," John shouted, slamming his hands against the locked door in complete bafflement. This was a strange, new world to him and already he felt lost and vulnerable. A cocky quip and a charming smile didn't work on these... guys?

Rygel stretched his mouth maliciously into an imitation smile. "We cannot trust you anymore than we can trust THAT!"  And he pointed at the figure of Aeryn.

John swung around, surprised his hands ready to defend himself from another attack as he gazed on the sinister figure in black.

"Wha… What is it?"

Rygel the Sixteenth smiled at him, but it wasn't a comforting smile, it was more a baring of teeth. "I have better things to do than waste time with lesser beings."

"Okay you little twerp. See if I care," John sent after him angrily. "I don't need your help… I need… Out of here," he roared. "Let me outta here! You'll regret this…" But all his yelling only echoed down the now deserted corridor. Deserted apart from a little yellow mechanised blob, which whirred to a stop on the other side of the door, appeared to stare at him through its eyestalks. and whirred away without doing anything to help him. "As if a thing like that could help me." His voice got louder. "Last time one of those got near me it injected me with something that colonises my BRAIN!"

John watched in a state of helpless frustration as the little creature soared away, leaving him alone in the cell with whatever lay in the corner… and if he wasn't mistaken, it was moving.  

With a groan, Aeryn recovered consciousness, and her first rational thought was to remove her helmet. She needed air. She pulled at the seals and with a faint popping sound, it detached from her suit. With another groan, she pulled it off and laid it beside her. The other occupant was staring at her in real fear. For a Sebacean, he wasn't behaving in any way she recognised. A Peacekeeper soldier wouldn't show fear, in fact, not even a tech would allow such cowardice to become visible. Perhaps he was a deserter - that would explain the expression of terror he wore on his handsome features. How she knew he was handsome she'd no idea. Still, if he were a deserter… Aeryn knew her duty; she would kill him or bring him to the command carrier. The outcomes were one and the same - but first, he would help her escape.

John's jaw ached with it dropping open so many times, but this was… was unbelievable! It was a woman - a human woman. Thank the Lord!  He breathed a small sigh of relief, the tension slackening from his frame. In fact, she was rather striking with strong cheekbones, lustrous dark hair and clear, if hostile, grey eyes. He gazed at her, seeing strength of purpose in the curve of her jaw and stubbornness in the tilt of her chin. A strong woman, he decided instantly, and certainly one he would like to get to know better - a lot better.  He'd sworn off women after Alex had decided her career was more important than him, but this woman wasn't Alex. She was so much more, and something drew him like never before.

If the truth be told, for the first time in his entire life Commander John Robert Crichton - scientist, inventor, astronaut, truly fell in love. He didn't know he had, but it was inevitable.

"Hi, my name is John." He thrust out his hand and the relief he felt at seeing someone 'normal' made him smile.

"Oof!" the sound left his mouth as all the air in his lungs was emptied with the impact of her body slamming against his, knocking him against the wall. This wasn't happening. It really wasn't happening. All he had done was set out to make history with his Farscape module and it had turned into a fiasco. What a bitch of a day. The mystery woman then kicked him in the ribs and flipped him over on to his back on the floor. He couldn't believe it, this… this woman was kicking his ass and yeah, he felt pain - lots of pain as it exploded in his chest.

With a single move Aeryn had laid him flat on his back and she straddled his body, her hips settling over his. John's eyes watered at the shock of his collision with the strongly muscled female and he tried to tell his badly abused body to behave and not react to the rather intimate position he now found himself in. Through a haze of pain, he knew she hadn't gotten him like this so they could get better acquainted.

Aeryn looked at the male, fire in her eyes. "What is your rank and regiment? And why are you out of uniform? Rank and regiment - now!"

Within the wave of agony surrounding him, John coughed weakly, unable to utter a single word. With a sound of disgust, the woman climbed off him and stalked gracefully to the door of the cell, rattling it viciously. John managed to get to his knees, clutching his much-abused ribcage.

She turned towards him and stared him down – challenge in every inch of her proud features. She would not soften.

John shook his head, still unable to talk.

"Let me out of here, you Hynerian slug." Her voice was hard, her expression cold. She demanded with sure authority, her voice used to giving orders.

John squinted through his watering eyes. Oh, the little fluffy guy was back. He may look cute, but…

Rygel floated into the cell and started going through what John assumed was some kind of storage locker. "Your efforts are wasted, Peacekeeper…"

"Peacekeeper!" John coughed again. This woman was a Peacekeeper. But none of this made any sense. The Peacekeepers were the ones attacking the ship. From the little he'd seen there was precious little peace involved in any of it. "They think I'm one of you?"

The woman walked towards him again and John couldn't help it - he flinched and could have sworn that a smirk briefly crossed her full red lips. Lips which were decidedly sensual for what she was supposed to be.

"Officer Aeryn Sun, Special Peacekeeper Commando, Icarian Company, Pleisar Regiment. Identify yourself."

John swallowed nervously. It was an order, not a request. "My rank is Commander. I'm not military, at least, not any military you know. I'm a damn scientist." He carefully and slowly rose to his feet, all the while trying not to look as if he would crumple again if she came any nearer. But it was tempting to stand behind her when the others entered the room. The blue woman was very… well… blue.

"I'm not what you think I am!" Would he ever wake up from this nightmare? It had gone on far too long. 'Please somebody get me out of this. Tell me it's a really bad dream.'

The blue gal smiled serenely at him and now that his brain was being colonised by the microbes, he could understand everything she was saying to him, her voice low and pleasant.

'Will I die from being colonised? Will the microbes stop at just my brain? Would they colonise other places too?'

"You have some decidedly unfamiliar bacteria living in you," the mellow voice commented smoothly.

John gaped stupidly. "You don't say," he muttered. "Thank you, Albert Einstein. I'm from a planet called 'Earth.' I'm a human, Homo sapiens sapiens…"

"Enough. It's time to eat." She calmly stopped him before his panicking mouth ran away with him again by holding up a graceful blue hand.

'Was she blue all over?' He wondered.

John flicked wary blue eyes at the Peacekeeper soldier. "Eat what?" He glanced nervously at the big guy standing next to Blue. He'd never seen anything like him – not in real life.

Aeryn stood silently, bristling with pent up anger. 'So he wasn't Sebacean! Then who and what was he?' She zeroed in on what Pa'u Zotoh Zahn was saying. 'A human from Erp'. She'd never heard of them or it. 'Unless it was somewhere deep in the Uncharted Territories.'

The alien with the tentacles growled. His eyes, antagonistic under heavy brows, glared at both Aeryn and the strange 'human'.

"Okay, big guy. Whatever you give us. We'll eat it." 'Sure, I'd eat my jacket if you told me I had to. These… people were so aggressive.' His body throbbed in places he didn't want to think about, but he remained silent as they left the room.

John finally found himself alone again with the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.  And he knew that she could turn his insides outside… if she wanted to. She walked ahead of him out of the cell, and he couldn't help himself. His eyes made a full-itemised assessment of her assets, especially her tight, muscular rear encased in form-fitting black leather. Nightmare situation or not, John Crichton was clear about one thing. He wanted her.

J