It's been a long time writing, but I had fun. :-)It's the longest thing I've ever done and I still think I didn't write enough. I can only hope you don't think I wrote too much. *g*

Thanks to aeryncrichton and ScapeArtist. They are the best beta's in the world. :-)

***Disclaimer*** I acknowledge that Farscape is owned by Henson and I am using their creations for fun not profit. I hope they have as much fun with FS as I do. :-)

Rating - PG

Time - At least half a cycle after Fractures.



The Way Home

* * * * *

The moonbeams streamed in the window, lighting the darkened room and giving it a surreal glow. He stood at the window and stared out into the darkness seeing nothing. Did this news change anything? He didn't know, but the phone call had stirred up those rattlers in his stomach. He hadn't felt them this bad since..... He shook his head. Remembering that day was still hard.

Jack Crichton had faced a lot in his life. From walking on the moon to losing his only son three years ago, he had seen it all. He just didn't know how much more he could take. He had never been the kind to give up, but hope was a fragile thing these days and he didn't want to let it in again only to have it come crashing down on him. The pain would kill him. He loved John so much, had been so proud of him.

John's test flight that day had been the proudest moment of his life, surpassing his own achievements. The horror that had followed hadn't changed that, but it had changed him. Not just the new lines on his face, but somewhere deep inside. His efforts to find out what happened to John and recreate his experiment had come to a stand still. The military had taken over the investigation of the wormhole events and it seemed that everyone believed his son was dead. Everyone except him.

He hadn't been able to bring himself to believe that he would never see John again. He had fought as hard as he knew how, but every avenue he had gone down had dead ended. His continued run-in's with General Cooper as well as some of the other IASA program heads had left a sour taste in his mouth.

He still had friends left at the center willing to help, but until tonight they hadn't been able to tell him much. As months turned into years, failure had eaten at him like acid until, finally, he had to admit there was nothing he could do. He'd given up.

What would John think of his dad now?

The light come on overhead blinding him for a few seconds. Mary came into the room, tightening the belt to her robe.

"Dad? Who was on the phone?" She came to stand beside him not liking the expression on his face. "What is it?"

She saw a strange mixture of fear and hope and her heart skipped a beat. It couldn't be about.... She tried to tap down the butterflies in her stomach. The silence lingered and she tried again.

"Dad? What's happened? Talk to me."

Jack turned to his oldest daughter. These last three years had changed her as well. She had taken charge since John disappeared. She had wanted to move in with him after John disappeared but he'd put his foot down. She had her own life to live and he didn't need to be babied. He would manage.

Mary had made a great show last week of needing his advice and a place to stay while she was on business here, but he knew she was checking up on him. The loss of her baby brother had been a huge blow and it was hard for her to be upbeat, but she still tried...for his sake. He wondered what would she make of this news.

He took a deep breath and knew he had to tell her.

"That was..... a friend. The wormhole reappeared." He paused for a second "And something came through."



* * * * *



Aeryn sat against the wall rubbing her head. Frell, it hurt. She had no idea where she was. She was a prisoner, she knew that, but what kind of strange prison cell was this? The room was very strange. The walls were a bright white and made of some soft material that turned out to be very strong when you tried to rip it apart. Crichton had never told her walls on Earth were like this. No wonder he had thought Moya so strange at first. She looked around the room. Even stranger than the walls was the fact that there was nothing in the room. Just her.

She had been here for arns with nothing to do but think and she was tired of it. Tired of reliving the pain that had driven her to fly the Prowler away from Moya. She was growing disgusted with herself. When had she become this frelling weak thing, she wondered? But she knew when. And then, because she couldn't help herself, she remembered it all again.

John had been out in his module experimenting again. After their victory over Scorpius he'd turned his attention to using the wormhole technology to get home. He'd spent most of his time working on his module and then her newly acquired Prowler, trying to modify the stabilizer. The others were just glad for a rest from the turmoil they'd been in since they started the quest to destroy Scorpius.

With nothing to keep her busy, all she had to do was think. And grieve... She had never felt so alone. When she'd seen the wormhole appear, with Earth on the other side, something had snapped inside her. It had all come rushing back, the feelings she'd been trying so hard to pretend didn't exist.

She had promised to go to Earth with him. Her head rang with the sound of his voice, ravaged by radiation, saying he wished she could have met his real Dad and....and... she missed him so much. More than she would ever admit, even to herself. She didn't know how to deal this. Everybody had kept talking to her about love, but nobody had ever explained how you survived the loss of it. Everything she did only made it worse till she thought she would be as fahrbot as Stark soon.

And to make things worse, there was John. The one that had lived. When he'd first been twinned she had been confused to have two of them vying for her attention, but had refused to think of what it meant to her. She'd been so busy putting up walls with John in the first place it hadn't seemed to matter if there were two of them or not.

But circumstances had forced her make a choice and, once made, she had accepted that decision. They had never talked about the other one, but he was always in the back of her mind. She never wanted to hurt him, but she saw no alternative. There was no turning back. She had given her heart to John Crichton. Now she gave the one with her on Talyn her body and soul. She would just have to learn to live with the guilt. It had been easy while he was alive.

Back on Moya, it had come back to haunt her. It wasn't bad enough that she had to try and live with the memory of John dying in her arms. Now she had to look in his eyes and watch them fall with uncertainty. The grin slowly fade as he started to understand something was wrong. She couldn't go through all that again. It would kill her. Better to not look at that beloved face, ignore the husky voice. Pretend he didn't matter.

How was she supposed to handle this? She had been bred to be a warrior, it's what she knew, what she was. If John hadn't died she might have been different, but he 'had' died and that made her feel the guiltiest of all. It should have been her that made the sacrifice, not him. It was her decision for him to go after Furlow alone. Around and around the thoughts had swirled in her mind.

When she had seen the wormhole appear it seemed to be the answer.

She hadn't cared much whether she ended up alive on the other side or not. In fact, she had figured that either way she was sure to see one of the Crichtons again. She remembered heading into the wormhole and the Prowler's violent shaking. What happened after that she wasn't sure. Just before she had entered the wormhole she remembered hearing John yelling over the comm, panic and fear in his voice. Begging her to come back. The tears had started then and the rest was a blur.

She couldn't be sure that John had tried to follow her into the wormhole, but if she knew him, he'd been right behind her. If he had, had his ship made it through? Was he here on Earth looking for her, or was he back in her world trying desperately to get the wormhole to reappear? She knew he would never leave her here, no matter what had happened between them recently. Would he know where to look for her?

Those monens on Talyn had resulted in more than just learning how to love. John had taught her about his world. Had drawn her maps of Earth, discussed coordinates, as well as taught her some English. They had never spoken it out loud, but they both knew that it was in preparation for the day he might find a way to go home. She'd had the coordinates she had learned from John programmed into the Prowler before she ever entered the wormhole. The damage to her ship hadn't affected the trajectory systems, though, they had held steady.

She didn't remember much about the landing, though she knew it had been a hard one. She had a vague memory of humans dragging her out of the ship.

Remarkably, her worst injury was this gash on her forehead, but that didn't seem to have left her with anything more than a head pain. John had called them headaches. Her head was killing her. She almost laughed. Crichton had used that phrase more than once. The pain in her head wouldn't literally kill her. At least she didn't think so.

Her hand reached up to check out whether or not she was right. She felt a tender place on her right temple but it didn't seem too bad.

She struggled to stand up and groaned involuntarily as pain shot through her head. She stretched, trying to loosen muscles stiff from sitting motionless for so long. It eased after a microt and she began to pace the floor. What were they planning on doing with her, she wondered?

She could still remember the last time, when she thought she was on Earth. She hadn't liked John's version of what might happen. Just thinking of Rygel brought a stab of fear. Death she didn't mind, but that was the least of her worries if John had been right. Suddenly she realized the enormity of what she had done. She should have thought of that before acting like a drannit and flying into the wormhole. She was all alone here. What was she going to do?

A noise at the door alerted her just in time to see two men in uniforms, weapons at the ready, open the door and gesture for her to come with them. She wanted to go on the offensive. Wanted to tear them apart. She knew she could take them, but a familiar voice sounded in her head saying in that husky tone "Hold on, baby, don't do anything rash. Check it out first. See what they want. Listen now, fight later" She relaxed slightly. All right. She would do it John's way. Well, she would try.



* * * * *



The small craft glided over the Everglades, flying so low it sometimes skimmed the water with its belly. Finally, it slowed and descended into a heavily overgrown section of the swamp.

John landed Farscape I as easily as he could considering the urgency of the situation. Water from the swamp covered the sides as it gently settled into the muck. He checked over the panels to make sure nothing was damaged. Without the modifications he had made he'd never have flown this bucket of rust again, but it had held together.

This should make a good enough hiding place, he thought. Plenty of camouflage and it wasn't too far away from where Aeryn had landed. How she knew to head for Florida and the glades he'd never know. He didn't know if she had gotten the Prowler down in one piece or not. She had never answered his calls and all he knew was this was the trajectory she had been on before he had lost contact with her ship. The thought of her hurt or worse left him shaking, but he had to believe she was Okay. She had to be.

He flipped a few switches, turning the power off, but leaving the dampening field in operation. He had turned it on just as he exited the wormhole, more out of reflex than thought. Hopefully it had been in time. Even if they had spotted him exiting the wormhole they couldn't have tracked him with the dampening field on. That should give him some time. Maybe a few days anyway, before they concentrated their search for him on this spot. He'd just have to take the chance it would be long enough.

He opened the hatch and stepped out of the module breathing the first real Earth air in three years. Oh God, he'd done it. He was here.

"Hello Earth!" His voice rang out in the emptiness as he looked around and drank in scenery. The sun was just starting to creep over the horizon, giving everything a golden hue. The water, the trees, everything shimmered in the light. He'd never seen anything more beautiful.

A curious mixture of feelings ran through him. He wanted to take the time to savor the moment. To look around and really appreciate the sights, sounds and smells, but he couldn't.

Time was not on his side right now, or Aeryns, so he made himself shake off the moment. He could do that later. Right now he had to get to his dad. He could help him find Aeryn and that's all that mattered. God, he hoped his dad still lived in their old house. He had no idea what had happened here since he left, but he was counting on things being pretty much the same.

Lizzie had always said her brother was almost as bad as Mary when it came to being a cock-eyed optimist. He'd soon find out. The important thing now was that the military didn't find him. At least not until he knew what was happening with Aeryn. He was pretty sure they would have found her and he couldn't stop thinking about the last time he'd thought he was on Earth. He remembered all too well what had happened then. Please God let him be wrong.

He suddenly realized how warm it was and that beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. Of course it was hot. It was Florida for God's sake. He'd lived with it all his life, but what about Aeryn? It would be getting even warmer when the sun was high. She couldn't take this heat, could she? Was this enough to send her into that living death thing? He didn't know. If the military had gotten to her, like he thought they had, she should be okay. They would take her in for testing and interrogation. That meant air conditioning, one of the 10 wonders of the world.

He climbed down from the module and looked at the murky water below.

"Oh, man, this is not going to be fun."

Holding Wynona high above his head he steeled himself and jumped in. The water was about chest high and he didn't want to think about what was in here with him.

"Always gotta be critters" he mumbled. But at least they were Earth critters and it wasn't the Aurora Chair, so it could be worse. A lot worse. He moved as quickly as he could considering the muck dragging at his boots. He hadn't gone very far when he spied what looked like dry land in the distance. That was good.

"Don't tell me I'm getting lucky." His mood lightened just a hair and he began humming to himself as he put one foot in front of the other and began the long journey home.



* * * * *

The mahogany table gleamed in the artificial light. The room it sat in had been tastefully decorated with no expense spared, but no one seemed to notice or care.

The people around the table were an assortment of men and women from wildly different fields. Some were top level military, others cabinet members and there were even a few scientists thrown into the mix. They all had one thing in common though, they all wore the same expression of concern and even fear.

General Cooper got up to stand at the head of the table, his voice grave.

"Gentlemen, most of you already know the situation. Last night the wormhole phenomenon that occurred 3 years ago reappeared. Satellite and radar information indicates that two aircraft came through. One was damaged and made an emergency landing near the Miccosukee Indian Reservation in Florida. We were lucky it was in an unpopulated area and we were able to locate both the aircraft and its occupant before any of the locals could arrive.

The General went to stand in front of the large screen on the wall behind him. A huge map of Florida was put up on the screen.

"What concerns us now is the second aircraft. It disappeared from our screens almost immediately after exiting the wormhole and our radar couldn't track it. Satellites are scanning, but with no results so far. It was possibly headed on the same trajectory as the first craft so we are concentrating the search here." He pointed to the central section of Florida on the map behind him.

"We've all seen enough movies to know we don't want to alarm the general public." There was a scattering of snickers around the room. "So we are keeping this as quiet as possible. Is that understood?" A chorus of nods came after the question. He pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his forehead. It was getting hotter in here.

"We don't know what came through the wormhole. The only other time we have seen anything like this was the day John Crichton disappeared. Whether or not that incident is connected to this one is your job to find out. Dr. Peterson...." He looked over at the balding man at the end of the table "is our top scientist in the field of genetics." Dr. Peterson stood up. "What have you found out about who or what we have captured from the first ship?"

Sam Peterson was a small, nervous man. Giving reports was what he hated most about his job.

"We have done some preliminary tests General. We haven't had time for anything extensive mind you. On the surface she looks quite human but preliminary tests indicate she is not." He almost stuttered. "Hu..Human that is. Further testing will have to be done to give you a complete report. And she is speaking a language we've never come across before. It's not matching anything in our data banks. She seems to have some rudimentary knowledge of English but further tests will have to be done to know for sure."

He stopped abruptly and it took the General a few seconds to realized he was done. Hrmph. He frowned. Scientists!

"Well, find out. Get the best people you can find on it. Time is of the essence gentlemen. We don't know who or what landed after the first ship. Whether its hostile or not, we need to know where it is, who is on it and why they're here. Your Orders are in your briefing books, they will fill you in on your assignments. Good luck."

His voice indicated the meeting was adjourned.



* * * * *



John was tired. Physically and mentally. He'd had little or no rest since getting here. The most he'd gotten was when the truck driver had commenced a running monologue designed to put the toughest insomniac to sleep. Even with the sun blazing through the glass of the truck, he'd dozed for a couple arns before... hours, it was hours. He had to try and remember where he was now. Things had changed since he'd been gone and he was starting to suspect it was himself.

The truck driver, the air boat pilot, the waitress... all the people he'd talked to since he arrived had seemed to be speaking a foreign language. Even when he knew what they were talking about it seemed so unimportant he couldn't figure out why they cared. There was a whole galaxy out there they knew nothing about, and it was all he could do not to tell them about it. And he suspected he was sounding as incoherent to the people here as he did to Aeryn and the others most of the time. This was crazy.

At least there was nothing on the news about his or Aeryns appearance or wormholes, so he figured 'the powers that be' were keeping it quiet. Which only made him more certain that he was right to be afraid.

As he walked up the sidewalk, he saw the two-story brick house in the fading light of the sun. He was home. The place where he had grown up, learned to ride a bike, played at being an astronaut with DK. He knew it like the back of his hand. It looked at once familiar and yet so different.

There were no lights on that he could see. Was his father even home? How would he react to John just showing up on his doorstep after three years? Did he think John was dead? Had he given up on ever seeing him again? Questions flooded his mind and there was no answer except to walk up to the house and find out.

It was curious, but he felt those rattlers his Dad had talked about. He'd never thought to feel them about his own family. Would his Dad notice that he had changed? Would he understand? His feet began dragging, slowing him down till he came to a stop across the street.

What the hell was wrong with him? He didn't have time to stall like this and fear for Aeryn was an ever present ache in the back of his mind. He forced himself to move.

He skirted around the house deciding that entering in the front might not be a good idea. You never knew who was watching. The neighbors had a way of knowing everything you did. Everything was still and all he could hear were the sounds of dogs barking and an occasional car pass by. Everyday sounds he'd heard all his life. So why did they sound so strange now? He walked up the steps to the back door and raised his hand.......



* * * * *

*ring* *ring* The jarring sound of the telephone broke the silence. Jack punched his cell phone with a vengeance and said "Hello." His heart leaped in his chest for an instant before he heard the voice of his friend at the IASA. He didn't know who's voice he had been expecting. The conversation wasn't long but it made him sit up. Rumor had it that the military had captured something or someone.

Security was tight and that's all his friend had been able to tell him. He wouldn't learn any more tonight, but his thoughts were racing. He'd been interviewed earlier in the day by a couple of Air Force security goons. They had asked him questions about John and wormholes, but he had had no answers for them. He didn't know anymore now than he had then. They had given nothing away about what was going on.

Would they tell him if it were John that had come back through the wormhole? He didn't know anymore. What if it was John they had captured? Whatever was going on, at least things were beginning to happen, and perhaps he'd get some answers now.

He almost didn't hear the knock on the back door it was so faint. He stopped in the kitchen and cocked his head listening and it came again. Why would anyone be at the back door? His suspicions were on high alert. He opened a drawer and pulled out his 9mm Browning high power. He hadn't used it in years but some gun oil and a cleaning rag had kept it deadly as ever. He was prepared for anything when he opened the door. Government agents. Police. Assassins. Aliens. Anything. Except for what he saw. His son.

*******

Aeryn had not spoken a word in arns. She was sick and tired of the questions that they kept asking. She had answered at first, but soon gave up. What was the point. They couldn't understand her.

They had a good idea she could understand them, but the few words of English that John had taught her were being closely guarded. She wouldn't let those words out until she found who she was looking for. Jack Crichton.

She heard the voices coming down the hall.

"Orders are to run some tests on the girl before she gets transferred to the Air Base. They want tighter security. They're pretty sure she understands English, but she's been cooperating so far so I don't think there'll be a problem. Just remember, orders are not to say anything in front of her."

A man in a white coat, obviously a med. tech., entered the room with two large burly men in uniform standing behind him. She couldn't help thinking that these humans were awfully fond of the color white. Perhaps they had learned how to clean the blood out better than her own people.

The Med. Tech was pulling a rolling tray behind him with different instruments on it. She didn't like the looks of this.

As he began to take a syringe and fill it with something she began to rapidly calculate the best escape route she had seen so far. She hadn't been idle all this time. Every possibility for escape had been gone over and processed thoroughly. She'd be frelled if she just sat here and let them pump her full of their human drugs. She would not be experimented on. They'd have to kill her first.

She had thought perhaps John had been exaggerating during their time with the Ancients but she saw now he had not. She had tried it Johns way and it had paid off to a certain extent by the information she had gathered, but now it was time to do it her way.

The tech and guards were being careful, but since she had been docile and cooperative so far they were not expecting the attack when it came. She struck fast after she made up her mind. It couldn't be called a fight because Aeryn had them down and unconscious within a few microts. They never knew what hit them.

She grabbed one of the instruments off the cart, turned, and with great force threw it, taking out the camera that had been watching her incessantly. She looked down at the unconscious guards and grinned. She had a plan.

* * * * *

John's hand was shaking as he lowered it from the door. Maybe no one was home. He wasn't sure if he would be relieved or just go ahead and shoot himself if that were the case. He didn't have to wait long to find out. Without warning the door opened and he was staring at the shadowed face of his father and the barrel of a gun.

Well, that figured, he thought, why should Earth be any different from the rest of the Universe? Here a gun, there a gun, everywhere a...... He shook his head to clear it and concentrated instead on his Dad. This was not the way he had pictured their reunion.

Jack face was grim as he asked "Who are you?"

"Dad?.... It's me. John." He said it softly, as if too loud a sound would make him disappear.

Jack didn't move.

"Your son, remember? I really shouldn't be outside like this. They might be watching the house." He waited a second before asking "Can I come in?"

Jack hesitated before backing away from the door slightly and motioning John to come in, but the gun never wavered. Apparently, he wasn't taking any chances.

When Jack clicked on the kitchen light John blinked and looked around at the familiar kitchen. Everywhere he looked a memory assaulted him. He'd burned his hand on that stove and given his dog a bath in that sink. His Mom had stood right over there when she told him in no uncertain terms to get the dog out....that was one of the good memories.

Frell! He didn't have time for reminiscing. He tried to focus on the man with the gun. His Dad. He looked older than he remembered, the lines on his face carved deeper. Suspicion was clearly visible now, but pain and sadness lurked behind his eyes. While John had been gone, the pictures in his mind of his Dad had never changed. But they were a view from the past. This man was different.

"You look like him, but John Crichton died 3 years ago. Everyone knows that." His voice was wary and distrustful.

"Disappeared dad, not died. Disappeared. That was me, but I'm back. It's John." He stepped closer, but the gun was still trained on him and Jack made a motion for him to stop.

Even on the fake Earth with the Ancients and their worst case scenario, his dad had only been testing him, had been ready to believe that it was him. What had happened to him to put that cold expression on his face?

"Who sent you here?" Jack's voice was cold.

John made an exasperated sound. "Nobody sent me. What? You want proof?! Okay. Okay. How bout this... my 10th birthday when you came in late and you took me fishing? Does that memory work for you?" He might as well use what he could from the last time. "You wanna know what kind of fish it was? It was a trout, dad." This was like deja vu all over again, except this time he didn't see any change on his Dad's face.

"What? You still don't believe I'm your son?" The irony suddenly hit him. Aeryn didn't believe he was John Crichton either. Maybe they were right and 'he' was wrong.

The stress and lack of sleep was beginning to catch up with him and he gave a strangled laugh.

"You know, dad. Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm not John Crichton. Maybe I'm just an identical copy of the original and everybody knows it but me." He swung his arms from side to side. "Am I live, or am I Memorex?" He stopped suddenly and looked down at the floor. Under his breath he mumbled "Why should you be any different."

He turned away, and gun or no gun, sat down at the kitchen table. He ran a hand through his close cropped hair and sighed. He was so tired.

"I know all this is hard to believe, but I don't have time to sit here all night and try and convince you. Ae... a friend of mine is here and I think she's in trouble. She came back through the wormhole before me and I've got to find her. I can't do it without you dad. I need your help. Please...."



* * * * *



Jack stood looking down at the man who looked so much like his son, but at the same time nothing like him. What kind of trick was this? The features were the same, but instead of a IASA uniform or jeans he had on what looked like some black leather military uniform. This mans face was harder, his body leaner and his eyes housing a world of pain. Gone were the unlined face, the open expression and goofy grin. Could this really be his John?

As he had watched the mans outburst, something moved in him. John, if it was John, was talking crazy of course, but then he always did have a strange sense of humor. Except, there was nothing humorous about the pain and anguish in his voice. He looked like a man on the edge. And he needed help. He didn't remember John ever asking him for help before. He'd prided himself on doing everything on his own. If he was asking for help now, then he must be desperate.

Suddenly, like a great dam breaking, emotions he had been keeping in check welled up and Jack finally let himself believe that this was the son he'd given up for dead. The rush of weakness almost caused him to drop the gun but he hung on long enough to set it on the table. He knelt on the floor beside his son.

"I'm sorry son." He reached out to touch John's cheek, brush his hair. "I'd given up hope."

He couldn't take it in all at once. John had come home. Something he thought he'd lost began to stir in him. These last years, full of frustration and defeat, had brought him to the point of giving up. He wouldn't make that mistake again.

"I love you dad."

Jack Crichton had always prided himself on his strength and coolness under fire, but those whispered words brought him close to losing it. He'd never thought he would hear those words again. Not from John.

Jack leaned over to put his arms around his son and noticed tears in his eyes. Not so different from his John after all.

"I love you too, son. Welcome back." His voice cracked and tears came for him as well. With his son in his arms he let all the pain of the last three years seep away.



* * * * *



Aeryn had been wandering the streets for too long. She really needed to hide. It couldn't be good being in plain sight like this. Surely, someone would notice she wasn't from around here.

Her clothes should be giving her away if nothing else. She had thrown away the uniform she had stolen from the guard as soon as she could and was in her regular clothes. She

had 'borrowed' some kind of coat, to cover her arm. She thought she looked odd, but, so far, no one had given her a second glance.

Getting out of that place had been touch and go but her Peacekeeper training had come in handy once again. And she was profoundly grateful that the air shafts here on Earth were a lot cleaner than the ones on Pa'let. At least this time she hadn't thrown up. All in all it was easier than she had expected.

She was still disgusted with herself for not hearing that guard come up behind her. She'd taken him out easily, but she had taken a hit to her arm for her carelessness. The weaponry here might be primitive, but it still hurt like hezmana. Not to mention the mess it made.

She stopped and turned down an alley next to a building that seemed abandoned. She'd been walking for quite a while and needed a break. Rubbing the back of her neck, she

looked down to see if the bandage she had made was holding.

She had finally got the bleeding to stop, and even the pain was receding some. Of course that could be because of the, what had John called it?... Beer... that she had taken from that old man. She decided she quite liked beer. It was even better than felip nector.

She found herself grateful that technology here wasn't as advanced as what she was used to. She would never have gotten out of a Peacekeeper facility like that, even in a guards uniform. The translator microbes were worth their weight in Borinium right now. She had never been on a planet without TM's and it was a strange and frightening thing not to be able to communicate with anyone. Hopefully, they would provide her with a way to find Jack Crichton.

She slid down the wall to sit and closed her eyes.

Here she was, alone on Earth. John had told her once she would fit in here. She didn't know now if they could have made a life together here, but she wouldn't have bet against it, if he had been with her. Extraordinary things happened when he was around. They had survived a lot, she and him. She smiled to herself before she remembered that he hadn't survived the last time. He was gone and she'd never see him again. Never touch him or.... The familiar pain stabbed at her and her mouth tightened once again. Surely the pain would go away one day. It had to.

Frell! She was beginning to feel the heat. The sun was overhead, beating down on her bare head. The coat had to stay on, but it was growing increasingly uncomfortable. She didn't think it was hot enough to have any serious affect on her, but she couldn't be sure. All the more reason to find John's father quickly. Now she just had to think of a way to reach him. She was sure he would know what to do and would help her.

She stood up and walked back to the street, watching the people passing by. So oblivious to what was really happening. Both, here on their own world and up there in hers.

So far John's version of Earth had been a lot like the real one. She had liked the father that the Ancients had created. If the real Jack Crichton was anything like that one she might stand a chance here.

* * * * *

General Cooper was having a bad day. He wasn't used to being taken to task by anyone, much less the President of the United States. The fact that he had failed to hold on to the alien despite his best efforts didn't bode well for his future. He had to find her and the other one, and find them fast.

"Colonel Davis!" He bellowed. "Get in here!" The door opened quickly. The Colonel stopped in front of his desk and snapped to attention.

"Report." His voice was surly.

Colonel Davis wasn't looking forward to reporting their lack of success so far.

"Sir. All operatives have reported in and so far there is no sign of the missing... girl. The search for the other ship has also turned up negative, although satellite images do seem to be picking up some sort of reading in middle Florida. They can't pinpoint a location, but they are concentrating the search there.

"Colonel. You know who was just on the phone? The President of the United States that's who. And in a few hours he is expecting a progress report." His voice raised an octave with each sentence. "A progress report implies some PROGRESS! Now, unless you want to spend the rest of your career pushing paper in Iceland at you'll get out there and tell those yahoos that work for you to get off their asses and tell me where these aliens are!"

"Yes sir!"

He started to turn away when the General stopped him. "Colonel. Has anyone interrogated Jack Crichton?"

A surprised look came over the Colonel's face.

"Y..Yes sir. We sent a couple of investigators over to interview him yesterday. He has been out of the program for quite a while now so we didn't see a need for him to be brought in. They determined he knows nothing about what happened." He shifted nervously. "You think they were wrong?"

"Colonel." His tone dripped sarcasm. "His son was doing the experiment when the wormhole suddenly appeared. He's been trying to get it duplicated ever since. You don't think that deserves a little more than sending a couple of people to his house for tea?!"

He shook his head at the sheer incompetence. "Get some men out there and pick him up. Now!"

With a parting salute Colonel Davis left rapidly, cursing the day his father had talked him into joining the military. Ok, if Jack Crichton was who the General wanted then that's who he'd get.

* * * * *

The light in the room was fading rapidly, as the sun sank with record speed. Or so it seemed to John. He had missed this. The Sun. Rising and setting, day in, day out, 365 days a year. And now that he was here he couldn't even enjoy it.

He felt like he was going to explode. Every second counted, but he'd been cooped up here all day twiddling his thumbs, trying desperately to think of a plan to find Aeryn and get her back. He didn't want to think about what they were doing to her but he couldn't stop. One horror after another played out in his mind until he thought he'd scream. If they hurt her...... No! Stop. They'd want information first. They wouldn't hurt her. Not yet.

He'd watched his dad try one source after another in an attempt to get information on where she might be held. He was hoping they would have brought her to the air base here, at least temporarily, because it was the closest to the landing site. He had no way of knowing though. No one could or would help and time was running out. Soon it would be too late. It was only a matter of time before they found his module and him.

John sighed and turned away from the window to look at the maps they had been studying.

They both heard the sound at the same time. A faint breaking of glass somewhere in the back of the house. Simultaneously they drew their weapons. Nodding at his father, John started to creep down the hall towards the door to the garage while Jack went outside to go around and try trap the intruder between them.

As John moved closer to the door he noticed shards of glass on the floor. Someone was definitely here. He kept Wynona up and ready while he looked around. As he walked down the hall, a movement at the far end caught his eye. Quietly as he could he inched forward. There was no light in this part of the house, but it didn't matter. He knew it like the back of his hand. He had no difficulty in finding the light switch as he reached around the corner and flipped it.

The light came on with a snap and John's finger tightened on the trigger as his pistol came to bear on the intruder. He sucked in his breath as he came face to face with the Radiant Aeryn Sun.

********



She was looking anything but radiant just then though. Her hair hung in damp tendrils around a face that was worn and tired. Her eyes were wild and she held a large vase in her hands. She wasn't going to go down without a fight, no matter how futile it was.

"Aeryn!"

John eased his finger off the trigger and threw the gun onto the chair before giving in to a wild relief at seeing her there, alive. He couldn't have stopped himself and he didn't try. He moved the few feet to where she stood and threw his arms around her, burying his face in her hair.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Jack had come in and was watching the reunion of his son and the 'friend' he seemed to care so much about. He saw the woman standing there wrapped in John's arms, ridged and unmoving, still holding the vase. What John couldn't see, and Jack could, was the expression on her face. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears. They closed and she moved imperceptibly to bring her face closer to his. It was clear she affected by his greeting and it was also clear she was trying hard not to show it.

Finally, John loosened his grip on Aeryn and fell back to take a look at her. He suddenly realized where they were and what he was doing. He ducked his head and stammered "Sorry.... I didn't mean...I... I'm just glad you're okay." He looked at her again. "You are okay, aren't you?"

"I'm fine John" Her voice was matter of fact. It might have fooled him, but the vase suddenly fell from her hand and crashed into tiny shards as she winced in pain and brought her good hand up to hold her injured arm.

"You're hurt!" The panic in John's voice was clear. "What's wrong? What did they do to you?"

"Nothing..." she stopped abruptly. It came to her, that she had had this conversation before, on Dam Ba Da. Only that time it had been John saying he was fine and she was the one who was panicking. She wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone, least of all John.

She reached out a hand and touched his cheek softly, trying to ignore John's sharp intake of air at her touch. "It's all right. Really. It looks worse than it is." She dropped her hand and moved to take the jacket off. "One of your primitive weapons discharged and struck me."

The blood had dried to the jacket and didn't want to come off her arm.

Jack decided now was a good time to make his presence known.

"Here let me help you." He walked into the room and carefully helped Aeryn out of the jacket while John began to examine the wound.

Aeryn's expression of amazement echoed Jack's own as they looked at each other.

He looked the same as the man she remembered although there were a few minor differences. This man looked a bit older, his face held the pain of loss but his eyes were warmer. He wore that air of confidence she had seen in many senior commanders. A person who took charge and knew what had to be done. She felt a connection to this human that surprised her. She began to realize why John had wanted her to meet him.

John had called her Aeryn. An alien. There was no doubt that she was beautiful and he could see why John's voice changed when he talked about her. He had no doubts she wasn't from here. She was dressed similar to John, in tight black leather and she was talking to John in a language unlike anything he'd ever heard before. What he couldn't understand was how they seemed to be speaking separate languages but communicating perfectly.

John turned around to ask his Dad for a bandage and medicine when he noticed the puzzlement on his face and guessed it's cause.

"Oh, man. I didn't tell you. They're called translator microbes." His fingers indicated how small they were. "You get injected..." He pantomimed the needle plunge. "They translate everything. Well, almost everything. Everybody's got 'em up there." He raised a finger up to the ceiling.

He saw his dad look at Aeryn. "Yep. She's got 'em too and she knows what you're sayin'. Weird huh? Can you get the medicine kit for me? It doesn't look too bad, but we don't want to take any chances."

John turned back to Aeryn, while Jack took off for the kitchen. "Come on and sit down." He motioned for her to sit in the recliner. "Tell me. What happened after you crashed? Who did this?"

Aeryn gave him the short version without going into too much detail. There'd be time for that later.

She turned her attention to the chair she was sitting in. It was soft and comfortable and it felt like what she thought that Earth term John was always using would be like...heaven. She didn't remember experiencing any chairs like it before. It had some sort of ejector lever which she was tempted to pull, but since she really didn't feel like being surprised she left it alone. It had been long day.

"How did you get here, though." John was asking more questions.

She was getting comfortable and all she wanted to do was sleep, but she roused herself enough to say "I got here in one of those yellow transport pods. I observed people entering them and giving it their destination. It wasn't hard."

"You took a taxi!" He had to laugh. "Now I've heard everything." A sudden thought struck him. "How did you give directions?" His brow wrinkled in thought.

Aeryn's face grew still and very slowly she began to recite "Jack Crichton, Two..Six..Four Halleeefax, Merritt.... Island." He voice trailed off.... "The pod operator seemed to find that satisfactory."

John's heart stopped. Or felt like it. He had just heard Aeryn say, not only his father's name, but his address. In English. There was only one way she could have known that. The other guy had taught it to her, enough anyway, to let her get to his dad. Earth must have been in their plans at some point. The thought came unbidden...would they have left him there, lost in the Uncharted Territories or taken him with them? He didn't know which prospect was worse.

He had wanted to ask her why? Why had she gone through the wormhole in the first place? But he knew why, so instead he put on his best grin and simply said "You are amazing."

Miraculously, it seemed to be the right thing to say, because Aeryn returned his grin with her own. She had been proud of herself to make it this far. It pleased her that he thought she had done well. She refused to let herself think why.

The rush of pleasure her simple smile gave him made him weak. He hid it well enough to fool Aeryn but Jack was back with the medicine kit and he saw the look, saw the intense attraction the two had for each other and the way each was trying to hide it. Jack was suddenly glad that he had made Mary go home yesterday. She'd kill him for making her miss John, but this was getting more complicated all the time and he didn't think these two needed more emotional scenes right now. There was more going on here than he knew about and he was determined to find out what it was.

John turned and started to clean Aeryn's wound. Like he had told Jack, it wasn't as bad as he had first feared, but there was no point in taking chances. There was no telling what Earth bacteria could do to Aeryn and he had no idea how to treat her if she became sick. Better to try and nip it in the bud.

"Okay, this might hurt a little." John flinched at the disdain in her look. "Or not."

He gently wiped away the blood and put antiseptic on it, hoping that it wouldn't hurt her in some way they didn't know about. There were so many things he hadn't thought of when he'd dreamed about bringing Aeryn to Earth. He wondered if the other guy had given it more thought than he had.

John finished putting the last of the tape on Aeryn's bandage and stood there for a moment looking at her. She had fallen asleep in the recliner, apparently too exhausted to even feel him working on her arm.

He had felt fear many times in the last 3 years, but never like what he had felt when he saw her enter the wormhole. If the modified stabilizer hasn't worked... He wasn't sure if the fear was more for her or for him. Fear for her of course, not knowing if she would make it through alive, and if she did, what would happen to her?

But also, there was the fear for himself. If she left him here, alone in the UT, how could he live without her? He knew she was mourning the death of his other self and things hadn't been normal between them since she got back, maybe never would, but somehow, as long as she was in the same universe, he had hope that one day things might be made right. With her gone, his hope would be gone, and he would have faced a lot more than a wormhole to make sure that didn't happen.

While John had been sitting there, watching Aeryn, lost in his thoughts, Jack had been busy making a fire in the fireplace. From the corner of his eye, he had watched the whole scene with interest. John had spent the day intermittently thinking up wild rescue attempts and telling him as much as he could about his experiences while he had been gone. Fantastic tales of Space Critters and Aliens and huge battles. Being chased and almost dying.

It was easy to tell that the friends he had made there were very important to him. Looking at him now, it was also easy to see who meant the most. The problem seemed to be that they were both trying their best to hide their emotions from each other. From Jack's perspective though, it looked like the woman was winning that battle.

He didn't think John knew how much..Aeryn..cared about him. Jack had seen the emotions on her face when John wasn't looking. Why were they trying so hard to conceal what was so obvious? Was she married? Do people even get married up there? The questions were starting to spin around in his head.

"John." He said it softly while savoring the word. He had no wish to wake the woman. He motioned for him to come and sit with him in front of the fire. John moved quietly and walked over to set down beside his dad.

"Yeah?"

"You want to tell me about that?" He motioned towards Aeryn.

"Aeryn?" He was quiet too. "She's one of the people on Moya I told you a....."

Jack lifted his hand to interrupt.

"You know what I mean." He waved a hand back and forth between Aeryn and John.

"What's going on with you two? It's obvious something is."

John rubbed his neck with one hand and ran it through his hair nervously.

"It's complicated dad."

Jack put a hand on John's shoulder. "You could always talk to me before. I know a lot has changed since you left son, has that changed too?" He knew that was hitting below the belt, but he needed John to open up. His father's instinct knew that whatever John wasn't telling him was important.

John sighed, realizing his father wasn't going to let this go. He was going to have to talk about it.

"All right. Okay. It's, it's...hard to understand, hell, I still don't understand it" he drew in a deep breath "but I'll try...." and he proceeded to tell Jack about his other son, how he had left Moya and what happened on Talyn.

When it came to Aeryn and the other guy, the words almost stuck in his throat, but he kept going. It's when he came to the part where he died that he almost lost it. It's not easy knowing you died, and his dad seemed to be having trouble dealing with that too. When he came to a stop at last, both men were silent, each lost in their own thoughts.

Over in the recliner Aeryn lay with her back to them, unmoving, her breathing controlled and even, while tears streamed down her face. She had been so tired and had easily fallen into a light sleep, but the mention of John, her John, had jolted her awake. She could hear their voices quite easily, but had kept up the pretense of sleep. If they were going to talk about John she needed to know what they were saying.

She needn't have worried. As he had gone over the events that had led them here, she thought she detected genuine sadness and grief in his voice. He gave his twin full credit for stopping the Scarrens and saving the universe. Even when he talked about her being with him, his voice was not filled with bitterness, but more with disappointment that he hadn't been the one with her on Talyn, though it would have cost him his life.

As she listened, she was shocked to discover her tears were for this John. For the loneliness he had suffered since she left him. For the coldness she showed him when all he wanted was to help. He was the innocent one here. She carefully wiped the tears from her face. She didn't want them to know she had heard. Sleep was irresistible now and as she sank into the sweet oblivion it seemed two faces merged into one. John.

As the quiet turned from seconds to minutes, the two men silently agreed to continue this tomorrow. No more words were needed for the moment. Exhaustion was evident on John's face. They would figure out what to do tomorrow.

Jack started upstairs still thinking about the other son he'd never see and suddenly feeling all of his 64 years.

John looked over at Aeryn and decided sleep was more important than getting her into a bed so he draped a blanket over her before walking across the room to lay down on the couch for the night. There was no way he was leaving Aeryn alone. Not now. His relief at knowing she was safe and here with him went bone deep, and let him sink into a deeper sleep than he'd had for quite a while. And the house grew silent. Waiting.



* * * * *

Colonel Davis was having a good day. Things were going well for a change. Thank God his plans to pick Jack Crichton up yesterday had been delayed. Just as he was about to send in some of his men to pick him up, the call had come in. His secretary Henson had a contact at the police department that had finally had something interesting to say. He hadn't paid much attention to Henson babbling about someone filing a police report until he suddenly heard the magic words. Jack Crichton.

Some cabby in Port St. John had gotten stiffed by a fare who had been taken to the famous astronauts house. He was concerned because she was a foreigner and who knew what she'd do to that famous Astronaut fellow. The Colonel laughed out loud. If the cab driver only knew just how 'foreign' she was.

"Well, well..." he said aloud, looking at the report. "So you speak English after all." And she had been looking for Jack Crichton. The General was going to be happy when he heard this. Well, maybe happy was too strong a word. General Cooper was never happy. He had decided to postpone briefing the General until he had the aliens and their accomplice safely in hand to shove under his nose. Incompetent was he?

If he handled this right he just might get a promotion out of it. He glanced down at the folder in his hand. The surveillance reports indicated three people were inside the house. Jack Crichton, the alien woman and who? It was a good bet it was the other person that had come through that damned wormhole. Could it be the long lost son? If that was the case why hadn't he made his presence known? The woman and this new person had to be confederates.

Well, they would find out soon enough. His men had evacuated the surrounding neighborhood with reports of a gas leak and the snipers were getting into position. Now all he had to do was make sure no one got out of the house. Piece of cake, no problem.

He whistled as he turned and walked down the hall to the waiting car.



* * * * *



The only sound in the house was the steady tick of the clock and an occasional soft snore coming from the vicinity of the couch. She wasn't sure what had wakened her. The light through the window was faint but increasing. John would say, 'It's the start of another beautiful day'. She half smiled at the thought of his exuberant start to most days. The rest had done her good. After last night's events she hadn't expected to get any sleep, but knowing John was just a few metres away proved surprisingly relaxing for a change.

Something had awakened her though and all her senses were on alert. As quietly as she could she stood up from the chair, her hand automatically reaching for her pulse pistol only to be met with emptiness. She looked around, not knowing what was the matter, but she had learned not to dismiss her instincts. They had saved her on more than one occasion and they were screaming at her now that something was wrong.

Walking over to the window, she carefully stood to one side and slowly peeled the curtain back, eyes focused on the street and other dwellings nearby. There were too many places a person could hide nearby and she didn't like it. At first glance it seemed just as it had when she had first arrived. Those strange transport pods made good hiding places though, and they were everywhere. As she watched she became aware of the small shadows moving from house to house. Frell!

She moved swiftly then.

"John!"

Her voice was low, but it's urgency woke him as sure as a recruit at reveille. He was up with Wynona in his hand before he was fully awake.

"What?!" He knew Aeryn well enough to know something was wrong. He looked around, shaking the last of sleep from his brain.

She pointed to the window and made a circling motion with her hand.

He didn't need to ask what that meant. They were surrounded.

He took the stairs two at a time to get his father. It took Jack longer to wake up and realize what was happening, but not by much. They went downstairs to find Aeryn barricading the doors against attack.

She turned and looked at John. "I need a weapon." Her face was grim and they both knew she wasn't going to be re-captured. Not alive anyway.

He tossed her Wynona on the run as he headed for the kitchen and his dad's Browning. It was better for her to have a pulse pistol that she knew rather than try and figure out on the fly how to handle an unfamiliar gun.

Jack had put it back in the drawer last night and when John reached in he felt the smooth barrel with a start. It felt so different from Wynona. He just hoped he remembered how to use it. He didn't want to hurt anyone, but if it came to Aeryn or them, they were toast.

All three of them were in the kitchen now and John motioned with two fingers at his eyes for the other two to go and check out what was happening from the other side of the house. He didn't have to explain. Jack and Aeryn turned and left together to find out what they could.

As John looked out the window he saw that, apparently, they were trying the stealth approach, hoping to catch them by surprise. It was growing lighter all the time as the sun rose and he could make out figures moving from hiding place to hiding place, inching closer.

This wasn't good. Come on John think of something. His brain was screaming at him to find a way out of this. It didn't matter if they captured him, but he knew Aeryn would die before being taken again and he couldn't let that happen.

He walked into the living room just Jack and Aeryn came back.

Jack was worried. "It looks like they've surrounded the house." He walked over and put a hand on John's shoulder. "I don't want to lose you again, son. Maybe it would be best to..."

"No, No, No." John interrupted before the thought could be put into words. "That's not gonna happen! I'm not giving up." He missed the quick look Aeryn gave him.

So much of what he said reminded her of the other John, but then how could it not. They were the same man. The thought slid easily into her mind.

"John?" Aeryn hefted Wynona. Her look spoke volumes. She was trusting him to either find a way out or give her the sign to end this.

"All right, first things first. Dad. Is there any other way out of here? Any trap doors I don't know about? Rabbit holes? Inter-dimensional portals?" John was pacing.

A light bulb went off in Jack's head "Yes."

"Yes?" John's mouth fell open. "What do you mean, yes?!"

"There's a bomb shelter off of the basement. And if I remember correctly, there's a bolt hole running from there to the storm drains, which run all through the area. They'll get you far enough away so you should be safe." He saw John's incredulous expression. "It was before you were born son. It came with the house."

John was flabbergasted. He had thought he knew every inch of this house. "You mean I lived here my whole life and there's a secret room I didn't know about? No. That's just too weird."

"We had the door paneled over for fear you or your sisters would find a way in. It's been so long I'd almost forgotten about it. It might take some time to get it open."

"Right. Time." Something they were running out of. He ran a thumb across his lips, thinking.

"Ok. If we don't do something now, the bastards will just keep sneaking up on us until they end up walking in here and inviting themselves to breakfast. We have to find a way to keep them back while we get to the rabbit hole." He looked at Jack, then Aeryn. "Any ideas Alice?"

"We could shoot them." Aeryn face was serious but John could hear the teasing behind the words. She knew he would never do that unless things were a lot more desperate than this. Their eyes locked for a moment and it was all he could do to break that contact before he did something he'd regret. He hadn't heard that light tone from her in over a cycle and he realized how much he had missed it.

"Okaaay...." He turned to Jack. "Dad?"

Jack had been thinking. What would stop them from shooting or tear gassing the place and just busting down the door? Suddenly, he grinned.

"Channel Nine."



* * * * *

An hour later things were completely different.

Jack watched the commotion outside with some amusement. He had known having friends in the media would come in handy some day. Charlie at Channel Nine had come through for him and had kept his promise to call as many other tv and radio stations as he could. He guessed the name Jack Crichton still meant something to some people. Or it could have been the mention of wormholes.

Once the news people had arrived, armed with cameras, mikes and insatiable curiosity, the military had given up trying to approach the house. The snipers had disappeared and it looked like a free for all on the street below as the military and police wrestled with the media, trying to keep them back. It had taken on a life of it's own. Hopefully they now had enough time to get John and the woman to safety.

He looked down at the scene again and smiled. It was just a guess, but he'd bet heads would roll over this.

********

The groaning sounds coming from the basement would have sent Aunt Ruth into a state of shock, John thought with a grin. Unfortunately, it was only the two of them straining to get the door to the bomb shelter open. Years of neglect had it almost fused shut, but it was starting to open up.

"Come on Aeryn. Push harder! If we just put a...little.. more...pressure..."

*Swoosh* There! It was open. The stale air rushed out with a hiss.

"Man!" He wrinkled his nose in disgust. "So this is where they put Jimmy Hoffa!"

They entered the room which had obviously seen no disturbance in decades. With John's flashlight they could see cans of food that had rusted through and were rotting on a shelf running the length of the room. The light from the flashlight flickered. If they were going to find what they wanted they'd need more light in here anyway.

"Wait here." He motioned for Aeryn to stay. "I'll be right back." He handed her the flashlight before heading upstairs, taking the steps two at a time. In a few minutes was back, with an oil lamp and his father in tow.

"I still don't believe it. This has been here all this time? Didn't you ever think about opening it up? Come on dad, you couldn't tell us this was here? Oh-ho!" He slapped a fist into his other hand. "Wait till Mary finds out. She's gonna kill you. Why'd you leave all this stuff in here anyway..." John was talking non-stop in Jack's ear. Now this was the son he remembered.

"Actually, I had planned on cleaning it out, but your mother had it sealed up while I was away on a mission. Said she was tired of waiting for me to..." his voice trailed off. "I didn't really want to bring it up again, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah." John knew exactly what he meant.

With the oil lamp lit they could see what was causing the stench. Rotting clothes, boxes full of food and bottled water, emergency radio and batteries. From the pitted floor around them, it looked like the battery acid had leaked out.

Searching further they found the bolt hole opening. It looked just big enough for Aeryn. It was going to be a tight squeeze for John.

The three of them looked at each other realizing that they didn't have much time.

Before John could say anything, Aeryn walked over to stand in front of Jack.

"I would like to have a few words with your father. Alone." Her eyes begged him to have let her have this moment.

He looked from her to his dad.

"Sure. I'll just go make sure the bad guys are still ...bad." He left, leaving Jack unsure of what was going on.

They stood there looking at each other, the light from the lamp flicking over their faces, making the scene seem unreal. But it was real and Aeryn knew that no matter how hard it was she had to do this. She spoke in her own language, knowing he wouldn't understand her, but knowing no other way to tell him.

"Your son, the one who d..died.." She had a hard time getting the word out. "He missed you very much. He always wanted us to meet. Now I know why." Her eyes were shining. "I came to tell you for him..."

She rested her hand on the side of Jack's face. The English words were halting but unmistakable.

"g..goodbye, dad."

Jack had been listening to the rhythms of a speech he couldn't comprehend, but he was sure it was about the other son John had told him about last night. Why else would she want to talk to him alone. He wished to God he knew what she was saying as her eyes filled with tears. At her last words he suddenly realized what it was she was trying to say to him. A final goodbye from the son he would never see again.

Pain flowed through him and he held his arms out to hold the woman both of his sons loved so much. Now he knew why. She was special, this alien woman.

"Thank you, Aeryn Sun." He whispered.

Around the corner John swiped a hand over his eyes, backed up a few steps and began whistling. When he came through the door, Aeryn was inspecting the opening they'd be going through and his dad was carefully examining a short-wave radio sitting on the floor.

"Yep. They're still there and they're still bad." He looked at Aeryn for a moment and said softly "You ready to go?"

Her glance flicked over to Jack and back to John. She nodded. "Yes. I'm ready."

John went to stand next to Jack.

"I wish you could stay son. Maybe we could find a way..."

"There's no way dad. You know that." John sighed as he ran his fingers across his hair. "I don't want to leave, but Aeryn can't stay. He..we..were wrong to ever think she could."

"Will you be back?" The thought of losing John a second time was tearing Jack apart, but he didn't let it show. He wouldn't make it harder on John than he had to.

"I don't know. I've dreamed about coming home for the last three years and now..." His voice lowered "..now I'm only sure of one thing. Home is where she is." He nodded in Aeryn's direction. "Everything is screwed up, and I don't know how things are going to work out between us, but I can't leave her."

He moved closer.

"There's a whole other universe out there dad. It's, it's... like Lost in Space meets Rocky Horror.. only weirder." He shook his head with a rueful grin. "But it's totally amazing and I've made friends there." John's gaze turned intense, willing his father to understand. "Friends who are counting on me to get them home. And we still haven't stopped the war up there. It's still coming, we've just delayed it a little." John's hand gripped Jack's shoulder. "I don't know if I'll ever be back, but I promise you, I'll try."

John reached for his dad to give him the goodbye he had never gotten the chance to give three years ago. He held on tightly trying to imprint this moment on his brain. He'd need it in the years to come.

"I love you, dad." The whispered words were bittersweet. Who knew when they'd see each other again.

"I love you too, son."

Aeryn cleared her throat. "I hate to interrupt but..."

John turned to her. "Yeah. I know. Just a second."

As he turned back, Jack reached into his back pocket for a map.

"Here.." He unfolded it and pointed to a spot on the map. "This is where you'll come out at. Follow this.." his finger traced a line "..until you come to the beach...here. While I was calling the tv station I called in another favor. A friend of mine is going to meet you there and he'll get you to Farscape1. That beach is a place we both know." A faraway look came over his face as he remembered why. "I didn't give an exact location over the phone, but he'll know. You'll have to give him the coordinates."

"You trust this guy?"

"With my life, son. But more importantly, with yours."

John nodded.

"You know dad, you're going to be even more famous after this." John grinned.

Jack shook his head. "More than likely with you and the module gone, the military will say I'm just a washed up old rocket jockey who's seeing things after my son died and there was a perfectly reasonable explanation why they were out here. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. Shoot, son, I'll be lucky to make it onto the back page of the Chronicle."

They grinned at each other.

Then, with a sigh, John walked over to the bolt hole. They had to leave. With a last look at Jack, Aeryn entered the tunnel.

John started in, but turned suddenly to look at Jack.

"You gonna be okay?"

Jack smiled. "I'll be fine son. Oh, but about that thing you have to work out? I have a feeling it will be easier than you think. Trust me." He smiled at John's bemused look and pushed him into the opening.

"What the hell was that all about?" he asked himself as he moved to catch up with Aeryn.

As they moved down the tunnel, their flashlights were the only thing between them and total darkness. It was cool and damp but he was beginning to feel hot. It was a good thing this wasn't gonna last more than a few yards, he thought.

John had never been claustrophobic, but there's always a first time. Only by hunching his shoulders could he navigate the narrow passageway. Aeryn, being smaller, was moving much faster. They inched their way along, with short stops to catch their breath. This is what he imagined it was like to be buried alive. Not a good feeling.

"Aeryn, you getting enough air?" He hissed between clenched teeth. "I don't think there's enough air in here. Maybe we should go back."

Aeryn heard the slight panic that was creeping into his voice.

"Shhh. There would be plenty of air if you'd quit talking!"

Her exasperated voice calmed his nerves. She wouldn't be talking to him like that if he were dying. Would she?

"There it is."

They had finally reached the bolted hatch leading to the storm sewers.

"Can you turn the handle?" He hoped it was a rhetorical question. If she couldn't they would be totally frelled.

He heard her struggling with the handle and was just about to say something stupid when it opened with a whoosh. The rush of air hitting him was the best thing he'd felt in a long time.

Dropping down into the wet darkness they made their way through a maze of tunnels trying to find the opening his father had told him about. It was almost completely dark but light would occasionally appear when they passed a grate leading to the street. Hopefully his dad had been right and no one would be expecting them to come waltzing out 'behind' them. He just hoped somebody didn't spot them. He figured his and Aeryn's Peacekeeper clothes would be a good clue they weren't from around here.

"Well, we could always say we were just looking for the Hell's Angels convention." He said under his breath.

Aeryn looked over at him. He was talking to himself again. She had thought that was something induced by the Scorpius chip, but she was beginning to suspect it was just John.

There was just enough water in the tunnel to make a slight swishing sound as they walked. Just when it seemed they would never come to the end Aeryn stopped. "Wait a microt. I think I see light at the end of the tunnel."

She turned to find out what the strange noise was, only to find John with his hand over his mouth, trying hard not to laugh, but not succeeding. What was funny about that? She shot him a nasty look, which only made him laugh more. Aeryn sighed, she would never understand him.

Coming to the opening, Aeryn looked out cautiously. There didn't appear to be anyone around. They came out into the sunshine slowly, back to back, making sure to keep all areas under surveillance. Satisfied that there was no immediate threat, they took off for the stand of trees nearby.

Once they had cover, John pulled out the map and located where they were supposed to meet the helicopter. With any luck, they could be there in a half hour.

"All right. I know where to go." He hitched up his pants, crooked his head and in his best John Wayne voice said.. "Follow me, little lady" before he took off for the beach.

Aeryn thought the Scorpius chip might have been preferable.

* * * * *

"I'm too old for this shit!" That was Daniel Kemper's first thought as he spied the man and woman running on the beach. From his vantage point high above he could see men running after them, heavily armed and apparently with orders to shoot. The beach was devoid of anything resembling cover and he was amazed that the two had made it this far.

As he got closer and witnessed what came next, he realized how they had managed to stay alive. The woman turned suddenly and lifted a gun, but what came out weren't any bullets he'd ever seen. More like little yellow bolts of light. She was hell on wheels with that thing and the men behind them stopped abruptly and dived face down in the sand in an effort to avoid the deadly fire.

She and the man ran on. They were obviously the people he was here for.

"What has Jack gotten me into?" he wondered aloud. Not that it made any difference. The favor he owed Jack Crichton couldn't really be repaid, just given back in installments. It was a testament to Jack that he hadn't called in a favor before now. Daniel had no choice but to help, regardless of the cost.

"Come on old girl." He patted the dash of the helicopter. "Let's show them what you can do." He didn't see a way to land without getting Betsy blown to smithereens, not to mention himself, so he hoped to God the two people below would be thinking on their feet when he went down. If they could grab onto the runners he might be able to get them far enough away to drop them and then land. It was a dangerous maneuver but it's all he could think of right now and speed was obviously the order of the day.

As the helicopter flew towards the pair, sand began swirling, blocking his view and hopefully that of those military guys behind them. As carefully as he could he brought the runners down towards them and hoped they'd know to grab hold and not let go. He stayed that way for what seemed an eternity and then gently lifted up hoping he'd have passengers hanging on when the air cleared.

Betsy moved down the beach still blowing sand and then lifted into the air. They had outdistanced the bullets flying at them and he slowed down slightly. He didn't want to get too high in case they lost their grip. Assuming they were there in the first place. He bent over looking for signs of the two people he'd come to rescue. Nothing. "Damn." He'd have to swing back and...

"Thanks for the rescue!" The voice yelled right behind him.

If Daniel had had a bad ticker he'd be dead right now. As it was he felt his heart scrambling to get out of his chest. The man and woman were sitting in the back of the chopper, calmly shaking sand out of their clothes and hair.

"How the hell did you..?" He didn't finish. Nothing about this was normal and he had already decided the less he knew, the better. He had no illusions about what was coming. There was no way he was getting out without getting caught. He just had to know what to say or not to say. He was an expert at that.

He turned around to get a better look at his passengers when he got his second shock of the day. The man sitting in the back of his chopper was John Crichton. Jack's son.

"I'm John Crichton!" He leaned forward to be heard better as he yelled over the roar of the engine. "So, you're a friend of my fathers?!"

He nodded. "Daniel!" pointing to himself by way of introduction. The man really hadn't needed one.

Unless you'd been living under a rock, everybody knew John Crichton. His face had been plastered on every newspaper and tv story for months. It hadn't taken long for the military to start trying to take over and put a lid on things, but the news media had been merciless for a while. Until the next big thing came along. He never could figure what was bigger than somebody being sucked into a giant wormhole, but he guessed it was them pretty fellers in Hollywood.

The one thing he had never expected, was to find him in the back of Betsy. This wasn't just big, it was huge. He'd be lucky to get out of this alive.

His passenger handed him a slip of paper. Nodding, he set the coordinates into the onboard computer, and turned his attention to getting there as quickly as possible.

While he was flying he kept an watchful eye on his passengers. The woman had not spoken yet, but the man kept up a running commentary for her of places that they passed and sights she should see. If he hadn't known better, he'd have sworn that they were tourists going out for a sightseeing jaunt.

"Aeryn! Hand me Wynona for a second!"

What the...! Daniel turned around, not knowing what he'd see next, but all he saw was the woman handing John the strange gun. Wynona? The light bulb went off. He knew there was something about this guy he liked. He noticed John looking at him and pointed to the helicopter. "Betsy!"

Grinning, they looked at each other in perfect understanding.

John was still checking the gun out, when the woman spoke.

It wasn't clear over the noise, but Daniel heard enough of the strange language that he sent Betsy into a momentary dip. He recovered quickly, hoping that his passengers hadn't noticed. He'd heard a lot of strange things in his lifetime, but this took the cake.

"Yeah, I know! We'll be there soon! I just wanted to make sure she wasn't damaged!" John handed the gun back to...what had he called her? Erin?

Daniel leaned back in his seat and settled in for their, hopefully, short flight to...to where? Oz? He was getting the strange feeling he wasn't in Kansas anymore. Who was this woman, and where had John Crichton been these last three years?

* * * * *

As they neared the site where John's module was hidden, John gave Aeryn the sign to be on the look out. He knew the military had to be searching this area by now. He just hoped they hadn't found Farscape1 yet. If only his luck would hold for a little bit longer, they might actually get out of here in one piece.

The thought had no more than crossed his mind, when he saw them. Military choppers coming straight for them.

He tapped the pilot and pointed so he would see the danger. Once he did, Daniel put on a burst of speed, almost flinging them back in their seats.

Okay, okay, they were almost there. He could barely make out the outline of his module up ahead. Oh boy, this was going to be close.

"Hey!" Once he got the pilot's attention he pointed to where the module was until he nodded his head that he'd seen it.

The pilot was unhappy. "There's no way to land near that!"

"That's all right!" John reassured him. "I have a plan!"

"What are you talking about?!" Aeryn shouted. "What plan?!"

She noticed the pilot looking at her in confusion, but it couldn't be helped.

"He can fly us over the module and we'll jump!" Both Aeryn and the pilot were looking at him like he was crazy. Boy, the UT wasn't so different from Earth after all.

"No, really! I've seen this a thousand times in the movies! It'll work! Trust me!"

He saw Daniel glance over to Aeryn and her answering shrug. It was so much like the looks he got from D'Argo and her that he had to laugh. Which just earned him another look. Okay, he'd be good. Just get to the module.

"How close to the ship can you get us?!"

"As close as you want, if we have time!" He nodded at the aircraft gaining on them.

"As close as you can then! Right over the top!" He motioned for Aeryn to be ready.

Water and brush went flying as the helicopter went down slowly over the module. The module itself was rocking from side to side but otherwise was just as he'd left it.

Closer, Closer.... Almost....

John turned to his dad's friend one last time. "Thanks, man!"

"Good luck, son!"

John turned and with a signal to Aeryn, they jumped.

Ah crap! That was his last thought before he went under the water. He'd missed. Shaking the water from his eyes he saw their helicopter speed away, drawing a couple of choppers with it. Which still left two with them. They were hovering overhead, with a loudspeaker, yelling something that John couldn't make out through the noise and water in his ears.

He was right by the module and looked up to see Aeryn on top with the hatch open and arms stretched to pull him up. Nothing like being useless, he thought as he grabbed her hand and scrambled up.

Now he could hear what they were saying. Like hell they'd give up now! In one motion the two of them jumped into the module bring the hatch down over them.

John began powering up the module and hoped that the shielding modifications would hold under fire. It wasn't long before he found out. No sooner had power come on line and the shielding up, than a volley of bullets began raining down on them. They bounced off harmlessly, but John knew they wouldn't be firing those little bullets for long. Soon, they'd go for the big stuff. They needed to get out of here.

The ship rocked as the suction from the swamp tried to hold it, but it was only temporary. Once they were up, it was just a matter of tripping a few switches, and a parting salute for the other pilots, before they were off. The military helicopters didn't stand a chance of catching them. Even the scrambling jets could only watch as the blip on the screen moved away.

They were free, but he was not ready to go too far yet. Before they left John had one more task to complete. He turned the module around.

"What are you doing?" came the confused question from behind him.

"Just hang on a minute, Okay? I just want to, no...need to tell them."

He looked down at the planet beneath them. They were so helpless and they didn't have a clue.

He bent over and turned the comms on full so that he could broadcast to as many places as possible. One way or another, someone would hear him. He had to do this. For his father. For Earth.

"Hey, down there! This is John Crichton, astronaut."

Down on the surface, the static radios everywhere had been experiencing, was replaced by the sound of a man talking and people stopped, unsure of what was going on, but they listened.

"You might remember me. I know everyone thinks I died, that I was lost in a wormhole. I know it sounds crazy, but I was sucked into some distant part of the universe. For the last three years I've just been trying to stay alive. It's a strange place out there, people! Full of strange life. Living ships, aliens."

At military headquarters the General was furiously trying to stop the broadcast, but the techs just shook their heads. There was no way to cut it off. At least not in time. They listened.

"But there's a battle brewing up there and Earth has to beware. You're not prepared for the nightmares I've seen. I'll try to protect you, not show them you exist. But there are no promises. Not in this life. Use any technology you get from the ship you've got and use it well. And stop..fighting..each other." He drew a long breath. "If the war gets here and you're not ready, you won't have anything left to fight over.

He paused for a moment, before speaking in a softer tone.

"But you know, I wish you could see it. I wish you were ready. Because you'll never know the wonders I've seen."

John grinned, there in his module, high above Earth. That ought to give them something to talk about.

"And if you don't believe me? Look up." He turned to Aeryn, who had been listening in silence. "Hold on!"

And with a "Woo Hoo!" he plunged the module down towards Earth, pulling up hard as he began to hit the atmosphere.

The fiery trail could been seen far and wide, even in the daylight. He made a few dips and turns before he thought the module had had enough. No point in damaging his only way home. Especially now. He flew it up into orbit and they took a breather.

They'd done it. John watched the blue planet beneath them turning. Now all they had to do was rustle up a wormhole. Fortunately, the sun was just one solar flare after another. Shouldn't be too hard, not with what he'd learned from Scorpy and the Ancients.

"Can you make a wormhole to get us back to Moya?" He turned to find Aeryn looking at him with a stange expression on her face. She probably thought he was crazy, but then, didn't she always?

Now that the adrenaline rush was fading, he could feel her next to him. Arms touching, her breath on his neck. It was a tight squeeze with both of them in his module, but if he could have asked for anything, this would have been it. To have Aeryn close to him.

Without thinking, he answered. "Yeah, baby. I'm pretty sure I can get us back." As soon as the word came out of his mouth he regretted it. Things were better between them and he didn't want her to go back into deep freeze because he couldn't keep his mouth shut.

He looked back with the start of an apology, but she silenced him with a shake of her head. She smiled then. That glorious smile that put his pyrotechnics to shame and made his heart ache. And for the first time in a cycle he felt that familiar feeling of being connected to her, the feeling that no matter what happened, all was right with the universe.

Aeryn looked at John. What she saw was more than the face of her dead lover. It was the face of the man she loved. There would be time enough later to sort things out. To.. talk. For now though, all she could do was touch his face and say..... "Let's go home."



The End.