*Disclaimer: I own nothing but my original characters and ideas….and the plot bunnies in the corner. Please don't sue, I'm a poor college student that has no life and way too many video games.*
"For Sale: Parachute. Only used once, never opened, small stain."
John exited Pilot's den slowly. He didn't want to draw any attention to himself since he left Winona with Chiana, so he tried to be as silent as possible. The only thing he had on him that could be used as a weapon was his flashlight. The area outside of Pilot's den was void of all life. There were no Xarai in site and for that Crichton was extremely grateful, but he doubted that his luck would last all the way to command.
Glancing down the broken and twisted hallway, John was filled with a sense of foreboding. It looked like it was pulled straight out of a cheesy B-rated horror movie. Only a few lights were still functioning. They flickered on and off periodically, casting everything in an eerie glow. Debris, garbage, and bits of bone littered the floor; pus oozed down the walls and parts were literally falling off the ceiling.
'Wait, the ceiling?'
He could reach Command by going through the ducts in the ceiling and walls. He could avoid the Xarai completely. John found a crate near the door he just came through, so he grabbed it and shoved it under a hole in the ceiling. Climbing on it, Crichton was able to rip part of the ceiling off and climb into the ducts.
The stench was nearly overwhelming; it was the smell of infection and decay, stale air and disease. John took a moment to get control of his gag reflex, praying he didn't hurl all over the place, after all he didn't know how long they would have to go without food and throwing up what little he did have before this could be detrimental to his health in the long run.
Once Crichton got a hold of himself he made his way to Command. The going was tough and slow, and several times he had to backtrack because he got lost. The time it took to crawl through the ducts gave him a lot to think about; especially what Chiana had told him. She said that she had seen both him and herself get on the transport pod, which meant that she was either completely losing it, or she had seen them leave. There really was only one solution since he refused to believe that he was the only mostly sane person on this ship. So, assuming that Chiana had in fact seen them leave, then that means that Kaarvok's little bracelet was actually a cloning machine, which he had suspected for a while.
So if you add A(cloning) plus B(Chiana's theory of them leaving) then you get F(they were so Frelled). That means that their twins were on Moya right now, initiating starburst, and leaving their asses to the wolves. The others probably didn't even know that they left the real ones behind, that is if they even were the real ones. "Stop it John, don't you dare start thinking like that." He told himself. He refused to allow such thoughts take over him during such a crucial time. But despite his best efforts he couldn't help but let his mind wonder down that awful path over and over again.
It was a blessing in disguise when he finally reached Command. Crichton removed a piece of the ceiling panel and stuck part of his head down. He breathed a sigh of relief when he discovered that no Xarai were currently near his location. Dropping down to the floor, John made his way over to the consoles. The set up wasn't entirely different then Moya's, there was one extra console to the far right, and the War Table was larger and more oval, while Moya's was round.
The damage to the room was about the same everywhere else in the giant Leviathan. Debris was scattered all over the floor, the wall was missing many of its panels and pus oozed out of where the Xarai had been feeding from. The human suppressed a shudder and went over to the console to the far left. When he met his first aliens, Ka D'Argo was attempting to remove the control collar from Moya by pulling out all sorts of wires and veins from inside the console that was nearly a perfect replica of the one he was currently standing in front of.
Crichton looked around the room for something resembling a crow bar to tear off the covering on top of the console. D'Argo was able to remove it with his bare hands, but John would be kidding himself if he thought he could do it the same way his friend did. After all, humans were not nearly as physically strong as a Luxan.
He found what looked like it could have once been a femur that was broken in half. It was broken at an angle, creating a sharp point that he could use to wedge it in-between the covering and console. Swallowing thickly to keep the bile down, he picked the bone up and used it as leverage. It took surprisingly little force to pop it off.
The console was damaged badly on the outside, but once John ripped off the covering he was pleased to note that the inside was in pretty much pristine condition. He racked his brains for the memory of which wire D'Argo had yanked to release the control collar, but for the life of him he couldn't remember at all. Deciding to adopt the Luxan's actions even further, John mumbled to himself as he reached his whole hand inside, "Well, when all else fails, tear out everything until one works. Rovhu if you can hear me, I'm really sorry for this."
He knew the great Leviathan probably didn't hear him, but it made him feel a little less guilty about what he was about to do. Once his arm was as far as it could go, John grabbed as many wires as he could and yanked with all his strength. He held his breath as the wires detached from each other, waiting for any reaction from Rovhu. He got none, neither a negative nor a positive reaction at all. This meant two things, one: he didn't pull that right one to release the collar, and two: the pain was so insignificant to the agony that Rovhu must already be in.
The Commander was left with only one option then; he needed to keep ripping out everything until he yanked the right wire. So he plunged his arm back in and started again. Thankfully it only took John two more pulls before he heard the control collar disengaging.
The lights flickered on and off for a few seconds in Command and then Pilot's face appeared in the clam shell in front of him. "Did it work?" John asked. Pilot was silent, his face a mix of confusion, awe, and disbelief as he gazed at the not-Sebacean that had freed him and his Leviathan. "Pilot," the human's voice seemed to draw him back to the present. "Did it work?"
Pilot's mouth moved for a few seconds until sound finally came out. "Y-yes, it worked, Co-comman-der."
John nodded his head slowly and sighed in relief. "What's your status Pilot?" He kept his voice calm and reassuring as he addressed the distraught alien, even though he could hear scuffling coming from outside of the room. John knew that it would only be a matter of microts before the Xarai were upon him.
"S-status?" Pilot flinched as he asked the ex-astronaut who could see the pure confusion upon the blue crustacean's face. John could also see the worry in the other's face, as if he was expected to be furious at the question.
"Yes, Pilot, your status. How are you and Chiana, are there any Xarai in the den?" His calm reply seemed to reassure Pilot that there would be no punishment for his lack of understanding. It had taken Moya and her Pilot nearly two years before they understood his strange sayings after all.
"There are n-no Xa...Xarai in the den. B-both the Na-Nebari and myself seem t-to be fine."
Crichton sighed in relief and pressed his middle finger and thumb into his eyes to stem off the headache he was getting. Wiping the hand down his face, he took a deep breath before he addressed the Pilot again. "Okay, I need Rovhu to seal off the Den and Command and I need him to do it now. Can he do that?" John waited patiently as he watched Pilot look over the controls before nodding his head slowly. He turned around when he heard the swishing of the door closing, trapping the Xarai outside and him in. "Good, Pilot. Good job. Now I need you to open every other door that is closed besides these two, you got it?"
Pilot looked to be calmer and more assured as the Hoo-Man praised him. He seemed to be coming back to what he once was as the years of fear and terror slowly started to leave him. The hum of Rovhu actually being awake and functioning was elevating, even if he could only open and close a few doors. Slowly, one by one, all of the doors started to open until there was only the two sealed off and the doors in the docking bay that led to space.
Once John's request had been met, Pilot looked back up to the hologram and nodded his head in confirmation. His single arm and clawed hand was left hovering over the pad that would open his beloved ship to the vacuum of space. "Pilot," the strange creature's voice came from the hologram and Pilot waited for his command. "I think the Xarai need to take a walk in space." For the first time in nearly eighty years, Pilot smiled and Rovhu rumbled in joy as he depressed the lever that opened the docking bay doors.
The strange blue-grey alien stood by the exit, ear pressed tightly to the door as she listened to the whooshing sound that signified the air being sucked out Rovhu. A smile broke across her face as she heard a female voice scream as she was sucked out into the nothingness of space.
Pilot waited five microns before he had Rovhu close them off from the vacuum of space. He was positive all of the Xarai, debris, corpses, and garbage had been sucked out within the first 30 microts but both he and Rovhu wanted to be absolutely positive that they were all gone. If they hadn't been sucked out by the vacuum of space, then at least the decompression would have killed them. Only once the sucking noise had ended did the Nebari turn to look at him and smile. He smiled shakily back.
They were free. Free from those who had enslaved them, free from those who had hurt them, free of those who had eaten them. He could feel Rovhu's pure joy and happiness through there connection and he chuckled lightly. They were free, and they had the not-Sebacean man to thank for that.
"Thank you," Pilot whispered to no one in particular, but to everyone at the same time. "Thank you." Rovhu hummed in agreement and gratitude as they drifted in space and for just a moment in a very long time the Leviathan didn't feel any pain at all.
Crichton stood in front of the viewing window watching the dead bodies of the Xarai float by along with what little reaming supplies were left. Their current condition didn't look so good at that moment, they had been so wrapped up in the now that nobody thought of the then. Without supplies, no DRD's, and a Leviathan that most likely couldn't move, it was going to be a slow death, that is of course if life support lasted long enough to let them starve to death.
But John always liked to consider himself an optimist, so he tried to look at their situation in a positive light. It took him a while, longer then he would have liked, but he was able to come up with a few good things. One, for instance, was the fact that they were alive. Another was the Xarai were all dead. Unfortunately that was all he was able to come with, but that was more then what they had a micron ago, so he would have to work with it and make the best of their predicament.
John pulled himself away from the window as the door to Command rotated back open and he walked slowly back to the console. A muscle pulled painfully in his lower back, probably caused by his trek through the ceiling. 'I'm getting to old for this dren.'
"Pilot," the Commander forced the pain out of his voice and concentrated instead on the immediate problem, like getting Rovhu to move for one. 'Besides,' John thought to himself, 'My pain is probably miniscule compared to that of what the others are feeling.'
"Y-yes, Com-m-mander," Pilot sounded okay for the most part, a little shaken and definitely traumatized, but okay.
"Can Rovhu move at all, we need to get supplies and get you guys to a doctor."
He crossed his fingers and prayed as the blue alien turned away to work on the console, doing only gods know what. It took him several microns before he was able to answer the human. "Yes, he sh-should be able t-to move," John sighed in relief and then sucked in his breath when Pilot interrupted his mental happy dance. "But, he c-can only go He-etch three at…at most."
Crichton groaned in disbelief and then hurried to reassure Pilot that that was fine after he saw the way the crustacean had flinched at his anger. "That's alright Pilot, just plot a course for the nearest habited planet, and get some DRD's made as soon as you can spare the time and resources, alright?" He waited a moment before Pilot gave him his confirmation before he made his way back to the Den to retrieve Chiana. They might as well see what they had left onboard and if any of it was usable.
On his way out the door, he spotted what looked like several comm units lying underneath the War Table. Picking them up John discovered that they were mostly intact, though several of them were completely useless. It looked like only four out of the seven he had found were any working condition. Grabbing his new discovery Crichton made his way back to Chiana and Pilot. That was until he heard something.
There was a thunking noise that was quickly followed by a low moaning sound. Crichton froze in place, one foot still poised above the ground. Hands shaking just slightly as adrenaline coursed through his veins, John gently lowered his leather combat boot to the (not)metal floor while reaching for his holster on his hip. It was empty.
Crichton cursed softly in his mind as he remembered Winona had been left with Chiana. 'Well that's just frelling great.' Taking a near silent breath to steady his sky rocketing heart rate, John slowly turned around and surveyed the room once more. It looked just how it did when he first entered, but it was still really dark. He must have missed something, perhaps a Xarai had gotten in the room. Maybe one had always been in the room.
A chill traveled up the astronaut's spine at the thought of being in close quarters with those creatures came to mind. Forcing himself back on task, John crept to the panel he had been ripping wires out of and bent down to reach the broken femur. It was the best weapon he had at hand, but it certainly left him wishing for his faithful pulse pistol.
Another low grunting noise came from one of the shadows to his right, near the window. Bone held in a tight batters grip, Crichton tiptoed over to the far side of the window and walked along it until he too stood in shadow. Poised to strike, he waited several microts for his eyes to adjust. There, just out of arms reach, something moved. He pulled his arms back over his head as he took the last few tentative steps forward, before he swung the broken piece of bone down with all of his strength.
Chiana paced back and forth restlessly as she waited for Crichton. Chewing on her thumb nail absently she gripped the pistol tighter as she looked over at (not)Pilot. He looked older than their Pilot, and it was clear that the cycles had not been kind to him, or the Leviathan in fact. The (not)Pilot had only one functioning arm, two smaller ones growing back steadily, and a gaping port where the fourth had recently been severed.
His whole body seemed to be drooping and his mouth hung lazily open as if he had not the energy to close it. The broken metal spear that was embedded in his carapace looked excruciating, but (not)Pilot seemed not to notice. With how much pain he was in to begin with, what was one more injury to him?
Chiana willed the moisture away from her eyes as she watched him. He looked so alone and scared, that even though he wasn't her Pilot, she still wished to comfort him. But it seemed that was another thing she was incapable of doing. She had tried, really she did, but every time she got within a motra of the console he resided behind, he started babbling nonsense and swinging his single arm about in terror.
After the second time this had happened, the Nebari kept her distance for fear of exacerbating his injuries further. It appeared as though only Crichton could comfort the poor tortured creature. 'Fine then,' she told herself, let him be the rock on which to lean, she hated it when others depended on her any way. She also told herself it didn't hurt, and it worked, because after a while even your own lies sound true.
"How many times do I have to tell you, I am sorry," Crichton emphasized the apology as the other gave him a nasty glare. "Look, D'Argo, how was I supposed to know it was you? We thought you were dead man."
Ka D'Argo just continued to silently glare at the human before him as they made their way back to the Den. D'Argo did see where the inferior being was coming from; after all he could have been a Xarai hiding out to attack at the opportune moment. Even so, that still did not give him the right to take a solid club like object and slam it into his mivonks.
"I'm sorry D'Argo," Crichton tried again to appease his much larger friend. The Luxan only glanced at him before continuing down the passageway. He would let the human suffer in silence for a while longer.
On their way back to the den John could really take in all the damage Rovhu had received in the past several cycles. It wasn't a pretty sight, pus oozed from the walls and pieces of his metal interior were scattered all over the floor. Lights flickered on and off all down the hallway casting the entire scene in a very eerie glow. John thought it was quite disturbing, but he pushed those thoughts aside and moved on. After all, he had much to do and very little time to do it in.
It took them far longer to reach the Den on Rovhu that it had ever taken him to reach the Den on Moya. John didn't know if that was because of the poor lighting and the thousand and one obstacles he faced in the damage inside the Leviathan or if it was because Rovhu was male and far older than Moya making him nearly twice her size. Whatever the case it took him close to quarter of an arn to reach their destination. When in Moya it would only have taken a few microns.
When he entered the Den, John noticed Chiana stood by the door, pacing back and forth in a worried manner. Pilot on the other hand seems to be watching her intently as if she was a rabid dog ready to attack. The spike was still protruding through his carapace and looked extremely painful, though Pilot seemed to be paying no attention to it.
Chiana practically tackled Crichton to the floor when she spotted him. She was babbling inconsistently and though John tried really hard he could not understand a word she was saying. After several microns of this he was able to calm her down long enough to understand the she was experiencing what could be qualified as a mental breakdown. But that was understandable seeing as how just a little a while ago she had seen both herself and him along with the (supposed)dead D'Argo escape the dying Leviathan leaving them behind.
"Chi, it's okay, we are going to be fine," Crichton said placing both hands upon her shoulders and looking her straight in the eye. He would not let them die out here no matter what it took. "I'm going to fix this I promise you. We're going to be okay, alright Pip."
Reaching into his pocket John pulled out an extra comm unit and handed it to her. "I found these on my way back. I thought they could be useful."
She took the communication device slowly and stared at it for a microt before she removed the old one, placing it reverently in her pocket and attaching the new one to her shirt. As she looked back up, a question forming on her pale grey lips she seemed to freeze in place. Her black eyes were looking at something over his shoulder and Crichton whirled around ready to attack when his fist was grabbed in a much larger hand.
"Crichton, if you insist on repeatedly hitting me you should be aware that I have the capability to crush you," D'Argo's deep voice reverberated loudly around the cave like enclosure, momentarily startling the Pilot. John spluttered in embarrassment before a shriek rendered him nearly deaf as Chiana launched herself at the (not)dead Luxan.
"You're alive," Chiana laughed loudly as she hugged D'Argo, vowing to never let him go. As they were having their heart to heart, John walked over to Pilot slowly so as not to startle him. When he approached, Pilot turned his pain glazed eyes to the human but he didn't seem agitated, John took that as a good sign. Grabbing the edge of the control console John pulled himself up slowly so he was sitting in front of him, swinging his legs around and setting his feet on the surface while being careful not to touch any of the buttons he took Pilot's face slowly and both hands and said his forehead against the other's.
They sat like that for a long while, the human and the crustacean like alien foreheads pressed together just sitting. When they finally separated Pilot seemed a lot better, and in fact so did John. "You okay, Pilot?"
Pilot took several microns to answer before he slowly nodded his head yes. "Good. How far away are we from the nearest commerce planet? That is of course if we stay Hetch three and don't go any faster then what Rovhu can handle."
"T-two solar days at-at most."
John did the calculations in his head, including the fact that they had no food, very little water, and absolutely nothing for currency. He came out the conclusion that they were frelled. "All right, Chi," he said suddenly turning towards the Nebari who was still attached to the larger male. "I need your help in scavenging what we can from the ship in order to use for currency when we make it to the next planet. I'll start in the Docking Bay and move my way up. I suggest you start in the Observatory and move tier by tier down. We'll meet somewhere in the middle, keep your comm unit on you at all times so we can check in on each other every five microns."
Chiana gave him a look as if he was just about to start growing a second head out of his neck and went completely insane. Crichton raised an eyebrow before he realized what was worrying her. "Don't worry Pip, all the cannibals are gone, they got sucked out of the ship when Rovhu opened his Docking Bay doors. There's nobody else on the ship but us," when Chiana kept looking at him like he was nuts Crichton sighed deeply before gesturing to Winona. "Why don't you hang on to the gun for a while and give it to me when we're absolute positive that nobody else is on this ship, okay?
"D'Argo, you stay with Pilot and rest. Your head took a nasty beating and we don't need you fainting somewhere where we can't find you." Even as he said this, dark black blood was slowly leaking from the side of his temple where a Xarai had slammed it into the floor. Even though he wanted to protest, D'Argo resisted as the room seemed to sway around him momentarily before he once again found his equilibrium. "Come over here so I can introduce you to Pilot."
As the Luxan was prying the clingy Chiana off of him, Crichton gently guided Pilot's face back to his so he could get the orange eyes to focus on him. "That big guy back there is D'Argo, he's a friend and I am leaving him for your protection, alright?" He waited until Pilot gave him a firm nod as he pressed foreheads together one last time before he carefully removed himself from the console.
Clapping D'Argo on the shoulder gently, he nodded his head towards Chiana before he made his way out of the Den and down towards the hangar bay. He heard Chiana exiting after him as she made her way up towards the Observatory.
It took John the better part of an arn to reach the Docking Bay. Not only because he didn't know the way, but also because of all the obstacles he had to climb over and go under in order to reach his destination. By the time he reached the hangar, Chiana had already pad/reached the Observatory and cleared the room as useless. She was now on the tier below the one she had started on and hadn't found anything of use as of yet.
Sighing deeply as he reached the large hangar doors Crichton ran a hand through his hair before he tapped on the comm unit and spoke to Pilot. "Hey Pilot, can you get these doors open for me?"
Pilot didn't answer him but after a few seconds the door slid open and John made his way inside. It was as dark inside the room as it was anywhere else inside Rovhu but that didn't seem to stop John. On his adventurous journey down to the hangar bay John had already found a few things that could've been of some use, one of them being the flashlight he was currently holding.
Turning it on, the Commander made his way inside slowly, careful not to step on anything that looked like it could have been fatal or toxic, he found a workbench that was attached to the floor and wedged in between two of its legs was what appeared to be a toolbox. Moving over to it John tried to dislodge it and discovered why it didn't get sucked out of the portal when the hangar doors opened, it was wedged so tightly that it took almost all the strength to get it out. He gave a cry of joy when he discovered that it was in fact a toolbox and had almost all of its tools still inside of it though it was missing a few things but they were nothing of real importance.
Abandoning his unbelievable discovery he moved further into the room and found two transport pods. One of the pods was irreversibly damaged, but the other just needed some fixing. Stepping into the one that wasn't as heavily damaged, Crichton discovered that it could be fixed though he would have to scavenge parts from the other transport pod. The parts he didn't use to fix the pod could be sold for currency on the planet that they were headed to.
Relaying the good news to both Pilot and Chiana he gave the room a once over and claimed there was nothing else of great importance. He made his way up one tier and started searching rooms individually. It was going to be a very, very long night.
By the time they had finished searching the whole ship it had been one complete solar day and they had found several other things of use. Chiana discovered in one of the rooms a box that had been stashed underneath the floor, inside of it was several pulse pistols and some currency. It wasn't enough to get a doctor for both the pilot and the ship, but it was enough to get them supplies and maybe buy some information of where they could find a doctor with the knowledge of fixing Leviathans.
Crichton liked to believe he was a very moral person, but looking at what supplies they did have, the amount of money that was available, and their situation he told Chiana that he would overlook her kleptomania and in fact actually encouraged it on this one occasion. But only this one time. After all, they did need money if they were going to buy a doctor and any money that they could save now could be used for later.