The Trouble With Normal. (PG)

Part 1: Uncharted Territories

Rating and warnings: PG, nothing you wouldn't have encountered watching the TV series.

Setting: 16 Years post PKW, so, a Future Fic, may be AU, depending on the extent to which I get "Canon-Frelled" by the comics. I've been writing this since last summer and, after several revisions to keep aligned with the comics, I gave up… If it doesn't synch with the comics, I'm past caring. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment. Indeed, in the few days it has taken to beta-and-correct Part 1, it seems this story has already become Irreversibly AU. Now I sort-of know what it must have felt like to have been writing fanfic when the show was airing!

More Wafflings: This is an A/J-centric action-adventure and was originally sparked by a review someone did for one of the comics on Amazon. It is also frelling long. I had originally planned for it to be about 20K words. How I laugh at that now, when Part 1 (of 3) alone is that long. Seeing as I am still writing Part 3, it could take a few months yet before it is all posted. I was not trying to write something political or critical of anyone in the real world, by the way. I just wanted to write an enjoyable "Ripping Yarn:" Please don't expect anything else from this story beyond that. It's also not exactly original in many, many places. But it is long by my standards. Did I mention that?

I'm planning on posting this story at the rate of about a chapter a week. This is in order to make any readers as frustrated as possible (I'm naughty like that), to give me a chance to fix any gaffs that any readers might spot and because I haven't actually finished writing it yet. If I start posting, I have to finish – posting a chapter a week gives me time to actually do so. Each part should contain about 5 chapters, so this could take some months. Just like watching the show (I wish).

Thanks: Very, very many thanks to pdsldl for beta-ing

Disclaimers: Not mine, not for profit. If anyone can remember why we write fanfic, could you let me know?

And so, without further ado, because there's plenty to read without any more pre-story waffling….

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Prologue:

Every crewmember of the Pantak class Vigilante was dead.

During the Scarran-Peacekeeper war, the ship had been part of a Peacekeeper flotilla which had engaged a Scarran Dreadnought and its escorts. A freak shot from the Dreadnought had destroyed the Peacekeeper ship's life support system. The Vigilante had suffered little other damage in the exchange, but that did not matter for its unfortunate crew, who had been lyophilized within a matter of microts. Few ships on either side had survived that engagement, and none of those that had had any time to waste on recovering a dead ship. So, the Vigilante continued on its course undisturbed, obeying what an Erpling like the notorious John Crichton would have termed the Newtonian laws of motion, straight towards the heart of Tormented Space.

Fourteen monens passed, and the Vigilante travelled deeper and deeper into Tormented Space. All the while, Captain Cholla remained at her post, the consummate Peacekeeper corpse. After that time, the ship began to draw closer to one particular planet, and it's nearby, flaring sun. Collision alarms blared on the ship's deserted bridge. But, of course, none of the freeze-dried crew responded. To avert crashing into the planet, the Vigilante's guidance system began to make emergency, automated course corrections. The ship swept closer to the planet's atmosphere, but, thanks to the ship's automated computer piloting system, it was soon no longer on course to crash into the planet, or to burn up in it's atmosphere. Rather, the Vigilante began to swing round the planet, passing through it's upper atmosphere in a partial orbit, gaining speed as it did so under the influence of the planet's gravity.

The Vigilante entered the fringes of the atmosphere, and shortly afterwards, by some freak of timing, the nearby sun flared once again. More klaxons blared on the dead ship's command as radiation levels rose to dangerous levels. Dangerous levels had anyone on board been alive, of course. Turbulence began to buffet the ship. Then, without time for further alarms, there was a discharge of electric-blue in the atmosphere ahead of the Vigilante, a funnel swirling in the fabric of space and time. And then, the ship was gone.