Chapter 15:

With a well aimed Pantak jab, Pittach neutralised the human guard whom she was wrestling and, careful to balance staying under cover with assessing the situation and any threats in the room, she sat up the better to look around. As she did so she kicked the security guard's pistol to one side and drew her own pulse pistol from the holster on her thigh.

The older human woman, Dr Flyte, was already rushing to the side of the crumpled bodies of the newcomers, who were unknown to Pittach. The strangers now lay by the entrance to the room, beside the gun one had used to shoot the Peacekeeper soldier. The other gun they had used could not be seen. Closer to hand, Aeryn and Livvy stood, one arm round each others' waists, a pulse pistol now in Aeryn's free, right hand. Captain Kovack stood nearby, his own pistol still in his hand and pointed towards the entrance to the room. He was casting his gaze ominously around, checking the remaining humans in case there was any more trouble. He need not have worried, as the only humans still moving were the two reporters. The two younger researchers and the other security guard were all cowering, shocked by the sudden outbreak of violence and bloodshed.

"She's dead," Flyte remarked over her shoulder to Kovack and anyone else who was in earshot. Kovack gave a deep sigh followed by a shrug as the camera crew crowded them both. "Him too," she confirmed a few seconds later regarding Mr. White.

"Good shooting," Aeryn remarked. Kovack nodded in absent-minded acknowledgement of the praise.

"Then you should check on the other guy," Kovack suggested, gesturing towards where the Peacekeeper had fallen. Kovack regretted shooting the couple, whoever they were, but he was confident that he had done the right thing: They had come in, weapons drawn, shot one person without warning and were clearly getting started on a spree. He was pretty sure that there would be questions to answer, but there would be plenty of questions to answer over this whole sorry business, and at least it seemed as though the camera had been running the whole time: That, at least, should provide evidence that he had had no choice but to act to defend the occupants of the room, himself included.

"Stay here!" he heard Aeryn order her daughter, as the two captains and Dr. Flyte converged on the body of the fallen Peacekeeper.

"He's alive… just," Flyte commented as she tried to staunch the wound on the man's abdomen. "We need to get him to a hospital…" she continued.

"No!" Aeryn replied flatly, before adding more softly, "We will take our own casualties back to Moya with us."

"I think we can put our differences to one side…." Flyte began to admonish Aeryn, but Aeryn shook her head before explaining to the human.

"We have better facilities, and know how to treat our own better than you would. And besides, I think we can get there quicker. You two!" Aeryn pointed to the conscious guard and the male scientist, "Bring that thing… I have a job for you!" She finished, pointing to the emergency first aid stretcher hanging on one wall, the words to describe it being beyond her English vocabulary.

Less than a minute later the small party was making its way back through the Fairfax building, towards the courtyard, Aeryn pulled out a comms badge, receiving reports and barking orders into it as they went. After a few moments, she turned to Kovack.

"It seems the site is largely secured, with very few casualties. However, my people report that we have attracted some attention from your authorities and we won't be alone here for much longer."

"I reckon my people can take it from here," Kovack replied with a nod. It was not really surprising that the authorities were starting to notice that strange things were afoot and to home in on where they were happening. "It's probably best if you and your people make yourself scarce, anyway. Less chance for misunderstandings to escalate. We wouldn't want any trigger happy red-neck deciding to bag himself one of the Usual Alien Suspects, would we?"

"I agree," Aeryn nodded, not even noticing that she had no problem with understanding Kovack's Earthism. "But, just in case you need us, take this." She pressed a comms badge into his hand, which he inspected with a raised eyebrow before swiftly pocketing it.

"You know, Captain Sun, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship," Kovack remarked as they emerged into the sunlit parking lot.

"~~~~~~~~"

John perked up immediately that Aeryn entered their quarters. He watched her shrug off her jacket, hanging it up alongside her weapons belt as he sat up in their bed.

"I know you wanted me to see J'Alart, for a medical, babe, but you needn't have gone to all this trouble," he commented with a small smile, tapping the dressing on his shoulder then the one on his forehead. Aeryn half turned to watch him and frowned.

"You, human, are truly…..strange," she retorted, continuing with her business.

"Would you have it any other way?" he replied as she turned and walked towards him.

"No," she laughed, dropping to her knees on the bed beside him and smoothing his hair with the palm of her hand.

"How's Deke doing?" John asked, revelling in her touch.

"He's fine. I think he's enjoying having Chiana, J'Alart and some of the others fuss over him."

"I reckon he probably is," laughed John. "Chip off the old block….."

"He looks as though he's spent too much time on his eema this last monen, not enough time doing exercise," Aeryn snorted. "I've scheduled a two arn run for him tomorrow before first meal," Aeryn continued, now poker faced. "I'll let him know after I've finished here."

"That'll cheer him up. Anyway, shouldn't that be a two arn hop?" John asked. Aeryn laughed lightly in response to Johns' remarks. "So, that was a joke, huh, Captain? About the run?" She shrugged non-committally but grinned to indicate that maybe she wasn't serious.

"I thought you'd appreciate that. Almost as much as I thought you'd appreciate hearing that someone found our possessions in the Fairfax offices. So I've got my CD back, the one you bought me at the gas station."

"Oh!" John wondered aloud, the exclamation encompassing a dozen or more unspoken thoughts, good and bad.

"And some old pulse pistol of yours, of course," she added nonchalantly with a grin.

"Ah!" He responded, grinning back and settling back onto the bed. "Honey, what's been going on down there? Down on Earth?"

Aeryn sighed. She was hoping they wouldn't have had this conversation yet. For now, she wanted to just concentrate on having her family safely back on Moya. However, as he had asked, she could not deny him an answer.

"Kovack's return and our raid on Fairfax caused a lot of problems for a lot of people. They haven't sorted everything out or detained everyone that they want to yet, but I think they found enough evidence at Fairfax to be going along with and to keep the law enforcement officers busy. Blowing up Kovack's spaceship and capturing and holding our children against their will and without proper authority are both being regarded particularly badly, apparently. Combine that with the testimony from people like Flyte and Kovack, and it seems that it is no longer us who are the wanted criminals."

"Public opinion's a fickle thing, but it's the people in charge that worry me, always have. I bet some of them'll dodge the bullet."

"Well, Zobrek and Sikozu are doing their best to explain to the leaders of your people…"

"Not my people. The people on Moya are my people."

"Uh hmmm…. " she smoothed his hair once again and smiled down at him. "They are explaining how civilized species are expected to behave," she continued, half pretending to ignore the interruption, even though she felt a small shock of satisfaction when he had said that the people on Moya were his people. "Anyway, what about Olivia, your father and the rest? Aren't they your family?"

"Well there is that." He conceded with a wistful smile. "OK. So maybe not all of my people are up here."

"Hmmm. That's good. Because I've spent the last half arn trying to arrange a visit to Moya for your family. And I asked Olivia whether she would like to visit, to help, when we have the baby."

"B.. baby? So….. we're having it?" John practically floated out of bed in bliss.

"Only if you want," Aeryn replied, feigning indifference. "But we need a Peacekeeper med tech facility to release the stasis, and how often do we have one of those at hand?"

"Hardly ever," conceded John with a broad grin.

"And I know Clow would be so disappointed if we didn't ask her for any help. She is such a…." Aeryn searched her memory for a suitable human word. "She's such a sweetie."

"So, when do we visit the command carrier?" John asked with a grin.

"~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"

Two days later, his injuries much better, John and Aeryn stood alone, side by side, on the observation deck. Their arms were wrapped around each other, her head on his good shoulder, his head resting on hers. Earth hung before them, blocking out almost everything else with its bright mix of blue, green and white. It seemed as though Moya had oriented herself to maximise the beauty of the view from the terrace.

"You know, you were right, it really is quite beautiful," Aeryn commented with a nod.

"Glad you like it," John replied with a smile.

"Well, it's easier to appreciate when your life isn't being threatened, or when you're not being driven to distraction by someone being a drannit…" Aeryn replied. " I didn't really get to enjoy it before."

"Yeah, it's nice to get to see it without someone trying to suck my brains out for a change," John rejoindered. He ignored the drannit comment and the one after that, knowing full well what period those remarks probably referred to and not wishing at that moment to drag up their relationship during their previous visit to Earth.

"You know, I am surprised, after all they went through, but Deke and Livvy are really going to miss the place," Aeryn remarked. "They want to stay for a while, get to know your family, eat some more of that awful human food. And get fat and lazy sitting on their eemas playing computer games like Earth kids for a while, I imagine…" Aeryn continued with a half grin, seemingly oblivious to how close her drannit remark had come to causing the conversation to go in an unwelcome direction.

"Can't be doing with that. I hope you've already told Chiana to restrict their diet to foodcubes," John replied.

"But on the other hand, we could stay for a little while," Aeryn suggested with carefully affected nonchalance.

"Hmm. From what you've told me, it looks like we're going to be completely off the hook with the authorities," John responded. Aeryn turned her head towards him for a moment and gave a brief frown as she tried to comprehend his latest Earthism. She decided it wasn't important. "It'd be nice to stay for just a little while, say hi to people, catch up on news and all. But Moya's my home now," he finished, squeezing Aeryn reassuringly.

"Hmm. You could get to know Larry a bit better. Go fishing with him," Aeryn replied. "And I could go motorcycling with your sister," she continued with a wistful grin. John stared agape, marvelling at how much Aeryn seemed to have misunderstood his sister. It was the Peacekeeper upbringing, of course. They had very different outlooks on many things. Which reminded him:

"So, the Peacekeepers aren't planning on cutting Earth off from the rest of the Universe then?" John asked.

"Clow said something about the toothpaste being out of the tube and not being able to get it back in again," Aeryn cracked a slight smile. "I wonder where she picked up such a bizarre saying as that?"

"Can't imagine," John smirked.

"And she also said that Erplings are like children, and that we cannot condemn the whole planet because of a few individuals."

"Couldn't have put it better…"

"What, that Erplings are like children?" It was now Aeryn's turn to smirk.

"Now just a microt, missy…" John began.

"Of course Clow says that they ought to set up some sort of embassy on Earth, now that the humans have space-faring capability," Aeryn continued. "It's a complicated business, though, setting up something here. They'll need at least one ship that can navigate wormholes, and a sanctuary up in orbit until they can trust the humans a bit more."

"Makes sense," John grunted, nodding.

"And, to start with, they will need someone that they can trust and who understands humans to head the embassy," Aeryn continued, staring straight ahead at the planet filling the viewing portal. "It is not going to be easy to find such a person."

"Did they have anyone in mind?" John asked, turning his head to look at her face, a curious smile slowly spreading from his mouth to his eyes. Maybe it would be nice for Deke and Livvy to have an extended visit, to get a chance to learn a bit about Earth and some of their human heritage, before they all headed off back to the UTs, John thought to himself.

She turned her head to his and raised an eyebrow. "Actually, yes. But if you ask me nicely, I'm sure I can find a job for you, too," she teased.

He batted her nose with his own and giggled. "Is this asking nicely enough, Captain?" he breathed, slowly pulling her closer.

"That's Commandant. Clow agreed my old rank would command more respect from the humans and seemed more appropriate, given the responsibility," she purred, grinning back at him as he kissed his way around her face. "And that's nicely enough for janitor…." She teased, biting her lip with pleasure now at his attentions. "Although I doubt if you'll have time to take on a formal position," she added softly.

"Hmm, and why is that, Commandant Ambassador?" John asked idly, rubbing her forehead and nose with his own.

"Because you'll be too busy looking after the baby, Mr. Sun," Aeryn answered, capturing John's mouth with her own and so denying him the chance to reply.

"~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"

The end.

Sorry for the soppy ending. OK, I'm not really, if I'm honest. Besides, the way I see it, if you've suffered through reading all this and all my nasty cliff-hanger chapter endings, I owe you the FanFic equivalent of a big bowl of full fat ice cream. I hoped you enjoyed it.

Yours, ADS.