by FarAnya


As usual, let me say thanks to the writers and creators of Farscape for letting me put words into the mouths of John, Aeryn and the rest of Moya's crew and actions into their hearts and hands. It really takes some unmitigated gall on my part to even begin to think that I could ever hope to improve the incredible craft-worthiness of the vessel we lovingly know as Farscape. Major spoilers for The Way We Weren't.


"Do you remember when you first came aboard Moya? Velorek stroked your cheek like this to calm you. Back then I couldn't fathom why he'd do a thing like that… and now I couldn't fathom not doing it."

John stood silent… holding his breath, choking back tears. He almost couldn't believe what he was witnessing… Aeryn painfully tearing down every defensive shield behind which she'd barricaded her heart. No, not just her heart… herself.


As he had watched the playback of the death of Moya's first pilot and the revelation that Aeryn had been part of the squad that executed her, John's heart had argued violently with his head. This wasn't his Aeryn… it couldn't be.

But it was.

Damming his own emotions behind hastily erected levees, John sat behind Aeryn as she and the rest viewed the recording. He knew Aeryn had changed in the time she'd been with them on board Moya. He could only hope that Zhaan, D'Argo, and Rygel had changed as well. He could only hope that they realized how different Aeryn was now from her first reluctant days aboard Moya.

It seemed that Chiana, at least, understood, although at first the others couldn't see beyond their own prejudicial hatred of the PeaceKeepers. Of course they had been tortured by the PeaceKeepers and Chiana hadn't, but still…

He found Aeryn, weeping, huddled on the floor of the maintenance bay, her knuckles bloodied and bruised. It was the first time he'd ever seen her cry uncontrollably. Gently he took her into his arms, rocked her, stroked her hair, and murmured comforting sounds, until she at last cried herself out.


"You're making hamburger there."

Aeryn couldn't remember the last time anyone had held her close, and let her cry her fears and hurts away. She didn't think it had even happened when she was a child. Not that the hurt was gone yet… not by a long shot. Now, ever since she'd watched the recording of the death of Moya's first pilot, it seemed she'd been crying.

She had barely managed to hold the tears at bay as she watched the playback. It brought back so many memories of a time… and people… she'd worked hard to forget. She had only been following orders and afterward she'd put it out of her mind, like she did all the other distasteful jobs she was required to do. It was only in the privacy of her quarters – or when she was on routine patrol alone in her Prowler – that the memories tended to spill over her mental baricades.

Until she'd seen the recording, she'd had no idea that she had been aboard Moya before. That first time, she couldn't remember ever hearing the name of the leviathan mentioned or hearing more than a few words spoken by the new pilot. Besides the ship then had held an entire prison garrison and its' accompanying Prowler squadron. Not to mention the prisoners… hundreds of them… so many different species.

Now it was different. Empty chambers and cells that had once been filled with fellow soldiers and prisoners… one Prowler where there had once been more than twenty. When she'd been captured and brought on board Moya barely a cycle ago, there had been nothing to drag the ghosts from her subconscious. Ghosts she had hoped never to have to face again.

As she had watched, she'd felt the hostility and hatred roiling through the chamber… all of it directed at her. Only John, sitting behind her, she thought had no animosity for her. But the anger from the others was nothing compared to what had raged inside her own breast. It had come as a shock to her to learn that the emotions the recording triggered were still as raw as they were the day she had betrayed her heart.

Facing the others had been hard, but explaining to Crichton her relationship with Velorek… that was harder. She knew John cared for her… cared deeply. And in her own way she cared for him also. No matter what she said… no matter how she said it… this was going to hurt him.


"We were lovers."

He had imagined the very worst of Velorek as she tried to explain their relationship. He what, Aeryn? He raped you? he had wanted to shout. What she had said was the last thing he had expected to hear.

Truly it was hard to stifle his surprise. He didn't know that the word love… in any of its variations… even existed in her vocabulary. And he couldn't seem to stop repeating it, though it twisted like a knife in his gut every time he said it.

Although her face was taut with suppressed – and remembered – emotions, hope shot through John like a bolt of lightning and his heart skipped a beat. In his albeit not vast experience, to be lovers generally meant being capable of some sort of emotional bond. That meant that Aeryn had at one time been able to create that bond. Surely she could create it again. Maybe it wouldn't be as intense as first love often is, but what he was offering was a love stronger – he believed – and more honest than her first had been.

He knew how he felt about Aeryn and he believed… he hoped… Aeryn was beginning to feel something for him… something more than friendship and gratitude. He struggled to find the right words that would allow her to explain without feeling guilty. He tried to move beyond the moment, but ultimately he couldn't help but ask, "Did you love him?"

He held his breath as she answered. He could hear the admiration… and the pain… in Aeryn's voice as she began to explain. But before she had gotten very far, Pilot's angry voice interrupted.

John wanted desperately to go with her. A deaf, one-eyed DRD would be able to tell that Pilot was angry. But he respected Aeryn's wish to face her accuser alone. It wasn't until he heard her terrified, strangled voice over the comms that he knew he should have stayed close by. As it was, he and D'Argo barely made it to Pilot's chamber in time to prevent him from venting Aeryn into space.

But Pilot's demand that Aeryn leave Moya was untenable to John. Then, when Aeryn agreed with Pilot that her very presence defiled the memory of Moya's first pilot, John confronted Pilot.

Whatever John expected, it wasn't what happened. Immersed in his own private hell, Pilot severed all his connections to Moya.


"Aeryn Sun… it is not you who deserves death. It is I."

It felt good to get that out into the open. He'd been blaming Aeryn for the death of Moya's first pilot ever since the Hynerian had brought him that recording, though he knew in his heart that the blame should be heaped on his own shoulders.

He hadn't been too surprised to see Crichton and Aeryn enter his chamber together. He had been curious, however, about how they managed to out maneuver the DRDs. As they advanced on his station, he had ordered the remaining DRDs to attack.

Disabling the DRDs, John and Aeryn had approached with pulse pistols aimed directly at him. Pilot had been rather proud to discover that he wasn't afraid. Even when she had scrambled up onto his panel, he hadn't shrunk back or faltered… he had held his ground, refusing to capitulate to her demand to "talk."

Crichton had intervened – spuriously Pilot thought. The "noble" human had claimed to be concerned only for Pilot and Moya. But Pilot had insisted that it was actually the life support system that Crichton was worried about. Then he had let it slip that Moya would be better off without him.

As usual, Crichton got it wrong, but not by much. Crichton might realize what was bothering Pilot, but he missed the reason why. The human said that it wasn't Pilot's fault that the original pilot had been killed. But it was! It had been his eagerness to be bonded with a leviathan that made him the perfect target for Velorek. Velorek knew all the right buttons to push to get the young Pilot to defy the Elders.

It had been his lifelong dream… to fly among the stars as the pilot of a leviathan, a magnificent bio-mechanoid ship… a living creature. And Velorek had offered him the stars. What Velorek hadn't mentioned was the pain that would accompany those stars... constant, unrelenting pain.

Over the intervening cycles, Pilot had forgotten much about his first days on Moya. But seeing the recording those memories had been reawakened … and so had his shame. Now, facing Aeryn again, watching her voluntarily drop her weapon and offering her life for his life and the others, Pilot knew he had to tell them the truth.

Pilot believed that it had been his decision to go with Velorek that had sealed the fate of Moya's first pilot. He felt that surely he had been the only one desperate enough to bargain with that cunning devil. Pilot truly believed that if Velorek couldn't find a replacement, Crais would have been forced to find another leviathan for his secret project… and Moya's first pilot would still be alive.

It was a relief, Pilot discovered, to say that to Aeryn… to accept her apology – but even more so to absolve her of the death of the old pilot. As he watched the tears well up in her dark, luminous eyes, he realized he'd never seen a Sebacean cry. He felt honored by the implied trust and intimacy. He reached up to gently stroke her cheek to comfort her, as she had comforted him only a few microts before.

Their eyes locked, and in her eyes Pilot discovered compassion such as he had never dreamed of in a PeaceKeeper. Aeryn's time aboard Moya had changed her. But he rather doubted that Aeryn had been a typical PeaceKeeper. All the PeaceKeepers he had dealt with before were ruthless, uncaring automatons. Velorek had been the only other PeaceKeeper to ever touch Pilot in any way unconnected with the business of actually piloting Moya. Concern for others, such as Aeryn had just shown, was not the norm.

Pilot quickly searched the databases he still had access to and found the procedure that would give him rudimentary control of Moya's systems. Still gazing tenderly at Aeryn, he silently withdrew his demand for her immediate departure. She was right… they did have a long journey yet ahead of them. And he was sure, as he knew she was, that there would be many pitfalls and many wrong turns, before they all finally reached journey's end.