Sequel to Letting Go which is the SC 62 sequel to JJ's SC 61 The Vice-Chancellor and the Admiral.
Disclaimer: Henson and Co. own Farscape. Anything they don't own I borrowed from JJ.
Thanks to for pushing me to write this and letting me sound off and to Darkland for looking it over.
Word count: about 7,270 words.
Everything was all quiet on Moya. The lights were dimmed in sleep mode. Currently the ship was docked to Felko's command carrier for the celebrations that were underway.
Currently there was only one protest to re-ratifying the treaty. The Scarrans wanted equal representation in all endeavors. This included sending their own delegation to the games and Moya. The Captain had agreed to allow a Khalish delegation onboard in their place. No one was comfortable with Scarrans onboard.
The evening stillness was broken only by the great ship's breath. One of the new crew members found herself pacing the halls. Greshyn wasn't used to sleeping alone. Her room was huge compared to the space she was used to. Privacy was a new experience for her. Although the door wasn't solid, she could drop the privacy screen anytime she wanted. She'd already put away the few things she owned.
Pilot had asked her to keep a DRD with her so she wouldn't get lost. She hadn't learned her way around yet. Greshyn had tried to sleep earlier, but it was too quiet, too lonely.
She had met the rest of the crew earlier. Commander Crichton was the "Tactical Officer" who also maintained all of Moya's systems that Pilot and the DRDs couldn't. There was Chiana, Moya's "Social Officer" who really covered security and defense. Olpin had taken to following her around. She said it was always good to know one's defenses.
The "Science Officer" was a Khalish by the name of Sikozu. There was a history there, but Greshyn didn't know what it was. Sikozu was obviously trusted and respected, but there were deeper mixed feelings among the crew. It was an unconscious tension, but it didn't affect the way anyone performed their duties.
Then there was Noranti, who strangely enough was a cook whose cooking no one ate. There was currently a sign-up sheet for a cook's assistant. Greshyn had the impression that it was a polite way of requesting a replacement. She figured that Ssezzin might volunteer for that one. She loved to critique the mess hall cooks. Now she could learn the trade.
Chiana had provided her with Moya's accepted uniform. Peacekeeper uniforms were frowned upon on the leviathan. Moya's crew wore an adapted brown and golden jump suit. It didn't matter if you were tech or soldier everyone wore the same uniform or civilian clothing.
None of Moya's officers wore a uniform. They also broke rank quite often. Chiana had explained that the uniform was mostly worn when the crew was mingling with others, such as now, during a peace negotiation.
Greshyn finished flattening out the creases and looked in her mirror. It fit perfectly. The Nebari knew her size. For the first time in her life, Greshyn felt comfortable in her clothes. She fingered the patch on her uniform shoulder. It was an image of Moya.
Lost in thought, she didn't hear anyone approach... "Hi," the shy voice startled her out of her reflection. She turned to see who was watching her.
She was surprised to see a little boy; he looked to be about seven, staring back at her. His short brown hair and gray eyes reminded her of the captain. "Hi, yourself," she responded back. "Who are you?"
"Robert," he answered. "You can call me Robby. That's what my friends call me."
Greshyn smiled. "And we are going to be friends?"
"Of course, silly, on Moya everyone is friends. Enemies aren't welcome here." He walked over and took her hand, "What's your name?"
"Greshyn. I just transferred from the command carrier."
"Oh," he nodded seriously. "You're gonna have to lighten up. Dad says everyone on the carrier is too tense. He says they don't have a sense of humor. You're going to need one here."
"I promise to work on it." She looked him over. "Your dad is Commander Crichton?" She wasn't really guessing. He looked like a miniature version of his father.
"Yeah, you're not supposed to tell anyone though!"
"I'm supposed to be a secret. Only Moyans know about me and said so..."
"I promise I won't tell anyone."
He looked relieved. He started to say something.
Chiana shouted at him, "Robert Sun-Crichton you know better than to skip out on me."
The boy visibly deflated. "Sorry Aunt Chi," he said looking down uncomfortably.
She just shook her head. "Don't do it again."
"Yes, ma'am,'' he responded.
"Better get to the Center Chamber. Your parents are looking for you."
"Yes Aunt Chi." He ran off as quickly as he appeared.
"I hope the narl wasn't bothering you," the nebari came into her room.
"No," she answered. "He wasn't. I didn't know Deke had a brother."
"Aeryn and Crichton don't want anyone to know about him. It's for his protection. If they could have kept Deke a secret they would have. Obviously, it didn't work out that way.''
Chiana stepped forward, almost into Greshyn's space.
Giving her a once over Chiana said, "Your one of us now. That means you keep our secrets too."
"I promise I won't tell anyone about him."
"Good. Now let's see you." The Nebari straightened the edges of the shoulders. "That uniform fits you well. The colors look good on you." Chiana reached up and brushed back the white lock of hair that covered Greshyn's scar. "What happened there?"
Greshyn swallowed, "I let down my guard once. This is a reminder that I must never do it again." She closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them, the blue had changed to brown. "The person who attacked me said it was payback for what my parents had done. My mother is hated among certain factions of Peacekeepers, but she is well protected. I make a good target."
Chiana patted her shoulder and repeated, "You are one of us now. You will be safe aboard Moya. Come, it's time to leave for the State Dinner."
"You're coming, right?"
"No. I prefer to stay onboard and watch Robby. Command Carriers are not my idea of a good time. I like a real party..."
"I was hoping for a friendly face."
"You'll be sitting with Aeryn, Crichton and Deke. You'll have your friends. Olpin and Ssezzin will be' joining you. Go on and have a good time."
"I will try."
"Keep a look out for the best gossip and anything worth snurching." Chiana nodded her head and turned off to the Center Chamber.
Although Rygel had reclaimed his throne, he still acted as spokesman for Moya on occasion. It was times like these when Aeryn and John were grateful for the little slug. Almost everyone was expected to give a speech and Rygel, in his element, always volunteered. All of Moya's delegation was seated in the front section. The crew was dressed in Moya's colors, while the Captain and Commander wore black.
The Hynerian had just finished his speech when the explosion happened. It caught everyone of guard. It came during the middle of the main officials speech. It was impossible to see who was hurt.
John picked himself up off the floor. "Aeryn! Deke!" He heard moaning and knew the wet feeling on his forehead was blood. He coughed, making his way over to where Deke and Aeryn had been sitting. Aeryn was just getting up, holding her hand to her head. She reached out and helped Deke to his feet. The girls were just standing up from the floor. They looked unharmed.
Lanet and her family were accounted for. They stood over by the door. The emergency extinguisher system had engaged and most of the flames were out. The smoke seemed to be floating in clouds. It was more gas than smoke.
Medics came swarming in to help the wounded. Soldiers were assisting with the evacuation. John herded his group to the hall. "Get them back to Moya, he yelled at Aeryn and went back in to see if he could help anyone. Chiana was running up the hall and met Aeryn not far from the door.
"Chiana, you and Lanet get everyone back to Moya. John and I will be there shortly." Aeryn turned before she could respond and rushed back into the smoky room.
Chiana started pushing everyone down the hall back toward the hatch Moya was moored to. The corridor was hazy and hard to see through. By the time they got the hatch open, half their group was were showing signs of smoke inhalation. Greshyn was leaning heavily on Chiana. Toluko was being carried by his father and Deke was fighting to stay upright and keep moving. Lanet saw his distress and rushed over to help him.
As they came aboard Moya, Chiana decided the maintenance bay that doubled as the med ward was a better place to go. Ssezzin led the way, making sure the path remained clear. Olpin brought up the rear, keeping an eye out for any danger. They had just reached their destination when Robert came running in. "Aunt Chi, is everyone ok? What happened?"
"Robert! Everyone is fine. There was an accident in the dining hall. Your parents are making sure everyone is taken care of and they will be here when they're done." Chiana walked over to the table and pulled Greshyn's arm from her shoulders. "Sit down. I need to check you over."
Lanet came up with Deke and tried to get him to lay down on the bed. She had been taking more and more of his weight and now he looked like he was going to fall down. "No, I'm fine. I just need to catch my breath.
Lanet looked over at Chiana. "Catch your breath? It ran away?"
Chiana rolled her eyes. Over the years she had learned most Crichtonisms, and now she was going to have to explain them… later.
Chiana was in no mood to be nice. "D'Argo Sun-Crichton! You lie down on that bed and let her check you out. You could easily have gotten hurt and I will not explain to your mother why I didn't make sure you were alright."
Lanet's mate Merrin walked over to the table Greshyn was sitting on and sat his son down. Toluko's eyes were dilated; his breathing shallow and his lips were blue. His normally bright red hair was so pale as to be almost orange. He coughed weakly into his father's arms.
Robert stayed quietly in the corner. He watched everyone rushing around. It was scaring him how tense everyone was. Deke waived his younger brother over to his bed. He patted the mattress and Robert climbed up next to him. "Rob, everything's fine. Aunt Chi is just being bossy while she can get away with it. You know what she's like when she doesn't get her reslak.
Chiana growled at him, but stopped short of complaining. Robert tended to worry whenever anyone was in distress. The crew had made a concerted effort to avoid showing him how stressed they were. He had always been on the frail side and was just starting to settle down. Right now he was smiling at his brother's silliness and Chiana did not need a hysterical narl on her hands.
Deke was getting worse and trying really hard not to show it. He had lost all color and his vision had darkened. Right now he was seeing two of Chiana, and one was always enough.
Lanet and Chiana hurried to set up two more beds. Greshyn was still sitting up under her own power, but Chiana didn't know how much longer she would be able to. She had her eyes closed to stop the dizziness. Her body felt hot all over and her skin felt like she had scabber flies crawling all over her. Olpin was standing next to her to make sure she didn't fall.
By the time Aeryn and John arrived, the three children were lying in bed stabilized. Robert jumped off his brother's bed and ran up to his father. "Daddy, Deke's sick."
"I know son." He patted his back. "He'll be alright." John looked over his shoulder at Chiana. He raised his eyebrows in silent question. Chiana shook her head.
"There was a lot of smoke," Chiana answered. "How bad was it?"
"Three dead, several wounded. A few people were suffering from the smoke. No idea yet was happened. All things considered, it could have been much worse," John answered.
"How are they?" Aeryn asked.
Chiana looked worried. "Except for Olpin and Ssezzin, all the children are suffering."
Lanet stepped forward. "The symptoms are like poison from a chemical agent. It's slightly different for each one of them." She paused and looked at her son. "That could be because of their heritage. This could affect them differently because of their physiology."
"Can you treat it?"
"First I'd have to know what it is." She paused. "I have a thought." She looked back at her son in dread. "I'm a scientist, not a doctor. My last assignment was working with Scorpious to create a new weapon. Sometime ago Peacekeeper Command received several threats from a religious group of fanatics. They warned of purging the ranks of abominations. They meant children like my son."
After a brief moment she added, "Like your children. My assignment under Scorpious was formulating counter agents to known poisons that attack on the DNA helix level. I'm afraid I don't know which poison this is, and whether there is a counter agent."
Aeryn responded, "I'll see if I can get a doctor form the command carrier to assist you. Pilot can assist you with any of the human information you need. When we were on Crichton's home world, Chiana bought him several books including human medical books."
Chiana smirked at John, "Well, Crichton, I thought if you ever tried to get blown up again, it might help to know how to put you back together."
"Thanks, Pip," he said dryly.
"Don't mention it."
"Pilot," Aeryn said.
"Could you contact the carrier and find out if they have a doctor they can send over?"
"Already done. Doctor Drammon will be here as soon as he can."
"Thank you, Pilot," John replied. He grabbed Robert's hand and walked over to Deke. "Hey son, how are you feeling?"
"Like I got hit by a Mac Truck," Deke replied. "The truck one… In case you were wondering."
John tried to smile. Deke was very pale and fragile looking. The symptoms were coming on so rapidly. Aeryn joined them and hugged Deke.
A few minutes later, Lanet called them over. John set Robert back on the bed next to his brother and followed Aeryn to the other side of the bay. The Interion was setting a scanner. Chiana was standing next to her. "Robert is starting to show the symptoms. He's not nearly as bad, but he wasn't exposed to the gas directly. That's a bad sign. The smoke we ran through could have been an aerosol chemical agent. It may have spread through Moya. Pilot is trying to expel any remnant gas, but It may be too late for that to matter."
"Any idea why the rest of us aren't showing symptoms?" Aeryn asked.
Looking over the room, Lanet noticed that Ssezzin and Olpin had taken up position next to Greshyn. Merrin hadn't left their son's side. "If Greshyn weren't sick I'd say it was hybrid susceptibility."
Crichton, Aeryn and Chiana shared a look. It was more than possible that Greshyn was only half sebacean. Aeryn said, "It's all we've got. Why don't you start there? You know more about this kind of weapon, so you tell us, where do we start? What can we do to help?"
Lanet looked over at Ssezzin and Olpin and nodded her head. "I'm going to need space to work. I don't know these systems yet. Do you know how to operate these scanners?"
Aeryn responded, "A little. With Pilot's help, we should be able to get them calibrated to do whatever you need them to do."
"Commander, is there any way you can find out more about the weapon? Perhaps the command carrier security teams have learned more?"
"Yeah. I can do that." Realizing that the other two cadets would only be in the way in the maintence bay he said, "I'll take the girls with me. Between the three of us, we should be able to learn more. They might have a better idea of who to talk to on the carrier than I do. Girls!" he called out to them. "I need your help getting information from the carrier."
Olpin leaned down to whisper in Greshyn's ear. "You had better recover from this. You are way too stubborn to die on me."
Greshyn smiled weakly, "Don't worry I'll be here when you get back."
John turned and left the bay, trailed by the two girls. He walked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Aeryn was worried about him, but right now they had more important things to worry about.
Chiana sidled over to Aeryn. She whispered, "Is he going to be alright?"
"Yeah. Just give him time and keep him busy. Right now our priority is finding a cure for this." She waved her hand toward the children.
"Where do you want me?"
"Comm Rygel down on the planet. Let him know what's going on and see if he can send us one of his doctors. Then get a hold of the carrier and find out where that frelling doctor is."
"I'm on it," Chiana shouted as she left the bay.
"Merrin, keep an eye on their vitals. Let me know if there is any change," Lanet said. He nodded.
"Okay, let's get to work," Aeryn turned to the table.
"Captain?" Lanet asked hesitantly. "You and the Commander didn't seem surprised that Greshyn is ill too."
"No not really. Let's leave it alone for now." She paused, "I wouldn't mention it to John. Right now we need to focus on finding an antidote. Your theory is probably right. Let's start there for now."
"Right," Lanet tapped the machine and started turning dials. "I want to concentrate on keeping them stable. Let's see what we can do to bring their fevers down. I'm going to need to know their vital baselines."
John leaned back in the chair between the med beds. Robby was sprawled over him, cuddled in his arms. He was warm, but he was sleeping, so Crichton was staying optimistic about his condition.
After promising to call her if there was any change in the patients, he had finally chased Lanet out of the bay so she could get some much needed rest. D'Argo was on one side of him, asleep. There were monitor wires to make sure he didn't overheat. No one knew if Deke was susceptible to heat delirium and no one wanted to find out.
Greshyn lay still on the other bed. The tubes pouring out of her body brought back nightmares of Lo Mo and the drug pumping. So far she hadn't displayed any unusual heat symptoms in spite of running a fever. It was even more proof that she wasn't completely sebacean. The heat delirium would have set in by now.
For the first time since the explosion, John found himself with time to really think about Greshyn and what being a half-breed meant. She was his daughter.
That was not as much of a shock as he thought it would be. The girl wasn't anything like her mother. Looking at her, John couldn't see a resemblance to anyone. She was her own person. That made the burden that much easier to accept. She belonged on Moya. The crew had already accepted her. Everyone was worried about the children, Greshyn was no exception.
The beeping of the scanner brought the human back from his mind wanderings. He commed Lanet and waited for her to arrive.
John was on command, going over the latest Peacekeeper reports about the explosion. The latest intel indicated that the Kampeks were responsible. No one was really sure what the motivation was. Purity of sebacean lines should hardly matter to them.
"Hey," Aeryn said as she came up behind him.
"Hey," he responded without looking up.
She half smiled. As stressful as everything was, the familiar exchange was comforting. "Are you alright?"
He looked over his shoulder at her. "I'm fine."
"John?" she asked forcefully.
He turned around and leaned back on the consol. "I'm worried about the children. The intel from the carrier isn't good. It was a suicide bomb. They haven't verified the organization. Peacekeeper Command believes it's the Kampeks."
She walked over to him and put her hands on the sides of his face. "John. Look at me. I'm sure that Command is doing everything they can to find the bad guys." She said firmly, "Talk to me."
His eyes focused intently on hers. "Aeryn, we've always known it was a possibility that she was mine. The not knowing is far worse than it being true. From everything we've learned about her, she's a girl any father would be proud to call his own."
Aeryn stepped forward into his arms and pulled him in tight. "Then Moya is where she belongs. I only wish we could have found out under better circumstances. They are all so sick."
"We don't even know how to fight it," he whispered.
Aeryn stepped back a little and set her hands back on the sides of his face. "We will find the cure. Have a little faith. Lanet has made great progress. Greshyn is actually starting to look a little better. The boys haven't gotten any worse."
John reached out and grabbed her hand. "I know. I am trying, Aeryn."
"I know," she whispered. "Chiana is on the carrier. She's trying to find out what she can from the medic bay."
Chiana looked around the command carrier med bay. Every bed was filled. Some patients were being treated in their quarters. The medics were over whelmed at the sheer number of patients.
She wandered over to the doctor, trying to keep a positive face for all the sick. The last count of ill was forty. She was a little surprised to learn how many hybrids there were aboard the command carrier.
Scorpious was being treated in the far left corner bed. Since he was a half-breed, she wasn't surprised to see him. In the opposite corner, Chiana saw confusion among the medics around the furthest medical bay. The technicians were hushed in their assessment of the patient. As one of the Medics stepped away, Chiana caught a glimpse of the patient. It was Vice Chancellor Grayza.
The Nebari made her way over to the Peacekeeper doctor. "Dr. Drammon, I'm Chiana from Moya. How are things going?"
He looked over at her. "The ill keep coming. Right now it is confined to hybrids. There are about a hundred on board, about forty-five of them are ill."
"So no one who isn't of mixed blood is in danger?"
"It doesn't look that way. This is a very targeted chemical bio-agent designed to attack the bond between different genetic materials."
"Huh," Chiana mumbled. "So we should concentrate on the link between the hybrid DNA and the contagion."
"I'll let Lanet know. She's been trying to find link. Do you know which species are affected?"
''Sebacean, obviously. Scarran, interion, human, as you know. We have two khalish hybrids that are ill. One victim is part nebari. In fact, would you be swelling to give me a sample? I have no pure Nebari DNA to compare it to."
"Absolutely. Anything the crew of Moya can do, let us know. Do you need anything else?"
"Commander Crichton's son is ill as well, right? If I could get a sample of his blood it might help me. And a sample of his child's, then I can compare untainted DNA with the ill."
"I'll make sure of it. Is there any way we can help with your research? Lanet has the med bay calibrated for testing. Her specialty is genetic manipulation. We could help."
"That would be great. You have Vice-Chancellor Grayza's daughter on board, right?"
"She's probably ill, too. If not, she probably will be soon. If you could concentrate on nebari, interrion and human physiology, we could move faster. Obviously your ship has the advantage there. Come to my office. I'll give you the information I have so far."
Lanet stood in the doorway of the med bay, not wanting to disturb the captain and her husband. The couple was whispering in the corner, but Lanet's superior hearing meant that she heard every word clearly.
"John, it's not your fault.'
"It's always my fault."
Aeryn reached out and grabbed both sides of his face. 'Stop this right now. You are not the one who infected them. You're not blame yourself."
"Aeryn, if they weren't part human, they wouldn't be ill..."
"That's true. They also wouldn't be here. Robby, Deke, Greshyn, none of them would be alive at all if they weren't yours. Stop beating yourself up. We need to focus on finding out what did this and how we can cure it."
The Interion slipped forward. "Commander, Captain. I couldn't help but overhear you. I'm confused. Greshyn's not ill because she's part human."
John squinted at her in confusion. "She's not?"
Lanet shook her head. "No. She's ill because she's part Nebari."
Aeryn looked confused. "She's part Nebari? How is that possible?"
"Well, her parents were obviously Sebacean and Nebari. Her blood work is a little uneven. She's not half and half. My guess is that one of her parents is half Nebari."
John looked shell shocked. "So I'm not her father," he said.
Although it wasn't a question, Lanet responded, "Definitely not." She looked a little confused, but decided it was better not to ask.
A commotion at the door brought everyone around to see Chiana rushing into the bay. "Lanet Dr. Drammon would like to confer with you. He has some information he thinks would help you. He would also like your help."
"I'll go speak to him." She turned and walked out of the room.
"Crichton, Aeryn, I thought you should know that Vice Chancellor Grayza is ill. The doctor doesn't think she'll last long. She has the same poison reaction the narls are experiencing.
John looked down. He mumbled out to himself." Grayza's ill? Could she be-." He looked up at Aeryn. "If Grayza's ill, could she be part Nebari?"
''That would explain Greshyn's DNA."
"You sure about this, Pip?"
"Yeah, Crichton. Grayza's very ill. The doctor think it's only a matter of time before the living death takes her.
"Frell," Aeryn whispered.
"The doctor has requested that Greshyn visit her mother," Chiana added.
"Doesn't he realize she's ill too?"
"He does, but he thinks that as Grayza's only family, Greshyn needs to be there in case a mercy killing is necessary."
"Absolutely not," John replied protectively. "She's not leaving Moya."
"John's right. We won't let her go. I'll go in her place," Aeryn said.
"Not this time. I'll go."
"Aeryn," he interrupted. "I need to do this, for me; and for Greshyn. No child should have to live with that."
"So you could kill her?"
"Without hesitation." He looked her in the eye, "But, I won't have to. Trust me."
"I do. You do what you have to," Aeryn responded.
John nodded, and walked away.
Chiana looked at the children. All four of them looked bad. They had tubes keeping them hydrated and fans to cool them. Fortunately, nebari, interions, and humans had good heat management and blended well with sebacean physiology, so the living death was a slim possibility.
"How are they?" Chiana whispered.
"Greshyn is improving. The others just aren't getting any worse." Aeryn sighed. She was pale, obviously she hadn't been sleeping.
Chiana gave Aeryn a hug. "They will get better," she paused. "They're Crichton's kids. Stubborn is part of their make-up. ''
At that Aeryn almost smiled. It was moments like when Aeryn realized just how much the Nebari meant to Moya. If only Chiana could find some happiness of her own.
"Captain Sun, I think Pilot and I have found something. The nebari DNA seems to repel the chemical agent. If we can isolate the exact enzyme that fights the poison, I may be able to replicate it to treat the others."
"Is that why Greshyn is improving?"
"I seems to be so. The Nebari molecular structure is impervious to this agent. It's her sebacean blood that is making her ill. The information Chiana brought me corroborates my research. We should be able to formulate a treatment."
"Good. You get started on that, I'll update John before he heads over to the carrier."
The sight that greeted John when he entered the medical bay brought him up short. Abandoned in the corner lay Scorpious. The staff seemed to be treating him as if he were already dead. They were frantically working over the Vice Chancellor and ignoring the Admiral.
He walked over to the half-breeds bed and sat down. "Crichton," Scorpious acknowledged.
"Grasshopper," John replied with a tinge of sadness. The waves of feelings going through him were indecipherable. For so long they had been enemies. Sometimes they fought for a common goal, but in the end they could never be friends. Scorpious's single-minded desire for the destruction of the Scarrans could never mesh with the Human's desire to just be left alone. In a different world, they might have been true allies.
There would never be love lost between them, but John mourned a wasted life. Scorpy would die almost alone. Braca would be the only one to truly miss him. As much as he didn't want to be there, John couldn't bring himself to leave just yet.
"I envy you John," he whispered. "You have overcome so much. You've been an inspiration to so many. Commander John Crichton. Everyone knows your name now."
John laughed without humor. "Yeah, Scorpy. They all know my name. Quite the legacy I've left."
"But it is, John. The best of the Peacekeepers petition to serve on Moya. Those that do, hold to your secrets as if they were their own. You inspire loyalty and trust. Build on that John. You will need it."
"What are you talking about Scorp?" he responded, frustrated.
"There is a new threat coming, John. It's gaining momentum. Your wormhole weapons may be needed again."
"I don't have that knowledge anymore. You were there. Einstein took it from me."
"No, John. I know better. You have the knowledge. It may be needed again. This attack was just the beginning," he paused. Rolling his eyes he continued, "You are the best hope to protect the sebacean people. They trust you. This attack was only the beginning. Ask Braca. He has the true intelligence you will need. My time grows short. Could you summon Braca for me?"
"Yes," John said quietly. He stood to leave.
Scorpious reached out and grabbed his arm. "No regrets, John."
"No regrets, Grasshopper." John nodded his head and walked over to one of the techs. After requesting that Braca come immediately, John turned toward Grayza's bed.
Vice Chancellor Mele-On Grayza knew she was dying. Through the years she had managed to cheat death time and again. This time she wouldn't. She had gambled and it killed her.
There was no cure for what ailed her. Her body was too frail. The doctor had just told her that her daughter would recover. They had no hope that she would. That frelling heppil oil gland was finally going to kill her. Her sebacean physiology just couldn't fight it off anymore.
That damned fool of a doctor actually thought she would find piece with the knowledge that her daughter would live and she wouldn't. He had informed her that Moya had been notified to send her daughter back to the ship to say goodbye; and to kill her. The irony of it all still amazed her. After the embarrassment of Katratzi, it took all here guile to keep her position among the Peacekeepers. She had to manipulate that fool Maryk into a relationship or she would have lost everything.
He wouldn't have stayed with her two microts if she hadn't tricked him with the baby. It all came down to that brat. The pregnancy had caused a lot of damage to her already fragile body. Then when High Command learned of the death of Marryk, they wanted to protect his only legacy. Grayza was never allowed to forget that she had a child. She was expected to glory in her child's accomplishments just as High Command watched them. When Greshyn finally started earning accolades, Grayza got to take credit for her daughter.
As she got older, Grayza had become insanely jealous of her daughter. The girl was smart, well liked and trusted among her age mates. One day she would be a great beauty. Greshyn had come to the attention of the highest ranks of Peacekeepers and earned protection from the Grand Chancellor. All of these things showed to her that one day, her daughter would far outshine her mother's light. If the name Grayza was remembered, it wouldn't be for Mele-On.
A commotion at the door brought her head up. John Crichton was here. She knew he was here to gloat. He spoke to the doctor briefly, then came and sat by her bed. He just stared at her. After a moment he spoke. "Remember me?" The irony of the situation was not lost on the dying woman. Crichton had always been consistent in his hatred for her. It was comforting to know some things would never change.
"John Crichton, "Grayza wheezed.
"Come to gloat?"
"What are you doing here, then?"
"Moya received a request to have Greshyn come over to see you. The doctor said that as her daughter, it was her responsibility to ease your pain if you should fall into the living death."
"And where is my lovely daughter? She should be by my side, not her fathers."
"It would be kind of hard for her to be by Maryk's side since he is long gone in the rubble left behind where Quajarga used to be."
"She's your daughter Crichton. I win."
"No," he said with a slight shake of his head. "Although any man would be proud to have such a daughter, she's not mine."
Grayza looked at him in disbelief. "Of course she's yours. These poison only attacks hybrids," she pointed out.
"It attacked you, too."
"It attacked me because of the heppil oil gland. My body was already weak at the time."
"No it didn't. You are susceptible because of your mixed blood. Your Nebari heritage gives you away." He paused a moment and ran his thumb over his lip. "Ironically it's that same heritage that gave your daughter the advantage over the poison. It would appear that normal Nebari DNA is immune to this poison."
Grayza spit with distant. "How wonderful for her."
"Yes it is. She will make a full recovery. Moya is fortunate to welcome such an outstanding cadet to our crew. Greshyn has already shown herself to be so much more than her mother ever was."
The chancellor started coughing. The fever was getting worse. A loud monitor brought one of the medics over. The grim faced nurse looked at the readings. "Sir, if you are here to say your good byes, I suggest you do it quickly. She's fading fast. The living death will take her soon."
Crichton looked at the nurse in disbelief. "Is there nothing you can do for her?" Regretfully the media shook her head. "No sir. The heppil gland took too much from her. Although we have a cure and her Nebari physiology should give her an advantage, there's nothing I can do." She sighed, "I'm sorry." She quietly walked away.
Crichton looked at his Nemesis. "I'm not." he whispered.
"Bring my daughter to me. It is customary for the nearest family member to be the one to kill us before the living death takes hold."
Crichton grunted. "No, I don't think so. No child should live with the memory of killing their parent. Not even a person as horrible as you.'
Grayza reached up with surprising strength. She grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him down to her.
"Then you do it in her place."
He pried her off of him. "Aeryn once asked me to do the same for her. If I won't do it for someone I love more than myself, then why would it for you?"
"You should take pleasure in killing me, John Crichton."
"That's the problem," he said with that half smile that held no humor. "I probably would enjoy it… too much."
He sat back and pulled a vial of liquid out of his pocket. "In all the years you've pursued me, my weapon knowledge and my family, you have never tried to understand me. On my planet, euthanasia is still taboo. Many cultures, including my own, believe that life is precious and death must be fought at all costs."
Grayza snorted. "Worthless human, you have no idea what the living death is like."
"Yeah, I think I do. Humans call it Alzheimer's. It takes your mind away. It leaves you in a vegetative state. I should pity you. I should agree with you and just shoot you." He twirled the vial in his hands. "I'm not that enlightened."
"You are so self-righteous. You always were."
"And we have come full circle, you and I. I should leave you to suffer the living death. For all you have done, it would be justice." He leaned over and poured a glass of water, then he took the vial and added the liquid to it. "I will do this mercy for Greshyn. In this glass is a powerful poison. You want to die?" He paused dramatically. "Drink this; you'll be dead in microts."
"What is it?"
"Peacekeeper kill shot, it's very effective, very quick, doesn't hurt at all." He paused in memory. "Well, not that much anyway. It's better than the living death, or so I've been told. It's your choice. Greshyn stays out of it. She's not recovered enough to get up anyway."
''You have no right to keep her from me. She is my daughter."
"Yes, she is your daughter. For that reason alone, you should do this yourself. A parent, who loves their child, should never put them in that position."
"I have done everything for her. She should want to do this for me.''
"I never asked her. No child should be expected to make such a choice." He paused, "Your temperature is rising Chancellor, you'd want to make your choice soon, before you can't. Either way, I don't care. Farewell, Chancellor." He stood up and walked away.
Vice Chancellor Grayza stared at the drink in her hands. She was having a hard time remembering why she shouldn't drink it. She was so thirsty, would a little sip hurt?
Across the room, John caught a glimpse of a Scorpious being covered by a sheet. With a shake of his head, he left the carrier and headed home.
Aeryn was waiting for him on the terrace. She just opened her arms and waited for him.
As he stepped into her embrace he asked, "How are the children?"
"Greshyn is back in her quarters. Lanet says she can return to limited active status within three solar days. Toluko is finally starting to respond to treatment."
"Robert's almost fully recovered. Fortunately his exposure was limited. Deke… well he's definitely your son. You both whine horribly when you're ill. Lanet isn't sure how long it's going to take him to recover."
"They haven't caught those responsible yet. The Peacekeepers still believe it was the Kampeks. They are taking responsibility. The group is probably out to get us." Crichton said apologetically.
"Well, at least you came by this enemy honestly," she said with a half-smile.
"Scorpy and Grayza are gone. The poison got them both."
"I am not sorry at their passing and neither should you be."
"Grayza, definitely not; karma is a bitch and well earned."
"I don't know. It's like when Harvey finally left. There was suddenly silence. Kind of like Buffy, when the music stops, the rest is silence."
Aeryn leaned back. "So we learn to live with the silence."
"Yeah, it shouldn't take long. Like Chiana, it kind of grows on you..."
Down in quarters Greshyn tried to settle back into her cell. For the last couple of days she'd only had Deke and Lanet to talk to. Olpin and Ssezzin had been helping Crichton track the terrorists down. Frustrated, she kicked at the edge of her bed and knocked a deck of cards out from under it. They must have fallen out of her bag. It seemed so long since she played. She picked them up, and turning on her heel she headed back to the maintenance bay.
Deke was sitting up, planning to sneak away from the room. She walked in and pushed him back on the bed. "You know you're under orders to stay in here for at least three more solar days."
"Oh, come on. The Captain won't mind. I know her pretty well."
"It's not the Captain I'm worried about." He looked at her a little confused. "It's Chiana. I don't think she'd take well to you playing hooky. And she'd blame me. I am not getting on her bad side."
He grinned. "Yeah, your right. It's just so boring in here."
Greshyn held up the cards. "I know a few games we could play to pass the time." A few minutes later, Ssezzin and Olpin joined them. It would be a while before they felt normal, but for the first time since coming on board, Greshyn felt she was home.
It was a beautiful day inside the planetary reconstruction on the carrier. The lake was calm and peaceful. It made the perfect location for final goodbyes to the lost peacekeeper souls. The death toll stopped at 15. Most of the dead were already ill with other conditions before the poison struck. It could have been much worse.
Vice Chancellor Mele-On Grayza and Admiral Scorpious were laid to rest with great ceremony and revelry. Many didn't know if it was a party or a funeral. Commander John Crichton figured that would depend on whether they were missed. He looked over the crowd and his eyes stopped on Greshyn.
She stood next to the pier where her mother's body lay. With great dignity, she grabbed the torch one of the guards handed her and set the rushes under her body on fire. D 'Argo stood next to her with a hand laid on her shoulder. Across the court yard, Senior Commandant Miklo Braca lit the rushes under Admiral Scorpious. As Scorpy's only known friend, the duty fell to him.
Rumor had it that High Command was considering Braca for Grayza's position. The Moyans understood that this would be the best choice for it is better to have 'the devil you know.' At least Braca knew when to retreat and when to make a stand.
Across the lake, a shadow watched the proceedings. It was always nice when events went according to plan.