Okay, with that out of the way...I feel so much better. hehehe
I'm wondering something here. There is a scene in the snippet I'm posting for 2 Johns, and I wonder if it counts for the SACoC challenge? If it does...cool. If not...Give me a day or so to come up with something.
He was sitting in the middle of the floor, the contents of the room lying round him, drawing on a piece of ripped paper, wearing only a pair of underwear, covered from head to toe in filth. Aeryn noted his facial hair had grown to a length she had never seen on him before, the hair wild and matted. The smell that emanated from the room almost too much for either of them to bear.
Crichton didn’t notice them standing outside the door as he continued to hum, only to stop when several DRDs entered the room from an access shaft. He watched them deposit several food cubes on the floor in front of him. Smiling, Crichton patted each DRD in turn and said, “Good Doggies.”
Crais' voice broke the quiet, "Crichton, Moya says that she cannot keep the atmosphere leading from your tier to the hanger for very long, three quarters of an arn at most."
"I understand Crais, tell her we'll be as fast as we can, and bring the other guy back to Talyn," John answered, opening the door to the room. The other man looked up in surprise at the sound.
Surprise was quickly replaced by what could only be pure joy. "Daddy!" he shouted.
Both John and Aeryn looked at each other. "Daddy?" Aeryn asked.
John shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t have any idea, but something isn’t right, that’s for sure." He barely turned around in time to avoid being knocked over as he was gripped in a tight hug. "Whoa! Hold on..."
"I missed you so bad Daddy...no body but the doggies come to see me." Crichton held on tightly as he spoke, his voice slightly muffled against John's chest, "Why ain’t you and mommy come to see me? Was I bad?"
He looked up at John and wiped away the tears with the back of his hand and noticed Aeryn standing behind John. Ducking his head down and once more leaning it against John's chest, he asked, "Who's that?"
"You don't...remember Aeryn? What about D'Argo or Chiana?" John asked, looking down at the head laying against his chest. 'This is getting too weird,' he thought.
When Crichton didn't answer him, John pushed the man away. "Do you remember any of them?" he asked.
Shaking his head, Crichton said, "Uh uh...they friends of you and mommy's?"
Something was very wrong. It wasn't just the way the other guy was acting, but the way he spoke. His voice was a lot softer than usual, and his body language was also off.
Turning slightly to look at Aeryn, John said, "Give me a few microts to clean him up."
"What is wrong with him?" she asked
"I don't know exactly, but..." He turned back to face his double. "...you stink to high heaven. You’re going into the shower."
Looking at both men, Aeryn decided to do as John had asked and left the room. She had tried not to think about what would happen when she saw the other Crichton, but she had never expected this.
John noticed out of the corner of his eye that Aeryn had left as Crichton said, "No...I don't wanna take a bath, I don't have my viggy!"
"Viggy? You want...your viggy?" John couldn’t keep the surprise out of his voice with question. He hadn’t thought of that toy for years, it had been the only way that his mom could get him into the tub without a fight until he had been about eight. "Come on, we'll just have to make due without it."
“Noooo…won’t take no bath without viggy!” Crichton stomped his foot and crossed his arms.
“We don’t have time for this, John,” he said impatiently. Grabbing the other man’s arm, John pulled him to the refresher and shoved him into the shower. He was almost sick from the smell of sweat and shit that seemed to concentrate more within the smaller room.
As the cold water touched Crichton, he cried out and tried to bolt away. John shoved him back again and said, “We do ‘not’…have time for you playing around. I don’t know what the hell is going on with you, John, but it’s going to stop right frelling now.”
It was weird taking another man’s clothes off of him, even weirder still that the other guy was himself. ‘God, what happened to the good old days when I didn’t have to worry about this shit?’ John noticed Crichton had covered his face and had grown quiet as he lathered the soap gel on his skin. He then realized the man was crying.
“Are you crying? Why…what the hell…is wrong with you?” he yelled in frustration.
“You don’t like me any more cause I’m bad.”
“You’re…not bad, Crichton, we just need to hurry.”
“I’m not?” Crichton asked, looking up from his hands, the water from the shower flattening his hair and beard to his skin. “But you called me John…you only do that when you’re mad at me for being bad.”
Different things the man had said and the way he was acting clicked into place suddenly for John. Fear spread quickly through him as he asked, “What’s your name then?”
“How old are you?”
“Four, but you know that, Daddy,” he whispered, curling his fingers into a fist and looked over them, the sadness in his eyes very apparent. “Is this like when my teacher tested us at school?”
John stared at his twin in shock. “Yeah…sort of. Now be a good boy and help me rinse the soap off of you. We have to go.”
Covering his eyes with his hands, Johnny asked, “When is Mommy going to take me and Susie for school clothes? I get big boy clothes cause I get to go to kin…kinder…”
“Uh huh…I get to go to big kids school now.”
Finding a towel laying on the floor, John picked it up and turned off the water. “Come here, let’s get you dried off and dressed before Aeryn comes back.”
“Who’s Aeryn? She your friend?” Johnny asked, and began chewing on his lower lip nervously as John continued to dry him.
“You can say that,“ he said. Standing up straight, John looked at ‘Johnny’ for a moment, unsure of how he felt about what had happened to his twin.
“What’s the last thing you remember…Johnny?”
“I dunno…” he answered as he began looking around the small room. Taking a step toward the basin, Johnny began turning the knobs on the faucet and stuck in his fingers in the water only to snatch them out again. “Owie! Hot!” he exclaimed and stuck the burnt fingers in his mouth and moaned.
“Let me see them,” John said and took the hand out of his mouth. “It’s only a little red, now let’s get you dressed.”
“Okay…ain’t you gonna dry off too?” Johnny said, smiling at John’s own soaked clothing.
‘Great, I got a grown man who thinks he’s a kid giving me advise,’ he thought as he reached for the dry pants laying near the door. Without answering, John said, “Do you need help putting this on?”
Johnny laughed and shook his head. “I’m a big boy…I put my own pants on,” he said, reaching for the leather pants and sitting down on top of old crushed up food cubes and ripped papers.
“More than you realize…” John said, watching him.
Aeryn watched from the doorway as John and the other Crichton exited the refresher. If the situation were not so grave, she would have smiled at the image of John even more wet now than his twin, the water still dripping off of his wet shirt.
“John, we have to hurry. Crais says that Moya can only maintain the atmosphere for another five hundred microts. I have already packed up ‘his’ belongings that have not been destroyed.” she said, looking around the disaster all over the floor. It was hard for her to believe that he had lived in these conditions for two arns, much less two monens.
Holding a hand to her face, Aeryn almost couldn’t stand the smell of the room for much longer while John laced up the other Crichton’s books.
Finishing, he stood up straight and said, “Gotcha…Aeryn, I want to introduce you to Johnny Crichton.” Taking the other man’s upper arm, he looked at him for a moment. “Johnny, tell her how old you are.”
Chewing his lower lip for a microt, Johnny gave Aeryn a nervous smile. Holding up four fingers, he says in a shy voice, “I’m four, Mommy says I get a big boy bike when I turn five.” Tugging at John’s shirt, he whispered, “Where’s Mommy?”
‘Oh shit…’ John thought as he let go of Johnny‘s arm, unsure if he should just tell him now or wait. Without looking at the other John, he decided to wait. “I’ll tell you in just a little while. Okay? We’ve got to get going.”
Aeryn picked up the bags she had packed and asked, “Ready?”
Looking at his twin, John still couldn’t decide how he felt about the way this other man, his clone…twin was behaving. At the moment though too much had happened, and he didn’t have it in him to fight what could only be a mental block of some kind.
“Yeah. Come on, Johnny.” John said, waving for him to follow him.
“Where we going? Are we going to the store? Can I take my doggies with me?” his questions fired rapidly one right after the other as he began jumping up and down. Suddenly Johnny ran across the room and picked up the filthy golden blanket off of the bed, hugging it close to his chest he stood next to John once more. “Can I?” he asked.
“Can you what?” Aeryn asked from the doorway.
Looking down at the DRD at his feet, Johnny released one finger from holding the blanket and pointed at the droid. “Bring my doggie?”
Unsure of how Moya would feel about that, but not wanting to delay any longer, John said, “Yeah…now you’re going to see some weird stuff now, but don’t be scared. Can you be a big boy for me?”
“Yes, Daddy.” Johnny said smiling as he slipped his hand into John’s.
John had to keep tugging on Johnny’s hand as they entered into Talyn’s airlock, he felt a tremor in the other man’s hand grow stronger the further they walked into the other Leviathan.
“I scared, Daddy,” Johnny whispered.
When John glanced at him, he saw the other’s lip trembling as well. Stopping for a microt, and trying to reassure him, John said, “Remember…you’re a big boy.”
He felt Johnny’s grip on his hand tighten even as he nodded his head in agreement, the fear in his eyes still very much apparent, and together they began walking again. At that moment, Johnny tripped on the edge of the blanket that was trailing between his feet and would have fallen completely onto the floor despite his hold on John‘s hand, but Aeryn was walking directly behind them and caught Johnny under his arms.
Johnny looked back at her and his thumb immediately went to his mouth and began chewing on the end of it. “Wank ew.” he mumbled and twisted away so he stood in front of John as he looked at Aeryn shyly.
Aeryn looked at John and asked, “What did he say?”
Smiling, he answered, “I believe he said ‘thank you.’”
Still unsure how act towards him, Aeryn hesitated a moment before saying, “You are very welcome…Johnny.”
“Let’s get your stuff to…” John suddenly remembered there was really only place for Johnny to sleep.
“We’ll figure it out, John.” Aeryn said, touching his shoulder.
Aeryn had commed the others and asked them to stay on the bridge or at least away from the quarters area of Talyn until they could get Johnny to their own quarters. They both wanted to get Johnny into their quarters at least long enough to figure out what had happened to him, and any come up with any alternatives to fix the problem. There would be time soon enough to take him to see the rest of the crew.
“Hold on a sec, Johnny,” John said after they entered the room.
He watched as he nodded his head in agreement and ran to the bunk and jumped on it. Johnny pressed his nose against the glass and said, his voice filled with awe, “Daddy…I can see the stars up close…”
Almost smiling at the sight, Aeryn’s voice caught his attention, “John, what in the frell is wrong with him?” she asked.
Turning his attention back to her, John said, “I don’t really know. From things he said when I was cleaning him up…he doesn’t remember anything beyond four cycles. He thinks he’s going to be starting Kindergarten soon, which is a beginning level in education for some Humans.”
“And his thinking your Jack?” Aeryn said, crossing her arms. She couldn’t help but continually glance from the John in front of her, to the one bouncing on the bed and moving the bed clothing around.
Shrugging his shoulders, and rubbed the back of his neck, he said, “I look a lot like my…our Dad when he was my age…” He turned around when Aeryn pointed behind him and saw ‘Johnny’ climbing under the bed.
“No!” Running over, he grabbed the other man’s feet and pulled him out.
Aeryn looked at him with surprise. “John, what are you doing?”
“Extra weapons are under there remember? The way they look, in his mind they’ll look like toys and shoot himself.” John said, looking down and saw the hurt expression on Johnny’s face. “It’s okay, you didn’t know.” Holding out his hand, he helped Johnny back up onto the bed.
“Then you will have to show him the proper way to use them.” Her tone stated it as a matter of fact, and it took him a moment to remember she could strip a pulse pistol by five cycles.
“We’ll talk about this later. First things first, we get him to a doctor and get him some help and back to normal.” John said, putting his hands on his hips.
“Normal… You?” she said softly, a sly smile playing on her lips.
Smiling at her, John shoved Aeryn towards the door. “Go to the bridge, tell them what I think is going on.” he said. As she left the room, the smile instantly fell from his face. It was surprising that she would try and find humor in this situation, but he knew it was forced and that she was only doing her best to help alleviate his concerns for his twin.
Walking over to the bed and sitting down, John placed his hand on Johnny’s shoulder to get his attention from the window. “Come here for a minute, I have to talk to you about something important.”
Johnny came over and threw his legs over the side of the bed. It was so weird looking at himself like this again, he had resolved himself to the fact he would have to live with his double once more, but damn…he never thought it would be like this.
Looking into the other’s eyes, he thought, ‘Did I ever look so innocent?’ John had no idea how he was going to start this conversation, but he had to do it now or else the man would never stop asking. ‘Talk about a fucked up reason to break someone’s heart…’
Remembering a conversation his Dad had with him and his sisters when he was eight, John took a deep breath to begin, but before he could start, Johnny asked, “Are we going to go see Mommy now?”
“Listen…that’s what I want to talk to you about. Do you remember going to Sunday school and they talked about Heaven?”
It had been so long since he thought about her, John’s chest tightened. “Well, that’s where your Mom went to live. She got r-real sick and…and the doctors tried to help, b-but…” he said, unable to stop the tears that came automatically when he thought of her lying in the hospital bed, tubes running out of her arms.
“When she coming back?”
Rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand, John said, “She’s not…she died.”
“No, no, she’s comin b-back…” Johnny whispered, his head shaking as tears fell down his face.
“Johnny…it’s like with Bumper…”
Holding his hands on his ears, Johnny continued to shake his head. “No…no…no…she ain’t!!” he scream, suddenly jumping up and running from the room.
“Johnny! Come back here!” Standing to follow after him, John fell forward as his legs became twisted up in something, looking down at his feet he yanked off the blanket Johnny had brought with him from Moya. Standing back up, he ran out into the corridor.
“Dammit!” he said loudly when he didn’t see the man anywhere. Hitting his comm, John said as he began walking, “Guys, I need some help here. He took off on me.”
“Why would he do that?” Aeryn asked.
“I had to tell him about out mom, I figured he would keep asking about her.”
John could hear Aeryn sigh over the comm. “And you did not anticipate how he would respond?”
Coming up to a cross section in the corridor, John said, “How in the frell am I suppose to know?”
“He’s ‘you’ you stupid probakto. You should have remembered how you were as a child.” Rygel admonished.
“Crichton, is he dangerous right now?” Crais asked.
“No…no… Well maybe to himself. You can cuss me out later, Rygel. Right now, I need Crais and Aeryn’s help finding him.”
“We’ll also need Rygel and Stark…” Crais began.
“No, I didn’t get a chance to tell him about the little green floating man yet. He’d really freak out right now.” John said, going into an open door and began searching anything big enough to hide a full grown man.
“Very well…I have already asked Talyn to look out for him as well.”
“Good…thanks. He ‘shouldn’t’ be too hard to find, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know how to open the doors,” John said.
After an arn of searching, tired and frustrated, John was swore to himself that when found the other Crichton, he was going to kick his ass. Stopping for a moment, he said into his comm, “Any luck, Aeryn?”
“Of course not, you would know by now if I had. Apparently you knew how to hide well even at that age.”
Trying to rub the itchiness from his tired eyes, John sighed in frustration and tried to figure out where else Johnny could have hidden.
“Crichton! I found him…in the galley.” Rygel said, his voice ending in a strangled cry.
Quickly turning in the opposite direction, John found Aeryn standing in the doorway, her shoulders shaking. Coming up even with her, he found what was wrong, and almost burst out laughing himself.
Sitting at the table was Johnny with Rygel on his lap, his arms wrapped around him in a strangle hold as he hugged the Hynerian.
Seeing them in the doorway, Rygel yelled, “Crichton! Get this moron off of me… He keeps calling me Ker-me and trying to get me to sing with him.” At that moment, Johnny leaned down, and gave Rygel a kiss on the forehead.
"I love you Kermie," Johnny said, and started bouncing Rygel on his knee. If it were possible, it looked as if he was becoming even more green.
"John-ny. Stop please." Aeryn said. "That isn't Ker-me."
Stopping, he looked up at Aeryn. "It ain’t? Who are you? He began petting Rygel's head. Aeryn picked him off of Johnny's lap as he looked ready to bite. He immediately left the room after she placed him on his throne sled.
"I am Aeryn. I'm a friend of Jo...your father's." she looked back at John as he walked further into the room.
"Your real pretty." Johnny said, smiling and began swinging his legs nervously.
"Thank you, Johnny. Why did you run away like that?"
"Daddy said Mommy went to Heaven...when Bumper went to Heaven, I never saw him again." His eyes never rose from the floor as his voice cracked and lowered to almost a whisper. "I want my Mommy." Rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand, he couldn’t stop the tears that fell.
"She's not completely gone you know..." John said, closing the distance between them and falling to his knees. "She's still in here," he said, pointing at Johnny's chest.
"But I want her here...with me."
"So do I, buddy, every day." Taking the younger minded Crichton in his arms, John allowed himself a chance to grieve again for his mother as if for the first time.
They remained that way for some time, John only looked up once Johnny’s crying tapered off, he saw that Aeryn was gone. Standing on sore knees, he pulled Johnny up as well and asked, “Are you hungry?” Johnny wiped his face on the edge of his shirt and shook his head.
“Aeryn, where are you?” John asked into the comm.
“I’m on the bridge with the others.”
“All right, I’ll be up there in a few microts.” he said turning off the comm, John looked at Johnny. “You want to meet my other friends?”
Johnny shook his head and began to chew on his thumb again obviously nervous.
“It’s all right, it’ll only be for a few microts…minutes.” John said reassuringly, putting his hand on Johnny’s back and led him out of the galley and turned towards the bridge.
As they arrived at the door, John took Johnny by the shoulders and turned him to face him. “Okay…you’re going to meet some people in here…friends of mine. Don’t be scared, but remember…don’t touch ‘anything’ in here. I’ll tell you a story about this ship in a little bit, but I want you to meet everyone first.” he said, then reached out and waved his hand in front of the sensor.
Walking onto the bridge together, John watched the other man's face for his reaction. Expecting him to bolt, he took hold of Johnny's arm as the others turned to face them.
"Crichton, what are you doing, bringing him in here?" Crais demanded, his words low and threatening.
"We need to get the introductions out of the way. He doesn't even understand that he's on a ship right now.
Until I get him some help, we have to make this as easy a transition as possible."
"I understand that...Aeryn has explained something of the situation…and this is no place for someone of his mental capacity."
"Just for a few microts...so chill, Crais."
"Are these your friends, Daddy?" Johnny whispered, hiding behind John and looking over his shoulder.
"Come out from behind me."
Pulling Johnny out from behind him, he said, "This is Captain Crais, he's sort of the boss of this ship...who's name is Talyn." Wrinkling his face in confusion, Johnny said, "Ship? I don’t see no water by the windows."
"Umm...not that kind of ship. This is a spaceship, like on cartoons...sort of."
Johnny spotted Rygel and rushed forward. "Kermie!"
John grabbed his arm and said, "No...remember, he's not Kermit. That's Rygel, he's like a king."
Rygel grumbled, muttering, "Not a king..."
"Save it Rygel, he doesn't understand what a Dominar is."
Johnny expression took on a confused look as his attention turned to remaining man in the room. John nodded his head in his direction, he said, "This is Stark."
"Is he a robot?" Johnny asked, pointing at the mask.
"No...that just makes him very special."
Johnny's gaze wandered around the room. "Can I look up there?" he said, point at the forward view of the stars.
"Yes, but remember...don't touch anything."
Looking at the expression on the Captain's face. "Crais, why don't you tell him about Talyn."
Crais' face turned red, but he did not say anything as he grabbed the Johnny’s arm and led him away.
Aeryn walked over and stood next to John. Staring at him silently, she couldn’t tell at the moment what was going on in his mind. “Crais has already began a search for a surgical facility in this sector.”
Glancing at her, John said, “Good…good.” Reaching up he softly rubbed her arm. “How are you doing?” he asked.
“All right, I guess, under the circumstances,” she answered. It was hard not to think of her friends, and not remember all that they had been through together. It felt as if a small piece of herself was gone forever.
Sounding embarrassed, John looked down at his feet and said, “I haven’t really had a chance to think about the others. I mean, I’ve thought about them, but… What are we going to do about them? They deserve….something…”
“Your mind has been preoccupied for the last several arns, I think they would understand. Crais has said that Moya can only control the atmosphere on one tier at a time without a Pilot, that is how she was able to care for the other Crichton for so long. We’ve decided to go over in our EVA suits and prepare the bodies for space.”
“What is Moya planning on doing? Do we get her another Pilot?” John’s voice choked up at his words, running his right hand through his hair, he said, “Damn! I hate saying that… Like he was just a possession or something.”
“Eventually she will want one, but for now…she’s still in mourning. Taking care of ‘Johnny’ helped her in a way. I still can’t believe she did that…it’s unheard of.” Aeryn said.
Chuckling, John said with a sad smile, “I always knew that Moya was special.”