This is a sequel to Who Loves You Babe, which was inspired by spoonishly. But it's also a prequel to answer the question Kernezelda asked wondering how they came to be in that place in their lives.
Disclaimer: Not mine. If it was, we'd have a Farscape channel.
Watching the Command Carrier loom larger in front of you, it feels as if your lungs are about to explode. You can’t help mumbling another curse that the fluid drives were frozen up. Fate has found just another avenue to screw you over. Visions of Aeryn fly across your vision as you realize that you have failed to save her. The only plan to find her thrown down the drain because of a fucked up mistake when you took that wrong turn in the wormhole.
You barely hear Scorpius say, “When we are confronted, let me speak for the both of us. Once we ascertain the situation…then we can determine a means of escape.”
“Doesn’t matter, the wormhole closed and I can’t hear it anymore. That means I can’t predict when it opens again. If they hold us prisoner, we could be too frelling far away for me to find it once we escape,“ you respond, as the dread of being stuck in this reality sinks deeper. “Even if we did get off that boat in a Prowler, we can’t go through a wormhole in it. Both of us would be turned into jello.”
Scorpius is silent at the reminder as the module is pulled in to the hanger.
You wonder if Crais will be on this Carrier the same as in the other unrealized reality you had visited. Echoes of Crais’ voice proclaiming, “Well done, comrade,” still ring in your ears. Fleeting glimpses of a life not really your own flit across your mind. You shake your head at these thoughts, but you start to worry. What if merging into a reality only occurs when that reality is not one of your origin? That would explain why nothing happened when you went back to 1986, it was your reality, only fucked up by your arrival.
“We can’t be taken prisoner, Scorpy. If we are, there’s a chance…we won’t ever make it back out of here.” You can’t help the worried sound in your voice.
“What does that mean, John?” Scorpius’ voice is low as he asks this question, and you know that he’s more than a little pissed at the implications.
“It means…that this becomes our reality…forever. We merge with our ’selves’ from this reality.”
Scorpius does not respond, but watches, as you do, the soldiers filling the hanger. Soon the sea of men and women part, and you almost laugh as you see Captain Braca stop just in front of the ladder to your craft.
Popping the canopy, your stomach continues to tighten in fear and nervousness over what is about to happen. You slide down, both feet landing quietly on the floor, then move your coat away from Winona. Just a warning, and you silently stand next to the ladder waiting for Scorpius. You can feel something tickling at the edges of your mind, but chalk it up to nerves. Braca only approaches once Scorpius stands next to you.
He is at his usual Peacekeeper best as he says, “This is a surprise, Scorpius. We were not expecting to find you here. Our reports show that your ship was attacked, and all aboard was lost.”
The Captain looks at you, no recognition in his eyes as he continues, “I see both you and your companion survived the incursion. If you will follow me…” He turns and walks away.
Looking at Scorpius, you say, “Companion? He doesn’t know who I am in this reality. This could be a good thing for once.”
Scorpius doesn’t answer you. Instead he sets off after Braca, in what you hope in an attempt to gain some information and parts for the module. Walking behind the two Peacekeepers, you can’t help yourself as you admire Scorpius’ confidence in the situation. The way the half breed holds his shoulders straight, his eyes taking in everything all at once.
The tingling at the edge of your mind is growing stronger, almost impossible to ignore. Captain Braca stops before a door, enters in a key code and then steps aside as the door slides open. Thoughts of your original plans within the warped imitation of Moya suddenly are pushed aside at his next words.
“I hope these quarters are satisfactory for one of your prestige, Sir. I will notify High Command at once of you and your concubine’s survival.”
His words are hit you like a steamroller, “Concubi…” you don’t finish the word as a wave of dizziness hits you. A rush of images flood your mind, and you find yourself quickly ushered into the room. Then you only see the floor rushing up at you…
As he tipped the drink up one more time, Grayza’s words continued to echo in John’s memory, “Despite your excellent marks, this committee is denying your application for service in the Peacekeepers due to a genetic hearing loss in your right ear.”
The Captain’s words had hit him with all the force of a punch in the gut, and they still continued to stun him. No one had told him of any ‘hearing loss’. He was in top physical condition; his last physical has proved it. Apparently, however, the Peacekeeper’s medical equipment was still superior to Earth’s and had found a minor genetic flaw.
As the only child of Jack Crichton, the first Human to aid the Peacekeepers, all John had wanted his entire life was to leave Earth; to join the Alliance and make his parents proud. When his father passed away from cancer, John doubled his hard work in an effort not to think about what was now missing from his life.
Now all John could think was he had failed, failed both of his parents. Remembering his mother’s words of encouragement, just before the transport departed Earth, made the disappointment that much harder. John didn’t know how he was going to break the news to her. Scoffing at himself, he mumbled under his breath, "Now that’s bad. Twenty five years old, and I’m worried about what ‘mommy’ is going to think. I am pathetic."
Twirling the cup of Raslak in his hand, John noticed the room had gone quiet. He glanced up. Blue eyes widened in surprise at the figure standing in the doorway. Clad in reputedly impenetrable black armor, white face and deep-sunk eyes rendered all the more memorable by the black skullcap, Admiral Scorpius was legendary figure.
It was because of him, and his use of wormholes as a defensive weapon, that Earth had been saved from the first Scarran assault Twenty years before. John could vividly remember his father's excitement while telling Leslie Crichton of Earth’s first off world contact with another species. John may have been only five at the time, but there were some things you never forgot, and your father meeting aliens was one of them.
It had been Scorpius, along with several members of High Command who came and prepared Earth’s governments for the inevitable. Because of Scorpius, Earth was now one of many cultures that had joined the Peacekeeper alliance against the Scarrans and Charrids. It had been argued in the beginning by her own governments that Earth could not offered the Peacekeepers anything in payment for this type of service. Trying to alleviate their fears, High Command replied that this was the reason they were founded in the beginning…to aid planets unable to protect themselves.
Noticing his hand was trembling slightly, John gripped his cup tighter, afraid of what the Admiral would think if he noticed. He had grown up listening to stories of how Admiral Scorpius escaped the Scarrans who had forced his birth, how he used his knowledge to aid the Peacekeepers. It was Scorpius' discovery of wormholes that had kept the Sebacean race alive.
Scorpius was but one more reason John had wanted to serve in the Alliance from an early age. Next to Jack Crichton, the Admiral was, in a way, his hero. There was no other description for the way John felt when he heard the man’s name mentioned.
John couldn’t take his eyes off of the half-breed walking down the stairs. For a moment, John wondered what an Admiral was doing at a local tavern, and then saw him approach a Captain standing at the bar. His heart almost stopped when Scorpius’ eyes glanced his way.
Here was the man that John had heard mentioned almost every day since he was a small child: from school, his friends, even his parents spoke highly of the Admiral. The hybrid’s features were ingrained into almost every part of John’s memory, and if he couldn’t serve in the Peacekeepers, he at least wanted to meet the savior of Humans and Sebaceans alike.
For just a second or two, John’s nerves failed him, but he knew this might be his only chance. He set his empty cup down. Resting his hands flat on the tabletop, John took a deep breath to steady himself.
Before he could even take a step towards the Admiral, the room turned into a world of fire and pain. John was thrown sideways across the bar. His ears rang from the concussive force of the explosion, and when he opened his eyes, the room was dark, shot through with red and orange flames everywhere he looked. John could hear screams of pain and cries for help. It took a moment for him to catch his breath, his attention suddenly centered on the sharp painful sensations in his chest, like knives cutting deep.
Sitting up slowly, John barely noticed the broken glass from shattered liquor bottles covered his body. He could smell smoke even as close to the floor as he was and knew he had to get out quickly. Trying to rise, John pushed against the gritty surface beneath him, then hissed in pain and snatched his hand up. A large shard of glass was digging into his palm. Thankful for the tough leather of his coat, John used his forearm to clear a small section of the floor in which to place his knees. Each movement sent another flare of pain through his lungs. He figured he must have been unconscious for several minutes if the smoke was already getting to him.
Using the edge of the bar as leverage, John got to his feet, but was immediately wracked by several painful coughs. Thick smoke filled the room. He squinted his eyes, and could see several men and woman lying on the floor and over table tops, their bodies still. He knew they were already dead.
Soft moans and cries of pain sounded from around the room as John moved towards the end of the bar. Spotting the unknown Captain and Admiral Scorpius, he labored to bend down and check on them both. The Captain was already dead, impaled by a large piece of metal just above his stomach, his blood already oozing over the floor around him.
The Admiral’s hand twitched. The tiny motion caught John’s eye, and he immediately reached down to help him. A large portion of the half-Scarran’s coolant suit was ripped, possibly by the same fallen metal that killed the other fallen officer, his white blood spilling out to mingle with the Captain’s. Making a quick decision, John ignored the fire that continued to fill his chest. He grabbed Scorpius’ arm and put it over his shoulder. John lifted the Admiral to a standing position and began to slowly make his way to the door. He noticed as Scorpius raised his head slightly and looked at John. The Admiral pulled away a little, trying to walk on his own. What effort he was able to make did little good with the combined loss of blood and the precious cooling energy normally provided by the suit.
The edges of John’s vision swam and began to darken, and he almost panicked when he could not find the door through the thickening smoke and fumes. He pushed aside the fear before it could overwhelm him, and saw a flash of white light through the darkness. Several figures rushed toward them. Recognizing the Peacekeeper uniforms as they neared their position, John relaxed his grip around the Admiral as a soldier took the man from his arms. He had to grind his teeth together to hold back a scream of pain when another soldier seized him by the midsection and led him out of the smoldering building.
John wrapped his arms around himself to try and relieve some of the burning ache in his lungs. Unable to stop it any longer, he began coughing hard, trying to expel the smoke he had inhaled. John was shocked to see several spatters of blood on the floor in front of him.
His pulse thudding loudly in his ears, John barely heard Scorpius’ say, “I will be fine…the Human is more severely injured.”
“But, Sir…your coolant suit…”
“Is useless at the moment…I know, but I will not perish immediately from the loss of it. Now, do as I order.”
John didn’t hear the response as he sank down to the ground, the labored beat of his heart drowning out all other sounds. He barely registered the hands on his body removing his coat while a mask was placed over his face, but he was grateful for a moment before the world faded around him that he was able to breath a little easier.
Soft murmurs intruded on John’s dreams, rousing him from an uncomfortable slumber. Opening his eyes, he was surprised to see he was no longer outside of the bar. As he slowly turned his head, John realized he was in a medical ward. Other patients occupied the beds around him, their injuries varying in severity. His throat felt dry and he licked his lips. John noticed a cup of water on the stand next to his bed. He reached for it and couldn’t suppress a groan of pain.
A hand grabbed his. Looking up he saw a young med tech who said, “I will help you with that. You need to lie back.”
Doing as he was instructed, John was startled to see Admiral Scorpius standing silently off to the side. “I’m glad…to see you're okay, Sir.” John's voice was barely a whisper, and he was sure the man had not even heard him from the lack of response.
The med tech lifted John’s head and put the cup of water to his dry lips. John winced as he swallowed the cool liquid.
“Are you in a great deal of pain, Crichton?” The med tech asked.
“Only…when I breathe.” he responded softly, trying not show any real pain in front of the Admiral.
“That is to be expected. They had to remove a small portion of your left lung.”
“What? You…couldn’t re-regenerate it?” he asked in shock.
“Unfortunately, no. One of your ribs broke when you were thrown during the explosion. It punctured your lung. When you carried the Admiral, his added weight caused too much damage. We do not have the equipment here to regenerate Human tissue for a problem such as this, but don‘t worry…they are sending you to a facility that does have the capability. ”
John could see actual admiration in the young man’s eyes. “I shouldn’t have…even been able…to move.”
“Your adrenaline levels when you were brought in were extremely high. That is more than likely the reason you were able to continue functioning. If you were a Peacekeeper, you would be up for a commendation.”
“That is something…I will soon rectify,” Scorpius said, stepping toward the bed.
“I can’t…can’t join…” It was becoming increasingly difficult for him to speak and ignore the pain flaring across his chest.
Picking up an injector from the stand next to the bed, the med tech said, “You should refrain from speaking for a couple of more days until your damaged tissue heals.”
John felt instant relief once the medication was injected into him, and he found his entire body relaxing. Scorpius stood watching the tech change the dressing on his chest for several more moments before turning without a word and leaving the room.
Pulling down John’s shirt once he was finished, the med tech said, “You should feel honored. The Admiral has not checked on any of the others wounded in the bombing.” The man placed a control near John’s hand. “If you need anything, just touch this and one of us will see to it. Do not try and get it yourself.”
Nodding his head, John found himself growing increasingly sleepy. “When…will I be…sent to the other station?” he asked, barely able to keep his eyes open.
“Within the next solar day. Now rest.” The tech ordered before leaving him.
John stood at attention in the anteroom to Admiral Scorpius’ office. He tugged nervously at the hem of his uniform, still in shock that he had been summoned. No cadet was ever invited to meet with a superior of Scorpius’ rank, at least, no Human cadet within the Alliance.
He had been hoping for an opportunity over the past three cycles for a chance to thank the Admiral in person for allowing him to serve the Peacekeepers despite Captain Grayza and her committee’s decision.
The threat of war became more of a reality, and the standards changed in regards to training. Once training began, John’s days had been filled with formula and equations, physical and combat training. Knowing that he was already slated as a new science tech, John couldn’t help the feeling of excitement that had filled him when he was able to bring down a Sebacean cadet twice his size during a sparring session.
The training had been hard, but it was worth it in John’s eyes. Everyone in his barracks was excited to be receiving their duty assignments soon, and whenever his unit had gotten together off-duty that was all anyone would talk about.
John’s thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door opening on the opposite side of the room. Scorpius’ aide gestured for him to approach. John swallowed, then squared his shoulders and strode into the inner office, barely noticing as the door slid shut behind him. The Admiral sat at his desk, studying a display screen.
“I see from your file that you have garnered high marks in all aspects of your training, Cadet Crichton. I am glad to see that my decision to speak to Captain Grayza on your behalf was not wasted.”
“Thank you, Sir. I have only worked to the best of my abilities.”
Scorpius continued to look at the file in front of him for a moment before looking up. “I am sure you have. I also see…that your duty assignment for new-tech has already been assigned, but that...is going to change. You have already shown an innate ability to think on your feet, Crichton.”
“Sir?” he asked, unsure of where this conversation was leading.
“I was curious… Three cycles ago, why did you risk your own life to save mine? You were not part of the Alliance…in fact, you had been recently rejected from Peacekeeper service due to a genetic flaw.”
“Your importance to the Peacekeepers is greater than mine, Sir. I did what I had to do.”
The Admiral considered John’s words for a moment before picking up a data chip sitting in front of him. Scorpius said, “Your duty assignment is now Earth Assimilation Officer…in my office. You will work with me in security talks with other planets as a representative for Earth. It will be a long, arduous process at times, but from what I have seen…you will be able to complete the tasks set before you.”
Swallowing hard, John said, “Thank you, Sir. I'll make sure that you do not regret your decision.” He felt as if everything for the last several microts had been a dream.
“See that you do. Official orders for your assignment will arrive with the others for your unit at the completion of your training, Cadet. You are dismissed.”
Turning sharply around, John did not think he would make it out of the room for a moment. As the door to Admiral Scorpius’ office closed behind him, John walked in a daze through the anteroom and out into the corridor. This was something that had never remotely entered into his mind over the past three cycles.
He had always assumed that his life would be to help serve Earth and the Peacekeepers within the confines of his expertise of science, but to be appointed to an official position such as this, before he was even out of training. It was beyond anything he ever expected. Assimilation Officer…he had never heard of this title before, but that was not surprising. There had been many titles for new positions created over the last twenty-three cycles, ones that still surprised him when he heard them, and gave him cause to chuckle at the asinine sound to them.
John had always heard that time was fleeting, but he never understood until he began working in the Peacekeeper Assimilation Office. Three cycles passed by almost without his realizing it. Aliens of different shapes, sizes, and colors blended into one another as he worked closely with Admiral Scorpius.
Long arns were spent together on the Admiral’s personal transport, discussing cultural differences that John would face with each new planetary representative he met. There was more to being a diplomat than he had ever realized before, and he appreciated Scorpius’ attention to detail in these matters. John could see now why his father had spoken so highly of the Admiral. This attention to detail saved John’s life on several occasions when a planet’s governing system called for the negotiations to be discussed on a field of battle. Human's were known for their inferior physical strength, but that changed when John was able to bring down a Luxan in one on one combat. John couldn't help the pride he felt when his opponent’s blood flowed black onto the ground. That pride quickly turned to concern as he knelt down and began to stimulate the wounds to make the blood flow clear and keep the man alive. Even knowing a species' weaknesses did not keep John from serious injury on more than one occasion.
John’s duties grew as he proved himself an asset time and time again. From engaging kings in battles of wits, or granting leniency to a fallen opponent. The Peacekeeper High Council approved of his work and granted the Admiral’s request to continue John’s assignment in his office. No longer was he only a delegate for Earth in regards to beginning trade. John now represented the Admiral in all things relating to his home planet.
His eyes burned from long arns spent detailing his report to the Alliance as to why the Resouak Sovereignty refused to allow any of Earth’s Ambassadors within their negotiations. John had spent the past monen trying to convince them that Human’s were not the barbarians some planetary systems claimed. Despite being told that he was a fair example to the futility of these claims, John was only allowed limited access to the discussions themselves. Once word had been brought to his quarters, John knew it would be at least another cycle before he or anyone else from Earth would be allowed to state their case again.
John took another small sip of Kivik juice he held in his hand, and wished it was something stronger. A rustling noise came from the bed and caught his attention.
"Are you coming to bed now?" Verna asked sleepily.
Swinging his chair in her direction, John shook his head. "No, I have to get this report to the Admiral for his approval before it's sent to the Alliance."
Giving John a disappointed expression, Verna sat up on the bed, allowing the sheets to fall from her naked body. "You've only been back for a few arns, you need some rest. Can't this wait?"
"No, it can't. You know this."
Standing up, John walked to the closet to put on a fresh uniform. In a way, he understood Verna's irritation. They had been seeing one another for over a cycle now, ever since she arrived at High Command from Earth to conduct studies on the effects of prolonged exposure to interstellar travel. John cared about her, but it didn't seem to be enough for her. Being with Verna no longer brought a feeling of excitement to him, and he knew she felt the same way about him. Deciding it would be for the best if they went their separate ways. The only problem was now how and when to tell her that he no longer wanted to be with her.
Closing the last of the fasteners on his uniform, John looked at her and said, "I've received an invitation to a wedding in four solar days. Do you want to go?"
Her eyes brightened at the news. "Of course. Where is it? Like it matters, any place is better than being stuck here."
"Nilkvos... We'll have to leave tomorrow." Picking up the data pad, John walked over to the bed. Giving Verna a quick kiss on the cheek, he said, "I should be back soon."
"You always say that, then you're gone for hours," she answered.
Ignoring the remark, John left their quarters to keep his appointment with the Admiral.
The Admiral was driven, not only to protect the Sebacean people, but also the planets and systems under the Peacekeeper’s protective arm. The Scarrans and Charrids had been making frequent attacks against anyone within the Alliance for several cycles, and John saw every day the strain it placed on the man who had become a mentor to him.
He watched as Scorpius tried to keep his rage in check when another report came in detailing more lives lost at the hand of their enemies. The attacks were basic guerrilla tactics, hit and run. Too fast for anything to be done with the weapons at the their disposal, the Peacekeepers could only pick up the pieces of destroyed lives. The Admiral showed a passion that John had not seen in another being, and it did something to him when he realized that he wished he could do something to take away Scorpius’ pain, and the suffering he felt unjustly.
The realization had come upon him several days before when he caught himself watching Scorpius as he moved across the room during the celebration in honor of Prime Minister Rathwa’s impending marriage. Ignoring Verna's comments on being bored with the formal gathering, John couldn’t take his eyes off the Admiral. He admired the way in which he spoke to the Prime Minister and his bride-to-be. Two Commandos by the names Sun and Larraq followed closely behind them watching for any signs of aggression towards the two guests of honor. John took note of the way they moved with synchronized perfection, he knew these two soldiers well, having seen them in the lounge while off-duty. If he was any serious judge of character, he would say these two were more than just comrades-in-arms, they had developed a relationship that was not regulation. When Scorpius looked his way, John found himself standing a little more straight, measuring each of his own movements so not to disappoint him in any possible way.
John knew that his feelings for the half-breed were different than those of his professional and personal relationships alike. His admiration for the Admiral ran deeply within him, but now...now it was different. When Scorpius was in his presence, it was all that John could do not to rush to be by his side. It had been Verna's parting words as she packed her belongings, accusing him of caring about the Alliance and spending more time with Admiral Scorpius than her that made him think about how he couldn't wait to be near the man, and cemented what he had seemed to know for quite some time. The idea frightened John in a way. He had never been attracted to men before, but with Scorpius there was something that just felt right when John was near him.
Standing nervously in the doorway, John wasn’t sure anymore if he could go through with his plan when he saw how angry Scorpius was. The episodes were coming with more frequency, but they could only mean one thing.…another attack on an outpost. John hated the thought of it, but it was a necessity of his assignment. He was a representative from within the Admiral’s office to others dealing with defenses for Earth, and he would deal with this accordingly.
The death tolls continued to rise every monen as the advancing forces gained new ground, and rumor had it that the Scarrans themselves had made great strides in their quest for the same wormhole knowledge that Scorpius had discovered over twenty cycles before.
Keeping his uncertainty under control; lest Scorpius see it, John asked, “What’s wrong?” Already knowing the answer, he stepped into Scorpius’ office.
“We have lost another two hundred personnel due to another attack,” Scorpius answered, waving his arm and dismissing a Lieutenant who stood awaiting orders. His personal nurse stepped back for a moment, ready for when Scorpius' body heat became too much for his suit.
Crossing the room, John stood at attention until Scorpius signaled for him to stand at rest. “How were the Scarrans able to infiltrate these bases?”
"We were able to detain one of the terrorists...she was Sebacean."
"Sebacean!?" Forgetting himself for a moment, John couldn't keep the shock from his voice. What would compel someone to betray their own species in an attempt at genocide. "Why would anyone, much less a Sebacean, willingly help the Scarrans?"
"This was not a Scarran attack. As we speak, the female...is being interrogated in the Aurora Chair."
An involuntary shudder passed through John as Scorpius spoke those words. The Aurora Chair was the most efficient way the Peacekeepers knew of to gain information from the most stubborn of prisoners, its use becoming more frequent as time and the need for sensitive information grew short. He had passed by the room containing the device once or twice as it was being used, and the screams still haunted his dreams on occasion.
John studied Scorpius for a moment. He noted the tenseness of his shoulders, the way the half-breed's breath came a little faster, and knew that he was using up a cooling rod at a much faster rate. He hated to see him like this. Each time Scorpius' anger got out of control, it caused him pain. Pain that Scorpius did not deserve, and John found that he wanted to ease it in some way.
Watching as the nurse began changing the rod, John stepped forward and took it from her hand. "I'll take care of him...private talk. You can go for the rest of beta shift."
Scorpius nodded in agreement to the nurse. Within a few microts they were alone. As John finished changing the rod, he said, "You should try and calm down."
"You do not have to remind me...I have lived with this my entire life," Scorpius said harshly, turning around to face John.
His stomach in knots, John couldn't say a word to him. Pushing aside his fear, John grabbed the sides of Scorpius' head and pressed his lips against the half-breed's. Sliding his tongue against the man's mouth, he hoped that his feelings would be reciprocated.
The kiss ended with Scorpius pushing him back, and saying with disbelief in his voice, "What are...you doing, John?"
"Trying to calm you down, and to show you how I feel."
"You do not...owe me anything," Scorpius said with a slight shake of his head.
"I know. I just...realized how much you mean to me."
For a few microts, John couldn't judge Scorpius' reaction to this news. When the man stepped forward and pressed the cool leather of his hand against John's cheek, he didn't think he had ever been happier.
"I did not think you felt the same way about me, John. At times...it is hard to read your emotions."
Leaning into the hand, John said, "I never thought I would feel this way about you...like this. I mean, I've always preferred women, but there is something about you that seems to..." Shaking his head, he couldn't help the laugh that escaped him. "I feel strange actually saying these things to you of all people."
"To you as well..."
Both men looked at each other silently for a moment. Then John clasped his hand over Scorpius’, still on his cheek. He brought their joined hands down and started toward the Admiral’s sleeping quarters. He was still uncertain about many things at the moment, the main concern being that he would not be able to make Scorpius happy, to satisfy the alien's needs. But he was not uncertain about his choice.
They stopped at the foot of Scorpius' bed for a moment, both quiet as they contemplated what they were about to do. “I’ve never done…anything like this before…” John said, trying not to let his fear creep into his voice.
“While the Peacekeepers do not resign themselves to one gender for recreating, my own experience…is also limited to females.”
Scorpius ran his leather covered hand down the side of John’s face and said, “I can see you are nervous. If you are unsure in any possible way, then we must not act on this. I know you prefer females…I have seen the you react to them, and they to you.”
“Then you know, I react the same way to you. I don’t know what it is, I can’t control it…I don’t want to. When I’m with you, I feel different…more alive. It’s as if my whole body is touching a live wire.”
“This could only be infatuation of a different type…John. I have seen this many times over during the cycles, and the resulting turmoil brings ruin to the careers of those involved….”
Stepping back a moment, John said, “Listen to me for a microt…” His frustration overruled the nervousness he felt. “I’m not some starry-eyed cadet. My feelings for you have grown from respect and admiration. I won’t lie about that, but it is so much more than that…” John stopped himself, realizing he was going about it the wrong way.
Taking a deep breath, he kissed Scorpius. Unlike the first time, this one was slow. John felt his pulse race as Scorpius cupped the back of his head, the other hand falling to John’s back.
All coherent thought fled John’s mind as he felt himself grow hard. His face was hot, every dench of his body on fire. His hands brushed against the side of Scorpius’ coolant suit.
Breathless, John broke away and whispered in a husky voice, “How…how do we do this? Will it hurt you?”
“No, I will be fine for a short time…I only use up the coolant rod at a much faster pace.”
“Can we remove it entirely?”
“Yes…but only for a period no longer than half an arn.”
“Will you?” he asked breathlessly.
“You…want to see me entirely?” There had only been a few times in John’s career when he'd seen Scorpius completely taken by surprise like this.
“All of you…” Staring into Scorpius’ eyes, John saw uncertainty for the first time, and just for a microt a flash of fear. “This is our first time together. We already know all that needs to be known about one another at this point…except for this. I’m not asking for more than you're ready to give."
Without further hesitation, Scorpius took John’s hand and placed it against his side. “There is a hidden mechanism…just beneath the surface of the leather. It releases the seal along the same side, and then I can remove the suit."
Running his fingers over the surface, John felt the slight depression and pushed it. He heard a soft hiss as the seal released. Slipping his fingers into the opening, John raised his head and searched Scorpius' eyes.
"We can do this together," he said in a whisper.
Together they worked to remove the coolant suit, and allowed it to fall to the floor. John looked at the figure standing before him. Scorpius' skin was so white it appeared almost translucent, only infrequent patches of reddish colored scales showing the other side of his parentage.
Their relationship had been set for cycles: Scorpius teaching John the inner workings of the Peacekeeper world. Now, for a short time he relinquished that control as John took the half-breed’s hands and placed them on his own shirt.
Giving a slight nod of his head, John said, “Together.” Within a few microts both men lay on the bed, both aware of their feelings for one another, but unsure of how far they were willing to act upon them.
Over the past six cycles, John had seen a mixture of both respect and disgust on the faces Scorpius and he had met together when the Admiral walked into a room. He knew the man’s history as well as anyone, and never once did he ever find Scorpius disgusting. Now looking upon him without the coolant suit to act as a shield, John ran his hands down half-breed’s pale shoulders and found the man behind the flesh beautiful.
“I'm going to reduce light one hundred percent,” Scorpius said touching the control next to the bed.
Placing his hand over Scorpius’ own, John shook his head. “No…please.” His voice was not pleading, but it did hold a measure his desire as he spoke. “I want to see you.”
“No one, has ever asked that of me before.”
John understood Scorpius’ reluctance, but the idea that no one had tried to really know him made John more determined to show the man his true feelings.
They had kept things between them as discreet as possible for the past two cycles, but somehow...someway, their relationship had been found out. John had noticed the recent stares when resting in the officer's lounge or exiting the Admiral's office, but hadn't realized the cause.
Pacing the small room within the Marauder, he tried to control his anger over what he had overheard, but the more he thought about what the two men said, the harder it became.
"His appointment was faked from the beginning. 'Officer' Crichton was rejected from the selection committee cycles ago."
"Where did you hear this? If you are spreading lies around about the Admiral and someone as important to the Alliance as Crichton...you'll be executed for insubordination."
"I heard it from Captain Grayza herself She was in charge of the Selection committee at the time Crichton's application came up for review."
"So that means that Admiral Scorpius set it up falsely for the Human to receive training then work in his office."
"High Command allowed this? How many people know about Crichton being nothing but a kept trelk?"
"Grayza says High Command knows...and Council allows it after all that Admiral Scorpius has done over the cycles. He has too many allies in powerful places to not allow him to have a personal concubine to keep on a leash..."
The sounds of their laughter still grated on John's nerves. Realizing he was due in the hangar on Level Twenty, he tried not to be noticed as he left the Officers' Lounge. What he wanted to do was march into Captain Grayza's office and confront her with what he had just overheard.
A voice came over his comm and distracted him from his train of thought. "Officer Crichton, you are late. We are late leaving for the Celix quadrant."
"Yes...I know. I'm on my way now."
Arriving at the Marauder, John asked the pilot, "Where's the Admiral?"
"He is in the middle of a debriefing on a secure channel and ordered not to be disturbed."
Sighing in frustration, he said, "Fine. When he's done, tell him I need to speak to him."
After waiting for almost two arns, John's frustration and anger were almost at a peak when Scorpius entered their quarters.
"The pilot said you wanted to see me, John. This must be quick, we are due at the wormhole for the Celix quadrant within the next two hundred microts and…"
"You're damn right I wanted to see you! Do you know what I found out before we left High Command?"
"I can not fathom what could be the problem, but obviously it is important enough for you to scream at me with no provocation."
"Everyone knows about us," John said, his hands on his hips. "I don't have a problem with that but...."
"Do you 'know' what they are calling me? What they are saying?" His voice continued to rise. "They're 'saying' I'm your personal trelk. I believe concubine is the word they used."
"Who is saying this?"
"Everyone!" John paced around the room to try and burn off some of the excess energy he felt. It wasn't right to take his anger out on Scorpius, but the idea that he and all that he had worked for was turning into nothing more than a joke completely destroyed most of his reason as he stopped in the center of the room. "What do they mean when they say there is no Earth Assimilation Officer?"
"I created that position specifically for you...as a reward."
"Reward? And just what do you mean by that?"
"I admired your father. He walked into an unknown situation when he agreed to work with the Peacekeepers. When we had opportunity to work with one another, he spoke of your desire to serve the Peacekeepers within the Alliance. So when I heard you speak of not being selected after showing the same characteristics as Jack Crichton, I created the title and position...for you both."
After all that he learned from and about the man standing before him, John was still surprised by his answer. He would have never figured his own father would play into his career within the Peacekeepers.
It helped dampen some of the fire he continued to feel inside, but there was still one more answer he wanted. "And this..." John motioned between the two of them. "...this was not planned?"
"No, our 'relationship' was only a...pleasant consequence, and one I would have never have forced," Scorpius said stepping closer to John. "Do you think this will have any bearing on what we have accomplished together?"
"I don't know. I don't like being lied to, and I sure as frell don't like being called someone's concubine."
"I understand...your work is very real, John. I will find a way to correct this matter, and see that it does not occur again. If these rumors continue...it would be detrimental when you are working in a official capacity for the Peacekeepers or Earth..."
Suddenly John found himself flying across the room as their ship rocked on its side.
He heard Scorpius' yell, "Report!"
"We're under attack, Sir! Three Charrid ships."
A rapid series of explosions almost drowned out Scorpius' next demand for answers. "How did you not see them?!"
John could tell the pilot of their Marauder was struggling to maintain control over their ship as the steady barrage of blows continued. "They must have hidden their energy signature behind the ionization field of the asteroids we just passed. When we spotted them...it was too late. Our third and fourth energy consoles have blown...we have no weaponry, Sir!"
"They're going to board us. To get to you..." John said. Scorpius looked at him and nodded in agreement. If the Charrids were able to secure him for the Scarrans, then the Sebaceans, maybe even the Alliance itself would be lost.
Holding onto anything securely bolted to the ship, John made his way to his bag lying in the corner and retrieved the extra pulse pistol he kept stowed there.
"Scorpius!" he shouted, and threw the weapon to his lover and comrade. Both had agreed cycles ago that if such a scenario were to come to pass, neither would allow the other to be captured by the enemy.
John turned at the sound of tearing metal a few microts after a new explosion rocked their ship. A quick glance back in the Admiral's direction confirmed what he already knew. The outer hull of the ship had been breached, and they were indeed being boarded at that moment.
"John! You must get to the escape craft!" Scorpius shouted.
The escape pod only had room and supplies for one person. "Like Hell! You're the one they want, and I'm not leaving you behind!" John replied.
John knew their time was running short when he heard pulse blasts beneath the cacophony of explosions that continued to escalate throughout the ship. Small fires erupted from control boards within the walls of the room, and it soon plunged into darkness. John saw Scorpius shoot over him. Turning swiftly, John also began firing at the Charrid soldiers shoving through the doorway. As each alien fell, another rushed forward to take its place.
Between the screeching of metal, explosions and the war cries of the invading Charrids, John heard Scorpius' scream of anger as he tried to fight off two that were attempting to subdue him. Running across the room, John jumped onto the back of one. The creature's rancid breath was enough to make his stomach rebel. Reaching for the knife he kept in his boot, John brought it across the alien's neck and brought an end to its struggles.
The ship jerked once more. “Dammit!” John cursed as his shot missed a Charrid entering the room. He paid for that when the creature’s return shot felt like fire spreading through his gut.
"John!" Scorpius roared as John fell to the floor. Watching from where he lay, John watched as Scorpius threw a Charrid across the room, its neck snapping on contact with the far wall.
Closing his eyes for a moment, John opened them as he himself was thrown across the room. The ship rocked more violently. It took him several microts to register that the weapons fire had ceased. He and Scorpius were the only living beings inside the room.
Scorpius’ grip was warm and strong as he squeezed John’s hand. "They evacuated...the engine core has ruptured. I suspect we only have a few microts."
Through the pain, John felt a tingling sensation spread in his mind, bringing a clarity he never expected at a moment such as this. John felt Scorpius squeeze his hand tighter, and felt frustration that his own fingers wouldn't obey him as he tried to do the same.
"John...if I hadn't promoted you...this would not be your fate."
He could taste blood in the back of his throat as he tried to speak, "Shut up...everything...been worth it...because of you..." John watched as a wall of fire quickly spread throughout the room. The last thing he knew was a flash of pain and then...
Opening your eyes, you’re surprised to see a med tech standing over you. Looking around the room, there is no one else in the room.
“Where’s Scorpius?” Fear winds its way into the center of your stomach.
“He should be back any microt. How are you feeling?” The tech checks a scanner in his hand.
“Good…” You turn your head as the door to the quarters open and Scorpius walks in the door. A feeling of relief fills you at the sight of him. Standing slowly, you shake off another wave of dizziness, holding onto the wall to stop the spinning room. You shut your eyes.
“What is wrong with him?” Scorpius’ concerned voice asks.
“Nothing that I can find, Sir. It may only have been a problem with the differences in pressure within the two ships.”
“Very well. Leave us.”
You hear the tech grab his supplies and leave. Scorpius' steps become louder as he crosses the room to you. Opening your eyes, all you can see are his, blue like yours and filled with concern.
You can’t for the life of you remember what the two of you were doing in that little ship, how you arrived at the Carrier. The dizziness finally fades and you stand up straight and face the half Scarran, “I didn’t think he would ever leave.” You desperately want to be in his arms, to have that comfort in this strange place.
“John…about what the Captain said…”
“Concubine. He called me your concubine. I hate that word.” Even your own repetition of it sends waves of disgust through you.
“I know...and it will not happen again. I promise.”
You believe him. Admiral Scorpius has changed the course of history; he’ll have no trouble squashing a few rumors. He wraps his arms around you, and you take his face in your hands.
“Just shut up and kiss me before someone else interrupts us.” That odd tingle sweeps through you again, an instant of unease as his lips touch yours. You firmly shove the sensation away and savor the moment. His taste is sweet on your tongue. You whisper against his warm cheek, rub your lips over the familiar leather straps. “How long until we can get a ship to go back to High Command?”
“I have already made arrangements, John.” Scorpius looks at you with such strong emotion and love in his eyes. “We are going home.”
Taking a step back as you feels the rustle of the coat against you legs. Examining the unfamiliar clothing, you ask, "Scorpius, how did we get...here? The last thing I remember is our ship exploding."
"Me as well…I've asked Captain Braca for any reports dealing with our ship being lost, and our...recovery."
Pacing the room, Scorpius remains silent for a moment before speaking again. "We must assume that we somehow escaped the ship before the engine core exploded, and managed to acquire that smaller ship."
"But that doesn't tell us how it has an American flag on it."
"I can only assume that since we were within close proximity of the wormhole we were about to utilize...and that we were rescued after escape.”
You nod in agreement, but one thing continues to bug you. "Then why don't I remember any of that?"
"I do not know..." Scorpius glances at you. "It could be there was some time dilation once we were within the wormhole. I will have to look at the ship we arrived in to find the answer."
"And if it doesn't give you one?"
"We should be grateful we both survived this ordeal, and make sure that it doesn't happen again."
The idea that you had almost lost Scorpius is frightening. It has been the one aspect of your lives that you have never grown accustomed to, and you don’t think you ever will.
ETA: oops..forgot the italics. *g*