Alas, Babylon
Ian K.

Farscape-Babylon: A Farscape/Babylon 5 Crossover Saga

Book One:  Alas, Babylon

By:  Ian K.

Rating:  PG-13.

Spoilers:  Yes.  

Note:  This is a crossover story of Farscape and Babylon 5.  Gives you
some idea as to the general storyline.  I haven't seen a crossover
between my two favorite shows written yet, so I decided to be the first
because I love both of these shows so much.

Disclaimer:  I did not create Farscape, the universe of Farscape, or
its characters.  Nor did I create the universe of Babylon 5 and its
characters.  I merely borrowed them for this story, for which I will
receive no monetary compensation.  No infringement of copyright

Time Frame:  Farscape-Probably 2 years into the future from "Clockwork
Nebari".  Babylon 5-After "Objects at Rest", but before Crusade.  Earth
year 2264.


Chapter 1:  Contact


It had been a tense couple of weekens for the crew of Moya.  In that
time, they had evaded four Peacekeeper patrols.  On one of those
occasions, a Peacekeeper Marauder had gotten close enough to Moya to
fire on her before the Leviathan had a chance to starburst.  Luckily,
Moya only suffered minor damage.  As a result of their running, Moya
had ventured deep into Uncharted space, beyond any normal trade routes
in search of respite from the pursuit.

John Crichton stood a lonely watch in command while the rest of the
crew attempted to get some sleep.  They had decided to stand four arn
watches during the sleep period in order to be on maximum alert for the
return of the Peacekeeper patrols they had evaded.

As he stood in front of one of the consoles, Crichton heard the sound
of footsteps coming up behind him.  He knew immediately that they
belonged to his wife, Aeryn.  She walked up behind John and put her
arms around his waist.  She rested her head on his back, as he spoke to

"Why aren't you sleeping?  You need it.  Not just for you, but for the

"John, I am only a few weekens pregnant.  I doubt a few arns lost sleep
will hurt our child."

"I still worry.  Come on, Aeryn.  Why are you up?"

"I missed you.  Funny, it used to be natural for me to sleep alone.
Now, it feels so unnatural.  I miss being able to lay against you,
cuddle as you call it."

John turned to his love, and brushed a lock of hair from her cheeks.
They couple kissed, and began to be consumed by their passions when
Pilot interrupted them.

"I am sorry to disturb you, but I have some new information on sensor

"Yes, Pilot," said Aeryn, as she broke from John's embrace and became
all business. 

"Moya has detected a solar system within a few arns distance that might
be suitable for concealment purposes.  There are several dozen moons
and an asteroid field which we could use to hide from the

"Well done, Pilot," said Crichton.  They had been waiting to find a
system like this, one where they could hide until the Peacekeepers
moved on to search another area.  "Take us there."

"Immediately, Commander."


Captain Jack Maynard of the Earth Alliance Explorer Ship Cortez sat in
his command chair, sipping his morning coffee.  This mission had been
going very well. He and his crew had charted a dozen previously unknown
systems and had built several new jumpgates to access them. 

"Not so bad for a last mission before retirement," thought the Captain,
as he smiled at that last part.  "Me, retired.  I could be retiring as
an admiral now, but then I would have been behind a desk  for the past
few years, and just look at the new places and new adventures I would
have missed.  Naw, I wouldn't have taken a seat on the Joint Chiefs of
Staff for these last few years as Captain of the Cortez."

The huge explorer ship was headed for a new system today.  Long range
scans had made a preliminary pass over it about a year ago from Deep
Range Outpost KL93.  Four planets, a dozen moons, and an asteroid
field.  Much like many systems Captain Maynard had surveyed, but it
seemed each one held some special wonder, something that would
distinguish it in Maynard's memory.

"Captain," said his Executive Officer.  "We should be at the jump
coordinates in less than an hour."

"Good, is everything ready."

"Yes, sir.  All shuttles and survey probes readied for launch.  All
crews standing buy.  Sensors are being checked now for maximum

"Very, good, XO.  You have the bridge.  Notify me when we are within 20
minutes of the jump," said the Captain, as he stepped off the bridge to
get some breakfast.

"Aye, aye, sir."

"Looks like everything is proceeding normally," thought Captain
Maynard, as he made his way to the mess hall for some pancakes.


The crew of Moya stood in command, monitoring the readings of the solar
system they were entering.  It appeared that there was no Peacekeeper
presence in this system.  However, just as they chose this system for
concealment also meant that the Peacekeepers could also be concealed
somewhere nearby waiting for them.  They cautiously monitored the
readings looking for the slightest sign of Peacekeeper activity.

After several arns, the crew was satisfied that the system appeared to
be safe enough, and chose a hiding spot for Moya.  As the ship
proceeded there, the crew was about to leave command to get something
to eat, when Pilot interrupted their departure.

"Attention!  Moya is detecting a large energy surge nearby."

The crew quickly returned to the command console.  "Please, show us,
Pilot," said Zhaan.

An image appeared on the view screen which awed the crew.  A large,
orange swirling vortex seemed to open up in space.  What they saw next
turned their feelings from wonder, to hesitation when a large ship
exited the vortex, the portal closing as soon as the ship was clear.

"Is that a Peacekeeper ship?" asked Chiana.

"No, I don't think so," replied Aeryn.  "It doesn't look like any
Peacekeeper ship I have ever seen.  Pilot, do you see anything like it
in Moya's records."

"No, Officer Crichton.  Moya has no record on this ship's design."

"Give us details about the ship, Pilot," ordered D'Argo.

"It appears to maintain gravity using rotation principal design.  It is
armed with plasma and laser based weaponry."

"We should get the frell out of here before they see us," said Rygel.

"Too late," replied Pilot.  "Moya detects sensor beams being trained on
us as we speak."


Excitement filled the crew of the Cortez as news of the detected
unknown alien ship filtered through the ship.  Captain Maynard was also
excited at the prospect of a first contact situation, although
understandably nervous.  He had made ten successful first contacts in
his career, but each new one presented unique challenges.  Humans knew
full well the perils of first contact.  One disastrous first contact
almost lead to the destruction of humanity in the Earth-Minbari War.
Captain Maynard new to step carefully.

"What are you reading on that ship, Lt. Carson?"

"Sir, the ship appears to be unarmed, but our sensors are having a hard
time scanning it."  Carson's face lit up with awe.  "Sir, the ship
appears to be organic in nature."

"An organic tech based ship," broke in Commander Zuchov, the XO.  "That
must mean an advanced civilization, on the order of the Vorlons even."

"Perhaps," replied the Captain, "but lets not jump to any conclusions
until we know more.  Send them Interlac language codes, and standard
friendship messages."

"Aye, sir," replied Zuchov.


Chapter 2:  Welcome to the 23rd Century


The crew of Moya debated whether or not to starburst the dren out of
there, when Pilot broke in on the deliberations with news.

"The ship is transmitting some sort of language parameters to be used
in communications.  The patterns indicate a simple system of universal

Zhaan was the first to speak.  "That could indicated some kind of
method of simplified communications used when encountering new species.
Perhaps we are as unknown to them as they are to us."

"That also could indicate a wish to communicate in friendship," said

"Or it could be a way of them telling us to surrender before they blow
us away," replied Aeryn.  Crichton smiled at his wife using one of his
human sayings.

Aeryn was scanning the ship carefully, attempting to find something
they could use to identify it as Moya processed the language
information.  Upon studying a part of the hull with writing on it, her
face registered shock at what she saw.

John saw the look, and spoke to his wife.  "Aeryn, what is it?"  The
rest of the crew broke their deliberations to find out what had shocked
the former Peacekeeper.

"John, I've found writing on the ship.  It looks like the same writing
that is in your module.  John, I think its English."

Crichton looked at the view screen as Aeryn zoomed in on the writing.
Zhaan spoke first.  "John, is it true?  Can you read what that says."

"It says 'Cortez'," said the human with fascination. "That
ship...its...its from Earth."

Captain Maynard had sent the Interlac language codes over all known
frequencies several minutes ago, and no response as of yet.  Not even
an attempt at communication.  Of course, with all of the unknown
variables involved, that could mean anything.  He was just nervous,
anxious to speak to whoever was on that incredible ship they were

"They know we're here," said Zuchov, "they have been scanning us for a
while, pretty intently I may add."

"Any pattern to their scans?" asked the Captain.

"Yes, sir.  Apparently, much of their scans are focused on our armament

"Being an unarmed ship, they are probably more nervous about us than we
are about them."

"Sir," broke in the communications officer, Lt. Rodriguez.  "We are
getting a signal from the alien ship."

"In Interlac?" asked Maynard.

"No sir.  Sir, the language they are using, its...its English."

"What the...pipe it through," said the Captain.

A clear message in English was coming through over the com.  The voice
was definitely male.  "This is the Leviathan Ship Moya.  We come in
peace.  Um, is your ship from the planet Earth."

The entire bridge crew looked up in astonishment.  "These aliens know
about Earth," thought the Captain.  "And that almost sounded like a way.  Maybe it is time you retired, Captain."

Maynard finally ordered Rodriguez to open a channel.  "Yes, we are from
Earth.  This is Captain Jack Maynard of the Earth Alliance Explorer
Ship Cortez.  We are also on a peaceful mission.  Can you identify

"Yes, Captain.  My name is Commander John Robert Crichton, Jr., serial
number 2182523, International Aeronautics and Space Administration,
Farscape One Project."

"What the hell?"thought Maynard.

"Sir, that isn't possible," broke in Zuchov.  "The IASA was disbanded
when the Earth Alliance was created 150 years ago."

"Yeah," replied Maynard.  "That name, too.  Where have I..."A look of
realization crossed over his face.  "My God.  Crichton was an
astronaut.  He and his ship were lost in 2004.  Some freak accident.  I
remember that now.  It was the first time an astronaut was lost in

"Is anyone there?" came the voice again.

Maynard tried to figure out what to say.  "Um, you say you are
Commander Crichton.  But, that doesn't make sense I'm afraid.  Crichton
is dead."

"No, he ain't.  Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

"Well, there is one indication he is human," said Carson.  "He just
quoted Mark Twain."

"Look, I need proof of what you are saying.  Would you be willing to
come aboard the Cortez and speak to me?"

"Um, no.  No offense, but I don't know you well enough to come over to
your place.  But, why don't you come to mine?"

All of a sudden, a slew of voices came over the comm, apparently
arguing with Crichton, but in several distinct alien languages.  After
a few moments, Crichton silenced them, and spoke again to Maynard.

"Well, how about it, Captain?  You have probably already figured out
that this ship isn't armed.  You can come with some security if you
like.  But we do need to talk face to face.  Besides, I can show you
better proof that what I am saying is true if you come here."

Maynard considered for a moment.  There were any number of dangers
involved in boarding an unknown alien vessel on the request of a dead
man.  But, as they say, no guts, no glory.

"Alright.  I'll come aboard with 2 of my officers and 3 security men.
Will that do?"

Zuchov moved to protest the action, but was silenced before he could
utter a word by a raised hand from Captain Maynard.  

"Agreed.  We'll be expecting you.  Crichton out."

"Sir," said Commander Zuchov.  "I must officially protest this course
of action.  We just don't know all of the facts."

"Look, Nicoli.  I appreciate your concern, and I share it.  But when we
signed on for duty on an explorer ship, we knew we were on a journey
into the unknown.  Walking up to meet the unknown is part of our
business.  Now, I leave you in command of the Cortez.  If anything
should happen to me..."

"I'll blow that ship to pieces, sir."

"No.  You will get the Cortez out of here and inform Earth Force
Command.  That's an order, Commander."

"Aye, sir," came the reluctant reply from Zuhchov.  

Maynard turned to Carson.  "Lieutenant, your with me.  Ask Dr. Adams to
meet us in the shuttle bay.  Also send for three security officers and
have them meet us there, fully armed."

"Aye, sir."


"Crichton, how can you be so sure that is an Earth ship?" asked D'Argo
as they walked to the hanger deck to greet their guests' shuttle.
Crichton, Aeryn, and D'Argo were to meet the landing party from the
Cortez, while Zhaan and Chiana monitored things in command.  Rygel
decided to stay at command to "advise".

"Look, D'Argo.  Every indication is that the ship out there is from

"But John," interjected Aeryn, "the level of technology needed to build
that ship, with its capabilities.  How do you compare that with your
bucket of...your module.  The tech is no where near comparable."

"I know, Aeryn.  I can't explain it either.  That is why I didn't go to
their ship.  At least here on Moya, we have more control of the
situation.  But I have to know, Aeryn.  I have to."

The trio arrived at the hanger as the shuttle from the Earth ship
landed in the hanger bay.
It landed gracefully on the deck, and within a few seconds its engines
were powered down.  

Several more minutes passed before a hatch opened on the craft, and six
humans stepped out onto the deck of Moya.  Three of them were well
armed with some kind of rifles, which made D'Argo and Aeryn
instinctively raise their weapons.

"Wait," said one of the humans, apparently the leader.  "My men won't
harm you if you don't try to hurt us.  They are here as a precaution.
Please, lower your weapons."

Crichton turned to D'Argo and Aeryn.  "Its okay, guys.  Please, do as
he asks."

The two warriors reluctantly complied.  Crichton turned again to face
the compliment from the Cortez.  He looked at the man who spoke, the
one with the full beard who sounded like the man he spoke to earlier.

"Are you Captain Maynard?"

"Yes.  You must be Crichton."

John extended his hand to the Captain, who after a moment's hesitation
accepted it.  "Well, you feel human, I guess."

"I could say the same of you, Crichton.  But its still going to take a
lot more to convince me that you are who you say you are."  Maynard
looked at the two beings behind Crichton.  One was apparently a human
woman, or human looking, and a beautiful one at that.  The other was,
well, some kind of tentacled warrior being whose stare could probably
shake a Narn up a little.  "Who are your companions?"

Crichton turned to his two shipmates.  "This is D'Argo, a Luxan

"Captain," said D'Argo.  However, Maynard looked confused.  That is
when Crichton realized that he doesn't understand him.  

"I forgot, Captain.  You don't have translator microbes.  Would you be
willing to be injected with them, Captain?  They colonize at the base
of the brain, allowing you to understand other languages."

"Sir", broke in one of the other humans. "I can't allow that.  We don't
know what effects they may have on you."

Maynard spoke to Crichton, indicating the one who just spoke.  "This is
my Chief Physician, Dr. Walter Adams.  I have to agree with his
assessment.  Besides, we have translation equipment of our own we can
set up, if you don't mind.  Now," he indicated Aeryn, "who is this?"

"Captain, this is my wife, Aeryn-Sun Crichton.  And no, she is not
human.  She is of a similar species called Sebacean.  Aeryn, Captain

"Good to meet you, Captain," replied Aeryn.

"Now her I understood.  How?"

"Crichton has taught me some English, Captain," said Aeryn.  "There are
still, um, gaps, in my knowledge of the language, but I am learning."

"And you are Crichton's wife?"

Aeryn replied warily.  "Yes. Do you have a problem with that?"

"No, I mean, its not my place.  I'm sorry if my shock offended you.  As
a matter of fact, one of my best friends is married to an alien woman. 

Maynard turned to his fellow officers.  "I already introduced you to
Dr. Adams.  This is Lt. Carson, one of my bridge officers.  These
security men are Travis, Devillegas, and Chen. Now, Crichton, you said
you had proof of your claims."

"Yes, step this way."

Crichton led them to the Farscape module.  When Maynard saw it, his
mouth almost fell open.  Although it had been modified with some alien
tech, it still looked like the same craft he saw in the historical
files he studied on the way over in the shuttle.

"Well, this is going a long way to proving what you say, Crichton,"
said the Captain.  "Not every day you get to see some vintage space
tech like this."

"Vintage, what do you mean?" replied Crichton.  "Look, Captain, your
ship, your technological capabilities.  They are well beyond what Earth
had when I left.  How can you explain it?"

"Simple, Crichton.  You "left" Earth over 200 years ago."


The crew of Moya and the visitors from the Cortez had gathered in
Moya's medical bay.  A series of examinations were being conducted on
Crichton by Dr. Adams and on Captain Maynard by Zhaan.  The first was
to determine whether Crichton's claims at being human were authentic,
the other was to prove the same claim made by the crew of the Cortez.
Both examiners had good news for their respective shipmates.

"He is human, Captain," said Dr. Adams.  "Every test I know of verifies

Zhaan turned to Crichton and the rest of Moya's crew.  "My scans of the
Captain are comparable to those of Crichton.  His bodily systems,
energy signature, everything points to him being human."

"Well," said Maynard, "looks like your claim is legit, Crichton.  Let
me say this is the first time I have ever met a dead man."

"Yeah, well...first time for everything," said Crichton rather quietly.
Aeryn noticed the shift in his mood since the revelation that he was
200 cycles in the future.  John gave Aeryn a look which let her know
that he wanted to talk with her.  She nodded, and Crichton rose from
the examination table.

"If you all would excuse me for a little while, I need to think.  Um,
would someone mind showing Captain Maynard and his crew around."

"I would be willing," said Chiana.  "Be interesting to get to know some
other humans."

"We do need to talk, Crichton," interjected Maynard.

"I know.  I just need to take a deep breath."

"I understand.  Take your time."

Crichton nodded and left the medical bay with Aeryn.  They went to the
terrace to talk.  Crichton stopped in the middle of the room and ran
his fingers through his hair, then sighed.  Aeryn walked over to him
and put one hand on his shoulder, the other around his waist, and then
placed her head on his shoulder.  "Quite a startling revelation, John."

"Yeah.  Understatement of the century.  Wow, century.  I'm not even in
the same century.  The 23rd Century.  I still can't believe..."

Crichton looked at Aeryn thoughtfully, and she raised her head to look
at him.  "Everyone I knew on Earth:  Dad, DK, my sisters.  They are all
long dead.  Judging by that ship out there, Earth had probably changed
so much I may not even recognize it.  For so long, I have wondered
whether I would see Earth again.  Now, I....I don't know."

"John, if you did decide to go to Earth, I will go with you.  I don't
want you to worry about that.  I will never leave you."

Crichton kissed her head, and ran a hand through her hair.  "Thanks,
baby.  That does mean a lot to me.  One thing is for sure, I don't
think we'll have too much of a problem with how my people will treat
you.  It seems humans are a pretty advanced race now."

"Yes, but we should still talk to Captain Maynard.  He could probably
give us a better idea of what to expect.  I trust him, somehow.  He
seems to be a good man."

"Yeah.  Your right.  Let's go talk to him.  But, before we do, I want
to take one precaution."

"What's that?"

"Let's not tell them, my people, about the baby.  At least not yet.
Just to be safe."

"Very well.  But we will have to let that out of the container soon."

"That's let that out of the bag, Aeryn."

"What's the difference?"

"Never mind.  Let's go talk to the Captain."


Moya's crew and human visitors spoke for several hours, each telling
quite a story.  Before the conversation started, Maynard had checked in
with the Cortez, informing them everything was okay.

Maynard gave Crichton a brief history of the past 200 hundred years of
Earth history.  He told him and his friends about their first contact
with aliens, the Centauri, and how they traded with them in exchange
for hyperspace jump technology.  The crew was amazed that a technology
which was unheard of in their end of the universe was a common means of
travel this end of space.  The Captain also told about the founding of
the Earth Alliance and its off world colonies, such as Mars and Proxima
3.  He explained about how the Earth Alliance had gained prominence as
an interstellar power when they defeated the Dilgar, an alien race that
had invaded and ravaged a group of planets called the League of Non-
aligned Worlds.  Maynard then told the story of the disastrous Earth-
Minbari War, and stunned Crichton with the thought that the human race
almost faced extermination in that war.  The Captain then told them
about more recent history, about the Shadow War and Earth Civil War,
and of the formation of the Interstellar Alliance, which was made up of
Earth, the Minbari, the Narn, the Centauri, and a dozen other worlds.

It was then the crew of Moya's turn to tell a story, now aided by the
translation equipment set up by Adams and Carson.  Crichton and the
others told Maynard about all that had happened to them, and about the
suffering they had endured at the hands of the Peacekeepers.  They told
him they were being pursued by an evil creature named Scorpius, who had
a Peacekeeper Command Carrier at his command.  Maynard listened with
concern, wanting to know more about the Peacekeepers in order to assess
their threat to Earth Alliance security.

When the conversation was over, Maynard made a proposition to the crew.
"Would all of you be willing to come back with us to speak with the
council of the Interstellar Alliance, as well as Earth Force
authorities?  I'm sure they would like to learn more about these
Peacekeepers and they threat they pose."

"Well..."began Crichton, before being interrupted by Pilot.
"Attention, Moya is detecting a ship on the outskirts of this system."

Just then, Maynard's hand link  (a small communications device secured
to the top of his hand) bleeped, indicating a message from the Cortez. 
The Captain activated his link.  "Maynard here."

"Sir, scanners detecting an unknown vessel bearing 040, distance 10
million kilometers.  Closing."

Pilot's voice again filled the room.  "Moya has identified it as
Scorpius' Command Carrier."

Maynard looked up and spoke to Pilot.  "Are you sure?"

"Yes, Captain.  It is Scorpius.  He has detected us and is closing on
our position."

Maynard spoke again into his hand link.  "Cortez, that shipped is
deemed hostile.  Man battle stations, prepare to launch fighters."

"Aye, sir."

"Let's starburst the yotz of here," said Rygel.

"I agree," said Zhaan.  "We can not stay.  Captain Maynard, you should
leave also."

"Wait," said the Captain.  "I have another suggestion."  He turned to
Aeryn.  "Aeryn, you mentioned that the Peacekeepers don't have hyper
jump capability."

"Yes, but..."

"Well, the Cortez can open a large jump point, and can hold it open for
Moya to come with us into hyperspace."

"I would advise against that," said Pilot.  "Moya is not familiar with
that environment.  She would be very frightened."

Carson broke into the conversation.  "She could tuck in close to the
Cortez.  We can guide her."

Maynard turned to the crew.  "As a Captain in Earth Force, I am hereby
officially offering all of you asylum on behalf of the Earth Alliance."

The crew had a quick discussion, but as the carrier loomed nearer, they
finally agreed to the proposal.

Maynard again turned to his link.  "Zuchov, listen carefully.  Prepare
to jump to hyperspace.  Hold the jump point open and allow Moya to
enter with us."

"Yes, sir.  Jump engines standing by."


The Cortez opened up a jump point, and held position as Moya moved
hesitantly into it.  As soon as Moya jumped into hyperspace, the Cortez
followed, closing the jump point behind them.


"What do you mean they disappeared!?" said Scorpius to Lt. Braca, who
cringed at the Scarren half-breed's anger.

"Sir, I can't explain it.  They didn't starburst.  The Leviathan and
that unknown ship just disappeared into some unknown energy vortex.
We've never seen anything like it."

"What vortex?  Show me!" demanded Scorpius.

Braca turned to one of the view screens, and replayed the data from
their scanners.  An image of the Cortez opening its jump point, and of
the two ships entering with the vortex disappearing behind them, played
on the screen.

"This is interesting," said Scorpius with a smirk.  "That was no
wormhole phenomena.  It seemed to be created by that other ship.  It
seems that our quarry has new friends.  Braca, attempt to identify that
ship.  Meanwhile, I want our science and tech staffs put to work
studying the data from that recording.  I want to know what happened."

"Yes, sir."


Chapter 3:  A Visit to Babylon


After Moya entered hyperspace, she began to shake a little as she
became accustomed to the new spatial environment.  Lt. Carson helped
Pilot arranged for Moya to keep a lock on a signal from the Cortez so
she could navigate.  As soon as the link was established, Moya seemed
to calm down.

The crew of Moya looked in awe at what they saw.  Hyperspace was multi-
colored universe, with eddies and lights that gave the space a bright
hue.  After a few minutes of gazing at the view, everyone sat down to
try and figure out a course of action.

"I would still like all of you to consider my proposal," said Captain

"You mean go to your government and to the Interstellar Alliance, and
tell them all we know about the Peacekeepers," replied Zhaan.

"Yes.  After getting a look at a Peacekeeper Command Carrier, I am even
more convinced of the threat they could pose to the security of the
Earth Alliance and to the other alien governments in our region of
space.  Knowledge is power, and you could give us that power."  Maynard
looked at Crichton next.  "Crichton, I assume you would like to go home
to Earth."

"That's just it, Captain.  I'm two hundred years out of date.  Would
Earth really be home for me anymore?"

"I know what you are saying.  Your family, as you knew it, is gone.
But Earth is still Earth.   The amenities may be a little different,
but the sky is still blue, the grass is still green, and people are
still people.  At least give it a shot."

"There is another concern I have, Captain," said Crichton, as he looked
at Aeryn.  "I'm married to an alien woman.  How do you think she would
be received on Earth, as my wife and all?"

Maynard considered for a moment.  "I'll be strait with you.  Despite
the progress we have made, like I said.  People are still people.
There are still many who adopt a philosophy of distrust and hatred of
those who are different.  Earth is no Utopia where we all love one
another now.  There are still bigoted people out there.  But, I will
say this.  I think most would give you and Aeryn a hero's welcome.
Human prevails against odds in alien world, finds love with a beautiful
woman.  Its all the makings of a great adventure story.  Hell, you have
even re-written the history books.  Humans first made contact with
aliens about 90 years or so before we thought thanks to your flight
through that wormhole.  But I have to say it would beat life as a
fugitive from the Peacekeepers, wouldn't it?"

Crichton looked at Aeryn once again.  She nodded with a smile, and John
returned his gaze to Maynard.  "Okay, we'll give it a go."

The rest of the crew agreed to speak to the Earth government and the
Interstellar Alliance about the Peacekeepers.  They had to take John
and Aeryn to Earth space anyway, and they felt that Crichton's people
may be able to help them get home somehow.  They could at least give
them respite from Peacekeeper pursuit for a while.

Maynard had to return to the Cortez.  Carson decided to stay on Moya to
assist Pilot in navigation through hyperspace.  Crichton and Aeryn
decided, at the Captain's invitation, to visit the Cortez.

The Earth Force shuttle left Moya and sped its way to the Cortez.  When
the ship landed, the group stepped off of the shuttle and into the
shuttle bay.  Crichton was in awe at this amazing ship, and even more
in awe because it was his people who had built it.  Aeryn was not
particularly impressed by the ship itself (she had been living on ships
all of her life), but she was impressed with human advancements in
technology.  She had learned through knowing Crichton to never
underestimate humans, and the sight of this advanced ship reinforced
that notion.

Maynard led Crichton and Aeryn to the bridge, where they were greeted
by the ships Executive Officer.  "Crichton, Aeryn," said Maynard, "I
want you to meet my Executive Officer, Commander Nicoli Zuchov.  XO,
this is Commander John Crichton and Aeryn Sun-Crichton."

"How do you do?" replied Zuchov with a sturdy Russian accent.

"Nice to meet you," replied Crichton.

"I'll show you both around later," said Captain Maynard.  "For now, I
want to contact Earth Force Command and inform them of what has
happened.  Then we'll start the process of having you meet with Earth
and Interstellar Alliance representatives."


It took 3 weeks for the Cortez to return to Earth Alliance space from
what the humans call "the rim", a term for the boundary of known space.
In that time, Crichton and Aeryn were briefed by Maynard and his crew
about the day to day aspects of life in 23rd Century Earth society.
John and Aeryn spent a lot of time on the Earth ship getting acclimated
to the new environment.

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew was also invited for visits to the
Cortez, including for several dinners with the Captain and his
officers.  They too were being briefed on who was who and what to
expect.  When word of the events that transpired beyond the rim and of
the special visitors being brought back by the Cortez spread through
the Earth Alliance government and the Interstellar Stellar Alliance
Council, decisions were made on how to approach the problem.  All of
the governments in the ISA were very interested in what Moya's crew had
to say and about the possible threat posed by the Peacekeepers.  It was
decided that the Cortez would proceed to Babylon 5.  Moya's crew was
told of the purpose of the massive space station, and the role it plays
as neutral territory for the alien governments to meet at.

Besides the various ambassadors to Babylon 5, President John Sheridan
and his wife, Delenn of the Minbari, would also be at the station to
meet with Moya's crew, as would President Susana Luchenko of the Earth
Alliance.  Both parties arrived on Babylon 5 a day before Moya and the
Cortez arrived.

An elaborate formal ceremony was arranged to welcome the visitors to
Babylon 5, as well as to welcome John Crichton with a hero's
homecoming.  Finally, the Cortez and Moya came through Babylon 5's
hyperspace jump gate.  Crichton, Aeryn, and the rest of Moya's crew
stood on Moya's command and gazed upon the huge space station, quite
impressed by the sight.

About an hour after the ships arrived, a transport pod left Moya with
her crew on board bound for Babylon 5's docking bay.  When the crew
disembarked, they were greeted by a formal honor guard, and a
collection of aliens from a variety of different races.

One human man with a beard stepped forward to greet the crew.  "Welcome
to Babylon 5," he began, "I am John Sheridan, President of the
Interstellar Alliance."  He turned to John.  "You must be Commander

"Yes, sir.  Its an honor to meet you.  May I present my wife, Aeryn-Sun
Crichton of the Sebaceans."

"Hello, Mr. President," she said.

"A  pleasure."

Crichton continued with the presentations. "This is Ka D'Argo of the
Luxans, Pau Zotah Zhaan of Delvia, Chiana of the Nebari, and this is
Rygel XVI, deposed Dominar of the Hynerian Empire."

Sheridan greeted each in turn, and then began his turn at the
presentations.  "This is my wife, Delenn, who also represents the
Minbari Federation, Ambassador Vir Cotto of the Centauri Republic,
Ambassador Talon of the Narn Regime.  They represent the Interstellar
Alliance Advisory Council.  May I also present President Susana
Luchenko of the Earth Alliance."

Luchenko approached Crichton, and extended her hand to him.  "On behalf
of the people of Earth and her colonies, I welcome you home Commander
Crichton.  Your bravery and skill against incredible odds does our
people and our world proud to call you one of Earth's sons.  May I also
welcome our new found friends, Crichton's comrades on his journey of
discovery."  She then approached Aeryn.  "I would also like to welcome
John's wife, Aeryn Sun-Crichton, and extend to her full citizenship in
the Earth Alliance, as is her right as John Crichton's wife."

"Thank you," was Aeryn's reply.

Sheridan again spoke.  "Last but not least, let me introduce you to
Captain Elizabeth Lochley, commander of Babylon 5," he concluded,
indicating a brown haired woman with tan skin and a firm, commanding

Moya's crew was escorted to their quarters, while preparations were
made for the ISA Council session.  Crichton and Aeryn stepped into
their quarters, and were left alone for a while.  John approached Aeryn
and wrapped his arms around her waist.  She leaned into his embrace,
and they exchanged a kiss.

"Well, Aeryn.  Looks like you are an Earth citizen, now.  Straight from
the President, no less."

"Yes.  But does this mean I have to start talking nonsensically and use
your Earth sayings more often?  Because if that's true, I may have to
reconsider," she said playfully.

"This is sass, isn't it," came the equally playful reply.  John and
Aeryn then embraced each other and began to kiss.  They lost themselves
in each other for a short while, before they had to leave for the
Council session.


Chapter 4:  A Story to Tell


An hour or so later, Crichton, Aeryn, D'Argo, Zhaan, Chiana, and Rygel,
were all brought to Babylon 5's Council Chamber.  It was a large, well
lit room with several tables and chairs facing one large table with
four chairs.  The latter table is where the four representatives of the
Interstellar Alliance Advisory Council would sit, while the rest of the
ISA member worlds' representatives would sit in the first group of
tables and chairs mentioned.

Several other seats were set up for Moya's crew, as well as a few other
important officials such as President Luchenko, Captain Lochley, and
Captain Maynard.  When Moya's crew entered the chamber, they were
greeted by Sheridan and Delenn.

"Well, have you had a chance to rest?" asked Sheridan.

"Yes, Mr. President, thank you," replied Zhaan.

"Well, let Delenn and I introduce you around the room."  For about
twenty minutes, the crew was introduced to the various representatives
of the ISA member worlds, including the Drazi, the Pakmara, the Gaim,
and the Hyac.  Just before the meeting started, an older human dressed
in an Earth Force uniform entered the room, apparently running late.
Sheridan saw him, and moved to shake his hand firmly.  The President
then motioned for Crichton and Aeryn to come over.

"Commander Crichton, Aeryn, I would like you to meet General Robert
Lefcourt.  General, this is Commander John Crichton and his wife,
Aeryn-Sun Crichton."

"How do you do, Commander, Mrs. Crichton?"

"Fine, sir.  Happy to meet you," replied Crichton.

"An honor, sir," was Aeryn's reply.  She almost snapped to attention at
the General's presence.  The man seemed to exude authority and
confidence, which made an immediate impression on the former

Delenn then approached the group.  "We are ready to start," she said.

The beings of various races in the room took their seats, and Sheridan
banged a gable and began to speak.  "This meeting of the Interstellar
Alliance Advisory Council and Representatives, and distinguished
guests, has been called to discuss the possibility of a new threat to
Alliance security.  The source of this new threat is a para-military
organization known as the Peacekeepers, first briefly encountered by an
Earth explorer ship less than 4 Earth weeks ago.  We will be hearing
from the various members of the crew of a ship called Moya.  These
beings have been pursued by the Peacekeepers for a number of years, and
are here to brief us on the threat the Peacekeepers may pose to us.  We
will first hear from Pau Zotah Zhaan of the planet Delvia."

Zhaan rose, and took her place at the speaker's podium.  Delenn
addressed the Delvian Priestess.  "Perhaps if you begin at the
beginning," said the Minbari.

"On my planet, I was considered an anarchist by my government.  My
views on free thought and free expression were considered treason by
our leaders.  These same leaders invited the Peacekeepers to come to
Delvia to police the population, and root out anarchists like myself.
I was arrested, and imprisoned for several hundred cycles by the
Peacekeepers.  You see, other worlds hire the Peacekeepers as
mercenaries to do their dirty work.  However, more often than not, the
Peacekeepers come to master the ones who hire them.  That is what
eventually happened to my world. Delvia is now a conquered world ruled
by the Peacekeepers."

The entire audience talked in hushed voices after hearing Zhaan's
account.  Several ambassadors had questions for her to answer before
being excused back to her seat.  Zhaan did not tell them the whole
truth (specifically about the murder of her lover), but she felt that
was none of their business. Crichton is still the only one who knows
about that, and he has been sworn to secrecy.

Ambassador Talon of the Narn spoke next.  "We will now hear from Ka
D'Argo of the Luxans."

The large warrior rose and approached the podium, his presence and
stature making some of the ambassadors cringe a little.  He too was
asked by Talon to tell his story.  "In my youth, I yearned to be a
warrior, as most men of my race do.  I joined the Luxan military and
saw warfare in two battle campaigns.  However, my life goals changed
when I met a Sebacean woman named Lolaan."

"A Sebacean," broke in the Centauri Ambassador, Vir Cotto.  "The
Sebaceans are the race that make up the Peacekeeper ranks, the one's
like her," he said, as he pointed to Aeryn. "Correct?"

"Yes.  Lolaan was beautiful, and I fell in love with her the first
moment I saw her. Fortunately for me, she also found love for me in her
heart.  We married and had a son, Jothee.  However, the Peacekeepers
believe such unions to be evil.  Lolaan's brother, Macton, was a
Peacekeeper.  He..." the Luxan almost began to break with emotion, but
held it in with a warrior's pride.  "He killed Lolaan, and accused me
of the crime.  I managed to get Jothee into hiding before the
Peacekeepers arrested and imprisoned me for Lolaan's murder."

The ambassadors again talked in hushed voices after hearing the Luxan's
testimony.  Tears began to well up in Delenn's eyes upon hearing the
story.  It touched close to home for her.  After all, she was married
to an alien man, and had a mixed race child.

After D'Argo testified, Rygel spoke, giving a prolonged oratory about
how he was dethroned an imprisoned by the Peacekeepers at the request
of his cousin.  When he was finished, Delenn again spoke.

"We now call upon Aeryn Sun-Crichton, former Peacekeeper Officer."

The proud Sebacean woman stood up at the Podium and began her
testimony.  "I was born a Peacekeeper soldier, born into a world of
strict discipline and where authority was not questioned.  We were
trained from birth that to kill for the good of the Peacekeepers was an
honor.  We were conditioned to believe that other species were lower
life forms, that they were useless, diseased, to be either controlled
or eliminated.  As a Peacekeeper, I committed numerous acts which I
look back on now with disgust, but ones which I was once proud of as a
Peacekeeper.  My life changed when I met a lost human male named John
Crichton.  He was wrongfully accused of murder by my Captain, and when
I stood up for Crichton, I was deemed to be irreversibly contaminated. 
I was to be executed for my crime, but Crichton managed to arrange
escape for himself, D'Argo, and me.  I did not want to come at first,
but he told me I could be more than I was.  Luckily, I made the right
decision that day, and I am more now thanks to him.  I stand before you
today to tell you that the Peacekeepers pose a danger to all of you.
If given the chance, the will conquer all of you and make you their

Numerous questions were leveled at Aeryn about Peacekeeper tactics,
intentions, her actions as a Peacekeeper.  She was kept at the podium
for a full hour answering questions.  Finally, she was allowed to
return to her seat.  John put his arm around her, and she reassured him
she was alright.

Sheridan rose and spoke.  "I now call on Commander John Crichton of
Earth to speak."

Crichton rose and approached the podium to tell his story.  "I was born
over 200 years ago on Earth.  In the late twentieth century, I joined
the space program and was part of an experiment which, if successful,
was meant as a way for humans to begin interstellar travel.  However,
during the experiment, a wormhole was accidentally created and I was
shot through it.  When I arrived at the other side, I found myself in
the middle of a battle.  Moya was escaping from Peacekeeper custody,
and I was brought aboard by D'Argo and Zhaan.  They thought I might
possess a method of escape when they saw my ship come out of nowhere.
Aeryn told you how she came to be aboard Moya.  Chiana came aboard many
months later.  We eventually began to work together more as a team, and
become a sort of odd type of family.  In the meantime, Aeryn and I
would eventually fall in love and marry."

"For a cyle, um, year, Captain Crais chased us across the Uncharted
Territories.  During that time, Aeryn became seriously injured and
needed a tissue transplant.  I infiltrated a Peacekeeper base posing as
one of them, but was found out and captured by a creature named

"If I may," broke in Sheridan, "just what is Scorpius?"

"He is half Sebacean, half Scarren.  The Scarrens are a real nasty
bunch, too, but I digress.  Scorpius tortured me and probed my mind
with a device called an Aurora Chair.  He found out that I have
knowledge of wormholes, knowledge he wants.  Fortunately, Aeryn and the
others arranged my escape.  But Scorpius has been chasing me ever
since, wanting to get inside my head for the wormhole technology."

"Commander," asked Talon, "what do you think would be the consequences
if this Scorpius attained this knowledge?"

"The Peacekeepers could become an unstoppable force that could threaten
the universe.  I am not exaggerating when I say that.  I stand before
you today as a witness to what the Peacekeepers can do.  Make no
mistake.  If they find out about this area of the galaxy, they will
come and attempt to force their will on all of you.  They would have an
added incentive:  they don't have hyperspace jump technology, you do.
The Peacekeepers will try and take that from you."

Many more questions were asked of Crichton, especially about specific
encounters he has had with the Peacekeepers. A few questions about the
Scarrens were also asked before he was allowed to sit.

Sheridan spoke again.  "I would ask our guests from Moya to excuse us
while the council deliberates on this matter.  Someone will show you to
your quarters to rest, or you can take a tour of the station if you

The crew of Moya was escorted out of the council chamber by Captain
Lochley.  "They could be a long time deliberating," she said.  "Would
you like a tour of the station?"

"Yes," said Rygel, "I would love to see what this station has to

The others also agreed to the tour.  Lochley showed them around the
station, while the council discussed all that they had heard from
Moya's crew.


Chapter 5:  Decisions and Actions


John and Aeryn returned to their quarters on Babylon 5 after a long
day.  After the Council Meeting, the crew was shown around the station
first by Captain Lochley, then later by another officer, Lt. Corwin,
when Lochley was called away on duties.  Moya's crew had enjoyed their
day on Babylon 5, walking around the station's market called the
Zoccalo, enjoying the parks and gardens.  They were all amazed at the
station's size and complexity.  John and Aeryn decided to retire early,
but the others were still at it.  Rygel was still probably gambling in
the casino with the group of Centauri he had met.  Zhaan was last seen
going off with a group of Minbari to meditate.  D'Argo was sharing war
stories with two Narns he met.  Meanwhile, Chiana was her usual
flirtatious self, enchanting a group of human traders who she met in
the casino.

Just as John was about the join Aeryn on the couch, he heard the
station's communication system, called a Babcom, bleep, indicating a
message.  Crichton sighed and walked over to the Babcom terminal.

"Receive," he said.

The image of Captain Lochley appeared on the screen.  "Commander
Crichton.  You and your wife are requested to come to President
Sheridan's office.  The council has made a decision.  We are still
having trouble tracking down the rest of your crew, so you to will have
to be the only ones present at the meeting for now."

"Alright, we'll be right there.  Where is his officer again, Captain?"

"I've sent a security officer to escort you."

"Thank you, Captain."

The screen blinked off, and Aeryn approached Crichton.  "What do you
think, John?"

"I don't know, baby.  We'll have to wait to see when we get there."

The officer arrived a few moments later.  The young man escorted John
and Aeryn to the President's office.  When they entered, the saw
President Sheridan, Delenn, General Lefcourt, and another human woman
in an Earth Force uniform.  The woman mentioned had long, dark hair,
tied in a ponytail.  She had strong, but striking features that made
her appear very military in her bearing, yet beautiful and feminine at
the same time.

President Sheridan rose and spoke.  "Crichton, Aeryn, please sit.  You
know almost everyone here."  Sheridan gestured to the human woman, who
stood to great the newcomers.  "This is Captain Susan Ivanova of the
Earth Alliance Destroyer Athena.  Captain Ivanova, this is Commander
John Crichton and his wife, Aeryn-Sun Crichton."

"How do you do?" said the Captain.

Crichton smiled at the beautiful woman, and replied.  "Hello."  He
looked at Aeryn, who gave him a slight scowl, which made him wipe the
smile off of his face.  The Sebacean woman then looked at Ivanova and
shook her hand.

"Honored, Captain."

The group sat around the conference table, waiting for President
Sheridan to start the conversation.  "The council has decided that the
evidence does suggest a possible threat is posed by the Peacekeepers.
What we feel now is that intelligence is needed as to the immediate
threat posed by the Peacekeepers, namely Scorpius' command carrier.
The last time it was seen was four weeks ago when you and the Cortez
escaped from system JL-327."

"That's right," replied Aeryn.  

"And you can bet even money that Scorpy is looking for me, wondering
where I went too," interjected Crichton.

"Well, he can't track you through hyperspace, so we can't even begin to
guess where he is now.  And that is what worries us," said the
President seriously. "That's why the council has decided to send a
reconnaissance in force to locate Scorpius' command carrier.  I'll now
turn over the briefing to General Lefcourt.  President Luchenko, who
unfortunately had to return to Earth, pulled him out of retirement
because he is one of our most experienced officers.  He will be heading
up this operation.  General."

"Thank you, Mr. President," said the General as he rose and approached
a view screen.  The man exuded confidence and bearing as he strode
across the room, which comes only from the years of military
experience.  Lefcourt activated a view screen, producing an image of
the space around JL-327.

"The ISA has assembled a fleet to send to the area to find Scorpius, a
fleet that will be under my command.  We are assembling a fleet of 4
Earth Force Destroyers, 6 White Star ships, and 2 Minbari Cruisers.
One of those ships is the Athena, under Captain Ivanova.  She and her
ship has been chosen to be our advanced scout.  The Athena will come
out of hyperspace first and attempt to determine the location of the
Peacekeeper Command Carrier, as well as any other Peacekeeper forces
that may have entered the area.  Once they are located, Ivanova will
attempt to lure them into the JL-327 system.  Once their, the rest of
the fleet will jump out of hyperspace and make contact."

"To what end?" asked Aeryn.

"To attempt to verify their intentions, and to 'persuade' them to back

"And if they refuse?" asked Crichton.

"Then we'll clean their clocks."

"What?" asked Aeryn with a confused look.

"That means that we'll take them out," said Ivanova.

"The Athena is a Warlock class destroyer," added Lefcourt, "one of our
newest warships.  That's why she is being sent in first.  Most of the
fleet will make the initial jump to ambush the command carrier.  The
Minbari cruisers will remain in hyperspace as a reserve.  We should be
able to handle them.  If there is more than one command carrier, then
the Athena will jump back into hyperspace and we'll make a reassessment
of our plans."

Sheridan spoke next.  "That's why I wanted you two here.  Officer
Crichton, you know more about the Peacekeepers than anyone else here.
You too, Crichton, could possess information that could be a tremendous
asset to this mission.  That's why I am asking both of you to accompany
Captain Ivanova on the Athena as advisors, if you are willing."

"Well..." started Crichton, but was interrupted by Aeryn.

"Yes, I will go.  John?"

"Aeryn, we need to talk.  I mean," he turned to the group.  "I will
definitely go, but I don't want Aeryn there."

"Why not?" asked Aeryn, very upset.

"You know why, Aeryn," replied Crichton.  Yes, Aeryn did know why.  The
baby.  She should have expected it, but was still unprepared for
Crichton's protectiveness.

"John, I may be your wife, but I am not a child."

Delenn then broke into the conversation.  "Perhaps we should let the
two of you discuss this alone."

"Yes, please do," added Lefcourt.  "We won't be leaving for 3 more
days.  The fleet is still be assembled, and we have other preparations
to make."

"Thank you," said Crichton.  "Aeryn, let's go to our quarters.  We need
to talk."

"Yes-We-Do," came the stern reply from Aeryn.


The door shut to the Crichtons' quarters closed just in time for the
two of them to begin one hell of an argument.  

"Aeryn, damn it, you know why you can't go.  The baby, Aeryn.  What
about the baby?"

"John, I have to go.  They need my knowledge about Peacekeeper tactics
to aid in their mission.  This is important.  By the way, how long do
you intent to keep my pregnancy a secret?"

"That is not what we are talking about, Aeryn.  What we are talking
about is you putting our baby into harm's way."

"Oh, wait a minute.  Why don't you want to talk about keeping the
pregnancy a secret?  Are you ashamed of it, or something?"

"What the...Where did that come from?  I am NOT ashamed of my child!
That is just not the topic of discussion!  The topic is you going on
this mission carrying our baby!  What if you get killed, or captured?
I won't allow you to go!"

"How dare you!  I may be your wife, but that does not give you the
authority to order me around!  Are you trying to say you should go in
my place?"

"Yeah.  I know quite a bit about the Peacekeepers, now!"

"Oh, really!  Do you know what a Falkron maneuver is?  Or reversed
speared maneuver?  Well, I do!  And that is why I am needed on this

"Oh, and if our baby gets hurt?  What's that?  Collateral damage!"

Aeryn slapped John across the face.  "Frell you, Crichton!  How dare
you, you frelling...!" She broke off mid-sentence and stormed out of
the room.

"Aeryn, wait!" said Crichton as she left, the door closing behind her. 
"Damn it, Aeryn.  Damn it to hell!"


Aeryn ended up in the casino, hoping to find some of Moya's crew there.
She needed to cool off, to get away from John for a while.  "I don't
know why I am so angry with him," she thought.  "I know that he is not
ashamed of our child, and I know why he doesn't want me to go on this
mission.  But, surely, he has to see why I should go.  Frell, that
human can be so exacerbating at times with his protectiveness.  Its not
like she was going into some prolonged ground campaign or something
like that.  She was going as an advisor to a fleet of ships.  The
chances of her getting hurt were slim.  Well, perhaps more than slim,
but not by much.  This is getting me nowhere.  I need something to

It was then that she spied Captain Ivanova sitting alone at the bar.
She was nursing a drink and seemed to be lost in thought about
something.  Seeing as Aeryn planned to be going with this human on her
ship, the former Peacekeeper decided to get to know the Captain better.

"Hello, Captain," said Aeryn.

"Ah, Officer Crichton.  Please, sit.  Can I buy you a drink?"

"Yes, something non-alcoholic, please."  Aeryn may not be as worrisome
as John, but she still kept her baby's safety a consideration in her
actions.  Alcohol was definitely out of the question as far as she was

"Bartender.  An orcha for my friend here, please."

"What's orcha?"

"It's a markab fruit juice.  Its quite good."

Aeryn tasted the drink, and found it had a sweet taste to it.  She
rather liked it.

"So," said Ivanova, "where is Commander Crichton."

"In our quarters.  We had a, well, disagreement."

"Ah.  About you going on this mission, I'd bet."

"Yes.  Tell me, please, are all human males as protective of their

"Many are, yes.  The good men are.  Unfortunately, there are some human
men who do anything but protect their wives.  A few even beat them.  Of
course, those men are looked down upon as cowards and abusers.  From
what I've seen of Crichton, you're a lucky woman."

"I know.  Its just that I am a soldier, by birth and training.  I can
take care of myself."

"Yes, well, men sometimes forget about that.  They want to protect us,
save us from the world.  No matter the cost, sometimes."  Ivanova began
to stare at nothing with a look of regret.  She remembered a certain
man who was protective of her, to the point of giving his life to save
hers.  Marcus.  The Captain quickly shook away the thoughts of the now
late Marcus Cole and returned her attention to Aeryn.

The two talked for an hour about everything and anything.  They found a
connection with each other, things in common that bound these two
people from different worlds together in a fast forming friendship.
Ivanova told her that she was once second in command of Babylon 5 under
Sheridan when he commanded it. Aeryn told her about living with
Crichton, finding a sympathetic ear as to the trials of living with a
human men. Within the hour, the formalities were dropped and it was now
Aeryn and Susan which they used to address each other.

A couple of inebriated men at the bar began to take notice of the two
beautiful, dark haired women talking and laughing and decided to make a
play for them.  Ivanova saw the two men coming.

"Uh, oh, Aeryn.  Two drunk idiots at 3 o'clock.  Get ready."

Aeryn looked at her funny, but then followed her gaze and eyed to the
two human males approaching them.  "Oh frell."

"Just try to ignore them.  Maybe they'll go away."  No such luck.  The
two men came over onto each side of the two women.  The dark haired one
with the beard spoke first.

"Well, hello, ladies.  How are you doing tonight?"

"Yeah," broke in his red haired companion.  "Drinking alone, we see.
Care for some company?"

"Frell off, you pieces of dren."

Ivanova looked at her new friend curiously at first, but got the drift
of what she told them and giggled slightly.

"OOOHH," said the man with the beard.  "Our pretty leather girl and her
friend the cute Captain are a little touchy."

Ivanova had a flashback to a similar incident that happened to her in
this same establishment five years ago.  "Boy, will the men around here
ever learn," she thought.

Ivanova looked at the drunks  with a slight smile.  "Cute." That was
all she said.  

Aeryn gave the pair of men a similar look.  "Leather girl," she said.
The two women then looked at each other and nodded.

Within a matter of seconds, both men fell to the floor with a thud
after being decked across the face by Susan and Aeryn.  Apparently, the
two men had friends in the Casino who did not like seeing their friends
mistreated by a couple of women.  

The two women took up defensive postures, and were ready for the coming
assault.  One man charged Aeryn, who quickly drop kicked her clumsy
attacker with a flailing leg to his stomach.  She finished him off with
a quick pentac jab, before moving on to the next one.

The bar erupted into a riot, with chairs flying through the air as the
people in the establishment quickly took sides in the match.  Ivanova
grabbed one guy, kicked him in the groin, and threw him over the bar.
She then punched another attacker in the stomach, and then threw him at
one of the gaming tables.

The two women fought side by side, each covering the other as they
handled their drunk antagonists.  After several minutes of hand to hand
combat, every one of the men in the attacking group was down.  Ivanova
grabbed a bottle and broke off its top.

"Anyone else?" she asked.

The men got up and began to take off, but were intercepted by Babylon 5
security forces.  Security Chief Zack Allen then entered the scene, and
looked at Ivanova shaking his head.  

"Captain, Captain.  Were these guys bothering you?"

"Oh, no, my friend and I were just teaching them the finer points of,

"Dominance in male/female relationships," finished Aeryn.

"Well, we'll take these guys to the brig to cool their heels for the
night," said Allen.  "I recommend you two going to med lab and letting
the Docs check you out."

The two women reluctantly agreed, after making appropriate restitutions
to the owner of the casino for damages.

"Aeryn," said Ivanova, "I think we're going to get along just fine."
The two women walked with smiles on their faces.


"You got into a fight," said John.  Aeryn returned to the quarters she
was sharing with John on Babylon 5 and told him about what happened.
Sufficed to say, he was not happy.  "Aeryn, how could you?  You are
carrying a baby.  Do you realize what could have happened?"

"Yes, John.  I know it was a little stupid, although those frelling
drunken idiots didn't stand a chance against Susan and I."

"Who?  Susan.  You mean Captain Ivanova?"

"Yes.  I had a few drinks with her at the casino after I left here.
Don't worry, they were non-alcoholic.  While we were talking, these
drunken human men come up and start making unwanted advances.  Susan
and I took care of them."

"Where are these guys now?"

"Babylon 5 security took them in."

Crichton walked over to her and put his arms around her.  "Look, Aeryn.
I'm sorry about before, the fight.  I'm just worried.  You and our baby
mean everything to me, and I don't want to risk loosing you.  And
never, ever think that I am ashamed of our baby.  I am proud of who my
wife is, and proud that you are carrying my child."

"I know you're not ashamed of this child, John," she replied, placing
her arms around his neck.  "I'm sorry, too.  What I said I said in
anger.  But I am going on this mission."

"I can't talk you out of it."


Crichton let out a sigh and shook his head.  "Okay.  However, I am
going with you and I am sticking by your side at every step of the

"I would expect nothing less, John.  And I promise I will be careful."

The couple went to the couch and sat down.  Aeryn placed her head on
John's shoulder, and he put his arm around her, holding her close to
him.  "So, Aeryn.  You and Ivanova hit it off."

"Yes.  I like her, John.  I have great confidence in her, and I can see
why President Sheridan and General Lefcourt chose her to lead the
advanced element of the fleet.  Did you know she was once second in
command of this station, with Sheridan as her commanding officer?  She
had some stories to tell about this place."

"Yeah, well, I'm glad you have made a friend here.  I look forward to
getting to know her.  So, you came straight here after the fight?
You've been gone for arns...hours...whatever, I can't keep them strait

"No.  We went to the station's medical unit to get checked out.  I just
had a couple of bruises..."

"Medical unit.  You were examined?  Did they find out..."

"No, John.  There were no internal scans.  None were necessary, I
received no blows to the stomach area.  John, while we are talking
about that, when do you want to reveal my pregnancy?  How long do you
want to keep this secret?"

"I don't know, Aeryn.  Its just...I have been reading quite a lot about
Earth in the present, and I have come across some disturbing anti-alien
literature.  Most of it is from radical fringe elements who are roused
by alien immigration to Earth, racial purity, things like that.  But
this was bad enough at one point to be a major issue of the recent
Earth Alliance Civil War.  I just don't know how this would be

"I am an Earth citizen now, John.  Straight from the President."  It
was then that a thought occurred to Aeryn.  "Wait, John.  What if we
told one human, someone we could trust?  We could tell Susan, get her

"Not a bad idea, baby.  Do you trust her that much?"

"I have only known her for a short while.  But, yes, John, I trust

"Okay, we'll tell her tomorrow.  In the meantime, why don't you get a
shower and get ready for bed.  I want to finish what I am reading
here," he said as he looked back at a computer screen with a long
passage of text on it."

"What are you reading?"

"What I told you about just now, about Earth in the present and its
history since I left it.  Just trying to catch up.  I just finished
reading about the Earth-Minbari War."

"Yes, Captain Maynard mentioned that a few times.  He seemed reluctant
to talk.  It seems hard to believe your people and the Minbari were
enemies, considering how close they work together now."

"Well, all that happened later.  The war started when an Earth
destroyer group encountered a Minbari ship.  The Minbari had their gun
ports open, a sign for them of respect.  The Captain of the Earth ship
took it as a threat.  To top it off, the Minbari scans of the Earth
ships were interfering with their jump engine controls.  The hotheaded
Captain panicked and opened fire.  They did enough damage to stop the
Minbari scans so they could jump to hyperspace.  But in the attack, the
Minbari leader was killed, a highly respected man among their people.
The Minbari were enraged and initiated a war to exterminate the human
race.  They had the power to do it, too.  They are at least 1000
years...cycles ahead of us in technology.  At almost every battle, our
forces were wiped out.  The Minbari allowed no quarter, they even
destroyed ships rendered incapable of fighting.  My people fought back
hard and inflicted heavy losses on the Minbari, but could only delay
the Minbari advance for two years.  Finally, the Minbari were
approaching Earth with the goal of eliminating every last man, woman,
and child of the human race.  Every Earth warship and fighter available
established a last defense of Earth.  The Earth President called for,
what she called, 'one last battle to hold the line against the night.' 
That's what they would eventually call it, the Battle of the Line.
Twenty thousand of Earth's best pilots, soldiers, and officers went in.
Less than 200 survived the battle."

"But, John, how is it that your people survived?"

"The Minbari surrendered."


"Yeah.  It was much later revealed that they took aboard humans during
the battle to interrogate.  They probed them, and found out that my
people were the one's mentioned in their prophecies as being needed
allies to fight in a coming war against evil.  There was also some
stuff about Minbari souls being born in human bodies that I really
didn't get.  Anyhow, the Minbari stopped the war.  That's why Earth
later built this station.  Babylon 5 is here as a place for the
different races to solve their differences peacefully so another war
doesn't occur.  Except, that it didn't work out that way.  It ended up
being a base used to fight the Shadow War, the one mentioned in Minbari
prophecy.  In that war, all of the races came together to fight an army
of darkness that threatened them all.  This cooperation would be used
as a basis for forming the Interstellar Alliance."

"Well, John.  Looks like this is an interesting world we have landed
in.  Your people have endured much.  I would like to here more about
all of this sometime, but you can tell me more about it later.  For
now, I am going to bathe and get ready for bed."  Aeryn got a sly look
on her face, and smiled at John.  "Want to join me?"

John smiled back at her.  "Sounds like the usual way we make up after a
fight.  I'd love to."


Chapter 6:  "...the empty places where you must walk."


It had been a week since the meeting in Sheridan's office that outlined
the plan for the mission to seek out the Peacekeepers.  In that week,
the fleet of 4 Earth destroyers, 6 White Star ships, and 2 Minbari
cruisers had been assembled at Babylon 5.  General Lefcourt had already
left the station to take command of the fleet aboard the Earth Alliance
Destroyer Apollo.  It had arrived not long after Captain Ivanova's
ship, the Athena.  The other two ships, the Eisenhower and the Furies,
arrived a two days later.  The other ships arrived not long after.  All
of the Captains had been briefed by Sheridan and Lefcourt, and they all
received technical briefings from Aeryn regarding Peacekeeper
capabilities and tactics.

One last meeting was being held in President Sheridan's office between
him, Ivanova, Aeryn, and Crichton.  They discussed the finalized plans
of the Athena's initial reconnaissance into the area where Scorpius'
command carrier was last seen.  Just before the meeting broke, Sheridan
and Ivanova rose from their chairs.

"There is one last order of business before I dismiss you to leave.

Ivanova walked over to Crichton and Aeryn.  "John Crichton, please

Crichton looked at her and stood up.  Ivanova approached him and pulled
a small black box off a table.  "John Crichton, I have been authorized
by President Luchenko and General Lefcourt to inform you that you are
herby offered a field commission as an Earth Force Science Officer,
with the rank of Commander.  Do you accept?"

Crichton had a stunned look on his face at first, but he looked at
Aeryn and smiled.  She smiled back at him, proud of her husband for the
honor he was being offered.  John's gaze returned to Ivanova.  "Yes, I
accept it."

"Very good.  Congratulations, Commander Crichton," said Ivanova as she
shook his hand and handed him the box with his Earth Force insignia.
"Now, to the other order of business."

Ivanova then approached Aeryn.  "Aeryn-Sun Crichton.  You were recently
offered citizenship in the Earth Alliance by the President, which you
accepted. Is that correct?"

"Yes, that's right."

"Good.  Then it is my duty to inform you that you are also being
offered a field commission in Earth Force as a security officer, with
the rank of Junior Grade Lieutenant.  Do you accept?"

"What?  How?  I'm not even human."

"No, but you are a citizen of the Earth Alliance.  That's makes you
eligible, with special authorization from the President.  General
Lefcourt acquired that after seeing how invaluable you are. You would
be the first non-human to serve as an Earth Force officer.  That is, if
you accept."

Aeryn thought for a moment.  This would mean being in a military
environment again.  She was a warrior, and this would be much different
than being a Peacekeeper.  Aeryn considered.  "Susan, I have to ask
about...what we talked about."

John and Aeryn had approached Susan the day after the bar fight about
Aeryn's pregnancy, like they had planned.  The Captain was so happy for
her new friend.  She did recommend keeping it quite for a little while
longer, at least until the mission was over.  Tensions right now are
running high, and the pregnancy issue would only raise more concerns.
They could hide it for a while longer, because Aeryn would not begin to
show for a while yet, at least nothing that loose clothing couldn't

"It won't be a problem, Aeryn. Well, how about it.  You can always
resign later if it doesn't work out."

"Alright, I accept."  Ivanova smiled and handed Aeryn her insignia box.

"Congratulations to you both," said President Sheridan.  "I only wish I
were going with you, but I'm not a soldier anymore.  The politicians
have to stay home.  But I wish you all the best of luck and success on
this mission."

"Thank you, sir," replied Crichton.


D'Argo, Zhaan, Chiana, and Rygel were waiting at Babylon 5's boarding
facility for John, Aeryn, and Captain Ivanova to come and board their
shuttle.  The group was nervous.  They were seeing their friends off
into the unknown, with dangers that could be very unclear.  D'Argo
wanted to go with them, but John and Aeryn asked him to stay with the
others on Babylon 5 to look out for them.  They were safe on Babylon 5,
John was sure of that, but he wanted D'Argo to be there for the crew,
just in case he and Aeryn did not come back.

Ivanova, John, and Aeryn walked into the docking bay.  The rest of
Moya's crew were startled at first to see John and Aeryn in Earth Force
uniforms, although they already knew about their commissions.  John
Crichton wore a blue Earth Force uniform with Commander's rank insignia
on his shoulders.  Under the Earth Alliance badge on his left breast
was a red stat bar that indicated he was a science officer.  Aeryn Sun-
Crichton wore a brown Earth Force uniform issued to security, ground,
and intelligence officers, with Junior Lieutenant's rank insignia on
her shoulders.  Her green stat bar indicated a security officer.
Aeryn's hair was tied back military fashion.  What made her stand out
from the other two officers was her sidearm.  She still chose to wear a
Peacekeeper pulse pistol instead of the standard Earth Force PPG
(Phased Plasma Gun) Pistol.  Old habits die hard apparently.

John and Aeryn asked Captain Ivanova for a moment.  The Captain nodded
their agreement.  The couple approached their friends to say goodbye.
They exchanged a few words, mostly about the hopes that the mission
would be successful. John and D'Argo shook hands, while Aeryn and Zhaan
embraced each other briefly.  Chiana gave Crichton a tearful hug before
the two new Earth Force officers turned and left to join Ivanova.

The trio boarded the shuttle, strapped in, and received clearance to
depart from Babylon 5's control station.  The shuttle left the docking
bay, and entered open space enroute to the waiting fleet.  The sight of
the 12 ships massed to go on this mission was an impressive sight.  The
6 white star ships were assembled in a staggered formation.  They were
smaller than the rest of the fleet ships, but they were sleek, fast,
and agile, and had proven their worth in combat in two wars.  The two
Minbari cruisers with tall, blue spires that were on one side of the
fleet like guard towers overlooking a castle.  The four Earth Force
Destroyers were like behemoths waiting to be let loose, with their
rotating mid-sections.  The Apollo, Eisenhower, and Furies were Omega
class destroyers, while Ivanova's ship, the Athena, was of the newer
Warlock class of ships.  The Athena was  bigger than her Omega class
brethren.  She was also sleeker, meaner looking, and more heavily

The shuttle landed aboard the Athena's docking bay, and the three
officers aboard her exited the craft.  Aeryn and John had been aboard
several times during the course of the previous week, but each time
they were still impressed by the ship.  It was a monument to military
and human ingenuity, one which they were both proud to serve aboard.
The trio proceeded to the bridge, where Captain Ivanova took a seat in
the Captain's chair.

Her Executive Officer, Commander Walter Gerrard, briefed her on the
ship's status.  Several minutes later, General Lefcourt hailed the

"Attention all ships.  This is General Lefcourt.  We are ready to
proceed as soon as we receive clearance from Babylon control."

Captain Lochley's voice was then heard over the communications channel.
"Alliance fleet, please standby for a message from President Sheridan."

Sheridan was the next one heard over the comm.  "I only have a few
words before you depart on this important mission.  To quote an old
Egyptian blessing, 'May God stand between you and harm in all the empty
places where you must walk.' Good luck."

Lochley then returned to the comm.  "Alliance fleet, you are cleared to
proceed to the jump gate."

With General Lefcourt's ship, the Apollo, in the lead, the fleet
approached the hyperspace jump gate and entered the vortex.  Once in
hyperspace, Ivanova looked back at John and Aeryn.  "Well, we are on
our way," said the Captain.

John took Aeryn's hand in his and squeezed it.  She squeezed back, as
the two exchanged a silent "I love you".


Chapter 7:  The Opening Salvo


It took several weeks for the Alliance fleet to get to the system where
Moya and the Cortez had met a little less than a month ago.  They did
not know what they would find when the got there.  Would the
Peacekeepers still be there?  Ivanova and Lefcourt had their doubts,
but Crichton and Aeryn did not.  The two fugitives from Peacekeeper
custody knew that Scorpius would not give up on finding Crichton so

In the interim, John and Aeryn became more and more familiarized with
Earth Force tech.  Aeryn even qualified as a Starfury pilot.  She
immediately took to the agile Earth Force standard fighter almost as
much as she did her Prowler.  Meanwhile, John made himself more
familiar with the engineering principles that went into the operation
of the Athena.  After learning Moya's systems, Crichton found learning
Earth Force systems much easier in a way because they at least were
still grounded in basic Earth engineering applications.  It was just a
matter of catching up with the advances in that application.

At last, it was time to implement the operational plan set down back on
Babylon 5.  Captain Ivanova on the Athena hailed General Lefcourt.
Commander John Crichton and Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Sun-Crichton
stepped onto the bridge as she did so.

"Athena to Apollo.  We are ready?  Are we a go?"

General Lefcourt's face appeared on the view screen.  "Confirmed
Athena.  You are a go.  Good hunting."

The comm channel turned off, Ivanova turned to the business of jumping
to hyperspace.  "All stations, she said, "prepare to jump to normal

Her executive officer, Commander Gerrard, spoke after a few moments in
his British accented voice.  "All stations report ready for jump."

"Jump," she ordered.

The hyperspace jump vortex opened and the Athena came out of it into
normal space.  As soon as the vortex was closed, Ivanova ordered scans
of everything within range.  She also ordered the launch of several
Starfuries to reconnoiter the area.  For 5 hours, nothing was detected.
Then, one of the Starfury patrols reported in.

"Alpha leader to Athena, come in."

Ivanova opened a channel.  "This is Athena, go ahead Alpha leader."

"Captain, we have detected an unknown ship bearing 050.  She is bearing
down on us at high speed, but she has apparently not detected the
Athena yet."

"Can you send us a silhouette scan?"

"Affirmative.  Transmitting now."

Ivanova approached the viewing terminal where the Starfury's readings
were coming in at.  She motioned for Crichton and Aeryn to join her.
The shape of a ship appeared on the viewer.  The Captain looked closely
at it and, with her eyes still on it, spoke to Aeryn.

"Lt. Crichton, do you recognize that ship?"

The former Peacekeeper knew only too well what it was.  "Yes, Captain. 
It is a Marauder."

"That type of Peacekeeper hunter-killer you told us about."

"Yes, sir."

Ivanova returned to her command chair and activated the channel to the
fighters.  "Alpha squadron, you are ordered to intercept and attack
approaching alien ship.  She is identified as hostile, but I do not
want her destroyed unless absolutely necessary.  I want to try and
disable and capture her." She then gave orders to the bridge crew.
"Navigation, plot a course to intercept the Marauder.  Sound general
quarters, all hands man battle stations."

Alarms blared throughout the ship as gun crews raced to their charges,
Marines armed themselves and donned tactical gear, and engineering
crews moved to assigned maintenance systems.  Like a well oiled
machine, the crew made the Athena ready for battle.  Within a minute of
the command, Gerrard turned to his Captain.

"All stations report ready, Captain."

"Very good.  Have our fighters engaged the hostile target yet?"

"Affirmative," replied Gerrard after checking a console.

The Starfuries moved in on the advancing Marauder.  The Peacekeeper
ship opened fire on the fighters, but the initial barrage was easily
outmaneuvered by the Earth Force fighters.  The Starfury squadron
returned fire with the plasma cannons delivering carefully targeted
blows on the less agile Peacekeeper ship.  The Peacekeepers returned
fire until the Athena came within sight of their scanners.

Seeing the large warship bearing down on them, the Peacekeepers wisely
attempted to turn and run from the clearly superior forces arrayed
against them.  However, one of the Starfuries scored a direct hit
against the Marauder's hetch drive engines.  During the trip to get
there, Lt. Aeryn Sun-Crichton had been very helpful with her technical
briefings on Peacekeeper ships, and it paid off now.  The Marauder
began to drift in space helplessly, here engines shot to hell.

The Peacekeepers were still defiant and fired on the approaching
Athena.  Ivanova was tempted to blast that ship to hell for daring to
fire on her ship, but reason took over her actions before her passions
took over.

"Communications," said Ivanova, "open a channel on the frequency Lt.
Crichton gave us."

"Channel open," was the Communications Officer's reply.

"This is Captain Susan Ivanova of the Earth Alliance Destroyer Athena
to Peacekeeper Marauder.  You are ordered to surrender your vessel.  If
you do not surrender, we will initiate deadly force."

A terse reply came from the Peacekeeper ship.  "Frell you!"

"Okay, they don't want to play nice," said Ivanova.  "Forward laser
batteries, fire a shot 1000 meters of her bow."

The Earth Force ship's laser battery came to life and fired a red blast
close enough to the Marauder to shake the Peacekeeper ship with the
turbulence of the shot.

"Well," said Aeryn, "that should get their attention, at least."

Ivanova smiled at her new friend and again spoke to the Peacekeeper
ship, this time with a much more fierce tone.  "That was your last
warning.  If you do not surrender, I will have my laser gunners carve
your ship up like a fucking roast.  Will you comply?"

After a few moments, the Peacekeeper ship replied.  "We will comply,"
said a male Peacekeeper with obvious disgust in his voice for what he
had to do.

"Good choice," replied Ivanova.  "Prepare to be boarded.  Athena out."

Gerrard spoke to her.  "Captain, that ship won't fit in our docking

"I know. We'll have to use one of the docking ports.  Good thing we had
Commander and Lt. Crichton rig them to mate with Peacekeeper docking
ports."  She turned to Aeryn and John.  "I commend both of you for
thinking of things like that."

"Our pleasure, Captain," replied John.

"Dock with that ship at docking port 4," ordered Ivanova to her
helmsman.  "Have 2 squads of Marines standing by to board that ship as
soon as she is secured."

"Captain," said Aeryn, "I recommend anesticizing the Peacekeepers with
gas before boarding.  They may not be as willing to comply with being
boarded as we might think."

"Very good, Lieutenant.  Gerrard, have the Marine's use gas bombs upon
entering the ship."

"Aye, aye, Captain."

"Captain," continued Aeryn, "request permission to join the boarding

Crichton was about to protest, but Aeryn silenced him with a look.  He
unwillingly decided not to press the issue, knowing he would not win
the argument.

"Permission granted," said Ivanova.  She saw the silent exchange
between John and Aeryn and added an additional order.  "Commander
Crichton, you will accompany the boarding party as well."

Cricthon looked at Ivanova and smiled.  "Thank you, m'am."


An hour later, 5 unconscious Peacekeepers lay bound on the deck of the
Athena, while they were examined by the ship's Doctor.  It was then
that one of the Peacekeepers began to awaken.  He found himself and his
comrades surrounded by fierce looking soldiers, dressed in green
uniforms with some kind of protective vest on.  They carried rifles
which looked totally unfamiliar to him. The other Peacekeepers awakened
within few minutes, each being greeted to consciousness with the site
of the armed Earth Force Marine squad hovering over them.

A few moments later, Captain Ivanova, Crichton, and Aeryn stepped into
the docking bay.  The Marines snapped to at the sight of their Captain
without taking sight or aim off of their prisoners.

Ivanova looked at the 5 Peacekeepers lying sprawled on the floor, then
looked back up at one of the Marines.  "Sergeant, get them on their

"Yes, m'am."  He turned to the Peacekeepers.  "You heard the Captain,
get off your asses and get to your feet!"

The Peacekeepers grudgingly complied with the order.  As soon as they
were standing, Ivanova approached the group.  "I am Captain Ivanova.
Which of you is in charge of this unit?"

"I am," replied one of the Peacekeepers, a dark haired male with a scar
on his right cheek.  "Lt. Tarral, Janos Company, Pleisar Regiment."
Tarral looked at his captors, and noticed that one of them was wearing
a Peacekeeper pulse pistol on her side.  "Who are you?" he asked.

"Lieutenant Aeryn Sun-Crichton, Earth Force," came the terse reply.

"You are the traitor Aeryn Sun!  You are responsible for bringing these
creatures here!  And you wear the uniform of an alien army!  Not to
mention your marriage to an alien!  You are not only a traitor, you are
a traitor who whores herself to the enemies of the Peacekeepers."

Tarral spit at Aeryn, which caused her to raise her pulse pistol.  "At
ease, Lieutenant!" said Ivanova.  "That's an order!"

Aeryn looked at Ivanova, and then at Tarral.  Years of military
conditioning which taught her to obey the orders of her commanding
officer took over, and she holstered her pistol.

Ivanova turned to Tarral.  "And as for you, Peacekeeper!  You will
address my officer as Lt. Crichton or m'am!  If not, I will space you
out the nearest airlock!  Do I make myself clear!"

"Perfectly clear, Captain," replied Tarral with a sarcastic tone.

"Now," said Ivanova, "I don't suppose you want to tell us where your
command carrier is, would you?"

"Frell you," was all Tarral said.

"I thought so," replied Ivanova.  "No need for you to tell us.  We have
ways of locating them."  She turned to the Marine Sergeant.  "Get these
prisoners to the brig."

"Aye, aye, m'am."

The Marines quickly hustled the prisoners out of the docking bay.  But
before they could get out the door of the bay, Tarral turned around and
spoke to Ivanova. 

"Why are you here?  Why are you attacking our ships?  What is your

Ivanova considered for a moment before replying with some words she
remembered from a book she read once. "'We are fighting to free you
from the fantastic idea that you are a master race.' Now, move them out

Tarral was shoved back towards the door by one of the Marines.  As soon
as they had left the bay, Ivanova turned to Aeryn and Crichton.

"Are you sure your plan will work?"

"Positive, Susan," replied John.  "That message Aeryn sent from the
Marauder stating that its crew had located me will bring Scorpius and
his command carrier along soon enough."

"Then we had better be ready for them," replied Ivanova.

"May Aeryn and I have a moment?" asked John.

"Of course."

Ivanova left the couple alone in the bay.  John turned to Aeryn and put
his arms around her.  "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, John.  It was no mystery as to how my people feel about me. 
They are blinded by the box they live in, the one I use to live in.
John, thank you for saving me from that box."

She kissed him quickly on the lips.  "Now, we had better go and help
Susan get the Athena ready for battle."

"Yeah, your right.  Let's go."


Chapter 8:  When Worlds Collide


Scorpius paced up and down the floor of the command center of his
carrier.  It had been weekens since Moya and Crichton had disappeared
with the unknown vessel into the strange vortex.  Since then, he has
dispatched his Marauders and Prowlers throughout the sector looking for
any signs of either of the two ships.

He has also had his techs analyze the data collected from scans of the
vortex that Crichton's ship disappeared into.  From what they could
determine, somehow the unknown ship had created the vortex as indicated
by an increase in energy emissions coming from the vessel just before
the phenomena was created.  As for the vortex itself, it seems that it
was inter-dimensional in nature, a doorway of some sort to a parallel
universe.  However, any more information than that would take much
longer to determine and would require much more data.

Scorpius' second officer, Lt. Braca, approached the Scarren half-breed
after speaking with the communication's officer.  "Some news,
Lieutenant?" asked Scorpius.

"Yes, sir.  We have received word from one of our Marauders.  They
claim to have located Crichton and are proceeding with measures to
capture him."

A sneer appeared on Scorpius' face, quickly replaced by a look of
curiosity.  "Any news on the unknown ship?"

"No, sir.  Nothing was mentioned.  The message was very brief."

"Very well, Lieutenant.  Lay in a course to the Marauder's position.
Maximum speed."

"Yes, sir."


Captain Ivanova, Crichton, Aeryn, and the crew of the Athena waited for
the appearance of Scopius' command carrier.  Everything was ready to
greet the Peacekeepers when they arrived.

The Marauder was left out in open space where the command carrier could
clearly see it.  Hopefully, they would close on the ship to determine
its status.  The Athena was in hiding in the nearby asteroid belt.  As
soon as the command carrier was in the right position, the Earth
Alliance destroyer would pop out of the asteroid field and make contact
with the carrier.  When the time was right, Captain Ivanova would send
a signal to the rest of the fleet waiting in hyperspace to jump to
normal space and ambush the command carrier.

The alliance fleet would have surprise on their side if all goes well. 
They will need it because although they outnumbered the Peacekeeper
ship, the enemy ship is much larger than any of their ships.  Plus, the
Peacekeepers did have one advantage that the alliance vessels did not: 
a defense shield.

The battle plan called for the Earth Force destroyers to lay down a
bombardment on the Peacekeeper ship from a good distance.  Meanwhile,
the fleet's fighters would engage and draw off the command carrier's
Prowlers and Marauders.  The White Star ships would close in on the
carrier and make attack runs against it at close proximity in order to
weaken the enemy's defense screens.  These ships were extremely agile
and maneuverable, and would have the best chance of avoiding the fire
of the carrier's frag cannons at close range. The Minbari cruisers
would attempt to get behind the command carrier and force the enemy to
engage forces on two sides.  Their hope was to overwhelm the command
carrier with numbers.

It had been several hours since the officers and crew of the Athena had
set up the ambush, hours of waiting for the Peacekeeper menace to
appear.  Near the end of the fourth hour of waiting, the ship's
tactical officer registered a reading on his scanners.

"Captain.  Unknown vessel detected entering this system, bearing 090
degrees.  She's big, ma'm.  Definitely a warship."

"Do we have a silhouette?" asked Ivanova.

"Yes, ma'm.  Switching to main screen."

The silhouette of the approaching ship appeared on the main bridge
screens.  Ivanova looked at the screen, then looked at Crichton and
Aeryn.  They both gave the Captain a silent nod.  That was all she

"Commander Gerrard, sound general quarters. Communications; signal the
fleet to standby."

Alarms blared to life on the Athena, bringing the crew again to battle
stations.  Within a minute after the initial alarm, Gerrard was able to
report to the Captain that the ship was ready for combat.

The Peacekeeper command carrier entered into the system warily, heavily
escorted by Prowler flights ready to engage any threat.  It detected
the Marauder now floating in space and closed on its position.  The
massive ship was now in visual range of the Athena's scanners, and its
image now showed on the bridge viewing screen.

"Holy shit," said Gerrard.

Everything came into place just as planned, so far.  It was now time
for the Athena to make its appearance.  Ivanova issued the appropriate

"Gerrard, launch all fighters, bring us on course to intercept the
Peacekeeper command carrier on an attack vector."

"Aye, Captain," replied the XO.

The Athena spirited out of the asteroid field like an arrow launched
from a bow.  Dozens of Starfuries surrounded the Earth Force destroyer
as she became visible to the command carrier.  Just as her ship came
out of the asteroid field, Ivanova remembered some words spoken by
another Captain at another battle she saw a few years before.

"Good morning, gentlemen.  This is your wake up call," she said to


"Sir, an unknown warship has appeared on our scanners," said Lt. Braca
to Scorpius.

"Show me."

A picture of the Athena surrounded by her Starfuries appeared on the
command view screen.  "Sir, the ship is definitely a combat vessel of
unknown configuration.  It is armed with plasma and laser based
weaponry and is escorted by at least 30 fighters."

"Change course to engage that ship, and open a communication's
frequency.  I want to know who they are?"


"Captain Ivanova, the carrier is turning to meet us," said Gerrard.

"As expected."

The communications officer then spoke.  "Captain, signal coming through
from the command carrier."

"Put it on the view screen."

The horrid image of Scorpius appeared on the main bridge view screen of
the Athena.  Half of the bridge crew gasped at the sight of the
creature.  Crichton instinctively balled up his fist by his side at the
sight of his tormentor and pursuer.

"This is Scorpius, Captain of this Peacekeeper command carrier, to
unknown vessel.  Identify yourself."

"This is Captain Susan Ivanova of the Earth Alliance destroyer Athena
to Peacekeeper command carrier.  State your intentions."

"Did you say your are from Earth?  Is Crichton with you?"

"With your permission, Captain?" asked Crichton.

Ivanova nodded and stepped into view of the communications projection. 
"Hi, Scorpy.  Miss me?"

"Aw, hello Crichton.  I was wondering where you disappeared to.  So
nice of you to come back into my grasp, and to bring some others from
your world to join you.  I give you one chance to surrender.  If you
comply, I will spare the lives of the others on that ship.  But if you
do not, I will have my forces crush through your ship's defenses, board
your vessel, take you captive, and kill everyone else aboard."

Crichton looked at Ivanova, who nodded as a reply to his silent
question.  John looked again into the image of his enemy.  "I don't
think so, Scorpy.  Say hello to the rest of our new friends."

As Crichton spoke, Ivanova sent the signal to the rest of the Alliance
fleet.  A few moments later, 11 hyperspace jump points opened up like a
maze of lights against the darkness of space.  Out of those jump points
came 3 Earth Force destroyers, 2 Minbari cruisers, and 6 White Stars.
The destroyers and cruisers were all escorted by a pack of either Earth
Force Starfuries or Minbari dart shaped fighters.

The command crew of the Peacekeeper carrier looked with stunned faces
at the fleet that came into view to oppose them. A signal was received
by the command carrier from the fleet, and the image of the Alliance
fleet's commander came into view on the Peacekeeper screens.

"This is General Robert Lefcourt of Earth Force, in command of a multi-
planetary force dispatched on the authority of the Interstellar
Alliance.  You are ordered to stand down your forces and surrender.  If
you fail to comply, we will initiate deadly force."

Scorpius growled with anger and frustration as these aliens dared to
come between him and Crichton.  "Open fire on the alien fleet!
Dispatch all Prowlers and Marauders to engage them!  Destroy all of
their ships except for the ship Crichton is aboard.  I want him alive!"

The frag cannons of the command carrier opened up on the approaching
fleet, as swarms of Prowlers flew out ahead of the command carrier to
engage the enemy.  General Lefcourt ordered the battle plan to be

The Prowlers were met by the Earth Alliance Starfuries about halfway
between the Alliance fleet and the command carrier.  Like sweeping
sithes, the Prowlers opened fire on the approaching Earth fighters,
only to have most of them outmaneuver the barrage.  Several Starfuries
were destroyed, but most remained untouched by the fire.  The more
maneuverable and agile Starfuries flew into the middle of the deluge of
Prowlers in small groups of two or three, slicing into the formations
of Prowlers.  Aeryn had told the fighter crews that the Peacekeepers
normally operated in tight formations.  The Starfuries, therefore, did
not meet them in those same formations.  Rather, they forced the
Prowlers to break formation and engage the Starfuries in one on one,
ship-to-ship combat.  It was just what the Earth Force pilots wanted.
This allowed them to exploit the superior agility and unlimited three
dimensional movement capabilities of the Starfuries in engaging the
Prowlers.  The Peacekeeper fighters were slightly faster than the
Starfuries, but they could not match the Starfuries in one-on-one
dogfights.  In one instance, three Prowlers were pursuing three
Starfuries.  Just as the Prowlers were ready to shoot, the Earth
fighters did a reverse spin, with a vertical maneuver that caught the
Peacekeeper ships totally off guard.  Before the Prowler pilots could
maneuver away, their ships were turned into fireballs by plasma gun
fire from the Starfuries.

As the Starfuries drew off the Prowlers, the Earth Force destroyers
began their bombardment of the command carrier.  The Earth ships opened
up with a constant barrage from their plasma cannons, their blasts
crashing into the carrier's defense screen.  The command carrier turned
its frag cannons to target the formation of Earth destroyers and opened
fire.  The blasts from the frag cannons began to crash into the Earth
destroyers, shaking the ships and the crews inside of them.  The White
Stars then went to work and closed in on the command carrier.  Groups
of Marauders went out to meet the White Stars, but most were mowed down
by fire from the White Stars as they got into the Alliance ships'
paths.  Meanwhile, the Minbari cruisers began to make their way around
to the rear of the command carrier.

Frustration was clearly visible on Braca's face as he reported to
Scorpius on the battle situation.  "Sir, those four destroyers
currently bombarding are slowly weakening our shield with their fire.
However, we can only score a few manageable hits with our cannons at
that range.  Meanwhile, we have visuals of those 6 smaller cruisers
closing in on our position.  But sir, we can't lock onto those ships
with our scanners.  The same holds true for the two large cruisers
maneuvering on our left flank."

"How can that be?" asked Scorpius with anger.

"I don't know sir.  They are using some form of technology that masks
them from our scanners.  We can only engage through visual and manual

"Have our techs attempt to adjust the scanners to detect those ships.
Can we lock onto the four ships engaged in the plasma cannon
bombardment of our ship."


"Good.  Close on those ships.  We shall destroy the three other ships,
and cripple the one Crichton is aboard.  Have our Marauders hold off
the others for now.  We will deal with them in due course."

"Yes, sir."

The command carrier's engines came to life, and the Peacekeeper warship
moved to bear down on the Earth Force destroyers.  Looks of alarm
registered on the face of General Lefcourt's second officer on the
Apollo.  "Sir, Peacekeeper command carrier closing.  Orders."

"Are the White Stars moving to engage yet?"asked the General.

"They are trying, sir.  But they are being met by waves of Marauders
that are slowing them down."

"We'll have to hold out until they can engage.  Have them signal when
they are within striking range of the carrier.  Meanwhile, have our
destroyers engage the carriers with all guns blazing.  They may look
big and bad, but as the saying goes: 'the bigger they are, the harder
they fall.'"

The Earth Force ships increased speed to close range with the command
carrier, working on the theory that a moving target was harder to
destroy than a stationary one.  Since all of the fighters on both sides
were already engaged with each other, this engagement would be between
the big guns.  The carrier and destroyers would meet eye to eye, ship
to ship, and gun to gun, and the winner would be whoever could pack the
bigger punches and whoever could withstand the other guy's blows.
Unfortunately for the humans, it looked like the command carrier had an
advantage in that department unless the White Stars and Minbari ships
could come in fast enough to tip the scales in the Alliance fleet's

The Peacekeeper carrier and the 4 Earth destroyers closed the gap
between them.  The Peacekeepers fired first, sending a barrage from the
frag cannons crashing into the Earth destroyer group.  The Furies bore
the brunt of the initial salvo, suffering impacts on her starboard
midsection.  The Earth ships returned fire, firing every gun they had
at the command carrier.  Plasma cannon blasts crashed into the
carrier's defense screen, while laser beams fired from the destroyers'
main cannons sliced at the shield.  The carrier itself was suffering no
damage due to the DS, while the Earth destroyers began to suffer a
heavy punishment.  The Earth Force ships did have intercept cannons,
which were able to take care of about half of the frag cannon fire.
However, the other half was getting through and taking its toll.  The
Furies continued to bear the brunt of the punishment, as blast after
blast from the enemy frag cannons crashed into her hull.  The other 3
Earth ships attempted to draw away fire from the Furies, but they too
were suffering substantially from the enemy bombardment.  About ten
minutes into the battle, the proud Furies began to succumb to the fire,
despite the best efforts of the other Earth ships to protect her.
Secondary explosions began to erupt through her hull, and escape pods
began to launch.  The Furies exploded in a bright flash, spewing debris
in all directions from what was the once proud destroyer.

General Lefcourt saw the Furies explode, and was filled with rage at
the loss of one of his ships.  He got on the comms and contacted the
other ships.  "Athena, Eisenhower, this is Lefcourt on the Apollo.
Close on the enemy.  Ram our guns right down their throats!"

The 3 remaining Earth ships increased to flank speed, quickly closing
the distance between them and the command carrier.  All the while, the
two sides exchange heavy fire.  The weapons fire from the Earth ships
was steadily weakening the command carrier's shields, but not fast
enough.  The Peacekeeper frag cannons would shoot them to hell before
the could break through the shield.  Barrage after barrage of frag
cannon fire crashed into the Earth ships, who now stood toe to toe with
the Peacekeeper warship.

Finally, General Lefcourt received the signals he had been waiting for.
"General, this is the White Star squadron.  We are in position."

"General, this is Captain Verron of the Minbari.  We are also in

"Very good.  Prepare to..."It was then that an inspiration hit the
General.  "White Stars, Minbari ships.  Stand by.  Apollo to Athena.  I
need to speak to Lt. Aeryn Sun-Crichton."

"This is Lt. Crichton, sir," replied Aeryn.

"Lieutenant, what is the most vital area on that command carrier."

"I would say the ventilation port for the hetch drive.  If it was
damage, it would seriously hamper their maneuvering capabilities.  But
we can't get at it, sir."

"We don't need to.  What do you think would happen if we concentrated
our fire on the portion of the enemy shields protecting that
ventilation port."

"They would transfer more power to that part of the screens."

"Very good, Lieutenant.  Thank you.  All ships, this is General
Lefcourt.  These are your orders.  The Earth destroyers will
concentrate our fire on the section of the enemy shields that protects
the ventilation port for the enemy's drive system.  White Stars and
Minbari ships, watch your scanners carefully and wait for them to
transfer more power to that area of the shields.  Then, open up with
everything you've got on the rest of the ship and punch through those

The three Earth destroyers locked their targeting scanners on that
portion of the Peacekeeper defense screens.  On Lefcourt's order, they
all three simultaneously opened fire on that section of the shield.
Plasma gun blasts poured into that concentrated area, while the laser
cannons of the three ships combined their fire on one small, focused

The other Alliance ships waited for the energy drop in the rest of the
shields when the Peacekeepers transferred power.  When it came, they
were ready.  The Minbari cruisers poured out a murderous fire, as the
green energy beams poured out of their weapons arrays into the
Peacekeeper shields.  The White Stars made point blank strafing runs on
the enemy shields, which finally began to show signs of buckling.

The Peacekeeper defense screens finally gave out under the punishment
they were taking, and the shield collapsed.  All of the Alliance ships
saw their chance, and fired every gun they had at the Peacekeeper
command carrier.  Plasma gun blasts crashed into the Peacekeepers ship,
while beam weapons began to slice into their hull.  The White Stars
made attack runs against the huge ship, flying across the length of the
ship at high speed, raining deadly fire on the enemy behemoth.  

The enemy remained defiant, and continued to blast away with their frag
cannons until each one of their cannon arrays were destroyed by the
White Stars.  With the Peacekeepers' main weapons systems gone, the
Earth destroyers and Minbair cruisers closed in for the kill.  The once
mighty Peacekeeper command carrier fell beneath the fire of the ships
arrayed against it.  A series of explosions rocked the ship, as escape
pods began launching from the vessel.  At last, the command carrier
cracked along its spine and, as the Alliance ships moved away from it,
the enemy ship exploded.

The bridge crew of the Athena cheered at the sight.  Captain Ivanova
shook hands Commander Gerrard, and turned to do the same with Aeryn and
Crichton.  However, she found that they had left the bridge.
Dumbstruck, she turned back to her duties and ordered her ship to join
the others in picking up survivors and retrieving the Starfuries.


Just as the battle was about to end with the destruction of the dreaded
Peacekeeper command carrier, Crichton saw Aeryn turn and run from the
bridge.  Concerned for his wife, John followed her.  He found her just
outside the door to the bridge, leaning against a wall with her arms
wrapped around herself.  John approached her, and put his arms around
her waist.

"Darlin, what is it?"

"I just couldn't watch, John.  I served on that ship for many cycles,
knew many members of the crew of that ship.  I know what was done was
what had to be done, but I..."

It was then that a cheer erupted from the bridge as the carrier
exploded.  Aeryn rubbed a tear away from her eye.  "I can't help, John,
but to feel like a traitor to my people.  The Peacekeepers aren't my
people anymore, John, but..."

"But, the old bonds are not so easily broken."


John kissed his wife's head, and held her close.  "I understand, baby. 
But you are not a traitor, at least not to those who care about you."

"True.  You and the others are the only people who have ever, I think,
truly cared about me as a person.  Thank you for that, John."

The couple embraced, and held each other for several minutes, before
returning to the bridge.


Chapter 9:  Choosing a Path


Several weeks later, the fleet had returned to Babylon 5.  They were
able to rescue a little over 350 survivors from the destroyed
Peacekeeper command carrier, whom they later interrogated and released.
Scorpius was not among the survivors taken, and the Peacekeepers
interrogated seemed to indicate that Scorpius was dead. They gave the
Peacekeepers a warning to carry back to their leaders not to come to
Interstellar Alliance space, that they were not welcomed.  

Upon returning to Babylon 5, John and Aeryn were reunited with their
friends from Moya.  Aeryn was beginning to show now from her pregnancy,
which was commented on by her's and John's comrades.  When they got
back, they were part of a briefing given to President Sheridan and the
members of the ISA council.  The council decided to leave the situation
with the Peacekeepers an open question for now, but would keep on their
guard for any future encounters with the Peacekeepers.  President
Sheridan also expressed an interest in contacting races in the
Uncharted Territories which might be willing to open relations with the
Alliance.  An expedition would be discussed to do this sometime in the
future, starting with the Sebacean Royal Colonies.

In the meantime, John and Aeryn had some decisions to make.  D'Argo,
Zhaan, and Rygel had all decided to return with Moya to the Uncharted
Territories in hopes of finding their homes. Although Chiana had
considered staying, she decided to accompany them.  They offered to
take John and Aeryn with them.  The couple talked in their quarters on
Babylon 5.

"John, you are finally home.  You have not even seen Earth yet, and you
want to go with Moya.  Why?"

"Aeryn, this is not home.  My home is over 250 years...cycles,
whatever, in the past.  If I do go to Earth, what will be there for me?
Not my Dad, or my sisters, or DK, or even the same world I left.  I
have been giving this a lot of thought.  Yes, I like it here.  Yes, I
may want to come back here someday.  But for now, the only family I, we
have got, is on Moya.  We should help them find their ways home.  Then,
if we want, we can come back here."

"What about our baby?  Our child would be safer here."

"I know.  That's the one catch.  But, the way I look at it, living here
may not be that much safer.  The baby is still half-Human, half-
Sebacean.  I don't know how our child would be received on Earth.  And
now that Scorpius seems to be dead..."

"You don't know that."

"I know, but everything points to him being dead.  If he is, then the
pressure from that end would be off of us.  At least out there, the
dangers to our child are ones we can protect it from.  But here.  I'm
not sure."

"John, from what Susan has told us, it would probably be all right."

"But even she wasn't sure.  The only other half-Human, half-alien child
is Sheridan's and Delenn's son, David.  But he is well protected, and
is in a safe environment on Minbar.  No, Aeryn.  Out there, I know what
the dangers are, and you and I can deal with them.  Here, we just don't

"John, you still want to find a way to Earth in your own time, is that

"Well, yeah."

"The scientists here might be able to help you with that."

"Yes, but here they would quibble about funding, and regulations, and
the possible military uses for wormhole technology.  If I experiment
when I can, on my own in the Uncharted Territories, I would have more
freedom in my work.  But that is not even a priority for me right now. 
I can try while we are out there, and if I don't find anything, then we
can always come back here.   We would still have our Earth Alliance
citizenship, and General Lefcourt says he can change the status of our
Earth Force commissions to inactive reserve status.  Those things would
allow us to return anytime."

"John, are you sure you want to leave?"

"If you are.  What do you think?"

"John, since you have come into my life, I have started on a journey
into the unknown and have followed you the whole way.  I will continue
to.  I love you."

"I love you, too."


The Athena escorted Moya back through hyperspace to the system where it
all started a couple of months before.  John and Aeryn had dinner on
the Earth Force destroyer with Captain Susan Ivanova one more time
before saying their goodbyes.  For Susan, saying goodbye to Aeryn was
like saying goodbye to a sister.  Aeryn felt the same way. They had
become so close in such a short time, and found that they were so much
alike in many ways.  They vowed that they would one day see each other

A shuttle returned John and Aeryn to Moya, then flew back to the Athena
after dropping them off.  Last goodbyes were said over a communications
channel, before Moya went into Starburst away from the system.  John
and Aeryn had shed their Earth Force uniforms and put back on their
customary attire that they had worn on Moya.  They put away their
uniforms in a trunk, where they would lay waiting to be reclaimed at
the right time.

John stood behind Aeryn on the command deck of Moya, holding his
pregnant wife as she leaned into his embrace.  They saw the Athena jump
into hyperspace as Moya went into Starburst.


A lone Marauder flew through space on its way to the Peacekeeper base
nearest to the Uncharted Territories.  On board, Lt. Braca flew a
fuming Scorpius back to Peacekeeper High Command to explain the loss of
his command carrier.  As his female attendant changed his coolant rod,
Scorpius spoke to no one in particular with a sardonic sneer.

"I will have you yet, John Crichton.  You have no heard the last of

The End of Book One