Brave New World
Ian K.

Farscape-Babylon:  A Farscape/Babylon 5 Crossover Saga

Book Five:  "Brave New World"

By:  Ian K.

Rating:  R

Spoilers:  Yes.  

Note:  This is a crossover story of Farscape and Babylon 5.  

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
intended.  Some of the characters in this story were created by me.
Their use by any other writer is prohibited without my permission.

Time Frame:  This will vary as the story progresses.  Part 1 of the
story will be a series of chapters taking place at different times in a
forward progression.  Part 2 takes place about 150 years after the
Farscape series "Premiere" (Babylon 5 time-Earth Year 2414).

Part One:  The Foundations of a World

Chapter 1:  Surprises 

Leviathan Ship Moya, Crichton's Fifth Year in the Uncharted Territories
John Crichton was in an incredibly good mood.  He had been for quite a
while, ever since that fateful day two monens ago when Aeryn Sun became
his wife.  Their romance had been one fraught with trials and
tribulations, and there were times when John thought that he would
never be with the beautiful Sebacean woman as her lover.  But, in time,
the inevitable happened.  The two of them became lovers, and eventually
decided to take the vows of marriage.

Since his wedding day, John Crichton had felt like his life was
finally, in some odd way, in order.  Stable.  Well, as stable as a life
can be as a fugitive and a renegade on a ship full of aliens.  Now, the
proud husband was heading for the maintenance bay to find the lovely
Aeryn Sun-Crichton.

But when he got there, John found his wife was not there.  "Huh," he
thought out loud.  "I thought for sure she said that she would be
here."  He activated his comm unit.  "Hey, Aeryn," said John into the
comm.  "Where are you?"

No response.

"Aeryn," repeated John.  "Pilot," he said into the comm, "are we having
problems with the comms?"

"No, Crichton," said Pilot  over the comm.  "The comm system is
functioning.  Why?"

"I can't raise Aeryn," said John.  "Have you seen her?"

"No," said Pilot.  "I have not."

D'Argo came into the maintenance bay.  He looked around before speaking
to Crichton.  "John," he said, "where is Aeryn?  We were supposed to
have a sparring match before lunch."

"I was just trying to find that out," said John.  "She's not answering
her comms."

"Commander," said Pilot.  "I have just run a check on the comms.
Apparently, Officer Crichton has turned her comm off."

"What?" asked John.  "Look, Pilot, have the DRD's search for her.  I'm
going to check our quarters."

"I will check command and the mess hall," said D'Argo, turning to leave
the room.

It had been two arns, and still no sign of Aeryn.  John was becoming
increasingly agitated.  Either Aeryn was injured or she did not want to
be found.  Both prospects did not bode well in his heart.  

John was now looking on the lower tiers, having exhausted his search of
all of the other areas of Moya she could be.  Even the meticulous DRD's
could not find her down here, but this did not stop him from looking.
There was no substitute for instinct in his mind, and he would use that
in his search.

He entered one of many empty cargo holds in the lower tiers.  John did
a quick scan of the room with his flashlight, but found no sign of his
wife.  He was about to turn and leave, but he thought he had heard
something.  Slowly, John stepped into the room, making a slower and
more detailed sweep of the room with his light.

John saw an open vent in the floor.  He bent down to look in the vent. 
Suddenly, movement in the vent flashed before him, and something darted
out.  The startled Human jumped back, and instinctively drew his pulse
pistol.  However, he quickly relaxed, seeing that it was only a DRD.

"Commander," said Pilot over the comm.  "I have heard from Officer
Crichton.  She is in your quarters, and wishes to speak with you."

"I'm on my way," said John.  He leapt from the floor and ran all the
way to his quarters.

When he got there, a slightly out of breath John found the door to the
room opened.  He stepped into the dark room, and heard her breathing
before he saw her shape.  Aeryn Sun-Crichton was sitting on their bed,
seeming not to even notice her husband's entry into the room.  But
looks can be deceiving, because she spoke to him without moving her
gaze from the floor.

"Close the door behind you, John," she said.  "We need to talk."

John activated the controls on the wall, and the door swung closed
behind him.  Slowly, he walked over to the bed, and sat down next to
Aeryn.  He knew his wife, and knew that she had something important on
her mind.  John quietly waited for his wife to speak.  But she was not
prepared for what his wife had to say.

"John," said Aeryn.  "I'm pregnant."

Never before had John Crichton been thrown into such a state of shock. 
He sat there, as stiff as a board, no movement whatsoever.  It was as
if his whole body had gone numb, and his vocal chords had ceased to
function.  John sat there like that for what seemed like an eternity,
but was actually only a few moments.  Finally, he fought his body for
control, and won.

"Preg..." he began, not able to say the whole word at first.  Finally,
after another try, John managed to say it.  "Pregnant.  My...God, said pregnant...didn't you?"

Aeryn looked at him with an expressionless face.  "You know I did,
John," she said.

Crichton ran his hands through his hair.  "Sweet Mother," he said.  "A
baby.  You're going to have a baby."  Then, the full implications
finally set in.  Aeryn, his wife, the woman he loved more than his
life, was carrying a baby.  His baby.  A huge smile broke out on his
face.  "Our baby," he said with wonder.  He then threw his arms around
Aeryn.  "Oh baby," he said.  "We're going to have a baby."

Aeryn allowed herself to be taken into his embrace, but seemed not to
share his joy.  John was too filled with glee to notice at first, but
he finally realized that Aeryn was not reacting with pleasure to the
news.  He pulled back a bit, and looked into her eyes.

"What?" he said.  "Aren't you...aren't you happy?"

"How the frell should I know?" she asked.  Standing up, she began to
pace back and forth through the room.  John stood up, and stopped her,
putting his arms around her waist.  

"Talk to me," he said.  "What's wrong?"

"John, I," she began, turning to face him.  "We...there has been so
much change lately.  Our marriage, and now this, so soon.  I...I've
never even thought about having children.  I'm...I'm scared.  What if I
hurt it?  What if I can't be a Mother?"

"Of course you can," said John.  "Honey, I love you.  And I know you
love me.  You have this great capacity for caring and emotion, you just
don't access it too often for too many people.  Its understandable
considering your background. will not be alone in this.
Together, our love for each other, we will extend to this child."

"I just thought, I mean," she said.  "The implant the Peacekeepers gave
me to prevent conception."

"It must have failed," said John.  "Maybe because it was meant to be.
Maybe, we are supposed to have a child.  I don't know.  All I do know
is that I want you and this child, and that I will always be there for
you.  For as long as I live, I will never, ever, leave you or this
baby.  Count on it."

John brought Aeryn's lips to his in a gentle kiss.  When the kiss
broke, a smile slowly crept across Aeryn's face.  Her hands reached up,
and began to slowly caress her stomach.  "My baby," she whispered.
"Our baby.  Oh John, I do....I want this baby.  I don't know how good
of a Mother I will be to this baby, but I will do my best.  It helps to
know...that you will be there."

"You know," said John.  "This is history in the making here."

"How so?" asked Aeryn.  "Because our baby will be the first
Sebacean/Human hybrid?"

"Well, there is that," said John.  "But I was thinking more along the
lines of Aeryn Sun-Crichton, after all this time, finding a way to
still surprise me."

Aeryn smiled.  "Shouldn't be that much of a surprise," she said.
"We've only been frelling each other at every opportunity since our
wedding night.  That honeymoon tradition, as you call it."

"Yeah, I know, I was coming to look for you to see if you were up for
some vertical relaxation earlier," he said.  "Oh, by the way, where
were you hiding for all this time?  I was tearing the ship apart
looking for you."

"Well," said Aeryn playfully.  "I can't yell you that."

"No," said John in a tone as equally playful.

"No," she said with a big smile.  "A woman has to retain some surprises
and secrets from her husband, doesn't she?"

Chapter 2:  So Far From home

EAS Indefatigable, Proxima System, Earth Year 2274 (Six Years after
"Flying Colors", 12 years after end of Season 2 of "Farscape")

Brigadier General Robert McGregor was sitting in his quarters aboard
the Indefatigable, reading quietly after a long day at the office.  Now
42 years old, McGregor was the commander of an Earth Force Destroyer
Group, consisting of 4 ships (including his flag ship, the
Indefatigable).  They had been in port at Proxima 3 colony for
refitting and re-supply after several months on patrol in the outer
sectors.  But even as Robert read the book in his hand, he could not
keep his mind from wandering to thoughts of home and the wife that was
waiting for him back there.

It had been six years since Robert McGregor had married the lovely
Sebacean, Jenavia Chatto.  In that time, the couple had built a happy
home and family life, as Jena adjusted nicely to life among Humans with
only a few bumps along the way.  They had two lovely daughters,
Katherine (age 6) and Elisa (age 4), and now Jena was nearing the time
to give birth to their first son.  Along the way, McGregor had also
managed to play a part in the winning of the Drakh War and the
liberation of Earth from a deadly plague.  His career had soared, and
two years ago, Captain McGregor became Brigadier General McGregor.

But now, all the handsome, middle aged Earth Force General could think
about was his wife, back home without him, about ready to give him a
son.  McGregor loved being an Earth Force officer, and loved commanding
a squadron in the field.  But his duties too often took him away from
Jena and the children.  To not be there for the birth of his son was an
unconscionable act in Robert's mind, although Jena had voiced her
understanding and spoke of knowing he would be there with her in

A knock at the hatch brought McGregor from his thoughts of home and
family, and back to the then and now.  "Enter," he said.

Commander James Hancock stepped into the room.  Hancock had served with
McGregor for many years, as senior Lieutenant and later Executive
Officer of the Indefatigable when McGregor was the Captain.  Now,
Hancock served as the XO under the Indy's current Captain. "Sir," said
Hancock.  "Captain Chan asked me to give you the daily reports from the
squadron Captains."

"Thank you, Commander," said McGregor, taking the reports and laying
them on the desk next to his chair.  "I'll read them later."

"Any word from your wife?" asked Hancock.

"No," said McGregor.  "Nothing yet.  Thanks for asking.  If there is
nothing else..."

"Nothing else, sir," said Hancock.

"Good," said McGregor.  "Dismissed."

"Aye, sir," said Hancock, coming to attention, then leaving the room.
McGregor hated being so curt with Jim Hancock.  He liked and respected
him, having groomed Hancock on the path for higher command someday.
But McGregor was in no mood to talk, and just hoped that Hancock
understood this from years of experience serving with McGregor and
getting to know his moods.

As he returned his attention back to the book, his hand comm link
bleeped, indicating an incoming message.  McGregor activated the link. 
"McGregor, go," he said.

"Sir," said the voice of the Indy's communication's officer, "message
coming in from Earth.  Its about your wife, sir."

"Patch it through," said McGregor with excitement.  Finally, he was
getting word.

The General went to his desk, and activated the viewscreen.  The image
of his Father, Harold McGregor, appeared on the screen.  "Dad," said
Robert.  "What's the word?"

"The word, son," said Harold, with a big grin, "is that you have an 8
pound baby boy."

McGregor was glad he wasn't on the bridge at that moment, for he would
have been embarrassed about the big, stupid grin that appeared on his
face.  "He came," said Robert.  "He finally came."  Then, his grin
turned to a distinct frown.  "Dammit," he said, a tear falling from his
eye.  "My son arrived in the world today, and I wasn't there to welcome

"Don't worry," said Harold.  "There'll be plenty of time for that.
You're Mother is in with Jena and the baby now.  They're both fine.
Jena is going to come and stay with us until you get back.  Any idea
when that will be?"

"Two weeks," said Robert.  "I've been trying to get leave, but Earth
Force command wants my squadron to make a sweep through Signet system. 
Security check.  After that, I take the squadron back to Proxima, then
I get leave.  Can I speak to Jena?"

"Not now," said Harold.  "She's sleeping.  Poor dear has been at it for
ten hours.  She's got a strong constitution.  Of course, she'd have to
have one to be married to my stubborn, pig headed son."

"True," said Robert with a smile.  

"Son," said Harold.  "I don't know if...if I've ever made clear to you
how proud you're Mother and I are of you.  You've built a great career
of service, and you married a wonderful woman and have created a
family.  All of this fills me with tremendous joy and pride."

"Thanks, Dad," said Robert with a smile.

"Well," said Harold, trying to keep himself from crying by quickly
changing the subject.  "Have you and Jena picked out a name for this
child yet?"

"We have," said Robert.  "We want to name him after Granddad."

"Michael is a good name," said Harold.

"Yes," said Robert.  "Michael Harold McGregor is a fine name, we

"Michael Har..." began Harold.  "I...I don't know what to say."

"Come on," said Robert.  "The Professor of History at William and Mary
renown for dressing down unprepared students is made speechless.  I
think I've won one of my greatest victories."

"I'm honored, son," said Harold.  "Thank you."

"I can't talk long, Dad," said Robert.  "Give Mother, Jena, and that
baby a kiss from me, and not necessarily in that order."

"I will," said Harold.  "Goodbye son.  I love you."

"I love you, too, Dad," said Robert.  

The screen went blank, and Robert was left sitting speechless in his
quarters.  His emotions were very mixed at the moment.  On the one
hand, he was very excited to have a son.  Yet, he could not help but
feel saddened to be so far from them.  But such was the life of a
soldier, and like all soldiers far from home, he could only count the
days until he could see his loved ones again.

Chapter 3:  The Widowed Mother

Earth Force Space Port 1-Earth Dome, Geneva, Earth Year 2287 (during
"the Glorious Cause", 25 years after end of Farscape Season 2)

Jenavia McGregor stood in the observation lounge overlooking the
landing pad, waiting for a shuttle to arrive from an orbiting Earth
Force transport.  She had received a message from her husband, General
Robert McGregor, now leading the Interstellar Alliance fleet against
her former employers, the Peacekeepers.  He had told her to meet
someone who was returning from the war zone, the person she now waited
for at the space port.

The intercom announced the arrival of the shuttle carrying passengers
from the transport Charybdis.  As she heard the announcement, Jenavia
observed an Earth Force shuttle swoop down from high altitude to come
in for a graceful landing on the pad below her window.

Seeing the shuttle arriving, Jenavia went to the entrance for new
arrivals to meet the person her husband had asked her to.  Taking a
transport tube to the lower level, she made her way down several
corridors to get to the entrance.  When she got there, Jenavia observed
a group of several dozen Earth Force officers who had disembarked from
the shuttle and were now passing through port authority checks.  

The person Jenavia was looking for stood out among the group of
officers.  She quickly picked out a young, dark haired woman wearing
and Earth Force uniform with flight wings adorning the right shoulder. 
Jenavia had met her once before, though it had been a while and only

When the woman passed through the port authority checks, Jenavia
approached her.  "Lt. Yalon Marst-Taylor?" asked Jenavia, already
knowing who the person was but still observing the formality.

"Yes," replied the woman, with a slight smile.  "You are Jenavia
McGregor.  I remember meeting you once before."  She held out her hand,
and the two Sebacean women observed the Human custom of the hand shake,
a custom which was now familiar after living among Humans for so long. 
"The General told me you would be meeting me.  It was good of you to
come, ma'm."

"Please, call me Jena," said Jenavia.  "And it was my pleasure to meet
you.  I want to hear all about how my husband is.  I hope you can tell
me on the way."

"On the way?" asked Yalon.

"Yes, dear," said Jena to the younger woman.  "I've contacted Lt.
Commander Taylor's...your husband's family.  They want me to bring you
to them, so they can look after you and the baby.  If that's alright?"

"I...I didn't know if they would even want me to come," said Yalon.  "I
know they are good people, but..."

"They want you to be with them," said Jena.  "They love you and care
about you.  I will take you to Texas myself."

"You don't have to," said Yalon.

"I want to," said Jenavia.

The two women walked through the space port, collecting Yalon's luggage
on the way out.  They made their way to a hover car outside.  Jena
climbed behind the  wheel, and Yalon sat down in the passenger seat.  

"You'll stay at my husband's quarters in Geneva for tonight," said
Jena, "as will I.  We'll go on to Texas in the morning.  I know you
must be tired after that trip.  A month in flight, especially given
your pregnancy.  How is the baby, by the way?"

"She is fine," said Yalon.  "The Doctors on the Charybdis were very
helpful.  I found out the baby is a girl along the way.  I wish...I
wish that..."

"That your husband was here to see her," said Jena.  They were, of
course, referring to Lt. Commander Joe Taylor, Yalon's late husband.
The couple had met as enemies, Earth Force and Peacekeeper pilots who
shot each other down on a deserted planet during the Peacekeeper
invasion of the Earth Alliance.  They managed to fall in love and
marry.  Yalon received a commission in Earth Force, and both flew in
the raid on Sebacea under General Robert McGregor.  Sadly, Joe was
killed in the raid, and left Yalon a pregnant widow.

"Joe would have loved to have had a baby," said Yalon.  "He was such a
gentle man.  I miss him.  I will always miss him."

"I know," said Jena.  "I can't imagine what it would be like if I lost
Robert.  I think about it everyday of this damned war.  But, at least
it looks like Robert is going to bring this to an end soon."

"Yes," said Yalon.  "The Peacekeepers are on the run.  Its only a
matter of time now, looks like." 

They both sat in silent contemplation for a few minutes, considering
the implications of what they were discussing.  Finally, Jena said it. 
"I know," she said.  "It feels strange, wishing for the end of an
organization we once both devoted our lives to."

"But through the love of two Human men," said Yalon, "we were shown a
better way to live.  That, and my baby, are two gifts I will always owe
to Joe."

"That better life and my babies I owe to Robert," agreed Jena.
"Someday, perhaps, the rest of our people will be shown a better way to
live by the Humans.  Our two races...together, we could be such a force
for good.  Its only because of the Peacekeepers that we fight each
other.  With them gone, who knows what will happen.  I mean, the Humans
aren't exactly pillars of nobility, either.  I will never forgive Earth
Gov for betraying Robert after what happened at Drathnor.  Even
restoring his commission doesn't make up for it entirely in my view.
But maybe, both our races with our imperfections, can together become
better than the sum of ourselves."

"I haven't given it too much thought," said Yalon.  "My main concerns
from now on are for my baby.  Beyond that...I just don't think about it
for now."

"I understand," said Jena.  "Listen, if you ever need a friend to talk
to.  Another Sebacean woman who has been there, on a similar road to
that which you are taking.  Let me know."

"Thank you, Jena," said Yalon.

Chapter 4:  The Letter Home

Flight Officers' Quarters, Earth Force Primary Base, Sebacea.  Earth
Year 2295 (8 years after the end of "the Glorious Cause", 33 years
after end of Farscape Season 2)

Junior Lieutenant Michael McGregor stepped into his quarters at the
Earth Force Base on Sebacea after an exhausting shore leave experience.
It wasn't from enjoyment of his shore leave that he is exhausted.  On
the contrary, he actually cut his recreation time short, because he was
definitely not having a good time.

The youngest child of Robert and Jenavia McGregor, Michael grew up
often being separated from his Father.  A career Earth Force officer,
Robert McGregor had always wanted to be there for his son, but always
found his career getting in the way.  All of that changed when the
General retired from Earth Force nine years ago, after the end of the
Peacekeeper Wars.  

Michael, for the first time, found his Father always around and
available, not some awe inspiring figure who was there today, gone
tomorrow.  It was a time for rediscovery as the then 14 year old
Michael became closer than ever to his Father.  He got to sit and talk
with him for hours about his life, and boy did the old man have some
stories to tell.  Michael had heard of his Father's exploits all of his
life, but they seemed more real coming from his Father's lips.  Robert
McGregor didn't glorify the stories for his son, just told it like it

This new found closeness between Father and son inspired Michael
McGregor to follow in his Father's footsteps.  When he announced his
decision to join Earth Force and become a fighter pilot, both of his
parents were beaming with pride.  Although Robert had always told
Michael to be his own man and do what he wanted, the son could tell the
Father was pleased with his decision.

Now, five and a half years later, Michael McGregor was an Earth Force
officer and fighter pilot.  A handsome young man with his Mother's
light brown hair and skin tone, with his Father's eyes and smile, he
had requested to be stationed with the Earth Occupation Forces on
Sebacea, the former capital of the Peacekeepers, now the home of a
Sebacean Free State.  However, this new Sebacean government still bowed
(at least for now) to the Interstellar Alliance sponsored Earth
occupation government.  The young McGregor was filled with excitement
upon receiving the assignment he had asked for.  After all, this was
the home world of his Mother's people, and the origin of the Sebacean
half of his ancestry.

But, after his experiences over the past few days, all Michael felt was
disgust.  He flopped down on his bunk in exhaustion, and pondered what
he had seen while on leave.  The young McGregor wanted to do something,
but he didn't know exactly what he could do.  He tried to think about
what his Father would do, and that was when the idea struck him.  

Michael went to his personal terminal and activated the unit.  The
screen flashed to life, and a computer voice spoke to him.  "Requesting
clearance code."

"LtJG. Michael McGregor, 5189650, accessing recorder for tachyon mail
message, authorization 'Indefatigable'."

"Clearance accepted," replied the computer, "access to recorder

"Begin recording," said Michael.  When the red light indicated that the
recorder in the terminal was started, he began his letter.  "Dear Dad,"
he began.  "Remember how I wrote to you about being so enthusiastic
about this assignment to Sebacea.  Well, I...I don't think I feel that
way anymore.  I need you to listen to this message privately.  Mom, if
you are seeing this message, this is a man to man talk.  I know you'll
understand.  You always do.  Now, Dad, if your alone, I need to talk to
you about something.   I remember you telling me about when you were
relieved as Military Governor of Sebacea, how you were concerned about
the wrong kind of Earth business interests being allowed in here after
you were gone.  Well, your worries were...justified.  I can see now why
General Wilson, your replacement, quickly resigned from his post.  I
don't know how General Delauder is putting up with it, but I guess he
has no choice.  Officials in Earth Gov are pulling the strings, and
business interests are pulling there strings."

"Anyhow, I'll start from the beginning.  My unit got three days liberty
for a joint mission we flew with the Sebaceans.  Every time we make a
successful joint op, it looks good for the press, so we were rewarded
for putting on a dog and pony show.  But, I digress.  The other pilots
told me to come with them on liberty.  They've been here a while, and
know all the 'hot spots', as they put it.   So, I tagged along with
them.  Well, we went to this area on the outskirts of the Sebacean
capital city.  I swear, Dad, this place had more bright lights than Las
Vegas.  The guys around here call it 'party town'.  All of the
businesses are run by Earth corporations.  Bars, restaurants, gaming
places.  You name it, party town has it.  And that's not all they've
got.  There are a lot of, um, clubs.  Special clubs.  The guys led me
to one of them."

"You go into the club, paying a pretty hefty entrance fee at a booth
near the door.  On the door is a sign that says 'Humans Only'.  As you
round a corner, you are confronted by a brightly lit room.  A bar,
tables, and several stages.  The place is filled with male customers,
majority of them Earth Force personnel.  And all around them are half
naked Sebacean women.  There are girls on the stages, dancing nude for
tips.  Then there are more girls, walking through the aisles topless.
Anyhow, the girls in the aisles sit down with the male customers, and
one of three things happens.  One, the girl gives a guy a lap dance
right on the spot at the table for 20 credits a dance.  Two, the girl
takes the guy to a curtained off area with some couches.  When they get
back there, the guy gives the girl 50 credits, the girl gives the guy
oral sex.  Third, the girl takes the guy to some rooms in the back.
One hundred credits an hour buys the guy sex with the girl.    My
comrades were telling me about all of this, pointing out which girls
gave the best dances and blow jobs and were the best in the sack.  I
felt like bolting, but...well, you know what its like among groups of
men.  I felt...obligated to stay for a little while, although I was
completely disgusted.  My friends all got lap dances or blow jobs, and
one or two took a Sebacean girl to the back rooms.  Me, I feigned like
I was short on cash and was just enjoying the view of the girls dancing
on the stages.  I even tipped one or two to keep up the act."

"At the first opportunity, I told the guys I wasn't feeling well and I
made my excuses.  Told them it was bad food from this place we ate at. 
They said that I was a newby, not used to the local cuisine yet, so
they bought it.  I got the hell out of there, and just walked around
party town for a few hours.  I counted at least thirty of these sex
clubs, Dad.  Most of them had "Humans Only" signs on the doors.  Some
of the seedier establishments had signs that said "All Races Welcomed
Upon Proof of Compatibility and Medical Clearance".  It was all
so...official, Dad.  That's what is so scary.  Earth businesses are
making money off of this, and the occupation government allows it to
happen.  I know that if you were still there, you would never have
allowed this to happen."

"I just felt so...sick.  My Mother's race, a proud a noble people who
we promised to treat as equals.  Humans are exploiting Sebaceans, Dad,
in some disgusting ways.  But that's not all.  I kept walking through
the capital until I got to this really run down section of town.  I
guess you could call it Sebacea's answer to a tenement housing.  I
almost turned back, but then I noticed that most of the people living
there were women.  Sebacean women who either had a child in tow, or
were pregnant.  There were men here and there, both Human and Sebacean.
There were also other Earth Force officers around, visiting some of the
women with their children.  I spoke to a couple of people there, and
they told me about the place."

"It seems that most of the women there were girls who worked in the sex
clubs, or were just Sebacean women who had been with Human men.  They
all had one thing in common-they all had children by their encounters
with Human men.  When a club girl gets pregnant, she gets fired because
she can't work, and its not like they have a maternity leave policy.
And there are always new girls to exploit.  Many of the former club
girls don't even know who the Father's of their children are.  Those
who do...well, most of the men who got them pregnant don't want the
children, or the whores they had sex with to make them.  The women can
take them to an Occupation Government court to get child support and
access to Earth Force benefits, but its backlogged with cases similar
to theirs, and justice is seldom swift.  Besides, only Earth Force
officers answer to that court.  Civilian men don't even have to show
up.  There are also cases of Sebacean women who were simply the lovers
of a Human, and they happened to be the unlucky ones who hooked up with
louses.  You see on ISN broadcasts all the time about marriages between
Humans and Sebaceans, the happy stories.  But not these stories, for
some reason.  I guess the occupation government keeps ISN away from
this.  The Human men visiting the area were the one's who had stepped
up to do the right thing and were supporting the children and Mothers,
but didn't know whether or not they wanted to marry their child's

"In all of these cases, the women were living in this area, and in
these squalid conditions, because they are ostracized in Sebacean
society.  They can't get jobs, they can't get descent housing, and are
basically herded into tenements.  I was heartbreaking, Dad.
I don't know what to feel.  I went to see Admirals Polise and Atrios.
They are still in command of the Sebacean armed forces.  They told me
that Sebacea has a democratic government now, even though the kinks are
still being worked out.  In actuality, the Sebaceans have been given a
great deal of self-governance.  They are still answerable to the
occupation government, and Earth business interests get special
treatment.  But Sebacean internal policy is mostly controlled by
Sebacea's government.  Polise and Atrios said that they had gotten that
much by working in the system, and they would have resigned long ago
had they not seen a way to more progress by staying.  They said they
were trying to work for more protections for the women in the
tenements, but there is a growing sentiment of mistrust, even hatred,
among Sebaceans for Humans.  It worries them, even though for now it is
mostly just a bunch of fringe elements who want racial purity, return
to the Peacekeepers, things like that."

"After all of that, I came back to my quarters and decided to write you
this letter.  Dad, its not just the 'entertainment' industry, if that's
what you want to call it.  Earth businesses have an unfair advantage
here in a lot of areas.  That's why I'm writing you.  I know you are
retired, but you still have a lot of contacts and clout with Earth Gov.
Use them.  Your help could sure as hell be used here, Dad.  I am just
do disgusted by the whole thing.  By how the Sebaceans are being
exploited by the Humans, and by how the Sebaceans are treating the
victims of that exploitation.  Dad, do something, anything.  I just
couldn't help but think that those women could have been Mom.  By the
way, tell her I love her."

"Well, I'd better go now Dad.  I'm beat, and need to hit the rack.  I
love you, Dad.  Give Mom and Elisa a kiss for me.  Your son, Michael." 
He then spoke to the computer.  "Computer, deactivate recording.  Save
and address to General Robert McGregor, Earth Force (retired).
McGregor Ranch, Virginia, United States, Earth.  Address code 1436529. 
Send to outgoing mail."

"Commencing," said the computer.  "File sent.  Estimated time to
delivery, 14.3 days."

"Computer off," said Michael.  He went over to lay down on his bunk,
not even bothering to take off his coat.  "I hope he can do something,"
he thought to himself.  "Everyone only wants to talk about the positive
interspecies relationships between Humans and Sebaceans.  There have
been quite a few, and that's a good thing.  But, rarely is something
full of only roses and happiness.  There are weeds in every bed of

Chapter 5:  The Ugly Face of Ignorance

Earth Force/Sebacean Defense Forces Joint Maintenance Depot, Sebacea.
Earth Year 2295 (five months after Chapter 4 of this story).

Two Prowler fighters glided in for flawless landings in the landing bay
of the maintenance depot.  As soon as the Prowlers had made their
landing, a swarm of technicians rushed around the ships to secure them
and clear the pilots for exiting the craft.  After a few moments, the
ships were verified as secure on the deck, and the cockpit canopies of
the fighters opened.

Out of the Prowlers stepped the pilots, donned in Earth Force flight
suits.  Both Junior Grade Lieutenants, the two young men climbed
confidently from their ships, and gazed back at them with admiring
eyes.  The two officers were LtJG's Michael McGregor and Jeffrey Ellis.
For the past several months, they had been assigned to a Sebacean
Defense Forces (SDF) squadron as part of the Earth Force/SDF exchange
program.  The program was initially created by the predecessor to the
current military governor, General Thomas Wilson, and it has since been
kept around and put under the command of Admiral Jani Atrios of the

After checking over their ships, the two Earth Force officers walked
side by side to the Prowler wing commander's office to report in.  As
they walked, the two men talked about their mission.

"You know, Mike," said Jeffrey Ellis, "one thing I just can't get used
to is the closed in feeling of that cockpit.  Its not like a Starfury,
where you feel like you are standing on the edge of infinity because of
the openness of the cockpit."

"I know," replied Michael.  "But, for me, the biggest difference is in
using those oculars.  I keep having visions of them poking me in the
eyes if I had to make a sudden bank or turn."

"Jeff!" they heard a voice call out from behind them.  The two men
turned, and Ellis was soon greeted by the sight of a lovely young woman
in a SDF technician's uniform running up to him and throwing herself in
his arms.  The pair began to kiss each other passionately, while
Michael just sighed and shook his head, used to the sight by now.

Jeffrey Ellis was a husky, light skinned, dark haired man in his early
twenties.  Originally from the Mars colony, Jeff was a skilled pilot
with a good deal of technical expertise.  When he was first assigned to
a Prowler, the first thing he had wanted to do before he even flew it
was open up its engine housing and see how it worked.  This was how he
met the woman he was now kissing.

SDF Technician Renaisa Geloni, a blonde haired, big eyed young Sebacean
woman, is a senior maintenance technician assigned to the exchange
squadron.  The day that Ellis arrived, she was walking down the line of
Prowlers when she saw an Earth Force officer messing about in one of
her engines.  She walked over to inquire as to what the frell he
thought he was doing, and found herself confronted by the most handsome
man she had ever seen in her life.

Ellis was equally impressed by the pretty tech, even through the plain,
brown coveralls and a smudge of grease on her cheek.  He explained to
her about his curiosity about the Prowler's engines, which took Geloni
by surprise.  Sebacean pilots leave tech work to techs, but this Earth
Force pilot was very knowledgeable in her line of work.  They got to
talking about the engines, and decided to have dinner together.  Now,
several months later, they are a couple, each madly in love with the

"Hey, you two," said Michael playfully.  "Can I get you a room?"

"Yeah," replied Jeffrey.

"Preferably one close by," said Renaisa in between kisses.  "Are we
still on for tonight?"

"We sure are," said Jeffrey.  "All I have to do is report in to the CO,
have a shower, change into a uniform, and then it's a night on the town
for the two of us."

"I can't wait," said Renaisa, securing one more kiss from her lover.
"Pick me up at my quarters in 2 arns.  Don't be late."

With that, Renaisa turned and headed back towards the Prowler she had
been working on.  McGregor and Ellis continued towards the wing
commander's officer.  "Well, well," said Michael.  "Night on the town. 
Special occasion?"

"Mike, don't bring that up now," replied Jeffrey.  "I'm nervous enough
as it is.  I mean, what if I am rushing things.  Popping the question,
its just such a big step to take."

"Look, Jeff, you two are in love," said Michael, putting his hand on
his friend's shoulder.  "You are made for each other.  Its fate.  Just,
go with your heart.  The steps along the way will be handled, by you
and Renaisa together."

"Yeah," said Jeffrey with a smile.  "I guess your right.  Its just,
what if she says no..."

"She won't," said Michael.  "That girl loves you."

"We still have to get it approved by our two governments," said

"That shouldn't be too hard," said Michael.  "The stink my Father has
been making in the press and in Earth Gov back home over the sex
industry here over the past few months, the occupation government would
love to be able to show examples of positive relationships between
Humans and Sebaceans.  And believe me, your relationship with Renaisa,
its...when I saw party town on my first liberty here, when I wrote my
Father and told him about it, starting him on this crusade of his, I
just felt...dirty, somehow.  But, the two of you, so in love and being
so...right.  Its renewed my faith in the viability of Human/Sebacean
relationships.  I had always seen them as positive.  My Mom and Dad,
the Crichtons...that was shaken a bit by my liberty experience that
night.  But you and Renaisa have put it back on stable ground.

"Happy to be of service, my man," said Jeffrey.  "Besides, I'm the one
who is going to be walking Renaisa down the aisle."

Later that night, Jeffrey Ellis and Renaisa Geloni walked arm in arm
through the Sebacean capital city.   As they talked to one another and
exchanged the occasional kiss, each just enjoyed the company of the
other as they walked no where in particular.

Eventually, they came to Memorial Park towards the center of the city. 
The park had been created on the site of what used to be the
Peacekeeper High Command Headquarters.  All but destroyed in the
McGregor Raid, the ruins were bulldozed and a park put in its place.
General McGregor and Admiral Polise had commissioned the park as a
symbol of peace from the ashes of war.  Now, the young couple walked
down the sidewalks of the park through trees and flower beds.

Ellis decided that this was as good a place as any to propose.  He
slowly began to stop walking, holding Renaisa on the arm.  She sensed
him stopping, and turned to face him.

"What?," asked Renaisa with a smile.  "You aren't thinking about what I
think you are.  If you are, think again.  I got my uniform grass
stained last time and we were almost caught by security forces."

"No, no," said Jeff.  "Nothing like that, Renaisa, its...." He had
decided to do it the old fashioned way, even though a Human man asking
a Sebacean woman to marry him was still not an old fashioned concept.
Getting down on one knee under the light of the Sebacean moons, and
retrieving a ring from his pocket, he asked her.

"I was wondering, Renaisa, if you would...marry me?" he asked.

Stunned at first, Renaisa gave him on a blank stare in response.  It
took her a few moments to process the question, having never really
given thought to marrying anyone before she met Jeffrey Ellis.  Now,
she was confronted with the question, and didn't know how to react at
first.  But finally, the full meaning of it got through to her.  This
man, this wonderful man that she loved so much, wanted her as his mate,
his wife.

She smiled, and as a tear fell from her eye, she replied to the
question.  "Yes," was all she said, and all she had to say.

Jeff jumped up, and took Renaisa in his arms.  He spun her around, and
began to kiss his fiancée passionately on her lips, on her neck, on her
cheeks.  She just enjoyed the moment, enjoyed feeling her future
husband's arms around her.  Caught up in their merriment, they didn't
notice a group of men approach them.

"Hey!" said one of the men in a Sebacean accent.

Jeff and Renaisa broke from their embrace, and turned to face the
source of the voice.  There were five men standing in front of them,
all of them wearing leather, Peacekeeper style jackets.  Some of them
were carrying metal pipes.

Not liking the looks of this, Jeffrey put himself between the men and
his fiancée in a protective gesture.  "What do you want?" he asked,
trying to put forth a brave front.

"Get your hands off our woman," said one of the men, apparently the
leader of the pack.  He was a bald, older Sebacean man had a scar
running over the left side of his skull.  

"What do you mean, your woman?" asked an irritated Renaisa, coming
around from behind her protective lover.  "I've never even met you."

"You trelk," said the pack leader.  "Giving yourself to Human scum,
just like those whores in those Human establishments."

"Who the hell do you think you are?" asked Jeffrey angrily.  "How dare
you call my fiancée a whore?"

"No matter," said the man, ignoring the Human's outburst.  "You are a
Sebacean woman, and we'll save you from this one for your own good, to
protect the purity of our race."

The men closed on the couple.  Deciding that discretion was the better
part of valor, Jeff grabbed Renaisa by the hand, and tried to run.
Sensing their move to flee, the pack of men surrounded them and

Jeffrey fought valiantly to protect his lover, getting in quite a few
good jabs and blows.  But five against one had its advantages, and the
men played all of those advantages.  Eventually, two of them grabbed
Jeffrey by the arms, while the pack leader pounded him the stomach.

Renaisa screamed, charging at the man who was harming her lover.  She
managed to knock the man to the ground with a pentac jab, but the other
two men who weren't holding a now beaten Ellis pounced on her.  The
pack leader got up, only slightly fazed by the tech's weak jab.  He
struck Renaisa across the face, knocking her to the ground.

This act filled Jeffrey with rage, and he tried to break free.  But
before his anger could help him muster the strength to break from their
grip, the two men holding him both struck him in the back with their
pipes.  Meanwhile, the pack leader began to kick Renaisa in the ribs.

"Over there!" someone yelled.

"Hey, stop!" yelled someone else.

"Break, now," said the pack leader, and the group of men took off
running into the night.  Several Sebaceans and a couple of Earth Force
officers ran up to the scene.  They found an unconscious Earth Force
Junior Lieutenant laying on the ground, severely beaten and bloodied.
Slowly crawling up to him was a beaten up Sebacean technician, who
softly cried out the name "Jeff!"

"Get help!" yelled one of the Earth Force officers.  One of the
Sebaceans took off down the sidewalk to get help, while the rest began
to try to tend to the ravaged couple.  Renaisa was able to reach out,
and touch Jeffrey hand before joining him in unconsciousness.

Chapter 6:  The Search for Answers

Military Governor's Office, Occupation Headquarters, Sebacea.  Earth
Year 2295 (Two days after the end of Chapter 5 of this story).

General Lester Delauder rushed into his office in the ISA Occupation
Headquarters on Sebacea, running late after a conversation with and
Earth Gov official over breakfast.  The Military Governor of Sebacea
was supposed to have been in a meeting five minutes ago with Admiral
Karsten Polise, his liaison with the Sebacean government, and two Earth
sociologists.  He was not a man who liked being late.

General Delauder's career was that of an effective administrator, but
one who had worked in the background and almost never in the field.  He
had been the military liaison to a number of Earth officials over the
years, and it was this contact with members of Earth Gov that brought
him to the government's attention.  They appointed him to the job
because they knew he would do what he needed to do to get things done,
but would also do what he was told.

Now, General Delauder was faced with a public relations nightmare, and
Earth Gov wanted answers from him, and they want them yesterday.  He
hoped this morning's meeting with Polise and the others would do just

He stepped into the room, and found the other participants in the
meeting waiting for him.  "I apologize for being late," said Delauder
in his thick, Louisiana accent.  "Please, have a seat."

Polise and two Humans, Beka Ryder and Richard Persico, sat in chairs
across the desk from General Delauder.  He sat down, collected himself
quickly, and spoke.  "I've called you here today because Earth Gov
wants me to find some reasons, root causes, of the attack on the Earth
Force officer and his Sebacean lady companion the other night in
Memorial Park.  They're both in the hospital.  The young officer,
Junior Lieutenant Ellis, is still unconscious.  Meanwhile, ISN has
gotten hold of the story, and is broadcasting it all over the news.
Bad press makes Earth Gov nervous, because it makes people back home
question our mission here."

"Its about time that happened," said Admiral Polise.  "I have been
telling you people for cycles now that your Earth business interests
and their in roads on Sebacea have damaged relations between our two
peoples.  Especially the sex industry that has been growing here.  The
Peacekeepers may be gone, but their ideas on racial purity die hard.
Your people are more and more being seen as a threat to our race by
many Sebaceans."

"Do you see it that way, Admiral?" asked Delauder.

"Your business interests are a possible threat, yes," replied Polise.
"More and more industries here are being taken over by Earth
corporations.  As many as a quarter of our people work for Earth
businesses, directly or indirectly.  Then, there is the sexual
tensions, caused mostly by what goes on in your so called 'party

"That's what I wanted to talk about," said Delauder.  "Apparently,
according the statement taken from the Sebacean girl in this case,
um..." he searched through a few papers.  "Yes, here it is.  Renaisa
Geloni.  The group of Sebacean men attacked them because she was with a
Human man.  I want us to take a look at that dynamic.  That's why I
called for Miss Ryder and Mr. Persico to be with us.  They have been
doing an academic survey on the nature of Human/Sebacean relationships,
specifically the mating of members of the two races.  Perhaps, if the
two of you," indicating Ryder and Persico, "could give us a summary of
what you have found."

"Of course," said Ryder.  "Well, a quick history lesson to begin with. 
The first interracial mating between a Human and Sebacean occurred
between John Crichton and Aeryn Sun-Crichton, a union which resulted in
the first Human/Sebacean hybrid offspring.  Since then, there have been
other examples which demonstrate that the two species are, both
sexually and genetically, compatible.  In general."

"We tried to do surveys, to see if we could determine a pattern to the
interracial mating that is going on," chimed in Persico.  "You may have
noticed that most of the cases of members of the two species mating
involve a Human male and Sebacean female.  There are several reasons
for this.  One, a Sebacean female is slightly more suited for carrying
a hybrid child than a Human female.  But the difference in suitability
is minute.  The major factors are social in nature.  First, many of the
matings that are going on right now are of a, well, casual nature.  In

"You mean Human men with Sebacean prostitutes," said Admiral Polise.

"Yes," said Ryder.  "That accounts for about 25% of the cases of hybrid
children being produced at this point.  Sebacean women who seek
employment in these brothels do so because of job shortages in many
fields, now that many of their industries originally geared for arms
production have been shut down."

"We are trying to re-gear those industries for other forms of
production," commented Delauder.  "But its taking time."

"Its taking time," said Polise, "because your Earth business interests
want Sebaceans to by EARTH made goods.  They don't want the competition
from Sebacean industries."

"Coming back to the original topic," interjected Persico.  "There are
no brothels for Human women to go to for sex with Sebacean men. At
least, none of any major size.  The other reasons for the predominate
nature of the Human male/Sebacean female mating has to do with how
members of the different sexes of each race view the opposite sex of
the other race."

"Many of the Sebacean females we spoke to," said Ryder, "see Human
males, at least on some unconscious level, as being more worthy mates
than Sebacean men.  Human males defeated Sebaceans on the battlefield. 
So, subconsciously, an idea Human male superiority is given some
credence.  There is also the exotic, charming nature of the Human male
that many Sebacean women have identified as a factor."

"As for Human males," said Persico. "Some expressed feelings of seeing
Sebacean women as, well, battle prizes, of a sort.  They won the war,

"To the victor, goes the spoils?" quoted Delauder.

"Yes," answered Persico.  "But, that was only in a very few.  The grand
majority of Human men we talked to who are attracted to Sebacean women
is out of some mystique that has been attached to Sebacean women.  They
are exotic, new, and have been presented to them like a new trend.
Sebacean women have been shown on the news marrying Human men, they
have been seen in entertainment programs back home, and have even been
appearing nude in adult publications.  PlayPen magazine, for example.
Last month's centerfold was Sebacean.  There is also the difference in
Human/Sebacean aging to consider.  Imagine marrying a woman who won't
grow old, but will remain young as long as you live.  It's a dream come
true for many men."

"What about the other side of the coin?" asked Delauder.  "How do Human
women and Sebacean men see each other?"

"Well," said Ryder, "this is a crucial point in explaining why there
have been so fewer matings between Human women and Sebacean men.
Sebacean men are not reluctant to do it.  In fact, many expressed
enthusiasm for the idea of having sexual experiences with Human women. 
The reluctance is held on the part of many Human women.  This has to do
with an image Sebacean men have acquired thanks to acts committed by
Peacekeeper forces.  During the war and the war crimes trials that
followed, there was a lot of publicity attached to incidents like the
Drathnor Massacre, in which many Human female prisoners were raped by
Peacekeeper men before being killed.  Other rape cases were testified
to during the trials.  Somehow, many Human women have attached this
image to Sebacean men as being brutal, sadistic, harsh.  The thought of
Sebacean manhood is attached to acts of rape."

"Wait," said Polise.  "The Peacekeepers are gone.  We have outlawed,
clearly, any form of rape.  The acts of rape committed by Peacekeepers
will not be repeated."

"You know that, I know that," said Ryder.  "But many Human women do not
disassociate Sebacean men and Peacekeeper men.  Its an image problem,
which leads to reluctance to be with Sebacean men."

"Our estimates are that of all interracial matings between Humans and
Sebaceans, of all kinds," said Persico, "80 to 85% are matings between
Human men and Sebacean women.  Our figures are to this point that
interracial matings between Humans and Sebaceans have produced at least
200 hybrid children of various ages."

"We also know that these hybrids can grow up and mate with members of
either of the original species," said Ryder.  "John Crichton, III, the
son of John and Aeryn Crichton, took a Sebacean wife and has since had
children.  Elisa McGregor, the remaining living daughter of Robert and
Jenavia McGregor, has married a Human man, and she is now two months
pregnant.  Our estimates are that, eventually, the number of hybrids
will reach into the high thousands within the next decade at the
current rate of progression."

"That is what many of my people are afraid of," said Polise.  "That's
why Sebacean women and their hybrid offspring are shunned by Sebacean
society, forced to huddle together in the tenements.  That fear caused
the attack of the other night.  More will follow, unfortunately, unless
something is done to improve relations."

"Yes," said Delauder.  "Well, Miss Ryder, Mr. Persico, if you have
nothing else to add...."

"There is one more thing, sir," said Ryder.  "There is an implication
that you and Admiral Polise seem to have overlooked.  The rate of
interracial matings occurring, the birthrate of hybrid children.  This
means the creation of a new...race of hybrids.  It is almost certain to
be one of the most crucial social issues of our times."

"Yes,  I see what you mean," said Delauder.  "Well, thank you for your
assistance.  I need to speak about some things with Admiral Polise.
So, you are dismissed."

The two sociologists rose from their chairs, and left the Human and
Sebacean senior officers alone in the room.  General Delauder rose from
his chair, and went to look out the window.

"They're right, you know," said Delauder.  "We've overlooked it.  We
are talking about the creation of a new race of people.  Not entirely
Human, not entirely Sebacean.  A hybrid race, one who's members can
apparently breed with members of either of the two original races or
other hybrids."

"I've thought about it a lot, actually," said Polise.  "Gone are the
days of isolated Sebacean/Human contact.  Our races have collided with
one another in large numbers, with your people having the upper hand in
it all."

"I know," said Delauder.  "Now, we should talk about some solutions to
the problem, the reason we needed those sociologists to give us that

Two days later, Renaisa Geloni stepped into her fiancée's hospital
room.  She was greeted by a sight she had been hoping to see for days
now.  Jeffrey Ellis was conscious, and smiled when she came in.

"Hey, gorgeous," said Jeff in a weak voice.

Renaisa came over to Jeffrey, and sat down on the bed beside him.
"Hey, yourself," she replied.  "I've bee worried about you."

"Don't worry," said a beaten and bruised Jeff, "I'll be fine in no
time."  He reached up, and touched the bruise on Renaisa's face.  "How
are you doing?"

"I'm fine," said Renaisa.  "Spent the night in the hospital, was
released from patient care the next day.  But, I've been here with you
most of the time.  The one day and arn I leave for a while, you decide
to wake up."

"So," said Jeffrey, "if I remember correctly, you had accepted my
proposal of marriage before those goons jumped us, right?"

"That's right," said Renaisa.  "And don't try to back out now.  I'm
going to marry you, mister.  Ignorant thugs and four days of
unconsciousness not withstanding."

"Good," said Jeffrey.  "I love you, Renaisa."

"I love you, Jeff," she replied.

Chapter 7:  the Brave New World

Constitution Park, Capital City, Sebacea.  Earth Year 2345  (50 years
after Chapter 6, 83 years after end of Farscape Season 2).

Aeryn Sun-Crichton sat on a chair in the museum near Constitution Park
in the Sebacean Capital city.  She was nervous, extremely nervous,
about what she was going to say to the thousands of people who had
gathered outside.  Aeryn never considered herself to be a great public
speaker, or a great leader.  Yet, the events of the past two decades
have made her just that.

Things seemed to change when her husband, John Crichton, died twenty-
three cycles ago.  Aeryn had never really gotten over that loss, even
though she had always known he would someday be taken from her by
death.  Humans don't live as long as Sebaceans.  He lived to be 95
cycles old, thanks to good health and more advanced medical technology
than would have been available in his time on Earth.  What was
remarkable was the fact that someone or something hadn't gotten to him
first, considering the dangerous life they had led for so many cycles.

After John died, Aeryn wandered for two cycles.  Not going anywhere in
particular.  She just took a transport, aimed at a direction, and went
in that direction.  It was her form of therapy, of dealing with the
loss.  She would occasionally pop in to see her son and his family, but
would leave soon after to wander again.  Jack had tried to stop her,
but she would just say that she needed time.

Finally, she decided to come home, to be with her family.  To be with
her son, and his children.  She imagined leading a quiet life of peace
and contentment, but fate intervened.  The long quiet Scarrens, who had
been defeated in a war by the Peacekeepers in the cycles before the
great war with Earth and her allies, came back with a vengeance.  They
had bided their time, built up their forces, and struck without
warning.  The Sebacean Military Corps, the armed forces set up in place
of the old Peacekeeper High Command, fought valiantly.  But they could
not have taken on the Scarrens alone.

That was when Earth stepped into the battle on Sebacea's side.  They
and their allies, such as the Minbari and the Luxans, aided Sebacea in
her fight against the Scarren menace.  What was so remarkable was the
fact that Human/Sebacean relations had been quite poor for many cycles
before that.   There was bad blood between them over the exploitation
of Sebacea by Earth business interest during the occupation.  A
coalition in the Earth government, led by Robert McGregor, was able to
get Earth Gov to finally transition control of Sebacea and her colonies
to the Sebacean people and their new, constitutional government.  But
the bad blood remained, and it would only be the common fight against
the Scarrens that would bring the two races back together in friendship
many cycles later.

But the war would take a heavy toll in lives and finances.  Sebacea
entered a depression soon after, her economy hampered by the losses
incurred during the war.  The war would take a personal toll on Aeryn's
family.  Her granddaughter, Aeryn, who flew for the Sebacean Flight
Corps as a fighter pilot, was killed in battle.  Jack still had a son,
John Crichton, IV,  but felt the loss of his daughter deep in his soul.
Aeryn could see that her son had lost much of his exuberance and will,
and had become a bitter man.  

Aeryn settled down once again into a quiet life with Jack, his wife,
Elana, and her grandson, John.  The latter has recently married a
Sebacean/Human hybrid woman, and he and his wife are expecting a child.
But Aeryn needed a purpose, a reason for continuing on with life
besides just her family.

She found it in a cause, one that came close to home for her and her
family.  In the decades following the Peacekeeper Wars, Humans and
Sebaceans had been intermating.  Not always under the best of
circumstances, but members of the two races began having hybrid
children.  First, the numbers where in the hundreds.  But the numbers
grew into the thousands, compounded a generation later by the first
generation of hybrids mating and producing more hybrid children.  Now,
the estimated numbers of Sebacean/Human hybrids, now referred to as
SebaceaHumans, were close to 100,000, most of them living within the
territories of the Sebacean Republic and her colonies.  

SebaceaHumans had fought in the Scarren war in large numbers, both in
the Sebacean Military Corps and in Earth Force.  Many of them gave
their lives in the war, and a unit of mostly SebaceaHumans was credited
with turning the tide in one of the most important battles of the war. 
But when they returned from the war, they found much the same situation
that had existed before they left.  SebaceaHumans were considered
outcasts in Sebacean society.  They lived in separate communities from
other Sebaceans, seen at the very least competition for jobs and
resources.  Beyond that, many Sebaceans were uncomfortable with the
hybrids because they were not fully Sebacean.  Earth did grant them
civil liberties within their borders, certainly more than the Sebaceans
did.  However, they also put strict limits on SebaceaHuman immigration
to Earth Alliance space.

As a result, many SebaceaHumans began to protest their unfair treatment
and a civil rights movement came into fruition in the Sebacean
Republic.  The hybrids were joined by interracial couples, who wanted
to see their children's rights protected under the law.  But at every
turn, their efforts were defeated by the government, who cowed to the
ignorance and fear espoused by Sebacean purist lobbying groups.

Aeryn joined the movement, becoming an outspoken advocate of civil
liberties for the SebaceaHumans.  She was joined by her son and
grandson, as well as by Michael McGregor and his son, Robert McGregor,
II, in the struggle for freedom.  However, as they found themselves
running into brick walls with the Sebacean government, they also made a
startling discovery about the people they were working to get more
rights for.  

The SebaceaHumans had begun to develop their own culture, and their own
cultural identity.  They were not entirely Human, and not entirely
Sebacean.  Therefore, they began to see themselves as neither.
Instead, SebaceaHumans began to develop a separated identity as their
own race.  It was this fact that caused Aeryn and the others to lead
SebaceaHumans in a different direction, which would be the subject of
her speech today.

"Mother," said an aged Jack Crichton, as he came into the room where
Aeryn was sitting.  "They are ready for you."

"Thank you," said Aeryn.  "Mind giving me a hand."

Jack helped the older Sebacean woman out of her chair.  "Oooh," she
said, "I'm definitely not as young as I used to be."

"I don't know," said Jack, "I think you look mighty spry for a 112 year
old woman.  I know if Dad were here, he'd still want to get you to the
nearest intimate spot."

"Jack!" scolded Aeryn in a motherly tone.  "That's no way to speak
about your parents.  Now, let's not keep them waiting."

"Yes, Mom," replied Jack playfully in the tone of a corrected teenager.

Jack led Aeryn outside to Constitution Park.  This park was part of a
museum complex that had been constructed on the sight where the
Peacekeepers had surrendered to ISA Allied forces nearly 60 cycles ago.
The same site would later serve as the spot where the Sebacean
Constitution was signed, forming the Sebacean Republic.

The crowd of thousands of people who had come to hear the matriarch of
the SebaceaHuman civil rights movement speak cheered when they saw the
aging woman climb the steps to the podium and stand before the
microphones.  After several minutes of cheering, the crowd quieted to
listen to Aeryn speak.

"We are gathered here," she began, "on this important landmark to the
history of the SebaceaHuman people.  This is the place where the
Peacekeeper tyranny ended, and the place where this new race was born. 
That brutal war between Humans and Sebaceans, which I witnessed
firsthand, would become the crucible that would eventually forge a
closer bond between those two races.  That bond would result in the
inter-breeding of those races, and the creation of a new culture.  A
culture that, like its people, is part Human, and part Sebacean.  A
culture that is its own identity.  A culture that is SebaceaHuman.
This is why I have called you all here today.  For many cycles, we have
attempted to struggle for more rights in the Sebacean Republic.  This
struggle has been, for the most part, futile.  Yes, much of the reason
has been because of fear and bigotry.  But, in the end, I think we must
look to ourselves to find the answers as to why we have been failing to
achieve our goals.  Upon examination, the reason becomes clear.  We
have been working for the wrong goal."

"We have made no headway in forging a future for our people in the
Sebacean Republic," continued Aeryn, "because this is a republic of
Sebaceans.  Our people are no longer Sebacean.  We carry the blood of
two races, and through that mixed blood have forged our own blood, our
own voice.  And we must let that voice be heard, but not through a
government set up to speak for Sebaceans.  For our people are not
Sebaceans.  Not through a government set up to speak for Humans.  For
our people are not Humans.  Therefore, our goal must be for a
relocation of the SebaceaHuman race to a world of its own."

Many in the crowd began to cheer and applaud the proposition, while
others murmured with uncertainty.  Aeryn continued her speech.  "A
brave new world for SebaceaHumans, a world for the culture of our
people, a world with a government that speaks for our people.  We must
not fight our evolution, but rather embrace it.  I say our people,
because although I may be Sebacean, my family is SebaceaHuman.  I am
the first Sebacean to mate with a Human, and I am proud of that, and
proud of who my husband, John Crichton, was."

The crowd cheered once again upon hearing John Crichton's name.  His
name, along with others from the time before the Peacekeeper Wars, have
become legends among SebaceaHumans.  Aeryn pressed on.  "I call on all
SebaceaHumans, and any interspecies couples who wish to join us to be a
part of the future for their SebaceaHuman children, to pool our
resources.  We need ships, we need financing, we need support, and,
above all, we need your courage and commitment.  Together, we will
build that brave new world for SebaceaHumans, and move into the future
as we should.  As one people, with our own unique voice."

Chapter 8:  Into the Wilderness

Unclaimed Planet in system designated Tango 965D.  Earth Year 2347 (2
years after Chapter 7, 85 years after end of Farscape Season 2).

Michael McGregor stood on the open plain of grass that stretched for
several miles in diameter.  He had been standing there for an hour,
just watching blades of grass be blown by the breeze.  The SebaceaHuman
was in awe by the tranquility of the plain, unaccustomed to the open
space having spent much of his life on starships.  

McGregor was wearing a brown, leather flight jacket that had belonged
to his Father.  Although the son of the late Robert McGregor was 73
years old, he did not look as old as a pure bread Human man would at
that age.  That was an advantage of his half-Sebacean heritage.  Humans
lived on average about 100 years, while Sebaceans lived to be about
200.  Most half-Human, half-Sebacean hybrids' life spans were somewhere
in between that, average of 140 years.  Of course, when getting into
quarter hybrids, the expectancy goes down or up depending on whether
there is more Human or Sebacean in the mix.

McGregor was in command of an expedition to locate a suitable world to
be settled by SebaceaHumans.  After Aeryn Sun-Crichton's landmark
speech 2 years before calling for SebaceaHumans to settle their own
home world, popular support for this movement began to build.  Now
called the SebaceaHuman Resettlement Initiative, it gained support from
the majority of the SebaceaHuman population in Sebacean territory, and
from about 30% of SebaceaHumans living in either Earth or Sebacean
Royal Colony space.  The government of Sebacea was straddling the fence
on the issue.  On the one hand, it would solve many Sebacean problems
with the alleged threat to their culture posed by the hybrids.
However, it would also mean loosing a valuable source of labor.  

However, the Earth Alliance, Interstellar Alliance, and Sebacean Royal
Colonies responded with whole hearted support for the initiative.
Empress Katralla of the Sebacean Royal Colonies met with Aeryn Sun-
Crichton, and pledged 10 million credits for the cause from her
government.  The ISA responded by voting to officially recognize
SebaceaHumans as an independent, unique race.  Earth contributed an
Explorer class vessel, the LaSalle, to aid in the search for a home
world suitable for the SebaceaHuman colony.  Much of the Earth
Alliance's support came from lobbying by the McGregor family, now a
highly respected family of government officials, military officers, and
scientists with retired Earth Force General Michael McGregor at its

McGregor personally took command of the expedition to find a suitable
home world.  They set out a year ago to find a suitable world, but came
up with little results until two weeks ago.  That was when they
examined an unclaimed, uninhabited planet in a system designated as
Tango 965D.  Never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined
what they found.

The planet was similar to Earth in many respects.  Its atmosphere was
Earth like, as was its environment and flora.  Their was one large
continent that covered about 40% of the planet's surface.  A third of
the continent lies in the polar region of the planet, but the rest of
it ranges from the tropical to mild climates with lush vegetation.  As
Michael McGregor looked on the field near their primary landing site,
all he could think was of one word.  Perfect.

"Sir," said Captain Ronald Blair, the commander of the EAS LaSalle.
"We're almost through with our surveys.  Most of the data looks
extremely promising."

"I know," said McGregor.  "I've been up most of the night reading it.
Your teams have done a very thorough job, Captain.  My compliments.
When we get back to the ship, open a channel to Sebacea.  I want to
speak with Aeryn Crichton."

"May I ask, sir," said Blair, "are you going to tell her this place
looks promising."

"I'm going to tell her this IS the place," said McGregor.

"Sir," said Blair.  "Isn't that a little hasty.  We still have a lot of
data to collect about this world.  Something could come up that makes
it unsuitable."

"I doubt that will happen," said McGregor.  "But, we'll still have time
to make sure this world is suitable.  It will take months for Crichton
to put together the first colony expedition.  Then, a month's transit
to get here.  We'll have about six months before they can get here."

"It just seems so...rushed, General," said Blair.

"Captain," said McGregor, "my Father used to tell me to go with your
instincts.  They never lie to you, and when they do, its for your own
good.  Well, my instincts would serve me no purpose in lying to me
about this.  So, when they tell me this is the place, I'm going with
that instinct."

"Yes, sir," said Blair.  "I'll have the communications officer set up
the long range tachyon channel for Sebacea when we get back."

"Very good," said McGregor.  "Thank you, Captain."

"Sir," said Blair, rendering a salute then turning to walk to the

(6 months later)

Fifteen ships approached the planet that was to become the home world
of the SebaceaHuman race after a month long voyage to get there.  The
ships were of various types, six of them being Leviathans while four
others were Earth or Sebacean transports.  Two of the ships were
warships, one Earth Force destroyer and one Sebacean command carrier,
sent to escort the expedition to the planet and guard against any
possible aggressors.

Standing on the command deck of the Leviathan Moya, Aeryn Sun-Crichton
looked at the world that loomed larger as the fleet approached it.  She
had seen numerous images as part of the extensive data Michael McGregor
has sent back on the planet, but it was only now that she was seeing it
in person did Aeryn get the full view of the majesty of it.  In a way,
Aeryn stood on the threshold of her old life and her new life.  She was
coming to the new world for the race that, in a way, she and John
Crichton had given birth to on this very ship.  Moya had been her home
for so many cycles, and still would be home to her in her heart.

But now, she was able to make sure that the SebaceaHumans had a home of
their own.  Although Aeryn had already done much for the cause of
SebaceaHuman independence, she had been asked by her people to continue
to play a role.  A SebaceaHuman colonial assembly had been formed, and
Aeryn was unanimously elected as its leader.  Their was still much work
to be done in the cycles ahead, but for now, Aeryn only had one thought
in her mind.

"We did it, John," said Aeryn to herself.  "We secured Jack's people a
home, where they may pursue their destiny."

"Aeryn," said Pilot's voice, coming over the clamshell viewer.  Her old
friend had a smile on his face when his image appeared on the screen.
"I am happy to report that Moya is ready to enter orbit."

"Thank you, Pilot," said Aeryn.  "Tell the other ships to follow suit,
please.  I'll contact them about landing operations in one arn."

"Of course, Aeryn," said Pilot.

Aeryn returned her attention to the green and blue planet that was
ahead of them.  "So much yet to do," thought Aeryn.  "This will be my
purpose in life now.  Funny, I had always feared that my life would be
meaningless without John.  I still miss him every moment of every day. 
But, fate managed to give me something to occupy my time until I can be
with John once again.  I will make sure that this brave, new world will
be the legacy of John Crichton, Robert and Jenavia McGregor, and so
many others who fought so hard for the cause of freedom.  Freedom for
our people will be in this new world.  I only hope this race will be
strong enough to fight the battles that lie ahead to build this world,
and see that it endures."

Part Two:  Preservation of a World


Chapter 9:  The Matriarch

Earth Year 2414.  Sixty-seven years later (152 years after end of
Farscape season 2)

It was a beautiful morning in the capital city of the republic, on its
homeworld of New Babylon.  During the previous night, a rainshower
doused the city, and the buildings, streets, and grassy yards glistened
with the moisture left by that rain.  Spring time on this part of New
Babylon invariably brought her to McGregor Park in the mornings to just
sit and enjoy the beauty of her surroundings.

Sitting on a bench in the park, surrounded by green trees and grass and
the sound of children playing in the background, Aeryn Sun-Crichton
smiled as she felt the morning breeze and the warmth of the sun touch
her simultaneously.  The 175 year old Sebacean woman loved mornings
like this.  It made her feel like everything had been worth it, because
her people could live in such a paradise.

It had been sixty-seven years since the SebaceaHuman colonists had
first arrived on this planet.  The park where Aeryn now sat marked the
spot where the first colony ships had landed, depositing the first 1000
colonists on the planet.  They had cristened the planet New Babylon,
named after the ancient Earth city that had been the crossroads of
civilization.  Now, this planet served as a crossroads where the
product of two races came together as one culture.  

On this planet, the colonist founded the SebaceaHuman Republic.  All
SebaceaHumans and mixed race couples of Sebacean and Human extraction
were welcomed into this republic, and were accepted as citizens.  A
democratically elected government was selected, and a ruling council
established to serve the citizenry.  The members of the Council of
Seven, as it came to be called, were eventually elected from the seven
provinces of the Republic.  The members selected a Chief Counselor to
lead their council, established and commanded and armed forces to
defend the republic, established laws, promoted the general welfare,
and insured general security for the people.

Aeryn Sun-Crichton was elected as the first Chief Counselor of the
Republic, and she served in that position for the first fifty years of
the republic's existence.  However, after her 25th term of service,
Aeryn decided not to make herself available for re-election.  She
decided it was time for a full bread SebaceaHuman to lead the council. 
She supported James McGregor, the great-grandson of General Robert
McGregor, for the position.  He was unanimously elected and still
serves to this day.

In the meantime, Aeryn could look back on a fifty-year term to be proud
of.  In that time, the SebaceaHumans established and army and space
navy, founded thirteen major cities on the planet, had established
various modes of infrastructure, and had sought and received official
recognition and membership in the Interstellar Alliance.  The
SebaceaHuman race now flourished in a homeworld of their own which was
now settling two colonies in a nearby system.

Although Aeryn was no longer Chief Counselor, she was still considered
to be the Republic's matriarch.  She was also the head of one of three
families that were known in unison as the Noble Families of the
Republic.  A sort of unofficial, though recognized and respected title,
the Crichtons, McGregors, and Rels were the nobility of the republic
because of their status as the first SebaceaHuman familes.  Their
ancestors had been the first to produce hybrid offspring.  This title
brought the families great honors, wealth and status in the republic,
and responsibilites that Aeryn had to look after as head of the family.

But on that morning, Aeryn was not thinking about the republic or her
family's status or her former career as a Chief Counselor or her status
as a matriarch.  She was thinking of the old days, the days when life
may have been more dangerous, but was in many ways much more simple.
It was also the time when the love of her life, her husband, John
Crichton, had been with her.  The happiest days of her life were the
ones she spent with John and her late son, Jack, along with her other
friends on Moya.  Despite being chased by Scorpius and Peacekeepers and
Scarrens and everything else in the universe, those had been happy
times.  She had been thinking more and more about those days lately,
and it began to shape her thinking on the near future.

As Aeryn sat on the bench, a young woman walked up behind her in a
slow, but steady stride.  She did not want to disturb the old woman,
but still wanted to see her.  The young woman was fair skinned, and had
dark hair cut to shoulder length.  She had blue eyes and soft lips that
accentuated her feminity, in stark contrast to the military uniform she
was wearing.  The woman wore the dark blue pullover shirt and pants
that was the standard duty uniform of an officer in the SebaceaHuman
Republic's Navy.  Her rank insignia indicated a Junior Lieutenant, the
winged insignia on her left breast indicated she was a member of the
Navy's Flight Corps, a fighter pilot.  Before she could announce her
presence to the old woman she approached, Aeryn spoke to the
approaching younger woman.

"I hear you back there," said Aeryn.  "I may not have been a soldier
for some time, but there are few who could still today sneak up on me. 

The woman complied, coming forward to face the matriarch of the
republic.  She snapped to attention, and saluted the older woman.
"Good morning, ma'm," said the young woman.

"At ease, Lieutenant," said Aeryn very formally.  She then rose, and
faced the young woman.  Then, the two embraced each other in a warm

"My dear, great, great-granddaughter," said Aeryn.  "How are you,

"I'm fine, Great-Grandma-ma" replied Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Crichton. 
"I wanted to see you before I left."

"I'm glad you did, my dear," said the older Aeryn.  She pulled back
slightly, and took in the sight before her.  "My, you do look good in
that uniform."

"Thanks," said the younger Aeryn, pulling at the collar.  "Though, you
could have made the collars on these uniforms less itchy when you
designed them."

"I didn't design them, remember," said Aeryn.  "Michael McGregor
organized the armed forces.  Despite the itchy collars on the uniforms,
I think he did a good job at it.  And now, you are one of the Republic
Navy's newest officers.  I'm very proud of you."

"Thank you," said the younger Aeryn.  "I hope I do the family name

"Don't worry about that," said the older Aeryn.  "Just do your best.
Don't worry about being a Crichton as much, just be you.  Remember, I
come from the time when being a Crichton just meant being married to a
fugitive.  I think I have a different perspective on our family's
nobility.  So, how are you feeling?  Nervous?"

"A bit," said the younger Aeryn.  "I leave tonight for the Renown.  The
pride of the fleet.  You didn't have anything to do with that, did

"Of course not.  You know I wouldn't.  But, you are a Crichton, so the
family name probably did the job without me having to lift a finger."

"That just doesn't feel right."

"I know.  But it is just something you have to get used to.  But, you
did extremely well at the academy, and in flight training.  You deserve
to be there.  Now, like everyone else, you are going to have to prove

"I will.  I am going to earn my place."

"I know you will.  Now, if you wouldn't mind walking me home.  I'd like
to spend some time with you before you have to depart for your

Chief Counselor James McGregor sat in his office in the capital
building, pondering the latest bill that would be debated before the
council that day.  It was a bill to increase funding for drought relief
in the southern province, one that was sure to received opposition from
the provinces of the east because they wanted more funding for
transportation improvement in those areas.  It was days like this that
McGregor often wished he was a soldier again instead of a politician.

Before being elected to the Council of Seven, McGregor had been a
senior Admiral in the Navy.  On the deck of a battle carrier, things
seemed just more straightfoward.  In politics, it seemed to McGregor
that things were never straightforward.  But, he had wanted to serve on
the council, and he was elected both on his military record and, of
course, because he was a McGregor.  Then, out of the blue, seventeen
cycles ago, Aeryn Sun-Crichton announces that she wishes to step down
as Chief Counselor.  She approaches him about running for the position.
In shock, feeling he can't refuse the Matriarch of the Republic, he
accepts, and wins thanks to her support.  Most of the time, he was glad
of his decision.  Today was one of the exceptions.

A knock on the door brought his attention away from the bill.
Simultaneously irritated at being interrupted and relieved for the
diversion, the grey-brown haired, older man called out to the visitor. 
"Enter," he said.

Into the room stepped a balding, tan skinned man wearing the uniform of
a Republic Navy Admiral.  He was Admiral Joseph Rel, the Chairman of
the Military Staff Council.  "Chief Counselor," said the Admiral.

"Yes, Joe," said McGregor.  "What can I do for you?"

"There is someone here I think you should speak to," said Admiral Rel
in a somber tone.

"Very well," replied McGregor warily.

Rel turned, and motioned for someone to enter.  Into the room stepped a
Luxan, dressed in the uniform of an Interstellar Alliance Ranger.  Like
the other members of the alliance, Luxans were allowed to join the
Rangers to ensure the force's impartiality to all member worlds.
"Chief Counselor," said Admiral Rel.  "This is Ranger D'Allon.  He has
brought us some troubling news."

"Chief Counselor," said D'Allon.  "My ship has been on patrol near your
territory.  I have news for you, and a warning.  Your republic is in
great danger." 

Chapter 10:  Welcome Aboard

Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Crichton stepped off of the shuttle and into
the landing bay of the SHRS (SebaceaHuman Republic Ship) Renown.
Although she has been about battle carriers before, she still could not
help but to feel in awe at the massive size of their landing bays.  All
around her were various fighters and shuttles in various states of
being armed, fueled, or repaired.  To the far side of the bay was the
massive doors which could be opened to a huge airlock chamber.  From
their, ships were released into space through a hatch that opened on
the other side after the airlock was depressurized.

She stood in line as each of the new arriving officers and crewmen
reported in with the deck officer.  After several minutes, it was her
turn to report in.  Aeryn saluted, and then spoke to the blonde haired
deck officer.  "Sir," she said, "Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Crichton
requesting permission to come aboard."

The deck officer returned the salute.  "Permission granted," said the
officer.  "Lieutenant, you are to report to the Captain on the bridge."

"Yes, sir," replied Aeryn.

"Welcome aboard, Lieutenant," said the officer.  "Dismissed."

"Sir," said Aeryn coming to attention, making a right face, and
marching off towards one of the lifts.

Aeryn rode one of the lifts up to the Command and Control deck of the
Renown.  When she stepped off the lift, she was stopped by a security
officer, and asked to state her business.  After Aeryn stated her
intentions, the officer cleared her to enter the bridge.

When she stepped through the door to the bridge, Aeryn entered a dimly
lit room filled with higher ranking officers and crewmen manning
various consoles.  Looking through the group of officers, she spotted a
man wearing a senior officer's uniform adorned with Captain's bars.
She approached the Captain, came to attention, and saluted.  The
Captain turned to face her as Aeryn spoke.

"Sir," said Aeryn, "Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Crichton, reporting as

Captain Grallic Ellis returned the salute, but was slow to respond.
The tall, greyish-brown haired man with a gaunt face and stern
expression, eyed the young Lieutenant like a specimen.  "Well," said
Ellis, "you're the Crichton who has been assigned to me, eh?"

"Yes, sir," replied Aeryn, trying to hold back her consternation about
the way he addressed her.

"I wanted to make some things clear to you before sending you to your
squadron," said Captain Ellis.  "I've looked through your file.  You
are a competent pilot, high marks on test scores, and by all accounts a
capable young officer.  That's why I agreed to accept you aboard my
ship as a pilot in one of my fighter squadrons.  But get this straight.
You're family name will not get you any special treatment aboard this
ship.  No special privileges, no special outs for screwing up.  If you
can't cut it, then no matter who you're Great-Grandmommy is, I'll boot
you off of this ship faster than you can take a piss.  But, by the same
token, your family name won't get you any extra harsh treatment either.
I won't tolerate that from any officer under my command.  If you prove
yourself, serve well, then you will be given the same chances for
reward and advancement as any other officer.  I wanted to make myself
clear from the start.  Am I clear?"

"Yes, sir," replied Aeryn.

"Good," said Captain Ellis.  "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant.  Report to
your squadron commander.  Dismissed."

"Yes, sir," replied Aeryn, coming to attention, saluting, and moving to
leave the bridge.  She quickly left the Captain and his not so nice
welcome on the bridge, and headed back to the lift.  After she got
inside of the lift, and the door closed, Aeryn pounded her fist into
the wall, relieving her pent up frustration and anger.  Then, she took
a deep breath, and told the computer on the lift to take her to the
flight deck.

"You wished to see me, Chief Counselor," said Admiral Rel, stepping
into James McGregor's office.

"Yes, Joe," said Counselor McGregor.  "Have a seat."

Joseph Rel sat down in a seat opposite that of McGregor.  "What did the
Council say?" asked the Admiral.

"They've agreed that the information indicates a serious threat," said
McGregor.  "Of course, credibility wasn't an issue.  After all, the
information did come from a Ranger.  Not many people would challenge a
Ranger's word."

"Agreed," said Rel.  "You know what this means, don't you?"

"Yes," said McGregor.  "The Scarrens intend to invade us.  That's the
only reason that a Scarren war fleet would be massing in the Janus
cluster, as the Ranger reported.  We are the only inhabited world in
striking distance from their."

"But why would they attack us?" asked Rel.  "They've been pretty much
out for the count ever since the ISA defeated them in the last Scarren
War 80 years ago."

"There's something you have to remember, Joe," said McGregor.
"SebaceaHumans were the one's who cost them one of their greatest
defeats in that war.  The 14th assault wing, a Sebacean military unit
made up almost entirely of hybrids, stopped the Scarren fleet at
Ralasus.  Now, the Scarrens can't mount an assault on Sebacea or Earth
Alliance.  They don't have the power to do so anymore.  But..."

"But they could invade a fledgling republic with an fleet totaling only
ten battle carriers and a little over twice the number of support
cruisers and other vessels," finished Rel.  "My God, the damage they
could do."

"Everything we've built here," said McGregor, "could be gone, unless we
stop them.  Unless your Navy can stop them, Admiral.  Any suggestions
on where to start?"

"I've been considering options," said Rel.  "I think what we must first
do is determine just how many Scarren warships are massing in Janus,
they're capabilities, and if their intentions are indeed to invade the
republic.  And, if there is a definite threat, the Scarrens must be
delayed, in any way possible, to rush our defenses into readiness.  We
could send a battle carrier.  They would be the best equipped for such
an op."

"Which one?" asked McGregor.

"The Renown," said Rel.  "Ellis is my most experienced Captain, and his
is the best ship in the fleet."

"Very well," said McGregor.  "Give the order for them to depart as soon
as they are ready.  In the meantime, I will contact the ISA and request
assistance from them and the other member worlds.  But, we need time.
We are so far out, away from the rest of the member worlds.  We wanted
it that way, to be allowed to grow into our own.  Let's just hope that
we can ensure that our growth wasn't for nothing, that the Scarrens
don't take it from us."

Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Crichton walked through the fighter maintenance
bay of the Renown, looking for her squadron commander.  She went to his
office, and was told that he was in the maintenance bay.  Still needing
to report to him, Aeryn searched through the bay, but only saw a few
technicians working on several Saber fighters.  

Aeryn approached one of the coverall wearing technicians who was
working on a fighter.  "Excuse me, Crewman," said Aeryn to the tech.
"I'm looking for Lt. Commander Lann.  Could you point him out to me?"

The young, dark haired technician turned and faced Aeryn with a smile. 
He didn't say anything at first, and seemed to be sizing up this Junior
Lieutenant who had approached him.  "Well, I could, Lieutenant.  But
I'm not sure you would want me to at this moment."

"What are you talking about?" asked Aeryn with consternation.

"Well, you see, Lt. Commander Lann is..." he began, making a motion to
point someone out.  But then, he turned his hands to point at himself. 
He finished his sentence.  "...right here."

Aeryn's mouth fell open, and she turned red in the face.  Filled with
embarrassment over her error, she began to babble.  "Sir, I...I, let me
explain.  I'm...I apologize..."

"At ease, Lieutenant," said Lt. Commander Lann.  "Its understandable.
I'm sure you didn't expect to find you're squadron commander working on
a fighter dressed in technician's coveralls."  He held out his hand and
shook Aeryn's hand.  "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant Crichton."

Chapter 11:  For the Species

"Sir," said Commander Estoni, the second in command of the Renown.
"We've just received orders from fleet command."

"Let me see them," said Captain Grallic Ellis, taking a document from
Estoni's outstretched hand.  He read over the orders without a single
hint of expression.  Many of the officers who served under Ellis knew
him to be a man to rarely show emotion.  He was made of stone as far as
they were concerned.  

After he finished reading them, he looked up at Estoni.  "Commander,
make the ship ready for departure.  We leave in one arn.  Make sure we
are fully loaded and that all systems are combat ready.  I also want to
see all senior officers and squadron leaders in my office 400 microts
after we depart."

"Yes, sir," replied Estoni.  "What course shall I have the navigator

"The Janus cluster," replied Ellis.  

Junior Lieutenant Aeryn Crichton followed Lt. Commander Christopher
Lann into his office, and shut the door behind them.  "Have a seat,
Lieutenant," said Lann, now changed out of tech's overalls and into an
officer's duty uniform, his insignia indicating a Lt. Commander in the
Navy's Flight Corps.

Aeryn complied with the order, and sat down in a chair in front of
Lann's desk.  The handsome, dark haired Lann sat down, and retrieved
some data on a terminal.  "So, Lt. Crichton.  They sent me down your
flight reps and training reports.  I must say, you are an above average

"Thank you, sir," replied Aeryn.

"It still remains to be seen how you will perform in field conditions,
Lieutenant," said Lann.  "Not to mention combat."

"You have seen combat, sir?" asked Aeryn.

"Yes," said Lann.  "In that little spat we had with the Scorvians a few
cycles ago.  I can tell you that you may think that you are prepared to
go into combat.  I know I felt that way before my first combat
experience.  But, believe me.  You're not.  Nothing can prepare you
except being in a fighter and being shot at by someone who truly
intends to turn you into a fireball.  Or are you one of those that
thinks you are invincible?"

"No, sir," said Aeryn.  "I know I'm not."

"Good," said Lann.  "They are normally the first one's to buy it.
We'll see what you can do, Lieutenant.  Oh, and don't expect any
special treatment...."

"Sir!" broke in Aeryn.  "I apologize for being rude, but....permission
to speak freely."

Lann nodded.

"I've already gotten the special treatment speech from Captain Ellis,"
said Aeryn.  "I really don't need to hear it again.  I want to be judge
by who I AM!  Not by who my family is!  The Captain assured me that I
would be, and I assume that you were about to do the same.  Now, could
we please leave the subject?"

"Fine," said Lann.  "Since I know you are clear on it."  He handed her
a piece of paper.  "That's your birthing assignment, and your craft
assignment.  Roll call is at 06:00 tomorrow morning.  Dismissed."

Aeryn rose from the chair, and saluted.  "Yes, sir," she replied.

Leaving Commander Lann's office, Aeryn walked to the nearby flight
officer's quarters section.  She walked down the corridor's until she
came to her room assignment.  Aeryn stepped into a small room with a
bed, desk, and foot locker.  It was the standard fare for officers in
the field.  But, at least, they were private quarters.  In training,
she had to share her birthing with twenty other cadets.

Aeryn threw her bags down on the floor, and plopped down on the bed
with a sigh.  It had been a long day.  Between her anticipation upon
coming aboard the Renown, her encounter with Captain Ellis, her screw
up in mistaking her squadron leader for a tech...she welcomed the quiet
solitude of her quarters.  The solitude was short lived.

"Excuse me," said a woman's voice from the open door to Aeryn's
quarters.  Aeryn looked and saw a red haired, light skinned woman with
blue eyes, wearing a gray tank top and blue fatigue pants.  "Sorry if
I'm interrupting, but your door was open."

"That's alright," said Aeryn rising from her bunk.  

The woman held out her hand to Aeryn.  "I'm Leslie Forbes.  I'm in your
squadron, and your next door neighbor.  You must be Aeryn Crichton?"

"That's right," said Aeryn, shaking the hand.  "Nice to meet you."

"Likewise," said Forbes.  "So, you are the Crichton."

"THE Crichton?" asked Aeryn.

"Everyone's been talking about the fact that a Crichton was being
assigned to our squadron," said Forbes.  

"Yes, well," said Aeryn, "right now, I almost wish that my name wasn't

"Why?" asked Forbes.  "What happened?"

"Well," said Aeryn, "Captain Ellis brings me to the bridge as soon as I
arrive, and makes a point to put me in my place, so I don't get any
ideas about my name and all."

"Ahh," said Forbes.  "You met the old man.  I can see why you are
uptight.  Listen, darling, he is like that with everyone.  He is a fair
man, but a hardass for sure.  Has to do with his heritage."

"What do you mean?" asked Aeryn, sitting down on the bunk and
indicating that Forbes could also sit.

"His original heritage ancestors," said Forbes, using the term that
SebaceaHumans give to their Human and Sebacean ancestors who were the
first to intermate and produce a hybrid.  "They got the shit kicked out
of them on Sebacea for their interracial relationship.  Now, his family
has passed down this legacy as a calling to protect our people.  The
Captain sees himself as a crusader to protect the species, so he takes
things very seriously."

"I see," said Aeryn.  "Well, what about Lann?  He gave me shit about my
name, too."

"With Lann, I couldn't exactly tell you," said Forbes.  "He is a man of
mystery.  Doesn't talk much about his family, anything like that.  But
he does seem to have a grudge against the noble families, for some
reason no one knows about.  He always seems to have the need to prove
himself, that's why he rose through the ranks so quickly.  He's only
twenty-seven, you know."

"Frell," said Aeryn.  "I thought he looked young.  That, combined with
the tech coveralls he was wearing, when I first met him, I thought he
was a crewman."

Forbes laughed, and Aeryn couldn't help but laugh with her.  "Don't
worry," said Forbes.  "He's a fair man, and has a pretty decent sense
of humor.  He'll let it slide.  Now, I was about to break open a bottle
of reslac.  Want to join me?"

"Is the reslac any good?" asked Aeryn.

"Its cheap shit," said Forbes.  "But it'll do the job."

"Then let's break it out," said Aeryn.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," said Ellis to the gathered senior officers,
sitting around the large table in the Renown's briefing room.  "Now
that we are underway, its time to tell you our mission.  The Rangers
have reported sighting a large Scarren assault force massing in the
Janus cluster.  Fleet command wants us to scout the cluster, locate
this force, and ascertain its intentions."

"And if its intentions are hostile?" asked one of the officers.

"Then we report it to fleet command," said Ellis, "and fight a delaying
action to give Admiral Rel time to mass our forces, and for ISA
assistance to arrive.  Is that understood?"

"Sir," asked Lt. Commander Lann, sitting at the table as one of the
Renown's fighter squadron leaders.  "I have to ask.  What is one battle
carrier going to be able to do against a whole Scarren assault force?"

"We'll do what we can," said Ellis.  "Look, I'm not going to paint any
pretty pictures for you.  We may not be coming back from this mission. 
But this may be a fight for the species, boys and girls!   If we have
to die to see that our world is preserved, then we die.  But we take as
many of the enemy with us as possible.  Our people have worked long and
hard to see our republic flourish as a haven for our race.  We're not
going to let a bunch of smelly, scale head Scarrens take that from us. 
Not while I breath.  Understood?"

"Yes, sir," said the officers in unison.

"Good," said Ellis.  "Now, report to your stations and survey your
department's or squadron's readiness.  I want your readiness reports in
four arns.  Dismissed."

Chapter 12:  Approaching the Fire

Aeryn Sun-Crichton stepped into the office of Chief Counselor James
McGregor, and was greeted with a warm hug by the later.  This office
used to be hers when she was Chief Counselor of the Republic, but she
had not occupied it for many cycles.  She was glad that McGregor had
done well in her place, and a fact which gave the old woman confidence
that the Republic's government would experience continued success.

"Thank you for coming," said James.  "Please, sit."

"Thank you," said Aeryn, taking a seat in one of the chairs in front of
McGregor's desk.  James took the seat next to hers.  "I was actually
planning on coming to see you soon, anyway.  Your call saved me a trip.
But, tell me first what you wanted to discuss."

"Aeryn," said James.  "I wanted you to hear it from me first.  The
Republic may be facing a Scarren invasion."

"What?!" asked Aeryn startled.  "I've heard nothing of this!"

"I know," said James.  "We have been keeping this quiet.  Only a few in
the government and military know about the possible threat.  No need to
alarm the public until we know for sure."

"How did you find out about this?" asked Aeryn.

"The Rangers," said James.  "One of their long range recon ships
detected a Scarren assault force massing in the Janus cluster.  We've
sent a battle carrier to try and locate this task force, verify its
intentions, and delay them if they do intend to invade us."

"I see," said Aeryn.  "Well, I'm glad to know about this, but why tell
me?  I'm not in the government any more."

"Aeryn," said James.  "The ship Admiral Rel and I's the

"Re..." began Aeryn.  "The Renown."  She was startled by the impact of
what McGregor had just told her.  "That's...that's the ship Aeryn is

"Yes, I know," said James.  "That's why I wanted to tell you.  I
thought you should know."

"I see," said Aeryn.  She replaced her startled expression with that of
her long practiced emotionless mask, a leftover trait from her
Peacekeeper training.  "Well, I thank you for informing me."

"Of course," said James in an understanding tone.  "Don't worry.  Ellis
is the best Captain in the fleet.  He'll see the crew through it.  Now,
there was something you wanted to discuss with me."

"Yes," said Aeryn, switching her train of thought.  "There is something
I wanted you to know."

Two v-wing shaped fighters streaked through space heading towards the
SHRS (SebaceaHuman Republic Ship) Renown, with Lt. Commander
Christopher Lann and Junior Lt. Aeryn Crichton in the pilot seats.
They were flying Saber class fighters, the standard combat fighter-
bomber of the Republic's Navy Flight Corps.  The fighter was a sturdy
craft with a square, central fuselage, two wings curved at 45 degree
angles, and a cockpit tucked into the front center.  The cockpit design
of the Saber was similar to that of the Earth Force Starfury fighter,
the pilot secured in a standing position to allow for better endurance
of G forces in tight, banking turns.  The fighters were equipped with
pulse cannons similar to those found on Prowler class fighters the
Sebaceans fly, and are capable of carrying four missiles on hard points
under the wings.

"So, how did I do?" asked Aeryn of her squadron leader.

"Alright," said Lann.  "But this was just a little joyride.  Like I
said, I take all my newbies out on one of these to see what they can
do.  You did better than some, not as good as a few others.  I'd
say...better than average."

"Thanks for the rining endorsement," said Aeryn with a slight bit of

"You want medals for good flying skills," said Lann, "I suggest you go
fly stunt fighters.  These are combat vessels, Lieutenant.  You fly
well, or you die.  Now, rack up some enemy kills, then we'll talk."

"Of course, sir," replied Aeryn.  She had spent three days aboard the
Renown, and in that time she still didn't know what to think of Lt.
Commander Christopher Lann.  Most of the time, he could be extremely
exasherbating.  Nothing she did ever pleased him.  Her new friend, Lt.
Forbes, said he treats all newbies like that.  But what Aeryn found
more puzzling was that behind the toughness, she could just makeout a
man who had deep emotions and who genuinely cared for the people he
worked with.  Little things demonstrated this to her.  

For example, a technician was having a hard time getting a control
panel out of one of the cockpits.  Lann saw this, excused himself from
his discussion with a senior officer, and went over to give the young
crewman a hand.  The crewman thanked the Commander, and Lann just gave
him a big smile and a pat on the shoulder.  Forbes had warned Aeryn on
day one:  Lt. Commander Lann was a man of mystery.

"Trap 1, this is Nova 1," she heard Lann call over the comm to the
Renown's flight controller.  "Requesting landing clearance."

"Clearance granted," replied the controller.  "Come in on standard
approach vector."

"Confirmed," said Lann.  "Alright, Lieutenant," he said, addressing
Aeryn.  "Let's get these birds back to the barn."

"Affirmative," replied Aeryn.  "Lowering landing struts."

The ship they were approaching, the SHRS Renown, was one of ten battle
carriers that the SebaceaHuman Republic's Navy fielded.  The ship was
somewhat oval shaped, with a landing and launching platform for the
ship's fighters in the central core of the ship.  The Renown was
bristling with armor, plasma cannons, frag guns, laser batteries, and
missile batteries.  It was the perfect blend of battleship and fighter
carrier, its design taken from lessons learned from the ship designs of
several different species.  It was more agile than a command carrier,
but more heavily armed than an Earth destroyer.  It could also carry
more fighter-bombers than most carrier class ships.

The two fighters came in for a near perfect touchdown on the landing
deck of the Renown.  Once they halted over the airlock hatchway, the
platform beneath them lowered the two fighters into a large airlock.
Once sealed, the airlock was pressurized until it was safe to open it
to the fighter bay inside.  The main doors opened, and the two fighters
rolled into the fighter bay and came to a halt at their holding

The two pilots climbed out of their ships, with Aeryn approaching Lt.
Commander Lann for orders.  She approached his fighter, taking note of
the large number of stars on the fuselage indicating enemy kills.
There were nine kills in all.

"Well," said Lann, coming up from behind her.  "Looks like you'll do
okay.  Still remains to be seen how you do when the shit hits the fan. 
But we won't know that till the time comes.  Still, all in all, a good

"Thank you, sir," replied Aeryn.

Lann stood there looking at her for a long moment.  Strangely, Aeryn
noticed this and could not help but return his stare.  "Um, sir," she
replied, after several seconds.  "If there is nothing else...."

"Oh, um," replied Lann, "No, nothing else.  Dismissed."

"Sir," said Admiral Rel for the fourth time to the back of seated James
McGregor.  The Admiral had come to the Chief Counselor's office to give
McGregor a report on force mobilization.  But when he came in, he found
the Chief Counselor seated in his chair and staring out the window
behind his desk.

"Jim," said Admiral Rel, finally getting McGregor's attention.

"Oh, Joe," replied McGregor, turning around in his chair.  "I'm sorry,
old friend.  I didn't hear you come in."

"I hope I'm not disturbing you," said Rel.  "Is everything...."

"Yes," interrupted McGregor.  "Just...fine.  I just had a very
interesting meeting with Aeryn Sun-Crichton.  She...well, never mind.
What's the status of our force readiness?"

"The fleet is mobilizing as we speak," said Rel.  "We should be up and
ready in around 48 arns."

"And the Renown?" asked McGregor.

"She will be in the Janus cluster in 8 arns," replied Rel.

"Very good," said McGregor.  "I'm still waiting on a reply from the
ISA.  Damned tachyon communications.  Even with priority channels, it
takes so damned long to contact Minbar.  Keep me uprised on fleet

"Yes, sir," replied Rel.

Chapter 13:  Sighting the Enemy

After two days in transit, the SHRS Renown arrived in the Janus
cluster.  As they approached the asteroid filled sector, Captain
Grallic Ellis gazed intentently out of the bridge's forward viewing
ports.   He had been working his crew hard over the past couple of
days, ever since they had departed New Babylon.  Ellis wanted to make
sure they were ready for what he was sure would be a fight to the death
with the Scarrens.  

Now that they were approaching the sector the Scarrens were last
sighted in, Ellis began to feel a growing sense of dread.  He had
always felt that the SebaceaHuman Republic was a gift from God.  Yes,
it had to be built through hard times and hard work, but it was a
haven, a refuge for his young race.  The SebaceaHuman people had faced
so much hardship, and now would face even more at the hands of the
Scarrens.  Some of the other officers commented on how the Scarrens
could be in the Janus cluster for any number of reasons, and may not
intend to invade.  Ellis called that wishful thinking.

"Sir," said Commander Estoni to his Captain.  "We have entered the
Janus cluster."

"Very well," said Ellis.  "Set the ship for silent running.  Scanners
to maximum."

"Aye, sir," replied Estoni.  The first officer then commanded various
stations to set the ship's systems to settings that reduced the output
of electronic emissions and various other signals.  All communications
were shut down, making the Renown into a ghost coasting through space
on a silent trajectory.

"Ship set for silent running, sir," replied Estoni.

"Good," said Ellis.  "Order Lt. Commander Lann's squadron to make a
reconaissance of the area.  If the Scarrens are out here, I want us to
find them before they find us.  Also, tell Lann that stealth is of
essential importance.  We don't want to tip them off that we know of
their presence, make them move more quickly."

"Yes, sir," said Estoni.

Lt. Commander Christopher Lann stepped off of a lift and onto the
flight deck of the Renown.  Donned in his grey flight suit, and
carrying a flight helmet, the squadron leader saw the pilots in his
squadron waiting for him in a group.  As he approached them, someone
called the squadron members to attention, and the pilots fell into line
to be briefed by Lann.

Lann walked up to the front of the formation, and spoke to the group.
"At ease," he began.  "Our mission is to make a reconaissance of the
area, seeking out any possible Scarren activity.  We are to proceed
with caution, and with stealth.  No unecessary comm traffic, only
passive scanning.  We spot any Scarrens, we duck into the asteroids and
hide.  The Scarrens picked this cluster to assemble their forces in
because there are plenty of places to hide, so spotting them isn't
going to be easy.  Under no circumstances are you to fire unless there
is a clear and present threat to you or another member of the squadron.
Any questions?"

When none were forthcoming, Lann nodded.  "Good," he said.  "Then get
to your ships.  Crichton, since you are the newby, I want to keep you
close.  You'll fly my wing."

Aeryn nodded, and moved to her fighter.  As she did so, she passed Lt.
Leslie Forbes.  "Be seeing you," said Forbes as they passed.

"Will do," replied Aeryn.

Eight Saber class fighters streak through the asteroid fields of the
Janus cluster in a diamond formation.  Leading the squadron of Sabers
was Lt. Commander Lann's fighter, taking the point of the formation.
When they got to a prearranged set of coordinates, Lann signaled the
members of his squadron.

"Nova 1 to Nova squadron," he said, "break into search pattern.  Nova
8, with me."

"Copy," replied Aeryn, who followed Lt. Commander Lann as his wingman.

The squadron broke into pairs, each pair of fighters striking out in a
different direction in search of the Scarren task force.  Lann's and
Aeryn's fighters stayed in tight formation and wieved through the
asteroid field.  The two pilots did not talk to each other, maintaing
radio silence unless absolutely necessary.

Aeryn could feel herself perspire under her pressurized flight suit.
She was nervous, wondering if she could handle herself if she ran into
the enemy.  She knew she had been well trained, and she was confident
in her flight skills.  It was her nerves that worried her.  Would she
freeze?  Would she screw up?  These questions intruded into her
thoughts as she tried to keep them out.  Aeryn desperately wished she
could talk to Lann about them, but radio silence was radio silence.
She wished he could reassure her that this nervousness was natural
before your first time in battle.

The two fighters proceeded on for over an arn, passively scanning for
any unusual signals or blimps on sensors while at the same time
maintaining stealth.  It was not an easy task, and it required that the
two pilots maintained constant attention to their systems and the
sensors.  Finally, Lann picked up a signal on his sensor screen.

"Nova 1 to Nova 4," said Lann, "singal detected.  Duck behind the
asteroid to port, I'll go to starboard."

"I copy," replied Aeryn.

The two fighters ducked behind asteroids as the signal Lann was
detecting got closer.  Aeryn was detecting now on her screens as the
two fighters took cover.  They watched and waited for the source of the
signal to pass.  Several minutes went by, and still nothing.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, four Scarren fighters streaked past
them.  They passed close enough to Aeryn's fighter to make her think
they almost collided with her.  But luckily, they passed by without
apparently seeing her or Lann.  After several minutes of just sitting,
Lann's voice came over Aeryn's comm.

"Nova 4, status?" asked Lann.

"I'm okay," said Aeryn.  "Um, I mean...status nominal."

"Good," replied Lann. "Let's try and backtrack their course."

The two fighters proceeded in the direction that the Scarren fighters
had come from, hoping to find part of the Scarren task force.  They
proceeded with more caution, moving slowly through the asteroid field
while keeping their eyes on their sensors.  After a few minutes of
flight, they detected a large signal dead ahead.

"Getting something," said Lann.  "Follow my lead."

"Copy," replied Aeryn.

Lann lead Aeryn slowly through the asteroids.  They would hide behind
one, checking to see if the coast was clear on the other side by slowly
rounding the asteroid.  The two fighters did this repeatedly until they
spotted a large shape in the distance.

"Nova 4, duck and cover," said Lann.

The two fighters took cover behind and asteroid, and the pilots in
their cockpits turned their sight towards the looming object in the
distance.  It was a Scarren dreadnought.

"How many are you detecting, Nova 4?" asked Lann.

"Just the one," replied Aeryn.  "Nothing...wait, I'm getting something
else.  Coming from behind us.  I think those Scarren fighters are

"Stay still," said Lann.  "With luck, they'll pass us by again."

The two SebaceaHuman fighters went quiet, as the Scarren fighters
approached them once again.  This time, they moved very slowly, traning
sensor beams on every asteroid that they passed.  Aeryn was worried,
thinking that Scarrens may have suspicions that someone is there, that
someone being her and Lann.  The Scarrens got closer and closer,
setting of Aeryn's sensor alarm as the enemy's scans loomed ever

Then, as the Scarrens came in close, Aeryn could swear her sensors
indicated that Lann was being scanned.  The enemy had spotted him, she
was sure of it.  Her instincts told her to act, and act she did.

"Nova 1," she said into her comm, "you are being targeted!  Break!

Lann instinctively followed his wingman's advice.  He broke from his
position behind the asteroid, with Aeryn following suit.  The Scarrens
accelerated and headed for the two Saber fighters.  When they came into
range, the Scarrens opened fire on the Lann and Aeryn.

The two SebaceaHuman pilots expertly dodged the enemy's fire.  They
broke into a tight turn, and returned fire on the Scarrens.  A battle
ensued between the SebaceaHuman and Scarren fighters.  Aeryn targeted
one of the enemy fighters, and opened fire with her pulse cannons.  Her
firing reduced the Scarren fighter to ashes.  Gone were her worries or
doubts about performing in battle.  In place of those worries were her
warrior instinct which took over and ruled her action.  Using her
training as a guide, Aeryn duked it out with her opponents, dodging
their fire as she blasted away with her pulse cannons.

Lt. Commander Lann also took out a Scarren fighter.  He was about to
move to take on another, but his sensor screen came alive with signals.
Lann looked at the screen, and exclaimed.

"Oh, shit!" he said.  "Nova 4, twenty enemies are inbound from that
Dreadnought.  Break and retreat.  I repeat, break and retreat."

"Very well," replied Aeryn.

The two SebaceaHuman figthers broke from the engagement, and
accelerated to full speed.  The Scarrens pursued them for several
minutes before Lann and Aeryn were able to loose them in the asteroids.
After the enemy had been shaken, Lann got over the comm channel and
ordered all of the fighters to return to the Renown.

Chapter 14: Assumptions

"Lieutenant Crichton, is there any way that you may have misunderstood
your orders?!" asked Captain Ellis in a very angry tone.  As soon as
Lann and Aeryn had returned to the Renown, Ellis ordered them both to
report to the bridge.  The Captain was not happy that his recon
fighters had been spotted.  It was obvious by his tone and direction of
inquiry who he blamed for that.

"No, sir," said Aeryn.  "I did not misunderstand the order.  But the
enemy had spotted Commander Lann's fighter.  If I did not act...."

"Your orders were not to reveal your position to the enemy!"
interrupted Captain Ellis.  "Now, how did you know that the enemy had
Commander Lann in their sights?"

"Sir, they were directing scans in the direction of Commander Lann's
fighter," replied Aeryn.

"You mean you did not have definite confirmation they had scanned him!"
said Ellis.  "They did not have him targeted?"

"Well, sir, no...not exactly," replied Aeryn.

"You didn't have confirmation they had scanned me, Lieutenant?" asked
Lann in a startled expression.  "You told me they had me targeted."

"Sir, if I had waited, you would have been targeted and in the next
moment, dead," said Aeryn.  "We were powered down, sitting motionless. 
You needed the time to get out of their line of fire."

"So YOU say, Lieutenant," said Ellis.  He turned to Lt. Commander Lann.
"Commander, I want to speak with you alone.  We'll decide together what
to do about this.  Lt. Crichton, you are dismissed."

"But, sir..." began Aeryn.

"DISMISSED!" repeated Ellis.

Aeryn saluted.  "Aye, sir," she replied, before turning and leaving the
bridge.  She felt like running, but kept her cool and maintained a
dignified pace as she left.

When she got back down to the landing bay, Lt. Forbes ran up to her.
"Aeryn," she said.  "What happened?"

"The Captain said I violated orders," said Aeryn.  "He and Lann are up
there now discussing it.  I...dammit, Leslie, they had Lann in their
sights!  Every instinct tells me they did.! If I hadn't acted, Lann
would have been dead.  What was I supposed to do, wait till they had
him targeted, and...and warn him in enough time to let himself know he
was going to die?!"

"Aeryn," said Forbes.  "You did the right thing.  Lann will support

"Are you sure?" asked Aeryn.  "I'm not.  Remember what you said about
Lann's feelings about the noble families, including mine.  He and Ellis
have been on my ass since I arrived!  How do I know Lann won't sell me

"Because he isn't that kind of man," said Forbes.  "If I know anything
about him, I know that."

A moment later, Lt. Commander Lann approached the two pilots.
"Crichton, with me," he said.

"Yes, sir," said Aeryn, following Lann in the direction of his office.

"This is the position where Lann and Crichton spotted that
dreadnought," said Ellis, pointing to a set of coordinates on a
holographic chart of the Janus cluster.

"That is close to the center of the cluster," said Estoni.  "And in a
hard spot for us to get at."

"I don't want to try to," said Ellis.  "At least...not yet.  Now,
Commander,  since we know where one of their dreadnoughts are, where do
you think the rest are?"

"Well, sir," said Estoni, "I would surmise that they are massing
further towards the center of the cluster, roughly parallel to the
position of that dreadnought."

"In other words, you think the other Scarren ships were just beyond
that dreadnought when our fighters spotted it," said Ellis.

"Don't you sir?" asked Estoni.

"I'm not so sure," said Ellis.  "One ship does not a fleet make, nor
does the position of one ship necessarily indicate the position of
other ships.  That dreadnought could be a decoy to throw reconnaissance
of the track.  The Scarrens could be massing in another part of the
cluster.  But, there may be a way to flush them out, now that we know
where the one ship is.  Order all fighters to make ready for a sortie. 
We'll launch them and send them directly at that dreadnought."

"Sir," said Estoni, "our fighters can't take that ship alone."

"I don't intend that they should," said Ellis.  "The dreadnought will,
however, report back to their fleet that they are under attack.  If we
can track the direction of that signal..."

"We will have located the enemy fleet," finished Estoni.  "Brilliant,
sir.  But, why not have the Renown join the fighters in the assault.
Make a real show of it, and maybe take down that dreadnought in the

"I'm not as concerned with getting one dreadnought at this point,
Commander," said Ellis.  "At the same time, I don't want the Scarrens
to know where the Renown is, yet.  It will allow us to maintain an
element of surprise.  We will order the fighters to break off their
attack after we have tracked the Scarren's signal back to their fleet. 
They must make sure they are not followed upon their return."

"And after we have located them?" asked Estoni.

"We inform the fleet," said Ellis.  "Then, we strike at them at every
opportunity and in every way possible to delay them."

"Have a seat, Lieutenant," said Lann, closing the door to his office
behind them.

Aeryn sat down in a chair.  Lann followed suit, sitting down behind his
desk with a sigh.  "Well, Lieutenant, you managed to get the Captain
pretty riled at you."

"Sir," said Aeryn, " and the Captain want me out, don't you?"

"Excuse me," said Lann.

"You and the Captain....," said Aeryn.  "You left me out cold, didn't

"You're assuming quite a bit, Lieutenant," said Lann.  "Care to tell me

"Sir," said Aeryn.  "You have been hard on me since the first day I
arrived.  On my ass at every step.  Plus, I've heard about your views
of the noble families.  My family included.  You don't like them very
much, for some reason."

"That's not a great basis for forming assumptions," said Lann.  "For
one thing, I am hard on every newby that comes into my unit.  Your
life, and the lives of everyone in the squadron depends on it.  As for
you being a Crichton...I told you from the beginning that your family
name would have no bearing on my evaluation of your performance.  Are
you calling me a liar?"

"No, sir," said Aeryn.

"Good," said Lann, "because if you were, I wouldn't hesitate to knock
you on your ass!  I do have certain...resentments for the nobility of
the republic.  For my own reasons.  But they do not apply to you.  I
don't see you as a Crichton, I see you as a member of my squadron."
Then, after a few moments hesitation, he added.  "...And I also see you
as the pilot that saved my ass today."

"Sir?" said Aeryn in a startled tone.

"I went to bat for you with the Captain," said Lann.  "I stood up for
you.  He'll let the matter drop.  He is satisfied that we now have some
idea as to where the enemy is.  He also accepted my judgment that you
acted correctly and saved my life."

"Sir, I...I don't know what to say," said Aeryn.  "I'm sorry, sir, for
misjudging you."

"Apology accepted," said Lann.  "And I owe you thanks."

Lann approached Aeryn and held out his hand.  Aeryn rose, and took his
hand in hers.  "I'm glad you're serving with us, Lieutenant," said

"Thank you, sir," replied Aeryn.

Chapter 15:  Decisions

"Sir!" said Lt. Forbes into the comm system of her fighter.  "How much
longer do we have to keep this up?"

"Till we get the recall order from the Renown!" replied Lann from his
fighter.  "We don't break off before then."

The fighter squadrons of the SHRS Renown were making their pre-planned
assault on the Scarren dreadnought that had been discovered by Lann and
Aeryn.  Of course, the whole attack was just a ruse to get the
dreadnought to contact their fleet, so the Renown could zero in on the
location of the enemy's main force.  

The fighters of the Renown had been engaged with the dreadnought and
her full compliment of fighters for the past twenty minutes.  The
SebaceaHuman pilots were making a valiant effort of it, picking off as
many enemy fighters as they can and landing a few missile strikes
against the massive Scarren dreadnought.  However, they were also
beginning to take a beating, and would not be able to hold out much

Lann was zeroing in on another Scarren fighter, and ready to blast it
out of the sky.  However, before he could fire, he caught sight of one
of his squadron's fighters making a dive bombing run on the
dreadnought.  Apparently, the pilot was going to make a missile strike
against the dreadnought.  It wouldn't do much damage, but such strikes
did make it look like the SebaceaHuman pilots were indeed trying to
bring down the dreadnought.

But what worried Lann was that there were two Scarren fighters coming
at the attacking SebaceaHuman fighter from the superstructure of the
dreadnought.   Moreover, it looked to Lann like his fellow pilot did
not see the enemy coming.

"Frell!" said Lann into his comm.  He broke off from his pursuit of the
Scarren fighter he was about to destroy, and moved to intercept the
Scarrens who were jumping one of his pilots.  In the meantime, he
called to the endangered pilot on his comm.

"Nova pilot bearing 056," said Lann.  "You are about to be ambushed.
Break hard right, now!"

The SebaceaHuman pilot did as instructed by Lann, breaking off the
attack and moving to evade the Scarren fighters.  The Scarrens pursued
the fighter, firing their cannons in the hopes of bringing it down.

"No way, scale heads!" said Lann.  He targeted the two enemy fighters,
and opened fire.  His pulse cannons annihilated one of the enemy
fighters, while the other one broke off the pursuit to avoid Lann's

Letting out a sigh of relief, Lann spoke into his comm.  "Nova pilot,
identify yourself," said Lann.

"Nova 8," said the voice of Lt. Aeryn Crichton over the comm.  "Thanks
for saving my ass, boss."

"Looks like we're even, Lieutenant," said Lann.  "Next time, watch your
ass before you go do something flashy!"

"Yes, sir," said Aeryn.

Just then, a signal came through on Lann's comm frequency.  It was a
message from the Renown, one word in length.  "Tango."

That was the signal the SebaceaHuman pilots had been waiting for.  "All
fighters," said Lann.  "Break and retreat!"

"We've got them, sir!" said Commander Estoni to Captain Ellis.  He
activated the holographic chart of the Janus Cluster.  He used a
holographic marking pen to indicate a location on the chart.  "That
dreadnought sent the signal we were hoping they would, and it was
received right there!  On the opposite end of the cluster, bearing 101,
distance 100 million kilometers from the center of the cluster."

"So they weren't in the center of the cluster," said Ellis.  "I had a
feeling they wouldn't be.  Looks like our gamble paid off."

"Sir," said a bridge officer to the Captain.  "Our fighters are
returning on an evasive course to elude pursuit by the enemy now.
Initial reports indicate a 10% loss of fighters and pilots, sir."

Ellis and Estoni were quiet for several moments, their enthusiasm of a
moment ago now dissipated.  "Well," said Estoni, "the gamble did come
with a price, didn't it?"

"Yes," said Ellis quietly.  He walked over to one of the viewing ports
of the Renown's bridge before speaking again.  "But we'll just have to
make sure those men and women didn't die for nothing.  Contact fleet
command, scrambled frequencies.  Inform them we have located the
Scarren main force, indicate their position.  Fill them in on our plans
to delay them, and request estimates on when we may be reinforced."

"Aye, sir," replied Estoni.

"Chief Counselor," said Admiral Rel, coming into James McGregor's
office.  "We've received word from the Renown.  They've located the
Scarren main force."

"Excellent," said McGregor.  "Did they indicate how they intend to
delay the Scarrens?"

"Yes, sir," said Rel.  "They are going to use their hyperspace jump
engines to ambush the enemy ships.  Ellis' plan is to make hit and run
assaults at the enemy for as long as his resources will hold out."

"Good," said McGregor.  "Let's hope they can keep the enemy bottled up
in the Janus cluster until we can meet the enemy with force enough to
stop them.  How goes fleet preparations?"

"The fleet is ready to go at anytime, Chief Counselor," said Rel.  "I
just received word before coming to see you, sir.  Give me the word,
I'll take the fleet their myself."

"No," said McGregor.  "Now, we wait."

"Sir?" asked Rel.

"The ISA and some of the member worlds are sending warships to assist
us," said McGregor.  "The first will arrive here in four weeks.  Until
then, Ellis and the Renown will have to delay the enemy on his own."

"Four weeks!" said Rel.  "Sir, its...its not possible.  They can't do
it alone.  Why can't we move in on the enemy with our forces, and let
the ISA reinforce us when they arrive?"

"Can you guarantee me that our forces alone can stop the Scarrens?"
asked McGregor.

", sir.  No guarantee," replied Rel.

"I can't risk sending our fleet to the Janus Cluster," said McGregor.
"Not without the support of the ISA fleet.  If we go in with our
forces, and they are destroyed or crippled, then what is to stand
between the Scarrens and our Republic.  No, the fleet must be held in
reserve, just in case the Scarrens come out of the cluster."

"I...I understand, sir," said Rel.  "Sir, do realize that you
are practically sentencing the officers and crew of the Renown to
death?  Don't you, sir?"

"I know," said McGregor.  "God help me, I know."

Chapter 16:  Passions Ignited

Three weeks later, four Saber class fighters of the Nova squadron
touched down on the landing bay deck of the SHRS Renown.  The ships
were beaten up, patched up, and overall looked like they had been
through hell.  Of course, the word "hell" was as good a word as any to
describe the past few weeks for the officers and crew of the Renown.

Captain Ellis had been pursuing a tireless campaign to delay the
Scarren fleet and bottle them up in the Janus Cluster.  Using their
advantage of hyperspace jumps, the Renown had single handedly managed
to delay the consolidation of the Scarren fleet.  Every time the
Scarrens looked to be about ready to move, the Renown would pop out of
hyperspace at random and strike.

In the process, the Renown had destroyed three Scarren dreadnoughts,
seven support vessels, and nearly one hundred Scarren fighters.
However, in that process, the Renown had been taking a beating.  The
ships defense screens were being held together by a thread, and could
collapse at any time.  The Renown's armor plating was filled with
damaged sections.  A third of the battle carrier's primary weapons
systems were destroyed.  Nearly 200 officers and crewmen had been

Perhaps the most egregious losses had been felt by the Renown's fighter
squadrons.  Of the 8 squadrons of fighters on the Renown, three no
longer existed.  The others had suffered anywhere from 40% to 80%
losses of craft and/or pilots.  Lt. Commander Lann's Nova squadron
started out with eight fighters.  They were now down to four.  The
other four ships had been destroyed, and two of the pilots lost.  The
other two bailed out and were rescued, one of them being Lt. Leslie

After the fighters were secured, the cockpit canopies on the Nova
squadron fighters began to open.  Lt. Commander Christopher Lann hopped
out of his fighter and marched towards another fighter with a look of
fury written on his face.  He approached Lt. Aeryn Crichton's fighter,
and found her climbing down from the craft's cockpit.

"Lieutenant," said Lann.  "In my office.  NOW!"

Without another word, Lann marched in the direction of his office and a
sighing Aeryn followed close behind him.  They were silent until they
arrived at Lann's office, and the  door to the office closed.  At that
moment, Lann let loose.

"What the hell were you thinking?!" yelled Lann.  "That stunt almost
got your ass fried!"

"It worked, didn't it?!" yelled Aeryn.  "I got their defense screen!
The Renown was able to take out that Scarren transport!"

"Oh, yeah!" yelled Lann.  "It worked!  By sheer LUCK!  Aeryn, you dived
straight through a flight of enemy fighters to get to that generator!
You were lucky you didn't collide with one of them, or that they were
so slow and stupid that they didn't react fast enough to blow you out
of the sky!"

"I thought it was worth the risk!" yelled Aeryn.  "And I war right!"

"No, you were LUCKY!  Lucky, Aeryn!" said Lann.  "Dammit, you are
constantly doing this.  Aeryn, you are probably one of the most gifted
pilots I have ever met!  But, take so many chances!  I have
already lost half of my squadron!  I don't want to loose you, too!
Even though, right now, I want to bounce you off of every wall in this
office, knock some sense into you!"

"I'm sorry you hate me so much!" said Aeryn.

"I could never hate you," said Lann.  He said the words before he could
catch himself.

"What?" asked Aeryn.  "What...what did you mean by that?"

"Nothing," said Lann quickly.  He hesitated for a moment, then turned
away from Aeryn with a sigh.  "Let's just...forget it."

Aeryn knew there was something Lann wasn't telling her.  Being the
stubborn, determined woman she was, Aeryn wanted to know what that was.
She stepped closer to Lann, and placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Sir," she said.  Then, she softened her voice.  "Chris.  Tell me, what
did you mean?"

Christopher Lann turned to face Aeryn.  He reached up and touched
Aeryn's cheek with the palm of his hand.  "I said," he began.  "I said
that I...could never hate you."

Slowly, hesitantly, Chris and Aeryn closed the distance between them.
Leaning into each other, the two slowly but surely brought their lips
closer to one another.  Finally, their lips touched, and it was if the
walls between them collapsed.

Chris took Aeryn into his arms, and she wrapped herself around him.
They began to exchanged kisses of desperate passion.  He ran his hands
through her shoulder length, dark hair, while Aeryn tightened her grip
into Chris' back.  But then, just as suddenly as the passion began, it
ended when Chris pulled himself abruptly away from Aeryn.

"No!" he said.  "No, this...this can't happen.  This is...out of the

"What...I...Chris..." babbled Aeryn.

"Aeryn," he interrupted, "this can't happen.  You are a member of my
squadron.  I can't get involved with you."

"Chris," said Aeryn, "we are more than likely going to die out here.
Why not go with what we feel about each other?"

"What do we feel about each other, Aeryn?" asked Chris.  "Tell me that.
Tell me...what do you feel for me?"

"Well, I..." began Aeryn.  She was silent for a few moments, trying to
put her feelings into words.  Finally, she decided to just say what
came to mind.  "Sometimes, I want to...I want to grab you and throw you
out the nearest airlock.  Other times....other times, when I see that
warm side of you, that side you are afraid to show, but that you can't
help but exuberate...other times I just want to grab you and throw you
into my bed.  I guess the reasons we fight all the time are
about....passion."  She smiled, then let her expression go blank again.
"Your turn.  What do you feel for me?"

Chris ran his hand through his dark hair, and let out a sigh.  "Aeryn, are, certainly...pretty.  I just..." Slowly, he let down his
walls and let her see his feelings and hear them.  "I have never met
any woman like you before.  You are so...beautiful and strong and brave pack a full head of steam.  You don't...walk into a room, you
blaze in with the beauty of determined grace.  And then, when you blaze
back out again, you just...take my breath away."

The two of them stood their silently, just staring at one another with
blank expressions.  Their defenses were down, but both was unwilling to
make the first move on the other.  Finally, breaking the silence, Aeryn
spoke softly.  "So what do you want to do?" she asked.

"I don't know, exactly," said Chris.  " head is telling me to
send you out of here before something happens."

"What about your heart?" asked Aeryn.  "What does your heart tell you
to do?"

"My heart," said Chris, with a smile, "is telling me to sneak you into
my quarters and make passionate love to you.  Yours?"

Aeryn approached Chris, and put her arms around him.  He placed his
hands on Aeryn's hips as she spoke to him.  "My heart is telling me to
go with your heart, wherever it leads."

The two of them began to kiss once again.  This time, they mutually
broke the kiss, knowing it would only be temporary.  They both knew
that they would do more than kiss as soon as they could get to Chris'

A weary Captain Grallic Ellis sat at his desk in his private office
near the bridge.  His head was resting on his desk, his uniform rumpled
and his face unshaved for at least several days.  Ellis' eyes were
filled with fatigue, nay exhaustion, the result of three weeks of
constant warfare in which the Renown had been fighting against
incredible odds.

He heard a knock at the door.  Ellis quickly straightened himself, not
willing to show weakness to any member of the crew.  "Come in," said
Ellis in a firm tone.

Commander Estoni stepped into the room.  "Sir," said Estoni.  "I have
the latest damage assessments and casualty reports from the last

"Thank you," said Ellis, reaching to take them from Estoni's
outstretched hand.  Ellis looked at the paper, and let out a moan.
"Doesn't look good, does it?"

"No, sir," said Estoni.  "Sir, estimates are that our defense screen
will give in permanently in the next engagement.  The armor won't last
long beyond that.  We don't have the fighters to protect us, not with
the casualties the squadrons have been suffering."

"Any word from fleet command?" asked Ellis.

"None, sir," said Estoni.  "Not since that last message 72 arns ago.
The ISA fleet is still six days away."

"We won't last two days," said Ellis.  "We can't hold them...they will
move out of this cluster any day now and strike at the Republic.  Send
a message to Admiral Rel, tell him...tell him that we...that I can not
maintain effective resistance.   Tell him...that unless he comes with
our fleet now, the Renown is lost."

"Aye, sir," replied Estoni.

An exhausted Christopher Lann lay on his back in his bed.  He was used
to being exhausted after all of these weeks of almost constant combat. 
However, the kind of fatigue he was feeling now was the good kind.  It
was the kind that resulted from passion.

Laying naked in his arms was Aeryn Crichton, her head resting on Chris'
bare chest, her hand gently caressing his left arm.  She too felt the
good kind of exhaustion from the experience of making love with Chris

Chris, his arms wrapped around Aeryn, kissed her forehead.  Aeryn
giggled slightly with contentment.  She looked up into the eyes of this
gorgeous, wonderful man who now held her in his strong, protective

"Penny for your thoughts," said Aeryn.

"Um," said Chris.  "I was just crazy this is.  How is
this going to work?"

"You mean your being my squadron leader," said Aeryn.  "Well, I
could...I could always transfer to one of the other squadrons on the
Renown.  That way...we could be together without the conflict of

"It would raise too many questions," said Chris.  "We would still need
to be discreet.  Besides, I don't want to loose such a gifted pilot
just so I can have her in my bed.  And...that's not the only factor
weighing against us."

"What do you mean?" asked Aeryn.

"Aeryn, you..." said Chris.  "You are a Crichton, a member of the first
family of SebaceaHumans.  Your great-great grandfather was John
Crichton.  Your great-great grandmother is Aeryn Sun-Crichton, the
Matriarch of the Republic.  The woman who started it, who made the
speech in Constitution Park on Sebacea..."

"I know, my family history, Chris," interrupted Aeryn.  "I've had it
engrained in me since I was a child. are concerned that my
family won't think you are good enough?"

"Yes," said Lann.  "I know the noble families, they are...exclusive."

"Chris," said Aeryn, "let me set you straight about something.
Those...famous, noble great-great grandparents of mine you mentioned.
They began as fugitives from the Peacekeepers.  John Crichton was a
scientist, great-grandmama was a former Peacekeeper soldier, a grunt.
They only became noble by their actions, by their strength of heart.  I
never even knew John Crichton.  He died long before the Republic was
ever conceived.  You are a noble man, Chris, would be
accepted in my family.  Believe me.  Besides, you are not sleeping with
my great-great grandmother.  You are sleeping with me!" She said the
last part with a giggle.

"I know that," said Chris, exchanging a quick kiss with Aeryn.

"Chris," said Aeryn.  "Since we're on the subject...why have you got a
grudge against the noble families anyway?"

"It has to do original heritage ancestors," said Chris.  "The
ones who were the first to interbreed.  I don't know too much about
them.  I know that the male was a Human, the woman a Sebacean.  I have
tried getting information on them, but...but my parents didn't have it,
for some reason.  And they said that the Republic wouldn't help me find
it, because the truth would change the shape of the noble houses of

"What? How?" asked Aeryn.

"I don't know who they were," said Chris, "but I do know when my
original heritage ancestors interbred.  It was during the Peacekeeper
Wars.  The Human was an Earth Force officer, the Sebacean woman a
Peacekeeper.  Other than that, I don't know who they were.  But I do
know when they conceived their hybrid child.  During the war between
the Interstellar Alliance and her allies against the Peacekeepers."

"Chris, that...that would mean your original heritage ancestors would
be among the first to interbreed," said Aeryn.  "That would mean your
family would be at least as old as the Rels.  Which would mean..."

"There should be four noble houses instead of three," said Chris.
"That's why I have always believed, as did my parents, that the noble
families want to keep this quiet.  That's the source of my resentment."

"Have you tried to find out anything, Chris?" asked Aeryn.

"Tried and failed," said Chris.  "The Republic said that there was no
records available to help us.  It could be a deliberate cover up."

"I won't believe that," said Aeryn.  "Chris, I know my family, and I
grew up knowing Chief Counselor McGregor and Admiral Rel and the
members of the other two families.  They wouldn't deliberately try to
cover this up.  Chris, I promise you...when this is over, we are going
to search for some answers."

Chapter 17:  The Last Hope

"Chief Counselor," said Admiral Rel, coming into James McGregor's
office at a dead run.  "Sir, we just received this message from the

James McGregor took the message from Rel's outstretched hand.  He read
it quietly, and ran his hand through his hair.   His face betrayed an
emotion of utter shock.

"My God," said McGregor.  "Joe....would you ever think Grallic Ellis
would send a message like this?  With so much...forthrightness about
the desperateness of their situation?"

"There's only one way he would allow himself to do so, James," replied
Rel.  "If he knew that the Scarrens would be coming, and that he could
do nothing to delay them any further.  Absolutely nothing he could do. 
Sir, let me take the fleet to the cluster."

"Joe, you know what happens if our fleet falls, before the ISA fleet
can get here," replied McGregor.

"Sir, I know our being a member of the ISA makes us stronger," said
Rel.  "But, with all due respect, we have to try and stand on our own
two feet!  That Scarren fleet is going to strike at us at any time.
Ellis' message confirms it.  Let me take the fleet and make a fight of

McGregor stood up from his desk and walked over the window.  It looked
upon the central courtyard of the Republic's capital building.  The
tranquility outside belayed the turmoil, the danger the Republic was
now in.  He stood their silently for several moments, coming to a
desperate but necessary question.

"Admiral Rel," he said.  "Can you stop the Scarrens?"

"Sir," said Rel.  "You can tell the ISA fleet when it gets here that
they can clean up the broken pieces of the Scarren fleet we leave
behind!  Its either us or them, and I make damned sure its THEM, or I
won't come back alive!"

McGregor turned from the window and walked over to Rel.  He gave the
order with one word.  "Go."

Lt. Commander Christopher Lann stepped onto the bridge of the Renown.
He looked around the bridge until he spotted Captain Ellis and
Commander Estoni standing over a console in quiet conference.  Lann
marched over to the two senior officers and came to attention.

"Sir," said Lann, "Nova leader reporting back from reconnaissance."

The Renown had released Lann and his half-sized squadron into normal
space for one arn to locate the latest position of the Scarren fleet.
After that arn, the Renown opened at hyperspace jump point at
prearranged coordinates, and retrieved her fighters from normal space.

"At ease," said Ellis.  "What did you find out, Commander?"

"Sir," said Lann.  "The Scarren fleet is coming out of the cluster.
They are massed and moving on course for the Republic.  Estimate has
them exiting the cluster in 3 arns."

"Frell!" said Ellis.  "The time has finally come.  They are on the
move.  Well, looks like the time has come for us to fall on our swords.
We'll place ourselves between them and the Republic, delay them as long
we can before they...destroy us.  Commander..."

"Sir," interrupted the communications officer.  "We are receiving
tachyon signal from fleet command.   Admiral Rel reports that our fleet
is in route to intercept and engage the Scarrens"

"The Admiral came through, sir," said Estoni with a smile.

"Did they say whether or not the ISA fleet had arrived?" asked Ellis of
the comm officer.

"No, sir," replied the young woman.  "There was nothing about the ISA
fleet mentioned."

"That must mean Rel is coming with just our forces," said Ellis.
"That's ten battle carriers and twenty support cruisers vs. a Scarren
fleet of twenty-four dreadnoughts and thirty-six smaller warships.
Those odds are not good at all."

Captain Ellis was tapping the console beneath him with his fingers, his
thoughts racing through his mind.   It all came to him at once, the
results of cycles of experience as a soldier.  He drew on his
experience and knowledge and conceived an idea, and idea fast hatching
into a plan.

"Commander Estoni," said Ellis, "do you remember studying the
engagements of the Peacekeeper Wars, taught in military history at the

"I stayed up nights studying for the exams in that course," said
Estoni.  "I remember.  Why?"

"Do you recall the engagement between the Minbari and the Peacekeepers
during the Peacekeeper invasion of the Earth Alliance?   The one where
Admiral Lakhat's Minbari cruisers annihilated the Peacekeeper task
force under Fleet Captain Yusanan?" asked Ellis.

"Yes," replied Estoni.  "I remember.  The Humans referred to it as the
Minbari gang-bang.  They lured the Peacekeeper force into a trap.  When
they got the fleet of Peacekeeper command carriers into an exact
location, the Minbari fleet jumped in on top of them.  They're
hyperspace jump points ripped into the command carriers, destroying
many of them before they could even respond.  From then on out, the
Minbari had a heyday wiping out Yusanan's fleet."

"Good memory, Commander," said Ellis.  "My compliments to your History
professor.  The Minbari were able to do it because they had extremely
accurate jump plotting technology.  I believe our scanners are based
on...Earth designs, correct?"

"Yes, sir," replied Estoni.

"Earth designs originally inspired by Minbari designs," said Ellis.
"We have jump plotting technology that is just as accurate, if not more

"Aye, sir," replied Estoni.  "That we do.  If Rel's fleet can do the

"Then they could even up the odds," said Ellis.  "Communications, did
Rel say whether they would be using hyperspace transit?"

"Yes, sir," said the comm officer.  "They are coming via hyperspace."

"Good," said Ellis.  "Get me Admiral Rel on tachyon channel."

"It's a bold plan," said Admiral Rel, speaking to Captain Ellis on the
main view screen on the bridge of his command ship, the battle carrier
SHRS Indefatigable.  "But the problem is, Captain, that we would need a
lure of some kind to get the Scarrens into position."

"I know," said Ellis.  "I already have a proposition for that lure.  My
ship, the Renown."

"Out of the question," said Rel.  "Grallic, your ship is on its last
legs.  We would have to get the Scarrens damned close to you before we
could jump them.  Your ship might not take the pounding if they open
fire en masse on your ship before they reach the coordinates.  I won't
risk your officers and crew, not after the service they have given to
the Republic in the last few weeks."

"Sir," said Ellis.  "You can't ask any other ship to do it.  The
Scarrens recognize the Renown, know we have been engaging them all
along.  We could make it look like we are making on last desperate
stand to stop them.  I was about to give just such an order before we
got your message.  It would make sense to the enemy.  If any ship does
it, the Scarrens might get suspicious.  Sir, it must be the Renown to
ensure success."

Rel was silent for a moment, before closing his eyes and giving a nod. 
"You're correct, Captain, in your assessment.  The lure must be the
Renown.  We should rendezvous with you in six arns.  We will finalize
our plans then.  Meanwhile, prepare your crew. Tell them....tell them
the Republic will never forget the service they have rendered and will
render to defend our people.  I will make sure of it."

Chapter 18:  The Last Stand

Lt. Aeryn Crichton finished gathering together what she would need
before heading to her fighter.  She had zipped up her flight suit,
retrieved her flight helmet, and was now holstering her sidearm.  Just
before she was about to leave, she heard a knock at her hatch.

"Come in," she said.

Lt. Commander Christopher Lann stepped into the room, donned in his
flight suit and carrying his helmet.  As soon as he had closed the
door, Aeryn flung herself into her lovers arms.  The couple exchange
passionate kisses for several moments, before simply settling into each
others arms.

"Chris," said Aeryn, "I had hoped you would come to see me before we

"I had to," he said.  "Aeryn, I....we may not...come back from this
operation.  We've only known each other for a little over a month,
but...I just can't imagine what my life was like before I met you.  Not
anymore.  And before we went, I just had to tell you....that I love

Aeryn smiled, as tears began to fall from her eyes.  She looked into
the face of this beautiful, wonderful man who held her in his strong,
protective embrace.  When she had first met him, Lt. Commander
Christopher Lann made her nervous.  She didn't realize it fully at the
time that the reason was because she was attracted to him.  Although
sometimes he made her furious, most of the time the thought of him made
her smile.  It reminded her, in a way, of what her great-great-
grandmother used to describe her love affair with her great-great-
grandfather, John Crichton.  This helped Aeryn to come to the
realization of what her true feelings were.

"I love you, too," she said.

"Aeryn," said Chris, "I know this might be a bit sudden, but...if we
get back from this mission, will you....will you marry me?"

Aeryn nodded.  "Yes," she said.  "I will marry you."

The SHRS Renown held its position in space, surrounded by the remaining
complement of her fighters.  The battered war horse, her armor pummeled
and many of her weapons gone, still presented the image of a bastion of
strength, however hollow that image might be.  

Captain Grallic Ellis stood on the bridge of his ship, waiting for word
that the Scarren fleet would be approaching.  He had led this ship and
crew through a month of battles and a campaign that would make them all
heroes to the Republic.  Yet, this one last duty might cost them all
their lives.  The Scarrens could very well pulverize the Renown before
coming to the coordinates upon which Admiral Rel's fleet will jump
them.  Considering this, Ellis thought it a shame that his crew would
not live to receive the honors and thanks of the Republic they fought
so hard to save. 

"Sir," said Commander Estoni approaching the Captain.  "Long range
scanners just picked up the Scarren fleet.  They should arrive in ten

"Very good," said Ellis.  "Raise the defense screen.  Order all
fighters to form up and prepare to attack.  Arm all weapons."

"Aye, sir," said Estoni.

As his first officer called out the orders to the bridge crew, Ellis
said a silent prayer.  "Blessed be the Lord my strength, that teaches
my fingers to fight, and my hands to war."

The Scarren fleet came within visual range of the Renown and her
fighters.  If the Scarrens were at all frightened by the stand that the
Renown was making, they didn't show it.  The dreadnoughts and smaller
ships of the enemy fleet launched their fighters and increased speed to
close on the Renown.

Sitting in her fighter, Aeryn Crichton watched the enemy ships
approach.  They came closer, closer, closer, seeming to blot out the
stars as they came within range.  Her hands trembled over the thruster
controls, waiting for the order to attack.  Anticipation filled her,
like an arrow waiting to be fired, Aeryn was ready to be unleashed upon
her enemy.

"All fighters," said the voice of Commander Estoni over the comms,
"break and attack."

"Nova squadron," said Lann's voice, "with me!"

The Saber class fighters accelerated and closed distance with the enemy
fighters.  The Scarren fighters were the first to fire, the gesture
returned soon after by the Renown's fighters.   The two formations of
fighters collided in a wave, and the small ships began to do their
deadly dance of combat.

Meanwhile, the large Scarren warships closed distance on the Renown.
Ellis watched them approach from the bridge's forward view ports.  He
watched as the leading ships in the line of enemy warships began to
open fire on his carrier.  The enemy's fire crashed into the weak
defense screens of the Renown, screens that would not last long.  The
Renown returned fire on her enemy, sending missiles, plasma fire, and
laser blasts at her attackers.

The defense screen on the Renown collapsed twenty seconds into the
battle.  Ellis had anticipated this, knowing the mechanism was on its
last legs.  Now, the enemy fire began to crash into the battered
armored hull of the Renown.  The ship shook violently under the
punishment.  The bridge officers rushed to get a handle on the reports
coming in from the various ships departments.

Ellis stood calmly, waiting for the enemy fleet to come to the ambush
coordinates.  It seemed that an eternity passed while Ellis waited, his
beloved ship being pummeled around him.  Reports were coming in that
there were hull breaches all over the ship.  A section of the bottom of
the ship had been blasted away by the enemy fire.  All but one of the
forward missile batteries were destroyed.  Still, Ellis waited.

Finally, the Scarrens ships at the head of the fleet came to the ambush
coordinates.  Still, Ellis waited.  He wanted Admiral Rel to be able to
jump right into the center of the enemy fleet, to cause the maximum
amount of chaos.  An explosion ripped through the bridge, as a bulkhead
gave way to a blast in a neighboring compartment.  Several officers
were crushed under falling debris.  Seeming not to notice what was
going on around him, Ellis still continued to stand stark still even
though the explosion occurred right behind him.

In the midst of a world gone mad, Commander Estoni heard his Captain
say the only words that seemed clear to him.  "Signal Rel," said Ellis.

The center of the Scarren fleet formation passed through the ambush
coordinates.  Just as they did so, several of the vessels were
annihilated in a matter of seconds as dozens of hyperspace jump points
opened up right in the middle of them.  More of the Scarren warships
were ripped apart as the jump points expanded.  In a matter of moments,
the menacing Scarren fleet formation was being ripped to shreds by blue
hyperspace jump points that turned their ships into ashes.

Out of these destructive jump points came the battle carriers and
support cruisers of the SebaceaHuman Republic's fleet.  They came out
of hyperspace shooting, their fire ripping several more Scarren vessels
to shreds before the enemy could even get a chance to return fire.
Swarms of Saber class SebaceaHuman fighters swooped in on the Scarren
vessels, sending multiple barrages of missiles into the enemy ships.  

The Scarren fleet was sent into a status of utter confusion.  Their
ships attempted to put up resistance, but it was unorganized and
uncoordinated.  Rather, the enemy vessels adopted a stance of fending
for themselves and not even attempting to cooperate with one another.
The SebaceaHuman warships took full advantage of this, and began to one
by one pick off the hapless Scarren vessels.  History repeated itself,
as the Scarren fleet met the same fate that the Peacekeepers had at the
hands of the Minbari a hundred cycles ago.

In a battle that lasted for just over an arn,  the Scarren fleet had
been reduced to seven warships from the original total of over fifty.
The SebaceaHumans had lost two carriers and three cruisers in the
engagement, but found themselves more than a match for the enemy that
was left to them.  The Scarrens attempted to retreat, but Admiral Rel
had made his orders explicit.  Under no circumstances was one Scarren
vessel to escape.  He wanted to make it clear to the Scarrens that any
further aggression against the Republic would be met with annihilation.

The SebaceaHuman fleet moved to pursue and destroy the now fleeing
remnants of the Scarren assault force.  Meanwhile, the Renown drifted
in space, fires and explosions ripping through her hull.  The once
proud and mighty warship was beginning to buckle under, and it became
clear she would not survive.

On the bridge, Commander Estoni approached Captain Ellis.  The Captain
was still standing in the exact same spot, had not moved for the whole
battle.  "Sir," said Commander Estoni.  "Its no good, sir.  We'll have
to abandon ship."

Ellis nodded.  "Very well," he said.  "Give the...give the..." Captain
Ellis then collapsed to the deck, blood pouring out of the back of his
uniform.  Apparently, the bulkhead explosion behind him had sent
shrapnel flying into his back.  But the proud Captain absorbed the
blow, and stood his ground using pure force of will.  Yet, loss of
blood now took its toll, and Captain Ellis' body gave in and fell to
the floor.

"CAPTAIN!" yelled Estoni.  He came to his knees beside the prone form
of Captain Grallic Ellis.  Ellis looked up at his first officer, his
eyes glazing over.

"Take command," said Ellis.  "Get the crew off..." His last words
trailed off, as Captain Ellis' passed into unconsciousness.

Estoni struggled to hold back his tears.  He looked up, and saw dozens
of officers and crewmen gathered around them.  They're faces were
filled with shock and tears as their Captain loose his battle with
death.  Estoni stood up, and faced them.

"I need some volunteers," said Estoni.  "We're taking the Captain's
body with us.  We're taking him home for a hero's burial."

Several officers bent down, and picked up the body of their Captain.
Estoni went over to a console, and activated the ship wide comm system.
"All hands," said Commander Estoni.  "Abandon ship.  I repeat, all
hands, abandon ship."

Then, he walked over to the group of officers carrying the Captain's
body.  He lead them off of the bridge and to the nearest escape pods.
Thirty minutes later, as shuttles and escape pods scurried away, the
SHRS Renown exploded into a fireball.  The great ship was lost, but the
battle was won, and the Republic that the officers and crew had fought
so hard to defend had been saved.

Chapter 19:  Legacy

Two weeks had passed since the battle between the Scarren assault force
and the SebaceaHuman Republic's fleet.  In that time, the last remnants
of danger to the Republic were removed.  The ISA fleet arrived, only to
find that the SebaceaHumans had mostly taken care of their problem on
their own.  The only assistance they provided was aid in hunting down
and destroying the remaining ships of the Scarren assault force.

In the meantime, the ISA contacted the Scarrens through third parties. 
They demanded that the Scarrens agree to a conditional peace agreement,
or face the full wrath and fury of the Interstellar Alliance.  To give
weight to the threat, the ISA and the SebaceaHuman Republic offered to
send them back the wreckage of their fleet of 50 warships they had sent
to seize the home world of the SebaceaHumans.  Also backing up the
threat was the ISA fleet, which included ships from the Earth Alliance,
the Sebacean Republic, the SebaceaHuman Republic, the Minbari, the
Centauri, the Narns, the Luxans, the Illonics, the Hynerian Empire, and
even the Sebacean Royal Colonies.  

Facing such overwhelming odds, and being that the Scarrens were not as
powerful as they once were, the Scarrens agreed to a peace.  The
conditions imposed upon them by the ISA included that they were to
destroy all but ten of their warships, which was just enough to defend
their home worlds.  Second, they were to make restitutions to the
SebaceaHuman Republic for the damage done to their forces in the
Scarren assault.  Finally, the Scarrens would agree to allow the
Rangers to patrol their borders to see to it that they never again
adopted and aggressive posture.

While the whirlwind of Interstellar politics swirled through those two
weeks, they also marked a time for celebration and reflection for the
SebaceaHumans.  They had faced the greatest danger yet to their
existence, and had defeated it on their own terms.  The SebaceaHumans
had proven to the galaxy that they and their Republic would endure.  It
was also a time for mourning, as the men and women of the Republic's
military who gave their lives were remembered with memorials and
honors.  Most honored among them was Captain Grallic Ellis, who was
laid to rest in the Capital's cemetery, where many of the Republic's
heroes were buried.  He would lay alongside people such as General
Michael McGregor and his wife, Counselor Trayvor Rel and his wife,
Kumiko Takagi-Rel.

Two days after arriving back on New Babylon,  Lt. Aeryn Crichton and
her fiancee, newly promoted Commander Christopher Lann, stepped into
the main foyer of the Crichton family mansion.  To Aeryn, it was coming
home to the house she grew up in.  To Chris, he felt like a Connecticut
Yankee entering King Arthur's court.  Aeryn saw her lovers nervousness,
and knew the reason for it.

"Chris," said Aeryn, "I have seen you mad, passionate, frustrated, and
comical, but this is the first time I have ever seen you nervous.
Scarrens don't scare you, but my great-great-grandmother does?"

"Aeryn," said Chris, "the Scarrens did not bear the first SebaceaHuman
child, or fight in the Peacekeeper Wars, and are not the Matriarch of
the Republic."

"Chris," said Aeryn, "don't look on her as any of those things.  See
her instead as my great-great-grandmother.  That's who she is to me."

Aeryn kissed Chris on the cheek.  "Now," she said, "I have the honor of
presenting my wonderful man to her.  Let's go."

Aeryn led Chris to a doorway behind the stairs in the main foyer.  She
knocked, and heard a woman's voice from the other side invited her to
enter.  The couple entered into a small, sparsely decorated room with
simple furnishings, a shelf filled with books, and family pictures on
the wall.  Aeryn had told Chris that her great-great-grandmother would
be meeting them in her favorite room, the family room.  Chris was
expecting a room that was more ornate than the simple one which lay
before him.

Standing in the room was an old woman with a wrinkled face, long gray
hair, and a bearing of confidence that had not dimmed with the cycles. 
Chris recognized the woman immediately as Aeryn Sun-Crichton, and he
could feel his knees straining not to buckle.

"Great-grandmama," said the younger Aeryn, wrapping her arms around her

"Aeryn, my dear," replied the older woman, embracing the former in a
firm hug.  "Thank whatever god or gods exist that you are alright.
Stand back, now, let me look at you."  The old woman smiled as she
looked into the beaming eyes of the lovely young woman.  "My goodness,
you look good for someone who has been through quite and experience,
one which I wish to hear all about.  But first," she turned her eyes on
the handsome young Commander who had followed Aeryn into the room.  The
older Aeryn walked over to him.  "You must be Commander Christopher

"Ma'm," said Lann, coming to attention and saluting.

The older Aeryn waved her hand.  "Oh, at ease, dear boy," she said.
"No need for all of that formality.  When you get to be my age, you
have a bit more perspective on the importance of things.  Formality is
one of those things that is only important in certain circumstances.
Being introduced to the young man my great-great-grandaughter wants to
marry is not one of them."

Aeryn held out her hand to Chris, who slowly took her hand in his.  The
old woman gave him a surprisingly firm handshake.  "Its an
meet you, Madame Crichton," said Lann.

"Please, call me Aeryn," she replied, releasing his hand.  "I've heard
so much about you from great-great-grandaughter.  I must
say, you two have moved very fast.  Only knowing each other a monen,
and you want to get married."

"Yes," said the younger Aeryn, "Dad made a point to remind of us that
when we had dinner with him last night."

"Oh, don't worry," said the older Aeryn, "he'll come around.  Your
Father is a bit stuffy about romance.  But I've been there.  I'm just
glad you two were able to figure out that you loved each other so fast.
It took me a cycle to figure out I loved John, then another cycle and a
half before I could act on it.  Then, fate kept throwing more obstacles
at us, but our love would not be deterred.  Fate will probably do the
same to you two, but if your love is strong, it will endure.  In any
even, Chris Lann, I very much approve of my Aeryn's choice in a

"Thank you," said Chris.

"Great-grandmama," said the younger Aeryn, "I was wondering if we could
ask you about something.  Its rather a difficult subject."

"Of course," said the older Aeryn.  "Please, sit down."

Chris and the younger Aeryn sat on a couch, while the older Aeryn sat
on an adjacent chair.  "Now," said the older woman, "what's on your

"It has to do with Chris' original heritage ancestors," said the
younger Aeryn.  "He has been trying to get information about them, but
has failed.  The Republic seems to have no record on them."

"Well, young man, you have my sympathies," said the older Aeryn, "but I
don't see how I can help."

"Madame Cri....Aeryn, I mean," said Chris, still a little nervous,
"according to what my family knows about them, they mated during the
time of the Peacekeeper Wars."

"The Peacekeeper Wars," said the older Aeryn in shock.  "During the
war, not after?"  

Chris nodded.  "From the stories my family has told me, the male was a
Human and the female a Sebacean.  All we know about them is that the
man was in Earth Force, the woman was a Peacekeeper."

"No, that can't be...."began the older Aeryn.  But she cut herself
short before she finished.  Then, she whispered.  "Wait."  Then, at a
normal voice level, she spoke.  "I seem to remember something that I
think Jenavia McGregor once told me about.  There was an Earth Force
officer and a Peacekeeper...but, it was so long ago.  I just can't

"Please, try to remember, great-grandmama," pleaded the younger Aeryn.

"Darling, I could probably keep on trying for the rest of the day, and
not remember a passing conversation with someone over a hundred cycles
ago," said the older woman.  "But, I do think there may be someone who
can help us.   James McGregor."

"Of course!" said the younger Aeryn, knowing what her great-great-
grandmother was thinking about.  "Robert McGregor's personal memoirs."

"Wait, ladies," said Chris, "if you are referring the General Robert
McGregor's Memoir of the Peacekeeper Wars, I can tell you I have read
it.  It was required reading at the Academy.  There is nothing..."

"No, Chris," said the older Aeryn, "you don't understand.  What you
read is the public memoirs of Robert McGregor.  There is another set of
Memoirs.  They are a much more private account of his life and career
that he did not want published.  No one but the McGregor family has
access to them.  I have seen them because Robert McGregor once showed
them to John and I.  The person who is the expert on those memoirs is
James McGregor.  If such a mating between an Earth Force officer and a
Peacekeeper took place during the war, Robert McGregor might have known
about it.  I'm even more convinced he did since it was Jenavia, his
wife, that once mentioned something like that to me.  I'll contact him,
see what he can find out."

The next morning, Aeryn Sun-Crichton, Aeryn Crichton, and Christopher
Lann were seated in James McGregor's office.  The older Aeryn had
contacted him the previous day, and explained to him what they were
looking for and why.  The Chief Counselor was more than happy to search
the memoirs for the information, seeing that it was for the younger
Aeryn's fiancee.  James McGregor and young Aeryn Crichton had been
close ever since the latter was a little girl.  Since then, she had
always called him "Uncle Jim".  McGregor had called them to his office
the next morning to discuss what he had found out.

"Commander Lann," said McGregor, "are you familiar with the McGregor

"Of course, sir," replied Chris Lann.  "It was one of the most
remarkable use of fighter-bombers in the history of warfare.  General
Robert McGregor led a squadron of Starfuries, launched from White Stars
in low orbit around Sebacea, to attack and destroy the Peacekeeper High
Command headquarters.  They succeeded, and turned the tide of the ISA
invasion of the Peacekeeper territories.  But, what does this have to
do with my original heritage ancestors, sir?"

"General McGregor's second in command," said McGregor, "was an Earth
Force officer by the name of Lt. Commander Joseph Taylor.  Robert
McGregor hand picked him.  Among the officers who flew in the raid was
a Peacekeeper defector named Yalon Marst, who was commissioned as an
Earth Force Junior Lieutenant."

"I remember that," said the younger Aeryn.  "I always found it
fascinating that a Peacekeeper would agree to help McGregor in his
plan.  The history books aren't clear as to why."

"Well, Robert McGregor's memoirs are clear about it," said McGregor.
"The history books have her listed as Yalon Marst.  However, according
to the memoirs, her married name was Yalon Marst-Taylor.  She was Lt.
Commander Joseph Taylor's wife."

"I remember now," said the older Aeryn.  "That's right.  A former
Peacekeeper was married to an Earth Force officer, and they flew in the
raid.  The husband did not come back, though.  Am I right, James?"

"Correct, Aeryn," replied McGregor.  "Lt. Commander Taylor was killed
in the raid.  However, according to Robert McGregor, he left Yalon
Marst-Taylor not only as a widow, but as a PREGNANT widow.  She would
give birth to a daughter, Allison Taylor."

"Are you saying," said Chris, "that Joseph and Yalon Taylor
original heritage ancestors?"

"It looks to be likely," said McGregor.  "To be sure, I have contacted
the Earth Alliance government, and asked for genetic information they
may have on file on Lt. Commander Taylor.  They keep genetic records
for identification.  We can do a DNA comparison to yours.  If there is
any match, then your heritage will have been established."

"Why was there no record of them in the Republic's records?" asked

"Apparently, they were married en route to the raid," said McGregor.
"On one of the White Stars.  Its possible that the ship was later
destroyed, along with any records of the marriage.  We're not sure.
Our family lost track of Yalon and her child.  After Joseph Taylor's
parents died, Yalon took her daughter and went to Sebacea.  Nothing
else is known about them after that."

"How did they meet?" asked the younger Aeryn.

"Well," said McGregor, "apparently, they shot each other down during
the Peacekeeper invasion of the Earth Alliance.  They survived together
on an uninhabited planet, learned to work together.  Their working
agreement turned to mutual respect, from their to friendship, from
their to love.  She defected from the Peacekeepers to be with him."

"Wow," said Lann.  "I never...I never would have thought I would have
found the answer.  My family has been trying for three generations."

"Well," said McGregor, "if the DNA tests prove you are the descendant
of the Taylors, that means that your family is one of the first
SebaceaHuman families, contemporaries with the Rels.  That means you
have the right to claim peerage, and a noble household status.  Your
original heritage ancestors will have their portraits hung in the
Gallery of the Founders.  Finally, Commander Lann, your family will
receive the recognition it deserves."

Chapter 20:  Passing the Torch

It had been a monen since the war with the Scarrens ended with victory
for the SebaceaHuman Republic.  In that time, the lives of Aeryn
Crichton and her love, Christopher Lann, had undergone massive changes.
Chris was able to prove that he was indeed the descendant of Joseph and
Yalon Taylor, and thus a member of one of the first SebaceaHuman
families.  In a ceremony held in the gardens of the capital, he was
granted noble status in the Republic, and the House of Taylor-Lann was
established as one of the now Four Noble Houses of the Republic.  

But for Chris, that was not the most spectacular event of the last
monen.  That had to be marrying Aeryn.  They're wedding was held in
McGregor Park on a bright, sunny day.  Being a noble wedding, thousands
of guests attended to watch the youngest member of the Republic's
oldest family wed the sole member of the newest noble house.  The
SebaceaHuman wedding ceremony was a mixture of Sebacean and Human
wedding customs.  After the wedding, Chris Lann and Aeryn Crichton-Lann
took two weekens for a honeymoon before they were returned to their

Chris took a post at the academy training new fighter pilots.  Aeryn,
in the meantime, secured a promotion to full Lieutenant and was serving
in one of the home defense fighter squadrons.  Today, the two of them
were flying a very important passenger in a shuttle to the orbit of New
Babylon.  In the seat behind them was Aeryn Sun-Crichton, who was being
ferried by her great-great-granddaughter and her husband to a waiting
ship in orbit.  

"We're within visual range now, great-grandmama," said the younger
Aeryn.  The older Aeryn un-strapped herself from her seat and came
forward to see out the shuttle's viewing ports.  Looming larger and
larger in view was a Leviathan ship, sitting in wait for the shuttle to
arrive on board.

"I can't believe it," said Chris.  "I am really going to stand on board
Moya.  I have heard so much about this ship since I was a boy, about
the adventures her crew experienced fighting Peacekeepers, Scarrens,
Nebari, Scorvians, Sheyangs...."

"Please," said the older Aeryn, "I lived those fights, and I don't need
to relive them, Chris.  You almost mentioned old cadaver face."

"Old cadaver face?" ask Chris.

"She means Scorpius," said the younger Aeryn.  "That was my great-
great-grandfather's nickname for him, among others."

"Oh," said Chris.  "We should be docking in a few microts."

The shuttle came into Moya's docking bay, and was captured by the
Leviathan's docking web.  Being guided by the Leviathan, the shuttle
was brought in for a gentle landing on the deck of Moya's docking bay. 
After the bay was pressurized, the three shuttle passengers stepped out
onto the deck of the living ship.  

For cycles, Moya had acted as the Crichton family's personal transport.
The younger Aeryn had been aboard many times over the cycles, ever
since she was a little girl.  She had fond memories of her great-
grandmama playing hide-and-seek with her in the corridors of this ship.
The older Aeryn always won, of course, since she knew Moya like the
back of her hand.  

All Chris Lann could do was stare in wonder as they made their way
through Moya's corridors.  The two women with him just smiled at the
young man's amazement over this seemingly ordinary Leviathan ship.  But
for Chris, like all SebaceaHumans, the name Moya was identified with a

The trio came to Pilot's chamber.  The loyal symbiot of Moya still
worked the controls of his station as he had always done for nearly 150
cycles.  When the older Aeryn beheld the sight, it was as if time had
not passed at all.  She almost expected to turn and see her husband,
John, step into the room right behind them and say "hey, baby."

"Aeryn," said Pilot to Aeryn Sun-Crichton.  "It is so good to see you

The older Aeryn walked over, and placed her hand on Pilot's shoulder.
"And you, Pilot," she said.  "I've missed you."

"Hello, Pilot," said the younger Aeryn, approaching the symbiot's

"Hello, young Aeryn Crichton," said Pilot.  "Moya and I were very
worried about you when we heard you were fighting the Scarrens.  We are
glad you are safe, and congratulate you on your recent marriage."

"Thank you," said the younger Aeryn.  "Allow me to introduce my
husband, Commander Christopher Lann.  Chris, this is Pilot."

Lann approached them.  "Its an honor to meet you, Pilot. You and Moya

"I have rarely heard anyone say they were....honored, to meet ME," said
Pilot.  "Believe me, Commander, the honor is mine.  Both Moya and I
welcome you."

"Thank you, Pilot," said Chris.

"I'll come back and see you later, Pilot," said the older Aeryn.  "I
need to speak with them alone.  Come, Aeryn, Chris...we'll go to the

Several minutes later, the trio found themselves on Moya's amazing
terrace.  The scene that lay before their wondering eyes was a view of
the space around the ship, and the large blue and green form of New
Babylon.  Standing amidst the splendor around them, the older Aeryn
turned to face the young couple.

"Well," she said, "thank you for bringing me."

"Of course," said the younger Aeryn.  "We'll come back for you when you
decide to come home..."

"Aeryn," said the old woman.  "I won't be coming back."

"What?" asked the younger Aeryn with a whisper.  "Why?  I don't

"Aeryn," replied the older Aeryn, "I'm...not coming back to New
Babylon.  I wish to spend my remaining lifetime here on Moya.  This
ship was my home, the home I shared with my husband.  This is the place
I wish to depart this life from."

"But great-grandmama," said the younger Aeryn, "what about you're
family?  You'll much.  Why can't you spend you're remaining
cycles with us?"

"Because I don't have long left to me, dear," said the old woman.  "I
can...feel it, in my blood and in my bones.  I grow...slightly weaker
every day.  I don't want to die in front of my family.  I wish to be
here when I die, to pass in the bed I shared with John.  Until then, I
want to walk these decks and corridors that I once walked with my Moya
family...with John, D'Argo, Zhaan, Chiana, Jool, Stark, Rygel, Jack,
Elana.  It is time for me to go.  And it will be time for me to be with

"How long?" asked Chris.

"Who's to say?" replied the older Aeryn.  "Whatever it is, I will spend
the time in happiness, in anticipation of seeing them all again.
Robert and Jenavia McGregor, Susan Ivanova, my family here on Moya.  My
son, and of course, the only love of my life....John Crichton.   We
spent our time here.  I am proud of all that we achieved, all that we
built, so much of that work done from this ship.  But our time has
past.  It is your time now.  It is for you to build the future."

The two Aeryns embraced each other in a tearful goodbye.  After several
minutes, the younger Aeryn withdrew herself from her great-grandmama's
embrace as her body was wracked with tears.  Chris took her in his
arms.  "What shall we tell your family, Aeryn?" asked Chris.  "The

"The family already knows," replied the old woman.  "I said my goodbyes
to them on the planet.  But I wanted to say goodbye to the two of you
here.  James McGregor will make a public statement tomorrow about my
leaving.  He knows what to do.  Chris, I would ask you to...take good
care of my Aeryn, but...I know I don't have to.  Live together, love
each other, and make each day special.  Because they will never come
again.  Now, go...both of you.  I think we've made our goodbyes."

"Goodbye, Aeryn," said Chris.

"Goodbye, great-grandmama," said the younger Aeryn.

"Goodbye, my dears," said the old woman.

Chris and Aeryn turned and left the older Aeryn standing on the
terrace.  Their last view of her was of the old woman's silhouette
against the stars, and against the planet she helped to build.

Later, after the shuttle departed from Moya and headed back down to New
Babylon, Aeryn came onto Moya's command deck.  It was as if time had
stood still.  She looked around, and saw the other members of Moya's
crew working the consoles, debating whether or not to go down to some
planet.  She saw a moment in the first cycle she knew John, just after
they were rescued from the flax.  John was asking if she was indeed the
female of her species.  Her reply convinced him she was.  

"Not long now, John," she said.  "We will be together again."

Now, the flood of memories was interrupted by Pilot's voice over the
clamshell viewer.  "Aeryn," said Pilot.  "We can leave anytime you are

Aeryn smiled.  "I am ready, Pilot," said Aeryn.  "Take me home to the

The End