(First posted September 18, 2003)
Please allow me a little bit of “what sort of insanity is running around Crash’s brain today” before we get
In 1982, a gentleman by the name of Larry Walters, who may have partaken of more magic mushrooms than
I’ve ever consumed, chose to attach 42 helium weather balloons to a Sears aluminum lawnchair, and went for a
short flight. He was hoping to drift to a height of 30 feet where he could spend a leisurely afternoon surveying
his neighborhood. Armed with some sandwiches, a few beers, and a pellet gun to shoot out the balloons (in
order to descend), he soared to a height of 16,000 feet, and over the course of the afternoon, drifted through
one of the primary approach corridors for LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). Just for the record, LAX is
the third busiest airport in the WORLD!!! (This ain’t my warped imagination, folks … it really did happen.)
I’ve always wondered how many flight crews saw this guy floating along, and chose NOT to report it to ATC
because they assumed they would be declared mentally unhinged. I don’t bother theorizing about what was
going on in Larry Walter’s mind that day (I’m assuming not much), but I would have loved to hear some of the
discussions in those cockpits before someone finally had the guts to tell ATC they’d just gone by a guy in a
Put a Farscape twist on it … and you get this little offering.
Hope you enjoy it.
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Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit.
Spoilers: Nope. Takes place sometime after Twice Shy, probably near the end of Season 4, but it doesn’t
really matter too much.
Beta-readers: Nope. All my fault this time. I respect my beta-readers too much to share the blame for this
* * * * *
Aeryn Sun edged around the corner and eased through the door to Crichton’s quarters incrementally, trying
not to interrupt the argument raging inside. The converted cell, normally tidy although more disorganized than
her own militarily squared away quarters, was a shambles. Books, video tapes, clothing, toys, and a hoard of
unidentifiable items that John hadn’t had time to explain to her yet, were strewn across the room. D’Argo stood
near the shelves, batting away items as they sailed at him, looking as though he was getting closer to hyper-
rage with every passing microt.
“Crichton!” he tried to get the energized figure in the corner to pay attention. What looked like a replica of
John’s childhood pet, Mr. Jingles, arced toward D’Argo. The creature cried out as he caught it, and the warrior
dropped it in haste as it continued to make a plaintive mewling sound. It bounced once and skittered under the
bed, finally ceasing its call after four more distressed cries.
“CRICHTON!” D’Argo bellowed.
“It’s here. I saw it yesterday. I’m going to prove to you that I’m right.” John kicked a stack of clothing to one
side, increasing the clutter, and began rummaging in a large box. “Don’t tell me I’m full of dren and then expect
me to just take it lying down! Bullshit! It’s there, and I’m going to show you it’s there.”
“John, you are not going to --” Aeryn said carefully from her vantage point in the doorway.
“Got it!” Crichton emerged triumphantly from the carton, holding a blue and yellow object. “Pilot, can you put
an inertial field around a portion of Moya’s hull near the treblin side hatch on Tier Four? Not too much -- just so
Benedict D’Arnold here doesn’t come unstuck?”
“Yes, Crichton,” came a slow, aggravated answer. “Moya is not inclined to expend the energy necessary to
provide a layer of atmosphere, however.”
“Don’t need it! I can do this in a suit.” John grabbed the stuffed kitten from its resting place beneath the bed,
gave it a squeeze to set it to meowing, and tossed it in Aeryn’s direction with a grin. “Want to come? This
should be fun.”
“The last time you went out there without a safety line, I watched you disappear into a wormhole,” she objected.
“You’re not going to try --”
“That again?” he finished, interrupting her objection. “Hell no. That’s what this is for.” He tossed the object in
the air several times, catching it easily in one hand. “Come on. Get your suit.”
Less than a quarter arn later they stood on Moya’s hull, staring into the apparent emptiness of deep space.
The leviathan was drifting under the last small vestiges of momentum, her drive systems silent, using the peace
of this void between galaxies to get some much needed rest.
“John, use a safety line,” Aeryn urged for the fourth time. “There’s hardly any force holding us down.” She
gave a small shrug with her shoulders to demonstrate, and bounded nearly a full motra off the hull before
slowly settling back into place beside him. “Stop being a drenhead about this, and tie yourself off.”
Crichton turned to look at her, then moved closer, touching his faceplate against hers so he could see into her
helmet. There was a small smile there, a lurking hint of humor over what he was proposing to do, and an
enormous level of concern for his safety.
“Okay, hook me up,” he conceded. He turned his back to her and waited while she clipped the line to the
harness of his suit. A slap against his shoulder told him when she was done, and he stepped away from the
waiting pair, giving himself some room. “The home town hero steps up to the line,” he began chanting, “he
takes the snap, drops back looking for a receiver.” He danced back several steps as he continued his spiel,
bounding off the hull in null-gravity slow motion with each small movement. “He’s open, he’s near the end zone,
the quarterback goes long!!!”
Crichton’s arm snapped forward, hurling the colorful object into space. It hesitated for a split microt as it
crossed the boundary of the inertial field Moya was generating, then seemed to accelerate, spinning gaily as it
sailed into the dark. The trio waited, staring in the direction where it had disappeared. Microts ticked by.
“I told you,” D’Argo growled triumphantly beside him.
“Wait for it.”
“I’m sorry, John, but D’Argo’s right. It’s not there,” Aeryn said quietly. She leaned into his shoulder, trying to
offer some comfort through their suits.
Nearly a metra away, light flickered, pulsed, pulled into a snarling vortex. A wormhole lit the perpetual night sky,
sucked in Crichton’s offering, devoured it as though swallowing nothing more than a mote, and winked out of
“TOUCHDOWN!” Crichton yelled, jumping into the vacuum. “And the crowd goes wild!!!” This leap took him to
the full extent of his tether. Aeryn shook her head at the triumphant crowing, and began reeling him in, ignoring
the celebration going on far above her head.
“I told you it was there! I can smell them!” Crichton continued to gloat.
“He’s going to be unbearable for days,” D’Argo said quietly to Aeryn as she pulled on the cable. “What would it
take to get you to leave him out there?”
“Not much,” she agreed, and gave the line another tug anyway.
* * * * *
“We have to tell them how this happened.”
Two men in the standard, bulky IASA-issued EVA-suits floated above the damaged solar panel, staring
dispiritedly at the foot-wide hole in the delicate film.
“No, we don’t. All we have to tell Canaveral is that it’s damaged. We came out here and found it this way.
That’s all they need to know.”
“But that’s not the truth. You saw it happen, and so did I,” the first one protested. “Don’t you think they should
know what we saw?”
His partner braced a hand against the panel’s framework, using the leverage to rotate his body so he could
look into the other man’s eyes. “You’re proposing to call Mission Control, and tell them that a blue and yellow
Nerf football appeared out of nowhere, punched through the panel, and disappeared toward Mars, have I got
The suit intercoms remained silent for several seconds.
“We came out here and found it this way,” the astronaut agreed. “No idea how it happened.”
“That’s what I though you said.”
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