When Fates Collide
(First posted November 15, 2009 )
Rating:  G.
Time Frame:  Premiere.
Disclaimer:  The characters and universe of Farscape are the property of the Henson Co.  I have not made
any profit off this tale, and I am giving the characters back the way I found them.
Test Driver:  PKLibrarian, as always.  She rocks when it comes to test driving a story, catching mistakes, and
burning me in effigy when I write a story like this.

Starburst Challenge 34 (hosted by ScorpSik):  TOAST!!  The topic is death; specifically, the death of your
most beloved character.  Stipulation:  Their death must occur at some point during canon.  

Genesis:  When I read ScorpSik’s challenge, there was no question who had to die.  The only decision left to
be made was
WHEN I should kill him off.  To quote Shakespeare:  “If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere
well it were done quickly".

I hope you enjoy it ... as much as you can enjoy any story where I have to kill off my favorite character.

*  *  *  *  *

“What is the matter with you --”

The orange-clad intruder pauses, looking perplexed, and in that instant whatever he had intended to say is
forever lost to a snarl and the sharp impact of flesh against flesh.  The luxan’s tongue lashes out, hitting him
squarely on the back of the neck.  He turns, looking even more astonished than before, and then staggers to
one side, coughing and struggling for breath, fingers tearing at his throat and the front of his jumpsuit.  

“What have you done?” the delvian asks.  She takes one step forward then backs away as the stranger first
drops to his knees and then keels over sideways onto the floor.  

“I tongued him,” the luxan says.  “He will be fine in a couple of arns.”

“This does not resemble a tonguing.  What did you do to him?”  She sinks to her knees, leaving a
precautionary two motras between her and the kicking, convulsing figure.  

“Idiot luxan!” the hynerian says.  “We might have been able to use him to bargain with the Peacekeepers.”

“I tongued him!” the luxan yells.  “All it does it knock him out.”  

“Does this look like it’s knocking him out?” the hynerian says.  “He is behaving more like a vacuum damaged
greebah worm than an unconscious Peacekeeper.”  

The bucking and flailing accelerates.  Fingernails dig into the purplish, congested skin of his throat, scoring the
flesh.  He draws blood.  One foot kicks out repeatedly, scribing a series of dark arcs on the golden floor.  As
they watch, the frenzied attempts to draw a breath increase to a crazed level, and then begin to slacken.  He is
dying.  

“Histaminic reaction,” the delvian says all of a sudden.  She rises gracefully to her feet, watching their prisoner
with dispassionate interest.

“What?” the luxan says.  

“I believe this is a histaminic reaction.”  She looks back and forth between the luxan and the hynerian several
times, noting the blank stares, and tries again.  “He is allergic to the toxin.  This is a massive allergic reaction.”

“Can you save him?” the hynerian asks.  “He may still be of some value, even if damaged.”

“When is a Peacekeeper ever of value?” the luxan says with a furious snarl.  “Let alone one that has some sort
of genetic deficiency that renders him susceptible to death from a tonguing?”

The figure on the floor lets out an agonized sounding gargle, one heel beats out a brief frantic tattoo against
the metallic floor plating, and he is still at last.  After all his thrashing about, the peace is a relief.

“Too late.  He’s dead,” she says.  

All three gaze at the still body, each person’s inner thoughts and reflections tucked securely out of sight from
the others.  The silence does not last long.  

“Attention!”  An image of the leviathan’s pilot appears in the clamshell.  “One Prowler has traveled with us
through starburst!”  

The delvian is the first to digest the bad news.  “Pilot, why did you not report this the moment we came out of
starburst?”

“Moya’s sensors were … adversely affected,” he says, looking inexplicably embarrassed.  “We did not realize
that the Prowler had followed us until now.  Its engines seem to be disabled, however.  For the moment, it is
drifting.”  

“Block its radio, net it, and bring it aboard,” the luxan says.  

“We can do neither.  Nearly all of Moya’s external transmitter components were damaged during the attack, as
well as the docking web.”  

The luxan and the delvian stare at each other, increasing levels of shock and dismay showing with each
passing microt.  

“They will find us,” she says in a whisper.  “The Peacekeepers will find us and they will execute us.  They
cannot afford to let us live now that we have managed to escape.”  

“Starburst!” the hynerian orders.  “Starburst immediately, Pilot!”

“We cannot.  Moya will not be able to starburst again for at least several arns.”  The Pilot pauses, and then
delivers more bad news.  “The Prowler is attempting to establish contact with the command carrier.”  

“Ram it!” the luxan says.  “Ram the Prowler.  Destroy it.”

“Moya could be injured!  The Prowler’s mass is more than sufficient to damage her hull!”

“Pilot!” the luxan bellows.  He hammers on one of the consoles with both fists, smashing flesh against unyielding
mechanoid plating, venting his fury in time with his words.  “I order you to ram the Prowler.  Do it now!  Ram it,
or do you want to see your precious Moya wearing a control collar again?”

“Ram it!” the hynerian calls, adding his voice to the increasingly strident demands.  

“Pilot, you must ram the Prowler,” the delvian says.  “It is our only hope of stopping that transmission and
maintaining our freedom.”  

“Accelerating … now,” the Pilot says.  

The three escaped prisoners watch the forward view portal with varying mixtures of dread and hope in their
expressions, watch as the drifting Prowler grows from a minute speck in the distance to an easily discerned
rapier shape against the darker black of space and then quickly expands to take up the entire forward view
portal.  The floor beneath their feet shudders for an instant, and it is over.  

“Pilot, report,” the delvian says.  

“The cockpit of the Prowler has been torn loose from the rest of the hull.  There are no transmissions” -- he
pauses to consult his readouts -- “and no signs of life.  The pilot was not able to establish contact with the
command carrier before the impact.”  

“Then we are free,” the delvian breathes.  

“Free,” the luxan agrees, straightening up from one of the Command consoles.  

“Free!  Free!”  The hynerian chortles, guffaws, and then sails out of Command, bellowing out the word “Free!”
every few microts.  The jubilant shouts fade off into the distance.  

“I will jettison this waste,” the luxan says, gesturing at the body lying to one side.  “After that we can decide
where the Peacekeepers might be least likely to hunt for us.”

The delvian nods, and turns toward the clamshell, focusing her attention on the next stage of their escape.  
“Pilot, does Moya know where we are?”

“Of course!  We are … some place else.  I will … get back to you on the specifics.”

*  *  *  *  *

The remnants of the Prowler are a gradually migrating cloud of space debris.  Set in motion by the departure of
the leviathan, the myriad bits travel together as a group, a school of inanimate metallic fragments, winking and
shining dully as they move from one beam of faint starlight to the next.  The pilot’s body, exercising one of the
inexplicable quirks of mass and velocity, takes up a different trajectory, setting off on a slow and solitary
interstellar pilgrimage, headed toward deepest unoccupied space.  

Her helmet is gone.  It was torn loose in the collision with the leviathan.  Her death was a quick one due to
explosive decompression.  There is no outward sign of the internal devastation.  There is no blood, no cuts or
bruises; only unnaturally pale skin framed by lustrous black hair.  If it was not for the tiny ice crystals already
forming on her skin, she might just as easily have been sleeping.  She drifts, silent and uncaring, headed away
from Peacekeeper controlled space.  

Another equally still figure approaches.  The stranger, the dark swelling around his throat reduced to pale
normalcy by the cold and the vacuum, sails toward her.  He was set on his journey by the luxan, flung out of a
pressure hatch shortly before the leviathan engaged its hetch drive and disappeared into the eternal night.  
Chance brings them together for an instant.  They collide, perform a slow-motion pirouette, realigning their
separate directions of travel, pause for a moment as if to offer a silent apology for bumping into each other,
and continue on their way.  

An orange wrist strap, dangling loose, catches on her chest plate.  They strain in opposite directions,
momentum to its best to tear them apart, and then they slowly recoil into each others arms.  A bump, a
rebound, a gradual separation that takes them away from each other to the full extent of his reach, and once
more they return.  His free arm curls protectively around her body.  It becomes entangled in the breather gear
near her waist.  Boot catches boot; a slender gloved hand eases behind him, further merging their bodies;
another of the dangling straps on his jumpsuit weaves its way into the maze of her harness.  Her head comes to
rest on his shoulder; his leans down so his cheek is pressed against the dark hair.  

Ice crystals build.  The final exhalations of their bodies, the final bit of moisture offered up to the cold emptiness
of space, settles around them and freezes, melding them into a single entity for all time.  Stars spring into life,
burn brightly for eons, give off one last burst of energy to signal their impending demise, and go dark.  
Civilizations rise, flourish, overreach themselves, and descend into ruin.  Species evolve, gain dominance, and
disappear.  The galaxies spin inexorably.  And through it all, John Crichton and Aeryn Sun continue their slow
silent journey, together forever.


                                                                         * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
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