Malefactor
(First posted April 3, 2012)
Rating:   R, for sexually suggestive content.  Most of it is innuendo, but enough text is devoted to how a male
body operates that it deserves something more than a PG-13.
Spoilers/Time Frame:  Season 2, not too long after Out Of Their Minds.
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 Drivers:  PKLibrarian, Nette, and shester.   I do not like to post a story without letting them take a look at
it first.  They are always ready to take a first draft out for a spin, with keen eyes watching for errors and
anything that does not ring true or make sense.  Thank you, ladies.  

Starburst Challenge 60 (hosted by vinegardog):  The story should star at least one of our main characters
either lying or being lied to and then being caught in the lie or uncovering the liar.  

I hope you enjoy it.  

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Aeryn Sun wandered into the maintenance bay, thinking more about the recent encounter with the halosians
than about the route she was following toward the hangar.  Her thoughts were elsewhere -- revolving in an
unfocused manner around what they had learned about Crais and his stewardship of Talyn -- as she picked
her way around chunks of electronics from Crichton’s module, leviathan components, testing equipment, and a
veritable dumping ground of tools, cabling, and parts.  It was not until she stumbled over a chunk of metal,
sending it clattering up against the legs of a workbench, that she emerged from her reverie and began paying
more attention to her surroundings.  

“What the frell?”  It was a hushed whisper of disbelief.  She crossed the remaining distance to the prowler at a
run.  

It was not where she had left it.  The ship was parked in the usual place, facing in the correct direction, except it
was half a motra farther to the right than it had been the previous day.  She always set it down in exactly the
same spot.  It had taken half a cycle to determine the best place to leave the prowler; another quarter-cycle
worth of practice before she could guarantee that she could land it in precisely the same place every time she
set it down.  She knew to a half dench how much room she needed to allow so everyone could get around it
without risking a collision or causing damage.  Over the past two cycles her expertise had reached the stage
where, if asked, she could have placed the landing struts on three markers the size of crindars without
conscious effort.  

She circled the craft several times, double-checking its placement, eliminating any possibility that she had been
mistaken.  There was no doubt.  The prowler had been moved, which meant that someone had taken it out of
the leviathan.  No one aboard Moya could have lifted off, moved half a motra to one side, and set down again
without bashing up against a wall or a pillar.  That meant they had exited the hangar and brought it back in.  

“Chiana!”  The nebari was a thief.  Aeryn had caught her attempting to take the prowler on several occasions.  
It was logical to conclude that Chiana had taken the prowler for a flight, undoubtedly to conduct some bit of
legally questionable commerce.      

She went up the ladder in a rush, skipping the first two rungs in her hurry.  The canopy was open, just as she
always left it.  Everything inside the cockpit appeared normal. There were no signs of abuse or damage.  She
leaned in and flipped the power circuits.  Instruments, screens, and readouts came to life.  Every indicator
glowed a reassuring steady-amber.  There were no alerts or failure messages, no blinking notifications warning
of malfunctions.  Everything was where it belonged; no components were missing.  She punched several
controls.  Even the weapons were charged, ready for immediate action in the event that Moya came under
attack.    

“That’s all right then,” she said.  “No one has to die today.”  

Aeryn stepped over the edge of the fuselage into the cockpit and lowered herself into the pilot’s seat.  Her feet
came to rest several denches short of the pedals.  The flight controls were also out of reach.  The evidence
was conclusive; the identity of the culprit easily determined based on the distance between her fingertips and
the controls.  

“Crichton!”   

She was up and out of the prowler’s cockpit in one fluid motion.  Getting down the ladder was a fast easy slide
to the floor.  She crossed the maintenance bay in a straight line, hurtling over the irregularly shaped
obstructions in long strides, and even vaulting over one of the workbenches because it was faster than going
around.  

“Pilot!” she said into her comms as she emerged into the corridor.  “Where is Crichton?”

“Unknown.  There is no sign of him on internal scans.”  

“Best guess?” she said.  “Where should I look for him?”

There was a short pause before he answered.  “I believe you should try his quarters.  None of the DRD’s have
observed him in any of the other areas he usually frequents.”  

“Not only a thief, a frelling lazy useless thief,” she said under her breath.  If the DRD’s had not seen John in the
center chamber or on Command by this time, then there was a good chance he was still sleeping.  

Aeryn slowed to a walk, her headlong charge arrested by a revelation.  She knew where and why John had
taken the prowler.  The thought of him sleeping late had provided the critical piece of information.  Moya had
passed within sensor-range of a planetoid the preceding day.  Smaller than what most species considered the
minimum mass necessary to be considered a planet, yet too large to be termed an asteroid, the entire surface
and a significant area underground was devoted to recreation … with a strong emphasis on recreating.  Pilot’s
queries had revealed an entire economy supported by a single pair of heavily intertwined industries:  relaxation
and frelling.  

Everyone on board had spent several arns debating whether or not it would be safe to linger for a solar day or
two.  John had been uncharacteristically reserved.  He had been in favor of spending several days on the
undersized planet, but he had not argued as vigorously as she would have expected under those
circumstances.  Based on his usual behavior whenever there were females to be frelled or fondled, she had
expected him to be halfway to the planet’s surface before anyone else had time to voice an objection.  Instead,
he had seemed distracted, disinterested in the outcome of the quarrel.  In the end, the discussion had been cut
short by the discovery that there were two Peacekeeper cruisers in orbit.  Their presence had convinced them
to move on.  

It was starting to look as though John had a backup plan in mind from the beginning.    

She finished the journey to Quarters in record time, convinced that she would find him sound asleep after the
night’s activities.  

“Crichton!” she yelled as she rounded the last corner leading to his cell.

“Yo!” he called back immediately, very definitely awake and alert.  He stuck his head out the farther set of doors
leading into his quarters, took one look at her, and began retreating in alarm.  “Uh oh.  What did I do this time?”

She cut in through the first doorway, moving to intercept him.  “You stole my prowler!”

“No way!  I know better than to mess with the Rapier of Death.  You damned near shot me the last time I
touched it.  And just for the record, I am not a thief.”  John was backing away from her, sidling along the storage
shelves.  He rounded a table sitting in the corner, putting it between them, and came to a halt, apparently
satisfied with the flimsy defensive position.    

“You took it,” she said, repeating the accusation.  “Do not lie to me.”

“I’m not lying.  I did not steal your prowler.  What would I do with it if I had?  We haven’t passed a pawn shop in
the last two cycles, and it’s not like I’m going to find a branch of Charlie’s Chop Shop at the next solar system
where I can sell it for parts.”  

“You know what I mean.  I am not talking about stealing it permanently.  You took it and then brought it back.”  
He started to object.  She assumed he was about to offer up another denial, and delivered the killing blow
before he could say anything.  “You forgot to adjust the seat.”  

It showed in his eyes first.  He withdrew for several microts, drawing back mentally, indicating that a hasty
tactical retreat was underway inside his head.  Then his eyes flicked to one side and back.  A moment later,
every bit of skin above his collar turned a mortified shade of red.    

John made a placating gesture, as though he were pushing an object away from his chest with both hands or
was signaling her to stop.  “Okay, I borrowed it for a few arns.”

“You stole it in order to go back to that” -- she searched for an appropriate description for the pleasure-fixated
planet and its population of professional tralks  -- “oversized brothel!”  

“I borrowed it,” he said, more insistently.  “I brought it back exactly the way it was before I took it.  Better in fact!  
I noticed that an energy converter was operating below optimum and adjusted it.  I did not pilfer the prowler, I
repaired it.”

“You snuck into the hangar bay, and you took something that does not belong to you.”

“There was no sneaking involved.  I borrowed, Aeryn.  I borrowed it and brought it back in better condition than
when I took it.”  He was eyeing the distance to the door to the cell.  

Aeryn moved to one side, cutting off any chance of escape.  “Your own ship is capable of travelling that
distance.  Why did you not take your
sogkthaich?”

“My what?”  John rubbed his ear with his thumb.  “That didn’t translate.  Try it again.”

Sogkthaich,” she repeated, this time more slowly.

“Still no luck.  What does it mean?”

She thought for several microts.  It was a difficult concept to define.  Sogkthaich was simply sogkthaich.  Every
Peacekeeper understood the word.  It did not require a description.  She tried anyway.  “When you are in
battle, and a single person is struck by an artillery charge meant to demolish an entire defensive installation, it
is the word for what is left of their body.”

“Spam,” he said.  “Revolting, puke-inducing messy bits.”

“Precisely.”

Comprehension turned to outrage as he linked the definition to her original usage of the word.  “My module is
not spam!” he yelled.  Before she could repeat the accusation, his expression changed.  His features
underwent a subtle series of adjustments that flowed from insight to self-scrutiny to eventual defeat.  “Well …
come to think of it … right now it is.  It’s torn apart.  I’ve got components spread out all over the maintenance
bay.”  

“I wasn’t talking about that,” Aeryn said.

“I know what you think of the module, Aeryn.  Don’t rub it in.  Besides, you answered your own question.  I didn’t
take the module because right now it’s sock-thatch.  I’m in the middle of a rebuild, and I’ve got the entire drive
system torn down to scrapple.”

John was surveying the cell again, this time concentrating on the route to the farther door.  Aeryn propped her
hand on the butt of her pulse pistol, using the implied threat to prevent him from attempting to flee.  “You admit
you stole the prowler.  This is a confession.”  

“No way. Even if I did borrow it,” he said, placing a heavy emphasis on the last two words, “it wasn’t intentional!”  

“Not intentional?  You stole it by accident,” she said.  

“Sort of.  It wasn’t my fault.  I couldn’t --”

“Now it is not your fault.  I suppose D’Argo is responsible for you stealing my --”

“Borrowed,” he said, almost yelling the word.  “I borrowed it.”

“So you are saying that if I took your module out for a quick spin around a solar system without asking you first,
you would not object?”

He did not reply, not in words anyway.  She could see from his reaction that if their circumstances were
reversed, he would object to her requisitioning the module.  Strenuously.  In fact, from the look of discomfort on
his face, she was certain he was admitting to himself that he would be furious.  

“Good.  We have settled that you did not borrow my Prowler.  Whose fault is it that you stole it?  Chiana is a
thief.  Is it her fault?  Or did Rygel force you to do it?  Pilot, perhaps.”  

“No.  It was --”  He made several confused gestures toward the lower half of his body.  

“It was --”  She copied the flailing of his hands.  “Who, John?  Who are you trying to blame?”  

“Willy.  Jake the Snake, Peter the Pecker, Mr. Happy.  You know” -- he pointed toward his fly -- “the little
soldier.  He made me take your prowler.”  

“Your penis made you do it.”

“Yes, fueled by testosterone.”  He seemed to take pride in the absurd claim.  “We’re talking about the male sex
drive here, Aeryn.  Reproduction, passing on our genes, survival of the fittest, all that stuff.  It convinces guys
to do all sorts of stupid things.  You have no idea what it’s like.”

“I’m not sure I want to.”  

“Aeryn, when you load up” -- he gestured toward the front of his pants again -- “the bunker buster with a couple
gallons of high octane hormones, you end up with something that will get a guy out of bed in the middle of the
night, grab the keys, start the car, and drive around hunting for good looking women without any input from his
brain.  It starts fights for no reason, it will convince us that jumping off a cliff is a good idea if it thinks it will
impress a female, and once it gets fixated on the idea that there is even the smallest chance of having sex, it
will follow a woman all the way to Argentina and back.  Imagine waking up at three o’clock in the morning to
discover that one small piece of your anatomy is driving your car around town, looking for pretty girls, all on its
own.  You run out to the store for a gallon of milk, some babe walks by pushing a cart, the small brain decides
that the sway of her hips is saying ‘come hither’ and the next thing you know you’re on a bus headed for
Cleveland.  We’re not always in control of this thing.”

“Seldom,” she said.

“Probably,” he said agreeably.  “Think of it as luxan hyper-rage that’s been reengineered to search for sex.  
We’re totally out of control once it kicks in.  One minute we’re having a polite conversation with our ancient aunt
Thelma, who we can’t imagine has any idea that sex even exists, the next moment the neighbor’s bombshell of
a daughter walks by in a pair of short shorts, and before we know what’s happening --”  He yanked at his belt
with one hand and headed off toward the other side of his quarters in an erratic staggering run, as though
something near his waist was dragging him in that direction.  

“And you claim this is why you took --”

“Borrowed!” he said.

“-- my prowler without asking me first,” she finished.  

“Yes.  I got one look at those chicks in the recordings Pilot showed us and the next thing I knew I was touching
down on the planet wondering how the hell I’d gotten your permission to take it.  I don’t even remember leaving
Moya.”

“Crichton, you are … pathetic.”  

“Of course I’m pathetic.  All guys are pathetic from the instant they hit puberty until the day they die.  It’s part of
what makes us guys.”  

“That is not what I mean.  You are the most pathetic liar I have ever known.  A sebacean entering into the final
stages of the living death could come up with a more believable excuse.  A greeba worm with advanced brain
rot could do better.”  

“Aeryn, I swear --”  

She cut him off.  “Lying is not one of your strong suits, John.  Next time, try telling the truth.  It couldn’t be any
worse than this pile of dren.  Better yet, get your mivonks under control, and” -- she raised her voice to a shout
-- “never touch my prowler again!”  

He raised his hands in surrender.  “Okay, okay!  I promise.  Never again.”  

Aeryn discovered that she had her pulse pistol half out of the holster.  She slammed it back into place, treated
Crichton to a final furious glare, and stalked out of the chamber.  Behind her, she heard what might have been
either a long exhalation of relief or Crichton fainting.  Since the noise was not followed by the sound of his body
hitting the floor, she assumed it was the former.  

She paused at the first junction of passageways, debating how to spend the remainder of the morning.  After
assessing her options for several microts, she turned in the direction of the maintenance bay where she had
been headed earlier.  There was still the periodic maintenance to be performed on the prowler.  There was no
reason to change her plans.  She took several deep breaths and shrugged her shoulders three or four times,
loosening taut muscles, trying to shed the tension that had been building ever since she noticed that the
prowler was in the wrong spot.  The confrontation was over.  Crichton had given in.  She was sure he had
gotten the message she had been trying to convey.  It was time to let go of her anger and attempt to recover
her composure.   

Aeryn thought back to what she had been musing about the first time she entered the maintenance bay.  If she
could recapture that sense of calm and fall back into the same drifting, undirected type of introspection she had
been engaged in at that time, she was certain she would be able to relax.  She had been thinking about the
halosians, and about the effect that a half-cycle’s worth of exposure to Crais’ personality might have had upon
Talyn.  She turned her thoughts in that direction and tried to pick up where she had left off.  

It did not work.  Her thoughts kept sliding off in an unwanted direction.  Time and again, she tried to focus on
how Crais’ personality and Peacekeeper training might be affecting the young ship’s psychological
development; and each time she managed to slide into the almost meditative state of contemplation where she
most often achieved valuable insights, she found herself thinking about her short residence inside Crichton’s
body instead.  She wrenched her thoughts back to Talyn, only to have it happen again.  She lost track of the
junctions and corridors and where she was headed, and seemed to travel back in time.  It was as though the
halosian energy beam had just hit Moya for the second time, ripping her out of Rygel and flinging her across
the short distance to Crichton.

Her first reaction was one of relief that she was no longer inside Rygel’s body.  That lasted for approximately
ten microts.  She knew from the first body transfer that she would need to focus on adjusting to John’s body for
a short time.  There were adaptations to be made.  She had to compensate for a number of differences.  

His hearing was more sensitive to certain frequencies than hers, deaf to others.  It turned out that his eyes
perceived colors differently than a sebacean’s, no doubt due to his substandard vision.  It was as though she
was viewing Moya through a visual filter that was changing the hue of every light and illuminated indicator.  
Getting used to the altered appearance of the displays was critical.  Fortunately, her perception shifted almost
immediately.  It took longer to adjust to the difference in visual perspective due to the increase in her height.  
The distance to the floor appeared greater than what she was accustomed to seeing; familiar objects looked
peculiar or misshapen because they were being viewed from a new angle.  

Crichton’s body was heavier, his arms and legs longer, feet and hands larger, to the point that she expected it
to be intolerably clumsy and awkward.  Several strides had been enough to teach her that its strength more
than compensated for the increase in size.  His body moved gracefully, with an innate balance that was not
easily upset.  Its power caught her by surprise.  She knew -- in a premeditated, logical way -- that longer arms
and legs, thicker bones, and a male’s greater muscle mass would generate greater force.  That knowledge had
been driven into her by cycles worth of combat training, hammered into her awareness by a lifetime’s worth of
impacts against cushioned practice mats.  Experiencing that power first hand approached the level of a spiritual
encounter; classroom knowledge was transformed into an applied form that she could never have imagined.  

She had barely adjusted to those differences when Rygel, who now possessed her own body, stepped close.  
What happened next came as a severe shock.  

John’s body could smell her.  Not the leather that her body wore or the faint odor of chakan oil or the wafting
scent of cleanser drifting from her hair.  She discovered that his body was attuned to the smell of Aeryn Sun.  
The reaction had been intense and thoroughly visceral.  The body she inhabited behaved as though every
tactile receptor had been realigned to pay attention to a single being.  That the consciousness inside the
female body belonged to Rygel had no effect on her borrowed body’s response.  The body standing next to her
remained Aeryn Sun’s and her Crichton-physiology was fully absorbed in the fact that her shoulder was
touching his … to the point of total distraction.  It had taken several microts to regain control of her thoughts.  

Aeryn stopped walking, so deeply immersed in her memories that her feet came to a stop as though that
portion of her body had been cut off from her brain.  At the time, she had attributed her lack of mental focus to
the shock of switching bodies.  In light of John’s recent claims, she was being forced to reconsider that
assumption.  

She recalled how later, once she managed to get away from the others for a short time, she had indulged in
some anatomical exploration.  It had been impossible to avoid it.  John had not been wearing any type of
undergarment that particular day.  She had inherited the body in that condition.  After an arn of walking and
running around Moya, her awareness of the brush of body-warmed leather against various sections of bare
skin had reached the point where she could no longer ignore it.  She had ducked into a vacant cell in search of
some privacy, and had conducted several experiments, trying to avoid anything that he might notice later.  She
had been overwhelmed by the results.  Some outcomes she could have guessed at if there had been time to
think it through in advance -- the rapid culmination of her research, for one.  

The consequence she could not have predicted was the explosive rush of hormones and the effect it had on
her behavior for the next several arns.  It was as though the strength of her emotions had been supercharged;
her reactions to most types of emotional input, no matter how small, had been magnified until they were out of
control.  An alarm or a threat, such as the attack by the halosians, resulted in a level of aggression that she
found difficult to hammer into submission.  Getting anywhere near Rygel was worse.  It had taken every last bit
of mental discipline to keep her mind on their predicament.  The word distraction barely began to describe it.  
By the time she resumed her residence inside her own body, she had no idea how Crichton managed to keep
his mind on much of anything at all.  

Aeryn strode through the door leading to the maintenance bay and came to a halt.  She gazed at the mayhem
strewn from one side of the bay to the other, registering very little of the scenery before her.  Her thoughts
remained fixated on her brief habitation of John’s body, and the urges that had been goaded into a rampage by
the release of male hormones.  It had been like living in a permanently ravenous body, always seeking more,
always ready for another feast of sensations, every waking moment consumed by an overwhelming desire to
pursue sexual satiation.  

She nudged an engine component with the toe of her boot, rocking it gently back and forth several times, and
came to a new conclusion.  

Perhaps John had not been lying after all.


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