|Voices Of Reason
(First posted January 25, 2002)
(Posted with the story when it originally appeared at the SciFi Board.)
Welcome folks. Please excuse me while I bore you with some background, or skip this drivel and head for the
story. Watch out though, it’s LONG.
I had this one lonely idea for just one tiny piece of a story running around in my head for a while, and I posted a
note on the Bulletin Board to try and hand this idea off to one of the established fanfic writers. I’d like to thank
the following fantastic folks for giving me the necessary kick in the butt to start writing my own fiction:
ChianaWannabe, ScapeArtist, Still_Waters, PKAmmoTroop, and JohnsKeedvaBBQ.
Somewhere along the way my orphan idea turned into a mammoth story. If anyone read my Silly Fic “Writers
Block”, you might recognize a thin strand of truth running through it … the story got away from me and kept
growing. Some of the fanfic writers have probably been through this already, but it was new to me. For the rest
of you, the next time you are hatching baby chicks, and one turns out to be a budong, you’ll know how this
I can’t begin to thank my two Beta-readers, ScapeArtist and Imloco2, enough. I hope they recover from this
effort soon, and yes, I‘ll pay for glasses since your eyes have probably gone bad. They generously answered
my call for volunteers (a call from a relative newbie), and they have been right beside me through the entire
process. Aside from their keen eye for errors and good ear for getting the tone of the characters right, they
were critical moral support for someone taking on a piece of work this large for the first time.
The idea of a dormant black hole is not the product of my warped imagination. Theoretical physics have begun
to suggest that some black holes may go through dormant stages where their gravity well simply ceases to
exert force. The finer intricacies are completely beyond me, so I hallucinated the rest of the details.
The single orphaned idea that grew into this monster? What if John’s immune system destroyed his translator
microbes? So this story is about communication.
Hope you enjoy it. Here comes the first part.
* * * * *
VOICES OF REASON
Rating: “F” - for Farscape, but I haven’t exceeded any of the limits that have already been set on the show.
Any profanity or sexual content is presented primarily in Sebacean or Luxan.
Disclaimer: Farscape and all related characters are the creation of, and are owned by, the Jim Henson
Company and the SCI-FI Channel. They are all enormously talented, imaginative, and dedicated people who
will certainly understand that I have no intention of infringing on their ownership or making any profit from their
labors, but only wish to sooth the burning fever of my Farscape dementia. Thank you all for your extraordinary
Time Frame/Spoilers: Abso-frelling-lutely. Plenty. Up to and including “Different Destinations”. This
definitely takes place before “Eat Me” … one Crichton is all I could handle this time around.
Note to the reader: Although this was not the first story to get written and posted, this was the FIRST plot to
spring into my mind. This is where it all really started, and it was in the works during the entire time that I was
also writing all the other stories that preceded this one. I can’t begin to describe what it was like to have this
story come to life on my laptop. It was one heck of an experience.
* * * * *
Somewhere deep in space a killer slept. The black hole had been dormant for many millennia, it’s killing gravity
temporarily suspended. For much of its life the singularity had exercised its massive power without hindrance,
ripping stars apart, turning planets into just so much dust and debris, and distorting one solar system after
another until each one lost its perfect, precarious balance and tumbled its components down into the oblivion.
Civilizations rose and fell; planets slowly cooled, lost their atmosphere and turned to barren rock; species
evolved, achieved sentience, found their way to the stars and traveled far beyond the region where the
destroyer dwelled; and throughout it all the great force continued to consume entire constellations.
It was an unusual killer, spinning like a voracious tornado as it reached out for whatever it could consume, and
that circling momentum gave it a power over space and time which most of its brethren did not exercise. It
wrapped itself in the surrounding magnetic fields, twisting and tightening the energies into cables of spatial and
temporal distortions which spun out from the hub for thousands of metras. The spinning was a miniscule tax on
the beast’s strength, however, and eventually the black hole overreached itself, consuming all the mass within
its vast reach. With each passing century less and less space detritus edged towards it, and the ring of debris
and trapped light circling at the event horizon slowed imperceptibly as the gravity well lost an infinitesimal
amount of its grasp on mass and energy.
The moment finally came when the energy stored there overpowered the grasp of the black hole, and in a nano-
microt the light, mass and energy trapped at the point of no return finally escaped. An explosive flash of light
and heat smashed out through the surrounding area of space, waves of gravity distortion carried much of the
rock and ice away from its prison and the black hole slept.
But it wasn’t dead. It waited, holding a tenuous grasp on almost enough mass and energy to resume its
destructive habits. It slumbered while it waited for the one piece of debris soaring aimlessly through the
galaxies that would chance to fall upon the sleeper and give it the last bit of mass to awaken it once again.
* * * * *
Moya was enjoying a rare opportunity for free flight. All Leviathans enjoyed undirected flight through space,
but rarely took the time to delight in its freedom. They preferred to serve those who lived within them and found
greater satisfaction in carrying them where they bid. But the past eighteen solar days had been quiet ones, a
rarity for Moya and everyone aboard her. Her crew had found a brief period of peace and they were allowing
Moya to chose the route from one star system to the next as they assisted with her repairs, replenished
supplies and resumed what they considered a normal pace and rhythm of life.
The past two cycles since she had escaped from the Peacekeepers had been a nightmarish period of one
violent encounter after another. Her burned tiers were almost healed now, scars thickening into what might
become permanent gnarled cicatrices within her corridors. Not even Moya or her Pilot knew whether those
corridors and chambers would ever fully heal, returning to their lustrous golden glow, nutrients moving beneath
a shimmering surface. Moya sometimes felt that if she were given enough time and rest she might be able to
fully heal, but she tried to shield those feelings from Pilot. She was reluctant to place her own desire for her
hull to return to its original beauty ahead of the needs and desires of her crew, and she didn’t want Pilot to
have to carry the burden of her wishes as well. But in this moment as she dove and swooped through space,
choosing the longest route to the next solar system instead of the shortest, she felt as young and full of life as
she had the first day she had joined with a Pilot and taken her place as a Leviathan transport.
Moya detected a small nebula a short distance out of their way. Her sensors detected that the nebula was full
of energy currents and random gravity patterns, swirling pockets of ions and plasma. In greater amounts,
these would represent a threat to Moya, but in small amounts such as this nebula it would be like a human
diving into a cool pond of water. The diversion would add almost an entire solar day to their journey, and Moya
became unsure whether she was justified in the additional delay just to take a swim, so she sent the sensor
data and an enquiry to her pilot. In the cycles since Pilot had been neurologically joined with Moya, they had
never had the chance to dive into a benign nebula, and his excitement at the opportunity was obvious as he
relayed Moya‘s request to the crew. The answers came back universally in the affirmative, and they altered
course toward a quick Leviathan splash.
* * * * *
John Crichton was lying on the floor of the maintenance bay working on his module. He was trying to repair a
hydraulic fluid leak in the main strut of one of the landing gear, and it wasn’t going particularly well because he
didn’t have the right material to replace the seals. Both arms were almost completely inside the craft, and
leaking hydraulic fluid streaked down both arms and was soaking into an already filthy T-shirt.
As he struggled to stop the leak long enough to get the strut cylinder out of the craft he reflected that the
landing gear had seen a lot of hard use over the last quarter cycle, and even harder abuse before that. No, he
thought severely, he had promised himself he wouldn’t let his thoughts stray back to what had happened then.
He began to sing in order to give himself something else to fix his thoughts on, quietly and just slightly off key at
first, but finding the pitch and falling into a steady baritone.
“In Amsterdam there lived a maid, mark well what I do say,
In Amsterdam there lived a maid, and she was never seen afraid,
I’ll go no more a ro-oavin’ with you fair maid.
A roavin’, a roavin’, since roavins been my roo-eye-in,
I’ll go no more a ro-oavin with you fair maid.”
John was aware that most of the songs he had been singing lately were missing some of the original lyrics, but
he had begun to reconcile himself to that fact that he was never going to remember them, and just filled in the
rhyme as best he could whenever a piece was lost to time and human memory. Okay, some of his variations
weren’t spectacular but creating lyrics was not the usual occupation of an astronaut.
“Her eyes are like two stars so bright, mark well what I do say,
Her eyes are like two stars so bright, her smile is great, her step is light …”
He couldn’t remember when he had begun singing this particular song, but he found it somehow reassuring
lately. It was the one he usually chose when he was feeling relaxed and content. Come to think of it, he
reflected as he continued to work, he couldn’t even remember when he had first learned this song. It might
have been the High School dance when … no, he remembered that night like it had happened yesterday.
He continued to sing and struggle with the module as he ran through memories of his college and post-
graduate days, trying to remember when he had learned the lyrics to this old tune and why it seemed to have
so much significance to him. “ … Her cheeks are like the rosebuds red, there’s gorgeous hair upon her head,
I’ll go no more a ro-oavin’ with you fair maid…”
The recent lull in the usual frantic - or was that frenetic? - pace aboard Moya had given everyone on board,
including Pilot and Moya, some greatly needed rest.
‘Rest and revitalize,’ John mused as one end of the strut finally came loose and the module settled slightly as its
weight came down onto the shipping cases John had carefully placed under its fuselage before starting his
repairs. He glanced above his head from his place on the floor to make sure the module was resting securely
before he resumed his struggle to detach the other end of the strut. ‘Rest, revitalize, shop, do laundry, clean
my bedroom, take out the trash, and change the shocks in the car,’ he smiled. Sometimes life on Moya wasn’t
really all that different from the life he had on Earth.
“…since roavins been my roo-eye-in, I’ll go no more a ro-oavin with you fair maid.” The entire strut came loose
in a shower of hydraulic fluid, soaking the once gray T-shirt and dumping most of the liquid in the crotch of his
decrepit black fatigues. He sat up and looked at the mess with a combined expression of humor and disgust. It
was then that he saw the pair of boots standing only inches away from his own feet and looked up at the not
quite glowering face of Aeryn Sun.
“Crichton, you seem to delight in getting absolutely, impossibly filthy … and this time you have outdone
yourself,” she said, but there seemed to be something in her expression that did not agree with the severity of
John got to his feet, carefully keeping the strut upright in order to preserve what little hydraulic fluid remained
inside. He crab walked sideways toward her, hoping he was doing a brilliant Igor imitation, which Aeryn wouldn‘t
understand anyway but felt good. “Give us a hug?”
Aeryn clicked her tongue, managing a derogatory noise, and backed away. “We gave up trying to call you for
Midday Meal,” she refused to call it by his term of ‘lunch’. Looking him over, she did not see what she was
looking for, “Of course, Rygel gave up sooner than the rest of us. Why aren’t you wearing your comms?”
As an answer Crichton just continued to hold his arms open and advanced toward her. “Give us a hug? A nice
warm slippery messy hug? I left my comms over on the work bench for OBVIOUS reasons, but I forgot, you‘re
not a tech worker! You couldn‘t see that this was a Don‘t-Wear-Your-Comms kind of a job.”
Aeryn continued to back across the hangar bay, filled with a familiar sense of being unarmed against John‘s
sillier behaviors. Frowning, she searched for a humorous response to what was obviously an attempt at
teasing her. She finally tried, “Don‘t make me shoot you John!“ and made a show of reaching for her pulse
John did laugh and stopped his advance, walking over to a workbench instead where he carefully tipped the
remaining fluid out of the cylinder in his hand and into a container. He looked back at his module and realized
that there was a slick of hydraulic fluid starting to spread outwards from where he had been working. He found
his comms where he had left it on the workbench.
“Yes John,” came the calm voice.
“I made a rather large …” He paused as Aeryn made a snorting noise. “… OK, I made a, umm, Crichtonesquely
large mess in the maintenance bay.” He looked to see if she approved of his term. “Could you send a couple
of DRDs down to clean this up, please?”
Yes, Commander.” The response was slower and had Pilot’s ’oppressed’ drawl wrapped around it. “I’ll have
two DRDs report to clean up after you immediately.”
“Thank you Pilot. Oh, and can you have them …”
“I’ll have them save as much of your module’s fluids as is possible.”
“Aeryn, I’ll get cleaned up and then come scrounge for some leftovers. What did you have to eat?”
“Actually,” she paused as they walked out of the hangar. “I was waiting to eat with you. But you have to go
take a shower first,” she added hastily before he could turn back from the corridor that led to Quarters.
“Come up and chat while I get changed?”
Aeryn nodded her assent and they began to walk through Moya’s golden corridors, not needing to talk for a bit,
but being satisfied to be together and just listening to the rhythmic sounds of Moya’s systems. The steady beat
of the bio-mechanoid life form’s various rumbles were reassuring to those who lived within her now.
Finally Aeryn asked, “What was that song you were singing? It sounded familiar, almost as if it were a song I
heard when I was growing up.”
“Peacekeeper Glee Club? I never suspected!” He changed his tone quickly when she glared at him with the
expression she normally saved for when she couldn’t understand his human terms. “I don’t really remember
where I learned that song myself, it just popped into my head on its own a quarter cycle or more ago. I … like
it.” He shrugged, not knowing what else to say.
“So do I … but what is “roo-eye-in?”
“Ruin, Aeryn, it’s just ‘ruin’ stretched out to give the song some extra bounce.”
“Oh really, I supposed that’s another Earth thing? Just changing words because you can’t find the right one in
order to rhyme?”
John didn’t rise to the taunt and remained careful about keeping the tone of the conversation light as they
moved up through Moya’s tiers to where their personal chambers were located. Aeryn had been in an
especially volatile mood ever since they returned from the commerce planet the day before, and he was
relieved that she had made the gesture of waiting to eat until they were together. He knew from experience
how long it took Aeryn to work through being angry with him, and this time it looked like they were running well
ahead of schedule.
“How have you been feeling today? Do you still have a headache?” she asked after several more microts of
silence between them.
“Not nearly as bad as it was this morning,” Crichton answered, and held the heels of both hands to his temples,
testing to see if any portion of the headache remained. “That zucchini plant that I got from you to chew on …”
“The Zeccan plant that Zhaan gave ME to chew,” Aeryn interjected, seeming again to be on the verge of
‘What the frell did I just say?’ Crichton thought, baffled by Aeryn’s sudden change in mood. Maybe they
weren’t that far ahead of schedule after all. “Yes, the Zeccan that Zhaan gave to you and you let me have is
helping.” They had reached Crichton’s quarters and he led the way into the converted prison cell, pulling his
shirt off as he entered. He held the filthy shirt out in front of him and tried to decide if it was worth trying to save
it. It was just a gray T-shirt, but it had come from Earth and it was a tie to home. Before he could make up his
mind, Aeryn stepped from behind him, grabbed the shirt and tossed it accurately into the waste chute .
“Aeryn!” Crichton’s cry of criticism and protest was cut short when she continued her aggressive stride right
out the door and disappeared down the corridor.
“Now what the heck set that off?” He stood motionless for several microts, baffled by what had just occurred.
As he mentally reviewed everything that had transpired since he noticed Aeryn in the maintenance bay, he
gently touched both his ears. “I don’t have the fish!” he spoke to himself, and still had no idea why Aeryn had
been so obviously upset. He considered running after her for only a moment, but recognized that Aeryn was
not in the kind of mood to be convinced to talk to him.
The sudden return of the throbbing headache that had been plaguing him since yesterday didn’t help his
musings, and he finally gave up in resignation. ‘I am NEVER going to understand these people,’ ran through
his mind for perhaps the hundredth time this cycle. The headache was upsetting his stomach now, and he had
begun to ache all over so he opted to take a shower and just try and relax for the rest of the day. He suddenly
didn’t feel hungry at all. It just wasn’t turning out to be a particularly good day … again.
As Aeryn hurried away from Crichton’s quarters she was not angry, she was ashamed, and she struggled to
control an emotion with which she still had very little experience. When John had pressed his hands to the
sides of his head she had seen that both arms were heavily bruised from wrist to shoulder and she had felt the
first lurch of guilt.
‘I should have been there to prevent those bruises,’ rang again and again in her mind. Then he had taken off
his shirt, something he had done dozens of times since they had both come on board. Only this time his torso
was mottled with the same deep bruises as his arms, wide crimson patches already deepening to heavy purple
and black and spreading as the bleeding beneath the skin finally came to a stop.
Aeryn’s sense of responsibility went deeper than John’s injuries, and as she struggled to control her emotions,
they twisted and mutated into anger at John for being part of the reason she felt this way. ‘Everything was fine
until we went down to that wretched commerce planet yesterday,’ she thought vehemently. ‘If we had just
stayed on board and done our bartering by transmissions instead of going down to that frelling rock, nothing
would have happened!’
* * * * *
Captain Zaisar Hasman stood behind Pilot Officer Dai Ekron as the Marauder he commanded swept through
another vector in the search pattern they were flying. He watched the tactical schematic console that displayed
the movements of the small squadron that had been tracing a methodical search pattern through this portion of
the galaxy for nine solar days.
The group of ships consisted of Hasman’s Marauder, four Prowlers and a Vigilante light cruiser acting in the
capacity of Command Vessel, and after nine days it wasn’t unreasonable to expect that the crews might be
fatigued and starting to lose focus by now. But Captain Hasman had drilled his crew relentlessly when he took
command, and there was no diminished performance on board HIS ship. He did not feel pleasure as he
observed the flawless performance of his men. It was simply the minimum standard that he always expected of
himself and his crew.
High Command had dispatched the minimum task force to follow up on reports concerning an escaped
Leviathan prison transport and its offspring. The group had quickly verified that the Leviathan had been in
orbit around two of the planets in this sector at some time during the last quarter cycle, and began their
painstaking search, hoping that when they located it, they would also locate the hybrid gunship offspring as
Hasman hadn‘t been given much more information when he received his orders, but he had heard a rumor that
both ships carried Peacekeeper traitors. ‘Traitors,’ he thought. ‘How is it that anyone reaching officer rank in
the Peacekeepers would ever consider turning their backs on us? I will not allow these abominations to
continue to run free, spreading their abhorrent disorder wherever they go.’
High Command’s orders concerning the two ships had been unequivocal and more detailed. They were to
capture the gunship offspring and bring it back no matter what the cost. Even the destruction of the female
Leviathan that had given birth to it was considered an acceptable price to pay, provided that its destruction led
directly to the capture of the young ship. Female Leviathans capable of reproducing they had plenty of, but the
genetic research that had successfully produced that hybrid were irreplaceable. Personnel aboard the two
fugitive ships were expendable without exception. Hasman shifted his stance as he reflected on their task, but
otherwise remained quiet and still, allowing his crew to carry out their duties without interruption.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *