Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: PG-13

Author's note: This was written as a birthday story for Rita. Thanks for always being there, babe. Love you.

He shook his head and backed up until his back bumped against the wall. "No! Na-ah! This isn't happening! You're not real! You're dead!"

"Am I now?" Scorpius regarded his gloved fingers with slight indifference, his tone thick with sarcasm.

John just stared at him, unable to comprehend that the bastard was back from the dead. "What the hell does it take to kill you?" he nearly whispered.

Scorpius looked up and smiled benevolently. "More than you can do, my friend," he said and then waved his guards forward. "Be gentle with him. I need him alive and in one piece."

John was not the type of man to go quietly and he proved that by attacking the guards, well aware that he was outnumbered ten to one; not good odds under the best of circumstances.

He managed to deck two guards before the rest pinned him against the wall, disarmed him and handcuffed him. But that didn't stop him from fighting back. He rammed a shoulder into one guard and kicked out at another, incapacitating both.

And he was actually beginning to think he might have a fighting chance when a gloved hand closed around his throat and effortlessly raised him up off the floor. With his air supply cut off, the fight quickly left him while the fear grew and took its place.

Scorpius regarded him with nothing short of a scientist's curious stare. John felt like a bug under a microscope and assumed he was going to be pinned to a piece of cardboard any minute.

"Yours is a remarkable species, John Crichton," Scorpius said and there was a certain measure of admiration in his tone. "You are willing to fight until the end even though you are outnumbered and have no way of escape. I am impressed. I admit that," the half breed added, still with that smile on his lips. "But alas, there is a time for play and there is a time for work. Playtime is over, John. Now it's time to work." Scorpius set him down almost gently, but did not release his throat. The half breed's eyes shifted to his guards while he kept on smiling. "Take him to the carrier and prepare him for the chair. There is so much that he has yet to show me," he added.

The guards rallied around John and got a secure grip on him and only then did Scorpius release him. John hauled in a lung full of air and then coughed before he focused angrily on the half breed. "You get nothing from me, Scorpius," he snarled. The guards began to drag him away, but he twisted around halfway and looked back at Scorpius. "NOTHING! DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU GET NOTHING FROM ME!"


Scorpius eyed his somewhat tattered right hand glove for a microt, then sighed a little dramatically and turned toward Braca, who was standing at attention nearby. "I've changed my mind, Lieutenant," he said, his tone almost bored. "The chair did not give me what I wanted before and I have the feeling that Crichton has grown stronger since I saw him last." He pulled lightly at the tattered glove. "Perhaps ... the old fashioned way is more effective. What are your thoughts, Lieutenant?"

Braca smirked. "I believe you are right. The old fashioned methods, although crude by comparison to you genius invention, are still very reliable," he agreed.

Scorpius smiled. "Of course they are," he said. "Of course they are."


John struggled against the guards and felt a certain amount of satisfaction at all the bruises he was giving them by tripping them or driving them into the walls as they walked, but he also knew what waited ahead of him and it took almost all of his willpower to not beg for mercy. The memories of the chair were still vivid in his mind.

He had no desire to get reacquainted with that hellish contraption. But no matter how he fought them, the guards maintained a steady grip on him and dragged him along toward his doom.

The marauder took him from the commerce planet where he had been caught to the carrier he would probably end his life on and once it settled down, there were a hell of a lot more guards to drag him along. He could maybe fight off ten, but not fifty thousand.

Once the marauder was behind them, the guards released him to walk on his own, but made sure to goad him forward by shoving him in the back or jabbing the muzzles of their pulse rifles against him as well. In the end, he would have as many and more bruises as any of them.

They turned a corner and he could see the Aurora chair looming in its room up ahead. The mere sight of that thing made him slow down and panic rise in him like stagnant water from a stale well, but the guards did not allow him to linger or escape. They herded him forward, shoving and pulling him toward a destiny he was none too keen on.

But then they changed course. His immediate response when they dragged him down a side corridor away from the chair was relief. But then it hit him that Scorpius did want him to spill the beans and would do whatever it took to get him to that point. If he wasn't going to use the chair, what else could he have in store for him?

This was a question that was soon to be answered when one of the guards opened a door to a room and they shoved him inside and then followed him in. John stopped dead in his tracks while his mind refused to process what his eyes were seeing.

The room reminded him of a medieval torture chamber set up in modern surroundings. The chair was not wooden but rather a shiny metal. The restraints were not old, sweated through leather straps but rather metal clamps. And the instruments spread out over the small table standing near the chair were not old, rusty iron gadgets, but rather shiny steel and all quite obviously new.

But that did nothing to undermine the feeling that he had stepped into an ancient torture chamber.

His joints froze and his mind locked. He could not accept this as something that would happen to him. Even after all he had been through, this was not something they did to people in this universe. "What the hell is this? A joke?" he asked and glanced around at them. Nobody deign to answer him. Instead they forced his jacket off him and strapped him into the chair without a word.

And then they left him. Nobody said anything; nobody explained anything. They just strapped him in like a Christmas ham and then left him there with the full view of the instruments on the table. There were pliers and knives and what looked like injectors. There were gadgets that looked like corkscrews and other things he couldn't even guess at.

As the seconds ticked by, his breathing became a little erratic while cold sweat broke out all over his body. He flexed his fingers, barely able to move his hands at all. For a moment, he closed his eyes and hoped against hope that this was just a bad dream, that he was just having another frigging nightmare. But when he opened his lids again, he was still in the chamber of horrors.

'Oh God, this isn't happening', he thought and swallowed hard.

"Comfortable?" a voice asked from behind him.

He tried to twist around to face Scorpius, but couldn't move his head either. There were clamps around his upper arms, his lower arms, his chest, his waist, his thighs, his shins, his ankles, his neck and his brow. There was no way in hell that he would be able to avoid anything that freak would do to him.

Scorpius stepped around the chair, one hand resting on the back of it and eyed John with nothing short of the friendliest expression he could muster. Under other circumstances, John would have dubbed him the friendly monster, but right now 'monster' was all that came to mind.

"What the fuck do you want from me?" he snapped. "It's not like I'm going to give you anything, you know. No matter what you do to me," he added, spitting the words out with enough venom to discourage most. But Scorpius was not easily discouraged. His expression remained friendly and he kept on smiling benevolently.

"Oh John," he sighed, released the back of the chair and stepped up to the table of tools. "You know what I want from you," he added and glanced back at him with an understanding smile on his lips. "The question is not 'if' you will tell me, but 'when' you will tell me." The half breed meshed his fingers together and eyed the assorted tools for a moment. Then he turned back to face John, his expression a little more serious, yet still relaxed. "Where should we begin?"

John glanced at the tools, then back at Scorpius and suddenly felt the intense need to laugh. This situation was so damned ridiculous that it had to be a joke. Scorpy had probably grabbed the information of this sort of torture session from John's mind when he'd tortured him previously and was doing this to scare him. He could not retain the smile the spread over his lips and knew it was fueled by desperation. "How the hell are you going to get anything out of me if you torture me?" he asked and started to chuckle. "You think I'm gonna give you the formula for wormholes here?" He started laughing, couldn't stop himself. He knew he was near hysteria, knew that Scorpius was capable of using these tools on him and hurt him real bad, and still he could not stop laughing. He laughed so hard, tears formed in his eyes and spilled down his face. "You're insane," he laughed, "totally and utterly insane."

Scorpius seemed amused by his laughter and merely stood there and watched him, patient as all hell. "There is a thin line between a genius and a madman, John," he said and steepled his fingers. "I do not particularly consider myself to be either."

John's laughter tapered off and he sniffed helplessly. "Wormholes are complex, Scorpy; much more complex than you could ever know. If you torture me to get at them, you won't get shit. I don't do pain very well. I won't be coherent."

Scorpius eyed him thoughtfully and let his hands drop. "Are you suggesting a compromise?" he asked.

John snorted and chuckled under his breath. "A compromise? No, grasshopper. I'm not giving you shit. I'm just telling you how it goes."

Apparently, Scorpius was not that happy about this because his expression became a little sinister. "Well, John, then you really leave me no option. You see, what I want from you are not the equations," he said and turned back to the table. "What I want, John is your full and total cooperation."

Under other circumstances, John would probably have felt inclined to laugh about that, but this was no laughing matter. That leather clad freak was going to torture him into submission and he had a hunch that it just might work too. That he wasn't good with pain was no lie. He didn't like pain and had a fairly low threshold when it came down to it. And Scorpius was not going to give him any breaks. He closed his eyes and drew a deep breath of air into his lungs to calm himself down. Then he opened his eyes again and stared at Scorpius' back. "As I said, I don't care what you do to me. I'm not giving you anything."

Scorpius picked something up from the sound of it and straightened his back a little. "We shall see," he said and turned back to face him with a new smile on his lips. "I once told you that I do not torture people, John. Remember?" he asked and tilted his head a little to the right. "Well, I do not torture people ... under normal circumstances."

John's eyes shifted to the tool in Scorpius' hand and he swallowed. "What's that supposed to mean?" he asked, still trying to be brash. "Are you admitting that you're nothing but a big, fat, old liar?"

He chuckled again; more out of terror than anything else, and this time Scorpius did not appreciate it. He stepped forward, his expression dark and dangerous now. "I have had enough of your antics, John. I can torture you from now and till the end of time and make sure you survive all the way," he said with a snarl. "Why not spare yourself the pain and cooperate?" He eyed the tool, one of the corkscrew thingies, and made a face. "It's not like you really have a choice."

Before John could have a conscious reaction to his words, Scorpius stabbed the tool into the back of his right hand with enough force to drive it all the way through. The sickening sound of a snapping bone accompanied by the ripping of skin and flesh were almost worse than the pain and he didn't respond in any other way than going deadly pale in a split second flat. And all the while, Scorpius watched him with interest.

At first, the air was gone. He was a fish out of water, a man in a vacuum, and the pain did not register with his brain at first. He felt it, far away, on someone else. At first! But then slowly his brain caught up to the fact that his body had been damaged and the pain exploded in his hand and radiated up his arm, making it extremely hard for him to not start screaming his head off at once.

He flinched visibly as much as the restraints allowed when Scorpius turned the corkscrew a little. "Do we have to do this?" the half breed asked, his expression almost overbearing.

And John had the greatest urge to say no right there and then. He felt like kicking himself for wanting to give in so fast, but he also knew that this was nothing compared to what else Scorpius could do to him if he kept refusing. "Get ... stuffed," he hissed through clenched teeth and then did scream when the half-breed twisted the corkscrew back and forth in the wound a few times. At the same time a detached part of his mind marveled at the fact that such a small injury could hurt so bad.

"We do not have to do this, John. You know that," Scorpius said and pulled the corkscrew back out. Dark blood started the well up out of the wound and down the sides of his hand, which was now totally immobilized by the pain and the trauma of the injury. "All you have to do is say the word. Give in and the pain will end. We have very competent medics on board. Your hand will be as good as new. It's up to you."

Somehow, the pain had affected his ability to breathe. He couldn't draw enough air into his lungs to dissipate the lightheadedness he was feeling. "Bite ... me," he pressed out.

That drew a smile from the half-breed, a bemused little crinkling of his lips. "I might," he agreed, "but first things first. Will you offer me your full cooperation? Will you give me wormholes, John?"

Well aware what the outcome of a negative reply could be, John would never give in so easily. "Not if you lived to be a thousand years old, grasshopper," he hissed. He was slowly regaining his composure. The wound hurt; it hurt bad; but he could live with it. It wasn't debilitating; the shock more than the pain had stopped him dead in his tracks. Now that the shock was wearing off, he felt the whole range of emotions he should have felt the moment that twisted bastard had driven the corkscrew through his hand.

Scorpius eyed him for a moment, and then nodded with understanding. "I pegged you for being stronger and it seems I was right," he said, returned the bloodied tool to the table and skimmed over the others. "I admire your spirit, John. I really do," he continued and picked up something else before turning back to face him. He was smiling again, but this time the expression was more one of anticipation than anything else. "I will enjoy testing your limits."

John had no idea what the box in Scorpius' hand was, but he was certain it was going to hurt a lot. "Yeah, well prepare yourself for a sleepless night, grasshopper. I'm not gonna cave," he promised with little conviction.

Scorpius held the device out for him to see. It told him nothing. It was a square, flat box the size of Scorpius' palm. It wasn't very thick and did not look particularly threatening. "Do you know what this is?" Scorpius asked.

John tried to ignore his throbbing, bleeding hand and stared fixedly at the box. But he said nothing. What could he say, after all, that would not betray how scared his really was? Although Scorpius could probably tell anyway, he didn't feel the need to show it any more than he had to.

Scorpius stepped closer, and then leaned forward. If John could have, he would have pulled back. Having Scorpius that close was not something he fantasized about and it scared him more than he was willing to admit. "Once in contact with bare skin, this device is rather effective at increasing whatever sensation you are going for," Scorpius explained and pulled John's t shirt out of his pants.

"Hey," John snapped. "What the hell are you up to?"

Scorpius smiled and placed the device against his left side. It was cold enough to send a shiver through him and he barely prevented himself for hissing out loud. When the half-breed released the device, it stuck to his skin and it quickly warmed up too. Scorpius pulled back and eyed him with scientific interest. "Now, normally this device is used in combination with sexual arousal," he said. "But I have found that it has other interesting effects as well. Such as increasing the pain you feel. Essentially, it stimulates your nerves to become more ... receptive. Hyper sensitivity issues from this."

John understood what Scorpius was telling him and did not much like the implications of it. All he could focus on, though, was the fact that the difference between medieval Earth and the Uncharted Territories wasn't that big. "Are you getting your rocks off on this?" he asked quietly, his tone tense and angry. "Do you people get off on hurting others?"

Scorpius shook his head sadly. "You do not understand, John. You are not willing to cooperate with me and I need the information you have stored away in your brain. It's a matter of survival. The Scarrans are likely to launch an attack on Sebacean space sometime in the near future and we need the means to defend ourselves. You can provide those means, but you are not willing to share them. So we have to force you to do so."

The frightening thing about this whole deal was that John understood where Scorpius was coming from. He understood the half breed's urgent need to find some kind of super weapon that would work against the Scarrans. But he would never leave the information in Scorpius' hands willingly. "Spare me the sermon, vicar," he said. "Ever hear of the 6th commandment, grasshopper? Thou shall not kill," he added viciously.

"The 6th Commandment?" Scorpius asked. "Is that some sort of ... oh, yes, that's true. These are the rules of your god, are they not? The ten commandments? Yes, John, I have heard about it; from you. But these rules make no sense when your enemy does not honor them. And the Scarrans would never honor a commandment that tells them not to kill. They are brutish creatures." The half breed sighed dramatically. "If only you would understand this, John. We could avoid this and work together to defeat them."

It was oh-so-tempting to agree to this, but John's biggest fear was what Scorpius and the Peacekeepers in general would use this weapon for once this game was over. He could not hand over the information in good conscience and would never sleep well again if he did. "You're not getting it," he said quietly. "I'll die before I tell you anything."

Scorpius' expression hardened and he turned back to the table again, grabbed the first available tool, one which looked like an oversized scalpel and drove it into John's right thigh without hesitation or any kind of warning. And at that point John realized what it was the box now sticking to his side did. It generally felt as if Scorpius had driven something akin to a shovel through his thigh rather than a delicate little knife and he screamed in agony. "I'm so sorry we cannot see eye to eye," Scorpius said.


John had never considered himself to be a wimp, but he was reassessing that belief now. He felt sick to his stomach from the smell of his own blood and the effort he put into screaming his head off for every new injury that freak added to his collection. And he had to admit to himself that he was getting very close to crying uncle. Man, what he wouldn't give to make this nightmare stop right now.

He had cuts and bruises, welts and abrasions just about everywhere that Scorpius could get to exposed skin. The skin on his face felt too tight from all the swellings the wounds caused and the pain was driving him nuts.

And yet, in between, he couldn't stop himself from laughing. Granted, it was a pained and extremely strained laughter, but he laughed nonetheless, because this was so totally off key and out there that he was convincing himself that he had to be stuck in a nightmare.

The injuries were not that severe apart from the hole in his hand. None of these injuries would kill him. If it hadn't been for the enhancer, he wouldn't have been this far out now, but that blasted contraption enhanced his agony beyond any boundaries and left him teetering on the edge of oblivion.

And all Scorpius did was ask him every now and then if he was going to give in and when he said no or spat at him, he would come up with a new, evil way to torture him some more. And all the while he claimed to regret that he had to do this to him.

After about a year, or so it seemed to him at the time, Scorpius put the last tool he'd used away and sighed. "I believe it would be time to let you rest," he stated. "I can't have you dying on me."

"Fuck ... you," he rasped, his voice barely audible. He had screamed himself hoarse.

Scorpius smiled somewhat thoughtfully. "It is a shame that you are not as quick to end your own pain as you are to sling out foul language," he said and sighed. "No matter. I have other means of persuading you to cooperate."

Braca and several other guards came in as soon as Scorpius sent for them. Two of the guards unlocked his ties and hauled him unceremoniously out of the chair, not caring that they hurt his injured hands. One of Scorpius' ways of trying to convince him had been to break two of his fingers on his left hand and with his right out of commission already, he was pretty handicapped.

Scorpius eyed them for a moment, a thoughtful expression on his face, and then he sighed. "Take him to the holding pen," he said.

Braca looked a little confused. "Uh ... sir ..." he tried, "wouldn't it be wiser to lock him in a cell?"

"No, Lieutenant," Scorpius replied and there was something in his eyes that John didn't like at all. "I have other means of making him stay."


John had learned from experience that when Scorpius had 'other means' it meant nothing good. At first he was afraid that Scorpius had decided to put him in the chair. That would be the last straw. John knew he wouldn't be able to block the chair in his present state. And especially not with that damned gadget sticking to his side.

He felt marginally grateful when they pulled him past the chamber and on toward whatever the hell the 'holding pen' was. He had odd flashes of an arena with a wild bull in it and couldn't help himself from chuckling halfheartedly under his breath.

The guards were obviously disconcerted by his ability to laugh, considering how many wounds he had, but he didn't give a damn about what they thought or didn't think. Right now, he was beyond caring about a lot of things. All he wanted was for them to leave him alone so he could curl up in a corner and get some rest.

The holding pen turned out to be a large area at the end of a corridor. There was nothing in it apart from a partially disguised refresher unit, but again John couldn't bring himself to care that there wasn't even a mattress on the floor. As long as he could just lie down for awhile, he would be okay.

The guards did not release him once they had reached the center of the room. Instead, they turned around to face the mouth of the corridor and waited.

Moments later Scorpius strode in, followed closely by Braca and two more guards. Scorpius stopped a few feet from him and regarded him with that curious scientist look he had displayed so many times. Then he waved Braca closer. "Retrieve what I have asked for," he said.

Braca glanced at John and for the first time ever, John had the feeling that Braca was reluctant to carry out an order. "Sir," he replied quietly and returned his attention to Scorpius. "Is it really ..."

Scorpius cut him off by giving him a deadly glare. "Retrieve the device now," he repeated, his tone cold.

Braca glanced at John once more, nodded once and left to pick up whatever the device was.

John was so tired he felt like screaming and everything hurt. Every inch of his body felt like he'd been beaten up with a baseball bat. Repeatedly! He flinched when he tried to smile. His lower lip was split and still bleeding and it stung when he smiled. "What new and wonderful torture methods do you have up your sleeves?"

Scorpius eyed him briefly. "Just my way of making sure you don't ... leave before time," he replied cryptically.

"What? You're gonna use some more mediaeval devices like the rack?" John asked and chuckled. His chuckles dissolved into a painful coughing fit.

"The ... rack?" Scorpius asked, obviously interested. "And what might that be?"

John gave him a dark glare. "Nothing you'd have use for, Scorpy. You don't torture people, remember?" he replied with biting sarcasm.

Scorpius did not have time to come up with a reply because Braca returned with something that looked a lot like one of the first handheld machine guns; one of those big ones with the disk on it. Only the muzzle of this one was far too big to be that of an ordinary, bullet-spewing gun.

John stared at it for a moment, mulling over in his mind what it could be and then it suddenly hit him. He'd seen a similar device before. It was a bolt gun, used for hull repair on non-organic ships. For the longest moment he couldn't for the life of him understand what Scorpius could possibly want with it. But then the guards holding him spun him around on some silent command from Scorpius and dragged him over to the wall.

The two other guards followed suit and one of them kicked his feet out from under him. He dropped painfully hard onto his knees, but did not waste time acknowledging this. One of the guards holding him forced his right hand up and pressed it against the wall. That alone hurt like hell. It stretched damaged muscle tissue and moved torn ligaments and broken bones and he didn't even pretend to take it like a man. He yelped and tried hard to get his hand away from the wall again, but he was depleted and the guard was stronger.

"This is just to ensure that you will still be here when I get back," Scorpius said. "Not that I expect any trouble on my own carrier," he added, the benevolence back in his tone.

The half-breed stepped up behind him and held a hand out to Braca. "The bolt gun, please," he said.

"Don't do this," John croaked. He could stand a lot of abuse, could make fun of most of it, but this was over the top. This was just not happening. "Please."

Scorpius hesitated. "Will you aide me in building a weapon we can use against the Scarrans?" he asked.

John closed his eyes and tried hard to keep a grip on his suddenly wild need to give in. "No," he finally said. "You get nothing from me."

Scorpius sighed audibly, held the muzzle of the bolt gun against the back of his hand so it covered the wound already there and pressed down on the trigger.

The bolt shot through his hand, expanding the hole and completely pulverizing the middle of the third metacarpal bone before it penetrated the wall beyond and the head of the bolt squashed his hand against the unyielding metal. John jerked and briefly had to fight to remain conscious. The pain of this injury was too big. It exploded in his hand, traveled up his arm with lightning speed and constricted his throat, where after it sent shock waves of nausea out through his system.

He lowered his head, pressing the side of his face against the cool metal wall and tried not to give in to his need to beg for release.

But then one of the other guards grabbed his left hand and pressed that against the wall too and that was when he'd had enough. He could not go through this again. With a resource of strength he didn't know he had, he pushed back and ripped his hand out of the guards grip. "NO FUCKING WAY," he roared and tried to twist away from the man.

He hadn't counted on the side-effects of his right hand at that moment. The movement he made twisted his right arm and he could virtually feel the bolt ripping and tearing at flesh, muscle and ligament. The pain was so bad that he felt the distinct need to throw up. Somehow, he managed to keep his stomach at bay, but that gave the guard another chance to grab his left wrist and reposition his hand against the wall.

Scorpius pressed the bolt gun's muzzle against the back of his left hand when a claxon suddenly went off, screaming through the ship with undeniable urgency.

"What the frell?" Scorpius growled. "Lieutenant, find out what is going on," he added to Braca.

"Attention Scorpius. Your presence is needed in Command, sir. We are under attack from enemy vessels," a voice urged from the speakers.

Scorpius sighed and lowered the gun. "This will have to keep," he said and managed to sound almost disappointed.

Within moments, the room had emptied of the Peacekeepers and the lights went out shortly after that.

John was trying desperately to keep his breathing fairly normal, but found it increasingly difficult to remain in control of his now rampaging emotions. He had to get out of here before they came back and nailed the rest of him to the wall. The mere thought of having to endure that explosion of pain once more was enough to make him almost willing to gnaw his hand off to get away. "God ... damn ... bastard," he whispered with anguish in his voice, closed his eyes hard and shifted his right hand. Since he couldn't get the bolt out of the wall with only three useful fingers left on his right hand, he would have to do the unthinkable and try to increase the hole already there to get his hand off the bolt instead.

Ice-cold sweat broke out on his body and he again felt his consciousness threaten to step out on him. This was going to take time, too much time, and there was nothing he could do but keep trying. Fear and anger were vying for control inside him, but he had the distinct impression that fear would win this time. He was scared out of his frelling mind and ready to take a spacewalk without a suit to get away from all this. Anything to avoid further torture. But he was not going to give Scorpius what he was after. He was not going to suffer the torments of hell in vain.