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

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Grayza doesn't respond too well to the situation John left her in on Arneesk, which leads to a bit of a witch hunt and a not all together pleasant outcome for our favorite human astronaut.

It was a cat and mouse game. He had known that from the second he had left Grayza behind, tied up as she had been, demanding he stay where he was. If he hadn't been so damned scared of the repercussions of his actions, he would actually have thought the scene was somewhat funny. But he knew that if he ever ran into Grayza again, his life would become very difficult, if not threatened. There was that old saying that Hell has no fury like a woman scorned and it was taking on a whole new meaning for him.

It had taken Moya some time to catch up to them and once they were on board again, he had started to feel a little better about the whole thing. He had felt safer. But that feeling of safety was a ruse, a cruel trick. The Peacekeepers had caught up to them on the next Commerce Planet and John had been caught. He had more or less willingly gotten in the way of them so the others could get away. And from what he knew, they did get away. He had spent about an hour playing tag with the patrol until one of them got lucky and decked him. On account of that, he had a pretty bad headache by the time they basically threw him out of the hatch of the marauder. With his hands tied behind his back, he had no chance to brace himself and he hit the deck of the landing bay with a thud, bruising his chin despite his efforts to avoid it.

Two of the soldiers grabbed him and hauled him back to his feet, totally ignoring the fact that his chin was bleeding. "Are you having fun yet?" he asked in a sour tone of voice. "Because I sure am." He tried to twist out of their grip, but they learned faster than he had so far given them credit for. They could anticipate what moves he would make.

Without delay they pushed him forward, hoarding him into a corridor leading away from the bay. Whenever he made the slightest indication of trying to stop, one of them would either push him or hit him in the back with the butt of a rifle, making sure he kept moving. He made snide comments, which also earned him annoying and sometimes painful interventions, but he couldn't allow them to realize that he was scared and would do anything to avoid the impending confrontation with that peacekeeper bitch.

They turned a corner and came to a stop when they came face to face with Braca, who stood there with his hands clasped behind his back and a smug expression on his face. The soldiers hoarding John on stopped to salute their captain. John just stared at him.

Braca eyed him thoughtfully, and then walked around him as if admiring a trophy. John assumed that he was that to Braca when it came down to it. The captain came to a stop again right in front of him, his expression still smug. "It was only a matter of time, Crichton," he claimed. "Commandant Grayza is not happy with you," he added and stepped closer. "Between you and me," he said quietly and smiled, "I think you're in for a lot of pain."

John stared at him, trying to will his headache away, and then smirked. "So are you," he replied quietly and abused the fact that Braca was that close to him. He head-butted Braca, sending the newly proclaimed Captain reeling back against the wall. The soldiers escorting John used this opportunity to beat the crap out of him for attacking their captain, but it was worth seeing the stunned and somewhat intimidated look in Braca's eyes. He ended up on the floor, being beaten and kicked until Braca stepped closer again, one hand covering his sore brow.

"Enough," Braca said, his voice wavering a little. "The Commandant wants to see him. Alive, preferably."

The soldiers hauled John back to his feet and he gave Braca a pained grin. "One of these days, Braca, I'm gonna kill you. So you better hope that Grayza puts an end to me first."

Braca pensively rubbed his aching brow and gave John a dark look. "Oh, I'm sure she will. You embarrassed her. She doesn't take too lightly to that sort of thing."

All John could do was grin. Braca was a certified wimp. "Yeah, well you just hope for that, Braca. Because if I get out of here, you better start looking over your shoulder," he snarled.

Braca made a face and stepped aside. "Take him to the Commandant," he ordered, waving them away.

John did find some satisfaction in the fact that he was able to scare Braca. But then again, Braca seemed the type who was easily scared when he didn't have his leader to hide behind. He snorted with contempt and made it as difficult for the soldiers to herd him forward as he could. He figured he might as well get as much fun out of the situation as possible. He doubted very much that Grayza would be kindly disposed toward him, so he opted for making her as angry as possible instead. If he could make her angry enough, she might not bother to torture him, as he was sure she would otherwise. But he had learned a harsh lesson from previous encounters. Peacekeepers sure got a kick out of torturing their prisoners.

On the upper level, he was escorted unceremoniously down a long corridor, past a stationed guard and up to a set of double doors. The doors slid aside to admit them into what appeared to be Grayza's private quarters. He took the opportunity to glance around and noted that she wasn't much for decorations. There were no tokens of any kind sitting around the rather bare-looking room. This place didn't say much about her.

Grayza rose from her chair and took a few steps forward, her whole demeanor that of an ice queen. John looked her over, attempting to cover any signs of insecurity with cockiness. "Hey, tuts. Sorry about leaving so soon, but I had important things to attend to," he said with a grin.

Before he could even think about what sort of response this would foster, she had slapped him hard enough to nearly deck him. "You will speak only when spoken to," she snapped, and then turned angry eyes on the guards. "Leave us!"

The guards promptly disappeared as John turned back to face her, sucking on the inside of his sore cheek. "That's quite a punch you pack there, lady," he said.

Grayza's eyes were steel and that didn't bode well. "You embarrassed me, John," she said, her tone somewhat sad. "You made me look bad in front of my troops."

"Gee, I did? Man, I'm sorry about that," he said, his voice heavy with sarcasm. "Should I kiss it and make it better?" he asked and leaned forward only to have his face slapped again.

"You think this is a joke?" she demanded, really angry now. "You make a mockery out of this? I do not believe that you have any idea what you're up against, John Crichton."

There was something menacing about her words, something that made him wish he could get out right now, but he figured he would have to see this through to the bitter end. Gingerly flexing his jaw, he eyed her for a moment. Sure, finding their leader tied up couldn't be good for moral, but John didn't really understand why she would respond so strongly to it. And then a thought struck him. Could it be that this female had experienced genuine feelings for him? If so, the opportunity to abuse that had passed on Arneesk. "Oh, I do think I know what I'm up against, Grayza," he assured her. "What the hell did you expect me to do, huh? Roll over and play dead? I'm not a damned dog."

She frowned. "I do not know what a dog is, but I figure you mean you're not submissive," she replied and he nodded once to confirm her suspicions. "Well, I've noticed that and I aim to change it," she added, her tone hard. "You have caused me much trouble, John. I gave you a chance. I treated you nicely. All you had to do was tell me the truth and I would have let you go."

"Yeah, right," he snapped, angry himself now. "Who do you think you're kidding? I've been up against peacekeepers before, snookums, and I haven't met many that didn't get a kick out of oppressing others. So don't give me that shit."

"You are a dissident," she replied with a snarl.

"So? I like to rock the boat. So sue me," he said. "I'm not a peacekeeper. I haven't been raised to shut up and obey. I don't believe in laying down my life for the cause. I have a damn mind of my own. Get used to it."

Her eyes narrowed a little and there was suddenly an air of confidence about her that he hadn't noticed before. She took a step closer, grabbed his chin in a viselike grip and forced him to look directly at her. "Your mind is not your own, John. I know about the clone. Scorpius told me everything, showed me everything ..." she said, her voice full of deadly intent, "... when he was in his precious chair."

Now there was a reminder he didn't need. But he somehow managed to keep a lid on his feelings and gave her a crooked grin. "What goes around comes around, eh?" he asked and leaned forward close enough for their noses to touch. "What the hell do you want from me anyway?"

Grayza's eyes widened a bit. "I still want to know why the Scarrans are so keen on getting their hands on you," she said, her tone conversational.

"I already told you," he claimed, not immediately getting a sense of being in any real danger.

"But I can't really trust what you told me, now can I, John? I can't be certain you didn't lie to me," she said and pushed him back a step. "I tried the nice way," she added and shook her head almost sadly. "I see now that it was a mistake. Scorpius' approach to you is the only way, isn't it?" The doors opened again and the guards reentered. "It pains me to have to do this, John, but you have left me not other choice." Waving at the guards, she eyed him thoughtfully. "Take him away," she added.

He had a very bad feeling about her words while he was being pushed along corridors without end, but he didn't really allow himself to process the idea until the guards pushed him around a corner and he came to an abrupt stop. They were taking him to the Aurora Chair. "No way," he muttered and started to back up, but the guard behind him shoved him hard in the back, driving him forward again.

It took four of them to get him into the chair, and even after the restraints were in place, he still struggled; at least until Grayza turned up. He immediately clamped down on his rampaging emotions and forced himself to calm down. There was no way he would let her see how scared he was of this hellish contraption. And he still believed he might be able to talk his way out of this.

Grayza stepped up on the platform the chair was mounted on and leaned in real close to him. Almost gently, she wiped away the blood from his chin with the palm of her hand and then placed an almost passionate kiss on the tip of his nose. "Don't fight it, John. It will be over so much faster if you don't fight it. I promise you I will make it as quick as possible. I just need to know if you're telling the truth."

He managed a grin; didn't really know where he got the reserve energy from to even pretend to be cocky. "You don't need to do this, Grayza. I've already told you everything about the Scarrans that I know. There's nothing left up here to poke around in. It'll be a waste of energy," he tried. To his own surprise, his voice was steady.

"Oh, I'm not concerned about wasting energy, John. What I am concerned about is what else you might know. Scorpius was awfully interested in this wormhole technology and I'm assuming that the Scarrans are too. So, maybe we should extract what you have learned since the last time you were in the chair and see if there isn't anything new in there," she replied and smiled vaguely, tapping a finger against his brow. "I think there may be."

"No, uh-uh," he disagreed, finding that he was growing a little desperate now. "Nothing new in there. Nothing at all," he claimed.

Grayza's smile widened. "You are too persistent about this, John," she said and pushed back. "Remember what I told you. Don't fight the chair. It will be a lot less painful if you don't."

Desperation took a hold of him as she stepped around the console and nodded to the tech standing there. "Grayza, come on! You don't need to do this. This isn't how you do business," he tried, finding that his voice was no longer as steady as he had hoped for.

Grayza looked over at him and sighed. "I am sorry, John. But this is how I do business when all else fails," she said and put her hand on the lever that would start the chair. "Just relax and let it happen."

He clenched his teeth and grabbed onto the arms of the chair, hoping somehow to be able to brace himself against the pain, but knew deep down that no matter what he did, he would never be able to withstand this thing. Not for long anyway.


Aeryn Sun had been on the prowl for much too long. Her first thought had been that being alone was dangerous, that she wouldn't have the first clue of what to do with herself if she was on her own. But she had learned that being alone wasn't so bad. It gave her time to get to grips with a lot of things in her life that she felt she no longer had any control over.

Sitting on the nose of her prowler, she stared ahead of herself while the light breeze from the purple ocean of this world washed odd scents over her. Four cycles ago, she wouldn't have noticed this, nor would she have bothered to sit here and think. Where she came from, thinking was for techs. Soldiers didn't think, they responded, took charge of the situation and established their supremacy without second thought. Aeryn had long since realized that she wasn't that type of Sebacean any more. She wasn't a Peacekeeper any more. At first she had thought she would mourn the passing of that existence, safe and full of regulations as it had been, but it hadn't taken her long to realize that being part of such a setup was for fools. John had taught her that she should think for herself and she had found it easier than expected.

Closing her eyes, she raised her face a little to better feel the breeze. She was beginning to understand why John liked worlds like this one so much. There was a certain kind of beauty, a certain kind of serenity about it, which eased her frayed nerves and calmed her stormy mind. It had taken nearly six monans for her to realize what exactly she wanted to do with the rest of her life and whom she wanted to spend it with. She only hoped that she could find Moya again after all this time.

Opening her eyes again, she gazed out over the ocean and wondered if maybe she shouldn't bring John to this place. He would like it. With a crooked little smile on her lips, she pulled one knee up and wrapped her arms around it. She had waited for an obvious sign, had more or less sought it out, but hadn't found anything that told her without a doubt what she should do with her life. Aeryn wasn't the most patient of beings and after five monans, she'd had enough of the waiting, the drifting, the shabby hotels and dingy bars. No, she would have to make up her mind about what she wanted and she had finally come to the conclusion that it wasn't up to fate to decide her destiny. It was up to her and her alone. And she knew in her heart where she wanted to be. "Frell fate," she said quietly, rose and balanced back to the cockpit. She had places to go and people to see and no time to sit around and gawk at an ocean.


He couldn't breathe. Well, he could, but not very well. Curled up on himself, he sat in a corner of his cell, knees pull up to his chin, arms wrapped around them, while he stared at the door with bloodshot eyes and wished he could merge with the wall behind him. God, what he wouldn't do to be able to go back and change things. If he could only have taken the opportunity and blown Grayza away instead of just leaving her like that, he wouldn't have been in this fix now.

His previous experience with the chair seemed like little more than a picnic compared to this. The sessions he went through weren't as long as what Scorpius had put him through, but they were a hell of a lot more frequent. They gave him about half an hour to an hours rest between and by the time Grayza had called it a night and left, he had been ready to get down on his damned knees and beg for mercy. Fortunately, that bitch hadn't noticed and he had managed to keep it together until they had dumped him in this cell.

The repeated sessions had their roots in the fact that Grayza didn't seem to be able to extract anything from his mind. Well, nothing worth while at least. But she was determined. He had to give her that. What he didn't understand was why they couldn't get at the information. He wasn't making a conscious effort to block anything. He wanted this over with and to hell with the rest.

"Isn't it obvious, John?"

He stopped breathing altogether for a moment, and then glanced over at the opposite corner of the cell where Harvey was sitting, watching him. Drawing in a shaky breath, he tried to stay calm. "No, Harv. It's not," he claimed although he was beginning to suspect.

"You cannot consider giving her the information, John," Harvey exclaimed, stunned by the mere idea. "I will not allow her to misuse this and she will. Your fear for the future of this galaxy is well founded when it comes to Commandant Grayza, John. She is dangerous."

John stared at the apparition from his mind and realized that this was what he had been afraid of all along. This was why he had wanted to get rid of the clone altogether. Harvey was working against him now. "Who gives a damn?" he asked after a moment and briefly closed his eyes. "If you block this from her, Harvey, she's gonna fry my brain."

"Well, I would rather die than let her have it," Harvey stated.

Leaning his head back against the wall, John slowly got his breathing under control again. He was so tired that it was almost painful to stay awake, but he was afraid of letting his guard down. Not that he could do much when they came to pick him up again. "If you block my mind, Harv, you will die. She's gonna keep going until my damned brain liquefies and you know it," he muttered. When he didn't receive a reply, he glanced back over at that corner and noted that Harvey was gone. Damned clone! If he got out of this one alive, he would do what he could to get rid of Harvey. He was getting dangerous.

He wiped the back of one shaking hand over his dry lips and wished desperately that someone would help him out of here. Oh, what he wouldn't give to see Aeryn stepping through that door, armed and dangerous, like she had on the Gamak base. He wasn't so far gone yet that he couldn't see the irony of this situation. On Earth, little girls dreamt of the knight in shining armor who came to rescue the captured princess in the tower. Boys dreamt of being that knight. Out here, everything was in reverse. He was dreaming of being rescued by the love of his life and it sure put things into perspective. Drawing in a deep breath, he barely prevented himself from sighing out loud. This wasn't the place he wanted to end his life. Hell, he didn't want to end his life until he could set things right with Aeryn.

Too worn out to sit upright, he slipped down on the floor, keeping himself wedged into the corner, and slipped into a coma-like sleep. This day's sessions in the chair had taken everything out of him and he had no idea how he was going to survive this if Grayza kept it up.


Finding Moya turned out to be a lot easier than Aeryn had thought. It wasn't hard to track a leviathan with such a rugged bunch of passengers. Once she was back on board, she would have to teach those frellnicks how to hide. They obviously didn't know how to do that and it worried her that the leviathan was so easy to track. She caught up with them near a commerce planet and Pilot immediately welcomed her on board. By the sound of his voice, she figured he was getting pretty tired of the others.

The prowler settled smoothly onto the floor of the landing bay and Aeryn popped the canopy open and hauled herself up in time to see D'Argo and Chiana coming toward her. The smiles she had somehow hoped for were nowhere in sight on their concerned faces and she immediately started to worry about what was wrong.

"D'Argo, Chiana," she said and turned to face them when she once again had solid ground under her feet. "I didn't expect to find both of you here."

"It is good to have you back, Aeryn," D'Argo said and gave her a brief hug, not at all in tune with his usual exuberance.

Stepping back from the Luxan, Aeyrn looked from D'Argo to Chiana and back again and then sent a glance past them. "What's going on?" she asked. She figured that John hadn't shown up because he was angry at her for leaving or something similar, but it did disturb her in some strange way that he wasn't there. "Where's John?"

D'Argo almost nervously glanced at Chiana, who shook her head lightly. She wasn't going to tell her what it was, so Aeryn returned her attention to D'Argo. "What is going on?" she demanded.

"It's a long story and we don't have much time," D'Argo said, regret in his tone. "John has been captured by the Peacekeepers."

Aeryn stared at him, her expression tense. "How long ago?" She knew that time was of the essence in this connection. Looking from one to the other and back again, she felt herself grow cold. "How long?" she repeated her question when neither of them answered.

"Three solardays," came the answer from behind them as Rygel came floating in on his thronesled. "They took him three solardays ago. I have been trying to reason with these frellnicks. There is no chance that Crichton is still alive. We should leave before they come back for us."

Unable to fathom what she had just heard, Aeryn glanced around at them, feeling cold anger and burning fear rise in her. "Three solardays?" she asked, her voice forcibly calm. "You left him with them for THREE FRELLING DAYS?" The latter part she roared, causing both Luxan and Nebari to step back. "What the frell are you thinking? How could you even allow them to capture him?"

D'Argo was angered by that accusation. She could tell just by looking at him. "We did what we could, Aeryn," he told her, his tone standoffish. "We at least were there, remember?"

"Frell you," Aeryn snapped. "Where did they take him?"

"To a command carrier. It's still in the area," Chiana inserted. "And D'Argo is right. You have no right to yell at us. You were the one who left him in the first place. Besides, it isn't the first time he's been recaptured."

Her newly found inner peace was shattered into a thousand pieces and she had to restrain herself from breaking Chiana's neck for that comment. "What the frell is that supposed to mean? You know as well as I do that Scorpius will kill him in that frelling chair of his."

"It wasn't Scorpius," D'Argo said. "Scorpius is dead. Braca shot him. Commandant Grayza is running the show now and she seems to have a thing for John." Giving Rygel an angry glare, he continued, "and that is why we are still here. I do not believe she has killed him."

"Grayza?" Aeryn asked, suddenly completely cool again. "Frell," she then muttered and shook her head. Things had happened in her absence that she would have to try and catch up on. D'Argo would be the one to tell her, she knew, but she didn't have time. If those frelling Peacekeepers had captured John three days ago, there was a good chance that he was dead or dying, but she wasn't going to give up on him until she saw a body. "Alright," she said. "That carrier must be under Grazya's command. That means, with a little luck, she is the only one on board who knows me from sight."

"And Braca," Chiana inserted helpfully. "That little fekkik is virtually licking her boots."

Aeryn squinted at her for a microt. "Alright, so Braca and Grayza. If that's all I'm up against, I can handle them. I'll have to go to the carrier and find John and get him out of there somehow."

"That is a foolhardy idea, Aeryn," Rygel said. "We should cut our losses and leave while we still can."

Before anybody could stop her, Aeryn had lashed out and squeezed Rygel's lips shut. "One more word our of you, your eminence, and I am going to feed you to the next predator we come across. We are not leaving John behind and I am not giving up on him until I see his corpse. Do I make myself clear?"

The now frightened Hynerian nodded and quickly pulled back the microt she released him.

Glancing around at the others, Aeryn tried to decide which would be the best course of action. Her initial idea had been to rush in without thought and blast anything that moved. But she was quite aware that she wouldn't get John off the carrier that way, so there was really only one thing to do. "I have a plan," she finally said.

D'Argo frowned. "One that will actually get you both out alive?" he asked, sounding uncertain.

"If all goes well, yes. It depends on how much damage they have done, of course," she replied, a dark look in her eyes. "If he is beyond redemption, but still alive ..." she said and briefly closed her eyes, "... I will do what is necessary. If there is even the slightest indication that he could survive it, I will bring him back. Just make sure you're here when I do."

"We're not going anywhere," Chiana promised.

Aeryn glanced past her at something moving beyond and stopped short with a frown. "Who the frell is that?" she asked.

Chiana glanced over her shoulder. "Oh, that's Sikozu. She's with us," she replied.

Aeryn had expected to perhaps see Jool, but not a new arrival. "Where's Jool?"

"She left us," D'Argo said. "Not too long ago. She found other Interions and a dig she wanted to explore. That was after we ran into Grayza again, but before John was captured for the second time."

Aeyrn sighed. She couldn't keep up with all this right now. "You're going to have to tell me everything when I get back," she said. "I need to refuel the prowler before I leave again."

"Aeryn," D'Argo said, stopping her before she could leave. "I am sorry. We tried to stop them, but John ... he got in their way intentionally so we could get away. We thought we'd be able to help him before they could drag him away, but ..."

For a few microts, Aeryn just stood there, trying hard to keep it all inside, and then she shook her head lightly. "Let's not get into this right now. There will be time for that later."

"And what if there isn't?" D'Argo asked, a look of concern and regret on his face. "What if you don't come back? Either of you?"

"Then it wasn't worth talking about anyway," she replied with a harsh look in her eyes. "John needs help and he needs it now. We do not have time to get into this now. And I will come back. With or without him."

D'Argo relented and settled for giving her a quick hug. Chiana did the same and then left her to it, dragging Sikozu with her as she left.