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

Rating: G

Synopsis: What-ifs and future prospects of a bleaker nature.

Part 1 of 3

The whirling vastness of space stretched out in all directions, blacker than the blackest velvet, deeper than the deepest well, pin-pricks of light bringing with them the message that there was more out there than the mind could ever fathom; so much more. And yet this incredible vastness, this space so grand that no creature could fully understand it, held no warmth, no forgiveness and most of all no mercy. Not now, not ever.

In a place so incredible, so enormous that it outstretched all imagination, there should have been room for that little spot of warmth, of happiness and love that one tiny spec of a being so richly deserved. But all it held was the deep, dark cold of space where nothing lived but the stars themselves.

Shielded from the vastness and the cold out there by a mere ten-inch steel-glass pane, a shadowy figure stood on a darkened observation deck of one of the grand command carriers of the Peacekeepers, - which in comparison to space it was nothing at all - back straight, posture rigid, dark eyes full of sorrow staring out at the great emptiness. A move of the head brought bangs of dark hair falling down over a brow wrinkled with worry lines; skin taunt over high cheekbones, lips pressed together into a thin line.

Duty called, had called several times in fact, but she had ignored the call to order, the siren announcing the changing of the guards. All she wanted was to stand there, hands clasped on her back, a mere hand's breadth from the glass wall separating her from what was out there. But mostly it kept her from what wasn't out there anymore.

Thoughts bustled through her mind, increasing the worry lines, darkening the eyes; thoughts that had no place in the mind of a Peacekeeper. She had been born one, had been raised one and she now knew that she would die one. But not in her mind. No, in her mind she was free; free to run away, to find other paths than the ones she had been indoctrinated with from the microt she had been able to understand; yes, even before that. No matter how much the indoctrination had meant to her before, it could never erase what she had learned.

A door opened somewhere behind her and hurried footsteps approached her, but still she did not move, still she continued to stare out at the vastness, her thoughts tumbling on in her head, her eyes seeing only the blackness out there.

"You have to come. They are very angry."

The voice belonged to one of the few who claimed to understand her plight, but she knew better than to trust anyone. Trust had never been an issue before, but it was now. She trusted no one, not even herself. Ignoring the rude interruption into her self-proclaimed sanctuary, she remained rigid, the ends of her hair tickling her hands, sending sensations through her that she would rather forget.

"Please. I cannot keep them away from here for much longer."

She closed her eyes, tilted her head slightly to the left and felt her hair, thick and black, shift a little. Why should she go back to this life of endless routines and constant punishments for what she had done? Why should she be punished for wanting more than being a mindless drone, destined to live fast and die young? There was more out there. She knew that, had tasted it, had even experienced it a little, but the tempting vista had been swept away and with it the tempter who had lured her away from all this, from what had been her life until he came.


The voice was insistent, filled with fear of the punishment that might await, and still she did not move. "Let them come," she finally said, opened her eyes and returned to gazing out at this big, vast emptiness which had taken her lover not once but two times from her. "I don't care any more."

"Aeryn, you must."

They had given her sanctuary. Or at least that was what they called it. She was a Peacekeeper again, had been allowed back into the ranks of a life she knew so well it had taken her little time to return to the mindless routine she had lived before. But instead of trying to please her superiors to advance, she was now a dissident, a trouble maker. They had told her that she would never become more than a grunt; that she was, essentially, canon fodder. But she would have a home and her daughter would be raised to be what her mother had always been destined to remain.

But that was not what kept her here, kept her in check even though she disobeyed orders and left her posts unannounced. No, the life of her child, the only thing she had left of that brief interlude where she had been free and loved, was on the line. If she didn't behave, didn't remain where she was, her child would suffer. They would take away the last remnant of John Crichton, kill his daughter if Aeryn Sun did not comply. So she complied, went along with the routine for as long as she could bear it. But then she slipped away to this place, this disused observation deck where she could watch the stars and curse them for all the pain and suffering they had bestowed on her.

"I must return to my station."

Why was it that she could never be left in peace for more than an arn? Why were they so intent on keeping her around? She had no idea, could not understand the reasoning, but feared it was a punishment too. She had tried to escape this life, had worked so hard to become so much more, but in the end, this was all she was.


One last attempt. This one was a friend to her, but on a level where it didn't hurt to know that she might not be there any more the following day. Aeryn Sun had lost the will to live, but she had not lost the will to see her child on occasion. She snug into the nursery sometimes, stood by the door and watched them play. And how easy it was to spot Crichton's child in the midst of the others. She was smaller, grew more slowly, but she was smart and she was a rebel.

A smile slipped over her lips as her friend left her behind, because her mind was seeing her child, her daughter. Aeryn would hold on, would fight to keep alive and out of harms way, until A'yla was old enough. And then they would both taste freedom again, if only for the brief moment where the prowler raced away from the command carrier and until they were vaporized by the frag canon's merciless fire. But at least they would die free and could join John wherever it was he had gone to after he had died again.

The smile faded, her eyes filling with tears that would not fall. He had given up his life so she could live and she had cursed him for it. He had not wanted her to follow him into the darkness because of A'yla. But he had never realized that Aeryn would rather have killed her daughter and then herself than to return to what she had been before. The chance had just never presented itself. But the time would come. And when it did, she would die happy, knowing that the three of them would be together in the afterlife.

For a brief moment longer, she stared out at the black velvet carpet of space. "Soon, John," she whispered. "Soon." With that promise reaffirmed, she turned around and headed back to her station to take her punishment and bid her time. A'yla was almost ready and John had waited long enough.


Part 2