Stug's office

Station-head Stug looked up from her paperwork when the door to her office slid open. She was halfway surprised and halfway not when she saw Aeryn Sun standing in the doorway. Attentive to this female's ability to blow her top, Stug put down the flimsy she had been reading and leaned back in her chair. "Officer Sun," she said and waved at a chair in front of her desk. "What can I do for you?"

Sun glanced around the office as if she had never been there before, then dropped down on the chair. "I need your input," she said and met Stug's gaze dead on.

"My input?" Stug asked with a slight frown. "About what?"

"About Crichton," Sun replied. "His ... behavior has changed radically since the removal of the wormhole technology and his subsequent memory loss," she added. "I took him to the medics to have him checked out, but they seem reluctant to do anything about it because he ... seems in control of himself."

In all honesty, that did not come as a surprise to Stug, but she was reluctant to say so out loud. "I see," she said, placed her elbows on the table top and steepled her fingers. "And ... how can I help you in this matter?"

Sun eyed her for a moment, then sighed and slumped a little; an uncharacteristic physical display for someone of her background. This had to weigh heavily on her. "I was hoping that you could either prompt them to do their utmost or tell me if there is someone else who might be able to ... help."

Stug regarded her thoughtfully for a moment while she considered her request. "Well ... I can of course try and speak with them," she agreed, "but if they have not been able to help so far ..."

With a slight nod and obvious disappointment, Sun rose again. "Well, that's all I wanted to know," she said and started to turn away.

"However," Stug said, thereby holding her back. "We do have a few Diagnosians on board. I am not entirely certain how well-versed they are in medicine, but since that sort of thing seems to come natural to them, I think it might be worth a try."

Sun nodded again. "Yes, it might," she agreed. "Where are they?"

"That is a good question. I will have to look it up. I will send word the moment I have found them," Stug replied.

Sun took a backwards step toward the door, her demeanor partly hopeful and partly concerned. "Thank you," she said, turned and left the office again.

Stug frowned for a moment, then sighed and return to her work. Sun's request would have to wait until she had finished her chores for the day; then she would look into finding out where those Diagnosians were holed up.

***

Near the crystal fountain

John sat on top of one of the machines he had promised to maintain, dressed in a pair of loose-fitting pants and a black tank top, his hands and arms smudged with grease from the engine's inner workings. He had finished the maintenance of this machine for the day and was taking a break before he headed off toward the next one. He had found that whenever he allowed himself to sit still and think, his mind would darken considerably. His hatred toward Scorpius was growing by the day and so was his need for revenge.

At the same time he struggled to subdue the oddly void feeling he had in his chest. Aeryn was right. He knew a part of his memory was missing and even though it gave him a feeling of relief not to be able to remember, it at the same time weighed him down because he knew he had lost an essential part of himself. But to take the step from acknowledging that to himself and saying it aloud was too much for him right now. He desperately attempted to convince everybody around him that he was doing fine, that nothing bothered him, that he was indeed happy to be rid of the burden those memories had obviously been. But whenever he was alone and had a moment to think things through, he knew he was anything but happy.

"John?"

Aeryn's voice tore him out of his contemplations. Wiping his hands on the cloth that had so far hung idly over one of his knees, he pushed forward toward the edge of the machine and looked down at her. There was something missing when he saw her, something he remembered as palpitations of his heart whenever he laid eyes on her. She still meant everything to him, but he felt that his priorities had changed, that if she did decide to move on without him it wouldn't be devastating.

"Hey," he said.

"Can I talk to you?" she asked. Her hands were on her hips, her coat fanned out behind her on account of her stance, and she had her head tilted to one side while she squinted up at him.

"Sure." He rose and balanced along the machine to the ladder and quickly ascended to the catwalk running along the side of the machine. Here he swung himself over the low railing and landed squarely on his feet on the floor below. "Something wrong?" Aeryn frowned, a not very becoming expression, and he instantly reached out and smoothed the ball of his thumb over the wrinkles between her brows. "Don't frown so much," he added with a light smile.

Aeryn sighed. "How can I not? You worry me," she countered, but managed to smooth out the frown just a little.

"Sorry to hear that. I take it you're still worried about my absent memories?" He continued to try and wipe his hands clean and smiled ruefully at the smudge of grease now residing on her brow before reaching up with the cloth to wipe it off. To her credit she didn't even flinch.

"Yes, I am," she agreed and grabbed his wrist when he let his hand drop. "John, your past is what makes you who you are. Without your past, you will change your behavior and ... I don't like that. It makes you less Human and more Sebacean."

He shrugged lightly, dropped the cloth and grabbed her hand instead. "Helps me to blend in better, don't you think?" He grinned at her, but knew she did not think this was even remotely funny. "Look, Aeryn, I know you worry and I appreciate it. And yeah, I agree, it does change the way I look at things that I can't remember much of my past. But think of the benefits," he tried. "Think of what this means in terms of baggage. I'm not weighed down by this any more."

"No," she agreed, "you're not. You're consumed with hatred toward Scorpius instead. I don't blame you, of course, but it does worry me beyond reason that you seem to have nothing other than revenge on your mind any more. You have no tolerance. Why else would you have called Sikozu a construct?"

"Because she is one. Is that wrong?" he countered.

"No, not generally, but you cannot tell her that she is not entitled to an opinion because she's a construct," she said.

John sighed, grabbed his jacket off the rung of the ladder he had left it on and shrugged into it. "Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?" he asked, well aware that she in general did not really care what he called Sikozu.

"No," she admitted, "but I thought I'd bring it up anyway. You hurt her feelings," she added.

"She doesn't have any. She's a robot," he countered indifferently. "Whatever she displays is pre-programmed."

For a moment Aeryn just stared at him, but then she obviously decided to drop it because she shook her head and took a step back. "Stug thinks there may be some Diagnosians on board who might be able to help you in some way. I just wanted to know if you are willing to see them if they offer the help."

John considered it for a moment. Then he walked over to the crystal fountain and gazed up at it with a thoughtful expression. "To be honest, Aeryn, I'm not sure I want those memories back. I remember what's important," he finally said and turned back to face her. "I remember you guys. I remember what I need to know to survive out here. Earth may have been my home, but from what I remember from the last time I saw it, I can't go back there. Don't you think it's better if I don't remember it rather than spending the rest of my life mourning the loss of a home?"

He could tell by her expression that she was hard pressed to find an argument on this one and it made him smile. "All right, so maybe there are benefits," she agreed reluctantly, "but I do not like where this is taking you emotionally, John. You were not a spineless coward before. Those memories – that background you had – the one you've lost – made you care. You don't care any more."

"Is that so bad?" he asked and settled down on the edge of the fountain basin. "Think about it. How many times haven't my ... 'emotions' gotten in the way? Without all these touchy-feely emotions that have quite obviously hampered my progress so far, I'll be able to accomplish so much more." He grinned at a sudden thought. "It's not like I've become unemotional either, Aeryn. I'm just ... more relaxed about everything."

"Relaxed?" Aeryn's eyebrows arched upwards in surprise. "You are far from relaxed, John. You're angrier than I've ever seen you before." The surprise arched into a frown. "Not right now, of course, but in general – ever since that old bat removed the wormhole technology and fried that chip – you've been consumed with vengeance."

Again, John shrugged. "So I hold a grudge. I'm not the only one who does that. And if it means I can rid the galaxy of Scorpius and his insane order ... I think it's worth it."

Almost hesitantly, Aeryn took an almost cautious step backward. "Worth it? No, I don't think it's worth it, John. There are enough frelled vigilantes out there. We don't need another one." She eyed him for a microt, then shook her head as if discarding some unspoken thought. "I have to go. I ... have things to do." With that, she turned around and hurried off.

John remained where he was for a moment longer, a slight smile on his lips. But then it faded and his expression became unemotional while his thoughts almost forcefully returned to Scorpius. He had to come up with a plan to get back at that frelled bastard. The sooner the better. Somehow, he had the feeling that Aeryn was cooking up some kind of plan of her own, which had nothing to do with Scorpius and everything with him.

***

He knew she would try and stop him. He just knew it. Her demeanor had told him as much and he knew her very well by now. Aeryn Sun did not settle for scraps. She would not let him go. And that, in other words, made up his mind for him. He would have to get a move on if he was to beat her and beat her he would. She was not going to stop him from leaving, from getting his revenge. If she was happy to let it go, that was fine by him, but he was not going to let Scorpius get away with his nefarious plans. No sir.

The crystal fountain glittered behind him, sending rainbow colored light onto every available surface and the sparkle temporarily blinded him, raising an odd feeling of abandonment, of betrayal in him. There was no way in Hezmana or elsewhere that he would allow Aeryn to stop him now. Scorpius was going down and he, John Crichton, was going to be the one who delivered the final blow.

Determination strong in his mind, he rose from the edge of the fountain, tossed the rag he had used to clean his hands with into a nearby waste unit, and turned his steps toward the office area. The first thing he needed was a ship, a fast one. Since he knew up front that neither Aeryn nor D'Argo would even think of lending him their ships, he had no other choice than to go to Stug for help. Moya and Pilot were out of the question. He needed a ship with weaponry and – truth be told – a leviathan wasn't much good in a firefight. Now Moya's offspring, Talyn, would have been a welcome addition here, or Balroc, that monster of a leviathan, would have been even better. But since Talyn was space dust and Balroc was working for the wrong side, he had no other choice than to make do with what he could get. He only had to make sure that he got the best available to give him the best chances of surviving this trip.

***

Stug's office

Station-head Stug looked up with a slight frown when the door to her office opened to the second unannounced visitor of the day. Her frown deepened when Crichton stepped in. With a light sigh, she lowered the flimsy she had attempted to read in vain, steepled her fingers and rested her elbows on the table top. "Commander," she said.

"I need a favor," he countered and dropped down on the chair in front of her desk without being asked to.

She arched an eyebrow at his tone, realizing that Sun was probably correct in assuming that his personality was changing. He did not even appear to be the same man who had arrived here no more than a few solardays ago. "I see," she stated. "For what?"

He leaned forward, rested his elbows on his knees and folded his hands, his expression sincere. But there was something hiding behind that sincerity, something she did not want to put to the test. "I need a ship," he said. "A fast one. Preferably something like a Luxan ship with a cloaking device and hefty firepower."

Stug returned to frowning at him and realized that she had done a whole lot of frowning over the past many days; much more than she had done in the majority of her time as station-head. "A ship?" she asked.

"Yeah. And before you ask, no, I can't use the leviathan because I need weaponry and ... quite honestly ... leviathans aren't the greatest in combat. They tend to turn and run rather than stay and fight," he said and gave her a halfhearted grin.

"Sometimes running away is the best alternative," Stug suggested. "As it were ... for how long would you need this ... ship?" She eyed him, gauging his reactions which were subtle yet strong.

"Well, it's hard to say really, but my guess would be about a monan if all goes well," he said.

"And if it doesn't go well?" she asked.

Crichton pursed his lips. That response could be seen as both dissatisfaction and thoughtfulness. A few days ago, she would have guessed at thoughtful. Now she wasn't so sure. "Then you might lose the ship," he finally said.

Stug nodded. She had expected that reply. "Are you certain that you want to do ... whatever it is you think you have to do?" She felt compelled to ask, based on Sun's visit and the female's obvious concern for Crichton's safety.

For some reason that pulled a grin from him that made Stug wonder what was going on in his head. Then he nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure. It's kind of a personal vendetta, granted," he admitted and shrugged as if it really meant nothing and everybody who had something against it was just blowing it out of proportions, "but in the end – if the outcome is what I'm aiming at – it will not only benefit me, but this galaxy as well. So – give or take – what have you got to lose?"

She couldn't help a small smile. He sounded smug, upbeat, like he had won this battle already. "A ship. And a potentially strong pilot," she countered, folded her hands and leaned back to rest them in her lap.

"Do you have a ship available?" he asked, obviously choosing to ignore her comment.

"I'm not certain. I will have to check," she replied, leaned forward again, tapped the embedded keyboard in her desk and eyed the three dimensional display that rose out of the desktop. "As it were, I do. A Luxan stinger. It's bigger than the one your Luxan friend has on your leviathan, but has mostly the same functions. Its firepower is more massive and it has been stripped of the necessity for the pilot to brand it with his or her DNA." She tapped the display off again and eyed Crichton for a moment. "Essentially, anybody can fly it. If you leave here to head into Peacekeeper territory, I must insist that you erase all traces of our location. We cannot afford to have the ship traced back to us should you fail in your endeavor."

"Naturally," he agreed willingly. "I wouldn't want you lot to pay for any sloppiness on my part."

"Well, in that case, the ship is yours. I would like to have it back if possible, but we can do without it if we have to," Stug said. "You will find it in landing bay nineteen. I will alert the bay authority that you are coming. They will prep the ship for you and you'll be ready to go the microt you get there."

Crichton rose with a grin on his lips. Stug could not say she found that grin entirely enticing. As it were, it looked more calculating and cold than it did grateful. "I owe you one, Stug," he said, gave her a thumbs-up which he briefly seemed to consider an odd gesture himself, then left her office.

Stug stared at the door for a moment, then tapped her desk again, calling up the communications network.

***

On route to the landing bays

Truth be told, he hadn't expected her to go for it. That was the first and most prominent thought that roamed through his head as John made his way back toward the apartment. The second was that he hoped Aeryn was out. It would be too awkward to explain why he was leaving and there would be too much chance that she would try and make sure he didn't.

Once there, he carefully opened the door and stepped inside. He stopped short just inside the door and listened intently to the dwelling for a moment. There was no sign of life. He broke the moment by striding purposefully across the living area and into the sleeping quarters, which were equally deserted. Here he threw a few things he thought he might need into a duffle, then stopped short and looked around.

There was an odd sensation running through him, a feeling vague and fleeting that he should not be doing this, but then he shook that feeling, threw the duffle over his shoulder and left the apartment again. In passing, he did not even spare a single glance for the flowering garden outside.

The monorail was the quickest way across the station to the landing bays and when he got off, he realized that he had not yet encountered the heart of this station. Here by the landing bays was where Outland Station's heart was beating, though. It was easy to blend in with the multitude of beings mulling around the shops, not that he needed to blend in. He hadn't had the feeling that he was being followed and why should he?

A brief flash of a bad conscience made his otherwise steady gait jerk a little. He should have left Aeryn a message, telling her why he had left. But then he pushed that thought out of his mind. She knew why he left. And he would be back, now wouldn't he? Once he'd had his revenge on Scorpius, he would return to this place and settle down. If she was still here then they could pick up where they had left off. If not – well, there were other females here. If a mate was what he wanted, he could easily find someone willing and pretty enough. He would miss Aeryn, granted, but she was entitled to make up her mind about what she wanted to do, just as he had every right to pursue what he considered a necessity.

With a satisfied sigh, he strode through the crowd until he found an access point for the bays beyond. He stepped through the large doors and came to a stop on a catwalk that ran along the inside of what appeared to be a multi-level landing zone. From where he was standing, he could see the entire half-circle. It was a gentle half-circle and judging by the multitude of vessels docked to the station, he assumed that Stug had not been kidding about the amount of ships they had. He spotted Moya among the ships, floating gently with an umbilical cord connecting her to the station. He assumed she was either feeding or engaged in some type of waste removal and he briefly smiled. Moya was home, always would be, but he also felt it was time to move on and he was taking the first step in that direction now.

Without further delay, he strode on until he found a sign pointing him in the right direction. The closer he got to bay nineteen, the less populated the area was. When he finally reached the right access hatch to the bay in question, there was nobody around. Nineteen was the last bay on the lowest level.

He pushed through the doors to the bay and found himself in a short corridor through which he could see the bay beyond. But apart from the obvious dupe sitting in the bay – it appeared to be an old freighter of some kind and it hardly looked spaceworthy – Aeryn was standing at the mouth of the corridor, arms folded over her chest, her expression unreadable.

"Well, well, well," he said and couldn't help a grin. Leave it to the females to gang up on him. He would have to have a word with Stug about this. "Whatever you have to say, Aeryn, you can spare yourself the trouble. I'll find a different ship. Frell, I'll even try that one if I have to. But I am leaving."

"No, you're not," Aeryn countered, her tone flat, her eyes dark. She looked more angry than concerned right now. "I can't frelling believe that you were going to try and sneak out without letting me know where you were going," she added quietly.

He arched an eyebrow at her words. "What do you mean by that? You wanna come?" He was in a sense hoping for that. She would be beneficial to have by his side, what with her being a former Peacekeeper and all. But he could also tell by the tenseness creeping into her expression that he had misunderstood.

"No, John, I have no intention of coming along," she said, her tone as tense as her expression. "And you're not leaving. You're in no condition to go out there and meet Scorpius. He will rip your frelling brain apart to get at what is no longer there."

"Despite our history, I respect that piece of dren, Aeryn. He's not stupid. You have to give him that. If I tell him what's happened, he'll believe it. Not that it matters what he believes. I'm going to kill him. And in doing so, I'm going to rid the universe of a great threat. Why can't you see that? I'm not doing this only for me. I'm doing it for everybody," he explained although he could hardly understand anymore why he bothered. He knew her well enough to know she would not see reason once she had gotten an idea into her head.

"So, that's why you want to go out there and get yourself killed? For everybody?" she asked, her tone definitely sarcastic now. "How noble of you," she added with a sneer. "You're not leaving, John. You have no frelling idea what you're doing right now and I can't allow you to go out there and jeopardize not only yourself but this entire station as well."

"Now who's being noble?" he countered and sighed. "Look, sugar, we can do this one of two ways. You can be a good girl and step aside so I can get on with what I'm going to do regardless of what you have to say about it or you can continue this obstinate behavior and leave me no other choice than to kick your scrawny behind. Personally, I'd rather you chose the first option, of course."

Her expression grew tenser by the microt and he had no trouble understanding why. He was trying to either shame or anger her into letting him go. He knew as well as she did that he had no chance of kicking her behind. No matter how little he might like it, she was still a better soldier than him.

"Oh would you?" she asked and propped her hands on her hips, her expression downright feral now. He frowned briefly at that word. He knew what it meant, but it made no real sense anyway. Then he nodded. "I bet you would, because there's no frelling way in Hezmana or elsewhere that you would ever be able to kick my 'scrawny' behind," she added angrily.

"Point taken," he agreed and sighed. "Look, Aeryn, I know you mean well and I appreciate the concern. As I said before." His hand slipped down onto the butt of his pulse pistol. "But I'm leaving, with or without your consent. I don't want to have to get nasty here, but I will if you don't get out of the way."

"I would think twice about pulling your weapon, John." That voice came out of nowhere, completely unexpected as it was.

John glanced over one shoulder and found not only D'Argo standing in the open doorway, but Chiana and Sikozu as well. The girls were armed and looked ready to use their weapons. D'Argo, however, was unarmed.

At this point, John had to admit that he was outnumbered and it gave him a sinking feeling that his friends had turned so utterly against him. "So, this is how it's gonna be?" he asked and returned his attention to Aeryn.

Her expression had changed drastically in the few microts it had taken him to assess the situation. She looked sad, her eyes shiny with unshed tears. "Yes," she agreed, her voice husky. "This is how it's going to be. For what it's worth, John, I'm sorry. I hope that once you return to yourself that you will not hold this against me, against any of us. You must know, somewhere deep down inside, that we're only trying to help you."

He snorted, both with contempt and annoyance. "Yeah, right," he said and shook his head while closing his hand around his weapon. "I thought you knew that I don't take betrayal too well," he added and ripped his pulse pistol out.

He wasn't too sure what he had actually intended to accomplish by drawing his weapon, but by doing it, he forced the Luxan's hand. Even before he felt the whiplash against the back of his neck, he knew what was coming. A split microt later, darkness engulfed him.

***

Aeryn stood still for what seemed to be a very long time but in truth was only a microt or two as D'Argo tongued John. She watched him fall in slow motion, his expression one of surprise. His precious pulse pistol hit the floor and skittered away from him, every move still in slow motion, and then it was over and everything was moving normally again.

She closed the distance to him and hunkered down to check his vitals, and only then did a small sigh escaped her. Her plea to him had been in accordance with the truth. She desperately hoped that he would either not remember this or at least understand why they had seen fit to go to such extremes to stop him from leaving.

With sadness in her eyes, she brushed the back of her fingers over his cheek and prayed silently to his God that the Diagnosians could heal him. These last few days had been far worse than when that frelling neural tracer chip had taken him over during his second cycle out here; worse because there was no chip doing this to him. This was what he would be if deprived of his past and the mere thought sent shivers of fear and sorrow down her spine.

***

The med-unit a few arns later

Time-consuming was not a word Aeryn usually associated with Diagnosians, but try as she might, she could find none other to fit what was going on right now. For over two arns now she had been wearing grooves in the floor of the waiting room in the med-unit while the one Diagnosian who had agreed to help out was working on John. The situation reminded her much of the events that had unfolded on that ice planet, except now it was impossible for Scorpius to find them.

She stopped briefly and stared darkly at the door. When that made no difference, she resumed her pacing, valiantly ignoring the others spread out around the room.

D'Argo was silent and had said nothing since they had brought John's unconscious body back to the med-unit. Chiana and Sikozu were whispering to each other, something which seemed to annoy Rygel to such a degree that he tried to eavesdrop all the time; more times than not that ended him up at the other side of the room because Chiana and Sikozu took turns at pushing him away. Stug sat quietly on a chair near the door. Why the station-head had decided to wait with them was beyond Aeryn, and she cared very little about the female's reasons at this point. All she cared about was to find out how John was doing.

After another half arn had passed, she stopped dead in her tracks and just stared at the door. Then she turned her attention toward Stug, who met her gaze dead on. "What the frell is taking them so long?" she demanded and waved aggressively at the door.

Stug rose and took an almost hesitant step toward her, then paused and glanced at the others before returning her attention to Aeryn. "I wouldn't know," she said. "But I can try and find out."

"Then do that!" Aeryn found herself growing cold with anger and knew she had to be careful not to let the anger get the better of her. Although she tried hard not to think in that direction, somewhere deep down she blamed Stug for all that had gone wrong since their arrival on this station. "Please," she added without really meaning it.

Stug arched an eyebrow, gave a curt nod and left the waiting room to enquire about John's status. All Aeryn could do was stand where she stood and try not to blow her top over the versatile feelings running through her. She was partly embarrassed by her behavior and partly angrier then Hezmana and felt that she had good right to be bossy.

"Perhaps you should not try to alienate Stug," D'Argo said, speaking up as the voice of reason.

"Perhaps you should mind your own business," Aeryn snapped, then made a face and turned around to face him. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap. I'm just worried."

The Luxan nodded and he rose from his seat. "I understand," he said quietly. "I know you worry about John. We all do. It would be a strange day when we did not have to worry about him," he added with a vague smile.

"True," Aeryn agreed and sighed. "I just wish I knew what's going on. I hate not knowing what's going on."

Chiana gave a suppressed chuckle and quickly covered her mouth with both hands. Sikozu settled for rolling her eyes and Rygel huffed indignantly.

"We know that," D'Argo said for all of them, ever the diplomat. He closed the distance to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "Try not to worry too much. I'm sure John is in good hands. We've had good experiences with Diagnosians before."

Aeryn allowed herself to be comforted and leaned against D'Argo with her eyes closed. "I know. I just feel like we've been here before and that whatever is coming is not good," she said quietly.

"You shouldn't think that way, Aeryn. It's not productive," D'Argo countered and gave her shoulder a light squeeze. "I'm sure Stug will have good news for us when she comes back."

As if on cue, the door opened and Stug stepped back in. "I just spoke to them," she said and glanced around at all of them. "They've removed the chip. Apparently, it was putting pressure on some neural pathways. He's still unconscious, but should be as good as new when he wakes up."

Aeryn could not help a smile. D'Argo was quite the diplomat and obviously also good at predicting the future. "That's good to hear," she said. "When can we see him?"

"They're moving him to the recovery room now. Just give them about quarter of an arn," Stug replied with a vague smile of her own. "I am sorry about all of this. I feel partly responsible for having introduced him to that Ancient female in the first place."

"No need to apologize," Rygel inserted while drifting closer on his throne sled. "As long as the outcome is good, you have nothing to worry about."

Stug pursed her lips and frowned lightly, then shrugged. "Thank you," she said, her tone indicating that she was uncertain of whether to be offended or grateful for the absolution.

"He is right," Aeryn said. "However much I dislike the idea of admitting it that he could be right about anything," she added and gave Rygel a dark look. "We do not blame you for anything. You have done whatever you could to remedy the situation, after all."

Stug's smile became a little more sincere at that. "Well, thank you again," she said. "I have duties to attend to, so I will leave you now. Let me know about his progress."

"We will," Aeryn assured her.

Stug left and Aeryn took a step toward the door, but then stopped and glanced back at the others. "Are you coming?" she asked.

"Do you know how much you sounded like John just now?" D'Argo asked her with a grin.

Chiana nodded eagerly. "How the frell could you let her off the hook like that?" she asked, surprise in her tone.

"She is to blame, after all," Sikozu agreed.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Aeryn said and couldn't help smiling mysteriously. As foreign and downright disgusting the thought of being compared to John would have been to her four cycles ago, that was how much she liked it now. "Besides, it's what John would have done," she added and walked out the door.

***