Some microts later

The microt they left starburst again, D'Argo gathered his charges and took them to the med-bay while Aeryn took off in the opposite direction. He assumed she was heading to Command to possibly help Pilot and Moya. Chiana tended to Sikozu and helped her secure her arm so she wouldn't lose it again before it had reattached itself, while D'Argo placed John on the examination table and pressed a cloth against the still bleeding gash on the back of his head.

Once Chiana was done with Sikozu, she turned her attention to John. "I wonder if he'll ever wake up again," she said quietly.

"We'll see," D'Argo replied. "For now, all we can do is try and stabilize him," he added, then tapped his comm badge. "Aeryn? Where are you?"

"In Command," came the reply at once. "We're about to starburst a second time. How is John?"

"He's alive from what I can tell," D'Argo countered and sighed. "In bad shape, but alive," he added quietly.

"I need you up here, D'Argo," Aeryn said. She sounded tense.

"Are you all right?" D'Argo asked with a frown and glanced up at the ceiling.

"No, I think I hurt my foot worse than I originally thought," she replied. "Moving is nauseating."

"I'll be up in a microt," D'Argo promised, then turned to Chiana. "Take some bandages and get up there. I'll be there as soon as I've secured John."

Chiana nodded, grabbed the necessary bandages, and hurried out the door.

Rygel muttered under his breath and followed her for whatever reason. Sikozu, who looked pale and unsteady, stood leaning against the door frame. "Go get some rest," D'Argo said. "You need time to heal."

"What about Crichton?" she asked, her voice a bit unsteady.

"He'll be fine. I doubt he will wake up any time soon and even if he does, he won't go anywhere. He was not exactly in the best of shape before he hit his head," D'Argo countered.

Sikozu nodded, pushed away from the doorframe and walked slowly away, cradling her right arm with her left. The Kalish continuously managed to confuse D'Argo. On one side she seemed completely self-absorbed and utterly indifferent towards others, but then she went and did something like this. With a shake of the head, the Luxan returned his attention to his friend. "You'd better get back to normal soon, my friend. I don't think our resident ex-Peacekeeper can hold on much longer without you."

That said, he grabbed a few essentials he was certain Chiana had forgotten and left John on the table.

***

In Command

It took three more starbursts before the lot of them were even vaguely convinced that the Peacekeepers attacking the station could no longer trace them. Aeryn stood in front of the console, bracing herself against it, while she stared up at the viewscreen. Her right foot was throbbing away with a pulse of its own and she tried valiantly to ignore the pain.

D'Argo stood a few feet to her left, arms crossed over his chest while he too watched the viewscreen. Rygel had long since disappeared, probably to hide somewhere until this was all over. Chiana was sitting on one of the forward sills, watching the two of them.

"Are we in the clear?" she finally asked.

Aeryn glanced at the clamshell. "Are we, Pilot?" she asked.

"It would appear so. There is no trace of anyone following us," he replied.

"Good," Aeryn sighed and closed her eyes. Then she opened them again immediately. "Where is John?" she asked and turned her attention toward D'Argo.

"In the med-bay. I felt it safe to leave him there," D'Argo countered.

Aeryn found she did not have the mental strength to get upset about that. Instead, she glanced around Command. "Where is Sikozu then?"

"I told her to get some rest," D'Argo said. "She looked a little unsteady."

"Wouldn't you be if you'd just had your arm torn off?" Chiana countered and rose. "You should be sitting down with that foot up, Aeryn," she added.

"Yes, and the Peacekeepers shouldn't be attacking peaceful settlements," Aeryn countered and sighed. "I'm going to check on John," she added, turned around and limped out of Command.

On route to the med-bay she considered the events that had taken place ever since she had come out of stasis. One thing she could say for certain. Life with John Crichton was never dull. She almost smiled at the thought, but only almost. She was too tried and too concerned for him to find anything much to smile about.

Exhaustion, she knew, always came on the heels of a frantic escape, and they had all been hurt in one way or another. On her way to the med-bay, Aeryn decided to check in on Sikozu, just to make sure the Kalish wasn't dying on them or something. From what the others had told her, Sikozu was more than just a Kalish. John had called her a construct, she remembered, a bioloid. That thought made her limping gait halt a little. Why would Sikozu try to save him if he had offended her? That made no sense. Sikozu did not seem to be the forgiving kind.

"Frell," she muttered and sped up. What if Sikozu hadn't tried to save John, but had pushed him under the falling debris and just hadn't managed to get away in time? "I'm going to frelling kill her if that's the case," she muttered.

To her immediate distress, Sikozu was not in her quarters. With her heart thumping away in her throat, she rushed as fast as her painful foot allowed toward the med-bay, desperately hoping that she would find John unconscious and Sikozu nowhere near him.

She rounded the corner and stepped through the doorway to the med-bay and took in two things at once. The examination table was empty and Sikozu was sitting on a stool near it, staring at it idly, her complexion waxen, while she cradled her right arm in her left.

Aeryn glanced around the med-bay for a moment to assure herself that she was not about to blow up for nothing, but she found no trace of John. Tired and concerned as she was, it did not take much for her temper to boil over. The pain from her foot vanished and she strode angrily across the bay to where Sikozu sat, grabbed the girl's shoulders and shook her hard once. "Where the frell is John?" she snarled.

Sikozu met her gaze unwavering. "I do not know where he is," she said, her tone tense and slightly angry. "He was not here when I returned."

"You're lying," Aeryn snarled.

"Why the frell would I be lying? I saved his life on that station. I had my arm ripped off for it," Sikozu countered angrily and ripped out of Aeryn's grip, almost managing to topple the stool over in the process.

Aeryn stepped back and stared at her for a microt. "Why did you do that? You've shown nothing but disrespect and dislike for him for as long as I've known you. Why would you save his life?"

Sikozu stared at her, eyes cold, posture rigid. "Because he saved mine by taking me along when we left Scorpius behind," she said, but her tone had lost its anger and resentment. Now she just sounded sad.

For a long moment all Aeryn could think of doing was stare at her. Then she nodded once and took another step back. "Fine," she said, turned around and strode out of the med-bay again, intent on finding out where John had disappeared to.

***

For over an arn she searched for him, tier by tier, with the aide of as many DRDs as Moya and Pilot could spare, but she could not find him. What worried her was the condition he had been in before the accident; the near-catatonia that had overcome him after that Diagnosian had frelled with his brain. Had that retched creature been right? Had the chip put pressure on some neural pathways that had caused the change in his nature? And if so, would a as traumatic event as being knocked unconscious and nearly having his skull split open be enough to wake him up again?

All these thoughts and more roamed through her head while she physically roamed Moya in search of the one person she could not stand to lose again. The more she thought about the possibility that she might find him dead or dying somewhere, the more she wanted to run and hide. Could she stand to have to say goodbye to him again?

Overcome with fear, she stopped in the middle of one of the many corridors leading through Moya's innards, propped her hands on her hips and briefly closed her eyes. Her foot had started hurting again, but it was nothing compared to the pain she felt in her heart.

"John?" she called. "Answer me!"

Nothing but silence answered her. Afraid of what the lingering silence meant, she found herself fighting back tears.

"John," she tried again.

Pilot had opened the entire comm-system on Moya. Where ever he might be, he should be able to hear her. So the silence answering her could be nothing but a bad sign.

"John, please," she tried again. At this point in time, she couldn't care less about what the others might think of her now plaintive tone of voice. "Answer me!"

"Frell," she whispered and briefly pressed a hand against her lips to somehow help retain her emotions.

As she stood there, a thought suddenly struck her, and it once again made her forget about her injured foot as she broke into a run and headed toward the maintenance bay where his module resided. Why hadn't she thought of that before?

She returned to the right tier and ran the length of the corridor, but the closer she got to the open doorway, the harder it was for her to run. Her ankle had had enough of the abuse and began to lock up on her and with every step she took, pain shot up through her leg. But she could not and would not stop now. She needed to know.

With a throbbing foot and a lump in her throat she finally reached the doorway and cleared it in a heavy limp. Biting on her lower lip hard enough to nearly draw blood, she ran her gaze over the bay. The module sat untouched where it had been sitting for the larger part of the four cycles he had been with them. She fought tears of defeat and continued to search the bay visually until her eyes fixed on a darker shadow among shadows at the very rear of the bay.

Dragging her foot, she slowly made her way into the bay, afraid of what she would see, but needing to see anyway. He sat against the wall at the far end, knees pulled up, and head down, one hand holding a cloth against the back of his head. That alone told her that he was aware and no longer borderline-catatonic.

"John?" she asked. The fear that he had returned to the careless creature he had been after that Ancient female had gotten her hands on him lingered in the back of her mind.

She stopped a few denches from him and waited for a response, any response. When he made no move to acknowledge her presences, she took a few steps closer and – ignoring her aching foot – hunkered down in front of him. "John?" she repeated in a near whisper. "Are you ..."

He slowly raised his head and looked up at her. His eyes were bloodshot, the skin around them puffy and the look in his eyes was one of utter hopelessness. He pressed his lips together into a thin line while he struggled against fresh tears rising in his eyes.

She reached a hand out, intent on comforting him, but he pulled back a little and shook his head lightly. "Don't," his whispered hoarsely. "Don't touch me."

"John," she whispered. She was torn between the overwhelming relief that he appeared to be back to normal and the utter sadness she felt at his present rejection. As of yet, she had no idea how much – if anything – he remembered, and she cautioned herself not to jump to conclusions. "John, I've been so worried," she confessed. "I'm glad you're back," she added with a vague smile on her lips.

He stared at her for a microt longer, then dropped his head again. "I'm not," he whispered, his voice thick with fear. "I ... have no idea where I am."

***

Aeryn stared at him with nothing short of horror. He had gone from not remembering his past to being catatonic to now not remembering Moya, which in her opinion did not bode well for what else he might have forgotten.

"John," she tried and reached out for him again, but he pulled back almost violently and managed to bump his already sore head against the wall, which in turn made him flinch and tear up even more.

"Don't touch me," he repeated, his voice scratchy.

"John, it's me, Aeryn," she tried, hoping that hearing her name might spark recognition in him.

He stared at her and almost pensively wiped away a tear that had torn loose and was trickling down his cheek. "I don't know you," he rasped. His gaze shifted sideways rapidly before snapping back to her. He was looking for a way out.

For a moment all she could do was crouch there and stare at him. The extent of his amnesia was slowly dawning on her while her mind raced to find the best way to deal with this. It wasn't as if they had gone back to square one, as he called it. His response to her was far more critical now than it had been when he had first arrived at this end of the universe. Back then, he hadn't been afraid of her. Not even after she had kicked him around. But now he was terrified, like a lost child.

Unsure of how best to deal with the situation at hand, Aeryn sat down on the floor, partly to get the weight off her injured ankle and partly to think things through. She would have to stop him from leaving this bay for now. If he remembered nothing about Moya, he was likely to open the wrong door and risked being sucked out into space. She smoothed both hands over her hair and sighed lightly. "Listen, John," she tried. "You're hurt. You hit your head. That may be why you don't remember anything."

He pulled the cloth away from the gash in his scalp and eyed the blood, then fixed his gaze back on her, weary and concerned. "I don't ... know where I am," he repeated and briefly glanced around the bay before returning his attention promptly to her. One thing she knew for certain. He did not trust her right now.

Aeryn made a sweeping gesture with both arms, careful to keep her movements slow and measured to not scare him any further, and tried to encompass Moya. "This is a biomechanoid," she said. "A leviathan. She is called Moya and she's been home to us for almost five cycles." He frowned lightly at her and she struggled to remember what he had called cycles in the beginning. "Years," she then said. "My name is Aeryn Sun. I'm ... your friend." As he did not seem to remember her at present, she thought it best not to get too familiar at once. It was no surprise to her that she felt reluctant to merely call herself a friend at this point though.

"My friend?" he asked quietly and glanced toward the doorway. "What do you mean, a leviathan?" he added and looked back at her.

Another little part that could wait for later, she assumed. "I wouldn't worry about that right now," she said and tried a smile. His response was favorable when he relaxed a little and did not appear as scared any more. "First of all you need some medical assistance. You're hurt. We were attacked. On a station. That's where you got that gash."

He reached up to touch his sore scalp again and flinched. "On ... a station?" he asked.

Aeryn had the distinct feeling that he might lose his composure if she revealed too much about his present whereabouts. Instead, she assumed it might be helpful if she found out how much he actually did remember. Maybe what he remembered had been reversed and he now remembered Earth, but not the Uncharted Territories. "What do you remember?" she asked.

For a moment he just stared at her. Then the look in his eyes became a distant one. "Nothing," he whispered. "I ... remember nothing. None of this," he added and nodded toward the ceiling of the bay, "or you."

That last bit hit her hard, but she subdued any response to it and instead nodded in understanding. "Do you remember your home? Your father?" she asked, but he shook his head. She started chewing on the inside of her cheek while trying to come up with an explanation, a solution, anything. This was better than the catatonia, but it was worse than having him remember only the UTs. "First of all, I think we should have a look at that gash," she finally said. Wounds came first. The rest could be dealt with later. "There are others on this ship, John. D'Argo, Chiana, Rygel, Sikozu. And there's Pilot as well. They may ... look a little strange to you. But they're friends. They only want what's good for you. All right?"

He sent a doubtful glance toward the doorway again, but then nodded and slowly came to his feet. She followed suit and wished desperately that she'd taken time to deal with her ankle properly first. Chiana's half-hearted attempt to bandage her foot had done next to nothing to help her.

As John did not appear to be happy about the thought of her touching him, she kept her distance and instead guided the way, occasionally checking to make sure he followed her. He appeared to be completely intimidated and jumped at even the smallest sound. How was he going to respond to the others then? He had shied away from her and she did look like his species. Only time could tell how things would go from now on.

***

All he remembered about himself was that his name was John and that was it. He had no idea where he came from, who this woman was or what this place was all about. She called it a leviathan, but he had no reference point for that word. That bio-word she had used made even less sense.

She looked kind enough, took time to explain things to him, but he did not feel safe. This felt much like a nightmare that he couldn't wake up from. They rounded a corner and entered another room, which was big and full of gadgets. She waved at a chair and he sat down on it while trying to keep an eye on what she was doing. She explained as she went along what she was going to do, which made him feel less apprehensive but no less scared.

"I need to clean this out," she said, poured some transparent liquid onto a clean cloth and dabbed it onto the cut. He barely prevented himself from letting out a yelp. That stung like hell. "Sorry," she said, a smile in her voice. "It's a bit harsh, I know," she added and pressed another cloth against the gash. "Here. Hold this," she said and he did. She taped it down, then stepped back. "There. That should tide you over for now."

Before she could say another word, another woman joined them. Only this one had grey skin, snow white hair and pitch-black eyes. He stared at her with equal amounts of fascination and dread.

"Hey. Here you are," she said and came to a stop. "How're you doing, Crichton?" she asked.

John stared at her with a light frown and then glanced at Aeryn.

"He's awake, but his memory is completely shot, Chiana," Aeryn replied. "Other than that, I think he's fine. Aren't you?"

He glanced at the gray girl again and nodded once. Yeah, sure, he was doing just fine. He couldn't remember shit, but he was fine; apart from some general aches and pains, of course, which had probably been caused by that 'attack' the dark-haired woman had mentioned briefly.

Without taking his eyes off the gray girl, he rose and took a tentative step towards Aeryn. "What's wrong with her?" he nearly whispered.

Aeryn glanced at him, then at Chiana, and smiled vaguely. "Nothing. She's a Nebari. She's supposed to look that way."

"Drad," Chiana exclaimed with a chuckle. "Now we get to teach him everything from the start again."

"You do not get to teach him anything, Chiana. I'm sure his memory will return in time," Aeryn countered somewhat angrily.

"Maybe he just needs to hit his head again to shake everything back into place," a new voice suggested.

John glanced toward the doorway and jerked back a step. Now, that guy was scary like hell. Taller than himself and broad as a barn door with things hanging off his face and head.

Aeryn grabbed his arm. "That's D'Argo. Do you remember him?" she asked and nodded at the tall guy. John quickly shook his head, never taking his eyes off him.

"He doesn't remember me?" D'Argo asked and frowned. "I'm hurt."

"He doesn't remember any of us. From what I can tell, he remembers nothing at all," Aeryn replied. "Although there must be something in there that works. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to talk."

D'Argo nodded. "You have a point there," he agreed and eyed John thoughtfully.

John swallowed lightly and took the opportunity to put Aeryn between himself and the others.

Just then, two further 'individuals' entered the room. One of them looked a bit human if he didn't take her strange eyes into account. The other one reminded him of an overgrown bullfrog with eyebrows. He stared at both of them and decided that his best bet was probably Aeryn.

"Those are Rygel," Aeryn said and waved at the overgrown bullfrog, "and Sikozu," she added and waved at the girl with the long curly red hair and the peculiar eyes.

"How deficient is his species?" Sikozu asked, her tone derisive. "He hits his head and can't remember anything any more?"

"We don't all have detachable limbs like you," Aeryn countered, her tone angry. John didn't really see what detachable limbs had to do with him losing his memory, but that was beside the point right then. He mostly fixated on the term 'detachable limbs'.

"Detachable limbs?" he asked. This was getting over his head. He felt like he was drowning in information overload and weirdness and wanted nothing more than to bail right there and then. This was not his idea of fun. The not remembering he could have dealt with if he'd been in familiar surroundings. But then again, familiar surroundings would probably have seemed unfamiliar too, since he couldn't remember squat.

Instead of dealing with the whole thing, he started hyperventilating as he backed up and bumped into a table behind him. He couldn't breathe properly, couldn't make sense of anything any more. All he knew was that he had woken up on the table in this very room with a bleeding gash on his head and no memory of where he was, how he had gotten there, or who he himself was for that matter. It was all very disturbing and the fear he'd felt before overwhelmed him anew, threatening to suffocate him with its intensity.

His knees gave in beneath him and he dropped to the floor while the world around him turned to black. It was probably better that way anyway. This was getting a little too strange for him. And then he passed out.

***

John's response to the whole thing took Aeryn by surprise. She had not foreseen that he might pass out from sheer fright and on account of that, she didn't reach him in time to prevent him from hitting the floor face first. "Frell," she snapped as she dropped down on her knees in front of him just a microt too late. Another bump on the head could not be considered conducive to his present condition.

"Is he unconscious yet again?" Sikozu asked and came closer.

Aeryn gave her a dark look. "Yes, not that it's any of your business," she countered and carefully turned John over on his back. True to his present form, he had a new bruise spreading on his brow. "Frell," she added and shook her head with a sigh. "This cannot be good. If he does that again, we will have to find a Diagnosian to deal with him." He had gone through a lot of dren over a very short time and she was afraid that the damage might be of a more permanent nature if they could not get him back to normal soon.

D'Argo picked him up and put him back on the examination table. "I think he should have left that frelling chip alone in the first place. He had it in his head quite a while and there were no side-effects like from the first one."

"You don't know that," Aeryn disagreed. "He may just have chosen not to say anything about it. Just as he did with the first one."

D'Argo made a face and pulled the covers up over his unconscious friend again. "I just hope that this last bump on his head has shaken some sense back into him. I am a little tired of his constantly changing states."

"Yeah, whoever thought that removing some frelling hardware from his head could be so difficult?" Chiana chipped in.

"Scorpius is a genius. Subsequently his inventions will be genius as well," Sikozu inserted.

Aeryn turned around to face her, the ever growing resentment she harbored toward the Kalish growing another notch. "You think Scorpius is a genius for frelling up John's life like that?" she asked and made a sweeping gesture toward John with one hand. "That fekkik is no genius. He's a frelling menace and he needs to die."

Sikozu eyed her with her usual amount of contempt, but Aeryn fancied that she could also see a margin of fear in her eyes. "That I consider him a genius does not mean that I agree with what he does, Aeryn," she stated. "You should not underestimate him. He is far ahead of you all. I would not be surprised if he had ensured Crichton's retrieval in some manner or fashion. We got away from that station far too easily."

"That was by no means easy," Aeryn snapped angrily and took a step forward. "And you give him far too much credit. In the end, all he is is a Scarran half-breed and the Peacekeepers will most likely not tolerate him for much longer."

Sikozu sneered and took a cautious step back. "Weak species," she spat. "You are fools if you think that Scorpius has not secured his position in some way. The fact that he is still around and still after Crichton proves that, if nothing else does."

D'Argo stepped between them at that point and warded them both off. "Calm down," he said. "Both of you. Aeryn, Sikozu has a point. I know none of us want to believe it, but think about it. The Peacekeepers have the wormhole technology. If that was all they were after, they wouldn't need Scorpius any more. The fact that he is still around proves only too clearly that there is something more going on than meets the eye."

Aeryn hissed angrily and pulled back. Then she stabbed a finger in Sikozu's direction. "I am still not convinced that she did not try to kill John on that frelling station, D'Argo. I want her nowhere near him."

"Don't be silly, Aeryn. Why would Sikozu try to kill John?" D'Argo countered and glanced back at the Kalish for a moment before returning his attention to her. "Sikozu saved his life, Aeryn. I saw it happen. If I had been closer, I would have tried to do that, but she was right behind him when the doorway gave in. She protected him from worse damage than a gash on the head."

D'Argo's words deflated Aeryn's anger quite a bit, but there was still the lingering doubt that she could not and would not get rid of. "All right, fine," she said and pulled back another step. "Maybe she didn't try to kill him. But I still don't trust her and I want her nowhere near him."

The Luxan sighed audibly, shook his head and turned toward Sikozu. "Better do as she says for now," he suggested.

Sikozu huffed angrily. "I have no wish to remain here anyway," she snarled, swirled around and strode out of the room.

"No offence, Aeryn," Chiana said, a worried look in her eyes, "but I kinda get the feeling that it might not be such a good idea to upset her too much."

"I don't frelling care about her," Aeryn growled and turned her attention to John.

"Maybe you should, though," D'Argo suggested. "She's a weapon as well as a bioloid. If she gets angry enough, I would assume that she could destroy us all."

Aeryn frowned, then made a face and waved them away with a flick of the wrist. "She can take a spacewalk for all I care. Frelling construct would probably survive it, too," she grumbled.

D'Argo, Chiana and Rygel glanced at each other and obviously decided it best to leave her alone with John, so they all left.

Aeryn did not spare them another thought as she settled down on a stool next to the examination table to watch over John.

***