On Moya

D'Argo stood very still while listening to the conversation taking place on the command carrier. He glanced sideways at Chiana and knew she felt the same way about this.

"We've frelled up," she whispered. "I've frelled up. I shouldn't have taken this dren away from him before he left," she added and stared sadly at the lakka bulbs in the palm of her hand. "Frell!"

"What's done is done," D'Argo countered, but knew he did not sound convinced. "He's cracking up," he added quietly.

Before either of them could comment further on the downward spiral this trip was taking, Tonga's image flickered into view. She looked angry and concerned at the same time. "What the frell is wrong with Crichton? Why is he falling to pieces over there? He seemed completely together when I spoke to him."

D'Argo stared at her image for a moment, then sighed and glanced away. "Chiana thought it was a good idea to remove the drugs he's been taking for more than half a cycle. I agreed with her. But I fear we may have been a little too rash in our decision," he said.

Tonga's expression was unmistakable. "Are you out of your frelling minds?" she asked with wide eyes. "You've sent him to negotiate for Sun's life while suffering from withdrawal symptoms? Frell!"

"As I said," D'Argo tried. "We realize it was a bad idea, but there's not much we can do about it now."

"Do about it? No, there's not much you can do about it except pray for his soul if you believe in any deities, because Scorpius is going to take him apart," Tonga replied angrily. "Prepare to launch," she added to someone off screen, then returned her attention to Moya's somewhat stumped crew. "I hope he does not consider you close friends," she said darkly. "Because you are not very good at it." With that, the connection died.

D'Argo didn't know where to look or what to say. John was cracking up and Scorpius would probably do what he could to salvage the pieces, which again meant nothing good for John. "Frell," he muttered as anger started seething inside him. He closed his eyes and tried to force the lid back on, but it was nearly impossible to do so. "You and your frelling ideas, Chiana," he finally snapped and turned back to face her. "You always have to meddle. Always! Why can't you just stay out of other people's business?"

That said, he strode out of Command in a vain attempt to get his boiling temper back under control, leaving behind a stumped-looking Chiana.

***

On the command carrier

Part of him knew he was being hysterical, but there was nothing he could do about it. Scorpius had obviously gotten over the part where he felt sorry for him and was now just annoyed, and still he could not stop himself. He felt like crying and laughing at the same time, felt his grip on reality slipping a little. This wasn't happening. Why the hell would Chiana and D'Argo do this to him now? Why had he been so stupid to carry through with this when he couldn't find the bulbs?

It hit him like a ton of bricks right there and then that he had been in denial, had made up excuses and tried to justify the fact that he was doing drugs. He was addicted big time and just because he couldn't get his fix, he was about to come apart at the seams; and that at the worst possible time ever.

He drew in a deep breath, then another, and only ended up making himself dizzy. God, what he wouldn't do to get out of here right now. His hands were shaking, his heart was racing, he had a funny, metallic taste in his mouth and he was sweating buckets. He felt slightly sick to his stomach - nervous tension - and could barely stop himself from giggling hysterically.

And all through this, Braca, Sikozu and Scorpius watched him with a mixture of confusion, concern and annoyance. He rubbed the back of his right hand against the left side of his jaw and struggled against the tide of stupidity he was riding at the moment. How the hell could he calm himself down enough to get out of this in one piece?

The fact was, he couldn't. There was no path left but down and it wasn't a spiral any more. It was a garbage shut, foul-smelling, dark and dank, and there were nothing but monsters lurking at the bottom, ready to devour him hide and hair.

"Is he losing his mind?" Braca asked and glanced at Scorpius.

"No, of course not," Sikozu inserted, her tone annoyed. She obviously didn't like Braca any better than anyone else did. That was always something.

"I wasn't speaking to you," Braca commented derisively.

"Weak species," she spat back.

"SILENCE!" Scorpius snarled. "Would you two stop fighting?" he added and sighed aggressively. "John, what is wrong with you?" he then demanded.

"Nothing a little lakka couldn't cure," John replied and cut another hysterical giggle short with a snort. And then the card house tumbled and fell. Suddenly, nothing was funny any more. Suddenly, he didn't feel like laughing at all. He felt like crying, felt like shooting someone. "You have royally frelled up my life, you know that? You've screwed it up so bad, I don't know who the hell I am any more," he said. "You and your stupid plans for universal domination. And don't give me any crap about not wanting to dominate the universe. All you want to do is get back at the Scarrans for not being nice to you or your mother. Granted, I'm not a big fan of rape, but come on. Do you need to destroy a whole frelling race just because one of them took liberties?"

Scorpius' expression was priceless and also scary as all hell. He looked stumped, stunned, totally surprised for a moment. Then he sneered like an angry animal. "You do not talk about her," he snarled. "Ever! Do I make myself clear?"

"Or what? You'll shoot me? Well, get on with it, Scorpy. I'm not doing anything for the rest of the day. Got no plans at all," John countered and spread his arms out. "Go on, you bastard. Shoot me! Blow my head off. That's what you really wanna do, isn't it?"

For a moment, it appeared to be what Scorpius was going to do. But then the half-breed settled for stalking forward, grabbing the front of John's t-shirt and bodily hurling him across the room. The strength put into that attack could only come from his Scarran side, which probably meant he was losing control. That could be both good and bad.

John collided with the wall and bounced off it. It hurt like hell; he bruised his shoulder pretty badly, but he was far from done taunting this nightmare vision he had lived with for the past four cycles. "What's the matter, Scorpy? Can't take the truth?" he taunted in a shaky voice and turned to face the now unbalanced half-Scarran.

Sikozu stepped in Scorpius' way, holding up her hands in a deprecating gesture. "Scorpius. You do not want to kill him," she tried.

Scorpius growled like the angry beast he was, pushed her roughly aside and right into Braca's arms, before stalking over to John. "You take that back," he snarled.

"Take what back? That your mom was raped by Scarrans? Or that she may not have been raped? You know, seeing what it brought her, she may have just dumped you when she saw your ugly face. You're so ugly, not even a mother could love you," John continued and knew he was buying himself a one-way ticket to Hell on an express elevator. And he couldn't make himself shut up. He found it completely impossible and knew that his craving for the lakka combined with his fear and his longing for Aeryn was driving him nuts. He couldn't think clearly any more. All he could do was tempt fate in the same way as if he were waving a red cloth in front of a raging bull.

Scorpius grabbed him and slammed him into the wall. It appeared that John had found his Achilles heel; the one thing that made him go off the deep end. Growling like an angry lion about to pounce, Scorpius pressed his lower arm against John's throat, nearly crushing it, and pushed him up the wall. "YOU TAKE THAT BACK!" he roared.

Braca tried to approach him, to calm him down, but Scorpius hurled him away just by making a sweeping gesture with his free arm. Sikozu tried as well and fared no better. John was running out of air and, try as he might, he couldn't get Scorpius to remove his arm or even lessen the pressure even a little.

"Scorpius, please," Sikozu pleaded, well out of reach, yet not willing to give up either. Either she didn't like seeing him like this or she was worried about John. It didn't really matter anyway. Her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Braca, who had picked himself up again and had spent an extraordinary amount of time straightening his jacket, suddenly strode over to Scorpius and grabbed his shoulder. "Sir, look," he demanded, waving at the window.

Scorpius, who was so far into Scarran territory that he was drooling with anger, hissed, but some sense seemed to get through to him and he turned his head and looked in the direction that Braca indicated. His grip on John suddenly lessened and John hauled air into his starving lungs when Scorpius released him and stepped back, his eyes on the window.

Coughing and gasping for breath, John sank down on the floor and at first couldn't care less what had brought this on. But when neither Braca nor Scorpius moved at all for a good long while, he finally turned his attention toward the window as well while he covered his bruised throat with one hand.

Just outside - it seemed no more than a hand's breadth from the window - the huge bulk of Balroc hovered and it appeared that every single bit of firepower he possessed was at the ready. John let his head drop back against the wall and couldn't help grinning. If the attack had done anything apart from nearly suffocate him, then it would be that it had calmed him down. And looking out at Balroc now and seeing the reaction that both Braca and Scorpius displayed, John knew that the tide had just turned. And it had turned in his favor.

"Oh, I forgot to mention," he rasped and looked up at the two shell-shocked PKs. "I brought a friend."

Scorpius had completely regained control. He glanced down at John, his eyes a little too wide. "Is that ... " he started, but broke off.

"Shadow and flame," John said hoarsely and struggled to get up. His legs were wobbly beneath him and he knew he hadn't seen the last of the withdrawal symptoms, but right now, he was calm and collected. "I suppose you remember Balroc?"

***

On Balroc

Captain Tonga eyed the readouts of the various sensors and then returned her gaze to the forward viewscreen in Command. She could see the four figures on the other side of the glass wall and knew that she had their undivided attention.

"Shall we contact them?" one of her officers asked.

"No. A show of force is our best bet right now. Hold it for a few more microts, then cloak and pull back," she replied. "I do believe we have their attention." The officer nodded and Tonga drew in a deep breath and held it for a moment. "The next step is up to Crichton," she added and hoped he would use Balroc's appearance to his own advantage. Scorpius knew what he was up against, but she wasn't so sure about the others on the carrier.

The lights flickered as the cloaking device once again became active and then Balroc pulled back two full lengths to avoid being in the line of fire if the carrier's personnel should decide to fire on the spot where Balroc had just been.

"Hold your position," Tonga said and raised a hand. "Let's see what Crichton does next."

***

On the carrier

John walked past Scorpius and Braca and settled down on one of the divans. He just needed to sit down and he figured he'd earned that, now that the ball was in his court. He flexed his jaw and cleared his throat gingerly, then looked up to face Scorpius.

"Do I have your attention now?" he asked quietly.

"That leviathan is missing in action," Scorpius said and pointed toward the now empty patch of space outside. "And no leviathan has a cloaking device. So where the frell did it go?"

John shrugged. "Don't know. All I know is that if you pull a stunt like that again, then that big hunk of a leviathan is gonna open fire on this carrier and blow you all to kingdom come," he said and tapped the comm badge on his vest. "They're listening in, Scorpy, so watch your language."

Scorpius, at least, was fully aware of what Balroc could do. John could see that in his eyes. And the fact that Scorpius was no longer smug or angry proved it too.

"I don't think High Command is gonna be very happy with you if you lose another command carrier to the notorious John Crichton, eh Scorpy?" John asked and couldn't help smirking. He felt like shit, wanted nothing more than to curl up on his bed on Moya and sleep for a millennium, but he had to free Aeryn first. "So here's the deal, Mr. Scarran half-breed, Sir," he continued, considered briefly to get up and then decided not to. "You give me Aeryn and I won't have my buddies out there blow you all out of the sky. It is my understanding that if Balroc fires on the carrier from that distance, nobody gets off alive."

"That would include you and Aeryn Sun," Braca stated.

"Yeah, but you know ... who dares, wins," John said. "And if it's a choice between being tortured into a pulp or dying ... I think I prefer the latter. I know what you bastards can do. I don't wanna repeat it."

"John," Scorpius tried and raised his hands, palms out. "I want you to understand what you're doing here."

That incited John to get back to his feet. "I know what I'm doing, Scorpy. I know perfectly well. I'm saving Aeryn from you, and myself too. So cut the crap. Get Aeryn to the bay and let me leave. I don't care about anything else. If you give me any grief, we all die."

Scorpius said nothing for a moment, then lowered his hands. He glanced out the window again, then made a face and lowered his head. "You win this round, John," he said and returned his attention to John. "But rest assured," he added. "I will not rest until I have the technology to stop the Scarrans. If you will not be swayed to help me freely, I will take it by force. You know I can."

John nodded. "Yeah, I know that," he agreed. He was very close to calling it quits, felt weaker than a newborn pup, but knew that he only had to keep it together for a little while longer. "But I am never going to give you the technology willingly. I'm gonna try and find those ancients again and have them remove this crap from my head. That may mean that I can never go home again, but it's a small price to pay to keep it out of your clutches."

"Then the chase is on," Scorpius said, then glanced at Braca. "Have Aeryn Sun delivered to the pod. Alive. Do not harm her in any way," he said calmly. "And instruct the defense team to stand down. We do not want to aggravate that leviathan."

Braca nodded and left the room to carry out the orders immediately.

Sikozu stepped closer, but did not get within reach of Scorpius. "I will leave too," she said, her eyes on the half-Scarran.

Scorpius eyed her for a moment, but did not seem inclined to fight her on that. "Very well. If you feel you must," he said.

John wasn't so sure that he would let her go willingly, but since John had the power right now and Sikozu had tried to stand up for him, he figured that Scorpius was just playing along until the danger to his command carrier was gone again.

Sikozu glanced at John. "I do hope that you will allow me to come along?" she asked.

"Sure. The more the merrier," he agreed. "Let's get out of here, Sputnik," he added, stepped up to her and draped an arm around her shoulders before turning his attention to Scorpius. "So long, Scorpy. I hope we never meet again."

Scorpius just stared at him and apparently had nothing to say to that. John nodded to him, cleared his throat, and then guided Sikozu toward the door. "Don't look back," he advised her quietly and she didn't.

***

His head felt heavy and uncomfortable and he knew it was only a matter of time before his strength gave in, but he had to get off this floating coffin first. To his immediate surprise, Sikozu was all too helpful and it made him suspicious at the same time as grateful. The Kalish seemed genuinely concerned, but why was another question.

"What is the matter with you?" she whispered when he leaned a little too heavily on her.

"Remember that crap Granny gave me?" he asked, aware that she as the only one had noticed his addiction long before anyone else had started to question his behavior. Sikozu nodded mutely. "Well, D'Argo and Chiana apparently thought it was time for me to get off it," he added. "Bad timing. Really bad timing."

"It would appear so," she agreed and glanced back the way they'd come. She was more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs and John didn't blame her. If her wish to escape was genuine, she had every reason to be concerned. Scorpius was, in John's experience, a very sore looser. "Do you really think he will let us go?" she whispered, voicing his concerns.

"He's got no other choice," he replied just as quietly. "If he harms me, they blow this bucket out of the sky. And trust me, Sputnik, these guys mean business."

They rounded a corner and saw the double doors to the bay. "I certainly hope so or we will both die," she said, her tone a little shaky.

"Nobody's dying today," he claimed with more confidence than he felt. They hurried toward the doors, both of them expecting to be stopped. But nothing happened.

The doors parted to admit them into the bay, which was devoid of life apart from Braca, who stood at attention with a haughty expression on his face. "You got lucky today, Crichton," he said.

John came to a stop next to him, but did not look at him. "Did I?" he asked and made a face. "I don't know, Braca. To me it seems very much like I've got the upper hand right now. That has nothing to do with luck," he added and finally glanced at the PK Captain. "I got you licked and you know it."

Braca eyed him darkly, but said nothing. He just stood there.

"Where's Aeryn?" John asked and glanced at Sikozu, who had continued over to the pod and was waiting for him there.

"Already inside, as per instructions from Scorpius," Braca replied. "You do realize that Scorpius will never leave you be now, don't you?"

John gave him a forced smile. All his silly remarks were gone at the moment. "Well, you'd better tell him to stuff it, Braca, because whatever he does from now on ... I will never trust him and I will never help him." With a bit of an effort, John started moving again. He felt sluggish and that made it damn near impossible to move. But he wanted out. He wanted to get back to Moya and he wanted to get away from this carrier and the skeletal freak who was breathing down his neck all the time.

Sikozu looked nervous to the extreme and she grabbed his arm and almost forced him toward the ladder of the pod.

"Easy, Sputnik," he admonished her. "The last thing you want Scorpy to know is how scared you are of him. He'll use that against you."

She eyed him in that way she had that made him question his origin, but then he grinned and climbed up the ladder. His muscles were tingling like he'd been running a marathon for too long or over exerted himself in some other way. Sikozu followed him up and secured the hatch behind them.

John hurried to the cockpit and found it empty. That immediately made him frown. Where the hell was Aeryn? "Sputnik, see if Aeryn's around. I'm not leaving here if she isn't," he said and glanced at Sikozu over one shoulder. She nodded and hurried into the back of the pod to search for Aeryn while John fired up the pod. He was ready to call it quits and go back out there if Aeryn wasn't on board as promised. What he couldn't figure out was why she wasn't in the cockpit. Even if she was weak or sick, this would be the more likely place for them to put her.

"Sputnik?" he called. "Yo, Sikozu," he tried again when she didn't answer. "Did you find her?"

Another moment of silence followed that. "Yes, I found her," Sikozu called back. Her tone sounded strange, but the fact that Aeryn was on board was good enough for John. He got the pod in the air and let it drift towards the still closed bay doors. "Open the doors, guys. I'm ready to leave here," he muttered under his breath while trying to keep his right hand steady on the controls.

"Leviathan pod. You are cleared to leave," an impersonal voice rang from the speakers.

The doors of the bay parted and John gave the pod all it could take. It raced out of the bay and out into open space. John turned his course toward where Moya had been before and found Balroc guarding his retreat, still with every available weapon armed and aimed at the command carrier. Tonga and her group sure didn't take any chances.

"Yo, Pilot. We're coming home," John called.

"That is good to hear, Commander. Is Officer Sun well?" Pilot's voice rang from the small comm badge on his vest.

"I'll tell you in a minute. Right now, we wanna get out of here, right?" John countered and glanced over his shoulder with a frown. What was keeping those two? Was Aeryn pissed at Sikozu? Was she ill? "Sikozu, front and center," he yelled.

"In a moment, Cricthon," she called back and now she sounded irritated, which was a good sign in his book.

"Pilot, my man, as soon as the web grabs us, you let me know, okay?" John said. "I'm feeling a little shaky here."

"Understood. The docking web will latch on in a few microts," Pilot replied. "Now," he added and John felt the tug when the web closed around the pod and started pulling it forward. At the same time Moya turned around and initiated starburst.

John cut the engines and leaned back for a moment to gather his strength. Moya would not be able to pull them in until they were out of starburst again. But that was okay with John. That gave him time to get reacquainted with the love of his life.

That thought gave him a little more strength and he pushed himself out of his seat and walked back toward the rear storage compartment.

***

Sikozu looked up when Crichton stepped into the storage compartment and at first she didn't know how to react. He stopped short and looked around, searching for Sun, and then gave her an annoyed frown.

"Where the hell is she?" he asked, his tone as annoyed as his expression. "I thought you said you'd found her."

"I have," she said and waved at the freezer unit sitting on the floor in the middle of the compartment.

Crichton turned his attention to the unit, then looked back at her. "What the hell is this? A joke?" he demanded.

"No. Look," she insisted and waved at the small window at the top of the unit. "It is her."

Crichton stepped up to the unit and looked down at the window for a long moment. Then he glanced at her again and this time the annoyance was gone. This time, she saw fear and concern in his eyes. "Is she ..."

"No, she is not. I checked her vitals. She is alive," she said and pointed toward the control panel on the side of the unit.

Crichton glanced at it, then returned his attention to the window. "He kept her on ice?" he asked quietly, then glanced at Sikozu with a frown. "Did you know about this?"

"No, of course not," she disagreed and eyed him. His might be a weak species, but he seemed more than capable to tell the good from the bad; an ability she had found herself lacking lately. If she had only listened to him before he had kicked her and Scorpius off Moya, she would have been better off. But there was no sense in pining over losses.

He kept staring at her and she assumed that he was thinking the same thing right now. "Why did you come with me?" he asked after a moment.

She was not normally ashamed of anything she did or had done, but at present she did feel ashamed. Not so much because she hadn't believed him, but more because she had misread Scorpius from the very start. Clever he might be and full of intriguing schemes, but that did not make him a nice person. "Because I was wrong about Scorpius," she finally said and avoided looking at him.

"No!" he said, mock surprised. "Really? And when did you catch onto that?"

"Sarcasm is not going to make this situation any more acceptable, Crichton," she admonished him. "I was wrong. I admit it. Let us leave it at that, shall we?"

"No, I think I'm gonna trample all over that for a while longer, Sputnik. How the hell do we open this thing?" he asked and nodded toward the unit.

"It has an opening cycle. It will take at least a solarday for it to open," Sikozu replied and wondered if she had made the right choice. Granted, Scorpius had not exactly seen things her way for a while now, but that did not have to mean that she should give up on him. She closed her eyes and sighed quietly. Who was she trying to fool? Scorpius had found her intriguing in the beginning and now she was just another thing he could throw away.

Crichton was staring at the unit again. "Why can't we open it now?"

Sikozu rolled her eyes. Did he ever understand anything the first time he was told? "Because she will die if you open it now," she said, almost incapable of keeping the derisiveness out of her tone.

He glanced at her with narrowed eyes and almost fell when the pod gave a jerk, telling them that the leviathan had just left starburst. "Set the cycle then. I want her out of there as fast as possible," he instructed her and stepped back to give her room.

The pod moved erratically for a moment, then slipped into a smooth transfer into Moya's landing bay. Sikozu stepped around the pod, entered the appropriate code to start the opening cycle and pressed the engage button. Nothing happened. With a slight frown, she entered the code again and pressed the button again, but still nothing happened.

"What?" Crichton asked. "What's going on?"

"The code does not work," she countered and tried the code a third time. "It is a general override code. It should work."

Crichton snorted. "Yeah, right. Scorpy has given me the princess, but he's put her on ice and forgotten to give me the spell that wakes her up again." He brushed his fingers through his hair, smoothing it back against his scalp, as his temper soared again.

Sikozu glanced at him and had to admit that she could not remember him having looked worse than he did right now. He was deadly pale, his eyes bloodshot, and his hands shivering. "We should both rest and try again in a few arns," she suggested.

"No, I want that damn coffin opened now, Sputnik. Now as in yesterday. Get on it before I lose my temper and you lose a limb," he snapped.

"This is not my fault," she countered aggressively. "I did not put her in this unit."

Crichton stopped short and briefly closed his eyes. The microt he closed them, he started to sway. Sikozu lashed out and grabbed his arm to steady him and he in turn grabbed onto her arm and opened his eyes again. "I'm sorry, Sputnik. I'm not feeling so good."

"Even more reason for you to get some rest. You will be no good to her this way," she tried to reason with him.

He nodded. "I know," he agreed. "I know."

***

On Moya

D'Argo waited for John to turn up, but he had not expected to wait this long. Finally, though, the hatch opened and John climbed unsteadily down the ladder and stepped aside to allow that frelling Kalish to follow him down. D'Argo huffed with annoyance when he saw her, but said nothing. Sikozu hadn't changed a bit. She still looked as if she felt she was better than everybody else.

"John," he said and turned his attention to the shaky-looking Human. "Where is Aeryn?"

John closed his eyes and leaned back against the pod. "She's on ice. Freezer unit. Inside," he added and jabbed a thumb over his shoulder. Then he focused on D'Argo. "Smart move with the lakka. You guys nearly got me killed," he added darkly.

"It was not my idea," D'Argo said truthfully, hesitated for a moment and then sighed. "But I must admit that I condoned it. The timing was lousy, of course, but we could not know that the effects would wear off that fast."

"Could not know?" John asked, his tone one of surprise. "What the frell did you expect? That I would be flying high as a kite over there? The lakka doesn't make me high, D'Argo, it makes me unemotional. And that was what I needed over there. If it hadn't been Tonga's show of force at the right moment, Scorpy would have fried me." With waning reserves, John pushed away from the pod, took a step toward him, and raised a finger. "You two ... stay out of my business from now on, okay? I know you mean well, but your sense of timing stinks. So don't try to help me in future without me asking for help."

D'Argo sighed and nodded once. "All right," he agreed, then frowned. "What the frell do you mean, Aeryn's on ice?" he asked and glanced up at the pod.

"Just what I said. Scorpy's kept her on ice. I guess he couldn't let her run around freely or she would have found a way to get out of there. That damned bastard put a lock on the freezer, though. Mrs. Brainiac here can't open it, which means we probably can't either. I'm at the end of my rope here. I can't think straight. I want her out of there."

"John," D'Argo stopped him. "We'll find a way. At least we have her back."

For a moment, John just stared at him. Then he nodded weakly. "Yeah, we do. But what good is that if all I can do is watch her through an icy window, D?"

"Perhaps ... you could ask Tonga for help?" Chiana suggested as she edged into the bay.

John stared at her for a microt, then sighed. "Yeah, let's ask Tonga for help. And let's do it now, because I'm not sure I'll be up and about in another arn."

D'Argo glanced at Chiana as she edged closer to John, then held her fist out to him. She opened it palm up, exposing the lakka bulbs she had taken from his quarters. "I'm sorry," she whispered.

John eyed the bulbs for a moment, then grabbed her wrist with one hand and closed her fingers over the drug with the other. "So am I, Pip. Get rid of that crap, would you?" he asked. "As long as it's on board, it's too tempting."

That made Chiana smile.

John glanced at D'Argo again, then tapped his comm. "Captain Tonga, ma'am," he said.

"Crichton," came the crisp reply immediately. Balroc had arrived at their destination only microts earlier.

"Have you been listening in here?" he asked.

"Yes, we have. I will send a tech over to take a look at the unit. Please abstain from touching anything. If any Peacekeeper codes have been used to seal it, it is likely that we know the answer," she replied.

"That's what I was counting on. Better get on it fast, cause I'm fading here," John replied and staggered.

D'Argo lashed out to grab his arm and steadied him. "Easy, my friend," he admonished. "Perhaps you should rest. Nothing will happen for a while anyway."

John disengaged his arm from D'Argo's grip with a gentle yet firm tug and stepped back. "I feel lousy, buddy," he admitted. "But that doesn't mean I can rest until I know Aeryn's gonna be all right. Just ... leave me alone right now. Get that unit off the pod and let Tonga's tech take a look at it. I'm sticking around for as long as I can."

D'Argo felt awful. He had snapped at Chiana for doing this to John, but knew that they had essentially both done it. Hadn't he complained about John's substance abuse? He sighed, then nodded. "All right," he agreed quietly and headed toward the rear of the pod so they could unload the freezer unit.

***