Summary: Snapshots in the life of Joan Crichton—IASA astronaut, scientist,
Characters/Pairings: Alwaysagirl!Joan/Scorpius; some Joan/Aeryn, Joan/Zhaan, and Joan/Chiana; references to past Joan/OMCs
Note: I have no idea where this came from. I am definitely going to the special hell.
Warnings: Dub-con, the Aurora Chair, Stockholm Syndrome, genderbender
Disclaimer: I don’t own Farscape.
Joan falls out of the wormhole and before her eyes have time to readjust to the blackness of space she manages to kill a psychopath’s brother in an explosive fender bender. An hour later she’s on her back in a cell, her head firmly clamped between the thighs of a grim-faced woman in black leather.
For the first time in her life she wonders whether she should have listened to her mother and left the adventuring to the menfolk.
It’s taken her longer than she’d like to go from burden to asset in the eyes of her shipmates. Everything here is just so strange, so new, and it doesn’t help that the Uncharted Territories seem to have united, for once, in deciding that making Joan Crichton miserable is the funnest thing ever.
Joan’s no kind of idiot. She spent the first thirty-four years of her life proving she was smarter than every man who tried to challenge her. Give her a leviathan instruction manual, a hitchhiker’s guide to the UT, and a few days at a five star hotel and spa and she’d have this whole damn galaxy pretty much figured out. Heck, the way things’ve been going she’d happily take one night at a Motel 6.
Instead she finds herself flat on her back in a pool of viscous fluid she doesn’t want to identify, her head up Moya’s proverbial skirt, prodding at vein-wires with a flashlight and feeling reasonably confident that nothing she can do from here will vent all the oxygen from the ship.
“It’s not that I particularly liked Gerrak,” Aeryn says, her voice coming from somewhere near the vicinity of Joan’s shoe. “He was frelling good at recreation, though.”
Joan grunts. She doesn’t know why, after several monens of giving Joan the cold shoulder, Aeryn has suddenly decided they should try girl talk. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the only other female on board is a priestess. Whatever the reason, she wishes she would stop.
“Did you have a man?” Aeryn asks, kicking Joan’s boot to get her attention. “Back on Erp?”
Joan flinches, glad Aeryn can’t see her face. She reaches up and squeezes a tube of blood-fuel and Moya shudders violently. Aeryn curses as the vibrations knock her off her feet.
“Commander Crichton,” Pilot says in an overly patient voice that makes her suspect she won’t be allowed to work on Moya’s hydraulics again anytime soon, “please do not do that again.”
“Sorry,” she calls out, going back to adjusting the tangle of wire-veins. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
What she had been thinking was: I don’t want to talk about this. And maybe Aeryn gets distracted or maybe she takes the hint, because she doesn’t bring it up again.
His name was Clive and he was a brilliant biologist who respected her as much as she deserved. They were together for two years before Joan took her module for a test flight in space. She’d thought he might be about to pop the question, might even have been planning to ask her the night after her flight. If he hadn’t done it soon she’d have done it herself.
There’s a paranoid suspicion that’s been creeping up on her lately and she’s not sure what to do about it.
She thinks the UT may be attempting to turn her gay.
It’s been months since she joined Moya’s ragtag crew and the only men she’s interacted with to any significant degree are Rygel (um, no), Pilot (physically impossible, plus he’s already in a committed relationship with Moya), Crais (if only he weren’t so intent on ripping out her spleen and burning her alive), and D’Argo (who has nearly as much testosterone as she does, which is a problem for them both). Whenever they stop at a new planet for supplies or to try to keep themselves from going all Lord of the Flies on each other there never seems to be a shortage of attractive women just waiting for a handsome space wanderer to sweep them off their feet. Handsome swooning men, not so much.
Then there’s the fact that she lives in relatively close quarters with two of the most beautiful women she’s ever met. She’ll never admit it, but she’s had more than one dream starring the radiant Aeryn Sun. As for Zhaan…well, Joan has a sneaking suspicion that when she and Zhaan shared unity that one time they skipped right past first, second, and third base and went straight for the grand slam. It was the most intense and intimate experience of her life. Zhaan’s never offered to do it again and Joan’s grateful for that. She honestly doesn’t know what her answer would be.
She is thirty-four years old and having a crisis over her sexual orientation. Life would be so much easier if Aeryn were a man.
Joan and Gilina get on like a house on fire. Here’s someone in this frelled up galaxy Joan can understand, finally. A tech, which means her job description isn’t all that far from Joan’s. It’s too bad the other woman decides not to defect to Moya. Joan could use the support.
Chiana is grateful for being allowed to stay on Moya—very grateful. She’s also warm, and smells good, and has no problem with Joan being on top.
Joan decides she’s bisexual.
It’s bizarre, because Joan doesn’t even like Aeryn all that much. Certainly not enough to justify going on a suicide mission to retrieve the graft that will save Aeryn’s life. Joan wonders where her self-preservation instincts are, whether they’ve vanished along with her self-respect, her IASA-issued socks, and her sanity.
She’s still wondering about that when Mr. BDSM-Gone-Wrong’s men strap her into the chair. The Aurora Chair, they call it, and the name makes her think of the aurora borealis, but she has a feeling one is going to be significantly less pleasant than the other.
Joan swallows, her mouth dry, and gives her infamous optimism one last try. (It has to work sometime, doesn’t it, and it looks like this might be her last shot.) “My name is Larraq,” she insists, doing her best impression of Aeryn’s accent—and her temper. “Peacekeeper. Special Ops.”
Her captor—and since when do the Peacekeepers accept non-Sebaceans, anyway?—smiles a death’s head smile and says, his voice unnervingly calm, “Unfortunately wrong. On all counts.” The way he examines at her, it’s like he can see through her skin and bone right into her soul. “I am Scorpius,” he proclaims.
Of course he is.
She thinks he’s going to interrogate her about her friends and so she tries to steel herself for torture. It turns out that it’s not really possible to steel herself for what comes next.
The Aurora Chair peels her apart like she’s an onion. Layer by layer by layer, stripping her memories away and laying them bare, and if it goes on long enough there’ll be nothing left. On the off chance that she survives past tomorrow, past Scorpius—ha!—she knows she’ll never be able to completely pull herself together again. There will always be cracks in her psyche, fissures that don’t hold up under pressure.
So what else is new?
Before the onion peeling happens, when he just thinks Joan is some sort of spy, Scorpius is quite clearly fascinated by her. He’s never seen anything like her, because there’s never been anyone like her in this region of space before. She doesn’t know how he knows she’s not Sebacean, and frankly, by the time his assistant hits the “on” button for the Aurora Chair she can’t bring herself to care.
When the chair cracks open Joan’s head and wormholes pour out, Scorpius looks at her like she’s the sun.
“My side, your side! My side, your side! My side! Your side! My side! Your side!”
My side, your side. I fried, you cried. I lied, you hide. I tried, I died.
There’s a commotion in the Aurora Chair room when Chiana and Gilina escape the Gammak Base. Even amidst the chaotic swirl of fiery agony that is her thoughts, Joan finds it within herself to be glad. She does not think, Gilina could have saved me. She could have tried—or if she does, she doesn’t for long. Aeryn is saved, Chiana and Gilina are safe. That has to be enough. The only one Scorpius can hurt is Joan, and she’s pretty sure that if he rakes his claws through her brain a few more times she won’t be feeling much of anything anymore.
Scorpius wants wormholes, wants them so badly that he shoots Crais in the head to keep him from claiming Joan, so badly that he gives the order to stop for the day after only three arns because he can tell that even a microt more will shatter her mind beyond repair.
Back in her cell, she scrubs her face against the rough wall until her skin feels almost as raw as her mind. She wishes she could kill herself, but the Aurora Chair picked up that thought days ago and as a result Scorpius moved her to a different cell, this one empty of a cellmate, and had her stripped of everything but a loose set of trousers and a thin linen shirt. She doesn’t think she can hit her head against the wall hard enough to do anything but knock herself out.
An arn or two after her guards tossed her in the cell Scorpius comes to visit. She’s curled up with her knees pressed to her chest, her back against the wall. He looms over her, looking down, a speculative gleam in his human-blue eyes.
“I don’t enjoy torture, Joan,” he says, his tone lightly chiding, as if she’s accused him.
(She accuses him every time she looks at him.)
“Then maybe you should try something else,” she snaps, or tries to—her throat is so dry the words come out as a croak.
He smiles. “Perhaps I should.” He cocks his head, birdlike in his curiosity. “Why do you fight me?” he asks, sounding genuinely perplexed. “Your friends are long gone. Your fate rests in my hands. I must know what you know, Joan. The wormhole information stored in your brain will save billions upon billions of lives.” Slyly, he adds, “It’s also the only possible means of returning to your home planet.”
Joan thinks that if Scorpius had come up to her at the Gammak Base cafeteria and said, “Joan Crichton, you have priceless wormhole knowledge tucked away behind mental blocks, including the knowledge of how to get back to Earth. Let’s put our heads together and figure this sucker out!” she would have agreed in a heartbeat. Instead he stuck her in that frelling chair.
“Just say no,” she tells him, thinking, This is your brain. This is your brain on Scorpius, and laughs as his eyes darken with fury.
The next time he puts her in the chair he keeps the setting blessedly low. Now it’s only as if he is using a cheese grater on her brain, not sticking said brain directly into the kitchen disposal. For once his focus isn’t wormholes. No, today all he wants to see are the Romantic Adventures of Joan Crichton. And naturally, because the universe hates her, what Scorpius sees, Joan remembers. Vividly.
She’s necking with Alex in her father’s Buick. Derek has his hand up her shirt. She has her first time with Jeff her senior year of high school; he finishes before she can decide whether there’s any pleasure to go along with the pain. Robert likes to use his mouth—his ministrations teach her that she is, in fact, capable of orgasm. Louis is gentle; Frankie is rough. Clive fits against her perfectly, like a matching puzzle piece, and makes every inch of her skin an erogenous zone. Chiana is warm and soft and knows exactly where and how a woman most wants to be touched.
It’s humiliating, but by the time Scorpius is done Joan’s body is on fire with need, despite the pain of the chair.
“You’re a sick son of a bitch,” she pants, disgusted by his very existence, by the way his expression is intent and studious and not at all turned on. She’d rather he get some sort of sadistic pleasure out of observing Joan Crichton Porn Star—Joan of Erp, that’s what her porn name will be, she decides—than think that he has some other, more nefarious, purpose in mind.
“That will be all for today,” he says, flicking his fingers dismissively, his eyes glued to the Aurora Chair’s screen.
The guards drag her back to her cell, where she turns her back to the security camera and touches herself furiously until she comes with a low moan.
Scorpius gives her a room with a bed and a Peackeeper equivalent of a white board, complete with eraser and high-inducing sharpie.
“Trying to win me over with creature comforts, Scorpy?” she says, and it’s sheer bravado that holds her up as her entire body tilts in the direction of the bed. She’s lost track of how many days she’s been on this base, sleeping on the hard floor of her cell. Long enough that some of the wounds in her mind have healed over, their scars rough and fragile.
Scorpius touches her arm with his leather-clad hand. Just wraps his fingers lightly around her elbow for no apparent reason and leaves them there. She looks down at that point of contact and tries to feel angry, frightened, sad—any emotion at all. But all she feels is heat, the heat that radiates from his half-Scarran body.
“I believe that the Aurora Chair has uncovered all that it can,” he says. “From now on you and I must work together to try to unlock the information in your mind.”
She stares at him. There’s a tickling sensation deep inside her. She’s not sure what to make of it as it grows stronger and stronger, building like a tsunami—and finally it comes out, a snort followed by hysterical laughter. She throws back her head, her entire body shaking, and laughs and laughs and by the time she has stopped laughing she’s alone in the room and the door is locked.
She doesn’t want to play mad scientist, not for Scorpius, but there’s a white board and a sharpie and a swirl of equations waiting to get out and she can’t help herself.
“I am not a rapist, Joan,” Scorpius says calmly, watching with clinical detachment as she writhes on the bed, two of his fingers buried deep inside her, stretching her, stroking her. “I know that rape is a reprehensible crime. I do this because I believe that you truly need it in order to continue to function in a coherent manner.” He flicks her clit with his thumb, and when she whimpers his thin black lips twitch infinitesimally, just enough for her to know that he’s not as unaffected as he appears. “Tell me to stop and I will.”
She should, of course. She’s not entirely sure how she ended up in this position—she thinks she was showing Scorpius her latest equations when suddenly his tongue was halfway down her throat—but she knows that she shouldn’t want this, that she should be disgusted by the mere suggestion.
“Joan?” He sounds almost concerned and stops, just stops, and she thinks she might die.
There’s a peace to be found in insanity. Fully half of her mind is pondering wormholes, as it always is these days. A quarter or more of her mind is simply missing, or so damaged that it might as well not be there. It is the basest human part of her, the only part that’s left, that reaches for Scorpius, draws him down to her.
He uses his mouth on her like Robert but better, his tongue sinuous and agile and strong. He slides into her like Clive, cleaving her body inch by inch as a leviathan cleaves the emptiness of space, knowing exactly what she needs, rolling onto his back and letting her ride him. (She never thought to wonder what was beneath his codpiece until he was poised to enter her—she is grateful beyond words that down there, at least, he is shaped like a human or nearly so.) He touches her like Chiana, his bare fingers on her nipples, between her legs.
He talks like Scorpius. “We are both of us unique in the galaxy,” he mutters as he thrusts up into her, his brow furrowed in concentration, a bead of sweat sliding down his pale nose. “Wormholes are what bind us together, Joan. I would have hunted you all my life for just one glimpse inside your wonderful mind.”
This is her pyre, she thinks, clamping down and feeling Scorpius ruthless and almost unbelievably hot inside her. Their eyes are locked together as if neither can look away. They pant in sync as she moves above him, slamming their hips together over and over as the flames climb and threaten to burn the world away.
When she comes it feels like dying.