[identity profile] melle-mal.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] remix_redux
Title: Leaving the Uncharted Territories (The Drunk in a Midnight Choir Remix)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] astrogirl2
Summary: John Crichton: war hero, prisoner, suicidal alcoholic (an AU futurefic).
Fandom: Farscape
Characters: Crichton, Harvey, Braca
Rating: PG-13 or thereabouts.
Warnings: Following the lead of the original author, specific warnings are withheld, but be aware that this is not a happy story, in pretty much exactly the ways you might expect from the summary.
Spoilers: Some season 2 spoilers, maybe some implied spoilers for later episodes, but most of the backstory is AU, anyway.
Original story: "Vaya Con Dios" by [livejournal.com profile] simplystars

Leaving the Uncharted Territories (The Drunk in a Midnight Choir Remix)

He's out again, like a disobedient dog slipping its collar and jumping the fence. Out -- he won't say "free." He knows better. Sooner or later, they'll find him and haul him back to the Command Carrier; they always do. He suspects Braca's planted a homing beacon on him somewhere, although he's never found it. Microchip in the ear, maybe. Isn't that what they do to dogs?

But for the moment at least, he's on his own, or as close to it as he ever gets. Time to work on his pet project. He considers that pun for a while, then drops the whole dog metaphor in disgust. Even he doesn't even find his wordplay funny any more. He doesn't particularly want to think about how or when that happened.

He looks down at the glass in front of him, imagining he can see his reflection in its piss-colored contents, then tilts it up and swallows, slow and steady. Industrial drinking. He has no idea what this concoction is, but it burns like a nuke, so it's exactly what he ordered.

Suddenly Harvey's sitting across from him, fingers tapping annoyance on the table. Crichton raises the empty glass to him and signals the orange-tentacled barkeep for another.

"You never change, do you?" Harvey says. "Repeating the same patterns over and over, like an old dog with one trick. Really, John. What do you think you're going to accomplish?"

Crichton wags a finger at him. "Uh-uh, Harve. We're done with the dog metaphor, remember? And you're the one who doesn't change, not me." He considers Harvey's face: more constant, more familiar than the saggy gray visage that stares back at him from mirrors these days. "Nosferatu" never seemed more appropriate. The revenants of the dead don't age. "Anyway," he adds, "you know what I'm trying to accomplish."

"It's not going to work," says Harvey with a long-suffering sigh. "You know that, John. Commandant Braca will not allow it to work. I will not allow it."

"You're not the boss of me, Harve, and Smithers sure as hell isn't. Besides, you gotta have hope about something." He looks around the bar, making as much eye contact as possible, giving everyone his best you-want-a-piece-of-me? stare, but nobody seems interested. No old enemies jump up to confront him, no hotshots looking to match themselves against the legendary John Crichton come forward and order him to draw his non-existent weapon, no one even accuses him of makin' eyes at their girl. Damn it, there was a time when he wanted nothing more in the universe than to be left the frell alone, and now even when he tries to start something, people just give him pitying looks and move along.

Well, that's all right. There's always Plan B. He lifts the glass again and drains the last tiny drop just as a flickering tentacle places another in front of him. So it's one glass down, another glass up. "Here's mud in your eye, Harve."

His hand twitches violently as he raises the drink to his lips, liquid sloshing over the rim to splatter against his chin. He glares at Harvey. Harvey glares back, but they've been through this often enough now that the bastard knows this is the one fight Crichton's never gonna give up. At last, Harvey makes a tsking noise, like a disappointed schoolteacher, and waves a hand, giving Crichton back full control over both of his.

"Don't blame me," Harvey says, "when we wake up with a hangover."

"Don't blame me," he replies, "if we don't wake up at all." He closes his eyes and drinks, letting the fluid wash through him in fiery waves until it finally starts to drown out the buzzing in his head and allows him, for a moment, the illusion that he's on his own inside his skull. A few more drinks, if he's lucky, and perhaps he'll manage the illusion that there's no one in here at all. And if he's really, really lucky, after enough of them, there won't be, ever again, and he finally will be free.

Frat boys drink themselves to death all the time, right? How hard can it be?


It's ten solar days and ten bars later. Well, he thinks it's ten; he isn't really sure. Basic counting is getting difficult, never mind wormhole equations. Fine by him. Maybe if he kills enough neurons, they'll finally decide he's not worth keeping around any more. Brain damage: it's been the solution to so many of his problems. Bottle in front of me, frontal lobotomy... He can't help laughing at that, crazy, gasping giggles that go on until tears are streaming down his face. Nobody pays any attention, not even Harvey. He's probably passed out by now. He's a mean drunk, Harvey, but he can't hold Crichton's liquor.

Come to think of it, unconsciousness sounds pretty damned good. Better still, it's starting to sound possible. There's a welcome blackness fuzzing out the edges of his vision, creeping into the edges of his mind. He slumps forward slowly.

"Show me the way to go home," he sings as his cheek comes softly to rest against the table. "I'm tired an' I wanna go to bed." Oh, it's comfy here. It's restful.

And, of course, that's when the goddamned dog catcher shows up. No, wait, he wasn't supposed to think about dogs, was he? He can't remember why. Never mind.

Braca strides in like he owns the place and makes a beeline for the bartender. There's green tentacles on this one; they seem go in for tentacles here. He, she or it -- he's pretty sure he couldn't tell even if he were sober -- points a few of them in Crichton's direction, saying something he can't quite catch. Braca looks over, and Crichton flips him the finger. It takes him a while to get it right, though, and by the time he's managed it, there's a PK on either side of him, gently hauling him to his feet.

He goes limp in their grasp, partly to make things as difficult as possible for them, but also because it's easier than forcing his legs to hold him. It doesn't seem to inconvenience them much; his feet barely touch the floor as they haul him across the barroom. "Fetch!" he says as they present him to their master. "Fetch. Good boys!" He laughs again, high and hollow. Braca shoots him a look that might be pity, or disgust, or just his drunken imagination, then turns back to the bar-being.

"This should cover his tab." Braca holds out a hand, something shiny gleaming between his fingers. Crichton peers closer, trying to focus. Of course. It's a coin, one of the new ones. War Hero Commemorative. They'll probably put his face on a coin, too, when he's dead. He can see the inscription now: "John Crichton: without his half-assed, under-duress efforts at making wormholes, the conflict would never have escalated half as far or lasted half as long."

The Commandant tosses the currency pledge onto the bar, its familiar faces spinning, Scorpius-Aeryn-Scorpius, blurring together, indistinguishable. Crichton looks away before he can see which way it lands.

And that, at last, is when his capacity for consciousness runs out. About damn time, he thinks, and sinks gratefully into darkness.


Consciousness returns, as it always does, but at least this time there isn't much of it. He's dimly aware of someone removing his boots, loosening his grimy clothes, slipping a pillow beneath his head. He allows himself, just for a moment, to dream that it might be Aeryn, returned to him again by some new, less double-edged miracle... but the soft voice that tells him to sleep is Braca's, and there's not enough alcohol in the universe to let him confuse the two. Still, it's the one order the bastard's given him that he's happy to obey.


Time passes without him, and when he wakes up again, the comforting cushion of alcohol is gone. It feels like they gave him a good dose of the old patented Peacekeeper hangover cure while he was asleep, too, or maybe he's just getting used to these binges, because there's not so much as a headache sitting between him and reality. Frell.

"You're awake," says Braca's voice as he opens his eyes. Double frell. The guy just won't leave him alone. Why does nobody ever want to leave him alone?

"I have some news you may be interested to hear," the Commandant says. Crichton doesn't look at him, not showing any interest, not feeling any, but Braca keeps going anyway. "The Scarrans signed the final armistice papers this morning. The War is now officially over."

It isn't really news. The hot war's been simmering down into a cold one for cycles. He mostly finds it easier not to pay too much attention to current events, but even he knows that for a long while now it's simply been a question of how long the Scarrans would hold out trying to save face, and maybe how long it takes to word a peace treaty that lets both sides walk away able to tell themselves they've won.

"You've been sitting by my bedside waiting to tell me that? You're expecting me to celebrate? What the hell makes you think I care? Like I'm gonna get a discharge, go stateside, marry my girl, spend the rest of my life boring the grandkids with war stories? It's a little goddamn late for that. Besides, you know as well as I do: war, peace, nothing's gonna change. Nothing's ever over." The room blurs around him and he realizes he's crying. In front of Braca. There was a time when he'd probably care. Now, he just closes his eyes and concentrates on wishing he'd go away.

Instead there's a long pause, the sounds of Braca shifting awkwardly in his chair. Eventually he says, slowly, "I understand the pain of your loss."

Crichton sits up, his body rising as suddenly as his anger. "The hell you do!"

"I understand more than you think," Braca says, and there's something in his face, in the red-rimmed shadows of his eyes, that makes Crichton look away. He can feel that headache coming on now, after all, a distant drum pounding somewhere in the back of his skull.

"You're wrong on one count," Braca says after a moment, in a voice that sounds like it's trying to be casual and has no idea how. "There are a few things that are different. Standards as to whether it constitutes treason to destroy potentially useful military assets are laxer in times of nominal peace." He reaches into his jacket, pulls a flask from an inner pocket. "Whatever you might think of the news," he says, "I thought it was worth offering you a drink." There's a glass on the bedside table, Crichton notices now. One glass. Braca pours the liquid into it. It looks like red wine.

Crichton stares at it. He can feel something warm stirring deep inside his chest. The feeling of déjà vu it gives him makes him wonder if maybe it's hope.

"Maybe," he says, through lips suddenly dry and desperate for drink, "maybe it is."

Braca nods, and he wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it, but apparently the man's face is capable of a kind expression, after all. Braca lifts the wineglass, tilts it forward, raises it to Crichton's quivering lips.

Crichton's arm shoots out, knocking the glass from Braca's hand, splattering dark liquid across the sheets like drops of blood. But Crichton's already swallowed, has another mouthful, swallows again. Too late, Harvey! He laughs. Too late. The puppet-master may have his arms on strings, but no one, not even Harvey, has ever been able to control John Crichton's mouth.

"Sleep," Braca says, and the sound of his voice drowns out Harvey's cursing and pleading, carries him through to somewhere blissfully silent. It's been so long he almost doesn't recognize the feeling when it comes. "Oh," he says, surprised, "it's peaceful."

But if Braca answers, there's no one left to hear.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-22 06:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] simplystars.livejournal.com
Oh. OH. *shivers*

You have done such a wonderful job with what you had to work with, a bare-bones skeleton of an idea that sort of makes me cringe when I think of it now. :D

I love the way you fleshed out Harvey, restored his presence as a never-ending torment and threat; and you obviously put a lot of thought into the politics of the circumstances and filled the backstory gaps. And the loose dog metaphor (even though, poor Braca, it reduces his station to a mere dogcatcher, hee), very clever.

But this - oh yes, this:

"Sleep," Braca says, and the sound of his voice drowns out Harvey's cursing and pleading, carries him through to somewhere blissfully silent. It's been so long he almost doesn't recognize the feeling when it comes. "Oh," he says, surprised, "it's peaceful."

This is *marvelous.* Thank you so much!

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-26 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hossgal.livejournal.com

Ah, John-boy, what have you become? John-boy, what have you *done*?

What I notice about this one is that John should be victim here, completely at the mercy of the bottle, of the voices in his head, of the PK agenda - but you don't allow him that luxury - that you still hold him responsible for what he's doing to himself and to the universe.

Nicely - if horribly - done.

- hg

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrogirl2.livejournal.com
You know, I'm not sure I consciously thought of it in exactly those terms, but I think I do seem him as responsible for himself, whatever the extenuating circumstances.

Very glad you appreciated the story! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-28 01:17 pm (UTC)
ext_21:   (Default)
From: [identity profile] zvi-likes-tv.livejournal.com
This really captures the pain and the ugliness that were such a part of the ethos of the show. ("Life sucks. No, really" seemed to be one of their mottos.)

And I think it's a really good remix, in terms of taking someone else's events and then telling the story differently. The whole feel and narrative thrust of the story has changed, and it's not better, it's a different story.

I like that.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrogirl2.livejournal.com
"Life sucks. No, really" seemed to be one of their mottos.

It totally did. I think that's one of the things I really liked about it. :)

Glad you liked it! I thought it was pretty solidly in the spirit of the whole remix enterprise, myself, and was happy about that, so it's good to know it comes across that way to other people, as well.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 06:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pdxscaper.livejournal.com
This was brilliant. The whole dog metaphor--so very Farscapian. And the thought of Aeryn and Scorpius on a coin...oh, the irony.

John Crichton at his wiseass, heartwrenching best. And Harvey still trying desperately to stave off the inevitable...perfect.

I'm at a loss for words to express how much this really got to me. Excellent, excellent story.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-04-29 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astrogirl2.livejournal.com
I totally couldn't resist the coin thing. It was very much based on something in the original story, but I had to play with it a tiny bit. :)

Very glad you liked!


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May 2007

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