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Chamber 13
by Ligrim

"Where the frell is all the food?!" Rygel was going through every cupboard,
box and can in the mess hall.
"There's not much left, Rygel... I think there are some crackers over
there" replied Zhaan. The Hynerian found the food in seconds, and stuffed a
whole pack of crackers into his mouth with one quick move.
"How is D'argo?" asked John. He was sitting at the table and playing with a
food cube.
"I gave him more sedative. Whatever he saw there, it had to be really
terrible to drive him to this state."
Suddenly the door opened, and Aeryn walked in, carrying some measuring
instruments.
"Ok, I scanned the wall five times, I made three different tests and I
found nothing. There's nothing in there. Just a thick wall. Not a scratch,
or nothing that would resemble a door..."
"Wait..." Chiana jumped up in the corner of the room, where she was sitting
on the floor. "What do you mean not a scratch."
"Exactly what you heard - the wall looks like new..."
"That's strange..." said Zhaan quietly.
"Ok, Aeryn, our Luxan friend blasted half of the wall off. Are you sure you
checked the right wall?" John straightened his back, and threw the food
cube into the air.
Chiana laughed.
Aeryn gave her a very serious look, and then tuned back to John. He caught
the falling cube, and threw it up again. She grabbed it while it was still
in the air, and sat on the table.
"You can check for yourself..." she finally replied, smiling to him. He
smiled back and their eyes met.
Rygel hovered close to Chiana and whispered to her ear:
"Here they go again... I think I'm going to puke..." Chiana giggled.
"Ahem... I think that someone should get some food here, or we are going to
starve." He added aloud. Aeryn quickly turned her head away, and tried to
pretend that she was checking some readings on one of the instruments she
brought with her. John just shook his head, and looked at Rygel but he said
nothing.
"Good, I will go and prepare the transport pod. We can check out that
trading post we passed yesterday." said Rygel, who then left the room.
After a few microts Aeryn realized what he said and chased after him.
"Oh no, you won't!" she knew that in Rygel's vocabulary, preparing the
Transport Pod meant hiding the stuff he stole from other crew members in
the cargo slots, to sell it on the trading planet.
"Sparky, if you took my tape recorder again I will kick your butt!" John
followed them.
Zhaan didn't pay any attention to anything that was going on around her.
"Very strange." she said again.
"Do you have any idea what's going on... I mean with that chamber..." asked
Chiana.
Zhaan shook her head.
"No Chiana... Not yet..."

*

Chiana was sitting on a chair in D'argo's Chamber. He woke up some time
ago, and he seemed to be very uncomfortable. He didn't say anything, but
she could clearly see that some of his sense tentacles were squashed by the
tight straps with which he was tied. She decided to loosen them, to relieve
him of the pain. When she did that, the Luxan relaxed and asked in a weak
voice:
"Chiana?"
"Yes" She replied.
"Oh, I'm glad it's you. Please untie me."
"I can't, D'argo..."
"Oh, come on. You know that I would never hurt you... Please, Chi... This
is very embarrassing..."
Chiana walked away from his bed.
"Save yourself further embarrassment and stop whining."
"Chiana, untie me now!" He growled.
"Listen you tralk, you will do what I say or I'll rip you apart with my
bare hands." he yelled, and tried to break free.
"Do you hear me? I will kill you Chiana!"
She never saw him like this. D'argo would never say anything like that to
her. John, or Aeryn - maybe. But not D'argo. She knew that underneath this
tough warrior mask he wore, he was a sweet and loving person. Despite how
violently he might act on some occasions, he still was a loving father who
misses his son. And furthermore, she knew that he respected her and Zhaan
very much, and he never did anything that could offend them. She knew that
this wasn't the D'argo she knew. The cursed Chamber did something to him.
Suddenly the leather straps snapped. The Luxan warrior was free.
He rushed toward her, but she didn't move. She still couldn't believe that
this is happening. He grabbed her by her throat. She tried to scream, but
he tightened his grip. She couldn't breathe. All she could see were his
eyes. They were completely empty - there was no emotion, or feeling in
them. Normally she would probably shiver with fear... But she didn't care
anymore - she felt that there's no point resisting him anymore. This was
the end of her journey, this was how she will die. She thought about death
many times, but she never suspected that she will die like this...
Suddenly he released her. She fell down on the floor, coughing and trying
to breathe again. He picked her up from the floor and dragged her out of
the room. She tried to call for help, but she could not catch her breath.

*

"John... Are you there?"
"Yes, I'm here Pilot. What's up?" said John through his communicator. He
and Aeryn tried to negotiate a reasonable price for the food supplies with
the local merchant.
"Ummm... Our friend D'argo is bit out of control now. He almost killed
Chiana, and now he tries to blast his way to my den. He demands me to make
Moya Starburst, and say's that he will kill me if I won't do what he
says..."
"Holy Shhh... Aeryn! Aeryn, get Rygel! We are out of here!"
"I'm pretty confident that those doors will hold him for a while, but I
think that you should get here before he will do more damage."
"Ok, we are leaving in a few seco... Microts! Where's Zhaan?"
"I... I don't know, I think she is on one of the lower decks, but I have to
check that..."
"What's going on now?" asked Rygel, dragged by Aeryn toward the transport
pod.

"D'argo went berserk again, Sparky..."

*

As soon as the pod touched down in Moya's docking bay, John and Aeryn
jumped out. They raced toward Pilot's Chamber, but D'argo wasn't there.
"Is everything OK?" asked John.
"Yes, everything is all right. Chiana knocked D'argo down few microts ago,
and Zhaan helped her to drag him back to his room."
John didn't wait for further explanations. When he got to D'argo's Chamber,
the Luxan was already tied up with very thick rope. Chiana was sitting in
the corner. She looked scared and confused. Zhaan was trying to comfort
her. When she saw him she stood up, and said:
"I gave him some more drugs. I don't know what has happened to him. I never
saw him like that. He tried to strangle..."
"I know, Pilot told me... You're all right Pip?"
"More or less..." she replied. "...What the frell is going on here John..."
a few tears dripped down her cheeks. "...what the frell is going on..."
He walked up to her, and took her hand.
"Everything is going to be fine, Pip... You'll see... Everything is going
to be all right..."
Chiana looked at him for a few microts, and then got up, and walked away.
She turned around to see D'argo again, and then she left the room.

*

John was getting nervous. There was obviously something going on, but he
didn't know what it was. He only knew that it had something to do with that
mysterious chamber that Chiana talked about. He decided to check it for
himself. When he got on the upper deck, he felt cold. It was strange,
because Moya always maintained the same temperature inside. As he
approached the place where they found D'argo, he discovered that all what
Chiana said was true. There was a chamber in front of him, just like he
said. There was also a table in the middle. He hesitated for few seconds,
and then decided to enter the chamber. It was very cold inside. He
shivered.
There was something on the other side of the chamber. Something like
another passage. He could not see anything, because it was very dark in
there. He walked up to the end of the chamber. There was a dark passageway
opposite the door he used to get inside. The air was still, but intense
cold radiated from the darkness in front of him. He decided to continue to
explore this strange place. With each step it was getting darker and
colder...

*

Aeryn saw John walking past her room, and she went out after him. She
wanted to talk to him, about all of what was happening around them. She
tried to call him, but he disappeared around the corner. He followed him,
and saw him walking into Chiana's room. She stopped.
"Oh, so that's it..." she said to herself. She didn't want to speak with
him anymore. She felt angry and hurt. It was, of course, irrational, and
illogical. She was simply jealous, but she would never admit it, even to
herself. She turned around and was prepared to leave, when she heard
Chiana's scream. She raced down the corridor. As she got to her room she
heard another scream. This time it was John. He was standing in one corner
of the room bent in half, breathing hard. This was a classic pose of a man
who was just kicked into the genital area. Chiana stood in the opposite
corner of the room. Her shirt was ripped, and she was holding a knife in
her hand. She was taunting John to come closer.
"What the frell is going on here!" she yelled.
"Oh, nothing much... John, just went to the 13th Chamber and came back..."
replied Chiana to her.
Aeryn looked at John, then at Chiana, and then at John again.
"Could you explain to me, what were you doing with her shirt..."
John looked at her. His eyes were different - strangely empty and wild.
Aeryn saw something like that in Crais' eyes. But in addition to this crazy
glare, there was something more in the PeaceKeeper's eyes. Some emotion,
some life. John's gaze lacked those things completely. This was the first
time she saw something like this.
Suddenly, John grabbed her hand and pulled her toward him. He tried to kiss
her...
She knocked him down.
Chiana sat on her bed...
"Tell me Aeryn, why when they go crazy, they come to me..."
"Just help me move him, Chiana. We have to tie him up, just like D'argo."

*

"Just tell me all you know, Chiana" said Zhaan.
"Ok, the way I see it once you go there this room, or whatever it is
changes you... Did you see their eyes?"
"Yes, I saw them..." said Aeryn quietly. "They looked as if they were
crazy...This room, drives them insane..."
"Chiana, I think you said that you were inside this room..."
"Yes, I was..."
"So why didn't it affect you..."
"I don't know. I was there just for a few microts... Maybe it wasn't
working right then, and I was lucky..."
"Zhaan, do you see her eyes...? She is crazy even without the chamber."
said Aeryn...
Chiana smiled nervously.
"Do you think they will snap out of it?" she asked.
Zhaan took a deep breath.
"There's nothing wrong with them physically. They are healthy, and strong.
But I'm worried about their mental health..." she paused. "I tried to reach
them... But I felt nothing. I don't know. Maybe I'm losing my touch...
Their bodies are fine, and their brains work fine but they seem to act on
instinct. Like animals. I hope I'm wrong about it..."
"About what?" asked Aeryn.
."About their essence... Their souls..."
"What about them?"
"Well, they seem to be gone... Extracted from their bodies..."

***

to be continued...