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Throne for a Loss
April 9, 1999 - US
December 6, 1999 - UK

Writer - Richard Manning
Director - Pino Amenta

Guest Cast
John Adam . . . Bekhesh
Jeremiah Tickell . . . Kyr
Zoe Dimakis . . . Hontovek

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Episode Summary
So the crew of Moya decide to try and make some money by hauling cargo. Rygel’s idea no doubt since the customers are led to believe that he is their King. But then those first customers - the Tavleks - are no strangers to misrepresentation either for they have no cargo to haul.. They are in fact professional kidnappers and want to haul Rygel for ransom. They're also drug addicts who fuel their aggression with a stimulant delivered via a gauntlet worn on their forearms which happens to be a deadly energy weapon as well.

Rygel is snatched and a gauntlet is captured by the crew of Moya who proceed to try it on with the predictable results of extreme aggression and shattering hangovers afterwards. But there's more. It seems Rygel has stolen a vital component of Moya’s, a beautiful crystal that he wanted to use to impress the Tavleks and without which Moya can't move. So the crew has GOT to rescue him whether they want to or not.

Lucky for Rygel!

The themes are perspective and tolerance. Zhaan attempts to enlighten a Tavlek they took prisoner on the virtues of self-determination, but ends up knowing that sometimes what people determine for themselves is not always what you think it should be. Aeryn and D'Argo begin to make peace with each other. John finds the strange ways of others have reason and validity. Rygel learns nothing and Pilot learns to keep a closer eye on Rygel.

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The episode opens with a of Moya in orbit over a blue planet. A small alien craft arcs around her to dock. Aboard Moya John and Aeryn are walking towards the docking bay

John: (argumentative) Fine. Yes. You're right. We know almost nothing about the Tavloids -

Aeryn: (marching along confidently) Tavleks.

John: Whatever. Tavloid, tav - We do know they will pay us to haul cargo which they're not going to do if you go in there doing your - John Wayne impression.

Aeryn: (stopping) John Wayne? Who's that? A relative?

John: John Wayne? No. The big guy." True Grit," "The Searchers," "The Cowboys," "Genghis Khan." - Uh no, look, forget about Genghis Khan - everybody makes a bad movie. But the point is -

Aeryn: (sharply) Look. No. The point is that I'm not going to meet that shuttle unarmed. Simple as that. (she marches on with John trailing behind)

John: (still trying to convince her and failing utterly) Kung Fu! Kung Fu never carried a gun!

(cut to Rygel in his hoverchair waving a scepter, pompously rehearsing a speech)

Rygel: WE, Rygel the XVI, Dominar of the Hynerian Empire and - ah - Beloved Sovereign of over 600 billion subjects. . . Welcome to our yacht.

(Zhaan and D'Argo move a big canister into position to serve as a pedestal for Rygel, Zhaan then primps his robe. as D'Argo glares)

D'Argo: I still say it's a bad idea.

Rygel: (sulky - not happy with his makeshift pedestal) It should be taller.

Zhaan: It's tall enough already

Rygel: I need them to look up to me.

D'Argo: Why? We don't.

Rygel: (outraged) Well, you should! If it wasn't for me we'd starve. On Porzin II it was I who-

D'Argo: (cutting him off) All you got was stale food cubes.

Rygel: Which you ate more than your fair share of, as I recall!

(D'Argo snarls. Aeryn and John enter, still at it)

Aeryn: Who are you to order me around?

John: Order? I was offering a suggestion.

Aeryn: Well, who are you to offer suggestions?

Zhaan: (righteously aggrieved) Am I the only species in creation who doesn't thrive on conflict?

D'Argo: All of you! Shut up!

Rygel: Yes, that's right. Shut up. Now the Tavleks believe-

D'Argo: (interrupting him) Shut up includes YOU. Now we don't even know what this Tavlek cargo is. It could be contraband, vermin infested, even toxic.

Rygel: (brightly) Well. Let's hope so! We can charge more!

Zhaan: D'Argo, we've had this discussion. You were out voted. (the sound of the Tavlek shuttle docking is heard)

Rygel: (as the crew quickly straightens their clothing and falls into a ragged receiving line) I'll argue later. They've docked. Positions please! Come on now! If you must address me, do so as your "Supreme Eminence." Which you should be doing anyway.

3 Tavleks enter and it is immediately apparent things are not going to go as planned. Their weapons are out and they take up fighting stances, their fists out toward the crew. They are wearing devices on their forearms. They are seriously bad-looking. Human in appearance basically but covered with horrible scars stitched crudely together. They are dressed in grubby clothing that is padded and armored to exaggerate their bulk. The leader, Bekhesh, wears a metal helmet/mask over half his head

Tavlek thug: No movement! Remain where you are. (the crew freeze as they realize what's happening)

Bekhesh: Move and you die. (notes Aeryn’s weapon and direct stare) Try me.

Zhaan: (steps forward) You - you've misunderstood us - (she is shot and the Tavleks spring forward. The crew responds in a flurry of action. John dives for cover. Aeryn and D'Argo try to return the assault. One of the Tavleks throws a sack over Rygel’s head)

Rygel: (yelling as he's manhandled) AAAHHH! What do you think you're doing?! I demand someone help me! (the fighting continues as he tries to make a run for it but he can't see with the sack with the sack on his head, or get it off himself. Shots ricochet off his hoverchair and he ricochets off the wall)

Aeryn: (returning fire as the Tavleks use the devices on their arms to shoot at anything that moves. The scene is chaos) D'Argo! Look out!

Rygel: AAAH! Somebody put a stop to this! (his hoverchair is disabled and goes down)

Kyr: (Kyr is a young Tavlek, he aims his gauntlet at D'Argo who has been thrown to the floor and his Qualta knocked away) And now you die.

John: Yo! Butkis! (he steps in and downs the Tavlek with a piece of well-aimed pipe. The gauntlet on the alien’s forearm flies off)

Tavlek thug: I'll get the Dominar!

John: (yelling frantically) Pilot! Shut the door!

Rygel: (screaming as he's grabbed) OOOOOHHHH! Aeryn! Please! Pleeeeease!

D'Argo: (picks up the gauntlet that fell off Kyr's arm and puts it on his own arm and tries to get it to fire as Bekhesh and the other Tavlek flee) AARRGGHH! AARRGGHH! How does it work? (roaring with rage) John! John!

Zhaan: (coming to in the sudden silence in the wake of the Tavlek ambush) Where's Rygel?

John: Our Supreme Eminence has been bagged. (the crew start to assess their situation. Zhaan moves to examine the fallen Tavlek) Pilot! Get a tractor beam on that shuttle!

Pilot: (pleasantly) Tractor beam? What's that?

John: (as Pilot’s visage appears on the clamshell viewer to gaze uncomprehendingly at him) Graviton field. Attracto ray. Superglue. Whatever it is that you yanked me aboard with.

Pilot: You mean the docking web?

John: Yeah! Fine! Use it on the shuttle!

Pilot: It's out of range.

John: Well then go after it!

D'Argo: (furious) Correction Pilot! Break orbit and take us away from this wretched planet!

John: Take us away? They've got Rygel!

D'Argo: Rygel brought this on himself! I say we leave him there!

Zhaan: Let Crichton finish.

John: Yeah!

D'Argo: Look enough talk! We're leaving NOW! (he takes a swat at Rygel’s pedestal which before had needed him and Zhaan to move into place. It flies across the room shattering a shelving unit and its contents)

John: (alarmed) That - that can't be normal. How'd you do that?

D'Argo: It just happened!

Aeryn: (approaching D'Argo to look at the gauntlet) Wait! That is a very versatile and powerful weapon, if we can work out how to use it-

Zhaan: (examining the gauntlet. A window on it reveals sickly greenish-yellow fluid moving) What is this? Is it injecting something into you?

D'Argo: Stuck some needles in my arm.

John: Oh no... that - that can't be good. Take it off.

D'Argo: (jerks away from Zhaan) Let go of me!

Zhaan: D'Argo -

D'Argo: (viciously) This ship needs a leader and NONE of you have what it takes! From now on, *I* am in charge! (the others glance at each other and charge him. He effortlessly knocks all three of them to the floor and says menacingly-) Never - lay your hands on me again. (he strides away)

Zhaan: (to John and Aeryn) You go after him. I'll revive the boy. (referring to the fallen Tavlek, John and Aeryn get up and hurry after D'Argo. Cut to them as they catch up with him in the corridor)

John: D'Argo, would you wait?

D'Argo: No! I'm giving the orders now.

John: D'Argo, just listen - (D'Argo turns and fires the gauntlet at him and Aeryn who dive for cover between the ribs of Moya’s corridor. John mutters to Aeryn as D'Argo goes on his way) He's not good at listening is he?

Aeryn: Well, he'll listen to this. (she moves out of cover to fire her pulse rifle at him. D'Argo uses the gauntlet to block the shot and then fires back as John dives at Aeryn to push her out the line of fire and hisses at her-) Would you listen?

(cut back to Zhaan and Kyr)

Zhaan: Take it easy child.

Kyr: (outraged) Child?

Zhaan: Don't be afraid. We won't hurt you.

Aeryn: (reentering with John) Speak for yourself. (to Kyr) That weapon of yours. How do we get it off?

Kyr: (contemptuous) Huh! You mean one of you was stupid enough to put it on? You're too weak to handle it!

John: Why? What is that stuff it pumps into you?

Kyr: Stimulant. Adds to our strength.

John: Stimulant? It's a little more than cappuccino pal. Our friend just tried to kill us!

Kyr: Good! (laughs brashly)

Aeryn: (shoves him to the wall) How do we remove it?

Kyr: You can't.

John: Well, it came off when I knocked you out.

Aeryn: That would make sense. If you're left unconscious in battle you don't want the enemy cutting your arm off to get your weapon.

John: Hmm. It can be disarmed without having to be disarmed. Great! So what do we got that can knock D'Argo out? Stun gun? Gas grenade?

Zhaan: (holding up a bottle) Sleep mist. I can formulate one.

(cut to D'Argo as he enters the Command. He savagely kicks an innocent DRD that happens to cross his path and it goes flying with an alarmed squeal)

Pilot: (appearing on the clamshell viewer) Was that necessary?

D'Argo: It felt good! Give me navigation. Now!

Pilot: But we can't leave orbit!

D'Argo: Do as I say or I'll rip off all your arms! Enough of this stupid voting! From now on, I'll make the decisions. (Pilot looks stunned and cuts his connection)

(cut back to the others)

Aeryn: (circling Kyr in her PK Interrogation Mode and striking him sharply) Don't even think about it!

Pilot: (on clamshell viewer and agitated) Unless we leave orbit - D'Argo's actually threatening to INJURE me!

John: Stall him. Tell him there's a systems malfunction or something.

Pilot: (plaintive) I TOLD him that! But he doesn't believe me. In fact he - hold on - transmission from the planet.

Bekhesh: (his face replaces Pilot’s on the clamshell as John and Aeryn rush to listen) We've got your king. You can buy him back.

Aeryn: And we have your boy and if you want him back undamaged-

John: (intervening) Whoa! Whoa! How about an even swap?

Bekhesh: No. He's part of the price, but he's not worth a king. We want corvidium, purity 9, enough to fill your transport hangar.

John: This hangar?

Bekhesh: Divide it among 600 billion affluent subjects, it's not so much.

Aeryn: You won't get it.

Pilot: (breaking in tersely) D'Argo's getting angrier. DO something. (he tersely breaks off)

John: Uh - er, look, this isn't a good time. How about we call you back?

Bekhesh: No, we'll contact you. In one solar day. If your homeworld hasn't agreed to our terms by then, your king dies. (HE tersely breaks off)

Zhaan: John, it's finished.

John: (he and Aeryn go back to Zhaan) Check it out! It's a water balloon! (Zhaan’s sleep mist is indeed contained in what appears to be a little palm-sized balloon)

Aeryn: Here. (she puts out her hand for it)

John: What?

Aeryn: Oh, you think you can throw it with any accuracy?

John: Yeah, I grew up with these things. (gives the thumbs up) Excellent! (he leaves)

Aeryn: (to Zhaan, referring to Kyr) Lock him away. (she turns to follow John)

Zhaan: Well I suppose we must. Come. (she leads Kyr away)

(cut to the Command)

D'Argo: (snarling) Pilot! Get Moya moving!

Pilot: I told you, I can't!

D'Argo: You're lying! You're all undermining my command- (John and Aeryn have crept up to the door of the Command and he lobs the sleep mist in. It lands by D'Argo and releases the mist, D'Argo starts to go down)

John: Good night, sweet prince! Uh oh- (D'Argo revitalizes as the gauntlet reacts by pumping more stimulant into him. He comes after them. They flee, coming upon a fork in the corridor John says to Aeryn-) This way!

Aeryn: (following - querulous) Oh, is that another suggestion of yours?

John: Pilot! On my signal, give me all the acceleration Moya's got.

Pilot: (appearing on another clamshell viewer) No! I can't activate propulsion. Moya has a systems malfunction.

John: For real?

Pilot: Propulsion control is completely out. I've had to shut down and vent manually.

Aeryn: The ship’s excess supercoolant has to be released. Look, we're wasting time here.

John: (to Aeryn) Wait- (to Pilot) Close all the vents.

Pilot: (protesting) I can't DO that! The pressure could build at dangerous levels!

John: No it won't. I got a plan. (he goes off as Aeryn gazes dubiously after him. There is an outside shot of Moya trying to ignite her propulsion plates. Cut back to Zhaan and Kyr)

Kyr: (defiantly) I'm not afraid of you! You're soft and weak!

Pilot: Zhaan?

Zhaan: ( taking her eyes from Kyr for a second to look towards Pilot’s voice) Yes? (Kyr takes the chance to make a move and Zhaan effortlessly throws him) Soft, yes. Weak? No! (to Pilot) What was that Pilot?

Pilot: Secure for acceleration. (dubiously) Crichton has an idea.

Zhaan: Ugh! Did you say Crichton? (she mutters something dubiously in Delvian and goes to hustle Kyr away)

(cut back to John and Aeryn in the corridor, laying in wait for D'Argo)

D'Argo: Come out from where you're hiding! Cowards!

John: (restraining Aeryn as she turns to rush D'Argo in response to his insult) Cool it! (he lets D'Argo walk a bit further past) Now!

Aeryn: (steps out of concealment) D'Argo! (she fires a shot at him and then ducks back for cover)

D'Argo: (howling as he comes back for them) Peacekeeper coward!

(John and Aeryn break and lead him a bit further before concealing themselves again)

John: (whispering Into his comm to Pilot) Now!

D'Argo: (thundering) You challenge my command?

John: (repeating his request) Now!

D'Argo: Do it to my face!

John: NOW!

(Pilot reopens the vents. The release of built-up pressure causes Moya to lurch violently forward. D'Argo is thrown hard off his feet to the floor and the gauntlet flies off his arm. Aeryn is thrown onto John)

Aeryn: (incredulously) That was your plan?

John: Yah! Pretty good!

Aeryn: Barely! That is THE last time I go along with one of your plans! (she pulls away)

John: Fine! (scrabbles for the gauntlet) Next time YOU get to make the plan!

(cut planet side to the Tavlek camp and to a cell where Rygel is being held)

Rygel: (buried up to his armpits in dirt) I demand to speak to the creosh in charge! I will NOT be treated like this. How DARE you bury me in mud! Are you listening? You're nothing but barbarians! Don't you know this is an act of WAR! When my counsel hears of this, the Hynerian Navy will SCORCH this hellhole! (then to himself as something snuffles awake nearby) That should get `em thinking.

Jotheb: (an organ-like voice from the cell next to Rygel’s) My sleep cycle has been disturbed.

Rygel: (irritably) As if I give a paranta's brax. Who are you?

Jotheb: Jotheb, next in succession to preside over the Consortium of Trao. And you?

Rygel: Dominar Rygel the XVI. Ruler of the Hynerian Empire.

Jotheb: (he is a shadowy squid-like creature with glowing red eyes and is seen through a mesh over the bars between their cells) The Hynerian Empire is not familiar to me.

Rygel: Yeah? Well, I've never heard of the Consortium of Trao.

Jotheb: The imperfection is yours.

Rygel: How big is it?

Jotheb: 10,000.

Rygel: PFT!! Tch!! I have 600 BILLION subjects!

Jotheb: (casually) 10,000 planets. Each averaging per planet 4 billion Trao.

Rygel: Nyaah I don't believe ya!

Jotheb: The imperfection is yours.

(cut back to Moya

John: This malfunction is Rygel’s fault?

Pilot: That's right. He asked if he could borrow a vital component of Moya’s control circuitry. Just for a while.

Aeryn: And you let him?

Pilot: (a bit huffy) Certainly not! I flatly forbade it.

John: What did he want it for?

Pilot: He said it was important to impress our visitors.

John: Impress? How is a control circuit gonna impress somebody?

Pilot: (proudly) Oh, Moya’s synaptic processors are quite attractive objects. Trillions of silicone neurons suspended in a semi-organic crystalline matrix.

John: Crys- ? Ooh. Reddish crystal? About that big? (holds up thumb and forefinger for Pilot to see)

Pilot: (pleased) Ye-es!

John: His scepter. The little hairball took it to decorate this scepter.

Aeryn: I'm gonna kill him.

John: How long can Moya maintain orbit without the crystal?

Pilot: Her orbit is deteriorating even now.

Aeryn: I'll torture him then I'll kill him. (into her comm) Zhaan? Can't you rouse D'Argo?

(cut briefly to Zhaan, bending over D'Argo)

Zhaan: No, he's not injured but he's sleeping off the drug. There's no telling when he'll awaken.

Aeryn: I can't wait for him. Pilot, prepare the Prowler.

Pilot: Very well.

Aeryn: (to John) Come on.

John: You're not going down there?

Aeryn: If we don't get that crystal back, we're gonna crash into the planet. I've got a plan.

John: Oh no please. Let me guess. Your plan - jam down to the planet, conduct a commando-style raid against, what, a couple of dozen, heavily armed Tavloids, and then haul ass back up to the ship.

Aeryn: Tavleks.

John: That's your plan? Wile E. Coyote would come up with a better plan than that! What, you're just gonna go down there by yourself?

Aeryn: Of course not. You're coming with me.

John: (incredulous) In your dreams I'm coming with you!

Aeryn: This is my turn. My plan. Now let's go.

John: No! Absolutely not! There are other things that we can do. We can try negotiating with the Tavloids, we can-

Aeryn: (hauls off and slugs him in the mouth. He goes down, unconscious) Tavleks!

(later - cut to Aeryn piloting her Prowler, arcing towards the planet, John, out of it in the seat behind her. Cut to Zhaan aboard Moya in the Command)

Aeryn: (via comm) Has Moya located the Tavlek shuttle?

Zhaan: No, her sensors can't penetrate the jungle canopy. Too many chloroferric compounds in the vegetation. Pilot says we can reconfigure the sensors.

Aeryn: Even if you can't, I'm following the same trajectory their shuttle did. I should land reasonably close to them.

John: (abruptly coming to in the Prowler and still on the same train of thought he was when Aeryn beaned him) We can negotiate with the- gsnkhh- (he takes in his surroundings) You hit me!

Aeryn: Hit? I - no. A Pantak Jab. You were more susceptible than most.

John: (quietly) The next time you hit me, make sure that I don't wake up. (Aeryn grunts with boredom)

John: Oh don't 'tch' me. This is not over with. And when it is, you and I are going to sit down and have a serious talk.

Aeryn: Sure. When this is over you and I will probably be dead. (she banks for landing)

(cut back to Moya. Zhaan enters the cell where Kyr is being held. He's wrapped in one of Moya’s bed sheets. Zhaan offers him John’s orange flight suit to wear)

Zhaan: Care for some food?

Kyr: (snatches the flight suit and turns away) Not hungry.

Zhaan: Are you in discomfort?

Kyr: (throwing the flight suit down angrily) What kind of fastener is this? Where is my clothes? I want 'em back, now!

Zhaan: We had to borrow them.

Kyr: (sneering) Had to? Or did you just wanna strip me? What's the matter? Too prim to sneak a peek? You afraid you might like what you saw? You ever look at a male before? Huh? Huh? Well, here you go. (he holds open the sheet and exposes himself to Zhaan who calmly looks him up and down. Realizing his attempt to shock her has failed rather badly he wavers a bit)

Zhaan: Quite respectable for your age. Did you think you'd shock me? Is nudity a taboo in your culture? Are you ashamed of your bodies?

Kyr: (trying to bluster his confidence back) Yeah we would be if we looked like you!

Zhaan: I doubt it. (she undoes her gown, lets it drop and stands naked before him for a moment. He gapes and slowly pulls his sheet around himself again. Zhaan enrobes serenely) You sure you're not hungry?

Kyr: (his fight is gone) . . . no . . . (Zhaan leaves)

(cut planet side. John and Aeryn are making their way through a jungle of blueish plants)

Aeryn: (putting down a bundle) Before we landed I saw signs of an encampment past that ridge.

John: (arms crossed, still stewing) You shanghai my ass down here and now you want me to lead? Give me one good reason.

Aeryn: Lots of reasons. Land mines. Fire snakes. Razor grass. Night vision snipers, Morlian death spiders...

(he wordlessly picks up the bundle and pushes past her)

(cut to Rygel in his cell. He's straining to push himself out of the mud. There is a rich gurgling sound)

Jotheb: That dreadful noise is what?

Rygel: It's my stomach. What of it?

Jotheb: Preparing to dine? My meal was just delivered.

Rygel: They fed you first. I don't want any food anyway. I want OUT! There must be a way. There's always a way.

Jotheb: Our captors may be annoyed by escape attempts.

Rygel: We just can't lie around waiting to be ransomed. We have to push! (he continues to push as Bekhesh enters. Seeing him, Rygel continues -) Here. Let me show you. (in an imperious tone) You don't have to worry, Jotheb. When my fleet arrives it will lay waste to this planet! Anyone who defends Bekhesh will be killed, but anyone who helps us will-

Bekhesh: (plopping Rygel’s meal down in front of him without much concern) Your rations. (he leaves)

Rygel: (chuckling) You see? First you give them something to think about and then you - uuugghhh - (he takes a look at what the Tavlek set down by him)

Jotheb: Is there a problem?

Rygel: This bowl. It's a skull.

Jotheb: That can be no one you knew. Excuse me will you? (he turns away)

Rygel: (gazing miserably at the skull) Stop looking at me. (a tentacle snakes into Rygel’s cell and curls around the skull bowl) Hey! HEY! Tentacles off! TENTACLES OFF! Whaddaya think you're doing?

Jotheb: (the tentacle whips away) It was unwanted by you!

Rygel: Doesn't mean YOU can have it!

(cut to Moya. Zhaan is helping D'Argo enter the Command)

Pilot: (on clamshell viewer. Delicately snide - to D'Argo-) Feeling better?

Zhaan: He insists on helping us adjust the sensors. Despite his fatigue.

D'Argo: (breathing heavy) Only because you'll do it wrong.

Pilot: (kinder) If you need more rest -

D'Argo: No. No. I, uh... I need to do something to make myself useful.

Pilot: Your assistance would be welcomed.

(D'Argo has the guilty look of one who was nasty to some else who is treating him nicely now)

(cut back to John and Aeryn. Still moving through the jungle)

Aeryn: (as John pauses to swat a bug) Enjoying yourself?

John: Oh yeah. Marching through a smelly, bug-infested jungle. If this is your idea of a good time, I bet you don't get a lot of second dates.

(they hear shots fired and take cover. A small group of Tavleks are just ahead in a clearing)

Aeryn: Hand me the oculars.

John: What? (she puts her gun aside and gets them herself)

Aeryn: Hunting party. They've made a kill.

John: Then I say we follow 'em. They might lead us back to their camp. Back to Rygel. (he tries the oculars which enable the wearer’s eyes to zoom in on distant objects. He doesn't know how to use them properly and they cause his view of the Tavleks to zoom wildly in and out of focus. He takes them off and squeezes his eyes shut)

Aeryn: Don't have time to lead us back to their camp. I'll have to force them to tell where Rygel is.

John: Force 'em? How're you gonna force them with one of you and three of them? (he hears a suspicious ping and gurgle and turns to find Aeryn strapping on the gauntlet they took from Kyr) Are you nuts? After what that thing did to D'Argo, we agreed only as a last resort. Besides, if we go in there blazing like-

Aeryn: (she has put on the rest of Kyr's clothing) I'm going in. You're staying here. This won't take long and when I get back, you can put me under and remove the gauntlet. (she hands him a syringe gun)

John: The minute you get back.

Aeryn: (pulling on Kyr's helmet as she walks away from John and approaches the Tavleks) Your pardon. I'm on my way to Bekhesh but I seem to have gotten my bearings confused.

Hontovek: (a female Tavlek, bald and only slightly better-looking than the males) You mean you're lost.

Aeryn: Yeah okay. I'm lost.

Hontovek: Find your own way back. We're busy. (he turns back to her work and Aeryn attacks, putting her and her two male companions on the ground. She then grabs Hontovek around the neck and says-)

Aeryn: All right, I'll ask again. Where's Bekhesh?

John: (to himself watching from his hiding place as the other two Tavleks start to recover themselves) C'mon Aeryn. . . they're getting up. (he grabs Aeryn’s pulse rifle)

Hontovek: Follow the outcropping around-

John: (he doesn't really know how to use the rifle and as he aims it begins to make a high pitched whine and a red light flashes ominously on it) What the hell - ? (he turns the rifle around puzzled, but then realizes, no doubt from having watched plenty of Star Trek, that the rifle is overloading. He yells and throws it away. There is a huge explosion. Aeryn and the Tavleks startle and she lets go of Hontovek)

Hontovek: We're under attack! Get to cover! (one of her companions yells "Move! This way!" and they flee)

(cut back to Moya’s Command)

D'Argo: Pilot, are you sure these reconfigured sensors are working? That looked like an explosion.

Pilot: (brightly) It was. Also picking up weapons fire.

D'Argo: Didn't take them long to get into trouble. Ready a transport.

(cut back to John and Aeryn)

Aeryn: (striding towards John) Huh? What happened? Wait. Where's the rifle?

John: (agitated) It's all over the place! Am I bleeding?

Aeryn: You blew up the rifle?

John: Well it's not like I meant to! The damn thing malfunctioned or something!

Aeryn: (disgusted) Ah. You overloaded the pulse chamber.

John: (he takes her arm) Just - just drop it. Let's move before they find us.

Aeryn: (jerking away. She's wired) It's all right. I'll take them all on!

John: (in the quiet tone of a man who is fed up) Aeryn, move! (he grabs her more forcefully, wired by a little adrenaline of his own and pushes her in front of him as she yells furiously "Will you STOP? I got to-")

(cut to the Tavlek prison cells)

Bekhesh: (entering) Jotheb. Message from your people. Two days 'till your ransom arrives. You're free to go once it shows up.

Rygel: Hey! Hey! What about me?

Jotheb: Keep silent Rygel.

Bekhesh: What about you?

Rygel: I demand better treatment. You dare serve me with this grotesquery of a bowl?

Bekhesh: (sarcastically subservient as he removes the bowl) My apologies Your Eminence.

Rygel: I should think so. So. Jotheb, your subjects came up with your ransom?

Jotheb: It was not in doubt. Why? Yours will not?

Rygel: Absolutely. Who says they won't? (Bekhesh returns) Ah, there you are. Now, what have you got for me?

Bekhesh: An extra helping. (he dumps gruel out onto the dirt in front of Rygel’s face) Any more trouble and it will be your skull that serves as someone’s bowl.

(cut back to Moya. Kyr screams in his cell and struggles with the door. He is sick, shuddering and breathing heavily. And clad in John’s orange flight suit. Zhaan enters)

Kyr: Get out! (he charges her and grabs her wrist, injuring her slightly by forcing his thumbnail into her flesh. A drop of white blood appears. She pushes him easily away)

Zhaan: I can help you. (she lets her blood drip into a vial of liquid that she brought with her)

Kyr: I - I don't want your help!

Zhaan: You're in no condition to choose. (she smoothes some of the liquid from the vial on her lips and approaches him, taking his head in her hands) This should relieve the symptoms of withdrawal. (she kisses his lips) And this will remove the pain. (she places her hand on his chest and meditates. He relaxes and gazes up at her, awestruck as his pain subsides)

(cut back to Rygel in his cell contemplating the puddle of lumpy gruel in front of him)

Rygel: I can't eat this. I couldn't eat this. I mustn't eat this. Hmmm... maybe it has another use. . ..

Jotheb: In what way, friend Rygel?

Rygel: Loosening up the soil. (he begins working it in around himself)

(cut back to John and Aeryn are approaching the Tavlek camp)

Aeryn: Right. The camp should be just up ahead. I'm gonna enjoy this.

John: No! No you're not going anywhere near there. Not until we get that gauntlet off.

Aeryn: No!

John: Yes! You agreed. Only as long as it was necessary.

Aeryn: And it is necessary. Bekhesh is still breathing.

John: (gently and seriously) Aeryn, that gauntlet is messing with your head.

Aeryn: No, it's not. I am going to take out every last Tavlek. No survivors. No mercy. Now give me the oculars.

John: Fine. (he makes to get the oculars but when Aeryn turns away from him he moves to use the tranquilizer. She spins around and knocks him to the ground, training the gauntlet on him. At that moment D'Argo enters and draws his Qualta blade)

D'Argo: I believe you and I have some business first.

Aeryn: Ah, yes. You called me a coward. And you'll die for that.

D'Argo: Your gauntlet against my Qualta blade? You truly are cowardly. Can't you defeat me without you weapons? (he lowers his blade and spreads his arms)

Aeryn: (laughs) Oh, what a barbarian! Okay, so you'll die more slowly. (she charges him and they both go down. Then at close range. D'Argo uses his whip like tongue to stun her. She collapses on top of him and the gauntlet disengages from her forearm)

John: Nice blanket you got there D'Argo.

D'Argo: A lovely blanket. Get her off.

(cut back to Rygel’s cell where he's still struggling to free himself)

Rygel: Jotheb, a little help.

Jotheb: Help? Of what sort?

Rygel: Pull. (Jotheb snakes a tentacle into Rygel’s cell and around his neck and starts to pull)

Rygel: (struggling and grunting) I don't think around the throat is a good idea- (Jotheb grabs him lower) Yes - That's it. Yes! That did it! I'm free! (he makes for the cell door and tries to wriggle out under the bars. But Bekhesh has seen him)

Jotheb: Rygel! Look out! RYGEL!

Rygel: (Bekhesh silently approaches and puts his foot on his throat. Rygel chokes as Bekhesh bears down) No! NOO! NNOOO!

Jotheb: Bekhesh! You're killing him!

Bekhesh: That's right.

Rygel: (choking and screaming) Get off of me! (but Bekhesh continues and Rygel shudders and goes still)

Jotheb: Why was he killed?

Bekhesh: Why not? Who'd pay to get him back?

Jotheb: The Consortium of Trao will. There's truth to my words Bekhesh. I will prove his value. (he moves a tentacle over Rygel’s mouth and there is the sound of hissing air. Rygel is revived, coughing) The fame of Dominar Rygel has spread even to my worlds. If the ransom is not paid by his people, it will be paid by mine.

Bekhesh: (as Rygel continues to cough) I could always kill him again.

(cut back to the jungle. Aeryn is reviving)

John: Lie still. You're wiped out.

D'Argo: The gauntlet has drained you.

Aeryn: Huh. You called me a coward!

D'Argo: You called me a barbarian.

Aeryn: Well you are!

D'Argo: Well, perhaps coward is too good a word for a Peacekeeper.

John: Both of you - knock it off. You didn't mean what you said. It was the gauntlet talking.

D'Argo: I meant everything I said.

Aeryn: Yeah, so did I.

John: You also mean everything you did? (to D'Argo) You attacked us, tried to take over the ship. And you- (to Aeryn) You were ready to slaughter every Tavloid-

Aeryn: Tavlek.

John: Whatever. If the gauntlet brings out the real you, both of you think long and hard about therapy. I'm gonna go check things out. Play nice while I'm gone. (he leaves them)

(cut back to Moya where Kyr's withdrawal is over)

Zhaan: Has the pain ceased?

Kyr: Hmph.

Zhaan: That stimulant in your gauntlet, it must have been extremely addictive. Once your body purifies, the hunger for the drug should pass.

Kyr: (sharply) Look I don't need a damn sermon. I didn't ask for your help so keep you speeches to yourself. (quietly) And, about the gauntlet, it's not as if I ever had any choice.

Zhaan: There are always choices.

Kyr: Look, I told you I don't need a sermon!

Zhaan: All right, no sermons. What do you need?

Kyr: Actually, I'm a bit hungry.

(cut planet side)

Aeryn: (shifting uncomfortably) I hate this.

D'Argo: Does your head hurt?

Aeryn: Yes. Yours?

D'Argo: Pounding like a Maxillian Palater Day parade.

Aeryn: I'm so tired! I...

D'Argo: It took a few hours for me to fully recover so I imagine for a Sebacean we should probably double that. (she tries unsuccessfully to get up. D'Argo steadies her and she leans against his arm) Whoa - don't be so childish. Perhaps it took - quite a few hours - for me to recover.

Aeryn: Crichton should be back by now.

D'Argo: Well he's probably at the wrong end of some Tavlek weapon somewhere.

Aeryn: (laughs) Imagine - somewhere out there there's a whole world of Crichton’s. How useless that must be!

D'Argo: It's amazing he could actually provide us with some common ground.

Aeryn: (slightly impish) Who'd have thought there'd be a race more clumsy and pathetic than the Luxans? (D'Argo removes his arm and Aeryn falls over backwards) Ouch!

D'Argo: I'm sorry. You know how clumsy we Luxans can be.

(cut back to Rygel’s cell. Rygel is coming to after his revival)

Jotheb: Rygel, you are welcomed into the Consortium of Trao.

Rygel: (reburied - up to his neck this time) Oh yes,? Well thank you for the invitation, but I-

Jotheb: It is not an invitation. You were killed by Bekhesh and revived by me. You are therefore owned by me. As are your subjects.

Rygel: Is that so? You're going to pay my ransom too?

Jotheb: The expense is small and billions of Hynerians will be brought into the Consortium.

Rygel: (begins to laugh) You multi-throated moron!

Jotheb: (roars angrily) How are you!

Rygel: My subjects! I was deposed over 100 cycles ago! Ransom me if you want, but all you'll get is me! (he cackles madly)

Jotheb: Just you? No subjects?

Rygel: No! My traitorous bastard of a cousin stole my throne and imprisoned me! I escaped with a few other fugitives and they're the only ones who even know I'm here!

Jotheb: (frustrated) Won't they ransom you?

Rygel: (laughter taking on a hysterical edge) They couldn't if they wanted to! And they don't want to because they hate me!

Jotheb: (furious, thrashing against the wall separating him from Rygel) Then you will die here, so why are you laughing? (Rygel abruptly stops his maniacal laughter and sniffles miserably)

(cut to John as he approaches the Tavlek camp and gets a look at it before returning to Aeryn and D'Argo)

John: Camp's pretty deserted. Looks like most of them are napping. Go for it now, or wait for nightfall?

D'Argo: We don't even know if this planet rotates. It may never get dark.

Aeryn: This may be our only chance. Let's go.

John: No. You're wiped out. You stay here. Two's enough.

Aeryn: You take the gauntlet then.

John: Nononono. That damn thing is a menace. Besides, it would only be one gauntlet against a whole camp full of them, and if we can't pull this off without being spotted, we're screwed.

Aeryn: And what if you are spotted?

John: Cover our retreat.

Aeryn: Well with what? Well someone blew up our only weapon.

D'Argo: (gives her his Qualta blade) Take this.

Aeryn: Oh yes, a sword. Thank you. That'll be really helpful.

D'Argo: (as he shows her how to convert the Qualta into a pulse weapon) It is more than just a sword.

Aeryn: Is it charged?

D'Argo: It was when the Peacekeepers took it from me.

Aeryn: How long ago was that?

D'Argo: Eight cycles.

(cut to Moya)

Kyr: Uuugghhh! This food is horrible. Almost inedible!

Zhaan: You're welcome. Thank you for being such a gracious guest.

Kyr: (laughs, then asks seriously-) What are you?

Zhaan: Older. Wiser. Certainly not as homely as you.

Kyr: When I was sick before - sweating and shaking - you did that thing where you - uh-

Zhaan: When I kissed you?

Kyr: No! uh - Yes - when you took the pain away. How did you do that?

Zhaan: I'm a Delvian Pa'u. A priest of the 9th level. We learn to - share - other’s pain.

Kyr: (laughs) Tavleks learn how to inflict it!

Zhaan: Yes, I've seen you in action. Very impressive.

Kyr: Yes it was. We boarded you ship. Stole your king. I was a part of that!

Zhaan: That is who you are when you wear the gauntlet. Perhaps the real you -

Kyr: I am SICK of your PLOK!

Zhaan: THAT I know official. Have you ever been through anything like this before? Your body being freed of poison-

Kyr: POI - ? (he throws the food) THIS is the only poison I have in my body! Why would I want to be free? Our gauntlet is our FOOD - our BLOOD - our LIFE! It makes us capable of anything! Ach!

Zhaan: I know that is what you believe. But what I wonder is, what you alone are capable of.

(cut back planet side. John and D'Argo creep through the camp of sleeping Tavleks and gain entry to their prison)

John: (he accidentally steps on one of Potherb’s tentacles that's laying in the path. Jotheb yelps) Sorry.

Jotheb: Offense is not taken.

John: (whispering loudly to D'Argo) Hey! Check out the critter.

Jotheb: Critter?

D'Argo: Critter? (glances at Jotheb. Then to John in impatient disgust-) What's your problem? Find Rygel. (John looks into the cell next to Potherb’s - and finds Rygel’s "scepter")

John: Hey!

D'Argo: It's the scepter, but where is the crystal?

John: It's gone. And so is Rygel.

Jotheb: Dominar Rygel? He was taken away.

John: To where?

Jotheb: Through my efforts, Rygel is believed to be valuable by Bekhesh. Therefore Rygel is being moved by shuttle to a more secure location.

D'Argo: Any more secure and we'll never get that crystal back.

John: Well, let's get this guy out of here.

Jotheb: (quickly) Staying here is my preference. I'm awaiting my release. Rygel should be informed that his ransom will NOT be paid by the Consortium of Trao. His presence has been decided to be too - disruptive.

John: I can dig that. Fine. I'll tell him.

Jotheb: As you will. (John and D'Argo set out to leave - but run into a couple Tavleks outside) Hi. Um Where is Bekhesh? We came to discuss the ransom terms. Think we can reach a deal.

Tavlek: (bringing up his gauntleted arm) Stand fast!

John: Right, D'Argo?

(D'Argo growls and all hell breaks loose as they try to fight off the Tavleks. D'Argo is shot in the back. Aeryn fires blasts from the Qualta to create more chaos and the pair escape back to the jungle)

John: It worked!

Aeryn: That's how you create a diversion. (moves to D'Argo with the Qualta) It's a fine weapon.

D'Argo: (collapsing) I request you bury me with it.

John: Oh damn!

(soon after - cut to John carrying D'Argo on his back through the jungle. He trips and they both fall, John tries to reassure him)

John: Just take it easy.

D'Argo: The blood - what color is it?

John: It's uh - dark red. Almost black. (D'Argo gives Aeryn a weak glance. She drops the Qualta and coming to him begins to beat his wound as hard as she can. John gapes and stops her) What are you doing?

Aeryn: Bleeding freely is the only thing that will help heal the Luxan. The wound isn't cleansed until the blood flows clear.

D'Argo: Do it! (she resumes delivering powerful blows to D'Argo as John backs away in horror)

(cut to Moya. Zhaan and Kyr are seated facing each other. His head nods)

Zhaan: Tired? (Kyr yawns and denies it) You need more sleep. I'll take you back to your quarters.

Pilot: Zhaan, you are needed in the command. Quickly please.

Kyr: I know my way back. (she leaves and Pilot continues taking to her as she walks towards Command)

Pilot: Crichton wants us to scan the area for any signs of the Tavlek shuttle.

(meanwhile Kyr - instead of returning to his quarters is seen running through Moya’s corridors)

Zhaan: (from the Command - to John via comm) I've picked up a shuttle in your area. It's priming for take off. No more than three minutes.

(cut planet side)

John: Location?

Zhaan: Delta 6 - Primno 9 - Lerg 8.

John: Is that anywhere near here?

Aeryn: (starting to draw a diagram in the dirt for him) Directional vector.

(cut to Moya. Kyr tries to open a small container in Zhaan’s lab. A DRD rolls up behind him and he tears off one of its tool attachments to use. Cut to Pilot)

Pilot: That young savage! He's attacked one of the DRDs!

(cut to Zhaan)

Zhaan: Where?

Pilot: Maintenance bay. Lab section. (she leaves)

(cut back planet side)

Aeryn: ...Lerg 8 there. We're here. We'll never cover that ground in three minutes.

John: You two won't. That's for sure.

D'Argo: (weakly) Neither can you.

John: Might. (he takes up the gauntlet) With a little help.

D'Argo: It's too dangerous.

Aeryn: D'Argo's right. (they're sprawled on the ground like a couple of marathon losers)

John: Yeah, I know, I'm just nothing but a frail human. But we need that gem so unless you two got a better idea - (they don't. They look pained) Right. So once I get it on, how do I get it to work?

D'Argo: It just uh... does.

John: Willpower. Like the Green Lantern’s ring. Okay. (he lays the gauntlet on his forearm) Here goes nothing. (it clamps on and the ominous gurgle of fluid being pumped into him is heard) It's fine. uh... I don't even feel anything. In fact, I feel pretty good. Feel real good. Oh right. It's working. (he takes off for the shuttle launch site)

(cut back to Moya. Kyr has broken into the container and is getting himself a fix of stimulant)

Zhaan: (snatching the drug away) Couldn't sleep?

Kyr: Give that to me. I need it! Give it to me! (he makes a grab for it but Zhaan seizes his wrist)

Zhaan: Is this the way you repay my help? How would you like your arm torn off? (she squeezes his wrist till he cries out in pain and then shoves him away)

Kyr: (laughs bitterly) You don't scare me. You don't even have the guts to fight me! (he charges her and she effortlessly grabs his arm, twisting it behind his back and pinning him)

Zhaan: (viciously) Hear me! I could rip you apart right now, Kahalaan help me, I'd enjoy it. But you know why I don't? Because we're not enemies. (she crushes the syringe with the drug in her other hand) This is your enemy! Contemplate that in solitude.

(cut planet side. John is running through the jungle to catch the Tavleks at their shuttle. Aeryn examines D’Argo’s wound)

D'Argo: Is it running clear?

Aeryn: No. Still reddish black.

D'Argo: Give it up.

Aeryn: Oh. So you'd die without putting up a fight? Then you're the coward. (she pounds the wound)

D'Argo: And you're the barbarian. You're going to have to hit it a lot harder than that to increase the bleeding. (she pounds the wound again, D'Argo grimaces) Again! (Aeryn joins her hands and uses the weight of her body to slam into the wound repeatedly)

(cut to John as he catches up with Bekhesh and his cohorts. They are carrying Rygel in a sack. He's protesting all the way)

John: (to the gauntlet) Okay, let's see what you got. (he confronts the Tavleks) Freeze! (they turn but before they can get off a shot John takes out three of them. Bekhesh, who has Rygel, faces John, gauntleted arm raised)

Rygel: What's going on? Who's out there? Someone answer me!

Bekhesh: (referring to the other Tavleks) You didn't kill 'em.

John: I guess I'm not that kind of a guy. (they both lower their arms)

Rygel: Crichton? Is that you? Get me out of here!

John: Shut up Rygel. Hand me the bag.

Bekhesh: Take him. (holds the sack containing Rygel out and drops it, Rygel grunts as he hits the ground) If you can.

John: Have it your way. (he brings up his arm and fires the gauntlet. Bekhesh returns fire. Neither is harmed in the exchange)

Bekhesh: You'll have to do better than that.

John: Just watch me. (he makes to fire again but with a wheeze and a comically slurpy gurgle - his gauntlet runs out of stimulant and firepower. With a sinking feeling - he goes to plan B) Ahem... Hey Bekhesh, how about we call this thing a draw? You don't really want Rygel anyway.

Bekhesh: Why don't I?

John: 'Cos...ah... He's not really a king.

Rygel: I'm not?

Bekhesh: He's not?

John: He's an escaped mental patient. Delusions of royalty.

Rygel: You're the mental patient if you expect anybody to believe that I- (Bekhesh savagely kicks the sack) OOF!

Bekhesh: He's not insane.

Rygel: (miserably) I could be.

John: Uh... No. He's not insane. But. . . ah. . . he is sick.
(Rygel coughs) He's very sick, Very contagious. You ever hear of chicken pox?

Bekhesh: He's not sick.

John: Right he's NOT sick. But he... he is worthless. No one is gonna pay his ransom

Bekhesh: The Consortium of Trao will.

John: No. They won't. I just talked to your other prisoner. The four-throated cat? They're not gonna do it. What you blame them? Look, Rygel is an obnoxious gas bag and who's gonna shell out for that?

Rygel: He's right. I'm unloved, unwanted, unpopular - (Bekhesh kicks the sack again) -unconscious...

John: Look Bekhesh, we couldn't pay your ransom if we wanted to. Rygel lied to impress you. We got nothing.

Bekhesh: No corvidium?

John: No corvidium, no gold, no jewels, no munitions. If you don't believe me, call my ship. Talk to your boy.

(cut to Moya. Zhaan approaches Kyr)

Zhaan: Your leader wishes to speak with you.

Kyr: Bekhesh!

Bekhesh: (via comm) You've spent time with them. Tell me, are they wealthy? Have you seen any riches on board?

Kyr: (to Zhaan) I won't lie for you.

Zhaan: No one's asked you to.

Kyr: (to Bekhesh) I've seen much of their ship. It's pathetic. They have no riches and all I've eaten is food cubes.

Bekhesh: Are they forcing you to say that? Have they mistreated you in any way? You just say the word and I'll take their ship and slaughter the lot of them.

Kyr: (looking at Zhaan) No. They haven't mistreated me. In fact, they've been trying to help me.

Bekhesh: Help you? Why?

Kyr: I don't really know. (the communication is broken off by Bekhesh)

Zhaan: Perhaps I like to offer choices.

(cut back planet side)

Bekhesh: Suppose I still don't believe you?

John: Then you might as well shoot us all. (he removes the gauntlet) 'Cos I'm telling you the truth.

Bekhesh: It's so long since anyone has told me the truth I don't recognize it anymore. (he kicks the sack containing Rygel to John) Take this royal pain out of my sight.

(John picks up the sack and loosens the top allowing Rygel to stick his head out. He looks much the worse for wear)

John: Where's the you-know-what?

Rygel: I knew you wouldn't come back just for me!

John: (poking at Rygel) What'd you do with it?

Rygel: It's safe and sound.

John: Did you swallow it?

Rygel: Swallow it? Yes. Yes. Which means you're going to have to take me back as I am or disembowel me here.

John: Don't you tempt me, Fluffy!

(cut to D'Argo and Aeryn)

D'Argo: (exhausted as Aeryn examines his wound) Am I to live or die?

Aeryn: Die. But not today. (she shows him his blood - it is clear)

(John enters, carrying Rygel)

Rygel: Hurry up!

John: Shut up Rygel!

Rygel: I can't hurt any worse...

John: (to Aeryn and D'Argo) Piece o' cake. (he faints and goes down on top of Rygel)

\Rygel: OOOFF!

(cut back to Moya. Aeryn is waiting in the hall while Rygel is on the toilet. D'Argo approaches)

D'Argo: Rygel, hurry up!

Rygel: You can come in if your want to.

D'Argo: No! No! You... uh, you just get a move on.
(we hear grunting a loud PFOOM!)

Rygel: I don't see why you're so upset. I would have put it right back if those savages hadn't kidnapped me. (he appears at the door with the crystal and holds it out to Aeryn who looks disgusted) I did wash it. (she takes it after a moments hesitation and walks away with it) Well I think I did.

(cut to Zhaan, talking to Kyr via view screen comm)

Zhaan: Curious how you're doing.

Kyr: Much better. (he holds up his gauntleted arm) Now. That I have the gauntlet back on. My choice.

(his image fades)

Zhaan: (alone) No sermons.


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