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The episode opens with a view of an irregularly shaped asteroid floating in space. The scene shifts to the lab of NamTar, which lies beneath its surface. The entire crew of Moya, except Pilot, is there with NamTar. He is a tall, muscular, grey alien with long arms, clawed fingers and double-kneed legs. His face is evocative of that of an animal, maybe a rabbit or a kangaroo, even though his exaggerated features are essentially human. His horn-like ears sweep upward giving his head a triangular shape. He is wearing a mesh body suit and metal apparatus resembling braces, or hydraulic supports for his limbs and torso. His cultured voice is deep and velvety. He stands behind a medical machine, John sits in a chair at the receiving end of it.|
NamTar: If you wish to blink, now would be the time.
John: Just do it if you're gonna do it.
(NamTar carefully uses the machine to guide a rather large-bore needle squarely into the pupil of Johns' right eye. It extracts some fluid and John gratefully vacates the chair)
Zhaan: (Holding a pad to her own right eye) Are you all right John?
John: Yeah, sure. No problem. Happens all the time. Needle in the eye. No sweat.
NamTar: All finished. Which of you is next?
D'Argo: (To Aeryn) You go next.
Aeryn: I told you. I'm not participating.
D'Argo: (Nervous) But, ah -
Aeryn: Park it in the chair and get this over with so we can get out of here.
NamTar: You're not comfortable here my dear? Is it my - reputation?
Zhaan: (Quickly, diplomatically) It is your reputation, NamTar, that led us here.
Rygel: (Fawningly) Yes it certainly is an honor to meet such a - a learned scientist as yourself and to take part in his grand experiments.
NamTar makes no response but to performs his procedure on D'Argo who has taken his place in the chair.
John: (To Zhaan) You're sure that this is worth a stick in the eye, right?
Zhaan: You do want to go home, don't you John? NamTar may have data that Moya is lacking. Data that we're desperately in need of.
John: (To NamTar) You're looking for a DNA sample, right? Can't you just take a skin scraping or something?
NamTar: If I were working merely at the double helix level, yes. But to provide you with the information you desire...
Aeryn: Is this going to take long?
NamTar: (Patronizing) Moments. Mere moments. (He moves to another workstation with the samples he has collected and says loudly-) Kornata! Your assistance. (Kornata enters furtively as the crew watches. She is hideously deformed, bent over, one hand grossly enlarged. Her huge head is bound as if to prevent it from becoming more misshapen. She fetches a crystal for NamTar) I will do each of you in turn. But beautiful Zhaan, I have chosen to do yours first. (Zhaan smiles and bows her head to him. Kornata places the crystal in a projector and a hologram of the galaxy rises from it) Go ahead Zhaan. Enjoy. (To John) My genetic database holds information on nearly 11 million species. It is simple for me to take a genetic sampling of a particular being and pinpoint the location of its' origin.
Zhaan: (She approaches the hologram with wonder and reaches out to touch one solar system. It enlarges to reveal a blue planet with white clouds and a few moons in orbit. She cups the image in her hands and gasps to the others, voice atremble, tears in her eyes - ) That's my home!
Rygel: You're gonna do this for me too, right?
NamTar: Provide you with a genetic map to your home world? A map that will allow you to make the journey and avoid any Peacekeeper jurisdictions along the way? That is what you came here for, isn't it? (With a wave of 004d88his hand the hologram fades away)
Rygel sighs with longing and disappointment as the beautiful galactichologram winks out.
NamTar: I am delighted I have the very thing you each desire so strongly. And now, my price.
Rygel: Ah yes. I - uh - believe I told you when I first contacted you that our resources are somewhat - well - limited.
NamTar: You arrived here aboard a Leviathan ship, did you not?
Zhaan: You want our ship?
NamTar: My interest isn't in your ship, but in your ships' Pilot.
Aeryn: (Coolly alert) What do you want with him?
NamTar: My research will be greatly enhanced by genetic material from such an - extraordinary species.
John: You mean, a sample. Like you took from us.
NamTar: A sample, yes. But I'm afraid I'm going to need a bit more than I asked of you.
D'Argo: How much more?
NamTar: I will require - one of your Pilotís' arms.
Rygel gasps with dismay, Zhaan and D'Argo stare, John looks shocked. NamTar bows his head and smiles very slightly as he watches them
(Later - cut to a primitive, candlelit bar on the dark asteroid. John sits down at a table next to Aeryn and takes a drink of something)
Aeryn: Did anyone analyze it? You're usually so careful about these things. Neurotically careful. What's wrong?
John: (Feeling his tongue) I'll have to get back to you on that one.
Aeryn: You know you're no worse off than you were a couple of arns ago. So NamTar didn't have Earth on his data spools.
John: 11 million species. 11 million! And he couldn't at least narrow it down for me? I mean, sure, he can't pinpoint the exact location - but am I even in the neighborhood here? Sure as hell pinpointed the others, NO problem. (Aeryn eyes him silently and takes a drink) What's your problem? Hey, you know, you didn't even let him poke you in the eye. You don't even know if he's got your home world in his big ball of wonders.
Aeryn: Have you forgotten? You and the others are trying to get home avoiding Peacekeeper territories. My home IS Peacekeeper territories. It's just that I can't ever go back there. Ever. (she gets up and moves to the bar counter. John rolls his eyes and follows)
John: Have you forgotten? NamTarís demand. I mean unless Pilot volunteers one of his arms, we're all gonna be blasting out of here together in about one hour. One arn.
Aeryn: You saw the looks on the others' faces. What makes you think that they're going to wait for Pilot to volunteer anything?
(Cut to Moya - Pilotís' Den. D'Argo, Rygel and Zhaan are with him. Zhaan has hold of the wrist of his left upper arm and is pulling it so it is outstretched, Rygel is hanging on to it at the elbow. D'Argo stands silently to one side, looking down as if not wanting to meet Pilotís' eyes)
Pilot: (Crying in alarm) What do you think you're doing?!
Zhaan: Pilot, pleeeease! I implore you! Just listen to-
Pilot: (Terrified, angry) Listen to what?! How dare you!
Zhaan: (Desperate) NamTar has offered us something that we cannot obtain anywhere else.
Rygel: (Bobbing up and down as Pilot struggles against Zhaan) Think about somebody else for a change!
Zhaan: I will help ease your pain. (Pilot stares at her in open-mouthed shock and disbelief as her eyes go solid blue) Now D'Argo!
D'Argo growls and springs into action. He draws his Qualta blade and strides to Pilotís side. Pilot, his mouth still agape with terror, watches him come.
Pilot: NOOOO!!! (He screams in agony as D'Argo strikes his arm off. Droplets of white blood spray into the air. Pilot and Zhaan stare at each other as he pants, speechless)
(Cut back to NamTarís lab. Pilotís arm is laying on a table)
D'Argo: We have upheld our end of the bargain NamTar.
NamTar: Yes, you have. Splendidly. And I will uphold mine. It will take me a short while to upload all the cartographs to all three of your home worlds into the crystal.
D'Argo: (Brusquely) How much of a ďwhileĒ?
NamTar: I sense you don't completely trust me. But you needn't worry. The crystal will be delivered to your ship shortly.
Zhaan: We will await your messenger (she and
NamTar: Kornata. (He picks up a tool and joins her in the next room) Let us hope the Pilot DNA shows better results. (They gaze at a wet, horribly deformed creature that appears to be a humanoid and a Pilot melded together. It is chained to the wall and screams insanely from its' two mouths at them. Kornata looks regretful)
(Cut to a view of NamTarís asteroid, there appears to be the skeleton of some gigantic creature embedded in part of the surface. Then cut to Pilot in his Den. A DRD sits on his Console, cauterizing the raw wound where his arm used to be. John enters)
Pilot: (To the DRD) Thank you. You are finished. (It continues to fuss with the wound) I said, you are finished. (It retreats. Pilot looks tired and sad. He says flatly to John - ) Don't concern yourself Crichton. I will be fine. My species has superior regenerative abilities.
John: (Quietly upset) So, you, uh - You let them cut off one of your arms.
Pilot: I didn't exactly ďletĒ them. They have the opportunity to go home. The drive is - very strong.
John: (Angry) I will never understand you people. How can you not be angry? Insanely angry?
Pilot: (In a perfectly even tone that suggests he doesn't wish to discuss his feelings) When one of my species is bonded to a Leviathan, we give our lives to the service of others. Ship first - then those who travel aboard her.
John: No matter what those aboard do to you?
Pilot: My species is incapable of spaceflight on our own. If we wish to journey beyond our home planet, this is the trade-off we make for the chance to see the galaxy. (He looks away from John and back at his consoles) I consider it a perfectly equitable arrangement.
(Cut to D'Argo and Zhaan entering the Command. Aeryn is there, waiting out of sight. She stands as they come in. Her hand hangs near the weapon in her thigh holster)
D'Argo: (He and Zhaan face her) Do you have something to say to us?
Zhaan: (Rationalizing smoothly) The decision was a hard one Aeryn. Our actions, even harder. But it is done.
Aeryn: How could you? Pilot is defenseless.
D'Argo: Compassion? From a Peacekeeper?
Aeryn: For a comrade. You attacked one of your own. Would you do the same to the rest of us?
D'Argo: Of course.
Aeryn: Well, you have your maps now. What makes you think you can just take this ship wherever you want to go?
Zhaan: These maps are precisely what we've been longing for - our way home.
Aeryn: Pilot will not help you after what you have done.
D'Argo: (Harshly) Pilot is a servicer. He'll get over it. I'll see to it. (He leaves)
Zhaan: I know what is troubling you my dear. You'll never find your way home. But please, do not deny us all our chance to find our own. (Aeryn w004d88alks away)
(Cut to Moyaís galley. John is looking pensively out a portal at NamTarís asteroid. Aeryn enters)
Aeryn: They're getting their maps.
John: (Slurs - he's drinking again) Pilot says he's going to be okay. (With bitter irony) It's only one of his arms. Hell, he's got four. I guess that makes you and me the odd men out. That means they're going home, and we're not. (Aeryn t004d88urns to leave but stops when he says -) Hey! Even with the maps it's still going to take them some time to make the trips.
Aeryn: (Turns back towards him) And then it's just you and me.
John: Look, you know, I'm not entirely useless here, you know. I happen to be learning. (She takes the carafe with whatever John is swilling away from him and silently pours herself a drink) Aeryn, what's the matter?
Aeryn: They are going home... And someday, you will too.
John: Yeah. Sure. I mean - IF I ever find a way home. Yeah.
Aeryn: I was born a Peacekeeper soldier. I've always been one among many. A member of a division, platoon, a unit. A team. I've never been on my own John. Never been alone. Ever.
John: When I find a way home - IF I find a way home - I'll take you with me.
Aeryn: (Clearly not thinking much of the idea) Me? On a planet full of billions of you?
(Cut to the corridor outside Rygelís quarters. Small items are flying out into the hall as Rygel cheerily natters to himself while cleaning out his cell)
Rygel: Out! OUT! That one too. Certainly won't need THAT anymore - don't know what I was thinking - (He chuckles at himself. D'Argo enters, surveying the flotsam and jetsam of Rygelís hoard) Ah! So sorry.
D'Argo: I came to inform you that the data crystal is on its way. WHAT is all this?
Rygel: Hmm. Just items that I've procured since our escape to aid us in our bartering. Of course, when I return home and reclaim my birthright, offal such as this will no longer be allowed to offend my sight. (He continues to merrily toss junk aside)
D'Argo: (Slowly bends and picks up a discarded package) A box of food cubes?
Rygel: My emergency supply. In case something came up.
D'Argo: (Snarling) How long have you had these for? Were they in your possession when we were without food for nearly two weekens?
Rygel: You see? Something did come up. If you like them, they're yours!
D'Argo: (Dangerously) You have not reclaimed your birthright yet, little man. (Rygel flinches, but smiles ingratiatingly)
(Later - cut to D'Argo and Zhaan, elsewhere on Moya)
Zhaan: (Hands pressed together as she considers the situation, coldly, fretfully) I did not expect Aeryn to share our excitement. But Crichtonís attitude surprises me.
D'Argo: (Pacing, agitated) If NamTarís knowledge had extended to Crichtonís pathetic home world , you can wager that he would have offered up his own mivonks, useless as they are.
Zhaan: Would YOU if that had been the price demanded?
D'Argo: Fortunately it was not. (Annoyed with Zhaan) Only a female would make light of such thoughts!
Zhaan: (Annoyed with D'Argo) I was not making light.
D'Argo: And you? What would you have given?
Zhaan: (More to herself than D'Argo) I would risk my neemar to go home.
D'Argo: (Dismissively) NamTar has no use for that out here. I'm surprised that he has stayed out here in the uncharted territories. His knowledge could bring him great fame and power. Even great wealth.
Zhaan: It could change the entire basis of astro-navigation.
D'Argo: It could change the basis for war. One single prisoner and you would have the ability to strike at their very heart. Their home world
Zhaan: You would pervert NamTarís genius to a weapon?
D'Argo: Why not? Somebody will. Why shouldn't it be me? (Rubs his eye)
Zhaan: Do you still feel pain from the needle?
D'Argo: It is nothing.
Zhaan: And soon forgotten, once we're on our voyage home. On Delvia the filgra will just be coming to bloom.
D'Argo: My patents will be preparing for the Festival of Primnar. There is no need for them to keep my seat vacant at this cycles' festival.
Zhaan: If you reach there this cycle.
D'Argo: The crystal will be arriving from NamTar within an arn.
Zhaan: I don't doubt. But there are decisions to be made about our course.
D'Argo: (Low anger) Without my Qualta blade - you would not have been able to give NamTar what he wanted. I will make the decisions.
Zhaan: (Dangerously) To suit yourself. But it is not as easy as you wish. This is a time for logic and reason. Unless of course you want to find yourself at odds with everyone on this ship. Not just Aeryn Sun and Crichton.
D'Argo: And what do you suggest?
Zhaan: A fair compromise.
(Cut to NamTarís lab. He's working on his Pilot DNA project. It's not going well)
NamTar: (Frustrated) This is still not right! (He makes a furious gesture and items sitting on a table across the room from him are whisked off with a crash. Kornata. entering, screams and holds her head)
NamTar: (Roaring) WHAT?
Kornata NamTar! Your anger - release me! Please.(He makes another gesture and her apparent pain subsides, she gulps and says - ) There is... someone to see you.
Aeryn: (Entering) I was here earlier.
NamTar: (Smooth and cultured again) Yes, of course. You are, looking for my help?
Aeryn: I wish to participate in your research.
NamTar: Excellent. What made you change your mind my dear? (He indicates the chair)
Aeryn: (Settling into it) I know that there are other Sebacean colonies beyond the known territory. I want you to find me one where I -I can -
NamTar: (Finishing her thought for her) Fit in? Then we will look for it - together. You understand what I'm about to do?
Aeryn: You will take some fluid from my eye.
NamTar: Exactly. Remain ab-solute-ly still. (He guides the needle into the pupil of her right eye. But he is seen to be injecting, rather than drawing up on the syringe)
Aeryn: It's burning.
NamTar: Only for a moment. (There is a purple flicker in Aerynís eye as something is infused into it. He withdraws the needle)
Aeryn: Is that it?
NamTar: It is done.
Aeryn: When will I know the results?
NamTar: It won't be long at all. (He watches her as she leaves)
(Cut to Moya. D'Argo, John, Rygel and Zhaan are there as they prepare to look at the contents of the crystal they bought with Pilotís arm. John watches the others with some disgust as they bicker)
Rygel: I, of course, will return home first.
D'Argo: You? HMPH!
Rygel: I bartered for the coordinates to this asteroid. I made the first contact with NamTar. I struck the deal. I go home first.
Zhaan: D'Argo and I have already spoken. Whoeverís home is the closest, THAT is where we will travel to first.
Rygel: You two have spoken? Hmph! Without consulting me? What am I? Chopped mellet?
Zhaan: (Serenely) Of course not. (Then nasty) I can stomach chopped mellet.
Rygel: (Muttering) Blue-assed bitch.
Zhaan: What did you call me?
Rygel: (Louder) A blue-assed bitch! (John smacks him upside the head) OOF!
John: (Referring to the crystal whose contents are being downloaded to Moya) You guys getting all this?
D'Argo: We don't have to get all this. Moya is.
Pilot: Moya isn't. (They turn to see his visage on the clamshell viewer, watching them)
Zhaan: (A bit too little too late if you ask usÖQuickly says -) Pilot, how are you?
Rygel: The yotz with pleasantries. What do you mean Moya isn't assimilating the data? Is that her doing, or yours?
Pilot: (Coolly) I have nothing to do with it.
Zhaan: (Checking up on him) Pilot is right. The data is being processed directly by Moya. But there is too much.
D'Argo: There is a great DEAL of data, but Moya will just have to -
Pilot: (Pointedly, as he stares intently at them as and interrupts D'Argo) - Moya can do nothing about it. It appears your crystal is useless. Lucky for you, you didn't trade anything of REAL value to get it.
Zhaan: (Oh sure - so much for 'Pilot how are you'!) We can access one of the maps. But only if we destroy the other two.
Rygel: Well we'll just go to NamTar and ask him for three individual crystals.
D'Argo: Ask NamTar for further help? What will he demand of us then?
Pilot: (In rare form as the righteously wronged) If he should ask for it, what body part you willing to offer - Your EminENCE?
Rygel makes a sound of contempt and seizing the crystal zooms off in his hover-chair with it.
Zhaan: Rygel! (Moves after him)
D'Argo: (Hisses and follows as well) What the hezmana do you think you are doing? (John watches them incredulously)
(Cut to Aeryn, back aboard Moya. Something is wrong. She seems to be seeing everything in a dizzying, fisheye perspective. She hears strange rushing sounds, rhythms and whispers all around her)
John: (Entering) Aeryn! Where the hell have you been? Look, there's some major crap going down here.
Aeryn: (In distress, holding one hand to her head. Johns' voice echoes weirdly in her ears)Shh! Not so loud.
John: Yeah, fine. Look, we may have a real problem. The map thing - NamTarís magic crystal? Well, Larry, Curly and Moe just found out that they can only use one of the maps. Two of 'em ain't going nowhere. I tell you, it's like a regular family feud up there. (He notices her distress) You sweating? This isn't a Sebacean heat thing, is it?
Aeryn: This is not a Sebacean thing.
John: Well, you gotta give me a clue here Aeryn. Is this something new or is this just your usual PMS - Peacekeeper Military Shi -
Aeryn: (Unable to clear her head) Frell you. (She leaves)
(Cut to Rygelís quarters. D'Argo pushes the door open and enters. It seems to be empty, but as he begins to look around Rygel laughs, D'Argo spins around to face him, he's hovering just out of the Luxans' reach)
Rygel: It's no use Luxan! The crystal is well-hidden and will remain so until you and Zhaan are ready to listen to reason.
D'Argo: ďReasonĒ being that we return you to Hyneria.
Rygel: That's the very definition of reason.
D'Argo: I'll find the damn crystal myself.
Rygel: No - I assure you, you won't. I have places in this cell that even the Peacekeepers' scent hounds couldn't detect.
D'Argo: (Slyly trying a different tack) If you return to Hyneria, you will want to wrest your throne from your cousin.
Rygel: And I will.
D'Argo: But your cousin is in control of your armies. He himself is probably heavily guarded.
Rygel: My palace sentries are inferior to none.
D'Argo: His palace sentries. (Rygel hmphs in acknowledgement) However, if you side with me against Zhaan to return to my home world first -- imagine returning to your palace with a whole contingent of Luxan warriors at your command.
Rygel: But you're a fugitive. Your own people imprisoned you.
D'Argo: My leaders imprisoned me. Not my people. If you return me to my people I promise you that you would -
Rygel: (Cannily) - You'd be very forgetful of your debt to me once you're safely amongst your own!(D'Argo yells with anger and takes a swipe at Rygel, who dodges him) That's also a Luxan trait. (D'Argo takes another swing, and misses again) And that! When you're ready to engage in that ďreasonĒ discussion we talked of before, you know where to find me - and the crystal.
D'Argo: (Enraged, he leaves the quarters - Rygels old prison cell - and slams the door shut, locking it) Stay in there with your crystal as long as you wish - until you starve!.
Rygel: You think I'm not prepared for such eventualities?
D'Argo: You forget, your rectal eminence, you've been doing some housekeeping. (He picks up a packet of food cubes Rygel had tossed out into the hall earlier and takes a bite, then crumbles the rest onto the floor outside the cell as Rygel looks on in dismay)
(Cut to NamTarís asteroid, the bar. Aeryn enters, it is almost empty. She's having trouble focusing her eyes, her breathing and other sounds thunder in her ears. She stops and pulls up her shirt to look at a large patch of her skin that is dappled blue and gray with glittering silvery patches. NamTar enters and goes to the bar - Aeryn attacks him, and immobilizes him by savagely twisting his left arm behind his back)
Aeryn: (In a panic) What have you done to me?
NamTar: (Screams and doubles over) You - are -hurting me - my dear! (She doesn't let up - but NamTar suddenly stops groaning an regains his composure) I have temporarily changed my nerve receptors from pain to pleasure.
Aeryn: (Alarmed) This is not like what you did to the others!
NamTar: (Taunting) Oops.
Aeryn: (Viciously shoves NamTar to his knees) What have you done to me?!
NamTar: (Sensuously) Please... push harder... (Aeryn releases him in disgust and walks a few paces away, She's panting and in distress. NamTar rises and languidly approaches her) You are in the latter part of phase one, I suspect.
Aeryn: (Gasping for air) Phase one of what?
NamTar: (Patronizingly) Please! I don't want to ruin the surprise of phase two for you. (Aeryn looks terrified)
(Cut to another location on Moya)
Zhaan: Hynerians are extremely devious beings. I don't doubt for an instant that Rygel has that crystal so well-hidden, we will never find it on our own.
D'Argo: If only I could lay my hands on him.
Zhaan: (Contemptuous of his threat) You would do what?
D'Argo: Whatever it takes to secure that crystal.
Zhaan: We are forced to face the truth. Rygel has been a very useful ally in the past - but now, he is enemy.
D'Argo: Agreed. You and I must remain strong, no matter what it takes. And unified.
(Cut to Pilotís den - the scene opens with a beautiful side view of his massive body and arched spine)
Pilot: (As Aeryn approaches him) Yes, Officer Sun?
Aeryn: You in pain Pilot?
Pilot: (Flatly) Nominal. I will be fine. (In a normal tone) There is clearly something wrong. May I ask what?
Aeryn: It's the DRDs.
Pilot: DRDs? Where?
Aeryn: Everywhere. Over this entire ship. But it's not just the DRDs, it's the ships' power generator, the hydraulic fluids, the -
Pilot: You hear all that?
Aeryn: Not so much ďhearĒ it as... sense it.
Pilot: But how?
Aeryn silently holds up her left hand for Pilot to see. The fingers are starting to fuse together and most of it is covered by blue and grey skin - like Pilotís. Pilot gasps softly.
Aeryn: It's not so much the noises as my own thoughts. It's like they're all happening at the same time.
John: (Entering) Aeryn! C'mon, I wanna take you back down to the planet. Hey, Pilot. Maybe we can find somebody down there who can figure out what's wrong with you. Maybe this NamTar guy-
John: Damnit, Aeryn, I'm trying to hel - (As he speaks he reaches to grab her arm, she pulls away but he sees the blue mutating tissue on her hand and stops dead. She silently pulls up the hem of her shirt to reveal the patch of blue and grey skin on her abdomen, which has now begun sprouting a tiny Pilot arm)
Aeryn: It's NamTar. He took some of Pilot's DNA and he -
John: And how did - uh - ?
Aeryn: I went back there. I wanted him to find me a place where I could belong. I didn't want to get left behind. I'm so scared. (She fights b004d88ack tears)
(Cut to Rygels quarters. He has his hand through the bars of his door, straining to reach the bits of food cubes D'Argo dropped there. Zhaan enters, crushing some of them beneath her foot and crouches down to his level)
Zhaan: Ah - Rygel - what a surprise. I see you're having something to eat. Is that your third helping, or your fourth?
Rygel: (Coolly defiant) Well I'm always ravenous when I'm about to take a long journey. In this case... to my home world.
Zhaan: You know Rygel - there's no reason why you and I should be at odds with each other. (She holds up a food cube in front of his face) You know D'Argo will leave you here to starve.
Rygel: (Scoffs knowingly) Only D'Argo? (He reaches for the food and Zhaan grabs his wrist)
Zhaan: (Sensually) You know, Delvian Pa'us such as myself are - are open to all manner of experience. (She strokes 004d88his upper lip and moustache)
Rygel: (Gruffly, slightly skeeved) Are you saying what I think you're saying?
Zhaan: (Murmuring as she continues to caress his face) I'm not saying anything. I believe talk is - very overrated as a means of connection between two consenting beings.
Rygel: (Grunts hesitantly) You know, I'm not really a body breeder - I mean - well, I'm not made that way.
Zhaan: But you understand pleasure. (Softly as she begins stroking Rygelís earbrow) I know the Hynerian earbrow is very sensitive. I can be very gentle. This can be a very remarkable journey for you.
Rygel: (Momentarily lost in the pleasure of Zhaanís stroking) Journey?
Zhaan: Mmhm.... To Delvia.
Rygel: Delvia... of course.
Zhaan: Rygel - the crystal?
Rygel: (Shaking himself out of Zhaanís sensual spell) Umph! Hahhah! Is safely hidden! Where it will remain. You honestly think that I could find you appealing? I mean, you're so - so - blue!
Zhaan: (Angry) If D'Argo and I don't get that crystal, you will starve. (She stalks off)
Rygel: Starve? Not for a while yet I'm pleased to say.
(Cut to NamTarís asteroid. John enters the bar, he gently draws Aeryn in behind him. She's wearing a loose hooded robe now)
John: C'mon, we're gonna get some answers. (Aeryn cringes and shrinks back at the noise of the bar in her hypersensitive perception. John urges her onward) Oh, no no. Remember what Pilot said about the noise, about your thoughts? Strain them. Separate them in your mind.
Aeryn: Easy for him to say. He's been doing it all his life. (She follows him , wobbly, gasping) I'm losing it, John. I'm completely losing it.
John: (Sees Kornata at the bar) Answers coming up. Come on. (He quickly approaches her, Aeryn in tow)
You got a minute? Kornata, isn't it?
Kornata (Immediately frightened, she tries to dodge by him) You must let me past! (John tries to block her leaving and she emits a high-pitched, siren-like scream that seems involuntary)
John: (Backing up in alarm) What? What's wrong with you? With all of you?
NamTar: (Entering at a fast pace, as if in response to the siren-like scream) So glad to see you again.
John: Whatever you've done to her, NamTar, it wasn't part of our deal!
NamTar: Deal? You felt we had a deal? A deal connotes reaching some point of equality. I'm afraid there's never been anything equal about us. (To Aeryn) How are you progressing? You should be nearing the end of phase two by now. (He raises a hand towards Aeryn, John moves to stop him but with his other arm NamTar gestures and flings him telekinetically across the room, John stares as NamTar returns his concentration to Aeryn and beckons her. She comes to him and allows him to gently push her head back, revealing the blue and grey Pilot-thing flesh now spreading over her neck) You're coming along wonderfully. All of these physical affectations are superfluous. I assume though that you are also developing the heightened perceptions and multi-tasking capability?
Aeryn: Please stop this.
NamTar: Stop it? You don't know what you're asking. You, my dear, are making a phenomenal contribution to the approach of sentient life towards perfection and you want me to stop it? (Aeryn backs away from NamTar and pulls her gun on him)
John: Aeryn no! He may be the only one who can help you! (But sh004d88e fires and blows a large round hole through NamTarís stomach. He looks down at it and remarks - )
NamTar: That's quite an impressive weapon you've got there. (And with that he moves his hand over the wound, instantly regenerating the tissue. He even regenerates his bodysuit. He then advances on her, she takes aim again and John makes another lunge at NamTar. But NamTar again tosses John aside. John hits his head on a metal pipe as he falls and is out. Aeryn seems unable to fire and NamTar leads her away. The bar patrons buzz as they leave, Kornata looks furtively around)
(Cut to Rygelís quarters. D'Argo and Zhaan approach the door and call to him)
Zhaan: (Soft and sweetly) Ry-gel? D'Argo and I have spoken. We realize all this infighting is serving us nothing - except to keep us frozen in orbit around this asteroid.
D'Argo: We, uh... We acknowledge that you are in control of the crystal and without it we can do nothing. So... uh...
Zhaan: So we agree to take you home to Hyneria. We'll find out own way home from there. You have our oath on it Rygel. Rygel?
(There is no response. They open the door and approach Rygelís bed where he appears to be huddled under a sheet, asleep)
D'Argo: He did not hear our offer and I hereby rescind it! (He whips back the sheet - revealing a pile of wadded up clothes. They hear a triumphant cackle from Rygel behind them as he slams the door, imprisoning D'Argo and Zhaan, who rush to the bars furiously)
Rygel: I didn't hear all you were offering, I'm afraid. But then, I guess it's a moot point anyway isn't it?
D'Argo: How did you get out?
Rygel: You really think that I could spend all those cycles locked up in one of these cells and not have a secret means of sneaking in and out as I please? (D'Argo hisses) Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a little trip-planning to do.
Zhaan: Rygel, wait! (But he sails off, leaving them)
(Cut back to the bar on the asteroid. John comes to as Kornata examines him)
Kornata Your wound is shallow. You'll be fine. Leave this place now while you still can. (She rises and starts to gimp away as fast as she can in a classic hunchback shuffle)
John: (Struggling to his feet and following in a classic, looping 'just woke up from a head injury' trot) Wait! I'm gonna help her. You've gotta help me help her.
Kornata (Distressed, panicky) NamTar needs your friend too badly. He wants to isolate your Pilotís multi-tasking capability though Aeryn. He'll do anything to get it.
John: Why? Why does he need it so damn badly?
Kornata (In a harsh whisper) Because it's an ability he doesn't possess yet.
John: Wait a minute. You're saying he grafts the genetic traits of other species onto himself? (She nods) That's what he set up this lab to do?
Kornata (Forcefully) He didn't set up this lab! I - (She stops herself)
John: You did.
Kornata (Straightening up, in a clear, intelligent voice) I was the project leader. These - (Indicating the wretched bar patrons) - were my research team. Facility employees. We were working on theories of quantum genetics, isolating, identifying the origins of intellect. The essentials of thought itself.
John: And NamTar started to use your discoveries on himself?
Kornata I increased his intellect. At least, at first. Then when he became smart enough, he began doing it on his own. He was a test subject. (Rueful snort) He was one of my laboratory creatures. He drew genetic material from all the species I had catalogued. He increased his physical size. He gave himself the best traits of life-forms from a thousand different worlds.
John: Now he's using Aeryn as his own lab rat.
Kornata He used us all!
John: Is there anything we can do to help her?
Kornata He controls my lab - All my equipment! If I'm away for more than an arn, he comes looking for me! He knows that I am the only one -
John: (Seizing her arms, stopping her from falling back into her frightened subservience) IS there?
(Cut to NamTarís lab as seen through Aerynís eyes. She watches him move about from a darkened alcove)
Aeryn: (Hers and NamTarís voices echo in her ears. She hears the beating of their hearts) Is it necessary to reduce me fully to the final stage?
NamTar: You are in no way being diminished. You are being given a gift. You are experiencing a level of intellectual processing few beings ever approach.
Aeryn: I feel what you describe. But - I am slipping away. I feel that too.
NamTar: You must be willing to push off from the riskless shore in order to reach heady, new lands.
Aeryn: But as soon as my body reaches the saturation point, you will take the DNA features you desire and discard the rest.
NamTar: I look forward to experiencing the insights you obviously already possess. (He proffers a cup of something to her and she extends a fully-formed, dappled blue Pilot-claw to accept it)
(Cut back to Moya. Rygel is in the Command with the crystal, humming to himself and slowly working to activate its' data stream. Cut to his quarters. D'Argo is fiddling with the door lock)
Zhaan: (Hovering near him) Look - just stop. Don't force it. Let me try.
D'Argo: (Annoyed) You've BEEN trying.
Zhaan: (Turning away in disgust) Decoy. How did such a great warrior fall for such an obvious trick?
D'Argo: You blame me? If I hadn't listened to your frodeck of an idea of a ďdealĒ...
Zhaan: You had no better idea.
D'Argo: I wanted to kill him and I swear that when I get out of here I will enjoy watching him die.
Zhaan: When you get out of here?
D'Argo: Well up till this point your assistance has been worse than useless.
Zhaan: You gave your word we work together.
D'Argo: And you gave yours. But I saw you leaving this corridor earlier.
Zhaan: I was - merely asking Rygel to see reason.
D'Argo: A deal you didn't bother to mention to me.
Zhaan: Had I succeeded, of course I would have discussed it with you.
D'Argo: Had you succeeded you'd be on your way to Delvia.
Zhaan: (Flicks on her comm) Crichton. Aeryn?
D'Argo: You're wasting your time.
Zhaan: (Angry) I do not wish to grow old here watching you scratch at that lock like some scabrous - scent-hound!
(Cut to Pilotís Den. John enters with Kornata in tow)
John: Pilot, this is Kornata. She's here to help Aeryn.
Kornata (Bellying up to Pilotís Console and gazing up at him with a big, awestruck, snaggle-toothed smile) You're - MAGNIFICENT! (Pilot tilts his head back and gazes gravely at her. Of COURSE he is!)
John: (Cutting the admiration session short ) Pilot, we don't have a lot of time. In fact, we have no time. We need your assistance.
Pilot: (gently) Without hesitation.
(Later - cut to a lab set up in Moya. Pilot is on clamshell viewer as Kornata works. John watches)
Kornata (Rattling off the list quickly) I need a titus scan of each of the last three inert mixtures. Also, the expanded graph matches, the latest spectral analysis and all final recounts of cyyto-batch data.
Pilot: Working on them all.
John: Look - if there's anything I can do -
Pilot & Kornata Shh!
Pilot: Crichton I think you should know - Rygel has nearly finished reconfiguring the data on the cartographic crystal.
Kornata The crystal that NamTar gave you?
John: Yeah. Why?
Kornata (As she works) NamTar wanted to make certain you couldn't leave even if you wanted to. If you try to import the maps into the ships' data store it'll erase everything that's in there.
Pilot: (Sounding slightly ill at the thought) Erase Moyaís memory?
John: (On his comm) Rygel? Rygel! Damn!
(John takes off at high port for the Command. At the same moment D'Argo succeeds in breaking the lock on Rygelís cell and he and Zhaan also break for the Command. John gets there first)
John: NO! (He makes to grab the crystal. Rygel snarls and snaps at him with his teeth. Twice John jerks his arm back - then he reaches one arm out and as Rygel attempts to bite, he whacks the Hynerians back and the crystal flies out of his hand and shatters to the floor as D'Argo and Zhaan enter just in time to see it break and the beautiful hologram of the galaxy rise momentarily from it before falling away like luminous dust)
Zhaan: (Approaching John, in a whisper dripping with hatred) What have you done?
John: It would have destroyed all of Moyaís data. It was never meant to work.
Pilot: (On comm) Crichton? Pilot here.
John: Yes Pilot.
Pilot: It's ready.
(John leaves as Zhaan watches him, her expression softening to regret)
(Cut to NamTarís lab. He is working on his serum. Kornata enters)
NamTar: Where have you been? The final stage serum is nearly complete and I need your help. (Kornata obediently moves toward NamTar and John enters, several paces behind her. NamTar addresses him calmly) If you've come to attack me yet again, I warn you I don't have time for you now. I will need to simply kill you.
John: I'm not here to attack you. (As he talks, Kornata stealthily produces a vial of liquid she has brought and pours it into another at the lab counter)I know that there's nothing I can do to you. I'm here to see Aeryn.
NamTar: I'm afraid your friend Aeryn is no longer here. But there is someone else you may be interested in meeting. (He crosses to the alcove and pulling aside a curtain says in a gently coaxing tone to the one who waits there - ) Rise. Step forward. Don't be modest.
Aeryn: (Stepping out - but still in deep shadow and obviously shaky and bedraggled, her shape seems deformed) John...
John: How can you do this to her?
NamTar: (Arrogantly) Is that how you speak to someone who is fast approaching perfection?
John: You're a long way from perfection NamTar.
NamTar: (Disdainful) But nearer possibly than any other corporeal being has ever come. Give credit where credit is due!
John: You expect credit for using innocent life-forms as specimens in your research? You of all people should understand the horror in that.
NamTar: You know of my...origins?
NamTar: What I didn't understand then is all species are seeking perfection. That's what evolution is: the road towards perfection. How many generations of your species have lived and died to lead to you? How many will die after you? All in the name of achieving a state of perfection.
John: You don't think I understand you. Do you? Oh, I understand. No, believe it or not, we've had men like you on my planet. Educated men. Men of science and medicine. Men who were searching for some self-described ideal and willing to maim and murder untold thousands to find it. There was one, his name was Mengele. To him, anyone was fair game as a subject of his experiments - the weak, the handicapped... men... women... children...
NamTar: The quest for perfection demands our unwavering devotion. This Mengele sounds like a visionary.
John: (Laying a hand on NamTarís arm) He was a monster. (He tightens his grip and Kornata lunges at NamTar with the solution she prepared with Pilotís help and administers it)
NamTar: (Throwing John and Kornata back as he screams) NNNNOOOO!!!
NamTar: (Rounding on them in fury) For this betrayal, you will die! (But before he can make a move he begins rapidly devolving. He screams and spasms as he shrinks and loses tissue until he is reduced to a rabbit-sized, bat-eared creature that squalls in mindless distress as Kornata picks it up and unceremoniously chucks it into a cage)
Aeryn: (She stumbles forward, barely able to walk, and collapses. If she wasn't irreversibly contaminated by exposure to alien life forms before - she is now. She is about half-transformed into a Pilot-thing, with claws, eye ridges, a developing carapace and fused front teeth. She piteously chokes out his name - ) John!
John: (Catching Aeryn as she collapses) Kornata!
Kornata (She hands John the syringe gun with the devolution serum, he makes to administer it but she stops him - ) No. For her, it must be the eye.
John: (He directs the needle into Aerynís left eye. As the serum enters her, she begins convulsing violently. She does not devolve quickly as NamTar did) Oh no - what have I done? What have I done?
Kornata (Reassuringly) What have you done? You've saved her life.
(Later - cut to Moya, traveling through space. Aeryn sits in the galley, all external traces of the Pilot DNA gone. She is very subdued. John arranges a bunch of food cubes into a smiley face on a tray and sets it before her. She gazes at it blankly)
John: It's a happy face.
Aeryn: (Eyes him without amusement) hey're food cubes.
John: No, see, the pattern forms a... never mind. (He looks aw004d88ay. She picks one up and nibbles at it) Food still taste funny? (She nods a bit without looking at him) What was the worst part? (She makes no response) Aeryn?
Aeryn: I've always thought of myself in terms of survival - life and death, keeping the body alive. But what NamTar did to me... (She struggles to articulate a feeling) It was me... inside... The real me.
John: You would've fit in on Earth. Just fine. (He leaves)
(Cut to Pilotís Den. It is very quiet as he sits alone, gently moving his claws across the controls on his Console. D'Argo enters, carrying something over his shoulder, like tool)
D'Argo: (Leaning against the Console and looking at Pilot) Your arm. Is it healing?
Pilot: (Looking up, tonelessly) Of course.
D'Argo: (Softly) You understand why I did what I did?
Pilot: (Quietly, without looking at him) Your motivations were perfectly clear.
D'Argo: And you understand that if I was faced with the same choice again, I would do exactly the same?
Pilot: (Facing D'Argo) I have no doubt whatsoever. I also know that Luxans are not given to apology.
D'Argo makes no response except to look intently at Pilot and then avert his eyes. He takes the instrument he has brought with him and turning slightly away from Pilot, settles himself.
Pilot: (Watching him with some curiosity and a hint of trepidation) It's the device you've been working on so diligently. What do you call it?
D'Argo: It's a shilquen and it is finally finished.
Pilot: (Hesitantly) And - what manner of weapon is it?
D'Argo: (Reassuringly) It is not a weapon.
And with that, he bends his head towards the instrument, which he holds like sitar, and begins to play it. Pilotís mouth opens and closes with surprise as sweet music like a fusion of sitar and bagpipe, swells and fills the silent chamber. Pilot watches D'Argo and listens and his face relaxes into the barest hint of a smile.
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