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A Bug's Life
September 17, 1999 - US
April 17, 2000 - UK

Writer: Stephen Rae
(Story by Doug Heyes, Jr)
Director: Rowan Woods

Guest Cast
Gigi Edgley . . . Chiana
Paul Leyden . . . Larraq
Richard White . . .Thonn
Zoe Coyle . . . Hassan
Michael Tuahine . . . Rhed

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Episode Summary
ABL begins when Moya is approached by a Peacekeeper Marauder which is experiencing mechanical problems. A Marauder is a PK fighter craft manned by a small crew and normally the sight of one would send Moya starbursting away as fast as the interdimensional slipstream could carry her. But alas - her pregnancy once again is the downfall of her and her crew. Unable to avoid the PK ship and its crew - John talks everyone into pretending they're still a PK-controlled Leviathan until they can get rid of their unwelcome visitors. Everyone is irked by this - especially those who have to get back into their cells and make like prisoners. Then there's Aeryn who has to make like John's her superior officer since the old PK commanders uniform left in mothballs on Moya is for a man. Chiana doesn't seem to mind posing as John’s hootchie-mama and Pilot seems to enjoy the chance to be snide to a boss he has no fear of and lying to PKs - but we won't go into that. Anyway - since no-one has a better idea they indignantly submit to this one and the crew of the PK Marauder duly arrive.

Unfortunately the Marauder crew isn't just your average shipload of grunts though. These PKs have been on a Secret Mission and have a Secret Cargo with them. Like Pandora’s Box - the secret cargo calls to the crew of Moya. Especially to Rygel and Chiana. He leaves his cell by of the many sneak tunnels he carved out during his years as a real prisoner and Chiana steals a key to the PKs crated Secret. They join up to take a peek and the rest is history.

For the treasure in the PKs box is deadly - it is in fact - an intelligent virus. It's been captured and is being taken to a secret PK military science base - a Gammak Base - in the Uncharted Territories to be used in weapons research. But thanks to Chiana and Rygel - it escapes onto Moya and chaos ensues.
Now this virus needs a host to live in and the clever bug can jump from one crew member to another. If it isn't recaptured - by one hour into its lifecycle within a host - it can reproduce millions of copies of itself. The race is on.

It jumps from one of the PK crew to Chiana, then to John and finally to Larraq. Larraq is the dashing Captain of the PK Marauder crew who is actively (and successfully) courting Aeryn’s affections and in the process making John really sulky and annoyed. The PK crew are killed off one by one by the virus - but it has a special place in hell waiting for its nemesis - Larraq. It chooses him to endure the horror of its reproduction and be the host to carry it to the Gammak Base and from there via starship - all over the galaxy. Plus - just for spite - it also makes him to critically injure Aeryn.

But in the face of impending galactic biological disaster and the possible death of the woman he Likes A Whole Bunch - JOHN SAVES THE DAY! He comes up with another plan - this one works well on two levels. He lets the virus which is still occupying poor Larraq's body - escape in the Marauder. And then uses Moya’s starburst energy build-up to destroy him - and it.

And that's it.

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The episode opens with D'Argo and Zhaan in his former cell. She is restraining him with the chains that the Peacekeepers used to secure him with during his long imprisonment. The links of the chains are attached to the ceiling and pass through two metal rings that encircle his collarbones. D'Argo holds the chains in front of him and tugs fitfully at their moorings above him.

D'Argo: (murmuring) I cannot believe this is happening to me again.

Zhaan: But this time dear D'Argo, it is by your own choice.

D'Argo: (annoyed) Barely.

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den as he reports via comm with an air of distracted study) The approaching Marauder’s ident signal says it's definitely not from Crais' Command Carrier.

D'Argo: There are other ways to deal with the Peacekeepers.

Zhaan: Let's try Crichton’s way. (she exits)

D'Argo: (to himself, with some disgust) Crichton’s way.

(cut to Zhaan - in a tug-of-war with Rygel in his cell)

Zhaan: (forcefully) If we are going to attempt this, Rygel, it means no thronesled. (and with that she wrests his hoverchair away from him and leaves. Rygel grunts and stares after her with an apprehensive expression on his face)

(cut to Aeryn, she is arming herself and is attired in a black and red Peacekeeper [hereafter - PK] uniform. Cut to a shot of a PK Marauder, approaching Moya, vapors stream from its right side. Cut to Zhaan in her quarters, her comm unit hidden up her sleeve)

Zhaan: (via comm) We are ready now Pilot.

Pilot: Understood. (and with that - he shuts and locks the cell doors, imprisoning D'Argo, Rygel and Zhaan)

(cut to the docking bay. The Marauder has landed and 4 PKs exit it. Aeryn greets them)

Aeryn: (standing with her feet apart, weapon held at waist level and trained on the visitors) Identify yourself! (the PKs advance - their weapons are drawn) Regiment assignment?

Larraq: (confrontational - he is Sebacean, like Aeryn - darkly handsome with a direct gaze and a rakish 5 o'clock shadow) Identify yourself.

Aeryn: Lieutenant Aeryn Sun. Ustar Regiment. Special Duty assignment.

Larraq: Larraq. Captain. And my assignment's none of your business.

Aeryn: (ever so slightly mocking) Having some trouble with your Marauder Captain?

Larraq: Cesium fuel leak. We're lucky we found you.

Aeryn: You think?

Larraq: Awful big ship for one little girl.

Aeryn: Oh I can handle big.

(John enters. He is dressed in a black and red PK uniform as well and coolly stalks to Aeryn’s side. He affects a rather nasal accent somewhere between upper crust British and Australian when he is play-acting the Peacekeeper)

John: (to Aeryn) Ease your weapon Lieutenant. (she hesitates) That is an order.

Larraq: Smart move... Captain. (he and his team lowers weapons too)

John: What are you doing aboard my vessel - Captain?

Larraq: Emergency situation. My team and I are on a priority Red-One mission. We need your boat here to complete it. Therefore, under Article 4-1-4 Decca, (he displays an identification card) I hereby assume command over it, your crew... And you. (his team show weapons)

John: (softly) Oh, I think not. (and with that a DRD sitting innocuously nearby opens fire, knocking Larraq’s weapon from his hand. Several more join in and send the PKs scurrying for cover)

PK: (looking out warily at the DRDs) What the frell...?

John: You need my help. I suggest you ask nicely. Captain.

(later - cut to John and Aeryn giving Larraq the grand tour. They pass the prison cells of Moya’s crew)

Aeryn: (Zhaan does not look at them) A Delvian

Larraq: And a quite attractive one. (he walks away to look at D'Argo) So you recaptured them. Out here. On a new technologies training flight?

Aeryn: U-Tech has been experimenting with Leviathan mastery without the use of control collars.

Larraq: How are you controlling the ship without a collar?

John: Neural control on the ship’s Pilot - we control him - he controls the ship.

Larraq: Yes, I'd heard they'd been working on that. But every test flight so far they've lost the Leviathan and the crew.

John: (his tone is cold) Well. So far this test flight has gone without a hitch - till you came aboard Captain. Tell me, what precisely is your mission?

Larraq: You don't have the clearance to know anything about my mission, Captain.

John: Ah.

Larraq: But let me make it - simple - for you. I've got one crate and I've got to get it back into Peacekeeper control without delay.

John: (losing his accent for a second) One crate?

Larraq: You see how simple it is?

John: Well. You of course are welcome to travel back with us however-

Larraq: No, no. You see, you don't read me. This is urgent. I'll give you a set of coordinates to a base. We can be there in - 20 arns.

Aeryn: 20 arns? But that would mean that the base is out here in the uncharted territories.

Larraq: It's a new Gammak base. Secret. Need-to-know only. But since you'll be taking me there, I guess you - need to know. And yes, it is here in the uncharted territories.

(cut to a cargo hold. Two of the PK crew roughly drop the high-tech looking crate they are transporting to the floor as the third looks on)

Hassan: (am attractive female PK) Hey! You damage the Captain’s prize and he'll have both your heads on Jinka poles.

Thonn: (a bored Sebacean PK grunt with a shaved head and the air of a career draftee) Whatever you say Doc.

Rhed: (another, scruffier, bored PK grunt- as Chiana appears with a tray) Hey! What's this?

Chiana: Uh - May I approach?

Thonn: Get as close as you want darling

Chiana: The Captain has ordered me to attend to you. There's proper food waiting in the center chamber when - when you're ready.

Thonn: That boot-shine Captain got a non-reg server like you aboard? Guess he's not a big a nurf as I thought he was. What'd he pay for you sweetheart?

Chiana: Not much, I'm sure.

Hassan: (annoyed) Sergeant, I want to check the contents. Now. (the two leering grunts silently - and in no big hurry - move to obey her and open the crate as Chiana watches. A flat, pentagonal-shaped key and combination are used to release the crate’s seal. the lid rises ominously and vapor escapes but we cannot see what's inside)

Thonn: (sauntering back to Chiana as he refastens the crate key to his belt) We've been out here in the Uncharteds for nearly a full cycle looking for that thing. That's a long time for me to hang with just my Captain and these two.

Chiana: (flirtatiously) Nearly a whole cycle? Well that is a long time to be searching for something. I'm sure your Captain’s prize must be very valuable.

Thonn: That's not for you to concern yourself with honey.

Chiana: (giggles and turns to offer him a drink from her tray) Would you like - (but she fumbles the drink and sloshes it onto Thonn, then quickly makes to wipe him off, Hassan comes alert) Oh! I - I'm sorry.

Thonn: It's not a problem.

Chiana: (flustered) Really...

Thonn: Not a problem at all.

Hassan: Food in the center chamber? Got it. Now leave us. (Chiana complies)

Chiana: (as she gets into the hall she pauses to look at the putty she has in her hand. On it is a perfect impression of the key to the crate. She smirks-) Hah! Toooo easy!

(cut to the center chamber - Aeryn and Larraq enter. The grunts are there eating and ignore their entrance)

Aeryn: (eyeing the grunts) Certainly don't pay much attention to rank - do they?

Larraq: My people will follow every one of my orders instantly - and without question. If I asked them to spit out of their eye I expect them to drop dead trying. Make them stand up just because I walk into a room? Come on - I respect them too much for that. (he takes a tray of food comprised largely of a what looks like green mash potatoes) You've - never interfaced with Special Ops before?

Aeryn: Heard of you? Everyone at regiment level has.

Larraq: Oh yes - What is it that you call us?

Aeryn: Black ghosts.

Larraq: Is that supposed to be an insult? (teasing) 'Cos you know - I kind of like it

Aeryn: Insult? Definitely! Actually - I did see one of your type - once. I was on a transfer barge - I was changing troop ships and I - only saw him for a couple of microts but I recognized the unkempt uniform and the undisciplined atti-

Larraq: (interrupting) He must have reeeaaally offended you! (setting a tray down in front of her, and smiling a bit) And just think - now you're gonna sit down and eat with one. (Aeryn smiles)

(cut to John - he is unchaining D'Argo)

D'Argo: All right. Enough is enough. This sham is over. I say we storm them now.

John: (a bit too pleased with the charade perhaps) No. Nonononono. This is working. They think I'm a Peacekeeper Captain.

Zhaan: (she is also out of her cell and eyes John dryly) Certainly the uniform is convincing.

D'Argo: (sarcastic) Yes we're glad the Peacekeepers left it on board. You look very, - uh - fetching.

Zhaan: John, D'Argo is right. Perhaps we should take them now while we still have the element of surprise. Moya's in the final stages of pregnancy.

John: We have 20 arns before we're anywhere near that base. I say we learn as much from these guys as we can. Aeryn's supposed to be grilling Larraq right now.

D'Argo: What is going to happen when Aeryn gets sick and tired of pretending to take your orders?

Zhaan: John, the closer we get to that base, the more dangerous is it for all of us.

John: And what if it's not the only base? I may be naive - but flying around in the uncharted territories ignorant of what the Peacekeepers are doing out here? That, to me seems dangerous.

D'Argo: (angry) Well I can tell you one thing for free - I will not be chained up again.

John: Fine.

D'Argo: And I'm not having that door locked.

John: Fine. Just - stay out of sight.

Zhaan: We'd best get Rygel in harmony with this.

(cut to Rygel’s cell as Zhaan opens the door)

Zhaan: (in a loud whisper as she, D'Argo and John enter) Rygel? (the cell is empty, she groans) Oh, he's used his hidden escape route.

John: Beautiful. Let's go find Sparky before he screws this thing up.

D'Argo: Yeah - let's find him before YOU screw it up. (they exit and start down the corridor but suddenly Thonn's voice is heard around the bend)

Thonn: (out of sight) I'll take this tier. You two go -

(John, D'Argo and Zhaan scuttle back the way they came. Zhaan ducks into her cell and shuts the door. John trots into D’Argo’s and grabbing the chains motions to the Luxan)

John: (in a loud whisper) D'Argo! Come on! (footsteps approach)

Zhaan: (hissing through her teeth at him as Thonn nears them) Crichton! Get out of there!

John: (as D'Argo slowly approaches, taking a wide berth around him) D'Argo? (at that moment Thonn appears in the hall and D'Argo attacks John. Thonn intervenes, knocking D'Argo back and he grabs John, pulls him out of the cell and shuts the door. D'Argo throws himself against the bars and snarls)

Thonn: (mocking - to John) Guess you were pretty lucky I came along when I did - eh Captain?

John: If you ever lay hands on me again, I'll have you up on charges. (he stalks off. Thonn seems unfazed and continues in the other direction)

Zhaan: D'Argo - you did well.

D'Argo: (frustrated and angry) Too well. (he slams his hand against the cell bars)

(cut back to the center chamber where Aeryn is still - uh - grilling - Larraq. They lean on their elbows and gaze at each other)

Larraq: You... ever fly anything a little sexier than a Leviathan?

Aeryn: Let's see... I started flying scrub runners at 14 cycles. Half-cycle later a KL-80 and a 81. And then Prowler Attack School at 16.

Larraq: 16? Why'd you wait so long?

Aeryn: I had to. My feet didn't reach the peddles. (they both chuckle) So - You said that you've been out here in the uncharted territories for almost a full cycle - looking for whatever that thing is in the crate.

Larraq: And the sooner I get it into somebody else's hands the happier I'll be. Don't ask `cos I'm not going to tell you.

Aeryn: Why 'cos you'd have to kill me then?

Larraq: (very serious) Just stay away from it. 'Kay?

Aeryn: (nodding at his weapon) That's a stasis gun isn't it?

Larraq: Came in handy on this trip.

Aeryn: Well that's for capture not killing. Look - you said that this base that we're heading to is a Gammak Base - that's Science Military - right? Are you sure that it's wise to take whatever that thing is -

Larraq: Science Military's perfect. (long pause) Let them deal with it.

(cut Chiana, elsewhere on Moya.. With the help of a DRD - she's making a key from the mold she lifted off Thonn’s crate key)

Chiana: (nicked by the DRD’s laser) Ow! Watch where you're cutting. (the DRD squawks querulously back at her) Hmph! . Easy for you to say!

(cut to the crate in the cargo bay. Rygel approaches and inspects it closely, muttering to himself, he tries to peek into the clouded window on its cover. Chiana enters)

Rygel: (startling) OH! How dare you sneak up on me like that! I should make you wear a bell around your neck.

Chiana: (grinning) Keep your fantasies to yourself -frog boooyyy.

Rygel: (as she approaches) Fantasies about you? Eyech! Why I never-

Chiana: Oh I've seen you looking at me. You want to be a pervo? You want to practice subo - Aww - (as Rygel sniffs and turns his head) - Well don't get your skivvies in an uproar. Like I care. (they crouch by the side of the crate)

(cut to Thonn, patrolling Moya’s corridors)

Rhed: (on comm) Thonn - status?

Thonn: Yeah, Rhed. I'm gonna go check out cargo bay.

Rhed: (on comm) Proceed.

Thonn: Okay, roger that.

(cut back to Chiana and Rygel and the crate)

Rygel: What are you doing down here, anyway?

Chiana: Me? Everyone is supposed to stay in his cage.

Rygel: Well uh - Pilot said they were bringing something on board and I thought I'd come down here and see if I could - er -

Chiana: You're here for the same reason I am - to see if there's anything inside worth snurching.

Rygel: Snurch? I don't "snurch". I - procure.

Chiana: Look in the interest of not getting caught - I'll agree to half of whatever we procure.

Rygel: HALF? I was here first!

Chiana: But I have the - uh - the key.

Rygel: Mm. Okay. Half. (Chiana grins and unlocks the crate. The vapors escape and the lid slides out of its seal. It looks like one serious piece of hardware. They look at it) Open it.

Chiana: What? Me?

Rygel: Don't you want your half of whatever's in there?

Chiana: Well your half's in there too!

Rygel: (fluttering his fingers) Iiii'm - notverypractical.

Chiana: (sighs) Aye aye, your Royal Frogness. (she removes the seal to the inner compartment of the crate) Ah! !t's hot!

Rygel: (he leans forward to peer in as steam rolls out of the crate) What is that?

(Chiana leans in close too - the steam clears and a creature is revealed. Rygel makes a sound of disgust. It is white and gelatinous - there are few recognizable features - like a face... Cut to Thonn in the corridor - approaching. Cut back to the cargo bay)

Chiana: Do you recognize the species?

Rygel: Even if I did, I wouldn't admit it. Uph...

Chiana: Whatever it is, it's still alive.

(the creature makes a bubbling sound but Chiana and Rygel turn as they hear the sound of the cargo bay door opening. Thonn enters. He sees the open crate - Chiana and Rygel have taken cover. He raises his weapon and crouches down by the creature laying in the crate - it's chest pulsates with orange light - Thonn groans and shudders as Chiana and Rygel look on from hiding. Rhed enters - calling - )

Rhed: Hey Thonn! The Captain's after us! We'd better get down to the ca - (he sees Thonn and the open crate) Holy dren! How did that happen? (via comm) - CAPTAIN! It's Rhed! You'd better get down here -(Thonn shoots Rhed. Cut to Pilots Den)

Pilot: (quietly) A single shot in the cargo area.

(cut to the prison cells - Zhaan hearing Pilot on comm)

Zhaan: Weapons fire?

D'Argo: This charade is definitely over! PILOT! Open these doors, now!

(cut back to the cargo bay - Thonn returns to the crate and strangles the creature within with his bare hands. It squeals horribly)

Rygel: (horrified) What's he doing?

Chiana: Shh!

(cut to Aeryn, Hassan and Larraq advancing on the cargo bay. Cut back to Thonn and the creature - with a terrible scream - the creature dies)

Rygel: I've had enough! (he makes to go)

Chiana: Rygel!

(Rygel flees through one of his escape routes but Thonn has heard them. He comes and before Chiana can escape he catches her and with an animal roar - he kisses her on the mouth violently. They both seem woozy when he releases her and she kicks him viciously. She then flees. Cut to Aeryn, Hassan and Larraq)

Aeryn: (finding Rhed) One down. (they advance into the cargo bay)

Larraq: Spread out. If it moves - shoot it.

Aeryn: (sees the open crate and the dead creature within) What is that? What is going on here?

Larraq: (with dread) It's escaped.

John: (entering - using his PK Captain accent) What has escaped? (cut to a brief shot of Chiana - looking very unlike herself... Then cut back to the cargo bay)

Hassan: She's dead. Somebody suffocated her.

John: (striding into the bay) "It has escaped." What exactly is "it"?

Aeryn: (seeing Thonn on the floor and moving towards him, he is alive) Over there!

Larraq: AERYN! No! Step back from him! Now!

John: (deadly) What are you so frelling afraid of?

Aeryn: Captain?

Larraq: (breathless, reluctant) Peacekeeper Command sent us out here on a fugitive recovery. The fugitive we're after is a virus. When we finally isolated the virus - it was using that creature as a host! (he indicates the dead thing in the crate)

Aeryn: An intellant virus?

Hassan: We caught the virus when it was still in its single infection stage.

Aeryn: Meaning it can only infect one host at a time.

Larraq: Unless it gets a chance to lay its spores.

John: Spores?

Larraq: Yeah. Give it an arn inside a single host and it can lay a couple of million spores.

Aeryn: Does that and this whole end of the galaxy's in some serious frelling dren.

John: (fake PK accent wavers for a moment) Right. Then, - that virus was inside that creature and now it's somewhere on the ship.

Aeryn: Not somewhere - it's inside someone.

Hassan: The virus isn't airborne. It can only move from one host to another by physical proximity.

Aeryn: You have to be really close to whoever's got it.

Larraq: Start talking Thonn - What happened?

Thonn: I don't remember

Chiana: (re-entering suddenly, sagging to the floor) Captain?

John: Chiana! (Larraq rounds on her with his gun, John intervenes) Lower your weapon Captain. (he slowly does and John approaches Chiana) Chiana - on your feet now What happened here?

Chiana: I - was walking past - and I saw Rygel. He-he opened up that crate. Somehow he - he got it open.

Larraq: Who's Rygel?

Aeryn: The Hynerian prisoner.

Chiana: The Peacekeeper came in - he - he attacked. He knocked him down and stole his weapon and shot the other one.

John: (disbelieving) Rygel?

Hassan: The virus can make a host’s muscles fire all at once, increasing strength.

Larraq: Thonn! Is that what happened?

Thonn: It could have happened.

Larraq: Where'd this Rygel go?

Chiana: The shaft. The access shaft.

Hassan: He could be anywhere on this ship!

Larraq: We've got to find him before the virus has time to incubate or transfer to another host. (to John) How the frell did one of your prisoners get loose? (he, Hassan and Thonn leave)

John: (to Aeryn - he drops the accent) Let me get this straight - Rygel has been possessed by some MENSA-member virus that's gonna lay eggs and infect all of us in like - AN ARN - if we don't find it?

Aeryn: That's about it.

John: Great. Well, I think that under the circumstances, our little masquerade is over.

Aeryn: (heatedly) Under the circumstances, those commandos are primed to shoot at anything they do not trust. The only thing that is over is our chance to take them by surprise. This is a disaster Crichton. (she eyes his PK outfit) It is a grave misfortune that uniform did not fit me. (she exits)

John: (to Chiana who is oddly quiet) Always a party. Come on! Stick with me! You'll be safer.

(cut to the corridor - Larraq and his team are moving warily forward, we see D'Argo and Zhaan, out of their cells - laying in wait for them ahead. When the PKs are close enough D'Argo steps out of hiding and fires upon them with his Qualta. John and Chiana, who are trailing the PKs, break into a run and catch up to the scene. Larraq and his team have taken cover)

John: (resuming his PK accent) What is going on?

D'Argo: (fires another shot and calls-) Surrender yourselves!

Larraq: It appears more of your prisoners have escaped Captain. We don't have time for this.

John: You get into a fire fight, there may be no one left to find the Hynerian. We need them. (with a savage yell D'Argo fires again)

Larraq: (to his team, ignoring John) We take them down - fast.

Thonn: Let's do it now!

John: (before they can rush D'Argo John steps out into the corridor between the two groups and calls) Ka D'Argo! Zotoh Zhaan - there is a situation aboard this ship which you are unaware of - a situation which threatens all of us. We have an intellant virus aboard. It is using the Hynerian as a host. He has escaped and is hiding somewhere in the ship. If we do not find him - isolate him - before this virus has a chance to lay its spores - then we all die. (he moves closer to D'Argo and Zhaan and drops his voice and the accent) We have to work together on this deal.
(D'Argo lowers his weapon - the PKs follow suit. Chiana is very quiet and looks a bit disappointed)

(later - cut to the Command. All are assembled except Rygel)

Larraq: We search fast and thorough - in pairs. Nobody goes it alone from this moment on.

Hassan: The virus' best defense is moving from one host to another while nobody's watching, until nobody knows who it's in. Then it waits and lays its spores.

Zhaan: There's no way of testing for its presence?

Hassan: Well, the host body will show signs of high acidity - but only after the virus has left. So while the virus is inhabiting, there is no way of telling - until it's too late.

Larraq: You see the Hynerian, you hit your comms and stay away from him. No physical contact whatsoever. Believe me, you do not want this thing choosing you to incubate its spores.

John: Right then. Let's do it. (the group pairs off and leaves. Cut to Chiana and John walking down a corridor) Pilot!

Pilot: (crisp & cooperative - the charade - which needs to be carried on over the comm system) Yes - Captain.

John: Report.

Pilot: My DRDs have checked all tiers and passageways. No signs of him. I suspect he is still in the access shaft system.

John: Concentrate your search there.

Pilot: As you wish, Captain.

John: (to Chiana - sort of half in and half out of his PK accent) Shall we shaft it? (she slowly follows him)

(cut to a shot of Aeryn and Larraq moving silently through another hallway, then cut to D'Argo and Thonn in another corridor, then to Hassan and Zhaan in yet another)

Zhaan: When the virus moves from one host to another - doesn't the original host remember being infected?

Hassan: No. The virus leaves behind a mild hallucinogenic which disrupts the host’s short-term memory system leaving them a little dizzy and confused - but they remember nothing of the experience.

Zhaan: My people had an experience with an intellant virus once. The entire exploration colony was destroyed. My Mother had family there. But even the Delvian High Council couldn't do anything about it. (Hassan gives her an odd look and moves ahead. Zhaan says under her breath-) Sorry to bore you.

(cut to Chiana and John, preparing to enter an access shaft)

John: C'mon Pip. (he enters, Chiana pauses to look at the small confines of the shaft and smiles slightly as she follows)

(cut to Aeryn and Larraq)

Aeryn: When you first found this thing - why didn't you kill it while you had a chance?

Larraq: That wasn't the mission. The mission was to capture one alive. That's what my team and I spent the better part of a cycle doing out here. Or what's left of my team.

Aeryn: Why would anybody want this thing alive?

Larraq: Study it. Tame it if they can. When you release a cloud of intelligent, controlled viruses among your enemy - a few arns later - their entire army's now working for you.

Aeryn: All right. But capturing one - that's clearly a suicide mission.

Larraq: It was a challenge.

Aeryn: A challenge? A challenge that has cost you three members of your crew. (apparently there must have been casualties we hadn't heard about before...)

Larraq: Four. And it may cost a lot more than that before we capture it again.

(cut to D'Argo and Thonn at another access shaft)

Thonn: You first.

D'Argo: You have the weapon.

Thonn: YOU first. (D'Argo growls and goes first)

(cut to John and Chiana in the other shaft)

John: We gotta find Rygel soon - the arn's almost up. How does a damned virus get to be so smart, anyway? What's it do? (Chiana starts moving closer behind him) When we find Rygel - if we find Rygel - we'd better find some way to kill the stinking virus without killing him. (at that moment Aeryn breaks in over comm)

Aeryn: We've found him! (Chiana halts)

John: Location?

Aeryn: Center chamber!

John: On the way!

(cut to Aeryn and Larraq in the center chamber jockeying for position outside a small shaft entrance like two cats outside a mouse hole)

Rygel: (cornered in the shaft) Stay away from me! STAY AWAY FROM ME! I'm not coming out of here until you tell me what the YOTZ is going on!

Aeryn: (to Larraq as Chiana, Hassan, John and Zhaan enter) He is trapped - but you don't have a very clear shot.

Larraq: If - I miss, it takes this stasis gun several microts to recharge.

Hassan: We don't have several microts.

Chiana: Why not just use a regular pulse rifle?

Larraq: No. No I've got to take him alive. (Rygel moans in terror as flashlight beams play over him)

(D'Argo and Thonn arrive as Larraq takes aim)

Rygel: (a long horrified gasp at the sight of the gun muzzle) What the YOTZ are you going to do with that?

John: Certainly sounds like the Hynerian.

Hassan: It's supposed to. That's exactly what the virus does.

Rygel: OHOHOH! LISTEN TO ME! LET ME EXPLAIN! AHAHAH! I'm not the man you want! It's that creature, isn't it? The thing in the box? (as he blathers frantically Chiana rolls her head and slowly turns towards John, fixing him with a dead stare. He stares back. She starts towards him) LISTEN TO ME! I WASN'T THE ONLY ONE THERE!I LISTEN TO ME! (Larraq’s gun whines as it builds up a charge) I'M NOT THE GUILTY PARTY IN THIS-!

(Larraq fires and Rygel collapses)

Larraq: Hit him. He'd down. All right let's get him out of there and into the container box down below. Now.

(Zhaan looks over her shoulder at Chiana and John - Chiana is moving away from him and looks disoriented. John is facing away, Cut to a shot of his face as he draws his upper lip away from his teeth in a quiet snarl)

(cut to D'Argo, John and Zhaan walking together in a corridor)

Zhaan: We must formulate some sort of antibody that will kill the virus without killing Rygel.

D'Argo: Yes. This is why you should be in the transport hangar working with your apothecary and not in a locked cell.

John: (talking fast) And what if you don't? You might kill Rygel. You might think your magic pill worked - and then Rygel's up walking around the ship, coughing up spores - CATS and DOGS living together! Nono. Our only chance we have is to talk to the Peacekeeper science officer. What's her name? The one with the nice lips - (he strokes his mouth) - Hassan. If anybody knows about an antibody it will be her. And D'Argo, forget about the use of force. You think you can make Hassan tell you about the antibody? Name me the Peacekeeper you've met who would give a royal dren if you stuck a charged pulse rifle to their head.

Zhaan: (they have stopped during John’s tirade and stand facing him) Look, John, we are on a direct course for the Peacekeeper base.

D'Argo: And I would rather not be locked in a cell when we arrive.

John: And I say - We need to find out about the base. We have the time - let's use it. Let's not blow it by going around the ship waving guns about. The antibody - is top priority. Look, as soon as I leave here - I'm going straight to Hot Lips. (he lays a hand on each of their shoulders) Trust me. (D'Argo sighs)

(D'Argo walks into his cell - which they are standing outside of and closes the door behind him, John locks it. At that moment Thonn rounds the corner. John delivers a savage backhanded blow across Zhaan’s face. She is thrown back into her cell and John shuts the door behind her)

Thonn: Came to see if you needed a hand. Doesn't look like you do.

John: No. I reckon not. Right, then! (he stalks away, Thonn follows)

(cut to the cargo bay. Aeryn, Hassan and Larraq are gathered as Rygel is placed into the hot bio-containment crate and it is sealed)

Aeryn: So - what happens to the Hynerian once the virus has been leeched from him?

Larraq: He doesn't know this, but he's already spoken his dying words.

Hassan: It's not a pretty process. (she walks away. Larraq zips up a body bag containing the remains of Rhed)

Larraq: You know, I talk about the challenge of bringing in this fugitive virus. But numerically speaking? I'd have to say it's winning. You know this may sound funny - but you ever think about going Special Ops?

Aeryn: Me?

Larraq: I've seen you in action. What are you doing in U-Star Regiment huh? You're being wasted there. You're wasting yourself there. (long pause) Plus - I like the idea of having you nearby. (Aeryn makes no response) Bad timing. (he finishes zipping up the bag) Let's just get this assignment closed out huh? (he makes to leave)

Aeryn: No it isn't that.

Larraq: (turning back) Look - I know you've got your Captain to consider. And High Command's going to have plenty to say on the subject. But if you and I get some time at the Gammak Base - maybe we could sit down - talk about it? (she smiles at him, but her smile fades as he turns away again)

(cut to John, entering the transport hangar where Hassan is in the apothecary)

Hassan: Captain?

John: Lieutenant.

Hassan: This is quite a collection of herbs and spices. Who uses them?

John: (as he approaches) No one. Now. I have no idea who was aboard prior to this tech mission.

Hassan: Well, it's a fascinating accumulation from so many different worlds-

(John attacks and beats her to death - then destroys the stasis gun)

(cut back to the prison cells, D'Argo and Zhaan talk across the corridor)

D'Argo: They believe that the virus is still inside Rygel.

Zhaan: Yes, but they also think there's no test to be certain.

Chiana: (entering and coming to Zhaan’s cell door) Pilot said you want to see me?

Zhaan: Yes. Tell me how you're feeling.

Chiana: I'm fine.

Zhaan: Any dizziness?

Chiana: No. W-well, y-yeah - a little - But - How did you know that?

Zhaan: (she gets one of Moya’s silky sheets and proffers a fold of it through the bars to Chiana) Here - Lick this.

Chiana: What? That's your bedcover! Is everybody aboard this ship kinkoid?

Zhaan: This material contains litmus fibers. Now just lick it. (Chiana quickly does and the bronze colored fabric where she licked it turns red) Acid. You had the virus in you.

Chiana: What? Are you tinked?

D'Argo: When the virus leaves its hosts, it leaves behind a tell-tale acidity.

Chiana: Don't you think I'd remember if I'd had some sort of -

Zhaan: No, you wouldn't.

D'Argo: If the virus is no longer in Rygel, then it must be in somebody else.

(cut to the Command. John is there - Aeryn and Larraq enter)

Aeryn: Pilot, you reported an increase in speed.

Pilot: (sounding less than thrilled with everything in general now) Yes Lieutenant. The - Captain - is accelerating our approach towards the coordinates given to me by Captain - Larraq.

Aeryn: (to John) Is that the case Captain?

John: It is, Lieutenant. I want us at that Gammak Base and that bug off my ship as fast as possible.

Larraq: I couldn't agree more. (John grunts his satisfaction)

Aeryn: (whispering to John) What are you doing, accelerating?

John: (half in and half out of his PK accent) I'm doing exactly what a commander in my position would do. These commandos are not stupid. I'm doing my part. You do yours. Get the damned information. (louder - Larraq) It's - a rather - large - galaxy, Captain. How did you ever manage to find something as tiny as a virus?

Larraq: Perseverance.

Aeryn: Larraq, about the Gammak Base we're headed -

John: (cutting her off) You must be a very - patient man... (he strokes his mouth) A very... methodical man.

Larraq: I'm a good tracker.

John: (exhales sharply) Oh, I'd say - a great tracker.

Thonn: (entering) Captain! The maintenance bay? Lieutenant Hassan? She's dead. Executed. The stasis gun - it's destroyed.

(John reaches for a weapon as D'Argo and Chiana enter)

D'Argo: Nobody move! (Thonn fires upon him)

Aeryn: No! (she disarms Thonn, more shots are fired)

Zhaan: (rushing in) The virus is still loose! (pointing) I believe it's in Crichton.

(John grins and attacks Aeryn and Larraq. D'Argo subdues him and Aeryn, D'Argo, Larraq, Thonn and Zhaan rush him to hold him down - and then Zhaan pulls back - horrified -)

Zhaan: Oh, no. (they all realize they've come into close physical contact with John)

John: (sitting up - no accent) What's going on?

(they all leap away from each other and draw weapons, each eying everyone else warily)

Aeryn: (et al) Don't - move!

John: Are you people crazy? What's everybody looking at? What's everybody looking at?!

Zhaan: (gasping) The virus John - it's in one of us!

(things deteriorate rapidly as panic sets in and everyone starts shouting at anyone else who makes a move. Cries of "MOVE YOURSELF AWAY FROM ME! MOVE AWAY!", "GET BACK!", "STAY AWAY!", "LUXAN! DROP YOUR WEAPON NOW!" are heard in the chaos)

John: SHUT UP! (the yelling continues) SHUT UP! SHUT UP! ALL OF YOU! SHUT UP! SOMEBODY TALK TO ME!

Aeryn: The virus was inside of you and now it is inside one of them! (she indicates everyone else in the room)

John: Whowhoawhoa! What do you mean - the virus was in me?

Zhaan: (agitated) It wasn't ever in Rygel! It was in Chiana! She passed it to you!

Chiana: I don't remember a thing.

Zhaan: (sharply) And you won't! Neither will you John! It's part of the virus' defense!

Larraq: Waitwaitwaitwaitwait - What's this "John" dren?

D'Argo: (growling) That topic is off at the moment Captain - if indeed you are the Captain.

John: Stop! Stop! The virus was inside Chiana?

Zhaan: Her body’s acidity was abnormally high - that is the sign.

John: Can the virus reenter someone after it has left them?

Thonn: No.

John: (quickly) Good - Chiana, over here. (she comes to stand next to him)

Larraq: Heyheyheyhey! - Wait a second - Who are you?

John: (working it out) Off topic Captain, remember? Okay, so the virus is inside of one of YOU - (and he gets it worked out - lamely) and you all got guns. Great.

Aeryn: (a bit panicky and trying to reduce this to something she understands) WE WILL SHOOT - at it - if it starts shooting and kill it where it stands.

John: Well that's only mildly comforting Aeryn, since the virus will probably start shooting first.

Thonn: (to Larraq) I say we cut the odds and smoke `em all. Right now.

Larraq: Yeah? How do we know it isn't in you, huh? Maybe what you really want is to cut the competition.

Thonn: How do we know it isn't in YOU Captain?

John: Twisted as it sounds, what we have right here is exactly what we need - guns in lot of hands pointed in every direction. What about that freezo gun you had?

Larraq: YOU destroyed it!

John: What we need is some way to kill the virus now while we got it trapped here!

D'Argo: Yes an antibody! Zhaan said that she could make one!

John: You willing to try that?

Zhaan: I'm willing to try anything.

(cut to the apothecary. The entire group has moved there and stand, with guns trained on each other, as Zhaan works. The one who wavers in the search for an antibody will be the one controlled by the virus...)

Zhaan: You realize I don't have the components I once did.

Aeryn: Just keep working Zhaan.

Zhaan: I figure with such high acidity I need something that will adjust the body’s alkaline levels and bump up each specie’s natural immune system.

Larraq: (cannily) Yeah, well, whatever it is - you're taking it first.

Chiana: (observing John gazing morosely at the corpse of Hassan laying nearby) Hey. Lighten up. You didn't do it. Well - you did - but - It wasn't really you. (smooth Chiana - he makes no response)

Zhaan: Ready. (Larraq and Thonn redirect their guns to her) I know - me first. (she administers the serum to herself)

D'Argo: (after a pause as they all watch her) How will we know it has worked?

Zhaan: An acid-based life form would have a noticeable reaction to this level of alkali, even if it doesn't kill it. (then, defensively as they continue to stare doubtfully at her - as if perhaps she made something harmless to the virus and deadly to the rest of them) Well - you all saw the components that I put it!

John: Right. Over here. (he motions to Zhaan to move away from the others and takes the hypodermic gun with the serum) Okay - who's next?

Aeryn: I will. (John administers the serum. She grimaces but is unharmed) Told you. (she moves past him to stand with Zhaan and Chiana)

Thonn: (stepping up to John) Do it. (the injection is given - after a pause - he grunts and shouts-) IT'S THE LUXAN! (clearly Thonn has a Problem with Luxans...)

(the scene becomes chaotic again as Thonn steps back towards D'Argo and Larraq who face off and the three of them yell at once-)

D'Argo: (indicating Larraq) IT'S HIM! DROP YOUR WEAPON!



D'Argo: (to both of them) I AM TELLING YOU TO DROP - YOUR - WEAPON!

Larraq: (in a sudden silence - to John) ALL RIGHT DO IT! COME ON, JUST DO IT! So we can prove it's him and we can kill him! Come on!

John: (stepping up to choose the next recipient of the antibody) Eenie - meenie - mynie - D'Argo. (D'Argo is injected and his eyes roll back for a moment as the others watch him Larraq suddenly howls and begins firing to cover his retreat)

Aeryn: Stop him!

(cut to Larraq disappearing down Moya’s dim corridors with Aeryn, D'Argo, John and Thonn in pursuit)

John: (via comm) Pilot!

Pilot: I've been monitoring - DRDs are searching.

John: Cut him off! Don't let him off this tier!

Pilot: Closing access points - now!

(Moya’s great oval doors on the tier swing shut and seal - the searchers separate and make their way stealthily through the area which includes several corridors - cut to each in turn and finally to Aeryn - Larraq appears from behind and jumps her, knocking her gun away. Thonn turns as he hears Aeryn’s voice on comm)

Aeryn: Larraq?

Larraq/virus: Not exactly - but this shell of his is going to get me onto that Peacekeeper base. (Aeryn struggles like the commando warfare trained PK she is but cannot subdue Larraq. Thonn appears and is shot dead by Larraq before Aeryn knocks his gun away. John and D'Argo appear - Larraq, with Aeryn in a choke hold - then reaches down and draws her field dagger from its sheath. He holds it poised over her shoulder and says to them-) Stay back! I learned a lot from the time - I spent inside you. You fugitives want to stay away from that Peacekeeper base as badly as I want to get there. So here's what we're gonna do - you're going to let me into that Marauder ship - without ANY - interference - and then you're free to blast yourselves as far from here as you want.

D'Argo: (quietly to John) If the virus is allowed to spawn, it could contaminate thousands of species before it's able be contained again.

Larraq/virus: I'm sorry - Is that a problem?

Aeryn: (yelling) Crichton you just do what you have to do!

Larraq/virus: (softly vicious - to Aeryn) This Larraq guy - he really liked you... A lot. (and with that he buries the blade of Aeryn’s knife in her stomach and flees as she sinks to the floor)

John: AERYN!

D'Argo: NO!

John: NO! GOD,NO! (he runs to catch Aeryn and ease her down, she's gasping and choking)

D'Argo: (also running to Aeryn as he shouts at John) You go! You go after him! The virus can't re-infect you! Go! GO! (Aeryn spasms in agony as John takes after Larraq/virus. D'Argo calls frantically to Zhaan via comm) ZHAAN! CHIANA! LARRAQ IS HEADED THE TRANSPORT HANGAR! (Chiana, who stayed with Zhaan, takes off for the hangar) ZHAAN! I NEED YOU DOWN HERE AT TIER 7 THE JUNCTION BY THE SUB PASSAGEWAY! C'MON QUICK! HURRY!

(cut to the transport hangar as Larraq/virus enters. Chiana is waiting and jumps him from behind. He easily throws her off and continues towards the Marauder - but she has used her thievish skill again and has lifted his 4-1-4 Decca ID - his PK authorization level. Larraq/virus boards the Marauder and fires up the engines as John enters)

Chiana: (coughing from Larraq/virus' manhandling - via comm) The transport hangar - Pilot - seal the outer transport doors.

John: (hearing her as he watches the small ship power up) No! Pilot - is that ship still leaking cesium fuel?

Pilot: Yes.

John: (softly) Then let him go. (and go he does - leaking fuel all the way. Cut to John sprinting towards the Command) Pilot! Standby for starburst!

Pilot: (in his Den - primly finished with the charade) Moya is in no condition to starburst

John: (sounding rather - Captain-like!) Not full starburst! Just the first stage! And I want this ship nose to tail where she is - 180 degrees - right now! On my command - now. (and Pilot - crew-like - obeys. Moya turns tail which brings her fusion-plates into the cesium fuel trail and ignites it as she initiates starburst. The resultant explosion follows the fuel trail to the Marauder like a flame along a fuse and it explodes spectacularly. John murmurs to himself-) Boom.

(later - cut to Zhaan tending to Rygel in his quarters as D'Argo looks on)

Zhaan: (to Rygel as she arranging a towel around him) Relax. You'll soon be back to normal.

Rygel: Will I? Well I don't think I'll ever recover from that infernal inferno contraption. There aren't enough cold towels in the universe for a start!

D'Argo: Perhaps we should lock you up in a refrigeration unit for a few arns. At least then we wouldn't have to listen to your incessant whining.

Rygel: Oh, such sympathy! Of course I should expect nothing less from you.

D'Argo: (deadly) You can expect less than nothing from me. You conspired to open that crate. Anything that happens to you now, you brought upon yourself. (Rygel looks miserable)

Zhaan: Uh - I'm sure he has learned his lesson D'Argo. (she watches him as he makes no response) I see you have removed the chains from your cell,

D'Argo: And I will take great pleasure in destroying them. If there is anything I have learned from this fiasco it is that I will never - be chained up again.

Zhaan: I pray that will be the case.

D'Argo: You can pray all you like. I was expressing a fact. Not a hope.

Zhaan: I understand your pain D'Argo. It must have been a difficult deception to carry out.

Rygel: (yelling) Tch! Difficult! DIFFICULT? ANY deception where I end up boxed on slow-bake like some Ulgarian tablespot is an outright FAILURE! (normal voice) 'Course I knew from the star that Crichton would never pull it off.

Zhaan: Ach! Yet you let him lock you in your cell while an unknown amount of Peacekeepers were allowed on board. Very interesting. Perhaps next time we will follow a plan of your devising.

Rygel: Yes. Perhaps we will.

D'Argo: Next time... I pray there will never be a "next time."

(cut to Aeryn’s quarters. she wakes from a sleep. John is sitting nearby)

John: Welcome back. Y'know, for a while there Zhaan wasn't too sure you were going to make it.

Aeryn: What's happened to the virus?

John: It's dead. (Aeryn makes a grunt that might be the word "Good.") So is Larraq.

Aeryn: He stabbed me, didn't he?

John: Yeah. (quickly) You got lucky he missed your heart.

Aeryn: Closer than you think. So - um - the Peacekeeper base?

John: We're getting as far away from it as we can. It's still out there - we don't know why.

Aeryn: What are you doing in here anyway?

John: Oh, I just wanted to - um - mmm - be there...

Aeryn: Thank you.

John: Don't mention it.

Aeryn: Why would I ever mention it? (she looks away)


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