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Vitas Mortis
March 24, 2000 - US
June 19, 2000 - UK

Writer - Grant McAloon
Director - Tony Tilse

Guest Cast:
Melissa Jaffer . . . Nilaam (old)
Anna Lise Philips . . . Nilaam (young)

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Episode Summary
In Vitas mortis D'Argo and the crew set out to find a Luxan mystic rumored to be living on a desolate planet in the uncharted territories. Whatever his motive - desire to see a face from home or to seek counsel, he finds her and is shocked to discover that she is an Orican. An Orican is a religious practitioner of fantastic power, they command fearful awe and reverence among Luxans. But this one, whose name is Nilaam, is ancient and on her deathbed. D'Argos’ journey of discovery quickly becomes one of duty and honor when she taps him to attend her death. This entails participating in the Ritual of Passing where part of his own life energy will be given to ease her into the next world. John is deeply disturbed by D'Argos’ decision, having developed a healthy wariness of weird alien powers and rituals.

And indeed things get weird fast. Nilaam, sensing a particularly strong spirit in D'Argo, switches rituals in midstream - from the Death rite to the Renewal rite. Its’ effect is like the fountain of youth on her and becomes young and strong again. She and D'Argo become lovers and everything just seems too good to true. As indeed it is. For The incredible life force the Orican sensed through D'Argo was not his - but Moyas’ And Moya doesn't respond well to weird alien rituals herself. She begins to rapidly age, her body fluids solidify, hull breaches begin to form - and worst of all - Pilot begins to age and deteriorate with her. It seems the Oricans’ second life has been bought at he expense of Pilot and Moyas’ first ones as well as those of Chiana and Rygel who are trapped by Moyas’ failing body.

With much sorrow and ambivalence - D'Argo and Nilaam do the right thing and finish the death ritual - which this time entails Nilaam committing suicide. The drain on Pilot and Moya is halted and its’ effects reversed. We learn the disturbing Fact that Pilot-things normally enjoy lifespans more than three times those of Leviathans - but that once bonded, they die when the ship dies.

And the crew continues on their journey.

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The episode opens on the barren wasteland of some alien world. It’s surface is dull brown that blends drearily into a sky of watercolor grey clouds. The only sounds are the wind and the lonely call of some animal. On a rock outcropping in the distance a huge fortress-like building looms like a fantasy castle in dull grey stone. D'Argo, John and Zhaan are seen approaching the castle on foot across the deserted plain which it overlooks. They enter a large room that serves as the castle entrance. It is lit only by four tall braziers.

John: (looking around the silent, uninviting chamber) Damn. It's colder in here than it is outside.

D'Argo: Not possible. (a robed and hooded figure watches them from the shadows. It is a humanoid shaped creature with big green and yellow eyes, a broad nose and is covered with blue scales)

Zhaan: Greetings. We have been told we might find a Luxan here. (the servant makes no response but to dart away through a great doorway, it closes the doors behind it, leaving them alone)

John: Hey buddy, we're expected. Where you goin'?

Zhaan: I think we're being asked to wait.

John: Take a number, have a seat, no magazines. Typical.

Zhaan: (she notices D'Argo is eying one of the tall braziers a little apprehensively) Familiar?

D'Argo: I believe it is an otec lamp.

John: Is that a Luxan thing?

D'Argo: (quietly, with a hint of dread) It is used to ward off evil.

Zhaan: Then the rumors we heard on the commerce planet must be true after all. (the hooded servant reappears in the doorway)

John: Number 78? We're good to go. (the servant silently trots away, leaving the doors open) I'll take that as a yes. (the three of them advance through the doorway into a sparsely lit bedchamber. They get just a few feet into the room before they are stopped by a feminine voice)

Nilaam: Stop! There. (her voice is tired and weak. She is in shadows, resting on a canopied bed at the other end of the room and cannot be seen, but she can observe them where they stand. Our heroes obey her order) How remarkable. It is a Luxan. Plus, a Delvian and some species I can't identify.

John: Human. You wouldn't know about us yet.

Nilaam: I don't care to. Only the Luxan interests me. Send him closer. (D'Argo makes no move) What's the matter? Are you hideous? Let me see you. (he hesitantly steps forward) Have you a name?

D'Argo: I am Ka D'Argo.

Nilaam: (her voice trailing off) Rather young... for a General.

John: (to Zhaan) General? She must be losing her eyesight.

Nilaam: (in rebuke to John) Yes. But not my hearing. General D'Argo - (she slowly leans forward into the light and we see that she is an elderly Luxan woman. Although she lacks the chin growth that D'Argo sports, she does have a full head of tentacles just like he does. Hers are pulled up and looped forward in an elaborate arrangement and she has some facial structures that follow the line of her cheekbones. Her hair is thin and white. Her figure is fine though and she wears a kimono-like robe with long trailing sleeves. She also wears a wide metallic girdle that covers her entire midriff) - my name - is Nilaam. (D'Argo reacts to the sight of her with alarm, he quickly steps back and lowers his eyes in terrified respect)

D'Argo: Please forgive me! I did not realize - (he quickly turns back to John and Zhaan and starts to hustle them from the room) We must leave.

Nilaam: (crying out) You will stay! (D'Argo stops short, panting with fearful awe, and turns partway back, his eyes downcast-)

D'Argo: (his voice is raspy) You're an Orican.

Nilaam: (annoyed) Does that justify you collapsing in fear? STOP your groveling! Look at me! (he slowly raises his eyes to her) That's better. Come closer. (he slowly obeys her command, snorting a bit with alarm as he goes) Closer. As you must have noticed by now... I'm dying.

D'Argo: If you wish it, I will attend.

Nilaam: Think you're worthy? Of the honor?

D'Argo: That judgment is yours to make.

Nilaam: Exactly so. Let's find out. (she extends her right hand towards him, as if she were reaching to take his hand. But she points her pressed together fingers at his solar plexus and pauses, orange light glows from her hand. And then she suddenly plunges it into his body. He screams and doubles forward at the agony of her test. John and Zhaan instinctively leap forward)

John: D'Argo!

D'Argo: No! Stand back!

Nilaam: (she holds him, as if tearing at his insides with her hand) You are very strong. But worthy? (he continues to shudder and thrash) NOOOO! (she withdraws her hand and sends D'Argo flying backwards, out of the bedchamber as if he were thrown by a great force as she roars-) FRAAUUD!

John: (as D'Argo flies past him) D'Argo! (he and Zhaan rush to his side and the bedchamber doors slam shut behind them)

D'Argo: (he struggles to get to his feet) I'm fine.

John: How the hell can you be fine?! She just shoved her hand inside your chest!

D'Argo: I'm unharmed.

John: Then let me look! (he forces D'Argo onto his back so he and Zhaan can make a quick inspection of his torso. He is indeed intact)

D'Argo: As I told you. We'll leave now.

John: That works for me.

Zhaan: (with conviction) D'Argo. You don't want to leave.

John: Zhaan. Word. (he leads her aside)

Zhaan: D'Argo has been humiliated!

John: Yeah, well considering that woman was grabbing his guts, I'd say he got off lucky with humiliated.

Zhaan: She does not mean to harm him.

John: How do you know?

Zhaan: Because she is an Orican! She is a Holy Woman, revered by all Luxans!

John: And Holy Women never go bad? So why is she way out here? All by herself. Alone?

Zhaan: I don't know.

John: (agitated) Right! You don't know! She could have been excommunicated! She could have been kicked out for puttin' her hands in OTHER PEOPLE’S BUSINESS! (D'Argo hisses, having overheard much if not all of their not-so-quiet chat. and comes to join them)

D'Argo: Her worthiness is not in question! Mine is!

John: (outraged by the whole business) D'Argo, just because some ancient Luxan doesn't like the feel of your spleen does not mean she has the right to (yelling towards Nilaam's door) CALL MY FRIEND A FRAUD!

D'Argo: (grabbing John, who seems to be possibly making to go storming back into the bedchamber to tell the old Luxan off) SHE CALLED ME A FRAUD BECAUSE I AM NOT A GENERAL!

John: Well who said that you were?!

D'Argo: I DID! (then, quietly, he gestures at his facial tattoos and says-) These - are the markings of a General. (John stares silently at him for a moment)

John: Okay. So, you, uh - you got the barcodes of a General, but you aren't one.

D'Argo: No. In my second campaign, our enemy surrounded us. My General was badly wounded. I knew he wouldn't survive interrogation if he were captured, so I took on the tattoo of his rank to protect him.

Zhaan: Were you captured D'Argo?

D'Argo: Yes. But my battle unit was freed before the enemy had a chance to see through my ruse.

John: But you saved the real General’s ass, right? (D'Argo affirms) Right? So, tell me - what the hell is she bitchin' about?

Zhaan: I agree with Crichton. Your fraud served a higher purpose D'Argo. Certainly the Orican can understand that.

John: And if she doesn't... Brother, that's her problem.

D'Argo: (contemplatively) You're right.

John: Good. So let's get back to Moya and heat up some Irish Coffees. (he makes to leave with D'Argo who has begun to walk away)

D'Argo: No. You're right that she should understand that. Wait here. (and he veers off towards the Orican's bedchamber)

John: (he kicks the dirt floor) Damn! We were almost outta here.

(cut to D'Argo as he enters Nilaam’s chamber and strides boldly up to her bed)

Nilaam: (her voice is stronger than before, but raspy. She speaks dismissively to him) I have not sent for you.

D'Argo: No.

Nilaam: Yet you dare to intrude upon me!

D'Argo: Yes. I wish to say something.

Nilaam: (a taunting threat) I could kill you where you stand.

D'Argo: I know you could. Nonetheless, I wish to say something.

Nilaam: Hmph! And why - would I wish to hear it?

D'Argo: Because it is the truth! I was taught that Oricans are seekers of truth. Was I misinformed?

Nilaam: You are no General. What more truth need I hear?

D'Argo: An explanation. If you are not interested in the full truth, then you are not a true Orican.

Nilaam: (she chuckles a bit) I knew you had strength. I needed to know - if you had fire.

(cut to Moya. Chiana is in the sluice chamber standing knee deep in a pool of Moya’s amnexus fluid and singing - as she does laundry. By hand. So much for advanced alien technology - these people haven't even invented the wringer yet. I might add she's standing in the amnexus fluid with her pants and shoes on as well. Aeryn enters with an armload of washing which she dumps on the floor next to the pool with the rest)

Aeryn: Here's some more.

Chiana: Some more what?

Aeryn: Clothes to be cleaned.

Chiana: Oh, no problem - room for us both.

Aeryn: No, I want you to wash these.

Chiana: Oh do you? What? Are you-are you allergic to Moya’s amnexus fluids or something?

Aeryn: Just wash them will you?

Chiana: (outraged at the nerve of Aeryn) Um, when exactly did I become your-your servant? Why do I have to wash your clothes?

Aeryn: Well you're cleaning D'Argo’s aren't you?

Chiana: (eyeing Aeryn over her shoulder) Yeah, but I like D'Argo.

(cut back to the planet. D'Argo, John and Zhaan are talking in the entry chamber of the Orican’s castle)

John: (slowly, trying to grasp what D'Argo has been telling them) She wants you to - attend - her. What exactly does that mean?

D'Argo: (sounding more reverent than frightened now) Whatever she wants it to mean.

John: (decidedly not reverent) So. If she wants to rip out your liver, snack on it with a Chianti - she can do that?

D'Argo: She wouldn't do that.

John: Well, what is she gonna do?

D'Argo: She's going to die John.

John: D'Argo, I know that. What are you supposed to do?

Zhaan: Comfort her, John. Provide support. Ease her journey into the next realm.

D'Argo: I'm to assist her in the Ritual Of Passing.

John: (instantly on the alert) Whoa! Ritual?

D'Argo: A bonding.

Zhaan: An emotional and spiritual link is forged John. As I understand it, when the Orican dies, the attendant sanctifies the ascent by transferring energy to her.

John: (suspicious) Strike two! I do not like the sound of “transferring energy” either!

D'Argo: The process only involves little risk.

John: (sharply) How little risk? Oh, no, let me put it this way: How wrong can it go?

D'Argo: I could die.

John: (angered) I do NOT understand D'Argo! What do YOU get out of it?

D'Argo: (angry back) You know what? You sound like Rygel! (yeah but that doesn't mean Rygel isn't RIGHT sometimes...)

Zhaan: (angered by John's insensitivity and supportive of D'Argo) Luxans consider it a great privilege, John, to attend an Orican!

D'Argo: No not merely a privilege. It is the highest honor we know.

John: So you get your name on the Orican Honor Roll. And that's it?

Zhaan: You also go part of the way into the next realm John. When you come back, you've seen-

John: (cutting her off) IF you get back.

Zhaan: When you come back, you've had a glimpse of the other side. I envy you D'Argo.

John: Don't. Don't envy him. He hasn't made up his mind yet.

D'Argo: Yes I have. (he exits)

(cut to Moya - the docking bay. Aeryn is tinkering with her Prowler as D'Argo and Zhaan enter, having just come in with the pod)

Aeryn: Oh! You're back.

D'Argo: Only briefly.

Aeryn: Did you find your Luxan?

D'Argo: Yes. I'll tell you about it later. (Aeryn makes a casually disinterested sound and continues her work) Or if I don't, Zhaan and Crichton will. (he walks away)

Aeryn: (she stops to ask Zhaan-) Where's Crichton?

(cut back to the planet. Nilaam sits on her deathbed, hacking and coughing as John enters her chamber)

Nilaam: I'm not dead yet.

John: Nope. I didn't expect that you were.

Nilaam: (struggling for her breath) But you were hoping I was. Hoping I'd quietly slipped away before D'Argo had a chance to return.

John: You need to understand something. I'm worried about my friend.

Nilaam: Commendable. But a waste of time. His fate is out of your control.

John: Yes. It's in your control. That's what worries me.

Nilaam: (she looks piercingly at him and she seems to gather some strength) The spiritual realm frightens you?

John: Losing those I care about frightens me. (she makes no response as they face each other for a long moment. John huffs and breaks their stare down) Isn't this where you're supposed to say, “Don't worry. I'm not gonna hurt D'Argo”?

Nilaam: (tired) I can guarantee no such thing. I will however, promise that I will do all I can to keep him from harm.

John: That's not very comforting.

Nilaam: It's the best I can do.

John: Okay. (he sits down next to her) This... Ritual of Passing - how important is it?

Nilaam: You mean, why don't I just die like any other being?

John: (chuckling despite himself at her blunt and dead accurate translation of his concern) Yeah. I mean why don't you just die like any other being?

Nilaam: (quietly) I could. But I don't want to. Do you realize that I haven't even seen another Luxan for 9 cycles?

John: 9?

Nilaam: And now I'm - too frail to make the journey home. Have you any idea what it's like to be separated from your own kind?

John: Yeah, matter of fact, I do.

Nilaam: Then you can't begrudge me this one last wish. (John sighs and makes no response)

(cut back to Moya. D'Argo is in his quarters quietly gathering some belongings. Rygel enters)

Rygel: Packing up all your stuff?

D'Argo: Only the Luxan objects.

Rygel: Ah. You're going to show them off to that ancient mystic you dredged up.

D'Argo: Is there some reason why you would care?

Rygel: Just don't want you to miss an opportunity. Bet your new friend would pay quite well for some genuine Luxan artifacts.

D'Argo: This is not a trading expedition.

Rygel: Oooh - I understand. (cynically) This is one of your countrymen. You don't want to sully your relationship with commerce. (he sniggers) Let me do that. (Chiana enters) Ten microts with the old fossil and we'll be in profit-

Chiana: (grabbing a fold of his robe and using it to muffle his mouth) CLAMP IT! Frog lips... (while she maintains a hold on Rygel she speaks to D'Argo) Hey. Zhaan told me you're - you're gonna do some kind of ritual thing.

D'Argo: That's right.

Chiana: So - is it dangerous?

D'Argo: (he stops and looks at her. After a moment’s silence shakes his head and says reassuringly-) Not in the least. I'll be back soon. Make sure he doesn't eat my share of the food. (Rygel makes a stifled sound of outrage as he and Chiana watch D'Argo exit)

Chiana: I will. (to Rygel as she releases him) You heard him.

Rygel : Yes, I heard him. But somehow - I don't believe him. (Chiana looks worried - she knows Rygel has a bluntly accurate perception of his own...)

(cut to planetside. John is sitting in the dark entry chamber with the otec lamps. He sits facing the closed doors to the Orican’s room and fidgets with his fingers fretfully. Cut to inside Nilaam’s room. She and D'Argo prepare for the Ritual of Passage. D'Argo wears a robe embroidered with geometric designs in opalescent thread. He and the Orican face each other, kneeling)

D'Argo: Are you ready?

Nilaam: (softly) No. I know it's time. I'm old. Weak and in pain. I know the next realm will welcome me. Still... it's not easy to... to let go. To enter the darkness. Perhaps that's why Oricans have attendants. To strengthen our resolve as much as our spirit. (she lays her hand on his chest) Your strength is impressive.

D'Argo: I hope it is sufficient.

Nilaam: I'm sure it will be.

And with that Nilaam begins to murmur a repetitive monotone mantra in Luxan. As she does, she picks up D'Argo’s Qualta and balances it on it’s tip. As she releases it, he reaches down and slices open her palm on the blade. D'Argo now begins a mantra of his own, his is harsher in sound and the words are different as he opens a wound on his own palm. They clasp their bleeding hands together and their chants increase in volume and intensity. Cut briefly to John outside, watching he door as the chanting increases in speed and volume, with a look of dread on his face. In the Orican’s room the Qualta rises off the floor and John begins to pace...

Meanwhile, back on Moya, Chiana is back in the sluice chamber, up to her knees in laundry. She pauses and looks up for a moment, as if she can faintly hear the urgent chanting on the planet far below.

Back on the planet the Qualta hangs in midair, point down, over D'Argo and Nilaam’s heads as the Orican pauses in the ritual to gasp excitedly

Nilaam: D'Argo! Your spirit! So strong! I've never felt such power! I must try! (quickly, she begins a new mantra as D'Argo watches her, uncertain what is happening. The flames of the otec lamps leap higher and the room begins to rumble as if an earthquake is rolling beneath it. Suddenly D'Argo begins to scream. The hovering Qualta begins to tremble. Cut briefly to Moya where Chiana again stops her washing and looks up, as if she hears, or senses something terrible happening. Back on the planet John begins shouting-)

John: D'ARGO? D'ARGO! WHAT'S GOING ON IN THERE? (he throws himself against the locked door as D'Argo’s screams continue) D'ARGO!

Inside the Orican’s chamber the Qualta blade drops and embeds itself in a table of ritual objects. John manages to break the door open and he rushes in. D'Argo continues to wail with agony as Nilaam stops her chanting and cries to John-

Nilaam: Leave us! The ritual isn't done! (but John draws his pulse gun and replies-)

John: The hell it ain't. This party's over.

Nilaam: You're too late.

John: (advancing on her and D'Argo) I said it's over! (but Nilaam raises her hand and telekinetically knocks John’s gun from his gloved hand. There's a sizzling sound and his glove smokes. The Orican rises and moves away from D'Argo. His groans stop) Arrghh! DAMN! (John goes to D'Argo who has collapsed onto the floor) D'Argo! You okay?

D'Argo: (woozy) John, what happened?

John: (angry) I don't know! Ask grandma here!

Nilaam: (she is standing with her back to them, looking at her hands. She exclaims in a breathy, girlish voice-) Ah! it worked! It - it really worked! No pain! No age! (she turns to face them and they gape at her. She is the same Nilaam, elaborately arranged tentacles, clothing - except that now she is youthful and Luxanishly beautiful. She excitedly runs her hands over her silky orange tresses and nubile body as she gasps-) D'Argo! We did it. (breathy giggle) You've given me life!

(cut back to Moya. Chiana stands in the amnexus fluid and calls -)

Chiana: (she's alternating between pulling at her feet and calling anxiously over her shoulder) Zhaan? Aeryn? Need some help in... (she trails off as Aeryn enters and then says limply-) Hey.

Aeryn: (snickering as she saunters over to Chiana) What have you done?

Chiana: Nothing.

Aeryn: (eyeing the amnexus fluid - which has frozen solid around Chiana’s legs) Well you must have done something.

Chiana: (trying to be calm in front of Aeryn) I didn't do anything. I-i-it just froze up all around me. Get me out of here?

Aeryn: (bitch) When did I become your servant?

Chiana: Don't frell around. Just... just get me out of here okay?

Aeryn: (smiling at Chiana as she twists the knife) What's the hurry Chiana? You're not allergic to Moya’s amnexus fluids, are you?

Chiana: Oh yeah. Very funny Aeryn. Look, can you please just do something? (Zhaan enters) Zhaan. Finally, someone who's a little more useful!

Zhaan: (to Aeryn) What did she do?

Chiana: (as Zhaan prods curiously at the solidified amnexus fluid) I didn't do anything! Just-

Zhaan: (ignoring her) Pilot, do you know anything about this?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den) Only that Moya’s hydric system is failing on a number of tiers. Cause unknown.

(cut back to the Orican’s room on the planet)

John: D'Argo, you okay?

Nilaam: He's more than okay. He's the most powerful Luxan I've ever known.

John: You did this?

D'Argo: I'm not sure how. Was that supposed to happen?

Nilaam: No. I was supposed to die. But when I sensed your astonishing power, I decided to try the Ritual of Renewal instead. See how well it worked?

John: Look Princess. You damn near killed him!

D'Argo: (gazing at Nilaam) Actually, I've uh... I've never felt better.

Nilaam: (gazing at D'Argo) Neither have I.

John: Yeah, well you... you could've... killed him.

D'Argo: But she didn't.

Nilaam: (as she nudges John aside and steps closer to D'Argo) His pain was short lived. And I intend to make up for it. (she lays her hands on his chest and begins stroking him)

John: (he eyes them for a moment as they get into it then looks quickly away) Yeah Darg - I'm just gonna buzz up to Moya and see-

D'Argo: (quickly, without taking his eyes from Nilaam) I think that's a good idea, John.

John: (muttering to himself as he turns to leave) Ew weirder and weirder.

Nilaam: (she opens the front of D'Argo’s robe and licks him as he gasps ecstatically, she stays there a long moment before coming up for air and saying-) Your taste! OoOoOoOh...

D'Argo: What?

Nilaam: I can taste you! I can move! I can breathe! I can feel! (she does a little pirouette towards the bed, her braids and robes swirling about her)

D'Argo: You are glorious.

Nilaam: We are glorious. We must celebrate. (she sits on the bed, they both chortle with anticipation) You gave me this. (she bares a leg and leans back) I think it's only fair that you enjoy it with me. (D'Argo inhales shakily with pleasure)

(cut back to Moya. Chiana is yelling with alarm as Aeryn hacks at the frozen amnexus fluid with one of the sharp, metal, hockey stick-like handy-dandy all-purpose tools that are standard equipment on Moya)

Chiana: Ow! Watch it! Careful with that thing!

Aeryn: Do you want to get out of here or not? (a DRD sitting on the solidified fluid tries to melt it with a little laser, but that too seems to have no effect. Aeryn calls Zhaan via comm-) Zhaan I'm not having any luck here. How about you with the solvent?

(cut to Zhaan in her lab. She has some chips of the solid amnexus that she's working with)

Zhaan: The solidified amnexus resists everything I throw at it.

Aeryn: (on comm) Same here. Even the DRDs are having difficulties.

Pilot: (via comm) We have a more serious problem.

Chiana: (her voice is shaky with anxiety) Oh come on. More serious than mine?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den) Certain areas of Moya’s outer skin appear to be deteriorating.

Zhaan: (cut to her in her lab) What's wrong Pilot?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den) I don't know. Neither does Moya. (cut to Chiana looking very worried in the sluice chamber as she listens to their conversation)

Zhaan: Patch me through to Crichton and D'Argo.

Pilot: Yes.

(cut back to the planet - John is still in the outer chamber of the Orican’s castle as he listens to Zhaan’s story)

John: And Pilot has no idea?

Zhaan: None. We could use some extra hands John. Can you and D'Argo return at once?

John: Yeah . No, I'll - I'll be right there. (he stands and looks at the closed door to Nilaam’s bedchamber as he speaks) ah - D'Argo - he might, uh, be awhile. He's revitalizing. (the loud sounds of Luxan whoopee is heard wafting from behind the shut door...)

(cut to D'Argo and Nilaam behind the closed door. They are laying in bed taking a break and talking pillow-talk. Yes you have to read it - if you don't you won't understand ANYTHING about the whole rest of

D'Argo: Oh. I need a Ritual of Renewal myself.

Nilaam: (laughing) Have I finally sapped your strength?

D'Argo: Only temporarily.

Nilaam: Mm. Let me know when you recover.

D'Argo: Believe me, you will.

Nilaam: You know, D'Argo. I've hardly been able to leave this bed for over six cycles. And now that I can, I don't want to.

D'Argo: Oh? You're keeping me prisoner?

Nilaam: Absolutely.

D'Argo: (teasing) I once made an oath that I'd never be taken prisoner again. So much for that huh? Nilaam - what do you want to do now? (she is straddling him and reaches out to stroke his chest. I might add they both appear to be fully clothed)
Besides that!

Nilaam: Well. Start a new life. Not in the uncharted territories - I want to go home.

D'Argo: You can do that?

Nilaam: D'Argo, I can do anything! I can guide your ship home. I can help your friends. I could even make you a real General.

D'Argo: My son. I want to see my son again.

Nilaam: Then you will.

D'Argo: But I have no idea where he is.

Nilaam: Then we will find him. Anything is possible now.

(cut to Moya. Zhaan is in her lab working when suddenly there is a rumble and Moya shudders, causing Zhaan’s bottles and jars to wobble and tink against each other. There is a sound of stressed metal)

Zhaan: (alarmed) Pilot?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den) There's been an outer-hull breach. Tier 20, hammond side.

Zhaan: Decompression?

Pilot: No. Moya’s inner walls appear to be unaffected - So far.

(cut to the sluice chamber. John has arrived back and is tapping thoughtfully at the solidified amnexus fluid . Aeryn is still hacking at it and a couple DRDs are discussing strategy)

Chiana: Is this a good time to tell you that, uh - I can't feel my feet?

John: If we had any idea how Moya made it, we could patent this stuff.

Aeryn: (as she throws down her tool) Useless. (more to herself than to Chiana or John-) I wonder if I've got any grenades left. (she trots out)

Chiana: (urgently) She was kidding - Right? Tell me that she was kidding.

John: Well with Aeryn... you never know.

Rygel: (yawning as he sails in on his hoverchair) What emergency could possibly justify waking me up?

John: How 'bout breaches in the outer hull?

Rygel: (dismissive) Oooohhh - aren't the inner hulls secure?

John: Yeah but we need you to take your scooter out there in the tight spaces and check for weak spots.

Rygel: Can't the DRDs do that?

John: They're already doing it - doesn't mean you can't help.

Chiana: He's right Toad Face. Pitch in! Make yourself useful for a change.

Rygel: If I must. But you're worrying for nothing. Hull breaches are nearly unheard of on Leviathans. (Famous Last Words - at that moment there's a terrible sound like an explosion and a shuddering and rumbling reverberates through the room)

Rygel: Whoa-oo-

John: Pilot, what the hell's going on?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den - shouting) INNER HULL BREACH! SLUICE CHAMBER! (and with that part of the wall near them buckles and blows open. Cut to a view of the outside of Moya as atmosphere puffs out into the vacuum. Back in the sluice chamber Chiana screams and John reaches for Rygel as the powerful wind of decompression lashes them)

John: PILOT! SEAL OFF THIS TIER! RYGEL, GRAB MY HAND! (Rygel terrified, and the DRDs fight against the rush of outgoing air) RYGEL! HANG ON!

Rygel: OoOoH! HOLD ME!


Rygel: (as he loses his grip) CRICHTON! (and with that his is sucked off his hoverchair and pulled towards the breach)

John: NO!

Chiana: RYGEL! (and with a thunk Rygel enters the breach butt-first. And stops. There is sudden silence as the rush of atmosphere from Moya is halted)

Rygel: (gasping) Help! Help!

Chiana: Well, what do you know? He has made himself useful.

Rygel: I'm-I'm stuck!

Pilot: Decompression has ceased. What happened?

John: We got lucky. Sparky's got a big ass. (cut briefly to an external view of Rygel’s bum hanging out the other side of the hole)

Pilot: Pardon?

John: Butt. Hole. I'll explain later Pilot. (he carefully approaches Rygel and examines the breach) The good news is - No leak. You're a tight fit Sluggo. As long as you don't move. (Rygel squirms frantically and there is a sound of escaping air, John makes him stop) Don't - move!

Rygel: Call that good news? I want out!

John: Yeah. Nono, nono. You want in. Not out. In. Not out. (he spent too long in that cell with Stark. Aeryn enters wearing her space suit) Hey.

Rygel: What did you see from the outside?

Aeryn: A few gaps in the outer hull and your backside hanging in space. (when did she go in space? We thought she was looking for grenades... Oh well. She has a piece of hull debris which John takes)

Rygel: (grimly) Am I - intact?

Aeryn: You seem to be all there. But I can't say I looked too closely.

John: What the hell is this?

Aeryn: That is a piece from the edge of the largest hole, and it came off very easily in my hands.

John: Well, let's hope it gives Zhaan a clue.

Aeryn: (she takes the bit of debris back and exits) Indeed. (Rygel grunts and squirms. Again there is the sound of escaping atmosphere around him. John leaps to settle him down)

John: Whoa! Hold still!

Chiana: What? What are you trying to do, kill all of us now?!

Rygel: I can't help it! I'm being crushed! I can hardly breathe!

John: Then don't breathe!

(at that moment, D'Argo and Nilaam enter)

Rygel: Who's that? And why is she here?

D'Argo: This is Nilaam. She's here to help.

Chiana: How could SHE possibly help US?

D'Argo: She's an Orican.

Chiana: (annoyed) Oh. Okay. I'll repeat the question-

John: (stopping her) Don't. Hold the question. Nilaam, if there's something you can do, please - Do it.

Rygel: Don't you dare touch me! I don't trust Luxans!

Nilaam: I'm not going to touch you. I'm going to heal the outer skin of your ship.

Rygel: You are? Well hurry! Does this look - comfortable to you?

Chiana: (in a hissing whisper to John) I thought you said she was ancient!

John: (whispering back) Hey! Later! (Nilaam closes her eyes and takes on a look of concentration. Moya immediately begin to shudder violently)

Zhaan: (cut to her in her lab, glass breaks around her and she calls via comm in alarm) John! what's going on?

John: (cut back to him in the sluice chamber) Zhaan, do you feel that?

Pilot: (cut to him in his Den - crying in alarm-) Tremors are occurring all though Moya! They are increasing the deterioration!

John: (gently) Hey, look - Nilaam. You're making it worse. Stop.

Nilaam: (perplexed) It's a healing incantation. It has to work.

Chiana: (muttering) It should work.

Rygel: (gasping, sounding squeezed) Try another! Try anything!

Nilaam: I need to meditate. Find another way. D'Argo, is there a private place?

D'Argo: Come with me. (he and Chiana exchange a glance as he leaves with Nilaam)

(shortly after - cut to a quiet room aboard Moya, Nilaam is kneeling and chanting - she senses D'Argo standing behind her in the doorway)

Nilaam: (her tone is rushed) Please D'Argo, don't disturb me now I'm trying to find a cure.

D'Argo: (mildly confrontational) We did this, didn't we? We caused this problem. We're harming Moya. (she makes no response) Nilaam, tell me.

Nilaam: I didn't know. You have to believe that. Please believe that. (D'Argo walks into the room and sits by her)

D'Argo: What happened?

Nilaam: During the ritual, the power I sensed - I thought it was yours. I didn't realize the ship was a biomechaniod.

D'Argo: So you bonded with Moya’s energy.

Nilaam: I didn't know.

D'Argo: Now you know.

Nilaam: And I can make things right. There must be a way.

D'Argo: How can you be sure?

Nilaam: Because this shouldn't be happening. This ritual shouldn't keep draining strength from the Leviathan. She should recover.

D'Argo: She is dying.

Nilaam: (rising) And I can save her! I need to consult my Tebek Scrolls. Take me back to the planet!

D'Argo: (rising with her) I cannot abandon Moya.

Nilaam: All of my resources are in my chamber. Potions, artifacts, ancient manuscripts - they'll have an answer. Look - (she strides to the wall of the room and lays her hand against it. The wall darkens and withers where she touches it) I'm a disease to this ship. Get me away from her. It might at least slow the process down.

D'Argo: Slowing the process down is not good enough.

Nilaam: Then let me try everything I can.

(cut to Zhaan’s lab. Aeryn id there speaking with her)

Aeryn: It's a little odd, don't you think? That all Moya’s problems developed just as this shaman woman turned herself young?

Zhaan: It's not necessarily linked. If it is, Nilaam should be able to find a solution.

Aeryn: I'm not sure she wants to find a solution.

Pilot: (on comm - he sounds tired) Officer Sun, may I speak with you please?

Aeryn: What is it Pilot?

Pilot: I would prefer to discuss it - in person.

Aeryn: I'll be right there. (she exits)

(cut to Pilot’s Den as Aeryn enters)

Aeryn: Pilot. (she stops, startled by his appearance. Pilot looks terrible. He is bathed in sickly green light, his carapace is peeling. His skin is flaking and it’s creases have deepened to wrinkles. He is greatly fatigued and his speech is slow and labored. After taking this all in for a moment Aeryn slowly approaches him)

Pilot: My... connection... with Moya... affecting me... as her systems... fail.

Aeryn: What is it, Pilot? How can we fix it.

Pilot: Don't know... amnexus solidification... skin deterioration... only happens during old age. Moya's still young. Makes no sense.

Aeryn: It makes too much sense. Where's Nilaam?

Pilot: I will check... take a moment... senses aren't clear. (his claw trembles with the palsy of old age as he touches his Console) Found her... she's with D'Argo... tier 6... on their way to the transport hangar.

Aeryn: (silently furious) I don't know if this can be reversed Pilot, but I promise you this - I won't let Nilaam keep what she's stolen. (she spins and strides purposefully from the Den)

(cut to moments later. Aeryn is marching through the corridors of Moya toting an enormous pulse weapon. John seems to have heard something is up and catches up with her at a run)

John: Hey! What are you doing?

Aeryn: D'Argo and his woman are going to make a run for it. I'm going to stop them.

John: Uh-uh, not with that thing you're not.

Aeryn: (without breaking stride) Watch me.

(cut to the transport hangar as D'Argo and Nilaam enter it. Aeryn is close behind and John is just behind HER. Without speaking, Aeryn aims her weapon and shoots a huge ball of deadly energy at Nilaam)

John: AERYN!

D'Argo: NOOOO! (he steps between the pulse blast and Nilaam, suddenly time seems to slow down. Nilaam fixes the oncoming energy charge with a deadly gaze and it splits, bypassing D'Argo and slamming into Moya’s wall. Then, before a word can be said or Aeryn can squeeze off another shot - she focuses on her and John and they freeze - encased in crystalline cocoons. D'Argo stares at Aeryn and John in horror, breathing heavily)

Nilaam: That won't hold them for long. Come on. D'Argo, we must go! (with a lingering look back at his immobilized friends, he slowly follows her)

(shortly afterwards a pair of DRDs approach Aeryn and John and cause their crystal prisons to shatter)

Aeryn: (as she and John stagger a bit) What was that?

John: Gah! Pins and needles! You're asking the wrong spaceman! Pilot! Did they get away?

Pilot: (he appears on clamshell viewer, barely able to move or speak now. He groans with effort as he mumbles-) Transport pod left Moya... a quarter arn ago.

(cut to Nilaam’s castle down on the planet)

D'Argo: (urgently) Nilaam you have already tried four different incantations. It is not working.

Nilaam: (desperate) I know. Your transport pod - How far can it get us?

D'Argo: (he is not standing near her and now he turns away from her as well) Leave my friends?

Nilaam: (pacing) Some distance between me and Moya might - stop the energy drain. I -

D'Argo: And if it doesn't?

Nilaam: (stopping - frustrated) D'Argo, it IS just a ship!

D'Argo: (angered by her insensitivity) MOYA IS NOT JUST A SHIP! She's alive! And you are taking HER life to restore your own.

Nilaam: (rationalizing) The life of a Leviathan for the life of an Orican!

D'Argo: (incredulous) How can an Orican justify taking life? Have you forgotten who you are?

Nilaam: (righteous) Have you forgotten what I can do?

D'Argo: (with furious Luxan candor) I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN WHAT YOU CANNOT DO, WHICH IS RESTORE MOYA’S LIFE! (a pause - then, quietly) Does that suggest to you that you have taken something that you really should not have?

Nilaam: I can't give it back now. I can't lose this. (she looks down at her youthful body. Then she looks to him) Lose you. D'Argo - I- I don't know what to do. Tell me what to do. (John is heard calling from outside the Orican’s private room)

John: D'ARGO! (cut to him in the entry chamber) D'Argo. It's me - John. We have to talk. D'ARGO! (the door to Nilaam’s chamber opens a bit and D'Argo edges out. He Qualta is drawn and he holds it defensively. There is a long silence as John draws his pulse gun - and lays it on a table. He says quietly-) We're out of time. Moya’s hull is deteriorating fast and Pilot can't do a thing. You know what's causing it.

D'Argo: John... Nilaam isn't evil.

John: That doesn't change anything.

D'Argo: (there's a pleading note in his voice) Moya, Pilot, Aeryn - they will never forgive her, they may never even forgive me. But you - you must understand.

John: I understand -what she's doing is killing Moya.

D'Argo: She didn't mean it.

John: Doesn't matter.

D'Argo: (desperate) She honestly thought it was my energy that restored her youth. She's trying everything she can to restore Moya’s health.

John: D'Argo - I don't - know - what she intended. What I know - is that it's murder. (D'Argo draws a shaky breath) And you're the only one who can stop it. (grief-stricken, D'Argo throws aside his Qualta)

D'Argo: Don't you think I know what has to be done!? (he sinks to the floor, sobbing. John retrieves the Qualta and comes to sit next to him. D'Argo shakes himself furiously out of his distress and says with sorrowful resolve-) I came here - to end this And I will.

(cut to shortly thereafter, D'Argo takes his Qualta and re-enters Nilaam’s chamber where she waits silently)

D'Argo: It is time.

Nilaam: D'Argo, the gifts you gave me - Youth. Happiness. Passion. I know I can't keep them - But - I have treasured them.

D'Argo: As I've treasured you.

Nilaam: I'm not afraid anymore. I've chosen my path. I just don't know if I have the will to travel it. I turned back once. I can't turn back again. I need your strength once more.

Once again they take up positions kneeling on the floor, facing each other. The Qualta blade laying nearby. Once again they begin their chanting and once again Nilaam picks up the blade. But this time - instead of balancing it perfectly upon it’s tip - she plunges in into her stomach. The chanting stops as she gasps with the agony of it and long moments pass as she withdraws the blade from her body. D'Argo holds her steady as she speaks to him in Luxan - “Na shak attar.” A drop of her blood rolls off the Qualta, solidifies into a perfect orb, and shatters upon the floor. As it does so it explodes in a burst of light that shimmers away like sparks from a firework and she dies.

The Qualta falls to floor and outside a tear on John’s cheek catches the light from a flame in an otec lamp while D'Argo cradles the now ancient-again body of Nilaam.

(cut to Moya. In the sluice chamber Chiana alternates between giggles of relief and shudders of memory as she walks stiffly about, trying to regain the feeling in her feet. Rygel is out of the hull breach, now fixed, and Zhaan is rubbing his numb feet)

Chiana: You know, until today, I- I never really realized how much I love my feet.

Rygel: (just plain relieved) Frell your feet! How about loving your life?

Chiana: I don't know you survived, Ryg. Your butt must be made of reinforced krandak.

Rygel: I have no idea what krandak is, but if I've lost any sensation below middle level - Then I'm going to test how sensitive D'Argo’s nether regions are with a red hot - OoOoOh! Woo-hoo! OooOo! HoOoo! (he sits up abruptly and Zhaan laughs) Careful! Ticklish spot!

(cut to Pilot’s Den. Aeryn is there with him, sitting on his Console)

Aeryn: You're looking better already. Is there anything I can do to help speed up the healing process?

Pilot: Nothing I'm aware of. Moya and I thank you for your concern.

Aeryn: Pilot, what is the normal life span of a Leviathan?

Pilot: Uh, many have lived over three hundred cycles.

Aeryn: What about your species?

Pilot: Normally, a thousand cycles or more. However, when we bond with Leviathans, we live no longer than they do.

Aeryn: So, when Moya eventually does die...

Pilot: I will go as well. I would not have it any other way.

(cut back to the planet. John enters the Orican’s bedchamber where D'Argo sits alone)

John: You want me to get lost?

D'Argo: Why would I want you to do that?

John: In case you wanted some time alone.

D'Argo: I do. (there is a long pause, he looks at John) But not yet.


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