The episode opens with a squad of armored Peacekeeper soldiers, weapons at the ready, marching with brisk determination through the corridors of a Leviathan. At their head is an unarmored young Peacekeeper named Velorek. He is tall and slender with handsome dark eyes and hair. He turns, without breaking his urgent pace, into the Pilot's Den of the Leviathan where he stops in front of the Pilot as the soldiers fan out to flank him on either side. This Pilot's appearance is indistinguishable from the Pilot we know - but her gaze is defiant and she speaks with the voice of a strong and sure older woman-
LadyPilot: Lieutenant Velorek! This display of force will change nothing!
Velorek: This is not a display. I offer you one final chance to cooperate.
LadyPilot: (passionately) I have been bonded to this Leviathan for 21 cycles! Two minds, two bodies intertwined as one! (as she speaks her visage becomes staticky and indistinct at times, as if we are watching her on an old film) Whatever your secret project is - I will not participate!
Velorek: (his tone is mild, but persistent) This Leviathan will do what I wish - if you lead her to do so.
LadyPilot: (with anger and contempt) You Peacekeepers, subjugate us! Torture us! And now you expect us to cooperate with you? YOU HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE COVENANT BETWEEN LEVIATHAN AND PILOT!
Velorek: (he makes no response except to say quietly - in LadyPilot's own language-) Et art eta.
LadyPilot: (she gasps and is clearly taken aback by Velorek's words as she whispers-) Another - Pilot?
Velorek: (unblinking) He's being held down at the transport bay, awaiting your decision.
LayPilot: (recovering from her shock, she demands angrily-) I insist you reverse the control collar anesthetic and reawaken this Leviathan at once! (but at that moment a familiar voice is hear from the entrance to the Den)
Crais: (outraged at LadyPilot's audacity) YOU "INSIST"? (the image again takes on the quality of an old documentary film, or a jumpy home movie as he shouts to Velorek) LIEUTENANT! What is taking so long?
Velorek: (as Crais advances towards him) I'm offering her one last chance to see the folly of her-
Crais: (cutting him off) You have secured a replacement Pilot?
Velorek: Yes Captain but-
Crais: (cutting him off again as he screams the order to the PK soldiers) FIRE! (and with that the squad of soldiers raise their weapons and commence firing on LadyPilot. She screams and writhes in agony as volley after volley of pulse fire hits her, finally penetrating her tough hide and killing her. Velorek, who had turned to face Crais when he entered does not take his eyes off him during the murder of LadyPilot. Finally when her screams stop and there is no sound but the dripping of her blood and the residual sizzle of her charred flesh. Crais demands impatiently of Velorek-) How long will it take to replace it?
Velorek: I can't be certain until we extract the body.
Crais: (furious) Then stop wasting my time! Get your unit working! (he begins to exit but turns back to look at Velorek who stands rooted the spot where Crais left him, and screams-) MOVE! (he leaves and the scene once again becomes a home movie. One of the PK soldiers has a camera mounted on his helmet, which now swivels from the back of Velorek's head and the departing Crais first to the dead LadyPilot and then to the soldier standing next to him and says-)
PK cameraman: How far down there do you think it is? (Velorek overhears the question and turns his head)
Soldier: I dunno. We'll find out soon enough.
PK cameraman: (grumbling) I hate waste removal.
Velorek: (shouting furiously) Keep your opinions to yourselves! - IS THAT CLEAR? (the camera whirls about like lightning and stops on the face of one of his fellow soldiers as she pulls off her helmet and they all shout- "YES, SIR!" - The recording stops on the face of the female soldier. It is Aeryn)
Aeryns face shimmers away to reveal Chiana and John. They are sitting somewhere on Moya, on either side of a table. On the table is a projector holding the holochip from which the frozen visage of Aeryn rises. They've been watching a recording of past events aboard Moya. John's tone is flat and he is clearly disturbed by what he has seen as he asks Chiana-
John: Where did you find this?
Chiana: (quietly) Top tier. Digging through all the dren stored up there.
John: (murmuring ruminatively) Must be some kind of Peacekeeper recording device...
Chiana: Did you see what I see? This is Aeryn. It-it shows she's been aboard Moya!
John: (ignoring her as he stares at the image of Aeryn's face) Peacekeepers must have kept these things running 24/7, to spy on their own people.
Chiana: (insistent upon his attention) Crichton! That is Aeryn! She's been aboard Moya before. (he looks up at her) She killed a Pilot. (he makes no response other than to lower his eyes back to the recorded image of Aeryn staring coldly back at him. His look is that of a man repulsed, horrified, confused and very worried)
(cut to later. The crew of Moya - not including Pilot - has gathered to watch the recording together, and confront Aeryn. She sits at the table, closest to the holo recording as it plays. The others are gathered loosely around, watching and listening grimly. Rygel gasps with horror at the protracted death of LadyPilot by firing squad. Aeryn seems to be having trouble watching it and as the PK squad on the recording shouts "YES SIR!" and the camera focuses on her face - she abruptly yanks the holochip out of the projector and slaps it onto the table)
Aeryn: (upset, angry, near tears) Yes it's me. I admit it. Are you happy now?
Zhaan: (gentle, but accusatory) This shows you have been aboard Moya before.
D'Argo: Why didn't you ever tell us?
Rygel: (damning) Criminally obvious, isn't it? She helped murder a defenseless Pilot!
Aeryn: (her voice is quivering) It must have been about 3 cycles ago. I've been aboard hundreds of Leviathans, and I had no idea that it was Moya!
Chiana: (snide) Oh so all non-Sebaceans look alike. Is that it?
Aeryn: I didn't know Chiana!
John: (stepping up to take Aeryn's part and hopefully defuse a potentially explosive situation) Look - the Aeryn on that tape, is not the Aeryn we know. That was a looong time ago.
Rygel: (not backing down THAT easily) 3 cycles isn't that long! Heh! I was aboard Moya by then.
Zhaan: (baleful) As was I.
Rygel: (accusatory) Maybe you were one of the ones who took a turn at torturing ME! Ever torture a Hynerian?
D'Argo: (chiming in on the chorus of doubt) Perhaps you helped torture me too.
Aeryn: NO! (she's upset and wracked with guilt. She sits facing her friends, resting her elbows on the table and wringing her hands in front of her face)
John: (attempting to comfort her, he reaches to touch her shoulder) Aeryn - just don't- (but she slaps his hand away without taking her gaze from the others - who she knows she could very well have indirectly helped to torment. John steps back and addresses the lot of them firmly-) Okay everybody. Neutral corners. Let's chill out for a microt - we all have things in our past that we'd rather not have on instant replay.
Zhaan: (refusing to allow him to minimize the magnitude of what happened, she replies in a deadly tone-) True enough John. But I still can't accept the cold-blooded slaughter of such a helpless creature.
Aeryn: (bursting out defensively) Oh! It's perfectly fine to cut off one of his arms then, is it Zhaan!? (Zhaan fixes her with a lowering glare)
Rygel: (pronouncing his judgment) Peacekeeper murderer! (Aeryn lunges furiously at him, but John goes after her and pulls her back as he yells-)
John: AERYN! NO! (but her fury - as much self-directed as it is at Rygel, is intense and she turns on him. But before things can escalate further he stops her short with the words-) Don't! You're not helping your case.
Chiana: (breaking the momentary silence with something resembling conciliatory words) What have you guys been thinking all this time? What? She was out picking baskets of rolliss buds while all the other mean Peacekeepers did all the really nasty stuff? (there's a moment of silence as Aeryn turns to face them again, looking dead and drained, and Zhaan looks away) She was a Peacekeeper.
Aeryn: (flat) Yes. I was a Peacekeeper. And things were very different then. (as she speaks her voice quavers again and the scene shifts from the present to 3 years ago when Moya was part of a Peacekeeper fleet that included at least two other Leviathans and Crais’s Command Carrier) My priorities. My values... and my relationships... (the Moya of Aeryn's memory bustles with Peacekeepers. With Prowlers and transports docking and unloading. Orders and information being crisply called and acknowledged. She herself is an ordinary soldier, standing sentry duty outside one of the cargo bays. Her dark hair in a tight pull-back. She's clad in black body armor and toting a big pulse rifle. Velorek approaches her)
Velorek: (pleasantly) Officer Sun! (she turns towards him) Wish you were back flying Prowlers again, eh? (she does not respond but looks away as if keeping an eye on the crowds moving around them. There's a long pause - he speaks again and she looks back at him as he says-) You're a very fine pilot. I'm glad you were reassigned to fly my transport. (Miss Congeniality just stares blankly at him. He doesn't give up as she turns to walk her sentry post and he falls in beside her) We were in space for - 22 solar days? And not once did you ask what the cargo was.
Aeryn: (clearly not pleased with her reassignment - but she speaks in a neutral tone, mindful that he is a superior officer - and also that he is a man) I get yanked from Prowler duty - without cause, and reassigned to transport duty. That's fine - I do what I'm ordered to do. But it doesn't mean I have to be interested.
Velorek: Healthy curiosity isn't against regulations, Officer.
Aeryn: Asking questions is. And besides, if I had a question to ask of my superiors, it would be `Why was I pulled from Prowler detail and when do I get to go back?' (but at that moment their attention is drawn by muffled cries of distress coming from a huge black-shrouded object sitting alone nearby on a trolley. Velorek approaches it and stepping up onto the trolley, unfastens the black mesh and throws it back to reveal the muzzled face of Pilot. His great amber eyes and rolling wide with terror)
Velorek: (satisfying Aeryn's curiosity whether she has any or not) The replacement Pilot.
(cut back to the present, Aeryn still sits with the rest of the crew, except for Rygel who seems to have departed. The holochip is laying on the table in front of her where she slammed it down)
John: (amazed) Aeryn - you saw Pilot - our Pilot - being brought on board?
Aeryn: I was sent on the cargo transport mission, and that was my cargo. If I'd known that it was Moya - that it was our Pilot - I would have said something long ago.
D'Argo: (tersely) I can't tell if you're lying or not. One thing I do know - for all our sakes - Pilot had better never see this recording. (he strides forward and picking up the projector and chip, stalks out of the room)
Zhaan: (without visible anger - but clearly not wishing to be in Aeryn's company) What's done is done. There's nothing we can do about it now. If you'll excuse me, I'd rather spend the next few arns alone. (she sweeps out as well)
Chiana: (nervously) So - our Pilot wasn't Moya's first Pilot - (she grins anxiously) Well I sure, sure didn't know you could replace them.
Aeryn: (looking away from Chiana and staring into space, she says quietly-) You can replace them all right. But it's a long, difficult, dangerous procedure.
Chiana: (her smile fades) I-I think I'll go check up on Zhaan. (she leaves hastily)
John: So, the guy on... the tape... That was his job? Replace Miss Pilot with Mr Pilot?
Aeryn: (sounding very tired) It was Velorek's job to bond the new Pilot to the ship. To Moya. Any way he could...
(cut back the Moya of 3 cycles ago, back to the moment just after Velorek has unveiled Pilot. Velorek stands close to him and gently adjusts the muzzle and moves the black mesh aside some more. Pilot's eyes are fixed upon him like a child looking to an adult for help and he frantically babbles in his native language)
Velorek: (soothingly as he leans close to Pilots face) Remember what we discussed... remember what we discussed. There's nothing to be afraid of.
Aeryn: (she watches from several feet away impassively, but betraying a spark of curiosity about Velorek's strange creature) I can't understand what he's saying.
Velorek: (with a mixture of pride, admiration - and perhaps showing off a bit to Aeryn as he strokes Pilot's cheek to calm and reassure him) He's speaking in his specie's ancient language. One sentence can carry over a hundred different facts, concepts, emotions - far too complex for our translator microbes. (Pilot sighs and seems to relax. Velorek pulls a knife-like tool from it's sheath as he continues) Once he's calmed down, once he's comfortable here, then he'll start to simplify his sentences for us. (at that moment Crais entrance is announced by a soldier. Velorek quickly adapts a different mien and puts on a show of force for Crais. He flicks a switch on the knife-like tool and applies it to Pilot's chest. It emits an electrical charge that causes Pilot to writhe and cry out in pain as Velorek says sternly-) You will straighten out, and you will do so immediately - is that clear!? (Crais watches with satisfaction. Aeryn watches too, looking disturbed by what she is seeing Velorek do - as Pilot cowers and assents to Velorek's shouted command. Velorek then turns as if noticing Crais for the first time) Captain Crais.
Crais: Running into problems already, Lieutenant? You're not filling me with confidence.
Velorek: No. Not a problem, sir.
(cut back to Aeryn and John on the Moya of the present, where Aeryn discontinues their talk)
Aeryn: (pensive) No. It's happened. It's over. Like Zhaan said, what's done is done. I can't undo it.
John: I just thought - perhaps, if you talked -
Aeryn: "No" means no John (and with that she stands up and leaves, but once in the corridor, out of his view she falters, and stops, She doubles over slightly as if made nauseous by the power of the memories stirred up by the recording)
(cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Crais and Velorek are walking briskly along a corridor. Aeryn trails behind as they speak)
Velorek: I estimate that insertion will be complete in 83 arns.
Crais: You may have 60.
Velorek: It can't be done.
Crais: Then you will find a way. Your sole responsibility is to install this new Pilot and teach her to command this Leviathan as I direct her.
Velorek: This Pilot is a he - sir. With all due respect I understand my responsibilities. But this Pilot is young and inexperienced.
Crais: That is why the Peacekeeper Military Tech sent me you. You were the only one who could do what I want - as quickly as I want. (he stops and turns to face Velorek. Aeryn hovers behind them with a look studied blankness on her face) The success of my project depends on it. Are you telling me you can't?
Velorek: (respectful - but with the defiance of a man who takes pride in his work) It will take time to acclimate him. More time to conform physiology. And even more time to teach it. And that is what my report will say.
Crais: (dangerously) And my report will say that they're merely excuses to mask your own incompetence. Whose report do you think will be believed? Don't you threaten me Lieutenant! Take a lesson from your new Pilot - Anyone can be replaced. (he turns to leave but Aeryn has been awaiting her chance and grabs it now-)
Aeryn: Captain Crais! (he pauses to face her from a few paces away as she continues with military formality) Officer Aeryn Sun, Icarion Company, Pleisar Regiment. Currently reassigned. I'd like to state my case for being returned to my regular assignment as a Prowler- (Crais is completely uninterested in the petty concerns of this soldier though and without any further acknowledgement of her existence turns on his heel and walks off. A metal door is heard slamming somewhere and Aeryn looks crestfallen. Velorek looks bitter as he says to Aeryn-)
Velorek: I guess were stuck with each other for at least a little while longer. (he turns and walks away as well leaving Aeryn standing alone as two of her fellow grunts approach. They give her a bullyish little shove by way of greeting and block her path. Seems Officer Sun may not be too well-liked by her comrades)
Bald Soldier: Well, well! If it isn't our high and mighty little Prowler pilot!
Haired Soldier: (as he slaps a handful of slime on Aeryn's uniform) Too good to get down in the hole with us and dig out that old Pilot's guts eh?
Bald Soldier: (deliberately being gross) All those nerve fibers! I couldn't believe how far down that beastie got into the ship-
Haired Soldier: (schlooping another great smear of Pilot-thing guts onto her cheek and neck. Aeryn recoils with disgust) Well you're one of us now, You'll be digging guts with us next time! (Aeryn pushes past them without saying a word)
(cut back to present-day Moya. Aeryn is alone in the gym, furiously swinging at the punching bag. She howls with the pain of her memories at every blow she delivers till finally she collapses to the mat, sobbing. Her knuckles are bloody from the violence of her workout. Slow footsteps approach her as she lays there-)
John: (softly) You're makin' hamburger there. (he gets down on his knee beside her on the mat and reaches to comfort her. She tries to push him off but he is gently persistent) Talk to me... Come on. (he leans down to her level on the mat and pulls her up, cradling her as she sobs broken-heartedly) What happened back then? (she continues to cry inconsolably as he supports her and slowly her tears abate)
(cut to later. Aeryn and John are still in the gym, sitting on the mat. Aeryn has gathered herself and sits a couple feet away from him as they talk)
Aeryn: (quietly, with unusual frankness) Crichton - you might have noticed that at times I've - kept you at a distance.
John: \ Many times. Vast - distances
Aeryn: There's a reason for that.
John: Just one? (she makes no response) Go ahead.
Aeryn: Most Peacekeepers are bred and reared, for one purpose. Military service. Procreation is - assigned. There's no such thing as a lifelong mate.
John: But you have relationships. The male-female kind?
Aeryn: Of course. As many and as often as you want. Peacekeeper High Command understands the troops biological needs. Only, you don't connect with anyone openly. And never with any longevity. I guess - the point is - my relationships, back then, tended to be somewhat- (she searches for the word she wants)
John: Well - what does this have to do with the tape? What - ? Ah - this is about that guy. Velorek. (cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Aeryn glances surreptitiously around her before entering private quarters aboard Moya. When she does, Velorek is there, waiting for her. Cut back to present-day Moya) What about him?
Aeryn: He -uh- (cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. In the private quarters Aeryn removes her jacket and stands in a tank top. Velorek approaches from behind and grabs her, spinning her to face him. Cut back to present-day Moya)
John: He what?
Aeryn: We - (cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Velorek claps his hand over Aeryn's mouth and swings her around, onto the bed. But this is no rape - it's play. He removes his hand and they gaze at each other a moment, them kiss with gentle passion. Cut back to present-day Moya) - we were lovers.
John: (taken aback) Lovers- (he averts his eyes from her, embarrassed, perhaps less sure of his presumptions about her) Lovers. Um - interesting - I don't think I've ever heard you use that word -before. So - D- (he stammers, unable to quite figure out how to formulate the question) Did you love him?
Aeryn: I felt something for him that I never felt with any of the other men I - recreated - with. I didn't know what it was, but - I guess now I'd say that it was love.
John: Right . Well, from the way you tell the story, he sounded kind of sadistic.
Aeryn: (her voice quavering) No. The opposite, that was the problem. (and at that moment Pilot interrupts them via clamshell viewer)
Pilot: (icy) Officer Sun. (she and John look to the image pf Pilot, he stares balefully at Aeryn and holds out one claw - which delicately holds the holochip of LadyPilot's murder) We must talk. (he cuts communication)
John: How the hell did he get a hold of that?
Aeryn: It doesn't matter. He's seen it. I have to go talk to him.
John: Fine. I'll go with you.
Aeryn: No. It has to be just him and me.
(shortly after - cut to Pilot's Den. The great oval door opens and Aeryn stands silhouetted there for a moment. Pilot is facing away but he fixes his left eye on her as she slowly approaches his Console)
Aeryn: Pilot? (no response) This is difficult for both of us.
Pilot: (he abruptly swivels to face her - hissing with fury-) Both of us!? It isn't ME on that recording committing barbaric slaughter - with no remorse!
Aeryn: (pleading - but firm, confident that he'll come around) This is me, Pilot - Aeryn! We are closer than any two others on this ship. I still carry remnants of your DNA inside of me.
Pilot: That's why your betrayal cuts so deep.
Aeryn: (defensive, loudly, bordering on aggressive) Your DNA is the same DNA as the Pilot on this recording! (again she snatches the holochip from the projector and slaps it down) Do you have any idea how I felt when I saw it? When I was reminded of what I had done? (now is not the time to make it about yourself Aeryn... Pilot lets loose with a low growl of pure rage and lashes out at her with one claw. He gets her by the throat and commences to throttle her as she struggles ineffectually against his strength)
Now cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago - but this time - from Pilot's perspective. The scene is the Den and Pilot is still muzzled and his arms bound. Since his massive body cannot be manually lifted into the Pilot's station - he is suspended over it by use of a crane-like set of cables and is being lowered into place. The great room rings with the calls of PK technicians and he looks confused and frightened. Velorek crouches below the Pilot's station to guide the placement. Pilot is attached to a great ring which is the apparatus upon which he will sit and be able to swivel at his Console at for the rest of his life. Velorek steps aside as the ring with Pilot makes contact with the station. He uses what looks like a sort of notebook computer to monitor the process. As the ring comes into place with a metallic clang, Pilot looks anxiously from side to side at his new surroundings. The Pilot's station is two-tiered. It's top half consists of the Console and is where Pilot's upper body is seen. The lower tier is where the unseen connections to Moya are made from his lower body. Velorek climbs a ladder to the top half of the station as he calls-
Velorek: Prepare for all power conduits to connect!
Tech: We're ready sir.
Velorek: (he comes behind the Console to stand near Pilot and says gently-) We're ready to remove this thing now. So remember - calm and easy. 'Kay? (Pilot watches him and nods, he's panting with anxiety) Okay - here we go. (Velorek lifts the muzzle from Pilot's mouth and Pilot immediately bursts into frantic, unintelligible PilotSpeak-)
Pilot: Cha-ki teh! Tel! Ka'kutu!
Velorek: Slow! Slow!. Remember, simple sentences. Yes?
Pilot: (haltingly as he struggles to make himself understood) Am - I - there?
Velorek: (he holds a scanning device next to Pilot's head and after assessing the readout replies-) Indeed you are! Your new home!
Pilot: (he takes his eyes from Velorek for the first time and gazes with wonder at the Console in front of him) The ship!
Velorek: Her name is Moya.
Pilot: (repeating the name with awe and joy - like a child being introduced to a wonderful new creature) "Moya!"
(cut back to present-day Moya - Pilot continues to scream with incoherent rage as Aeryn struggles to free herself from his chokehold)
Aeryn: (she manages to gag out a distress call via comm) NO! - GUH - Crichton! Crichton!
John: (cut to him in a corridor as he breaks into a run for Pilot's Den) Aeryn!
D'Argo: (joining John) What happened?
John: Aeryn went to see Pilot! He somehow got his hands on the recording!
D'Argo: I had that recording in my quarters - hidden!
(cut back to Pilot's Den as he continues his assault on Aeryn - the cut again to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Pilot and Velorek continue talking as Velorek proceeds with the artificial bonding process)
Pilot: (hesitant, nervous - eager to know Moya-) Does she - know I'm here? Does she-?
Velorek: She's under heavy sedation at the moment. She will be until the bonding is complete.
Pilot: (he still struggles to find words as he says with genuine innocence-) But the bonding takes over a cycle! Sometimes two!
Velorek: (he stops his work and lays a hand on Pilot's shoulder) That is natural bonding. We don't have time for that.
(cut back to present-day Moya as D'Argo and John burst into Pilot's Den and take in the terrible scene of a madly howling Pilot in the process of strangling Aeryn to death)
D'Argo: Pilot! (he and John rush to Aeryn’s aid but Pilot effortlessly swats both of them away as if they were flies and they go sprawling several yards from the Great Navigator's Console)
Aeryn: (struggling to breath) John! (Pilot hits a panel on his Console and D'Argo and John begin to be sucked away from him and Aeryn by a powerful rush of air)
D'Argo: HE'S VENTING THE CHAMBER!
(cut back to Pilot and Velorek - 3 cycles ago)
Pilot: (he still sits with the muzzle hanging loose around his neck as he watches Velorek work and says slowly-) This ship - This "Moya"- She doesn't know her old Pilot is dead, does she? When she is awakened, my presence here will be a complete surprise to her.
Velorek: By then, the bonding process will be complete. There is no more time to allow you further adjustments to your new surroundings.
(he climbs back down to the lower tier where Pilot's abdomen and back legs are exposed) It's best for all of us, the sooner we get this over with- (and with that he reaches inside Pilot's body, via what seems to be a natural orifice - and with his bare hand pulls out a great mass of snowy white guts, nerve fibers - that look like loops of small vacuum cleaner hosing. Pilot grits his teeth and groans with obvious discomfort)
(cut back to present-day Moya. Pilot's screams of rage now tapers off to the agonized groans of the memory. And now instead of finishing Aeryn he tosses her to the floor where she lies coughing and gasping as he shuts down the venting of the chamber's atmosphere and roars at her-)
Pilot: YOU KILLED THIS SHIP'S FIRST PILOT - THE PILOT THAT BELONGED HERE! I WILL NOT HAVE YOU ABOARD DEFILING HER WITH YOUR PRESENCE! UNTIL AERYN LEAVES THIS VESSEL- (John is able to get back to his feet and sprint to Aeryn where he helps her to sit up and get air as Pilot continues) -MOYA WILL NOT MOVE ANOTHER METRA! (as John gapes at Pilot - dumbstruck by this unprecedented display of passion and power, the Great Navigator summarily shuts Moya down. Lights dim, Her engines power back and as she slides to a dead stop in space her running lights wink out, tier by tier. Pilot grunts with stubborn finality)
(soon after - cut to the Command D'Argo yells with frustration as he jabs at the inoperative control consoles and then kicks them in helpless fury. Pilot has completely cut the crew off from Moya's Command functions. Nearby, Chiana has Rygel in a headlock-)
Chiana: You stole the datacam from D'Argo's room - didn't ya? (Rygel groans and crunches in her grip) You showed it to Pilot - didn't ya?
Rygel: He deserved to see the truth!
Chiana: (with sarcasm) Ah! The truth!
Rygel: (as D'Argo struggles loudly trying to get a response from another control panel) It was my ethical duty!
Rygel: I am a Dominar of principle, as well as action!
Chiana: Principle!? Nonono! I think you showed it to him so he owed you one! Yeah! A big one! (she seizes one of his delicate earbrows and twists it unmercifully. Rygel screams and at that moment, John enters)
D'Argo: Pilot is a creature of his word - we've not moved one metra. We're just drifting.
John: (unnerved) You know, we've never seen Pilot like this before. Chop off an arm - the best he can muster is a few snotty remarks. But this - he shuts down the ship, and he tries to kill Aeryn.
D'Argo: Shut down is right. We're not moving unless he wants us to.
John: (thoughtfully) There's more to it than what's on that recording. Kind of makes you wonder how bad things were back then.
D'Argo: I wouldn't know. I spent the whole time with my collarbones chained to the walls of my cell.
(he stalks out leaving John to understand - things were pretty bad indeed...)
(cut to Zhaan who is with Aeryn. She takes some salve on her fingers and slathers it without gentleness on Aeryn's bruised and raw neck. Aeryn winces with pain)
Zhaan: (with unsmiling passive-aggression-) Oh- Did I hurt you, my dear?
Aeryn: (she angrily pushes Zhaan's hands away and says bitterly-) You're done Zhaan! Thank you for your compassion. (she turns away and Zhaan mutters-)
Zhaan: Interesting hearing you speaking of compassion.
Aeryn: (turning back to her, her voice husky) You think I lack compassion? That Pilot is right - and that I defile Moya with my presence? (Zhaan makes pointed eye contact) Well you know what? He's right. And you are right! (she turns and yanks a duffle bag open as Zhaan looks on in silence) And I will be in my Prowler and out of here in less than an arn! (she begins throwing her gear into the bag)
Zhaan: (perhaps regretting her harshness, she whispers-) I'm sorry.
Aeryn: No, Zhaan. I am what I am. And I did what I did.
Zhaan: (conciliatory as Aeryn finishes her packing and abruptly zips the duffle closed) Aeryn - you had no choice back them. You did exactly what was expected of you. In that world, that was the only kind of Peacekeeper you could be. (Aeryn looks back at her, perhaps startled by the comment - for she knows it is not true)
(cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Aeryn and Velorek are in bed. They've just finished lovemaking and Aeryn stretches up away from him, and without a word makes to leave)
Velorek: Did you hear some call to battle stations that I didn't?
Aeryn: No. But we're finished, and I have to get to my duty station.
Velorek: Well, you're not expected there for another half arn. Spend it here. With me. (she allows herself to be pulled back down onto the bed) You don't - enjoy being here with me?
Aeryn: (smiling momentarily up at him) Hm. I enjoy it.
Velorek: (guessing her thoughts) But... It just isn't right - to actually feel something for a fellow Peacekeeper, is it?
Aeryn: Well what's the point? We won't be assigned to be together forever.
Velorek: (softly, as he strokes her face) We could be. I'm fairly high in the Military Tech Hierarchy. I could make it happen... if you wanted me to.
Aeryn: Peacekeeper High Command makes all assignment decisions.
Velorek: High Command doesn't always make the right decisions. Come on Aeryn. You and I have been intimate since the second solar day of our voyage to get here. There's something about you - something special - and I think you know it.
Aeryn: (as she sits up and brushes his hand away) No. No. I'm not special.
Velorek: Don't take the Peacekeeper hard line, Aeryn. You understand what I'm saying. Can you honestly tell me - all you want is to fly Prowlers, like a thousand others? And serve a madman like Captain Crais?
Aeryn: That is outright insubordination!
Velorek: No, it's not. It's observation. Think beyond the box the Peacekeepers put your mind in Aeryn. Crais is a maniac, and his coveted "project" - is an abomination.
Aeryn: (stubbornly. fearfully) No. I don't know anything about Crais’s project, and I don't want to know. (she turns to dress and put her hair up)
Velorek: (appealing to her higher emotions) The project will likely kill this Leviathan. And I cannot let that happen. Will not.
Aeryn: (she abruptly turns back to him and demands) What does that mean?
Velorek: (there's a long pause as he looks at her before making his proposal) Aeryn, I know how I feel about you. And I think I know how you feel about me. When I leave here - I want you to come with me. You can be so much more.
(cut to present-day Moya as John, who said those same words to her when they first met, enters the room and breaks Aeryn's reverie)
John: Aeryn! (she turns to look over her shoulder at him) What are you doing?
Zhaan: (as she packs up her medicine and leaves) She's going to do as Pilot asks. She's planning to leave Moya. (Aeryn and John look at each other without words)
(shortly after - cut to Pilot's Den as John enters. The Den is dark and quiet. Pilot sits at his Console, uncharacteristically still. His eyes have an empty look and his face is an unreadable blank)
John: (with firm, but gentle determination as he approaches Pilot) Pilot - we have to talk. Let's hash this out. Right here. Right now. Five cents, the Doctor is In. (Pilot looks back at him dully)
(cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Pilot's memory of the day he was bonded with Moya plays on...)
Velorek: (speaking to Pilot from the lower tier where he's been splicing Pilot's great nervous bundles to Moya) Major systems grafts are complete now. Are you ready for this?
Pilot: (sitting very still and struggling to speak, his voice quivering) I'm - I'm in a great deal of pain.
Velorek: (as he continues working - but not without some genuine regret) You'll get used to the pain.
Pilot: (dismayed and frightened) Get used to it?! It - will go away, won't it?
Velorek: I'm afraid not - (Pilot pants and moans quietly, mouth open, eyes staring) - an unfortunate, but permanent side effect of the grafting process. (his voice seems to fade a bit as Pilot hears it through his pain) Now, I'm about to reawaken the Leviathan. All of her senses will reawaken instantly, along with her consciousness. Remember, her senses are now yours. (his tone takes on an edge of excitement and wonder-) Nothing I can say will prepare you for what you are about to experience. (looking up at Pilot) Try not to be afraid.
Pilot: (struggling to maintain his composure) I won't cry out.
Velorek: (knowing better) You will. (he runs his hand over his notebook computer and Moya comes to life. Pilot doesn't just cry out - he screams with the drawn-out shriek of someone hurtling towards certain, horrible death as all hell breaks loose. Moya shudders and lurches as lights flash, circuits onerload, sparks fly and she seems to jump spontaneously into starburst)
Pilot: (screaming with complete, unabashed indignity) SOMETHING IS WRO-ONG! SOMETHING IS HORRIBLY WRONG!!
Velorek: (calmly as Moya shudders and bucks) Moya can sense your presence. She knows that you're not her old Pilot.
Pilot: (screaming as an electrical sizzle is heard and he is jolted) YYYAAAHHH! What is that!?
Velorek: (tapping at the computer) I'm sorry - it's a pain pulse from her control collar. We must force her to accept you.
Pilot: (he's straining to speak through the agony) UUNNNGGGGHHHH - IT IS UNBEARABLE!
Velorek: It's the only way for her to accept you as her new Pilot. (Pilot's agonized cries continue amid the turbulence of the forced bonding)
(cut to present-day Moya. Pilot is telling the awful story to John, who looks stunned, barely able to comprehend the magnitude of what it is to be joined with a ship - much less this horror)
Pilot: (his voice aquiver) Moya only accepted me because she was tortured into it. (then, vehemently) TORTURED INTO IT! (and then, before John's eyes, Pilot begins to furiously tear at himself. Sparks fly as small explosions erupt across his Console and still he grunts with the pain of his self-mutilation until he brings up in one claw, for John to see - a mass of his own nerve tendrils, clear blueish fluid runs freely from where Pilot has ripped them away. John is speechless as he struggles to understand what he is seeing and Pilot informs him, painfully, but with suicidal calm-) Moya - is free - of me.
John: (disbelieving what he is witnessing, he steps forward and says softly-) Pilot, what the hell have you-?
Pilot: (breathing heavily, his speech halting) I'm - no longer - bonded - to her.
(cut to Moya as she floats in space. She is rolling and yawing unsteadily, as if confused, or disoriented. Cut back to her Command. D'Argo and Zhaan are monitoring)
D'Argo: I'm reading major variances in the life support system. The internal gravity bladders are all deforming, and Moya is trying to fix it herself.
Zhaan: Because Pilot is off-line!
D'Argo: (he hits the comm to John) CRICHTON! WHAT THE FRELL IS GOING ON DOWN THERE?!
(cut back to Pilot's Den, John has crawled up onto the Console and is looking over it's edge at Pilot's self-inflicted wounds. Pilot is quiet and seems unconcerned by John's frantic shouts)
John: (in a mixture of anger, fear and despair) PILOT! WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE? (gaping at the damage) No-Nonononono! This is not good! No! No! Not good!!
Pilot: (slowly turning his great face to John he murmurs in a fast fading voice-) The... pain... is finally gone...
(shortly after - cut back to the Command which has been plunged into darkness. Aeryn and John stand, holding flashlights for D'Argo who's trying to get one of the control consoles back online)
John: ...And Pilot's been in pain all this time?
Aeryn: Very likely. I remember that Velorek was forced to graft Pilot to Moya's systems, instead of letting the process occur naturally.
D'Argo: And why didn't you tell us about this before?
Aeryn: (snapping at him) Because I didn't know it was this Pilot! Remember? (there is what sounds like a small explosion as Moya lurches and yaws violently again, causing them to nearly loose their footing)
John: (irritated) Kids! Save it- for after school! Right now, how do we fix this thing so we stop bobbing about like three men in a tub?
Aeryn & D'Argo: We don't.
D'Argo: We need Pilot's help. He's got to instruct us through the process manually.
John: (worried) Yeah well - I don't think Pilot's in a - "Leviathan’s For Dummies" kind of mood right now.
(cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Pilot's Den. Moya has calmed and things are quiet again but for the PK technicians who still come and go on their business. Aeryn enters and stands watching Pilot as Velorek, from the lower tier of the Pilot's station continues to work with him, fine tuning the connections to Moya. Pilot looks oddly alone in the midst of the PK activity. Only Velorek acknowledges and speaks to him)
Pilot: (responding to something Velorek has said) Yes. Working.
Velorek: Does that feel good?
Pilot; (a bit uncertainly) Yes.
Velorek: (coaxing) Sure?
Velorek: (he makes some adjustment) There - how's that?
Pilot: Much better. The DRDs are responding to my impulses now, hundreds of them. (Velorek looks up towards Pilot with an expression that suggests some fear for the future of his many-armed protégé. Another technician approaches and Velorek climbs up to the top tier to speak with him quietly. Pilot watches them move away from him)
Tech: Velorek, I've completed the task you asked for. Everything went according to plan.
Velorek: The structure's in place? The shaft is sealed?
(the rest of their conversation fades to whispers as another tech joins them. Finally Velorek pats them as they leave murmuring-) Good. Good. Great. (Aeryn, who has stayed in the shadows near the door turns to leave too but turns back as she hears Pilot's innocent question-)
Pilot: What - secret project, Lieutenant Velorek?
Velorek: (coming back to stand with Pilot at the Console) I see your heightened senses are fully functional This project is nothing for you to concern yourself with. I've just made certain that it should never be a threat to you, or the ship, ever again. (Aeryn turns away, her lips pursed thoughtfully)
(cut back to present-day Moya, the Command. Aeryn, D'Argo and John yelp as they are staggered by another violent lurch)
Aeryn: I have to talk to him. (she makes to leave but John stops her)
John: (urgently) Aeryn - nononono - Pilot's Etch-A-Sketch isn't operating with all it's knobs right now. I'm afraid seeing you won't help.
D'Argo: Besides, he's locked himself inside his chamber and the DRDs have taken up defensive positions. He must have used voice command.
Aeryn: It's all my fault.
John: I don't buy that. Unless more happened back then - (she makes no response other than to look at him) So - what happened back then?
Aeryn: (there's a long silence as she looks from john to D'Argo, who look back expectantly, waiting. But suddenly she pulls away and takes off) I have to talk to him!
D'Argo & John: AERYN! (they are jolted by another great shudder from Moya)
D'Argo: I 'll go.
John: Nonono! I'm already into this!
D'Argo: No, I can talks some sense into both of them.
John: D'Argo! N- look- (and they settle the argument the manly way - John holds up his fist - Rock, Paper, Scissors. They silently count out to 3 - John throws scissors, D'Argo throws paper) See ya! (and John takes off after Aeryn)
D'Argo: (muttering with disgust) Can't believe it...
(soon after - cut to a dark, narrow access shaft leading to Pilot's Den. 2 DRDs are patrolling it, they stop, scan, and move on. After they pass, Aeryn and John emerge from a side shaft, guns at the ready and with only the beams of their flashlights to light their stealthy way. They speak in hushed tomes)
Aeryn: The DRDs are definitely in a defensive posture.
John: What are you planning on saying to Pilot that you think is going to make a difference?
Aeryn: You were right - this is about the past, and he's remembering more and more about those days. I'm the only one who could possibly understand, so I figure, if I can get him to talk about it - it might help.
John: So - you think that talking will help?
John: Why don't you talk to me? (she stops and glances at him but makes no reply) Come on, Aeryn. Let me know. What's got you so torn up about what happened? Aeryn - what happened with Velorek? (still no response) It's just you and me and the walls in here.
(cut back to the Moya of 3 cycles ago. Aeryn and Velorek in private quarters, semi-dressed, Aeryn is behind him, giving him a neck massage and rubbing her cheek against the top of his head)
Velorek: (sounding as if he's given up hope of convincing her to come with him) I have finished my assignment here. I'm going to be reassigned soon.
Aeryn: (laying her hand on his forehead) I want to go with you.
Velorek: You mean that? (she swings around to sit having his and nods as she strokes his hair) What about flying Prowlers?
Aeryn: (truthfully enough) I've been through all the accepted channels of command. Without something to single me out, they'll never listen to me.
Velorek: I can make this as exciting for you as flying any Prowler could ever be. I promise.
Aeryn: (flatly as she continues to stroke him) Where would we go?
Velorek: What does it matter? Somewhere else. (Foreshadowing the words Pilot would speak on the day he and the crew escaped the Peacekeepers)
Aeryn: (flatly, looking into his eyes, caressing him) I don't know how to live somewhere else.
Velorek: (with gentle gladness) You only say that because this is all you've ever known. In the right new place - you'll thrive.
Aeryn: (she stops touching him) Change you mind.
Velorek: (sharply) What?
Aeryn: (urgently) W-whatever you did with Crais’s plan - put it back!
Velorek: What are you talking about Aeryn? (her lips move but she cannot articulate any words of responsibility) Aeryn, what is this about? (and at that moment the door to the room opens, flooding Velorek's face with harsh white light. Aeryn scrambles away from him and comes to attention as 2 soldiers, followed by Crais, barge in. Velorek's eyes widen in horror) What have you done? (then louder - to Crais and the soldiers) What is the meaning of this! (the soldiers seize him and proceed to drag him away)
Crais: What do you think it is Velorek? You're under arrest.
Velorek: (angry, but also frightened) On what charge?
Crais: (the soldiers stop and hold the struggling Velorek before him for a moment) Treason, of course. We can find no evidence of your attempts to sabotage my project. I think we may have caught you before you were able to do your damage. We'll find out soon enough. (to Aeryn) I assume you are the informant?
Aeryn: Yes Captain. Officer Aeryn Sun.
Crais: Just contact Lieutenant Teeg. She will see that you are rewarded with the assignment you requested.
Aeryn: Prowler detail, sir.
Crais: Whatever. (to the soldiers) Bring him.
Velorek: (he's dragged out as Aeryn looks on with dull horror at what she has done and says-) You found that something special to single yourself out with. Congratulations Aeryn. No ordinary Peacekeeper would have attempted this. I told you, you were special. (he disappears into custody and Crais, perhaps actually noticing her for the first time gives Aeryn a ling, piercing look before turning away as well. Aeryn is left alone, staring blankly after them)
(cut back to present-day Moya. Aeryn stands in the dark access shaft staring through a grate that looks onto Pilot's Den. John stands behind her)
Aeryn: I got my duty.
John: And what happened to Velorek? (she makes no response other than to turn and look at him. John tilts his head back and exhales in silent understanding. Aeryn turns back to the grate. Below them Pilot can be seen sitting very still at his Console. Utterly alone in the darkness of the Den)
Aeryn: But they never got him to talk. He never told them what he'd done to sabotage Crais’s plan. But I think I know now. It was Crais’s project to impregnate a Leviathan. Moya.
John: To breed a Peacekeeper Leviathan warship.
Velorek installed the shield to prevent conception.
Aeryn: The shield that D'Argo accidentally shattered.
(cut back to the Command where D'Argo and the others continue to be unsuccessful in their attempts to get anything working)
D'Argo: (leaving a control console) It's no use.
Chiana: There must be some way to get Moya to help us.
Zhaan: No, there isn't. All interior life support is in Pilot's hands.
D'Argo: Not anymore. (Moya jars them violently)
Zhaan: Even if we can communicate directly with Moya, there is nothing she can do on her own.
Chiana: Just my luck. Out of all the Leviathans in the universe, I end up aboard one with a second string Pilot.
Zhaan: And how do we know Moya's first Pilot was any better? (well now... that's what you call a backhanded statement of support...)
(cut back to Pilot's Den. He sits motionless in the eerie silence of the great chamber, his head bowed, eyes closed. But his is alive and looks up as the metallic clang of a grate dropping rings out. Aeryn and John drop down onto the catwalk several yards in front of him. DRDs sit on either side of him and now he speaks to them in his language)
Pilot: (in a low growl) Aaah-TK re garhl. (and with that the DRDs open fire on them)
John: Pilot! No! (but yes - he and Aeryn are forced to return fire as they charge the Console. The Den is lit for a few moments with flashes of pulse gun fire and the metallic plink of strikes, But Aeryn and John are able to pick off the DRDs and make the Console, their flashlights play over Pilot's face as he growls like some great, dangerous beast. They keep their guns trained on him)
Pilot: (in a low snarl) Get out of my chamber! Leave me alone!
Aeryn: No, Pilot. We need to talk.
Pilot: (growling again) Talk? You want a chance to tell me how non-violent you are now? Or what? You'll blast ME into pieces like you did the Pilot who used to sit here? (Aeryn makes a sudden angry move toward him with her gun- he doesn't back down and makes a move back towards HER. John shouts her name in warning) STAY AWAY FROM ME!
Aeryn: (shouting) Tell me now Pilot! Talk to me right now, or I swear I will-
John: (cutting her off - she's not got a lot of finesse with this sort of thing) AERYN! (in the silence, Pilot growls dangerously. John continues gently) Pilot -we're just here to help. If you stay disconnected from Moya, you'll starve to death.
Pilot: (with weary bitterness) And with no one to regulate them, your precious life support systems won't function properly.
John: (conceding the point of self-interest) Right. Fine. Yes. We all want you back in the seat. (trying to appeal to him on a different level, he says, as if to a despondent child) And Moya must be pretty worried, wondering where the hell you got to.
Pilot: Doesn't matter. She'll be better off without me. (Aeryn and John are quiet for a long moment as they ponder the depth of the great creature's misery)
Aeryn: (she tosses her gun onto the Console in front of Pilot. John lowers his as well) That recording brought back memories of a time none of us wanted to remember. Based on my actions back then, I deserve to die. And if you wish to kill me, right now - I'm not going to stop you. But please, spare the others - and yourself.
Pilot: (he gazes at her, the creases of his face seem deeper and darker than usual, his amber eyes glow against the deep grey of his skin and his compassion overcomes his anger) Aeryn Sun... It is not you who deserves death. It is I.
John: Okay, so you're not Moya's original Pilot, you replaced her - you can't blame yourself for that.
Pilot: I didn't only - replace - the old Pilot.
(cut to Pilot's homeworld - only 3 cycles ago. We see a sea of mist, like ground fog. A few black rocks jut above the swirling vapors and higher ridges of rock comprise the horizon. The dominant feature of the landscape is the night sky which is heart-stoppingly beautiful. It is deep cobalt blue and densely spangled with stars. A pale aurora shimmers softly and comets silently rain their fire across the heavens. Velorek sits on an outcropping of rock and speaks with Pilot, who sits in the mist, Only his great curved back and head are visible above it)
Pilot: (childlike as he looks up at Velorek) The Elders have already judged me. They said I was not yet - worthy to pilot a Leviathan.
Velorek: If you believed that, you wouldn't be here right now. So, why are you here?
Pilot: (hanging his head) I want to be joined so badly...
Velorek: I can make that happen, young one.
Pilot: (with fear - and a little bitterness) But the Elders - the Elders have not yet decreed it to be my destiny.
Velorek: I offer you the chance to make your destiny. Look up. What do you see? (he looks up and Pilot tilts his head to look up too)
Pilot: (he breathes the word with wonder and reverence) Stars!
Velorek: That is what I offer you. Stars.
Pilot: (wistful) I dream of nothing else.
Velorek: I offer you a Leviathan. All you have to do is agree to help me.
Pilot: (innocent, struggling to understand the implications of Velorek's offer) But you said - that - for me to be joined, the Old One would have to die.
Velorek: (firmly) That Pilot will die no matter what you do. (Pilot looks down and lets out a long, sad sigh as Velorek watches him like a hawk) If you don't come with me, I'll find someone else who will. Someone who isn't afraid to take their place amongst the stars.
(cut back to present-day Moya)
Pilot: (his voice is flat and husky) The fate of Moya's true Pilot was sealed at that moment. So you see, Aeryn - it wasn't really you who caused her death. It was - me. If I hadn't agreed to come, Velorek may never have found a replacement Pilot. But... (he looks down, he seems very close to tears) But I just wanted so desperately to see the stars. (Aeryn's eyes are glistening and she smiles at him)
Aeryn: Do you remember when you first came aboard Moya? Velorek stroked your cheek like this to calm you. (she reaches out and touches his face. Her voice cracks as she continues-) Back then, I couldn't fathom why he would do a thing like that - and now, I couldn't fathom not doing it. We've come a long way since then Pilot. And we've still got a long way to go. Take the journey with me. (he accepts her comfort and then, reaching out with one great claw, he lays it gently against her cheek, she lays her hand upon it and the tears come)
Pilot: (weak and raspy) I know a procedure - some temporary connections that can be made that will give me back rudimentary control of Moya's systems. (Aeryn and John both smile at his offer to rejoin the world of the living)
John: Okay. Let's get started.
(soon after- cut to D'Argo on the lower tier of Pilot's station amongst the Great Navigator's spindly rear legs and masses of nerve fibers - all of which seem to have grown considerably since Velorek made the original grafts. Perhaps the job of making the re-attachments has fallen to D'Argo as karma for all the synaptic relays he's ripped and DRDs he's flattened over the past cycle or so...)
Pilot: Those connections you've made are working just fine. You realize, if you finish what you're doing now - allowing me to bond with Moya naturally, it could take an entire cycle before the process is complete. During the bonding period, I won't have as much control of Moya's systems as I had before. It will make it even more tenuous for all of us. (as if they have a choice)
D'Argo: It doesn't matter Pilot. You deserve to be bonded to Moya naturally.
Pilot: I will work hard to deserve it.
D'Argo: I'm finished. How does it feel?
Pilot: (with quiet wonder, almost more to himself than to D'Argo) There's no pain. No longer any pain.
(cut to the Command. Aeryn and John are there)
John: Velorek said that he'd always remember you. And you, have you...?
Aeryn: Mm. He said that in the right new place, I would thrive.
John: He was right.
Aeryn: You know. That time when he asked me to go with him, he said: "You can be so much more." That was exactly what you said to me on the first day I was here.
John: And you - say you think you love this man?
As he watches her she takes a deep breath and glances at him but says nothing. Then she looks away, as if thinking about it.